ON FIRE 8 / HOLY BOLDNESS

BIBLE READING

Acts 2: 14-24; 32-41

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

‘“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

‘Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

‘“The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’”

‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’

Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’  Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

REFLECTION

What an incredible transformation has occurred in Peter's life.  Just weeks prior to this he denied even knowing Jesus to a servant girl.  Now he stands up in the middle of Jerusalem and preaches powerfully about the life, death and resurrection of the Christ.  You'd hardly believe it was the same man.  

In a sense it isn't.  You see, Peter has undergone a complete transformation through his encounter with the Holy Spirit.  As Paul would later tell Timothy: "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." (2 Tim 1: 7)  The Spirit is not intended to make us obnoxious Christians who constantly point out others faults and failings.  Rather, He empowers us to live boldly for Jesus in a hostile world, to speak up for truth and justice, and to love compassionately those whom society considers unlovable.  

Paul preaches in the power of the Holy Spirit - and look at the result: 3000 were added to the church.  How we need more preachers anointed by God's Spirit today!  We need more believers on fire with the Spirits power.  The good news is this - as Peter says: "The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call." (v. 39)  This includes you and me.  

The same power that emboldened Peter is available right now for you if you are feeling afraid, timid or insecure.  Ask Him to fill you with all that He has and all that He is!