31 And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message. — Acts 15:31 NLT
“There was great joy” when the people were told that they had done the one necessary thing they needed to do to be saved. When we are first saved in today’s society, we need to be very careful who we listen to. As Paul said, “if anyone, including an angel from heaven and/or me, comes to you and gives you some different message, that person should be cursed.” Gal. 1:6 (my paraphrase}. The letter did go on to give the new converts some guidelines as to what they should or should not do. The letter did not claim that these guidelines had to be followed to complete their salvation. It is still the same today, when we personally witness to someone who accepts Jesus as their Savior, we need to take a few minutes and give them some encouragement and guidelines as well. We need to explain to them that satan will waste no time in trying to discourage them and make them doubt their salvation. We need to encourage them to find a good Bible teaching church and a good mentor to help them along the way. After the initial acceptance of Jesus as our Savior, we need someone to help us understand that the Holy Spirit will come alongside us and help us learn to “walk in paths of righteousness”.
28 When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. 29 Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, 30 but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way. — Luke 4:28-30 NLT
After His temptation in the wilderness and at the Temple in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the reigon of Galilee. He had taught in their synagouges and ministered to people in that area and was praised by the people. When He came to His boyhood home of Nazareth, He went to the synagouge on the Sabbath where He read from the scroll. As He began to teach, He explained that what He had read was being fulfilled before their eyes that very day. (Luke 4:14-27) He went on to explain to them that He could not do the miracles here that He did in Capernaum because no prophet was accepted in his hometown. In other words, it is hard to witness to those who really know us because “familiarity breeds contempt”. Those that know us best sometimes have less respect for us because they feel that we are trying to be more holy than they are. To them, Jesus was just a carpenter’s son, but to the rest of the world, He was the Son of God. Their contempt for Him caused them to become angry at His words. So, they mobbed Him and took Him to the top of the cliff intending to push Him off the cliff and kill Him. However, it was not His time to die nor was He to die in this manner. In an amazing miracle, Jesus simply walked through the crowd and went on His way. God protected Him in some fashion, we aren’t told how. The takeaway from this story is that as long as we are obedient to God, He will protect us from all danger. If we speak the words He wants us to speak, we will not die before our time or in any manner that was not planned beforehand. We should never be afraid to speak the words that are given to us by the Holy Spirit.
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 NLT
30 Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? 31 It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, 32 but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.” — Mark 4:30-32 NLT
Earlier in this chapter, Jesus had told His disciples that they were permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. He also stated that there would be some who would hear and refuse to believe (outsiders) and they would not be able to understand His teachings in the parables that He used (Mark 4:11,12). So, if the disciples were permitted to understand the Kingdom of God, then so can we understand it. Jesus told Nicodemus to enter the Kingdom that it was necessary for him to be born again. So, we become a part of the Kingdom of God when we receive Christ as our Savior. In doing so, we become eligible for all the benefits of that Kingdom here and now, not just in the future. As the birds nest in the shade of the mustard tree, so we live under the umbrella of God’s protection now. Right now, it is a spiritual Kingdom inside of us. When Jesus comes back, He will establish a Kingdom here on earth that will encompass all of His creation and creatures except those that refuse to hear and believe (Daniel 2:44, Rev.11:15). We are preparing to live in that Kingdom in our present life and one day that process will be completed when we are changed into immortal beings (1 Cor 15:50-53). Jesus taught us to pray “may Your will be done on earth even as it is in heaven”. So, while we are preparing for eternity, we live with the assurance that the hope that we have will one day be fulfilled. And it will be so — His will “will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. That is why we end our prayers with “Amen” which means “let it be so”. Partially now and completely in the future.
12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.—1 Cor. 2:12-14 NIV
God is waiting to show you the Way.
We are born with the spirit of the world in us which causes us to sin. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we receive God the Holy Spirit. He comes to abide in us and to lead us into all truth. To understand the truth takes wisdom from heaven. This can only be taught by the Holy Spirit who teaches us spiritual realities with Spiritual words. If we have not received the Holy Spirit, we will not accept the truths that He wants to teach us. The person who has not received the Spirit of God cannot discern or understand Spiritual things. That person considers Spiritual things to be foolishness because of his or her lack of understanding. Those who have truly accepted Jesus as their Savior are Spirit-bred, Spirit-fed and Spirit-led!
6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’—John 3:6 NIV