15:28 compliance: the Spirit poured out on all flesh.

Here’s the question I’m pushing. What environment would have to exist for there to be an Acts 15:28 moment, “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” Let me first say that this is not an environment created by human actors. It is an environment created when the church’s life is tuned to pursuing the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is less that the church builds a cage for the Holy Spirit, and more that the Spirit pulls us into a certain kind of life through our attentiveness.

As I said in my last post, I have several of these. But let’s begin where all good Church of Christ folk do, with Pentecost. But let’s look way ahead of 2:38 and hear Peter’s explanation for the commotion that has grabbed everyone’s attention: the falling of the Spirit on those gathered with fiery tongues that allows what is said to be heard in the language of each one gathered there. This is not, Peter makes clear, a little hair of the dog. Too early for that. This is, instead, the promised pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh. On all flesh. Young and old, male and female, and as Acts will make clear, Jew and Gentile.

So, an environment of attentiveness to the Spirit begins with this Spirit given reality. The Spirit is not the province of some and not others. The Spirit is not just with leaders or with men or with prophets. The Spirit is poured out on all flesh. And the promise of the gospel is similarly for you, for your children, for all who are far off, all who the Lord God calls to him. So, when baptism is offered to the crowd in 2:38, it comes with the promise of the Holy Spirit. All are empowered and ordained for participation in God’s mission.

I think this core conviction of Luke’s understanding of the church is reflected in two very important texts. The first is Acts 6, the choosing of the seven to serve the Hellenistic widows. The second, the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15 when the decision about the mission to the Gentiles is determined. These two stories have several features in common. Both feature decisions that bear upon the spreading of the mission of God. Both involve food. Both involve issues related to Hebrew/Hellenist, Jew/Gentile.

Notably, both occur with the whole assembly gathered. And the decisions reached pleased the whole group. This is what it looks like to make the big decisions when you take seriously the belief that the “Spirit is poured out on all flesh.”

Functionally speaking, I don’t think most congregations organize themselves or make decisions in ways that demonstrate such a conviction. Put another way, I seriously doubt that you can have an “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to US” moment without an “us” that includes all those who have received the Spirit.

Well, that would be chaos, you say. That’s what leadership is for, to make the big decisions and ask us to follow them. I agree that taking this seriously will slow you down and make you less efficient, especially at first. And I’m not suggesting that everything be subjected to congregation wide discernment or that everything be put to a vote. After all, in Acts 15, James, on behalf of the elders and apostles, announces the decision. But what he announces there is not the result of a study done by the elders or staff. What he announces is the shared sense of what the Spirit is up to given all the stories that have bubbled up from “below.”

I recently heard about a meeting between two groups of elders occasioned by one group’s concern that the other was allowing congregational discussion on a controversial topic. The concerned elder group had already come to a conclusion on the matter and didn’t see the value in stirring matters up. “That’s the difference between our way of being elders,” said one of the elders from the other congregation. “You discern for your people. We discern with our people.” Ah, the Spirit poured out on all flesh.

Everything else we will notice in Acts proceeds from this basic conviction. Got some 15:28?

Come, Holy Spirit.

About Mark Love

I am the Dean for the School of Theology and Ministry and Director of the Resource Center for Missional Leadership at Rochester College. Part of my job includes directing a master's degree in missional leadership, a situated learning degree. I am married to Donna and have a son, Josh Love, who is a practicing new monastic in Abilene, TX. With Donna, I have also inherited three great daughters and two amazing granddaughters.
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6 Responses to 15:28 compliance: the Spirit poured out on all flesh.

  1. richconstant says:

    HERE YA GO BRO!!!!!

    Start out on a piece of paper,ya know letter size,will do.no no no 10×10 ya that’s it.
    now cut that paper…making two right triangles. ya, ya , that’s it…
    now then up one edge number one through 1-10 same along the the other edge
    now then the other triangle backwards… start with 10 go up to one…other edge start out with 10 out all the way to 1

    love GOD top of one leg 10…
    love your brother other leg 10…

    other triangle….
    understand god’s definition good and evil…and how to implement that!

    Mat 10:16 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

    . 5:13 For everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced in the message of righteousness, because he is an infant. 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.
    6:1 Therefore we must progress beyond the elementary instructions about Christ and move on to maturity, not laying this founda-tion again: repentance from dead works and faith in God, 6:2 teaching about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 6:3 And this is what we intend to do, if God permits.

    now then
    put the two triangles together and guess what you have built

    eph
    Live in Unity
    4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 4:3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
    4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 4:8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he captured captives; he gave gifts to men.” 4:9 Now what is the meaning of “he ascended,” except that he also descended to the lower regions, namely, the earth? 4:10 He, the very one who descended, is also the one who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things. 4:11 It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God – a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature. 4:14 So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. 4:15 But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. 4:16 From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body grows in love.
    Live in Holiness
    4:17 So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 4:19 Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 4:20 But you did not learn about Christ like this, 4:21 if indeed you heard about him and were taught in him, just as the truth is in Jesus. 4:22 You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, 4:23 to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 4:24 and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.
    4:25 Therefore, having laid aside false-hood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one an-other. 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your an-ger. 4:27 Do not give the devil an opportu-nity. 4:28 The one who steals must steal no longer; rather he must labor, doing good with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with the one who has need. 4:29 You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear. 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 4:31 You must put away every kind of bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and evil, slanderous talk. 4:32 Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.
    Live in Love
    5:1 Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children 5:2 and live in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. 5:3 But among you there must not be either sexual immorality, impurity of any kind, or greed, as these are not fitting for the saints. 5:4 Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting – all of which are out of character – but rather thanksgiv-ing. 5:5 For you can be confident of this one thing: that no person who is immoral, im-pure, or greedy (such a person is an idolater) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
    Live in the Light
    5:6 Let nobody deceive you with empty words, for because of these things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience. 5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them, 5:8 for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light – 5:9 for the fruit of the light con-sists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – 5:10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 5:11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 5:12 For the things they do in secret are shameful even to mention. 5:13 But all things being exposed by the light are made evident. 5:14 For everything made evident is light, and for this reason it says:
    “Awake, O sleeper!
    Rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you!”

    .

    • richconstant says:

      that’s all i got bro
      pretty simple

    • richconstant says:

      and of course scripture in all the new Continent refers to the rest of the books of the narrative. coming together as paul puts it.
      1st. Corinthians 2

      matt.10
      16-20

      10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 10:17 Beware of people, because they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues. 10:18 And you will be brought before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them and the Gentiles. 10:19 Whenever they hand you over for trial, do not worry about how to speak or what to say, for what you should say will be given to you at that time. 10:20 For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

  2. richconstant says:

    oops….
    Senior moment…

    now then when we have a perfect square

    guess what

    2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 2:14 For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, 2:15 when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, 2:16 and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. 2:17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, 2:18 so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 2:19 So then you are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, 2:20 because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 2:21 In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit

  3. richconstant says:

    would we like to realize and actualize the” fulfilled promise of the Spirit of GOD” that dwells in Each of US because of “Christ”s Resurrection through his perfect faithfulness to the will of the Father”…
    then implement the new creation.

    Amos
    The LORD is speaking!
    Every Effect has its Cause
    3:1 Listen, you Israelites, to this message which the LORD is proclaiming against you! This message is for the entire clan I brought up from the land of Egypt: 3:2 “I have chosen you alone from all the clans of the earth. Therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”
    3:3 Do two walk together without having met?
    3:4 Does a lion roar in the woods if he has not cornered his prey?
    Does a young lion bellow from his den if he has not caught something?
    3:5 Does a bird swoop down into a trap on the ground if there is no bait?
    Does a trap spring up from the ground unless it has surely caught something?
    3:6 If an alarm sounds in a city, do people not fear?
    If disaster overtakes a city, is the LORD not responsible?
    3:7 Certainly the sovereign LORD does nothing without first revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.
    3:8 A lion has roared! Who is not afraid?
    The sovereign LORD has spoken! Who can refuse to prophesy?

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