This is very powerful. There is no wealth that can compare with being loved and knowing it. That is faith’s response to the gospel. (A phrase from the well known song, “Summertime,” comes to mind: “…Your Daddy’s rich and your Ma is good lookin, so hush little baby, don’t you cry…”)
God’s love is not reactive like the kind of love that is only good for friends. God’s love is redemptive. It has the power to change the lives of those who believe it, Romans 1:16.
Another thing about God’s kind of love is that it is not quantifiable for tax purposes. Those who are loved are tax exempt in the most important sense of exemption.
In any case, once I saw this, it was very easy to see that both the kingdom and the economy of God had come to earth at Pentecost. Remember the question of Jesus students/disciples: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Restore at this time the economy of Israel? The financial sovereignty of Israel? Not in the way they were thinking, and, for the most part, not in the way we have been thinking for two thousand years now with our carnally minded, earth bound point of view. God had something better in mind. Much better! But it was only available after the Holy Spirit came upon them.
Information/teaching/(doctrine) is not enough, not even when you get it from the Word of God. Understanding only comes with, and in the Spirit of God.
If we grieve the Spirit, we are bound not to get it!
Around the turn of the century, I had been wrestling with “what came first: the Spirit/chemistry or the body language?” or rather, “the Spirit or the community?” That brought me to the circumstances that positioned the early Church for Pentecost.
Perhaps Jesus hung around for forty days because He knew they would never make it in the upper room for fifty days. (The wonder is that they made it for ten.)
It’s not nearly so important what we know as it is who Jesus knows: “Get away from me, I never knew you,” Matthew 7:23. “Now that you know God or rather are known by God…” Galatians 4:9.
That may have been the last time that the Church ever got into one place in one accord. The thing that keeps us from being in one accord is all the stuff we think we know, and even the stuff we actually know. What is needed is the gift of stupid. We need to become as little children. The problem is that we have been trying to substitute knowledge for the power of the Holy Spirit – (Daniel 12:4) information for affirmation.
In the beginning, they didn’t know anything but Jesus. They came together and wound up in one accord. The Chemistry of God fell on them all. Then they began to get to know things. They especially began to get to know Jesus. Sad to say, it wasn’t long before the chemistry got smothered. It is the same today. Very soon they knew too much to come together again, let alone in one accord, Acts 20:29, 30.
In short, we really do need to know “…nothing, but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,” 1 Corinthians 2:2. That looks to me like the only way that we are ever going to return to the upper room. Knowledge not only “puffs up,” 1 Corinthians 8:1. it blows us right out of the Kingdom of God, the Church. “Systematic theology” is an oxymoron.
God is not a system!
It is a matter of doctrine versus life. We could wish it were only “as distinct from life,” but, sad to say, it really is “versus life.” This doesn’t have to be true if our doctrine is Christ, but more often than not, such claims only turn out to be more lectures and letters; and, oh yes, even books.
After three and a half years of being taught the doctrine of Christ, by quite arguably history’s greatest Teacher, they still didn’t understand. Not only that, but after the resurrection there were forty more days of post resurrection teaching focused on the Kingdom of God, taught, not just by history’s Greatest Teacher, but by then, resurrected. (That’s got to be more riveting than a Ph.D., at least, where undivided attention is concerned.)
They flunked the final, Acts 1:1-7. Or, was it only the mid-term?
Continued Reading. See: Addendum to Flunked The Final