SESSION 1 – “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.

In this first session, I want to show you how Jesus prepared His disciples and followers for the personal Pentecost they were about to experience in Acts 2. I want you to see Jesus Christ’s love for them, and His great desire for them to catch a glimpse of what was to come.

Session 1 — John Chapters 14-17

14:15-16  Here is the equation He lovingly presents to them —

If you love Me, Jesus says,

You will obey Me

AND (“and” is in the original Greek, but not in my NAS Bible)

I will ask the Father AND

He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you FOREVER.

Connecting obedience with love, and that being the key to receiving the Holy Spirit means that the Holy Spirit is given to those who love and obey Jesus Christ (Acts 5:32). Obey Him in what way? In this context, if you obey the words He is now speaking and the words He will speak in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1 (Stay! Wait!).

Jesus considers it imperative and actually commands us to stay and wait. But it is because we cannot “be the church” unless we are filled. The Lord never asks us to be what we cannot possibly be, on our own. He becomes the way for us to do it. You will see it!

14:17 He tells us that this Helper is the Spirit of truth, and that this Spirit abides with them (as long as Jesus is with them, for He is filled with the Holy Spirit and is God in the flesh), and will be IN them. That had never happened before. The Spirit came upon the prophets in the Old Testament, but did not remain. He lifted and fell, according to when God wanted the prophet to prophesy. IN you! It is a new thing.

14:23  Jesus expands upon what “IN” means — He and the Father will make their permanent abode (dwelling place, home) in you!

14:26 This Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send, will provide you with Jesus’ character (His name). And this Holy Spirit will teach you ALL things! And for the disciples, this Holy Spirit will remind them of all Jesus said, so they are able to write the gospel accounts.

15:4  Jesus has said the Father and He will make their permanent abode in you. In order to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which will lead to the salvation of many, you must abide in Him and He must abide in you, by being filled with the Holy Spirit.

15:12 To love Jesus just as Jesus loves us! How can that be? When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are filled with God’s actual love. Then you are able to love selflessly, your self-centeredness disappears, and you are always looking outward, and not curled inward upon yourself.

15:26 When the Father sends the Helper, the Holy Spirit, you will be able to testify of what you have seen and heard (Acts 4:20). You will continually testify! You cannot help but testify! The disciples will do it because they were with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry on earth. You will do it when you are filled with His Holy Spirit.

16:7 It is to your advantage that Jesus goes away. If He doesn’t, the Holy Spirit will not come. If Jesus goes, the Holy Spirit will come.

16: 8-11 The Holy Spirit will convict the world regarding sin, righteousness and judgment. Sin, because Jesus had to come to carry your sin on a cross, righteousness because God the Father sent His Son Jesus for that purpose (John 3:16), and judgment because those who refuse God’s gift of His Son will perish rather than receive eternal life (starting her and now) when they believe in Jesus. When you speak, you will be used by Him to speak such things. Look at Peter’s first two sermons in the Book of Acts, starting in 2:14 and again in 3:11). He speaks boldly about sin, righteousness and judgment, in the power of the Holy Spirit who has filled Him.

16:13 The Holy Spirit will teach you ALL the truth (my NASB says “guide you,” but that means “teach” in the original Greek). ALL the truth! He will not speak on His own, but He will tell you what He hears (from the Father and the Son). And He will let you know what is coming in the future, as you will see Christians do, when you look at the Book of Acts.

16:14 ALL the truth. From where? From Jesus. He will take what Jesus knows and tell it to you.

16:15 What does Jesus know? All that the Father knows! The Holy Spirit will teach you ALL the truth — everything Jesus and the Father know. That would be impossible for you to comprehend in one bite, but after you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the Bible will be understandable, and the Holy Spirit will continue to teach you for your whole life. What He teaches will be valuable for you, and will help you become more and more like Jesus. And what He teaches is meant to be shared, so other Christians and unbelievers may know Him as you do.

John 17:21 The purpose is that the world may believe that the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ. In order to do that, you  must be of the same nature as Jesus and the Father, that you be a partaker of the divine nature (character), as Peter describes in 2Peter 1:4, and that your sin nature be crucified (Galatians 5:24, 1Peter 2:24)! No more wrestling with disobedience to God! You will be set free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36)! Then the world may believe that the Father sent Jesus.

John 17:23 A second evidence that will make the world believe is this: Because of this perfection/completeness of unity of nature with God the Father and God the Son, worked by being filled with the Holy Spirit, it will be evident that God the Father loves us with the very same love with which He loves His Son.

John 17:26 And that love, that divine love that you weren’t born with, will be IN you because Jesus Christ is IN you, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit!

When we look at Luke 24:49 and Acts 1 next time, you will see the outworking of these promises. And you will understand, knowing what Jesus told them in John 14 through 17, why they were very glad to stay and wait!