Power. We think of strength or authority in our daily situations. A baseball hitter is known to have power when he hits lots of home runs. The President certainly has power as a ruler of a country. A boss has power over employees.
What does “power” mean in the context of Acts 1:8 (But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.)? Practically speaking, what power does the Spirit give me?
- The power over sin, the flesh, and Satan.
- The power of the Spirit bears fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.).
- The power of identity: I am God’s adopted child, righteous in His sight.
- The power to witness to God’s love and truth.
That’s a lot of power! Let’s claim it and use it!
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: [#1] that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that [#2] he was buried, [#3] that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and [#4]that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. 6 Then [#5] he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then [#6] he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, [#7] he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But [#8] by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so [#9] we preach and so you believed.
“No sooner had Jesus come up out of the water than He saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on Him. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my son, the beloved; my favor rests on you.'”
The Beloved. Here we learn that title belongs to Jesus. But through the rest of the love story called the gospel we learn it belongs to us too.
It’s certainly not easy to hear that voice today in a world filled with voices that shout: “You are no good. You are ugly, worthless, despicable. You are a nobody–unless you can prove otherwise.”
These negative voices are so loud and persistent that it is easy to believe them. That’s the great trap of self-rejection.
I am surprised at how quickly I give in to the temptation of self-rejection. As soon as someone criticizes me or I feel rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking: “That proves once again that no one loves me, that I am a nobody.” Instead of taking a critical look at my circumstances or my limitations or others’ limitations, I blame myself–not just for what I did, but for who I am. My dark side says, “I am no good…I deserve to be pushed aside, rejected, and abandoned.”
Now others lean toward arrogance which is just the other side of self-rejection. Arrogance is putting yourself on a pedestal to avoid being seen as you see yourself or letting others see you as you really are. Arrogance is just another way of dealing with self-rejection. Whether I am inflated or deflated, I lose touch with the truth and distort my vision of reality.
4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
Daniel’s opponents scrutinized him to find faults. They couldn’t find any so they basically made up some.
If someone examined my life (your life), would my (your) actions match my (your) convictions? Would I (you) be found blameless and faithful.
Catholics who trust in Christ for salvation will go to heaven, just as Protestants who trust in Christ.
Catholics or Protestants or even people who are a part of my church family who trust in religion or their good works and NOT in Christ will not go to heaven.