(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
These men are not drunk!
28th June 2007
Last week, we looked at the time when God poured out His Holy Spirit on the chuch for the first time:
We saw that this was God inaugurating the church as His new temple by the manifestation of His Spirit, as He had in Old Testament times.
We then saw how the people around the church had to take notice, but they had two different reactions:
We read on:
It was a strange thing to say. After all, it's perfectly possible to be drunk at 9 in the morning. Why did Peter say what he did?
I think it was because he was confident that the people would know that these particular men wouldn't be drunk. Jerusalem was a tight-knit community, and the Christians were well-known (although not as Christians). They'd arrived with Jesus, they'd spent 40 days experiencing Him after His resurrection. And I'm sure word got around. And people knew they weren't the sort of people who would be drunk at 9 in the morning (or at any other time).
To summarise what happened: Peter had the opportunity to explain the power of God because the church were living holy lives. If the accusation of drunkenness had been believable, Peter would have had no credibility!
I expect you know where I'm going with this: we as Christians have the opportunity to speak to our neighbours, colleagues, friends and neighbours about the Kingdom of God - both by our words and by our lives. But if we don't "walk the walk", then our words will be correctly perceived as mere hypocrisy! How can we talk about the power of God to change lives, and then live unchanged lives?
Individual Christians - and churches - do immense harm by preaching righteousness and living in unrighteousness, preaching the love of God while lying, cheating, manipulating, stealing, sleeping around and all the rest of it. We preach gentleness, humility and patience, while we live for self, ambition, greed and reputation.
We need to repent. And we need the power of God to repent and to truly change our lives. It's no coincidence that Peter's next words are:
The answer to sin and a failed life are the same as they've always been - the power of God, given to us through the Holy Spirit!
God wants to pour out His Spirit on all His people. Have you experienced this? If you're His, then it's for you. It's not a matter of gender or class or anything else - it's for all God's people. It's not just for the particularly holy Christians; we're made holy by the Holy Spirit, not as a qualification to receive Him. Only God's Spirit can change how we think, how we feel, what we want, and how we live.