2/7/2019 4:21:29 PM
Set Apart by His Spirit | February 8-14, 2019
Children’s Ministry Director
I once visited Buckingham Palace in England and was struck by the Queen’s Royal Guard stationed out front of the palace. All day, a sea of tourists rushed by, stopping to take pictures with them, while the guards stood completely still. I was amazed by their composure even more than the palace itself. Funny how being motionless and resolute can attract such attention.
Congratulations, we are finishing Exodus and beginning the Book of Acts this week! Exodus covered the great EXIT of Israel from Egypt (Ex. 12:50-51), and then unfolds the long journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, where Israel is set apart as holy for the Lord (Ex. 19:4-6). When God established His covenant with Israel, He said, “[A]ll the people among who you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you” (Ex. 34:10b). God gave the Israelites laws and customs that set them apart as different from the surrounding nations. It made them holy. Israel’s holiness attracted attention from surrounding nations, much like motionless guards attract attention among swarms of tourists in constant motion.
In Exodus the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20) are established to help God’s people stand firm and immovable, by showing them what is pleasing in the sight of God. Then, between Exodus and the Book of Acts, Christ leaves believers a gift far greater than the Law. He brings salvation and imparts His Spirit to live within them that they may long for what is pleasing to the Lord (John 14:15-17).
The Old and New Testament are unique yet the same. In the Old Testament, God’s people are set apart because the Lord extended grace in preservation of His children. The laws of the Old Testament were resources for God’s people to respond in appreciation for the grace God demonstrated toward them. Then, in the New Testament, God’s grace is seen through the Holy Spirit compelling them toward love and good deeds. God’s grace is an unchanging feature that highlights His love for humanity and desire for relationship with them.
As we begin the Book of Acts, notice that God’s people are no longer restricted to a single nation. Rather, all people are invited into relationship through the gift of the Holy Spirit by salvation. Acts 1:8 writes, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” When believers live resolute, they attract attention, similar to the attention tourists give the Queen’s Royal Guard. The Guard represents the Queen but is merely a shadow of her and her kingdom. As the Guard fulfills their role, the Queen is glorified. In the same way, may our lives magnify a kingdom that cannot be shaken as we study the King of Kings. God bless!