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FAQ: Difficult Passages Blog #3

Posted on: August 17th, 2017 by E-Free Lethbridge

FAQ: Difficult Passages
Part 3
1 Corinthians 11:2-16
Question:
What is the reason for head coverings? Are they relevant today? What was considered a head covering?

Two caveats before I start:
First, in Paul and Gender, Cynthia Long Westfall spends twenty pages discussing this passage. I won’t be taking up that much space. If you’d like to explore this more in depth, I recommend her book, Craig Keener’s The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, and his article “Man and Woman” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters.

Second, I am not going to use the CAPTOR acronym (see previous blog) as rigidly. I will focus mostly on the context since this is mainly a cultural issue. This passage is a great example of Pastor Ian’s reminder: the Bible was not written to us but for us.

In this passage, Paul is addressing a question about whether women and men should cover their head in worship. Paul instructs women to cover their heads and men to uncover their heads.
The head covering Paul is referring to is a veil or hood. There were different styles and lengths of veils that were prevalent through the history and across the geography of the Roman Empire. Some, particularly in Palestine, covered the face as well as the hair.

Before I started studying the passage and the historical context, I assumed two things:
1. That wearing a veil was a sign of submission;
2. That the women in the house churches were trying to assert their freedom in Christ by refusing to wear a veil when the gathered for worship.

I failed to understand that in the ancient Mediterranean world, women’s hair was a prime object of men’s lust. For a woman to have her hair uncovered in public was a signal that she was available. A married woman should cover her hair; both to signal her faithfulness to her husband and because her beauty (or ‘sexiness’) should only be displayed to her husband. A worship gathering is not the place to signal sexual availability or to display that kind of sexual beauty, especially since it was believed that men were unable to control themselves in the presence of such provocative beauty (I still hear similar arguments today!).

Additionally, veiling was a sign of social status in the ancient world. There were women who were prohibited by law and custom from wearing a veil including current or former slaves, women in the low classes, and current or former prostitutes. Paul believed that in Christ we are all equal: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ.” (Galatians 3:28). Paul is advocating that all women be allowed to veil in worship, regardless of social status, as an act of dignity and honour. This was a significant command; imagine you were a slave owner who attended church with your female slave. You would be reminded of her inherent dignity, worth, and equality as a child of God, and the limits of your control over her – every time she veiled herself.

We assume that it was the women who didn’t want to wear a veil. This is probably based on our Western mindset: we live in a culture of bra-burning and wearing revealing clothes as a demonstration of women’s power over their own bodies. However, we also live in a world where women have been forced to unveil: the women being arrested for wearing burkini’s on the beaches of Cannes, for example. In addition, it is usually, though not exclusively, men who try to set the rules for what women wear and don’t wear. In Esther, it’s the king who orders Vashti to unveil herself to a roomful of prominent men; in the Roman culture, it was men who set the rules about who could and could not be veiled, and it was men who had most at stake: a woman veiling herself was indicating that she was not sexually available to him. It was limiting the power of the man.

This makes it easier to understand Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 11:10 – “It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels.” (It doesn’t make it easier to understand what “because of the angels” means, but you didn’t ask about that. Thank you!). If Paul was commanding women to wear a veil against their will, this phrase doesn’t make sense. If Paul was confirming the women’s desire to wear a veil, the verse makes sense: she has authority over her own head and can wear a veil.

Obligations and Reflection: We have to look beyond the presenting problem (veils) and consider the universal principle: Paul’s teaching on modesty and dignity, especially in our sexually charged culture. Paul argued that worship gatherings were not a place to advertise sexual availability. This caution is for both men and women. Men’s clothes aren’t typically as obviously revealing as women’s clothing can be. However, advertising sexual availability isn’t just about the clothes you wear. It’s also about words, tone, body language, scents, touch, etc. I think Paul would caution us to careful to be modest in the way we dress, talk, and act so that we don’t steal focus from Jesus when we gather to worship.

Related to this, we have an obligation to treat everyone as a brother and sister in God’s family. We have an obligation to treat everyone with the dignity and honour they deserve as one created in the image of God, whom God loves, and for whom Jesus died. We must especially go out of our way to dignify and honour those who typically get overlooked and oppressed. This is at the heart of Paul’s instructions: the status symbols of culture do not apply in the family of God.

This is the gospel: regardless of your status in the world and regardless of your past – Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, lonely or popular, poor or rich, powerless or powerful – you are a full participant in the kingdom and a full heir of the promises because of Jesus.

FAQ: Difficult Passages Blog #2

Posted on: August 14th, 2017 by E-Free Lethbridge

FAQ: Difficult Passages
Blog 2
Romans 11:25

“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:25-26)

Question: What is the full number of the Gentiles?

Context: We need to remember that Paul, a convert to Christianity from a conservative form of Judaism, has essentially travelled all over the Eastern Roman Empire sharing the message of Jesus and establishing churches in key cities. He is now looking to take the message of Jesus to the West, including Spain. He wrote this letter to followers of Jesus in Rome to seek their support in being a home-base for his missionary work in the Western Empire.
In addition, there is conflict between Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians in Rome. The Jews, including Jewish Christians, were expelled from Rome. When they returned, they found that the church had continued to grow and thrive under Gentile leadership. However, the expression of Gentile Christianity looked different than the expression of Jewish Christianity.
Paul wants to gain the support of the Gentile Christians in Rome but doesn’t want to create a further divide between Jewish and Gentile Christians. So, in this section of the letter, he reminds the Church of their Jewish heritage and addresses the question: is God finished with Israel?

Analysis: Paul argues that God is continuing to keep his promise to Abraham because there is a group of Jews who have faith in Jesus and because part of God’s promise to Abraham was that all nations would be blessed through him and his descendants. In addition, it has always been God’s way to work through a small group of people to display his glory to the rest. Finally, Israel’s rejection of Jesus’ good news is not irreversible and final; God’s blessing on the Gentiles is making the Jews jealous which, Paul believes, will compel the Jews to accept Jesus as God’s Messiah and enter the kingdom.

Problems: “the full number of the Gentiles”
This is where it’s really important to make sure that we don’t allow our presuppositions affect what the Bible actually says. For example, if I come with a Calvinist presupposition, I would say that Paul means God predetermined that certain Gentiles would respond to the gospel. When that “full number of the Gentiles” respond to the message of Jesus, then all Israel will be saved. It’s possible to see that in the text but it might be more about the lens I am reading the text through.
It’s also possible that Paul is saying that when Gentiles from every tribe, nation, people and language group (Revelation 7:9) respond to the gospel (“the fullness of the Gentiles”), then Israel will return to faith in Christ. This view fits really well with the over-all teaching of Scripture: John’s vision of worship in heaven and Jesus’ prediction in Matthew 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
“All Israel will be saved” What does Paul mean by this: every child of Israel who ever lived throughout history? Those children of Israel who are alive when Christ returns? Something else?
Paul makes it clear in other places that it isn’t enough to be a Jew ethnically (e.g. Romans 2:28; Romans 9:6-8); a person must recognize Jesus as God’s Messiah in order to enter into the promises of the new covenant. On the other hand, Paul argues that because they are physical descendants of Abraham, the children of Israel are still recipients of the promise God made to Abraham (Romans 11:28-29). While these seem like paradoxical statements to us, Paul’s view of God is large enough to embrace paradox.
In addition, it was common for Jewish teachers at the time to make the statement, “All Israel will be saved.” Then they would list all the Israelites who would not be saved. The common understanding of the phrase, therefore, was “Israel as a whole (but not necessarily including every individual) will be saved.” (Craig Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament). This is likely how Paul’s audience would have understood this phrase.

Themes: The themes of this section surround the main theme of redemption and history. Paul is wrestling with what salvation and God’s mercy mean for the nation of Israel, given the necessity of repentance and belief in Jesus as God’s Messiah and Lord.

Obligations: By referring to “the fullness of the Gentiles” Paul is reminding us of our obligation as missionaries to our world. Jesus taught that the gospel of the kingdom would be spread to all nations before the end would come. He commissioned us to go into all the world with this message. John’s vision included people from every nation, tribe, people and language group surrounding the throne of Jesus. All of this reminds us of our obligation to be witnesses of the kingdom.
A second obligation is stated directly in the passage: “so that you may not be conceited.” Paul is reminding us that we are not better than any other people group, including the children of Israel. We were not the first people to be chosen by God and we were not chosen because of any merit in ourselves; we are simply relying on the kindness of God. We should not look down on the children of Israel for their rejection of the Messiah; apart from God’s grace, we would be in the same boat. Plus, we should never forget the possibility (certainty?) that God will grant mercy to the children of Israel, allowing them to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and Lord.

Reflection: As people reflect on creation, human relationships, universal standards of good and evil, etc. I’ve sometimes heard them exclaim, “How can people not believe in God?” I understand the sentiment of that statement. But Paul warns us in this section to be careful not be arrogant in our belief – as if we believe because we are smarter, wiser, better. The kingdom is a kingdom of grace and mercy. Paul reminds us to humbly preach and demonstrate the gospel of this kingdom to all nations, including the children of Israel.

FAQ: Difficult Passages Blog #1

Posted on: August 10th, 2017 by E-Free Lethbridge

FAQ: Difficult Passages
Part 1
1 Corinthians 15:20-34
Jeremy Light

Before I get to this passage, I want to say thank you and to commend you! We received more “difficult passages” questions than there are weeks in the summer. This means we won’t get to them all in our Sunday services. So, we will address the ones we miss through this blog. I want to commend you because I think that if we are reading the Bible carefully, we should always find things that challenge our understanding of God and the Scripture. Your response indicates that you are reading the Bible carefully and not glossing over those passages and verses that are difficult and challenging. This is good! Keep it up!

Ok, let’s get to the actual passage. The particular question was about 1 Corinthians 15:29 – “Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?”

To help us wrestle through these difficult passages, we’ve be using the CAPTOR acronym from Getting the Message by Dr. Daniel Doriani:
C – context
A – analysis
P – problem
T – themes
O – obligations
R – reflections

We’ve already identified the problem: what does Paul mean when he talks about receiving baptism for the dead? Is it something we should be practicing? To help us answer the question, we need to look at the context.

Context: Paul is writing to a group of Christians in Corinth. Paul founded the church during an eighteen month stay (recorded in Acts 18). From the time he left to the time he wrote the letter, their personal social interests have caused conflict and division. In his letter, Paul calls them to think like servants rather than pursuing their personal social agendas.

Analysis: In the letter, Paul addresses particular causes of division that have been reported to him. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul addresses the resurrection from the dead. Apparently some were preaching that there was no bodily resurrection from the dead.
Paul begins his counter argument by re-stating his gospel message: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” and appeared to many people (1 Corinthians 15:3-7). He argues that if Jesus rose bodily from death it doesn’t make sense to preach that there is no bodily resurrection from the dead: if there is no physical resurrection then Jesus did not rise from the dead and our faith is futile (15:17) and those who have died are lost (15:18). Paul is absolutely convinced that Jesus rose from the dead with a physical body and therefore those who put their faith in him will also experience a bodily resurrection.

Problem: Paul uses “baptism for the dead” to support his argument for a bodily resurrection: if there is no resurrection, it doesn’t make sense for people to be baptized for the dead.
There are a couple important principles to keep in mind:
1. As Pastor Ian has reminded us, the Bible is written for us, not to us. This means that while we may not understand what Paul is referring to here, we can presume that his original audience did.
2. We should understand a particular passage in light of the teaching of the whole Bible. In this case, baptism for the dead is not referred to anywhere else in the Bible. Further, there seems to be no historical reference to baptism for the dead up to the time Paul wrote this letter. If we were supposed to practice baptism for the dead, we should find more instructions in more places and references to it being practiced and affirmed in the early church. In fact, when Marcion (an early Christian) and his followers practiced baptism for the dead based on this passage and it was universally opposed by the other church fathers.
3. Paul regularly uses writings and practices from the culture to make his point. For example, the altar to the unknown god in Acts 17. It doesn’t mean that he condones the practice necessarily; he uses their practice to illustrated and support his point. In this case, we might paraphrase his argument this way: “It’s clear that even you don’t really believe that there is no bodily resurrection because you are being baptized on behalf of the dead. Why would you do that if you didn’t think they would rise again?”

Another problem is that it is not clear what Paul is referring to when he says baptism for the dead. Because there is no further biblical or historical reference to it, we are in the dark as to what he means. We assume that people were being baptized on behalf of those who died before they could be baptized. However, it is not clear. For example, it could refer to the Jewish practice of washing (baptizing) a corpse in preparation for burial, or something else entirely.

Themes: The theme of the passage is that the bodily resurrection of Jesus gives us confidence that those who have faith in Jesus will also experience bodily resurrection. This fits with the over-all message of the gospel: Jesus does not just save our souls but our whole person. Further, it fits with Paul’s argument that what we do with our body has eternal significance.

Obligations: We’re on pretty shaky ground if we conclude from this one verse that we should start practicing baptism on behalf of the dead. It is clear that Paul is using the practice (whatever it refers to) to support his argument for a bodily resurrection. It is not clear that Paul is condoning this practice.
What is clear is that the resurrection of Jesus gives us confidence that we will also experience a bodily resurrection which gives us confidence to pursue the mission of Jesus without fear. In verse 30, Paul says: “As for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I face death every day…” Paul’s confidence in facing death for the sake of Jesus’ mission comes from his confidence that he has been united by faith with Christ in his death and resurrection.
Are you living in a way that speaks to your confidence in a future bodily resurrection based on the resurrection of Jesus? Or are you living in fear? Jesus’ resurrection compels us to pursue Jesus’ mission without fear of death.
A further implication is that what we do with our bodies matters. Our future bodily resurrection has implications for our practices of sexuality, participating in the customs of our culture, and practices of exercise and nutrition. Our bodies are not of ultimate importance but, because those who have faith in Jesus will experience a bodily resurrection, what we do with our bodies is of eternal significance.

Reflections: The main point of the passage is that Jesus rose from the dead. The main call of the passage is to live a life that indicates our confidence in Jesus’ resurrection by pursuing Jesus’ mission with courage and confidence even in the face of rejection, ridicule, and death.

3 Current Conversations – Join In!

Posted on: July 26th, 2017 by Christy Jansma

There are currently three items under discussion by the Board for you to be aware of. We would appreciate hearing your thoughts on any of the following:

1. The “Missional” Conversation 

This is a conversation around the question of whether our historical view of missions is the same as the future view. How is God calling us to communicate His good news to our culture and the world today?

As a church we are committed to “making disciples of Jesus Christ”. However, making disciples cannot be lived out in isolation. It is inconceivable to make disciples who are not “on mission”. While in most of our experiences discipleship and missions are separate functions, we are challenging that assumption and exploring what it means for how we live and how we do church.

2. Governance Review

A committee will be established to audit our current practice of governance. Mark Orenstein has been tasked with forming the committee, including three members, with the aim of reporting back at the next Members Meeting on November 6. Questions and comments may be forwarded to Mark at mark@marksteven.ca; 403.929.0113.

3. Board Composition / Women in Leadership

At the May Members Meeting, the Board invited the church into conversation around the composition of the Board, including a notice of a future motion that would allow the Nominating Committee to bring forward the names of women qualified to serve.

There are two Town Hall Meetings planned for August 25 and September 28 (7 pm, Kids Zone Centre). These meetings are intended to provide more information and bring clarity the Board’s current position, as well as provide a forum for discussion.  Questions submitted to board@efreelethbridge.ca will form the basis of this meeting. The same information will be presented at both meetings, acknowledging that there will be slight differences based on the interaction of those in attendance.

 

Board Members for August 2017–July 2018

Rich Thiessen
Dwight Fritzler
Nick Korver
Ian Lawson
Dennis Lindskog
Mark Orenstein
Paul Pharo
Blaine Stodolka
Grant Walker

Treasurer: Sheila Friesen
Recording Secretary: Cindy Smith
Staff Liaison: Jeremy Light

7 Benefits of the Reformation

Posted on: June 23rd, 2017 by Christy Jansma

This year, 2017, marks the 500th birthday of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31st it will be the anniversary date when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg.

The door of the Castle Church where Luther nailed his 95 Theses.

Earlier this month I took a 10-day trip to Germany on “vacation with a purpose”. It was a Reformation tour to mark this anniversary year, walking in the steps of Martin Luther. From his birthplace at Eisleban, to his university and monastic days in Erfurt, to the town of Wittenberg where he lived and worked, we were bathed in 16th century history. The tour was organized by Regent College, with daily lectures from Dr. Iain Provan. The lectures were accompanied with walking tours and museums. I’ve been in enough museums to last for several years!

While I’ve studied the Reformation in the past, my trip to Germany caused me to reflect on the shadow cast over us by Martin Luther and the reformers. Many of the accomplishments of the 16th century we take for granted. But here are 7 benefits of the Reformation that come to my mind:

Discovering that Salvation is by Grace Alone through Faith Alone

The unbiblical practice of selling indulgences to the people was the tinderbox that set Luther’s heart on fire. He was offended by this money making scheme of the Church and chose to challenge it. Luther made this “discovery” when studying Romans: “the just will live by faith” (Rom 1:17).

Centrality of the Word of God

Luther determined that Scripture would take precedence over traditions of the church. In his disputes with the Pope and the officials at Rome he appealed directly to the Bible. In his dramatic statement to the Holy Roman Emperor at Worms in 1521, he declared: “My conscience is captive to the Word of God”.

An early copy of the German Bible translated by Luther while exiled in Warburg Castle. His translation became the basis for the German language, eventually uniting the German people with a common language.Our English Bible translations

Although he was not the first to do so, Luther translated the Bible into the German vernacular and it had a huge impact on the people. Until then one had to know Latin in order to read the Bible. The advent of Bible translation began because of the Reformation.

 

Primacy of Preaching

Luther and the Reformers replaced the altar with the pulpit, placing it in the center of their redesigned churches. This move indicated the central place of the Scripture in the reformed churches. Services were held in the vernacular, rather than the Latin as had been the practice for centuries.

Erfurt Cathedral

Place of Singing in Public Worship

Luther introduced congregational singing into his church order. He recognized the role of teaching as sound theology was put to music. As one who loved music, Luther penned dozen of hymns, of which the best known is “A Mighty Fortress is our God”.

 

Pastoral Independence

Seeing no biblical mandate for celibacy of the clergy, the Reformers were free to marry. This was a sign of reformation and independence from the Church of Rome. Luther advocated the right of congregations to select their own pastors.

Priesthood of All Believers

Luther saw the mediatory role of the priests as unbiblical. He saw Scripture teaching that believers have direct access to God. Each believer is a priest with immediate and unhindered access to the Father, without needing the service of a priest.

These are a few of the changes that came to us from Luther and the Reformers. Their foundational feature was a commitment to the Scripture. We are the benefactors of their insights and courage. What was my takeaway? Still today, we must be reforming (and always reforming) to bring the gospel truth to a new generation.

 

Pastor Ian

 

 

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By-Law Change and Women in Leadership

Posted on: June 15th, 2017 by Christy Jansma

The following two items are under discussion for further review following the May 29, 2017 Members Meeting. Please take time to review the materials below and forward any questions to the Board. Questions will be addressed at town hall meetings planned for late August and September 2017.

By-Law Change Related to Board Composition

 

Women In Leadership

 

June 11: Stephen’s Address

Posted on: June 5th, 2017 by Amy Vetter

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story is about the first Christian martyr, Stephen. Stephen was one of the seven men chosen to serve as leaders in the early church at Jerusalem. (See Acts 6:1-7.) God blessed Stephen, and God gave him power to do wonders and miracles like some of the apostles.

Some of the Jews accused Stephen of blasphemy and dragged him to the Sanhedrin, a group of Jewish leaders that acted as a legal council. Stephen addressed the group. He drew from the Old Testament, which the leaders in the Sanhedrin would have known well. He reminded them of Abraham’s faith in God and of Joseph’s plight in Egypt. He talked about Moses and the Israelites who rejected God’s plan. But God did not give up on them.

Stephen also showed how the Old Testament pointed to a coming Savior and how that Savior was Jesus. Stephen pointed out that the Jews’ ancestors had rejected God’s prophets. And they were just like their fathers; they rejected the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. Not only did they reject Jesus, they killed Him!

The Jewish leaders rushed at Stephen. The Holy Spirit filled Stephen, and he looked into heaven. He saw God’s glory, and Jesus was standing at God’s right hand. The Jews forced Stephen out of the city, and they stoned him. As he died, Stephen called out, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin!”

Stephen was killed because he was a Christian. Jesus told His followers that they would be persecuted—hated, hurt, or even killed—for loving Him. (Mark 13:9-13; John 16:2) Jesus also said that those who suffer for Him would be blessed. (Matthew 5:11) Stephen was not afraid to die because he saw Jesus waiting for him in heaven. We can face suffering in this life because we know great joy is waiting for us in heaven.

June 11 Big Picture Card

Be sure to check out the Family Journal Page to reinforce the lesson this week: June 11 Family Journal Page

June 4: Seven Men Were Chosen

Posted on: May 29th, 2017 by Amy Vetter

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to Jerusalem where the early church was booming with growth. There were two groups of Jews in the first church: Jews who spoke Greek and Jews who spoke Hebrew. The Greek-speaking Jews were from foreign countries, and the Hebrew-speaking Jews had been born in Israel. Tension existed between the two groups. The Greek-speaking Jews complained that their widows were not being cared for properly.

The Old Testament law was clear that God commanded His people to care for the orphans and widows. (See Ex. 22:22; Deut. 10:18.) The early church continued this Jewish custom, but the Greek-speaking Jews claimed their widows were not getting their share of the daily distributions.

The twelve apostles were quick to address the issue. They gathered all the believers together. The apostles explained that God had called them to preaching and teaching. They were not above handling problems among the people, but they wisely led the church to choose seven leaders to oversee such duties.

The church did not choose just anyone to serve; the men were reputable, full of the Spirit, and wise. The chosen seven were Stephen, Philip, Prochorus (PRAHK uh ruhs), Nicanor (nigh KAY nawr), Timon (TIGH mahn), Parmenas (PAHR mih nuhs), and Nicolaus (nik uh LAY uhs). Now the apostles were free to devote themselves to prayer and preaching, and the widows were properly cared for.

Everyone in the church has a role in God’s work. The apostles believed that everyone in the church had an important job to do to serve God’s people and help spread the gospel. The seven men who were chosen used their abilities to take care of others. Jesus wants us to serve others so that the message of His death and resurrection can be heard and believed all over the world.

June 4 Big Picture Card

June 4 Family Journal Page

May 28: The Church Met Needs

Posted on: May 22nd, 2017 by Amy Vetter

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next three weeks, kids will be learning about the early church. After the Holy Spirit came and the disciples began preaching the gospel, more and more people believed in Jesus. They met together and shared what they had like one big family. God blessed them, and the church grew. (See Acts 2.)

Peter and John were among Jesus’ first disciples. They were fishermen, and when Jesus called them, Peter and John immediately left their work and followed Him. (Matt. 4:18-22) Peter and John still followed Christ after His ascension. Though Jesus was no longer with them physically, the Holy Spirit empowered them to do God’s work.

One day, Peter and John encountered a man at the temple gate. The man was lame from birth, and he depended on the generosity of passersby. When the man looked at Peter and John, he likely hoped for or expected money. Gold or silver would have provided food or clothing, but Peter gave him something even more valuable. “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6) Peter reached out and helped the man to his feet. He was healed! Not by Peter’s power, but by the power of Jesus working through him.

After Jesus returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit gave the disciples power to keep working. Peter healed a man who was lame with the power of Jesus’ name. God was working in the early church. They lived very differently from the people around them. God gives the Holy Spirit to believers today so the church can tell others about Jesus and show them His love.

May 28 Family Journal Page

May 28 Big Picture Card

May 21: The Holy Spirit Came

Posted on: May 15th, 2017 by Amy Vetter

Dear Parents,

Today’s Bible story is found in Acts 2:1-42. We studied about the time when the Holy Spirit came to God’s people.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. Through the Holy Spirit, God reveals His will (John 16:13), helps believers tell others about Jesus, and helps them live holy lives. The Holy Spirit lives within those who trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. (John 14:17) Jesus told His disciples that God would send the Holy Spirit to teach them. (John 14:25-26)

Fifty days after Passover was another major Jewish festival called Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks. (See Ex. 34:22; Num. 28:26-31; Lev. 23:15-21.) All males had to appear at the temple for Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of the Tabernacle. Once again, Jerusalem would be packed with Jews from all over the Roman Empire.

The disciples were gathered together in one place. Suddenly, they heard a sound like a violent, rushing wind that came from heaven and filled the entire room. The Holy Spirit filled them and they were able to speak in foreign languages. They went out into the city and began to preach.

A crowd of Jews from all over the world was astonished. Weren’t the disciples Jews from Galilee? How were they able to speak in specific dialects? (See Acts 2:6-12.) Some people thought the disciples were drunk. The prophet Joel had prophesied that God would pour out His Spirit on all people, Peter said, “Then everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:14-21).

The Holy Spirit helped Peter teach about the Messiah: Jesus is the Messiah because Jesus was killed, but He is alive! (Acts 2:22-36) The Holy Spirit convicted the crowd and they asked, “Brothers, what must we do?” Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 2:37-38). That day, 3,000 people received salvation!

God kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit’s help, Jesus’ disciples could share the gospel with the entire world. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit gives us power to do God’s work, and He changes us to be more like Jesus.

May 21 Big Picture Card

Check out the Family Journal Page and use it during the week to reinforce learning: May 21 Family Journal Page