SESSION 4 — “Being the Church,” A Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video. The Session 4 video will be available on 5/31/17.

Session 4 — Acts 2:1-13

Now it was time to receive the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4)! Now it was time to be given pure hearts (Acts 15:9)! Now it was time to become Christ’s witnesses (Acts 1:8)! Now it was time to receive power from on high (Luke 24:49)! Now it was time to receive the same nature/character as Christ (2Peter 1:4) and be set free from sin and lust (John 8:31-36, 2Peter 1:4)! Now it was time to start “Being the Church!”

Verse 1 — It was a particular day, a moment in time. The original Greek says the day of Pentecost “was fulfilled.” The Feast of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of First Fruits (see Romans 8:23), had been observed since the Book of Exodus, in Chapter 23:16. But this Feast was a shadow of what was about to happen ! During the Feast, leavened bread was included in the offering, which was highly unusual. It spoke of the ingathering of Gentiles (non-Jews) into the kingdom of God — salvation, their sins forgiven, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

It was called Pentecost because it was observed 50 days after Passover. Remember that Jesus was crucified at Passover, rose on the third day after His crucifixion and was seen by more than 500 witnesses over 40 days, then ascended. And 10 days later (“not many days from now, per Jesus in Acts 1:5), Pentecost arrived.

Verse 2 — Suddenly! There was a great noise like a rushing wind. A noise, not wind itself. The words for “Holy Spirit” in Hebrew and Greek are —

(Qodesh Ruach) — Holy breath, wind

(Hagios Pneuma) — Holy breath, breeze, spirit

And so this was the Spirit, and He filled the house, including the upper room.

Verse 3 — And they saw tongues of fire distributing themselves, and they sat on each one. Thus, they were baptized by Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit and fire, per John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11!

Verse 4 — And they were all filled (imbued, permeated, saturated) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . use the links to the right on this blog page, with special instructions as you hover over each link! Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

Session 4 — Acts 2:1-13

I need to pause periodically as we go through this series of verses, to explain tongues. They are so very controversial in the church today! Many attribute tongues to being “of the devil,” but how can that be, since the HOLY SPIRIT enabled the 120 to speak in tongues? Certainly, the devil mimics, but we should be able to discern whether someone is filled with the Spirit or not, by their fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Everyone who was baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire and permeated and saturated with the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues.

What were they?

Verse 5 — God the Father wanted to reach people of every nation and tongue, and hundreds of thousands of Jews from all over the known world were in Jerusalem for Pentecost, a feast they were required to attend.

Verses 6-8 — They heard the sound that was like rushing wind, and came to the house from which it emanated. And these men from far-flung countries heard the 120 speaking, each in his own language. They were bewildered — how could this be? Aren’t these all Galileans? How do they know our language? They were amazed and astonished!

That is one form of tongues. There are also the tongues of men and angels (1Corinthians 13:1), but the love of God, shed abroad in our hearts when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, is the power in which tongues are to be spoken. Otherwise, we are sounding gongs and clanging cymbals.

These tongues of angels are a gift of the Spirit (1Corinthians 12:10), one by which we speak to God (1Corinthians 14:2). So, they are given as a gift, and are from God. They are not in our native language, but in a heavenly one (again, 1Corinthians 13:1). We may speak to ourselves in them (1Corinthians 14:28). We may speak in the church if there is an interpretation, a gift that often accompanies tongues (1Corinthians 14:27). Interpretations are a form of prophecy, usually interpreted by the one speaking in them (1Corinthians 14:5).

Why does Paul speak so much of the gifts and especially, tongues? The Corinthians were not walking in love, as Paul points out over and over. Their hearts had not yet been purified (Acts 15:9), and they had not yet become partakers of the divine nature (again, 2Peter 1:4). So they were using gifts without being empowered and purified and filled with God’s actual love. That is a misuse of the gifts, and has been responsible for much concern and misinterpretation by those who are outside, looking in (1Corinthians 14:23).

Believers can have spiritual gifts before they are filled, as we see with the church at Corinth. They received a measure of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22) when they were saved. So they are spiritual, to a degree. But they are not permeated and filled with the Holy Spirit until they are baptized in the Holy Spirit, after they have been saved. It is then that God’s love and the purification and saturation of the Holy Spirit happen, and then the gifts are operated as they ought to be — their purpose is for the common good of the church (1Corinthians 12:7). And that includes tongues and interpretation of tongues!

Paul thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than all of the Corinthians, but in the church, would rather speak five words in an understandable language so to instruct, rather than 10,000 words in a tongue with no interpretation, per 1Corinthians 14:18-19. And not everyone speaks with tongues (1Corinthians 12:30).

Now, back to Acts 2!

Verses 9-10 — The vast array of countries are noted.

Verse 11 — What were the 120 speaking? These Galileans spoke in languages they did not know, glorifying God, speaking of His mighty deeds. Tongues must always glorify God!

Verse 12 — The onlookers continued in a state of perplexity — how could this be?

Verse 13 — But others mocked, saying “They are full of sweet wine.” But Peter says, in Acts 2:15 that they were not drunk, for it was only 9 a.m.!

But they must have appeared to be drunk. I don’t mean they stumbled around and slurred their words, but they were HAPPY! They were filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)!

For the kingdom of God is not about laws of what to eat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

So they were filled with the Spirit, filled with God’s joy, unspeakable, indescribable joy! Paul writes, “May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so you may about in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!” (see Romans 15:13).

Now I must speak of the sweet wine. It is new wine, and highly intoxicating. And it reminds me that Jesus changed ceremonial cleansing water into the same thing — sweet, highly intoxicating wine! That’s why I see the water-to-wine miracle as prophetic of the coming of the fulfillment of Pentecost!

We’ll continue on, and get our first view of the change in Peter and the rest, since they experienced their own personal Pentecost! The church was LAUNCHED!


[SW284] 05/26/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

“Jesus, the Spring of Salvation”

Text: John 7:27-52

The Spring of Salvation, Jesus Christ, is the source of living water! If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Jesus and drink! Jesus wants to meet your need, and He is knocking (Revelation 3:20)!

In my notes, I give you details and background, but in the video message, I will focus on John 7:37-39. You will hear what the Lord has given me to say to you, about these facts. So please click on the link to the right of the screen on my blog, and watch and listen.

A little background —

Attendance is required at the Feast of Tabernacles. It is an autumn celebration of the harvest and a remembrance of how God provided for them in the wilderness. I see great spiritual significance, because Jesus Christ came and tabernacled among the Jews (John 1:14), and because His promise and command is that we be filled with His Spirit and thereby become tabernacles for Him (John 14:23)!

NOTE: In Verse 7, when Jesus said, “I do not go up,” to the Feast, He means He does not go up at that moment. Ever obedient, He attended all required feasts.

NOTE: In Verse 19, He told the Jewish leaders that He knows they seek to kill Him. He already knew what they planned, from before time began. It was all according to His Father’s plan for our salvation! And He told them that they did not do the Law given to them by God through Moses. They did the letter only, blind guides who strained out gnats and swallowed camels, hypocrites, and lawless (Matthew 23:24, 28)! May it not be so today, in His church!

Now, to the text for today —

Verses 27-28 — Some in the feast’s vast crowd said they didn’t know where He was from, not did they know when the Christ was from, nor when He would come. So Jesus cried out (spoke loudly) in the Temple, teaching and saying:

“You both know Me and know where I am from.” He has shown them who He is by the miracles He has worked, and He has told them who He is, many times!

[In John 5:33-39, He speaks of the witness of John the Baptist, of the works Jesus has done, of the Father, and of the Scripture!]

Do you know Him? Do you have a 24/7 conversation going on with God the Father and God the Son through God the Holy Spirit?

Then He said He had not come of Himself (on His own initiative), but He who sent Him is true (“not concealing”).The Father had not concealed His Son, but had revealed Him.

But He told them they do not know the One who sent Him. Why did He say that? Because if they knew the Father, they would recognize His Son.

Verse 29 — Those whom He was teaching did not know Him, but Jesus knew Him, because He was from Him, and He (the Father) sent Him. (See many scriptures, both in John and in Matthew, Mark and Luke!)

Verse 30 — Because of Jesus’ words in Verse 29, the Jews sought to seize (arrest) Him. We will see their plan unfold shortly.

Why did they want to seize Him? They considered Him to be blaspheming, saying He came from God, thus making Himself equal to Him (see John 5:18). It was a sin worthy of death.

But they could not seize Him because His hour had not come. It was not yet time for His capture and crucifixion.

Before time began, the Father had ordained a specific day, Passover, the feast of remembrance of their time in their Egyptian captivity when the lamb’s blood protected the Jews from death, so death passed over them. In the same way, Jesus’ blood makes death pass over us, for we are given eternal life when we believe in Him. PRAISE BREAK!

Verses 31-32 — Many in the vast crowd believed in Him, that He was the Christ, and pointed out the signs He has done.

When the Pharisees heard what they were saying, the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. Now was their opportunity to put forth their plan! But we will see that they do not seize Him.

Verse 33-36 — He told the Jews that He was with them just a little while longer, and then He would go to Him who sent Him. They will seek Him and will not find Him. Where He was going, they could not come. No one can, unless they believe that Jesus is the Christ of God! The Jews were unable to comprehend or explain His words and murmured among themselves.

Verse 37 — This was the ritual on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles:

The celebration included a daily procession of priests from the temple to the Pool of Siloam, from which they drew water that was poured out as a libation at the altar.

[NOTE: The water could not be drawn from within the Temple, for there was no water in the Temple. This is spiritually significant, because the water God offers is from Him, and not something made by men.]

This pouring out of water on the altar was accompanied by the recital of Isaiah 12:3: “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”  On the seventh day, the Great Day, called Hoshanah Rabbah, the priests would shout seven times, “Hosheanah!” (“Save now!”).

[NOTE: I believe this was the “last day, the great day” that John refers to in this passage.]

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation!” But “wells” is a poor translation. The Hebrew word used by Isaiah in that passage means spring, fountain. And the Hebrew word for “salvation” is Yeshua, (in the Greek, “Jesus”).

So in rejecting Jesus Christ, the Jews rejected the One of whom Isaiah spoke by the Holy Spirit, whose prophecy they blindly recited. Standing before them was Jesus, the Spring of Salvation, their Yeshua! But they refused to see Him (Isaiah 6:10, Matthew 13:15).

And so Jesus stood up and cried out. It was with a voice loud enough for the multitude to hear. What did He say?

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!” It is a prolonged form of that word — drink and drink and drink! I am your Spring of Salvation! Come and draw water from Me, with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)!


Oh, there are no words that can fully describe this joy! And full of His glory, when you drink fully of Him, when you are filled with His Spirit!

Verse 38 — Not only will Jesus fill you, but He says, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said (that is, Isaiah 12:3), from his innermost being will flow rivers (rushing, flood-stage rivers that overflow their banks) of LIVING water!”

The Lord also says through Isaiah —

Isaiah 44:3 “For I will pour out water on the thirsty land

And streams on the dry ground;

I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring

And My blessing on your descendants;

Verse 39 — This He spoke of the Spirit whom those who believed in Him were to receive, but not until Jesus was glorified and the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. Then believers would have His living water in them, overflowing to everyone around them!


Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Has He filled you with His living water? Oh, ask your Father in heaven, and He will do it (Luke 11:13)!

I must continue in my sermon notes, because it is important for you see the utter rejection of Jesus from the leaders and some of the crowd. Jesus Christ and His followers are utterly rejected today, beloved (John 15:18 and forward).

Verses 40-44 — There was conflict among the crowd. Some in the crowd wanted to seize Jesus.

Verses 44-46 — The officers sent by the chief priests and Pharisees returned to them empty-handed.

What? Why did you not bring Him?

The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.”

He does not speak like the scribes (lawyers who know the Law of Moses), but as One having authority (Matthew 7:29).

Verses 47-49 — The Pharisees accused the officers of being led astray by Jesus, and said that not one of the rulers or the Pharisees has believed in Him. Then they called the crowd “accursed.” That is, they called down curses upon the crowd.

Verses 50-51 — Nicodemus reminded them of the law regarding judgment without hearing the testimony of the accused and knowing (having proof of) what led to the accusation.

Verse 52 — They accused Nicodemus of being from Galilee, where they assumed Jesus was from, though He was born in Bethlehem, just according to the Scripture (see Micah 5:5). Galilee was a place where both Gentiles and Jews lived, and was scorned by the religious Jews. They claimed that no prophet ever arose out of Galilee. But they had forgotten about Nahum and Jonah, who were both from Galilee! They did not know the Word of God, nor the God of the Word!

Do you know the Word of God? More importantly, do you know the God of the Word?

Do you remember when you saw your need for salvation and your lack of it? Will you also see your need for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and your lack of Him, O church?

The Lord speaks to you, through Paul’s exhortation to the Christians at Corinth!

2Corinthians 13:5   Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test?

Jesus is here today, right now, to meet your need. But you must see your lack!

SESSION 3 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video. The Session 3 video will be available on 5/24/17.

Session 3 — Acts 1:9-26

We now look at a more detailed description of Jesus’ ascension (see Luke 24:50-51 for Luke’s first account).

Verse 9 — Jesus was lifted up while the Apostles looked on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

I need to talk with you about the cloud! It was not a fluffy white cumulus cloud, like we see on a sunny day! No, no! It was a glory cloud, a cloud that was luminous, the same kind of cloud that enveloped Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. This is referred to by theologians and Jews as the Shekinah cloud (though the word does not appear in the Bible), the same cloud that hovered above the tabernacle in the wilderness as a visible sign of the glory of God that dwelled within the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34).

Verses 10-11 — As they were gazing intently into the glory cloud, two “men” — in white clothing — angels — stood by them. They asked why they were gazing upward. They told the Apostles that Jesus was now received into heaven. And they said He will come in exactly the same way they have watched Him go (see His return described in 1Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Verse 12-13 — They returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, to wait, as Jesus had commanded. The Eleven Apostles went back to the upper room where they had been staying. But they weren’t by themselves. Many more waited with them!

Verse 14 — Those in the room were all with one mind — all were focused completely on waiting, as they had been ordered to do, and continually prayed!

The women who had traveled with them and supported their ministry were there, and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Women! See Joel 2:28, for that was fulfilled in Acts 2! Jesus’ half-brothers had come to faith, though they had not believed him at first (see John 7:5). Now they had seen Him! About 120 were there, including Peter.

Verse 14b-15 — Peter stood up and obeyed an instruction given to him by Jesus when He taught them and opened their minds to the scriptures (Luke 24:45). Jesus had to do that with me, too. Let me explain.

When I was sick with MS, my pastor prescribed scriptures for me to study. Though I was not filled with the Holy Spirit, He opened my mind to the ones that would show me that Jesus was my Healer, and all the rest that I needed to believe and know in order to be healed of the incurable disease called MS.

So, Jesus had instructed them for 40 days, and opened their minds so they could understand what they needed to understand, prior to being filled with the Spirit at Pentecost.

Verse 16 — There needed to be 12 eyewitnesses who had been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry. Judas had betrayed Jesus and led his accusers to Him, just as was written prophetically by David in Psalm 41:9 —

Psalms 41:9  Even my close friend in whom I trusted,

Who ate my bread,

Has lifted up his heel against me.

David’s prophecy, which the Holy Spirit foretold by David’s mouth,  had been fulfilled when Judas betrayed Jesus.

What? David was a prophet? See Matthew 22:42-45, Mark 12:35. When David was “in the Spirit” meant He was receiving a vision/prophecy. Also look at David’s Psalm 22, a particularly powerful vision of Christ on the cross!

Verse 17 — Judas had stolen from the moneybag (see John 12:6), so indeed, he had taken his share!

So Peter was able to speak these things because Jesus had instructed Him before He ascended into heaven. His mind had been opened to understand scriptures that prophesied the Christ.

Verses 18-19 — Judas’ end is described, and the detail is in Matthew 27:3-10. Ultimately, after he hung himself, and his body had been on the tree for a while, it fell to the ground and split open. The place where he hung himself became the Potter’s Field, bought with the thirty pieces of silver Judas threw back at the priests. It was “the price of blood.” And so it was called the Field of Blood — Hakeldama being the Aramaic word.

Verse 20 — Now Peter speaks two more scriptures that Jesus taught him —

Psalms 69:25  May their camp be desolate;

May none dwell in their tents.

Psalms 109:8  Let his days be few;

Let another take his office.

Verse 21-22 — Therefore, because these things were prophesied, Judas betrayed Jesus, and died. Now Peter and the rest must appoint someone who had gone in and out with them and Jesus, continuously, even from the moment John the Baptist baptized Jesus to the moment they saw Him resurrected.ß An eyewitness must be chosen.

Verse 23 — Two were put forward — Barsabbas (also called Justus), and Matthias. But which one should they choose?

Verse 24-25 — They needed the Lord’s guidance, so they prayed. Lord, you know the hearts of all men. Show us which one we should choose, to be placed in this ministry and apostleship that Judas turned from, to go to his own place?

Even Jesus said there was a “son of perdition” in John 17:12. Judas had a choice — he had free will. But God the Father already knew Judas would betray His Son, and so did Jesus Himself.

Verse 26 — So, as others had done in the Old Testament, they drew lots. This was not to gamble, but they prayed that the Lord would show them who they should select. It is rather like taking different lengths of sticks, holding them in your fist so the lengths can’t be determined, and asking both men to draw, the longer stick being God’s choice.

From this verse onward, a lot was never cast to determine God’s will. As of the Day of Pentecost, when each one had a personal baptism/infilling with the Holy Spirit, they had the Father and the Son in them (see John 14:23), and were partakers of the divine nature (2Peter 1:4), they had the mind of Christ (1Corinthians 2:16), and were seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6)! Hallelujah! Stay tuned! we’re about to witness Pentecost!


[SW283] 05/19/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

“Jesus, the Bread of Life”

Text: John 6:26-71

Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life! If you partake of the eternal One and take Him in, you have eternal life WITHIN you, here and now, and eternal life WITH Him, when your body dies!

The Lord asked me to simply speak His words in this lengthy passage, and expand upon just a few verses.

Verses 26-27 — The people seek Him for natural bread, so their stomachs can be filled.

But He says, do not work (seek Me) for natural food, which perishes.

Isaiah 55:2  “Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And delight yourself in abundance.”

Come to me for the food I will GIVE you, food that endures forever.

It is a gift. Do you seek Jesus for blessings in earthly things, or do you seek Him to know Him and partake of Him?

Verses 28-29 — The people think they please God and get to heaven by doing good works. But Jesus corrects them. Good works cannot get you to heaven. What is the work of God? To believe in Jesus Christ. That is the only “work” that will give you eternal life. It is only by believing in Him that you are reconciled to God so you are no longer under His wrath (see John 3:36).

Verses 30-34 — The people, who were just fed from five loaves and two fish, seek a sign. They want manna out of heaven. Jesus corrects them. The manna was a type, a FORESHADOWING of Him coming out of heaven to give them the TRUE bread out of heaven — Jesus Christ! He is the bread of God that gives life to the world, eternal life, life as God has it, when you believe Jesus is who He says He is.

The people do not understand. They want His bread always, the kind He gave them on the other side of the sea. It is like the woman at the well (see John 4:15). Jesus says they do not believe, in the next verses.

Verses 35-36  — I AM! Again, ego eimi! I am the I AM (Exodus 3:14)! I always have been and always will be! I am the Bread of Life! If you come to me, you will not hunger or thirst (see John 4:14).

But He said to them, “You do not believe,” even though they have seen Him. And believing in Him is the work of God, the only work they can do to receive eternal life.

Verse 37 — All that the Father gives Me . . . does that mean we have no choice? No, it means that the Father draws and then we must believe. That is OUR work, as Jesus has just told us.

He will certainly not cast out those who come to Him. Hallelujah! But does that mean we can continue to sin against God, as long as we have said we believe in Jesus? May it never be (see Romans 6:1-2)!

Verse 38 — He came down from heaven to do the will of the One who sent Him — that is, His Father. He is the One prophesied of in Psalm 40:6-8, and we are, too, when we are filled with His Spirit. PRAISE BREAK!

Verse 39 — And the will of the Father is that Jesus will lose none of all the Father has given Him, and will raise it up at the last day. But if we continue to willfully disobey God, we are none of His, beloved.

Verse 40 — This is the will of the Father, that everyone who beholds Jesus (intensively acknowledges Him and experiences Him) and believes in Him will have eternal life, and Jesus Himself will raise them up.

Does that mean we sleep in our graves? No! Spiritually, to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord (2Corinthians 5:8). But He will later raise up our bodies, into spiritual bodies (1Corinthians 15:42-44).

Verses 41-45 — Now Jesus is in the synagogue at Capernaum (see v. 59). He chides the Jews there, for they say they know Him in the natural, they know His father and mother. How can He say He came down from heaven? They grumble. He says, STOP! You cannot come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws you. If you have heard (heeded) and learned from the Father through the scriptures you study, you will come to Me.

Verses 46-48 — I have seen the Father; you have not. He who believes has eternal life. He tells the Jews in the synagogue that He is the Bread of Life.

Verses 49-50 — He says the manna was a type. Those who ate the manna from heaven in the desert died of old age. Those who eat of the Bread of Life will never die. Our bodies, the temporary tents we live in, will fall away, but we have His eternal life in us (see 2Peter 1:13).

Verses 51-52 — The manna was not living Bread. It was not bread that when you ate it, you received eternal life. Jesus says, I give My flesh as living Bread, so the whole world may eat of Me.

Jesus does this to test the Jews. They are offended, since it is against the Law of Moses to eat human flesh. How dare He say such a thing! They do not understand His words from a spiritual viewpoint, just as with Nicodemus in John 3.

Verses 53-56 — Jesus continues to test them. You must eat My flesh and drink My blood to have life in yourselves. He means that you must partake of Him. If you do, you have eternal life, and He will raise you up on the last day (just as He told the people in v. 40). This would further repulse them. It is against Mosaic Law to drink blood! They do not understand His words.

He continues. My flesh is TRUE food and My blood is TRUE drink (compared to the manna and water from the rock in the wilderness)! Those were just a foreshadowing! If you eat and drink Me, if you partake of Me, if you take Me into yourself, then you live in Me and I live in you (see John 15:4). That is TRUE food and drink — that which yields eternal life!

Verses 57-59 — The living Father sent Me, I live because of the Father (He will raise Me up!), and so will you, if you eat Me, take Me in, receive Me into your innermost being, into your spirit. The manna came out of heaven, and the fathers (your ancestors) died. If you eat Me, you will live forever. This He said in the synagogue at Capernaum.

Verses 60-63 — Many of His disciples call His words, “too difficult.” They are too hard, too severe! They cannot hear and spiritually comprehend, just as Nicodemus could not (see John 3:10).  His statement about eating His flesh and drinking His blood offends them. How can we eat You? So they grumble among themselves, but Jesus knows they are grumbling. Grumbling (words of unbelief) indicates stumbling — that is, sin.

He asks them what they will do when they see Him ascend back to heaven from where He came. He says they do not understand that His words are spirit, they are spiritually discerned. He says the Spirit, when He comes into us, gives life. The Spirit is the means by which eternal life enters you.

He tells them that the Spirit whom I will give is the One who gives eternal life. There is nothing you can do in the flesh in order to obtain eternal life. That is why He says, “The flesh profits nothing.” No good works, which are done in “the flesh,” will give you eternal life. The words which I have spoken, He says, are spirit. They are spiritual. Your spiritual good work is to believe in the One whom the Father sent (again, v. 29).

Verses 64-65 — Jesus says, I know which of you do not believe. And I know who will betray Me. It is as I have said. No one can come to Me unless God has GIVEN them the ability, by understanding these truths that the Spirit reveals. It is a gift from God.

Verses 66-69 — Many fail the test and no longer follow Him. But the Twelve do. He says, “Will you go away also?” Again, a test.

And here is a glorious truth! Simon Peter says, “To whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” They know and believe, so they do not go away, they are not offended by His Words. It is by the Father that Peter is given the revelation —

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”

Verses 70-71 — Jesus answers them . . . I chose you, even the one of you who is a devil. This was Judas Iscariot, who would betray Him. He knew from the beginning. He has always known.

And He knows hearts. He has always known.

What are you seeking?

Who are you seeking?

Why are you seeking? He knows, and your motive will betray you, if it is not Him that you are seeking, and if your belief is only a mental assent, agreeing with what you read in the Bible and hear from the pulpit.

I pray that through His words in this passage, you will put away your unbelief and believe, take Him into yourself, and have eternal life WITHIN you, here and now, and eternal life WITH Him, when your body dies.

SESSION 2 — “BEING THE CHURCH,” A Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video. Session 2 will be up on both Vimeo and Youtube on 5/17/17.

Session 2 — Acts 1:1-8

Last time, we talked about how Jesus — out of love and necessity — briefed the disciples on who the Holy Spirit is, and what He would do in and through them. With that background, we begin the Book of Acts.

Verse 1 — The Book of Acts was written by Luke, as a continuation of the Book of Luke.

How do I know that? The Book of Acts is addressed to Theophilus (“lover of God”), as was the Book of Luke (Luke 1:3). And Luke mentioned “the first account,” which was the Book of Luke, in which he wrote about all Jesus did and taught prior to His crucifixion, and wrote of His resurrection.

Verse 2 — He “did and taught”  until He was taken up (to heaven). His ascension is detailed in Acts 1:7-10, which we’ll look at next time.

Heaven is up, as He spoke in Matthew 26:64 when He was being interrogated, and He looked up when He was healing the deaf man (Mark 7:33-34).

And now ascended, He is at the right hand of the Father (where He began, per His prayer in John 17:5, and Stephen’s vision in Acts 7:56, among other references).

Now, He gave orders (charges, commands) by His Holy Spirit, even as He stood before them and walked with them after His resurrection. He gave these orders to His apostles — the Twelve. Luke emphasizes that Jesus chose them (just as He chooses you and me).

What did He command them? We will see in the upcoming verses. Why did He order them? Because unless they obeyed, the church could not be formed!

Verse 3 — He presented Himself alive to them. 1Corinthians 15:5-7 records that over 500 were eyewitnesses that He was alive after His suffering (His crucifixion). He offered many proofs to them, recorded in the gospel accounts. He was with them for 40 days, and spoke about the kingdom of God. Why the kingdom? They would be the kingdom’s ambassadors, when they became the church, at Pentecost.

Verse 4 — He gathered His apostles together, and again Luke emphasizes that He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem. His command? Wait until they received what the Father had promises, “which,” He said, “you heard of from Me . . .”

Luke records this command in Luke 24:49 — stay in the city. For how long? Until you are clothed with power (Greek dunamis, God’s miracle-working power) from on high.

But the apostles had been given authority in Matthew 10:10 to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. What was this power they would receive?

Look at the Father’s promise, in Ezekiel 36 —

Ezekiel 36:25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

And in Jeremiah —

Jeremiah 31:31   “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

The promise of the Father was a new heart and His Spirit literally within them, just as Jesus promised in John 14:23! It was to put God’s actual love in their hearts, just as Jesus prayed in John 17:26! Then they would operate in God’s power, having been drastically changed, inwardly! It was to be a NEW kind of power, over the sin nature, that they had not yet experienced.

They would no longer require Jesus’ authority (Matthew 10:1) to do His work — He would be IN them, in all His power!

Verse 5 — And how would they receive this power? Jesus says John baptized with water, but promised the apostles they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit, “not many days from now.”

John the Baptist spoke of this baptism, with the Holy Spirit and fire (see Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16). It was not a water baptism, but a fire baptism!

Verse 6 — As they were gathered together, they asked if at this time, He was restoring the kingdom to Israel. Their question revealed that they did not understand yet. God’s kingdom was not an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly one. They thought Jesus would sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem, restoring the Davidic order and judging righteously. And they would be part of His court. In Matthew 20:20, James and John asked their mother to ask Jesus if they could sit on His right and left as He sat on His throne! They still didn’t realize that theirs would be a spiritual conquest over the powers of darkness that pervaded the world! But if they did as He ordered, they would understand!

Their hearts still had selfish motives — for them, it was, “What’s in it for me? Can I occupy an important place in Your earthly kingdom, Jesus?”

Verse 7 — He reproves them. You aren’t to know the time when the Father has established by His own authority. It’s not for you to know. They do not yet understand that they were to go in and possess the land, as an occupying army, until that time! See Deuteronomy 2:31!

Verse 8 — So, Jesus said, stop thinking that way! Here’s what I want you to focus on — receiving power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you (when He has supervened, arrived, come in, in the original Greek)! THEN “you shall be My witnesses.” Where? Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the remotest part of the earth! He commanded them to stay and wait until they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and the power of God would come into them. No longer would authority be necessary. God would be literally within them, giving them new hearts, and working through them!

Next time, we’ll talk about His ascension, and the wait in the Upper Room!