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Devotional by Ray Stedman for May 3-All People

Topic:All People

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Acts 2:17

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Notice how alert Peter was, led by the Holy Spirit. He immediately began to speak. Seminary students are taught that there are three basic rules for public address: stand up, speak up, then shut up. Peter never got to the shut up. The crowd broke in upon him before he reached the conclusion and gave the altar call. He never got the chance to finish his message. That is a wonderful thing to have happen. When a crowd responds as positively as this, it is an amazing thing.

It occurred because Peter stated the truth. That is all his message was, simply an explanation of reality. That is what the preaching of the gospel is. It is an explanation of what things are really like. It is to seize the occasion to make clear what lies behind what occurs. That is what Peter does. His message consists of three things: An explanation concerning the event, the phenomenon of tongues; a declaration concerning Jesus of Nazareth; and an application concerning the crowd.

First, he explains to them that it is not what they think. Literally what the Greek said was, He stood up and said to them, Not as you suppose are these men drunk. In other words, they are drunk, but not from what you suppose. It is not new wine that makes them drunk; it is what Joel said would happen — the Spirit of God has come upon them. It is true that to be controlled by the Holy Spirit does affect one somewhat like alcohol does. Paul implies the same thing in Ephesians, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18 KJV).

When this crowd looked at these men and women they noted they were excited and voluble, speaking freely and easily, and acting rather strangely. It was not, therefore, unusual that they should conclude that they were drunk. But Peter says, No, you have the wrong explanation. The reason you’re wrong is because it is only nine o’clock in the morning. Everyone knows that hardly anyone drinks before eleven o’clock! So it can’t be that they are drunk with new wine; they are drunk with the Spirit.

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Peter then quotes an amazing passage from the prophet Joel in vv. 17-21. His explanation is very simple. This, he said, is what Joel declared would happen. The key to this passage from Joel is the phrase, all people. I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. If you read the prophecy as it occurs in Joel, you will find that, before this passage, the prophet had predicted that the Lord would visit his people. He would come to them and would live in their midst. Then, after this visitation, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. The contrast is between the visitation of God to Israel, and the pouring out of the Spirit upon all peoples everywhere — Gentiles as well as Jew. The good news about Jesus Christ is to go out to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Up to this point it had been confined to the Jewish nation. Now Peter announces that the time has come when God would pour out his Spirit upon Jews and Gentiles alike. Not only all people everywhere, but all kinds of people — young men, young women, male and female. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions. Note the emphasis upon youth. God is saying that in this age of the Spirit, leadership, effectiveness, and power will not be limited to grey hairs, but also young men and young women shall speak and lead. Even servants, menservants and maidservants, obscure people, insignificant people, upon them God would pour out his Spirit; and they would prophesy. All classes are affected by this.

Thank you, Father, for this amazing phenomenon of the Spirit and for the fact that I still live in the age of the Spirit when all that you are doing today is done by the might and power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that I may understand and experience this.

Life Application
The Holy Spirit is not discriminatory in choosing His vessels for service. Do we place limitations upon His work in others or ourselves because they or we do not fit our human categories of eligibility?

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