[forthright] Let There Be No Doubt / Look at the Hypocrites!

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 2009 08:02:55 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: HANDS-ON FAITH

Let There Be No Doubt
 by Barry Newton

Twice mentioned, that's all. Only two events are
identified in Acts with the language "baptized with the
Holy Spirit." The message God sent has left no doubt
about the hues of skin color God desires in the pew and
around the table.

Prior to his ascension Jesus had foretold his apostles
that in a few days they would be baptized with the Holy
Spirit. (Acts 1:5) Then the day of Pentecost had come.
Hearing a loud wind, crowds gathered around the house
where the apostles had assembled to discover some
uneducated Galilean men speaking in other languages!
Peter explained that what they were witnessing was the
result of God pouring out His Spirit.

There should be no doubt. God was at work. God's
community built on Christ would include Jews.

Fast forward. Again we find Peter preaching and the
Holy Spirit falling upon some individuals. Once again
the recipients began to speak in foreign languages.
Furthermore, Peter acknowledged the recipients had been
baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 11:15-16)

There could be no doubt. God was at work.

But unlike the first occurrence, it was the preacher
and the saved who would learn a lesson. Despite some
Jewish Christian's initial astonishment and other’s
later objections (Acts 10:45;11:2), there could be no
doubt God’s community built on Christ would include all
races. (Acts 11:18)

First upon Jews and then upon Gentiles, the Spirit had
descended. With God indicating his desire that there be
no ethnic barriers preventing fellowship, Peter
commanded Cornelius and those with him to be baptized
with water. Thus began the expansion of the church
among non-Jews.

As non-Jews, do we take it for granted today that we
can be part of God's people? Have we ever wondered
whose idea a multi-ethnic church is? Let there be no
doubt. In dramatic fashion, God has shown that he
intends for those of us who do not share a Jewish
heritage to belong to the one community he is building.

--
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COLUMN: REALITY CHECK

Look at the Hypocrites!
 by Stan Mitchell

"He sent them to Bethlehem, and said, 'Go and make a
careful search for the child. As soon as you find him
report to me, so that I too may go and worship
him'"(Matthew 2:8).

"All right," Jill thought, "I'll go to church today,
but I won't like it!" Church was a drag!

Then it hit her. She knew what to do! She would sit in
church and watch all the hypocrites. Every person who
came pretending to be holy and righteous, and she would
take note. Anyone not paying attention, anyone
whispering to their neighbor, everyone looking round at
others instead of worshiping. Then she would name them
all to her mom when she got home! Funny - now she
couldn’t wait to go to church! This was going to be
fun!

Next morning she began her survey. Finding a good
vantage point, she sat down and began to swivel her
head this way and that. Who wasn’t singing? Who wasn’t
listening? Who was bogus? She was stopped cold,
however, when a little boy sitting near her turned to
his mom and declared: "Mom, why is that girl not paying
any attention?"

He was pointing at her.

Stunned, she realized that while watching others … she
in turn was being watched, and had been found to be,
well, a hypocrite.

Not everyone that goes to church goes to worship. Herod
declared his intention to come worship Jesus. We
suspect he was being as candid as a politician on the
hot seat.

So why do you go to church? To spot a hypocrite?
Beware. Someone much bigger than that little boy is
watching.

----
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