"The Christian faith was inaugurated" when Jesus said "Follow me!"

Keith Giles recently wrote the following … I’ve emphasized some points by highlighting them in bold:

According to the New Testament, the Christian faith was inaugurated at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit, in fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32, was poured out on all flesh. From that day forward, the followers of Jesus became empowered to preach the Gospel, baptize new believers, plant churches, and share communion with other believers. Everyone was in the ministry of Jesus Christ. There was no distinction between clergy and laity because in their minds, every follower of Jesus was “…being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” – (1 Peter 2:5)
When the Spirit of Almighty God was poured out on all flesh at Pentecost, those first Christians got it. They understood that the same Holy Spirit of God that once rested over the ark of the covenant behind a 300 pound veil in the Temple of Jerusalem was now living within their own hearts. They were excited beyond belief and consumed with a fire and a passion to share this living presence of God with everyone they knew.

The original Christian church was one “not made with human hands”. Rather than following “the pattern of this world” the Biblical Christian church was birthed by the Spirit of God, empowered by words of Christ, and under submission to the Father. Simply put, the Christian church we read about in the New Testament was something that God was doing, not men. In contrast to our Church today, the first Christians were ordained by the Holy Spirit of God Himself and sent out to proclaim the Gospel, the Good News, that the Kingdom of God had come to every man, woman and child.

With the deepest of respect to what is otherwise an excellent article, I believe “the Christian faith was inaugurated” when Jesus said “Follow me” and trained his disciples for three years. One grave problem I believe we have is a faith in a “Pentecost without context” – that the church of Acts could have functioned or even happened without the three year ministry of Jesus.

Pentecost is what happens after three years spent in serious training by following Jesus, learning how to “fish for people” and fulfill the Great Commission. Then, from this perspective, Acts is a demonstration of what happens when people put into practice what Jesus taught.

We pray for the Spirit to fall, and this is good, but the subcontext is that all that we need to do is to stand out of God’s way and let the Spirit do the work. What’s missing is the hard work involved in the development of a vessel, a disciple maker, out of whom rivers of living water are able to flow. (John 7:37ff)

That’s what Jesus did and it required commitment and hard work by the disciples to prepare themselves. Pentecost has a context … it is the result of the three year ministry of Jesus.

 

Sources:

“The Painfully Normal Church” – Wednesday, May 29, 2013, post to the subversive1 blog by Keith Giles

 

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