The Womb of the Upper Room & the Redemption of Your Past

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament account of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ which is the church as written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirteen through forty-three of the thirteenth chapter. DELIVERANCE FROM SLAVERY! DESTRUCTION OF ENEMIES! DIVISION OF INHERITANCE! BETWEEN JUDGES AND KINGS—A PROPHET! REMOVING SAUL, RAISING UP DAVID! A MAN AFTER MINE HEART & ONE WHO WILL FULFILL MY WILL! THE PREACHING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST! THE CONDEMNATION OF JESUS! THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS! THE BURIAL OF JESUS! THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS! CONNECTING JESUS TO THE DELIVERANCE FROM SLAVERY, THE DESTRUCTION OF ENEMIES, AND THE DIVISION OF INHERITANCE! CRUCIFYING WHAT WE DON’T UNDERSTAND OR RECOGNIZE! When you come to this particular passage of scripture you will find the apostle Paul continuing on his first apostolic journey after being separated by the Holy Ghost while among teachers and prophets at the church in Antioch. What I so absolutely love about what is found within this passage of scripture is that the apostle Paul who at that time was not yet known as such was marked by the Holy Ghost for the work unto which he had been called. What’s even more intriguing and astonishing when you read and consider this passage is that thus far we have seen Jesus the Christ personally involved in the life of this man named Saul, as well as the Holy Ghost. Perhaps one of the single greatest realities we find and see when reading the thirteenth chapter is that at this stage and at this juncture within the life of this man named Saul we have already witnessed and beheld Jesus the Christ being intimately involved with his life after appearing unto him while he was traveling on the road to Damascus. It is still absolutely incredible to think that Saul was still breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the church, and had even obtained letters from the high priest in Jerusalem to journey unto Damascus and to bring back bound any followers of this way of Jesus the Christ should he in fact find them. It would be while he was traveling unto the city of Damascus, and ultimately once he drew close to the city itself that this man named Saul would encounter and experience a blinding light that would not only throw him from his horse, but would also leave him blind after the encounter. During this encounter while on the road to Damascus Jesus the Christ appears unto Saul within the midst of the blinding light and not only calls him by name, but also asks him point blank and direct why he was persecuting Him. Upon hearing the voice speaking unto him Saul responded by asking who the Lord was who was speaking unto him. It was to this single question Jesus the Christ spoke unto him and declared that He was Jesus whom he was persecuting.

In the ninth chapter of the book of Acts we find Jesus the Christ intimately involved with the life of Saul as Jesus appeared unto him in the midst of blinding and brilliant light which not only threw him from his horse, but also left him blind for a season. What is so absolutely remarkable and incredible about what we find and read in the ninth chapter is when you consider the fact that within the same chapter—quite honestly within a matter of days—not only was Jesus the Christ intimately involved in the life of Saul, but so also was the Holy Ghost intimately involved within his life. If you take the time to read the words which are found in the ninth chapter very carefully you will find that it was Jesus who appeared unto Saul while traveling and journeying on the road to Damascus, and just a few short days later the Holy Spirit would be involved with his life as when Ananias laid hands on Saul, he was filled with the Holy Ghost. How absolutely remarkable and truly captivating it is to think about and consider the fact that within a matter of a few short days—not only was Jesus the Christ intimately and personally involved within the life of this man named Saul, but so also was the Holy Ghost, as it was Jesus the Christ who appeared unto him on the way to Damascus, and it was the Holy Spirit who filled him. As a direct result of the appearance of Jesus the Christ while on the way to Damascus, and as a result of being filled with and being filled by the Holy Spirit this man named Saul was baptized in water and began increasing in strength and wisdom as the Holy Ghost game him ability. I find it absolutely wonderful and truly captivating to read the ninth chapter and the words contained within it and not only witness and behold how Jesus the Christ was intimately and personally involved in the life of Saul, but also how the Holy Ghost was intimately involved with the life of Saul. In all reality, this man named Saul was the only one in the entire book of Acts who not only experienced the manifestation of Jesus Christ within his life in a vision from glory, but also experienced the presence, person and power of the Holy Spirit. I am convinced that it was for this reason the apostle Paul could later write how he as one who was born out of season experienced a direct manifestation and revelation of Jesus the Christ. When writing unto the saints who were at Corinth in the fifteenth chapter, and when speaking of how the resurrected Jesus the Christ had appeared unto the disciples, and how Jesus the Christ had appeared unto Howard’s of five hundred at one time, Jesus also appeared unto him as one who was untimely born, and as one who was born out of season.

If there is one thing I so absolutely love about what we find—not only within the ninth chapter of the book of Acts, but also what we find and read within the thirteenth chapter is how both Jesus the Christ, as well as the Holy Ghost were intimately and personally involved within the life of this man named Saul who would be the apostle unto the Gentiles. I absolutely love how within a matter of just a few short days we find Jesus the Christ intimately and personally involved within the life of this man named Saul, as well as the person of the Holy Ghost. What’s more, is that within a matter of a few short chapters we again find the Holy Spirit being intimately and uniquely involved within the life of this man named Saul, as the Holy Ghost would separate Saul—together with Barnabas—from the teachers and prophets who were present at the church in Antioch, and would separate them for the work where unto they had been called. What we must recognize and understand concerning this reality is that even though the Holy Ghost would separate Saul while he was at the church at Antioch, this man named Saul was uniquely marked prior to and before this particular event and occurrence. We would be incredibly wise to understand and recognize that when we think about what took place in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Acts—that was not the fist time we learn that this man named Saul was marked, joe was it the first time we encounter the Holy Ghost being intimately and personally involved within the life of this man named Saul. By the time we come to the thirteenth chapter of the book of Acts we find the Holy Spirit now twice involved within the life of this man named Saul. The first experience and encounter this man named Saul would have with the Holy Ghost would be while at Damascus, for it would be as a direct result of Ananias laying his hands on and praying for him that he would receive his sight and would be filled with the Holy Ghost. Now, here we are in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Acts and we again find the Holy Spirit being uniquely and intimately involved within the life of this man named Saul as the Holy Spirit would separate and fall him unto Himself. The first encounter and experience this man named Saul had with the Holy Ghost would be when the Holy Ghost filled him there at Damascus, and now this man named Saul would encounter and experience the Holy Spirit a second time there at Antioch when the Holy Spirit would not only speak unto and among the prophets and teachers, but would also separate unto Himself this man named Saul, as well as Barnabas. What so amazes and inspires me about what we find within the ninth and thirteenth chapters of the book of Acts is just how closely Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit worked within the life of this man named Saul. If we are to truly understand the work which was done within the life of this man named Saul we must understand the joint harmony between the work which Jesus the Christ did whole he was on the road to Damascus, and what the Holy Spirit would do within the life of Saul as He filled and baptized him in the presence of Ananias who laid his hands on and prayed for him there in the city of Damascus. If we are to truly understand the work that was done within the life of this man named Saul who would ultimately become the apostle Paul we must encounter and come face to face with the fact that both Jesus the Christ, as well as the Holy Spirit were intimately and personally involved within his life from the time of his conversion, as well as in his being separated unto the Holy Ghost for the work where unto he had been called.

The more I sit and read the words and language which is found and written within the New Testament book of Acts the more I come face to face with the awesome and incredible work of the Holy Spirit which was uniquely and intimately involved within the lives of those within the church of Jesus the Christ. While we understand the church to in fact be the body of Jesus the Christ, and while we understand and recognize that Jesus the Christ is in fact the head of the church, we must also recognize and understand the unique place the Holy Spirit plays within the body of Christ and the church. If we are to read that which is found within the book of Acts we must not only understand the person and presence of Jesus the Christ as being intimately involved within the life of the body which was upon the earth, but we must also understand the person and presence of the Holy Spirit as being uniquely involved within the life of the body of Christ. While we most certainly can state that were it not for the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit the church would not have brought into existence, we must also understand that the Holy Spirit did in fact provide life, sustenance and vitality within and unto the body of Jesus the Christ. It was true the Holy Spirit’s presence and person helped birth and bring about the body of Jesus the Christ, however, it is also true that the Holy Spirit would continue to be involved with the life and ministry of the body of Christ. In all reality, I can’t help but see the role of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit in the formation, creation and birth of the early church as being similar in nature to the birth of Jesus the Christ. When we think about and when we consider the birth of Jesus the Christ we know and understand from the writings found within the gospels that Jesus the Christ was born of a virgin and was conceived within the womb of Mary—not through interaction and intercourse with any man, nor even Joseph, but through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. In fact, it was Luke who provided us with what is perhaps the most detailed description of the birth of Jesus the Christ, and the words which were spoken unto Mary by the angel Gabriel when he appeared unto her with the news that she was highly favored of the living God to conceive and bring forth the Son of God into the midst of the world and into the midst of the darkness. As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think that just as the Holy Spirit was uniquely and intimately involved with bringing about the physical person and body of Jesus the Christ in the earth from and within the womb of Mary, so also the Holy Spirit was intimately involved with bringing about the spiritual body and person of Jesus the Christ in the womb of the upper room on the day of Pentecost. THE WOMB OF THE UPPER ROOM! Pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact that the upper room where the one hundred and twenty were found was more than just an upper room, but was in fact a womb wherein and whereby the Holy Spirit could conceive and bring forth the spiritual body and person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to understand that fully and completely we must turn and direct our attention to the words which we find in the beloved physician Luke’s first treatise which was written unto Theophilus—one that was not written to describe the life and ministry of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ, but one that detailed and described the life and ministry of the physical body of Jesus the Christ. Consider if you will that which is found in the New Testament gospel of Luke beginning with the twenty-sixth verse of the first chapter:

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:26-38).

It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we come face to face with and encounter the words which are written and found within the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke, for within this first chapter we find the angel Gabriel speaking unto this young virgin named Mary concerning her being blessed and highly favored by the living God. It was as a direct result of her being blessed and highly favored that she was chosen and handpicked by the living God to bear and bring forth His only begotten Son into the world. What’s more, is that when you read the words which are written and found within this passage you will quickly encounter and come face to face with the fact that when Mary asked how she would conceive this child seeing she had been with and known no man, the angel Gabriel spoke and declared unto her that the Holy Ghost would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her, and that holy thing which would be inside and would be born of thee would be called the Son of God. This language of the Holy Ghost coming upon her, and the power of the Highest overshadowing her must be carefully and uniquely understood, for there is not a doubt in my mind that this same language and this same imagery is found in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts—despite the fact that it is not explicitly and implicitly spoken of and declared. I am firmly and completely convinced that the upper room where the one-hundred and twenty souls were present was more than just an upper room, and was more than just a physical location where men and women gathered together to pray and intercede, but it was in fact a womb much like the physical womb which was present within the physical person and life of Mary. I firmly and wholeheartedly believe that the upper room where these one hundred and twenty souls were present was in fact a spiritual womb whereby the Holy Ghost would come upon, and whereby the power of the Highest would overshadow in order that the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ might not only be conceived, but also be brought forth from the midst of it. I believe with everything inside me that the upper room where the one hundred and twenty souls were present as they gathered together to pray and seek the face of the Lord was in fact a spiritual womb whereby the Holy Ghost would come upon them in order that He might bring forth and conceive the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ, which was the church. Just as the Holy Ghost came upon, and just as the power of the Highest overshadowed the physical person and body of Mary, so also the Holy Ghost would come upon, and the power of the Highest would overshadow the womb of the upper room in order that the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ might be brought forth. What’s more, is that we must understand that the spiritual body of Jesus Christ did not come as a result of any physical interaction with any man, nor was any man responsible for bringing it forth on the day of Pentecost. Just as Jesus the Christ was brought forth from within the womb of Mary apart from her having relations with any man, so also did the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ come about as a result of the Holy Spirit without and apart from any act, any intervention, and any working of man. There are perhaps two distinct realities which help illustrate this point even further—that which is found in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John, and that which is found in the first chapter of the epistle of Paul which was written unto the churches of Galatia:

“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will o man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:11-14).

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: but they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preached the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me” (Galatians 1:11-24).

Just as those who believed in and on the name of Jesus the Christ were given power to become sons of God and were not born of flesh and blood, but of the Spirit, and just as that which the apostle Paul wrote about further confirmed the reality of revelation and manifestation without and apart from any interaction and intervention of flesh and blood, so also we must understand that when the church was conceived and brought forth in the midst of the earth, it was brought about without and apart from any interaction and intervention from any man. There was absolutely no man, nor was there any flesh and blood that could take any credit for the creation, conception, formation and birth of the early church. The Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit alone was responsible for the creation of the church, as the Holy Spirit was sent by the resurrected and exalted Jesus the Christ, for the Holy Spirit came upon and overshadowed all those who were present in the upper room in order that from the midst of the womb of the upper room might come forth a brand new creation in the midst of the earth—the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ. With that being said, I am convinced based on Scripture that Jesus Christ is the head of the church, that the church is in fact the body of Christ, and that Jesus meant what He said when He declared that upon this rock would He build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. With all of that being said, I also believe that just and much like the Holy Ghost came upon, and just as the power of the Highest overshadowed the physical person and body of Mary in order that the Son of God might be conceived inside her womb, so also would the Holy Ghost come upon, and so also would the power of the Highest overshadow the womb of the upper room, as well as the one hundred and twenty which were present there in the upper room. We dare not, we cannot and we must not miss and lose sight of this incredible reality, for when we think about the upper room we must think about it in terms of it being a womb similar to the physical womb which was present within the body of Mary. What’s more, is that we must understand that just as the Holy Ghost conceived and brought forth the physical person of Jesus the Christ in the earth and caused the person of Jesus Christ to not only grow within the womb, but also once He emerged from the womb, so also the Holy Spirit caused that which was conceived within the womb of the upper room to grow there on the day of Pentecost, and would continue to cause it to grow within the earth as on the very first day the church itself was in existence within and upon the earth, it grew in size by the number of three thousand. What an absolutely astonishing and remarkable concept and reality of growth within the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ which was the church. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that the upper room was indeed and was in fact a womb whereby the Holy Ghost would conceive and bring forth the early church, but how the book of Acts will provide example after example that just as the physical person and body of Jesus the Christ grew in stature and measure within the earth, so also would the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ grow in stature and measure within the earth, as three thousand were added on its first day in existence, and as the Lord would add daily unto the body of Christ such as should be saved.

I mention all of this because just as the Holy Spirit came upon the upper room and the one hundred and twenty which were present within it, and just as the Holy Spirit was intimately involved in the creation and formation of the early church, so also was the Holy Spirit intimately involved with the life of this man named Saul. Almost immediately after his conversion experience on the road to Damascus we find the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit being intimately involved within the life of the apostle Paul, for we find that after Ananias laid his hands on and prayed for him he received his sight, and the Holy Spirit filled and baptized him. Just as the Holy Spirit was intimately involved in the formation and creation of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ within and upon the earth, so also was the Holy Spirit intimately involved within the life of this man named Saul. Within the first three days of this man named Saul’s conversion we find the involvement—both of Jesus the Christ, as well as the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. It is absolutely astonishing and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that within this life of this man named Saul—not only do we encounter and experience the involvement of the person of Jesus the Christ on the road to Damascus, but we also find the involvement of the Holy Spirit. It was Jesus the Christ who had appeared unto him while traveling and journeying on the road to Damascus, and it was the Holy Spirit who filled him after Ananias laid hands on and prayed for him. What’s more, is that only a few short chapters later we again find the person and presence of the Holy Spirit intimately involved within the life of this man named Saul, for the Holy Spirit separated Saul from among the teachers and prophets which were present at the church in Antioch. It was the Holy Spirit who would again invade and step on to the scene and would once more be intimately involved within the life of this man named Saul, for the Holy Spirit would separate him at the church of Antioch for the work which he had been called. When writing unto the churches in Galatia the apostle Paul wrote how it pleased Jesus the Christ to separate him from his mother’s womb and by the grace of God call him unto His service and ministry, and what we find in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Acts is a physical demonstration and manifestation of the Holy Spirit separating this man named Saul from and within the church at Antioch unto the work and ministry for which he had been called. It’s worth noting that even though Jesus spoke unto Ananias and declared unto him that He would show Saul what great things he must suffer for His name’s sake, it wouldn’t be until years later and when the Holy Spirit spoke unto the prophets and teachers which were at Antioch that Saul who was also called Paul would actually be separated from the church which was at Antioch, and would be separated unto the work and ministry unto which he had been called. Saul knew that he had been called and chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ for a specific work and a specific ministry, and while it was true that he was faithful in serving in Damascus, and serving in Jerusalem, and even serving among the churches in Judaea, as well as at the church at Antioch—all of that was preparation for that work unto which he had been called.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but continue to be gripped and captivated with and by the tremendous involvement of the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Ghost within the life of this man named Saul, and how we first see the Holy Spirit filling him there in Damascus, and now we see and find the Holy Spirit separating him at Antioch unto and for the work where unto he had been called. Within the life of Saul we see the beautiful union and harmony of Jesus the Christ and the Holy Ghost working together in order that they might bring transformation within the life of the greatest missionary this world has ever seen or known. If we are to understand the life and ministry of Saul who would become known as the apostle Paul, we must understand it in direct connection to the involvement of both the person of Jesus the Christ, as well as the person of the Holy Spirit. It was Jesus who first appeared unto Saul while traveling on the road to Damascus, and it was the Holy Spirit who would fill and baptize him, and would later separate him unto the work and ministry for which he had been called and chosen from his mother’s womb. It’s quite interesting to think about the fact that the apostle Paul could emphatically write and declare unto the churches in Galatia that the living God separated him from his mother’s womb for the work and ministry where unto he was involved, and yet there was a period of time where he would persecute, wreak havoc and even lay waste to and destroy the church. It almost appears to be a contradiction to think that the living God could call and choose the apostle Paul from his mother’s womb for the work and ministry where unto he had been called given the fact that he persecuted and laid waste to the church, yet perhaps one of the greatest truths we must understand and come face to face with reading the account of the apostle Paul is that even when the Lord calls and chooses us from our mother’s womb, He is intimately knowledgeable of who we will initially become, as well as what we will initially do. There is not a doubt in my mind that when the Lord called and chose the apostle Paul from his mother’s womb, He did not know that he would be perhaps one of the greatest single persecutors the church has ever seen. I do not believe for one moment that the living God did not know what Saul would be capable of, and what Saul would do in his earlier years upon this earth. I do believe the living God knew that Saul would be trained up under the religious scholars and teachers in Jerusalem, and that he would ultimately take that knowledge and those traditions and use them to lay waste to and persecute the church. With that being said, I feel compelled to declare that when the Lord called you forth from your mother’s womb, He knew and was intimately aware of who and what you become prior to His actually grabbing and getting your attention and securing you for His service. The apostle Paul was called, chosen and ordained from his mother’s womb for service unto and before the living God and Jesus the Christ, and both were intimately aware of who and what he would become and would be capable of before he would be secured for the work of the ministry for and unto the church and body of Jesus the Christ. Would it shock and surprise you to know that the living God was intimately aware of who and what you would become prior to and before He would once and for all secure you for the work where unto you were called and chosen? Despite what you might have done, and despite what damage and harm you might have done, the living God in His omniscience knew and was aware of it all, and at the right time chose to intervene and redeem all the damage, all the hurt, all the pain, and all the trouble you have caused and created.

THE GOD WHO REDEEMS THE DAMAGE YOU HAVE DONE! THE GOD WHO REDEEMS THE TROUBLE YOU HAVE CAUSED! THE GOD WHO REDEEMS THE HURT AND PAIN YOU HAVE CREATED! When we think about and consider the life of the apostle Paul we must uniquely understand that Jesus the Christ—together with the person and presence of the Holy Spirit—was able to redeem all the damage and all the trouble this man named Saul created. Even though Saul had been called and chosen from his mother’s womb unto and for the work where unto he had been called, there was a wonderful act of redemption which needed to take place within his life, as Jesus the Christ would need to redeem the hurt and pain he had caused. What’s more, is that regardless of and despite the trouble this man named Saul created within and upon the church, Jesus the Christ—together with the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit—was able to redeem all he had said and all he had done. Oh, are you aware of this reality within your own life? Are you aware of the fact that the Holy Spirit according to the effectual working of Jesus the Christ can redeem all you have done—regardless of and despite how terrible and tragic it might have been? Saul was perhaps one of the greatest single persecutors the church has ever seen and known, and he even consented to the death of Stephen, and yet Jesus the Christ deliberately and intentionally chose to redeem all the hurt, all the damage, all the pain, all the trouble you have caused within and as a result of your life. If I am being honest with you who are reading these words I have to say that I know I have been responsible for causing hurt and pain in the lives of others. I know that I have caused hurt and pain within the hearts and lives of some of those closest to me, as well as in the lives of those who weren’t close to me. I know that there have been times within my life when I have been responsible for doing much damage and much harm in the lives of others, and have caused hurt and pain. I know that there have been times when I have been guilty of things for which I have wrestled with guilt and shame over the years. With that being said, I find great comfort and great solace in the reality that the Holy Spirit—together with the person of Jesus the Christ—can redeem any and all trouble and damage I have caused and inflicted. The apostle Paul had absolutely no problem speaking to the damage he inflicted upon the church and body of Jesus the Christ, and how Jesus the Christ—together with the person and presence of the Holy Spirit—redeemed all the damage and trouble he caused in order that He might be the apostle unto the Gentiles. Oh how absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus the Christ could indeed and could in fact redeem all the hurt and pain a man such as the apostle Paul could do prior to his conversion, and could take one who laid such great waste to the church and transform him into that one who was perhaps the single greatest builder of the church and body of Jesus the Christ. That one who once tore down and destroyed the early church would be converted and redeemed and would spend the rest of his life building up, edifying and establishing the body of Christ through countless churches which appeared all throughout Asia.

What I so love and what I so appreciate about that which is written and found within the passage before us in the thirteenth chapter is that this is the first real sermon from the apostle Paul we find within the book of Acts. Up until this point we merely read about him preaching that Jesus is the Christ, and that Jesus was indeed crucified, buried, and resurrected on the third day by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, what we find here is the apostle Paul teaching and exhorting the prophets and rulers of a synagogue who requested any word of exhortation to be spoken unto them in their hearing. What’s more, is that within this sermon the apostle Paul directly linked and directly connected the deliverance of the children of Israel from their slavery and bondage, the destruction of seven nations and enemies within the land of Canaan, as well as the division of the inheritance and promise to the Son of God who descended from the lineage of David. Within this sermon the apostle Paul would begin with the slavery and oppression of the children of Israel, would speak of their times of testing and temptation in the wilderness, would speak of the destruction of their enemies within the land of Canaan, and would speak of the division of the promise and inheritance within the land of Canaan. What’s more, is the apostle Paul would also go on to speak about the judges which ruled in Israel up to the time of Samuel, the choosing and ultimate removal of Saul who was the first king of Israel, and ultimately David who was not only a man after God’s own heart, but also one who would fulfill his purpose and will in his generation. Once he arrived at David he immediately fast tracked to that one who was the Son of David and that one who was descended from David—namely, Jesus the Christ—and how Jesus the Christ was not only crucified according to the wishes and desires of the Jewish religious leaders, but also how Jesus was buried, yet raised from death to life on the third day. Beginning with slavery and oppression in the land of Egypt the apostle Paul would immediately transition to speaking and preaching of Jesus the Christ, and how Jesus the Christ was not only resurrected from death to life on the third day, but also offered salvation and forgiveness for sins. The apostle Paul would begin with the history of the Jewish people, yet we find him ultimately and inevitably bringing everything back to Jesus the Christ. This is directly linked to the words which the apostle Paul declared when he spoke of the reality that he determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified—and not only crucified, but also raised from death to life. There before those who were looking for a word of exhortation the apostle Paul not only preached Jesus the Christ, but also warned them of that which the prophet spoke about should they not proceed with caution and be acutely aware of the condition of their hearts and souls before and in the presence of Jesus the Christ. OH that we would read the words found within this writing and that we would come face to face with the tremendous working of the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit together with the resurrected and exalted person of Jesus the Christ within our hearts and lives.

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