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The Big Difference
Many have experienced it. Have you?
By J. W. Jepson, D.Min.copyright � 2007 by J. W. Jepson
All rights reserved, including the right to grant the following permission and to prohibit the misuse thereof:
The Author hereby grants permission to reproduce the text of this article, without changes or alterations*, as a ministry, but not for commercial or non-ministry purposes.
*Permission is given for publication of excerpts and condensed versions.
* * * * *
Never had anyone experienced what happened to those 11 men. They were just ordinary fellows, minding their own business, each one doing his own thing and trying to make a living.
But something happened that snatched each one out of his little routine and thrust him together with the others into a drama that would transform their lives and eventually revolutionize the world.
One day Jesus Christ came into their lives with the divine summons: "Follow Me." What happened the next three years was heady stuff--miracles, crowds, and talk about a Kingdom. It was almost more than they could absorb.
Yes, in the beginning there had been 12 men. But one was a washout. He sold out cheap and lost everything. Tragic!
Toward the end of the three years, Jesus started talking about a cross and a resurrection. But those 12 men were not hearing it. Their thoughts were about the establishment of an earthly kingdom, which they wrongly believed He would bring about.
The Cross and the Empty Tomb
Then it happened. The Cross. The sealed tomb. Everything came crashing down. Once again they were just ordinary men, but now they were devastated, scared and in hiding.
Suddenly, on the third day, things shifted into high gear. The tomb was empty! Dazed soldiers staggered into Jerusalem. Some of the women met Jesus. Two disciples walked and talked with Him on the road to Emmaus and ran back to tell the rest. That evening, at the first Sunday night meeting, Jesus himself came in without opening the door.
The next 40 days were awesome. Jesus met with them on several occasions--the next Sunday night in Jerusalem, then at a fishing trip in Galilee, then to 500-plus at a prearranged meeting on a mountain, then back in Jerusalem, and finally at His spectacular ascension into heaven.
What an education they received from the Lord during those 40 days! Now they understood the truth about the Kingdom. Now they were ready for the Great Commission: "Go into all the world. . . . Make disciples of all nations" (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19).*
So now they were ready to go, right? No, not yet. Why not? Hadn't they experienced about everything there was to experience? Didn't they have everything they needed?
No. One of Christ's instructions during those 40 days was, "Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). "In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5).
Redemption had been accomplished. Salvation was theirs, but they still needed the big difference--the baptism in the Holy Spirit. They needed Pentecost, and that was still 10 days away. When it arrived, "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (2:4, NKJV).
Now they were ready!
The baptism in the Holy Spirit was (and still is) the big difference--the difference between weakness and power, fear and boldness, discouragement and joy, ineffective effort and dynamic witness!
"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses" (1:8).
"They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly" (4:31).
"And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit" (13:52).
If you are not a Christian or you're not sure that you are right with God, settle that first. Repent of your sins. Put your full trust in Christ as your personal Savior. Then go on to your Pentecost. "Be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).
God provides the baptism in the Holy Spirit to be the big difference in your Christian life.
*Unless otherwise noted, scriptures are from the New International Version.
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