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Lay Down-Lift Up: Bedazzled By The Stuff of God Or Moved By The Heart of God.
Paul David Guidry's picture

Acts 1:4–11

I see so much irony in scripture. I am always drawn into the humanity of moments and often resonate with the reactions of people to the voice of God.

I love verses five and six in this passage. In verse five, Jesus, the Son of God, announces destiny to the disciples. In verse six, the disciples view their destiny through their history. Jesus prophesies a historical event to His friends, the disciples. For the first time, in all of history, the Holy Spirit, the very essence and presence of God, will dwell inside mankind! This is incredible! This is unbelievable! God had come upon a person, but for the first time He was going to saturate His people with His presence. Yet, the response of the disciples is, “Yeah, but…what are you going to about the government?”

Sound familiar?

So, Jesus, with all patience and compassion brings correction and reiterates the powerful word He had just delivered again in verses seven and eight. Jesus understood that they were seeing their destiny through the filter of their history. Let me paraphrase what He says here.  “My Father’s got the government! But you are about to receive power to touch nations! Boom!”

Then Jesus ascends into heaven. And they stare at the open heaven. And they stare some more at the open heaven. And they are interrupted by a couple of angels who are watching them stare at an open heaven. I paraphrase again: The Angels say, “So ummm, how’s it goin'? What are you doing?” I can imagine what the angels were thinking. Jesus had just prophesied to His friends, the disciples, that they were being given an international ministry! This is awesome! Yet they are still wanting to maintain the glory of a personal encounter rather than facilitate His glory in a corporate revival.

This resonates so strongly in my heart. In an honest evaluation of self, I know how hard it would be to walk away from a physical manifestation of an open heaven. I totally understand where the disciples were coming from.  

I get that they had no grid for what revival looked like. They had no precedent upon which they could set this expectation. They had no idea what 3000 saved in one day would look like. They had never experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Every experience they had ever had with God came from the outside in. But what they were about to experience was God moving from the inside out!

So the angels come and I can only imagine what they are thinking.  Don’t you know what you are about to experience?!  Don’t you know what you are about to witness?

For the first time in history, Holy Spirit, a distinct member of the Triune God, is actually going to dwell in the temple of man. The essence of Him that was once contained in the ark of the covenant will now be contained in the fruit of the new covenant. The glory of this infilling will result in this people called by God’s own name. This is the people who would become the Lamb’s reward for His suffering! Through this infilling the children of God are empowered to lay their lives down as Jesus has been lifted up. The power of the Presence of God that fills them will be the magnetic force through which Jesus will draw all men unto Himself through the witnesses He has called and commissioned according to the power of the Spirit.

Step into this encounter with the presence of God and recognize that the glory and presence of God grows with you as He goes with you! But you have to go! We can be bedazzled by the “stuff” of God or we can be moved with compassion by the heart of the God. Jesus laid down His life in order to be lifted up. Let’s lay down our lives so that Jesus is lifted up in our lives!

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