Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chapter 6: Lord of The Sabbath



In this video, Brian Anthony Bowen reveals Scriptures the Church never talks about which prove that Jesus taught that LGBT people are born this way...and that prove the Apostle Paul ordained Gay Marriage...IN THE BIBLE!

This changes EVERYTHING!
More info:
http://BrianBowenMinistries.com

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Jesus said to them, The Sabbath was made on account and for the sake of man, not man for the Sabbath; so the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.  Mark 2:27-28

Let us examine more closely at another primary adherence that God mentions in his prophecy regarding eunuchs from Isaiah 56:1-8, as well as those Philip shared with the Ethiopian eunuch from Acts 8:37, to help us understand as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people what He expects of us in return for including us in His house of prayer for all people.  While these are explained from the perspective of what God seems to expect from LGBT believers, I think they will reveal themselves to actually apply to all believers.

Isaiah 56

1 Thus says the Lord: Keep justice, do and use righteousness (conformity to the will of God which brings salvation), for My salvation is soon to come and My righteousness (My rightness and justice) to be revealed.

2 Blessed, happy, and fortunate is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold of it and binds himself fast to it, who keeps sacred the Sabbath so as not to profane it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, The Lord will surely separate me from His people. And let not the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

4 For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths and choose the things which please Me and hold firmly My covenant--

5 To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial and a name better [and more enduring] than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.

6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord to minister to Him and to love the name of the Lord and to be His servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath so as not to profane it and who holds fast My covenant [by conscientious obedience]

7 All these I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

8 Thus says the Lord God, Who gathers the outcasts of Israel: I will gather yet others to [Israel] besides those already gathered.

Acts 8

37 Philip said, If you believe with all your heart [if you have a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah and accept Him as the Author of your salvation in the kingdom of God, giving Him your obedience, then] you may. And he replied, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

If we were to list these out individually, we see them as:

Keep Justice
Do and use righteousness
Keep the Sabbath sacred
Keep our hand from doing any evil
Do not complain we are “dry trees”
Choose the things that please God
Hold firmly His Covenant (Jesus Christ)
Believe with all the heart, full of joyful trust that Jesus is the Messiah
Accept Jesus as the Author of our salvation in the Kingdom of God
Give Jesus our obedience
Believe Jesus is the Son of God
Receive Baptism in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

So that’s quite a list, but in this chapter, I’d like to first explore keeping the Sabbath sacred.  What does that mean in today's society?  Fortunately, we don't have to just ask someone's opinion.  The Word of God has plenty to say about it.  But as we’ll see, it is important to understand this in a balanced way, keeping in mind that Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man, and man was not made for the Sabbath.

Most of us are familiar with the origins of the Sabbath as God’s Day of Rest:

…on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

And God blessed (spoke good of) the seventh day, set it apart as His own, and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which He had created and done.  Genesis 2:2-3

It's important to realize that the Sabbath is made for man; man is not made for the Sabbath.  Jesus made this clear when He healed the man with the shriveled hand, the bowed over woman, the crippled man lying at the Pool of Bethesda, and cured the blind man—each on the Sabbath.  And of course, Jesus rose from the dead on the Christian Sabbath Day.  We’ll look at these events as they appear in Scripture, but let us first look at Exodus 31:15-17 to learn what the Sabbath was originally for:

15 Six days may work be done, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, sacred to the Lord; whoever does work on the Sabbath day shall surely be put to death.

16 Wherefore the Israelites shall keep the Sabbath to observe it throughout their generations, a perpetual covenant.

17 It is a sign between Me and the Israelites forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased and was refreshed.

We’ll also recall that keeping the Sabbath Holy is one of the Ten Commandments:

[Earnestly] remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God).  Exodus 20:8

One of my favorite verses for explaining what the Sabbath is for is found in Ezekiel 20:20

And hallow (separate and keep holy) My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord your God.

With the ministry of Jesus, the Sabbath became even more clearly defined for Christians, as we see how Jesus’ teaching about the Sabbath expanded the spiritual aspect of it beyond the mere ritual observance of the Day within the Jewish faith.  We’ll learn that Jesus did some things on the Sabbath Day that caused many Jewish priests at the time to believe that in doing so, Jesus had profaned the Sabbath.  Let’s take a look at Jesus’ response:

1 At that particular time Jesus went through the fields of standing grain on the Sabbath; and His disciples were hungry, and they began to pick off the spikes of grain and to eat.

2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, See there! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful and not permitted on the Sabbath.

3 He said to them, Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry, and those who accompanied him—

4 How he went into the house of God and ate the loaves of the showbread--which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for the men who accompanied him, but for the priests only?

5 Or have you never read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple violate the sanctity of the Sabbath [breaking it] and yet are guiltless?

6 But I tell you, Something greater and more exalted and more majestic than the temple is here!

7 And if you had only known what this saying means, I desire mercy [readiness to help, to spare, to forgive] rather than sacrifice and sacrificial victims, you would not have condemned the guiltless.

NOTE:  This is written in Matthew 9:12-13 which says, "But when Jesus heard it, He replied, Those who are strong and well (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick.  Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin)."

8 For the Son of Man is Lord [even] of the Sabbath.

9 And going on from there, He went into their synagogue.

10 And behold, a man was there with one withered hand. And they said to Him, Is it lawful or allowable to cure people on the Sabbath days?--that they might accuse Him.

11 But He said to them, What man is there among you, if he has only one sheep and it falls into a pit or ditch on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?

12 How much better and of more value is a man than a sheep!  So it is lawful and allowable to do good on the Sabbath days.  Matthew 12:1-12

Now let us examine some other healings Jesus performed on the Sabbath, and the reactions of the people who witnessed them:

The Man Healed of a Withered Hand on the Sabbath

6 And it occurred on another Sabbath that when He went into the synagogue and taught, a man was present whose right hand was withered.

7 And the scribes and the Pharisees kept watching Jesus to see whether He would [actually] heal on the Sabbath, in order that they might get [some ground for] accusation against Him.

8 But He was aware all along of their thoughts, and He said to the man with the withered hand, Come and stand here in the midst. And he arose and stood there.

9 Then Jesus said to them, I ask you, is it lawful and right on the Sabbath to do good [so that someone derives advantage from it] or to do evil, to save a life [and make a soul safe] or to destroy it?

10 Then He glanced around at them all and said to the man, Stretch out your hand! And he did so, and his hand was fully restored like the other one.

11 But they were filled with lack of understanding and senseless rage and discussed (consulted) with one another what they might do to Jesus. Luke 6:6-11

The Bowed Over Woman Healed on the Sabbath

10 Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.

11 And there was a woman there who for eighteen years had had an infirmity caused by a spirit (a demon of sickness). She was bent completely forward and utterly unable to straighten herself up or to look upward.

12 And when Jesus saw her, He called [her to Him] and said to her, Woman, you are released from your infirmity!

13 Then He laid [His] hands on her, and instantly she was made straight, and she recognized and thanked and praised God.

14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, There are six days on which work ought to be done; so come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day.

15 But the Lord replied to him, saying, You playactors (hypocrites)! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead it out to water it?

16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?

17 Even as He said this, all His opponents were put to shame, and all the people were rejoicing over all the glorious things that were being done by Him.  Luke 13:10-17

The Crippled Man at Pool of Bethesda Healed on the Sabbath

1 Later on there was a Jewish festival (feast) for which Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

2 Now there is in Jerusalem a pool near the Sheep Gate. This pool in the Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porches (alcoves, colonnades, doorways).

3 In these lay a great number of sick folk--some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)--waiting for the bubbling up of the water.

4 For an angel of the Lord went down at appointed seasons into the pool and moved and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was cured of whatever disease with which he was afflicted.

5 There was a certain man there who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years.

6 When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?]

7 The invalid answered, Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to come [into it] myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me.

8 Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk!

9 Instantly the man became well and recovered his strength and picked up his bed and walked. But that happened on the Sabbath.

10 So the Jews kept saying to the man who had been healed, It is the Sabbath, and you have no right to pick up your bed [it is not lawful].

11 He answered them, The Man Who healed me and gave me back my strength, He Himself said to me, Pick up your bed and walk!  John 5:1-11

The Blind Man Healed on the Sabbath

9 Then they conducted to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind.

10 Now it was on the Sabbath day that Jesus mixed the mud and opened the man's eyes.

11 So now again the Pharisees asked him how he received his sight. And he said to them, He smeared mud on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.  John 9:13-15

Christ Rose from the Dead One day after the Sabbath (Sunday)

1 Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been removed from (lifted out of the groove across the entrance of) the tomb.

2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus [tenderly] loved, and said to them, They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him!

3 Upon this, Peter and the other disciple came out and they went toward the tomb.

4 And they came running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and arrived at the tomb first.  John 20:1-4

In our modern society, most Christian believers worship at their House of Prayer on the Sabbath, which some consider to be Saturday, but since Christ was raised from the dead on the "First Day of the Week", which would have been Sunday, we came to change when we worship from Saturday to Sunday, but either day can considered the Sabbath.

In fact, as explained by Paul, any day of the week we choose can be designated by us individually as the Sabbath, or the day we stop to rest, worship and restore our spirits with the Word of God. But of course, most modern Christians have set aside Sunday for this most holy time with God and with fellowship with fellow believers as we learn in Colossians 2:11-17:

11 In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).

12 [Thus] you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead.

13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,

14 Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.

15 [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].

16 Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath.

17 Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ.

So if all these things, (including what day we observe the Sabbath) are only a "shadow of things to come", what then does it mean to keep the Sabbath Holy?  We have seen that the Pharisees thought Christ had violated the Sabbath by healing on that day.  But if you think about it, most of us come to Christ and make Him our Lord and Savior at church...on a Sunday, or a Sabbath.  That means that as He heals of us our sins, binds up the wounds the bind us, heal our broken hearts, and anoint us with His Holy Spirit, He is in fact, still healing on the Sabbath in churches all over the world, through His Holy Spirit working through His ministers of the Gospel.  Let's look at some other important aspects of the Sabbath, especially in light of the early Christian church.

Early Christian worship services were held on a Sabbath

13 Now Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John [Mark] separated himself from them and went back to Jerusalem,

14 But they [themselves] came on from Perga and arrived at Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue there and sat down.

15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the leaders [of the worship] of the synagogue sent to them saying, Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation or consolation or encouragement for the people, say it.  Acts 13:13-15

We learned what the New Covenant was as we explored extensive amounts of Scripture from the Book of Hebrews in chapter 5 of The Bed Keeper, and in yet another portion of the Book of Hebrews, we learn that the true Sabbath does not come for believers until the great and final day when we enter into His rest, but while we are on the earth, we can enter His rest any day we are led to:

1 Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [to distrust it], lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it.

2 For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).

3 For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world.

4 For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.

5 And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest.

6 Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience,

7 Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts.

8 [This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day.

9 So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;

10 For he who has once entered [God's] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.

11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.

14 Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him].

15 For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.

16 Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].  Hebrews 4:1-16

So we see that the purpose of the Sabbath is actually to enter into God's rest; to bask in His glory, to worship Who He is, and to recognize and honor Him as Master over our lives and destinies.  And according to the prophecy of Isaiah 56:1-8, it is something that is required of us eunuchs, foreigners and strangers in order to fully partake in the Holy Memorial He is about to establish in His House of Prayer.  Why are we required? Well, it would seem kind of insulting to God to go through all the trouble of opening up the doors of His House of Prayer, only to have us not show up, don't you think?  Before the first church services were held after Christ's ascension, there was the most famous Sabbath of them all:

Pentecost

Pentecost is significant, because it was the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit had finally come into the earth in its fullness.  First we look at what Pentecost is, and then we'll look at the scriptural account.

Pentecost (Greek: πεντηκοστή [‘ημέρα], pentekostē [hēmera], "the fiftieth day") is one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year, celebrated the fiftieth day after Easter Sunday (the tenth day after Ascension Thursday), Historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts Chapter 2:

1 When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place,

2 When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.

3 And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.

4 And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the Spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words].

5 Now there were then residing in Jerusalem Jews, devout and God-fearing men from every country under heaven.

6 And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together and they were astonished and bewildered, because each one heard them [the apostles] speaking in his own [particular] dialect.

7 And they were beside themselves with amazement, saying, Are not all these who are talking Galileans?

8 Then how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own (particular) dialect to which we were born?

9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and [the province of] Asia,

10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and the transient residents from Rome, both Jews and the proselytes [to Judaism from other religions],

11 Cretans and Arabians too--we all hear them speaking in our own native tongues [and telling of] the mighty works of God!

12 And all were beside themselves with amazement and were puzzled and bewildered, saying one to another, What can this mean?

13 But others made a joke of it and derisively said, They are simply drunk and full of sweet [intoxicating] wine.

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: You Jews and all you residents of Jerusalem, let this be [explained] to you so that you will know and understand; listen closely to what I have to say.

15 For these men are not drunk, as you imagine, for it is [only] the third hour (about 9:00 a.m.) of the day;

16 But [instead] this is [the beginning of] what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams.

18 Yes, and on My menservants also and on My maidservants in those days I will pour out of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels and predicting future events pertaining especially to God's kingdom].

19 And I will show wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and smoking vapor;

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the obvious day of the Lord comes--that great and notable and conspicuous and renowned [day].

21 And it shall be that whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord--Christ] shall be saved.

22 You men of Israel, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man accredited and pointed out and shown forth and commended and attested to you by God by the mighty works and [the power of performing] wonders and signs which God worked through Him [right] in your midst, as you yourselves know--

23 This Jesus, when delivered up according to the definite and fixed purpose and settled plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and put out of the way [killing Him] by the hands of lawless and wicked men.

24 [But] God raised Him up, liberating Him from the pangs of death, seeing that it was not possible for Him to continue to be controlled or retained by it.

25 For David says in regard to Him, I saw the Lord constantly before me, for He is at my right hand that I may not be shaken or overthrown or cast down [from my secure and happy state].

26 Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue exulted exceedingly; moreover, my flesh also will dwell in hope [will encamp, pitch its tent, and dwell in hope in anticipation of the resurrection].

27 For You will not abandon my soul, leaving it helpless in Hades (the state of departed spirits), nor let Your Holy One know decay or see destruction [of the body after death].

28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will enrapture me [diffusing my soul with joy] with and in Your presence.

29 Brethren, it is permitted me to tell you confidently and with freedom concerning the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

30 Being however a prophet, and knowing that God had sealed to him with an oath that He would set one of his descendants on his throne, [II Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 132:11.]

31 He, foreseeing this, spoke [by foreknowledge] of the resurrection of the Christ (the Messiah) that He was not deserted [in death] and left in Hades (the state of departed spirits), nor did His body know decay or see destruction.

32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that all we [His disciples] are witnesses.

33 Being therefore lifted high by and to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promised [blessing which is the] Holy Spirit, He has made this outpouring which you yourselves both see and hear.

34 For David did not ascend into the heavens; yet he himself says, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand and share My throne

35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.

36 Therefore let the whole house of Israel recognize beyond all doubt and acknowledge assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ (the Messiah)--this Jesus Whom you crucified.

37 Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do?

38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39 For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself.

40 And [Peter] solemnly and earnestly witnessed (testified) and admonished (exhorted) with much more continuous speaking and warned (reproved, advised, encouraged) them, saying, Be saved from this crooked (perverse, wicked, unjust) generation.

41 Therefore those who accepted and welcomed his message were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls.

42 And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord's Supper] and prayers.

43 And a sense of awe (reverential fear) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles (the special messengers).

44 And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common;

45 And they sold their possessions (both their landed property and their movable goods) and distributed the price among all, according as any had need.

46 And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread [including the Lord's Supper]. They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts,

47 Constantly praising God and being in favor and goodwill with all the people; and the Lord kept adding [to their number] daily those who were being saved [from spiritual death].  Acts 2:1-47

So Pentecost was the beginning of what is now called the Christian Church.  It was this foundational beginning of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that God wants us to keep holy not simply as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, but as Christian believer.  As we learned in chapter 5 of The Bed Keeper, we learned about the “promise of Abraham,” which we learned was the Holy Spirit.  As we also learned, the Holy Spirit was not just for Abraham, but for every believer.  That means God wants gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender believer to receive of His Holy Spirit as well.

While this is not a requirement for salvation, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a separate event after receiving Christ which the believer may partake of.  But just as salvation, it too is simply a gift offered to us by God for whosoever will receive it.  And again, it’s a gift that anyone deciding whether to receive it or not must be familiar with.  So let’s take a look at what comes about in the life of believers who receive the Holy Spirit.  When you do, you will receive power, just like Jesus said we would in Acts 1:1-8:

1 In the former account [which I prepared], O Theophilus, I made [a continuous report] dealing with all the things which Jesus began to do and to teach)

2 Until the day when He ascended, after He through the Holy Spirit had instructed and commanded the apostles (special messengers) whom He had chosen.

3 To them also He showed Himself alive after His passion (His suffering in the garden and on the cross) by [a series of] many convincing demonstrations [unquestionable evidences and infallible proofs], appearing to them during forty days and talking [to them] about the things of the kingdom of God.

4 And while being in their company and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised, Of which [He said] you have heard Me speak.

5 For John baptized with water, but not many days from now you shall be baptized with (placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit.

6 So when they were assembled, they asked Him, Lord, is this the time when You will reestablish the kingdom and restore it to Israel?

7 He said to them, It is not for you to become acquainted with and know what time brings [the things and events of time and their definite periods] or fixed years and seasons (their critical niche in time), which the Father has appointed (fixed and reserved) by His own choice and authority and personal power.

8 But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.

It's important to understand that receiving the Holy Spirit is not just a gift for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender believers, but is available for everyone who will receive it.  It’s also important to note that there is a difference between “receiving the Holy Spirit” and “being baptized in the Holy Spirit.”  In actuality, all believers actually “receive the Holy Spirit” before we can make a decision to become a follower of Jesus.  It is by the Holy Spirit’s own leadership by which we can even make that decision, as Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 12:3, saying,

“Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking under the power and influence of the [Holy] Spirit of God can [ever] say, Jesus be cursed! And no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.”

In fact, we’ll also see how Paul says the process of a believer making a decision works:

…my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.  1 Corinthians 2:4-5 

Let us now recall the account of the Baptism of the Eunuch from chapter 3 of The Bed Keeper, and we’ll see that’s exactly how it happened in his case as well.  We remember that it was the Holy Spirit that led Philip to not only locate, but to teach the eunuch about Jesus, and then look again at the chain of events that happened between the eunuch deciding to believe that Jesus was the Son of God and what transpires immediately after the eunuch’s water baptism:

If you believe with all your heart [if you have a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah and accept Him as the Author of your salvation in the kingdom of God, giving Him your obedience, then] you may. And he replied, I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

And he ordered that the chariot be stopped; and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and [Philip] baptized him.

And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord [suddenly] caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and he went on his way rejoicing.

But Philip was found at Azotus, and passing on he preached the good news (Gospel) to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.  Acts 8:37-40

Receiving the Holy Spirit, and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, are spiritual gifts that are not exclusive to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, but are available for everyone who will receive these Spiritually empowering blessings.  Unfortunately, many LGBT people have never heard about these gifts, because so many of us had been rejected by Christians, or the Church--(or both)--prior to ever hearing about the Holy Spirit.  I know when I received these gifts, I was unaware of what they were, where they came from, of for what purpose I had received them.  I simply started operating in one of them one day, and that event led me to explore the Scriptures to find out what had happened.  Once I did, I began to see the Scriptures in a whole new way, I began to fellowship with other believers in a whole new way, and I began to experience the Fruit of the Spirit, and the Gifts of the Spirit, including leading me to write The Bed Keeper.  In short, I have never been the same!

In the next chapter of The Bed Keeper, we will now explore these heavenly gifts and their purpose in more detail, that we may understand better what God meant when He prophesied to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Isaiah 55:11-56:8 about “choosing the things that please God.”  Obviously, choosing salvation and choosing to believe in Jesus as the Son of God are two things that please God.  But there is another thing that pleases Him as well:  The Holy Spirit.  

So let’s find out Who He is, what He does, and why God desires us to choose Him and His powerful spiritual gifts!

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Dear Valued Readers,
This blog continues to be a work in progress. As recent revelations and events throughout Christendom have created an increasingly fluid situation, updates will no longer be published at the end of each post, but rather only at the beginning of the corresponding posts so impacted.  As of August 1, 2013, the only updates to appear at the end of each post will be churches that are personally endorsed by The Bed Keeper as a "SAFE SPACE."

Readers may email thebedkeeper@gmail.com to discuss or comment on any posting.  Please note that while all feedback is highly valued and appreciated, it may not be possible to reply to each email.
 
UPDATE 01.15.12:
Lakewood Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

UPDATE 11.22.11:

Eagle Mountain International Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.


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Let him who receives instruction in the Word of God share all good things with his teacher, contributing to his support.
Galatians 6:6