Imagine what it was like for the disciples to sit with Jesus at the Last Supper the evening before His crucifixion. No doubt their minds were reeling as Jesus spelled out what was coming. Peter, the outspoken one, said, Lord, where are you going?
They had no idea. Well, today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will recreate this dramatic scene, and he'll help us decipher what Jesus said. Jesus told the disciples and the implications for us today. Chuck titled his message, The Main Agenda of God's Spirit, Transformation. Our study begins in John Chapter 20.
For accuracy and the biblical portraits that are painted for us regarding the original apostles before the work of the Holy Spirit within them as He transformed them, the original apostles were really not that impressive. Just as we are not apart from the work of the Spirit of God. Chapter 20, verse 19. I want you to get it very clear so you can appreciate the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Verse 19, chapter 20. This is after the crucifixion. This is after the resurrection. They are scared because they are convinced that the officials will say one of the disciples stole his body.
In fact, that's the word that was traveling around. And so they get alone in a room and they lock the door so nobody can find them. This is a scene that's seldom mentioned. Because we don't like to think of these disciples in such an intimidated moment, but they were.
2019. When therefore it was evening on that day, that is the day of resurrection, first day of the week, the doors were shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews. Remember, intimidated. Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, peace be with you. His whole molecular structure of his body has changed. He is in a glorified state, having been raised from the dead. Verse 24, Thomas, one of the 12, called the twin, was not with them when Jesus came and the other disciples were saying to him, we've seen the Lord. And he said, unless I shall see in his hands the imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. What kind of men were they? They were intimidated. They were unsure.
They were lacking in understanding. One more, if you will. Acts 1, verse 4 through verse 6. He said, I will not believe Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, which he said, you have heard from me.
Meaning what? The coming of the Holy Spirit. You wait. You wait in the city of Jerusalem. God's going to keep his word.
John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. So when they had come together, they were asking him, saying, Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel? They still can't get it straight.
They lack understanding. Now, when he came, he brought a dynamic that transformed him. Verse 8, he told them it is not for them to know the times or the epochs which the Father has fixed by his authority, verse 7, but you shall receive power.
There's that word we've looked at earlier. You will receive a transforming dynamic when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses. I have made a survey study in the early part of the book of Acts, and I've limited it to that, except for where we want to conclude, and that is in the 8th of Romans. But in the early part of the book of Acts, in this early history, I think we're able to see the contrast between the way they were and the way they were transformed, how life was prior to the Spirit's coming and how life was after he impacted their lives. And I don't think they would ever forget what life was like before the Spirit. I prayed on one occasion and made a statement in his prayer that I will never forget. He said, Lord, help me never to forget what it was like outside of Christ.
I think that's a very insightful prayer. Applied to what I'm saying, I believe the disciples must have thought after the fact, Lord, help us to never forget what we were like before you transformed us. Because they were changed. Let me show you chapter 2 of Acts.
Let me give you four examples of transformation. First, their very human frailties were transformed into supernatural gifts and abilities. When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly, there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind. And it filled the whole house where they were sitting. My brother tells me of the winds that struck south of Miami when that hurricane moved across and wiped out a whole wall. And it filled villages and even cities and an Air Force base. He lived through it.
He said it lasted from one in the morning until seven in the morning. And he heard tiles ripped off their roof as they were hiding out in the master bedroom. He heard doors pulled from their hinges. And the screech of the screws as they pulled loose and whipped around and then blew out of the side of the house. He heard plywood as it was torn off the roof. He heard beams that were on the roof torn away. And he heard the garage door twisted out of the way. And it swirled as it wound up on one of his cars. As Orville would put it, he said, you know, it was kind of nice.
He said when all the fences were blown down, we got to know who the neighbors were. There was some blessing that came. But nine of them were hiding out and listening to this roar of a mighty wind. It wasn't like that sound except there was no hurricane. There was no natural reason to explain the sound of the rushing mighty wind.
And here they were together in one place. And in an instant of time, the room was filled with the sound. A rushing wind. It doesn't say there was a wind.
It says there was the sound of a wind. And it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And if that were not enough, there appeared to them tongues as a fire distributing themselves and they rested on each one. I take it that there was this giant ball of fire or fire-like fire. And as the flame licked from this, it formed tongues of fire that landed upon each one of these individuals. These troubled, frightened, fearful, abandoned, very human, intimidated, unsure, confused men. And these tongues of fire rested on each one and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus had said wait and he will come.
Now there is the fulfillment of the waiting and of the promise. And the Spirit of God comes and fills them. And he transforms them into other kinds of people.
The remarkable thing, folks, is that you never again read of their feeling abandoned and vacillating and intimidated. From now on, they are changed. Remarkable change. In fact, if you had studied them as a psychologist to see how they're put together on the inside, two days before this event, you would have seen one kind of person two days after this event. You would have wondered, except for their appearance, if they were even the same individuals. Absolutely transformed.
I'll have to show you right here. They're given supernatural ability. There were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. They came together. They were bewildered.
The multitude means the people in the street. The folks who weren't in the room when it happened. They heard the sound and they wondered what this was all about. And down from these stairs came these changed men who began to speak to these people in the streets of Jerusalem in their own language, in their very dialect.
Look at what it says. They began to hear them speak in his own language. They began to be amazed and to marvel, saying, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
Remember, the only Judean was Judas and he's hanged himself. And they look at these men and they know that they're Galileans. They're not the brightest among the crowd. They're monolingual. They only know their tongue and now they're speaking in our very dialect. And how is it we hear each one of them in our own language to which we were born? This isn't gibberish. This isn't a tongue like described over in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. That's another subject. This tongue is a dialect.
In fact, they're named. Jews and proselytes, they're hearing in their own language. There's something wonderful about hearing your own language when you travel. We were traveling in Paris a couple of three years ago and it was an evening and we were listening to some wonderful music. It has a universal language, doesn't it? They don't play in French.
They play music that thrills the ears and hearts of whatever may be your language. This is the same group on the street corner which you often find in cities in France. I heard some people behind us speaking wonderful American English. I turned around. I wanted to meet those people. Everybody around me was speaking French but these people were speaking my language. They were from Asia and Mesopotamia.
How could that be? They were transformed. In fact, because they didn't, they couldn't explain it, verse 12, they continued in amazement with great perplexity saying, what does this mean? Now I've heard people use interesting language when they're drunk but they don't speak another dialect when they are drunk.
That's a stupid kind of an answer. Because they didn't have an answer, they mocked them. They're drunk. Peter begins his sermon by saying, verse 15, these men are not drunk as you suppose.
They've been changed. John, this is the same Peter who said, I'll never deny you. And he tries to, he does cut off the ear and he ultimately does deny the Lord. This is the same Peter who vacillates between thou art the Christ, the son of the living God, and the other breath saying, Lord, don't say that you're going to a cross.
I rebuke you for that. This is the vacillating Simon. And look at him in chapter three of Acts. Peter and John going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer, a certain man had been lain for his mother's womb, carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. Peter along with John fixed his gaze on him and said, look, look at us. He began to give them attention.
Peter said, I do not possess silver and I do not have gold. But what I do have, I give you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth walk. He came by the right hand, he raised him up, please observe the secret of a miracle, the word immediately. Immediately, his feet and ankles were strengthened. Immediately, with a leap, he stood upright and began to walk. This is the same man, Peter, who only days ago was vacillating back and forth.
All the people ran together to them at the portico of Solomon, full of amazement. When Peter saw this, he replied to the people, men of Israel, why do you marvel at this or why do you gaze at us? As if by our power or piety, we made him walk.
Isn't that a great statement? I'm not a miracle worker. I'm not some kind of sideshow. God is now present in me and God is using me as a voice box to give this man the ability to walk.
Don't fix your eyes on me. I am just a messenger boy representing the intimate spirit of God who has changed my life. Second, their fearful reluctance was transformed into bold confidence. Back to chapter 2.
Their fearful reluctance is transformed into bold confidence. These are the men who locked the door and got alone, whose knees were quaking, shaking, knocking in fear, worried about the Jews, if they might find them, hiding. The same men are now in chapter 2 of Acts, verse 5, pouring into the streets of Jerusalem, preaching of Jesus Christ.
We read it earlier. They were speaking in the language of the people, the wonderful works of God. Look at verse 36.
That's where I want you to turn. Peter is concluding his message. Jesus whom you crucified. That's a rather bold statement. He says it without hesitation. When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, brethren, what shall we do?
Will you look at that? These are the men who only days before were not wanting to talk to anybody and now they're out in the streets boldly proclaiming Jesus Christ without fear. Peter says, he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, be saved from this perverse generation. So then those who received his word were baptized and there were that day added about 3,000 souls.
By the way, I love verse 13 of chapter 4, a very interesting verse inserted by Dr. Luke in this early church history record, 413. He's describing the reaction of the unsaved pagan officials as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and as they understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. Well, I've got to hand it to them. They had a little bit of savvy. They recognized that there was nothing unusual about their physique, about their training, about their background or their own human emotional makeup. They were just plain folks. We'd call them today good old boys. Accurately and yet they were amazed at their confidence and they realized something about their relationship with Jesus had transformed them and they took note of that.
They weren't like they had been before. Third, their spirit of intimidation is transformed into a spirit of invincibility. You're in chapter 4. Look back in chapter 3 verse 18. The things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets that his Christ should suffer, he has thus fulfilled. And now look at these absolutely unintimidated, invincible men.
It says in chapter 3 verse 19, that your sins may be wiped away in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and that he may send Jesus the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke with the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times. It doesn't sound to me like a man that doesn't quite know his theology. Somehow the spirit of God has begun to stir up their minds and the pieces of the puzzle are no longer like Rubik's cube that they can not get figured out.
They are no longer unsure about how the plan is unfolding and they speak publicly of Christ and of the plan of God and they declare it in such a convincing manner that no one can argue with their logic. It's an incredible transformation. I would say your stomach would probably churn. You know you're in for trouble. You know you're doing something that the law doesn't allow.
At least in those days it didn't. And it says they came upon them and look who's disturbed. The people who were going to arrest them being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. They laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day for it was already evening. Ever been in jail? If you have been in jail chances are good you felt intimidated. There's something about the clanging of that door.
About those iron bars. About knowing you're in that cell with some very very weird kind of folks. And you don't know any of them. And maybe you were there unfairly. You were placed there having been prejudged and maybe you weren't guilty of something. But you're in jail.
It's intimidating to be in there. This daily program is made possible through the voluntary contributions of people like you. And when you give, your gift is channeled directly toward providing Chuck's Bible teaching for others so they can benefit just as you have. For example, we received a note from a listener in Amarillo, Texas who told us his story of redemption.
He said, I want to say thank you for being so giving. I did almost 11 years in the state prison system. And during all that time, insight for living sent me innumerable Bible studies. Today, decades after his incarceration, he admits, and I'm quoting here, I'm really struggling with those old strongholds that wage war against my soul. But Jesus is faithful to carry on to completion the good work he began in me. Thank you for your help in my journey.
Thank you so much for your faithful support. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go online to insight.org and let us feel like we're actually strolling through the old city. Learning about Jerusalem is fascinating for sure, but seeing the land of Israel with your own eyes is life changing.
In fact, it's absolutely magnificent. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and the gracious hosts and experts assembled by insight for living ministries. Join us on an unforgettable 12 day tour, March 5th through the 16th, 2021. At special sites along the way, I will teach from God's word. We'll worship at the Mount of Beatitudes and share the Lord's table at the Garden Tomb. In fact, we'll sail the Sea of Galilee together and we'll visit places where Jesus walked and talked.
To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along those sacred sites and seeing the Bible come to life before your very eyes. Mark your calendar for March 5th through the 16th, 2023 and make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for living ministries tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll continues his series called flying closer to the flame Thursday on insight for living. The preceding message, the main agenda of God's Spirit transformation was copyrighted in 1992, 1993 and 2003 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2003 by Charles R Swindoll Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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