This is a portion of a sermon Pastor Streeter preached in 1985. The topic is as current today as it was then. Luke 1:41 tells us that John the Baptist “leaped” in Elisabeth’s womb when Mary visited after Mary had received the news from the angel that she would be the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. What does that tell us about the life of a babe in the womb?
Acts 2:39-40 To whom is the promise of the Holy Spirit given? Dr. Streeter helps the listener to understand Peter’s statement on this subject in verse 39. He also makes it clear what Peter means in verse 40 when he says, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”
Verses 11-12 “11And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
12For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
This promise was given to a specific people (the disciples of Jesus) and for a specific time.Â However, the promise does have an application to God’s people in every age.Â If God’s people are being persecuted and are being questioned in an inquisition, the Holy Spirit, who is resident in every believer, will teach those believers how to behave and what to say.Â We should pray that God will give us the words to say in every situation, especially in a time when we are witnessing to someone about God’s salvation.
Verse 10 “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.”
God can forgive any sin if a person will repent.Â He will even forgive blasphemy against Jesus if the offender will repent and trust in Jesus as personal Savior.Â Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is apparently rejecting the Holy Spirit’s call to salvation.Â It is the Holy Spirit who woos and draws the sinner to come to the Savior.Â If a person rejects Christ, rejects the convicting message of the Holy Spirit, and dies unsaved, he has committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and will never be forgiven.Â Furthermore, it should be noted–“And the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with man” (Gen 6:3).Â “There’s a line that is crossed by rejecting our Lord where the call of His Spirit is lost.Â And you hurry along with the pleasure mad throng.Â Have you counted…Have you counted the cost? Have you counted the cost if your soul should be lost?Â Though you gain the whole world for your own?Â Even now it may be that the line you have crossed.Â Have you counted…Have you counted the cost?”
Verses 11-13 “11If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
One of the best gifts that God gives to us is the gift of the Holy Spirit.Â Every saved person has been given the Holy Spirit.Â The Holy Spirit dwells within us.Â He is in us to comfort us, teach us, empower us, and gift us to serve.Â He produces in us joy, peace, and all of the Christian graces.Â He teaches us how to love.Â What a gift!Â Good gifts all come from God, no matter who the intermediary might be.Â “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
13But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.
14For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.
15And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.
17And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.”
Not only does this feeding of a multitude prove that with God nothing is impossible, it also proves the great compassion of our Lord. He is concerned when we are hungry and He is able to make bread where there is none.Â “And all were filled” are words that tell us that God always gives us enough of what we need.Â He gives us His Spirit, His provision for our journey, and His companionship, and there is enough for all to be filled.
Verses 36-39 “36And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.
37And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
38But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
39No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”
The Pharisees did not want to see any changes in the way they were doing things, and they certainly were not pleased with the incarnation of Jesus and the changes that He would bring.Â The Dispensation of Law and the Dispensation of Grace have some things which are incompatible with each other.Â Many Old Testament saints living in Jesus’ day would say that the old dispensation was better, but this was due to a misunderstanding of God’s plan for the ages.Â Old wine could be put in either old bottles or new bottles without any problems.Â But new wine could not be put in old bottles because when the wine fermented it would burst the bottles.Â Likewise, the church and the new operations of the Holy Spirit could not be put into the old dispensation without destroying it completely.Â The church does not fit in Judaism.Â The church is not Israel and Israel is not the church.Â The two are incompatible.Â The church and the working of the Holy Spirit today was new at Pentecost, the birthday of the church.Â The new is better, even though some would say with the Pharisees that the opposite is true.Â Those who say that the old is better are still trying to force the church into the old Judaism.
16John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
17Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”John did and said such amazing things that many began to question whether he was the promised messiah. John assures them that he is not the Christ, and in so doing, he exalts Jesus. All good ministers will exalt Jesus and minimize themselves. As great as John was, he was not worthy to tie Jesus’ shoes. Jesus is far greater than John for two reasons that are mentioned here. First, neither John nor anyone else could baptize as Jesus would. John could baptize with water only, but Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire refers to the single even that occurred at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit proceeds from Jesus, and was sent by Jesus, to baptize believers into one body. This is a prediction of the beginning of the Church and of the fact that all believers throughout this dispensation of grace would be inseparably and mystically united to Christ.Second, Jesus is greater than John because Jesus has power to bring all men into Judgment (v17). John had no power to gather all of God’s people unto safety nor to send unbelievers to hell, but Jesus has that power. It is a power that He will exercise at His Second Coming. He will separate the saved from the lost, providing an eternal home of bliss for the saved and sending the lost into outer darkness. Hell is described as a place of “unquenchable fire,” which means that the punishment of hell is for ever and for ever (Rev 14:11).
Verses 51-52 “51And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:
52And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.”
Was the naked young man in this passage John Mark, the author of this gospel? Most Bible students believe so. It is an evidence for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that this account is included by Mark. The human inclination would have been to leave out this embarrassing detail. The Bible, being inspired by God, includes the information that the heroes of the Faith would not want mentioned. Their embarrassing moments, their weaknesses, even their gross sins are all included in Holy Writ. A full-orbed view is included for our admonition and learning. God knows all about us, warts and all!
Verse 5 “To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”
Espousal was a stronger relationship than our marriage engagement today. It was a legal relationship but it was not a marriage. Like marriage the relationship could be broken by divorce. It was a year-long relationship in which a couple could get to know each other better and make adequate preparation for a home and life together. The marriage was not supposed to be consummated during the espousal period. There were to be no sexual relations. It was during this time when Mary was espoused to Joseph that she was found to be with child. This was a great trial to Joseph’s faith, but he believed what God revealed to him, and his mind was put at ease. The news that Mary was with child was as difficult for Joseph as it was for Mary. He was called upon to believe that Mary had been faithful to him and had not been with another man as well as to believe the fantastic truth that the Child was from the Holy Spirit.
Mary was great with Child when she journeyed to Bethlehem. We are not told how long Joseph and Mary took to make the trip, nor are we told how long they were at Bethlehem before the delivery. We are not told if Mary was in the seventh, eighth, or ninth month when the trip began. We are not told if they stayed for a time with relatives or friends somewhere between Nazareth and Bethlehem. We are only told that they made the journey with Mary “being great with child” and that while they were in Bethlehem the Baby was born. We should be careful about reading into the Bible what is not there.