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Text Box: Jim Coney was our Mentor, Pastor, Spiritual Father and Friend.  He was used by God greatly when Sheila and I received the call to be Missionaries.    Jim was translated into the presence of God 2001.  Jim wrote "Moved By The Hand of God" in the months just proceeding his death.  As you read this you will feel God's heart for us as the Body of Christ.   Jim, we miss you and we will see you soon.
                                                                                                     Tom & Sheila Shidler

 

 

 

   

     

Text Box: Moved By The Hand of God
Text Box: THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH
Chapter Two
 
After Christís death and resurrection we find the Apostles being given a mandate to spread the Gospel throughout the world (Matthew 28: 18-20). Yet, there was something else that they were instructed, by the Lord, to do before they could fulfill His command to "Go Ye There Fore..." It was in Luke 24:49 that Jesus told them; "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high". When this power had come upon them they were equipped to do what it was that Jesus had commanded. 
 
The word endued in this verse means they were to be clothed with or dressed in His power from on high. This is what the church has referred to over the past centuries as the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit. You see the church, His Bride, was and is to be dressed in or clothed with His Spirit in order to do His will on this earth. It is kind of like putting on a suit of fine clothes. Before you put it on everyone can see the real you, but after you are dressed in that fine new suit all they can see is what you look like in the suit. It is the same way with being dressed in the Holy Spirit, as it were, Where ever you go what ever you do all they can see is the Holy Spirit on you.
 
Once again we see where Jesus gave them these instructions in John 20:21 , "as my Father sent me, so send I you." We need to understand that there wasnít any way that He was going to send His disciples out to face this world without Him, after all didnít He tell them in Matthew 28: 20 "....and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." He wasnít going send them out without His power and He will not send us out with out his presence and power either. 
 
If we will take a look at the first few chapters of the book of Acts we can see the first century church receiving her equipping for the work at hand. When the disciples were obedient to His command to tarry (wait) in that upper room until they were clothed with power (the Holy Spirit) from on high we can see how the Gospel began to take Jerusalem by storm.. The Holy Spirit came upon them in the form of a flame of fire that came and rested upon each one of them gathered there. When this happened we see where each one of them began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2: 1-4). This was the Power that the Lord had promised (Luke 24:49) that they would receive if they would be faithful and wait. After being clothed with or dressed in (endued) His power they were enabled to speak with a new boldness the Words that caused thousands to believe. 
 
With the boldness of the Christ now dwelling in Peter he began to speak (Acts 2: 36), "Therefor let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." These words did not sit well with the religious leaders who were present there that day. Those present that day were pierced to their hearts and asked what they should do. Peter simply said, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38) You see Peter, through the unction of the Holy Ghost was setting forth a pattern for those in the Church to come to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit for their equipping. They would need this equipping in order to fulfill what the Lord spoke in Mark 16: 15-18, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." 
 
The Bible tells us in Haggai 2: 9; "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts:..." This latter house referred to in this verse is the first century church as we call it. The one that was born out of Christís death and resurrection. This body had one purpose and one purpose only; and that was to Love the Lord with all their heart and mind, and to love their neighbor as themselves. The only way that they or us can truly do this is by the power of His Holy Spirit working in and through us. It is in this way that they and we glorify the Father and draw others unto Him. 
 
We find that in the 11th chapter and 26th verse of the book of Acts that it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. The word Christian here had the significance of being Christ-like. That meant that when ever anyone looked upon them all they could see was Christ reflected in their lives. It was like we discussed earlier about being dressed in that new suit of clothes. The believers who lived in Antioch were reflecting the very image of Christ for all to see. It is note worthy to notice that this verse didnít use the word apostles but disciples. A disciple, according to Websterís dictionary, is someone who is, a pupil, follower or adherent. What this means in that verse is that those who were pupils, followers or adherents of Christ were disciples. And so it was these same followers that were reflecting Him to the world. 
 
When we study the New Testament portion of the Bible especially from the Book of Acts on through the Book of Revelation we can see the hand of the Lord through His Holy Spirit in creating a Bride that reflected His image to all. We see that Christ used His chosen ones as agents of the Holy Spirit in bring the Body of Christ, His Bride, to maturity in Him. As it says in Ephesians 4: 13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the fulness of Christ:"
 
The growth in maturity and fulness that was Christ-likeness lasted until the death of the first century Apostles. Then like what happened with Israel all through the Old Testament we see sin entering the camp. Sin will always bring separation in manís relationship with God. In this next chapter we will take a look at church history to better understand just how the church came to find herself separated from Christ. Then we will continue on to see the depth of Love that the Lord has for His Bride. A love so strong that He once again begins the process of restoration to His Bride. Calling Her back to Himself with ever increasing revelations of who He is.
                           Click here to move either to Chapter  One or Chapter Two
                                                                                  
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      Chapter One Chapter Three