The Last Days: Acts 2:14-21

   Prophecy speaks for; it is pro-, not primarily pre-, but because prophecy speaks for God and God is at work in all ages and at all times, the result of prophecy may be as predictive as it is proclamatory.

   Confused? Me too but no need for confusion.

   In Acts 2:17, Simon Peter, in the warm up to his peroration, refers to the "last days" activities of God proclaimed in the ancients by the prophet Joel. What are the "last days" and just how many are there?

   The Last Days of Joel are the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom in the Body and Blood of Christ. The Last Days are now. I don’t know how many last days make up the final weeks of years. The Father knows.

   In Luke 4:18, Jesus quotes another ancient prophet, Isaiah, to establish his bona fides as the Messiah. The Kingdom comes in Jesus the Christ. This is no surprise. Everyone who knows Jesus knows the Father. Those who love Jesus get the love of the Father. The Last Days are the imminent end times but why only look at the end? The beginning of the end is the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom in Jesus the Christ.

   In Acts 2, Luke, the same fellow who writes down Luke 4:18 for us, quotes Peter’s sermon, with his introduction of the coming of the Kingdom in the Church. The Church becomes the Church as the Holy Spirit descends on the Church to empower the Church for witness.

   That is, the purpose of the Church in the Last Days is to be powerful for witness as it is possessed by the Holy Spirit. The prophesied Church ought to be the Church possessed. The Church possessed ought to be the empowered Church. The empowered Church ought to proclaim the power of God for salvation.

  What is a cynic? Jimmy Allen says a cynic is an idealist who has been disappointed. We have a lot of cynics in the Church, who start out as idealists, ready to work for God, unsure how to do so and then disappointed by human conduct.

   What is the uniting purpose of the Church? How can we breed idealistic adventurers rather than cynical despots?

   Well, look here. The unifying purpose of the Church is not an activity. It is the person of the Holy Spirit. Some people, outside the Church, look at the possessive work of the Holy Spirit and think you are delusional, as in Acts 2:7-14. See and understand; there is nothing in hearing the same message in various languages at a given time of day in a public place that would naturally cause one to assume the root cause of the speech is drunkeness. This is an irrational accusation.

   Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit, answers the vulgar accusation with sarcastic humor. Imagine, a Holy Spirit with attitude.

   The Holy Spirit poured out on the Church unifies the Church. There is no formula to cause God to pour out His Spirit in an area. There are some guaranteed ways to quench the Holy Spirit. The root cause is always disobedience of one kind or another. The unifying purpose of the Church is obedience to the Father through the sacrifice of the Son according to the baptizing power of the Holy Spirit.

   Your grandmother knew the answer; get right with God.

   Simultaneously, for these things do not proceed in some formulaic procession of events, comes the unifying passion of the Holy Spirit in the Last Days. That is, awake or asleep, the immersion of the Church in the Holy Spirit so enraptures the Church, all concerned, waking or sleeping, have their conscious and subconscious gathered in God.

   Passion is from the Greek word passios and means suffering. Passion is not necessarily what we enjoy but that for which we are willing to suffer, to pay the price to excell. That is passion, real passion.

   When the Holy Spirit comes on the Church in the Last Days (now) to establish the Messianic Kingdom of Jesus Christ in the Church, the unifying passion of the Church is its possession in the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit seals the Church in God for the Day of Days, the Church becomes the tender lover of the Holy Spirit.

   Finally, (never flag your points, but this is the most beloved word in a baptist sermon; congregants salivate at its announcement) the Holy Spirit of God in the Last Days does wonders and signs in the heavenlies above the earth and on the earth itself, among the Church of the Last Days, the Messianic Kingdom of Jesus represented on earth.

   The wonders and signs are manifestations of salvation itself. That is, the imminent, apparent, visible works of God in the midst of humanity, represent salvation in establishing the Kingdom of God as the earthly reality of humankind. God proposes nothing less than to remake the physical world in His own spiritual image.

   There are some tough times on the way first. No bubble-up stew comes in sight first. Blood and darkness litter the way. Yet, in the end, there is a way and it is the way of the Lord. All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

   Let me speak for (pro-) as I end to be pre-dictive. Trust Jesus (pro-). You will really be happy you do (pre-).



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