Introduction: Welcome to Expound our weekly worship and verse by verse study of the Bible. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God as we explore the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Well, good evening. I'm Jarrett Petero; I'm the outreach pastor here on campus. Thank you very much. Pastor Skip and Nate are coming back from the East Coast. They were with Billy Graham at the Cove and speaking this week. So, if you could continue to pray for them. They send their greetings to you. Again, such a privilege to be here tonight to be able to share the Word with you this evening. If you brought your Bibles, of course, I've love for you to turn to Luke, chapter 4. As you turn to Luke, chapter, I'd like to read this to you out of Hebrews.
Hebrews, chapter 12, says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Let's pray. Father, once again, we thank you we have the privilege to be in your house, to open your Word, Lord, to hear from you. And not only hear from you, but to see you tonight. Father, I pray that you would just move in our lives. May your Holy Spirit have complete reign to work within us. Father, we pray as we open your Word now that we would see Jesus clearer than we did before. Knowing you, Lord, is what we want. We want to know Jesus, and we pray this in Jesus' name, amen.
In Luke, chapter 4, we are looking at, really, a photograph or a portrait of Jesus. I was thinking about this the other day as I was studying. I came across some old photographs looking at some pictures of my kids, seeing them when they were young, of course, as they were being raised when they were one and two years old. And, of course, when you catch a photograph of your child or maybe yourself, when you see yourself when you're younger, you have this idea that you capture a moment in time.
It's amazing to me, I mean, when you think about Instagram or any kind of photograph when you can catch a moment; you catch that emotion and that still life in a moment in time. And I think here as Jesus in Luke, chapter 4, I believe that's what Luke is giving us. He's giving us a snapshot, a portrait of Jesus as the Holy Spirit is going to define in Jesus' life as the Promised One, as the Messiah, so clearly for us.
But, again, as you take those photos, and much like Scripture is like the pieces of the puzzle, like photographs that you would put together, they only tell part of the story. They only tell a portion of the story. But when you begin to put them together, you begin to see the thread. You begin to see how it all fits together. And I believe in Luke, chapter 4, this is what the author tries to express to us and is trying to reveal to us in this snapshot, so that we would see Jesus as the Messiah that much clearer.
To get a running start, I'd like to start in verse 14. Luke chapter 4 verse 14, it says, "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and the news about him went all throughout the region. And he taught in their synagogues, and he was being glorified by all. So he came to his hometown of Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as the custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And it was handed to him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah."
"And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at freedom those who are oppressed; and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.' Then as he closed the book, and he gave it back to the attendant, he sat down. And all the eyes of those in the synagogue, they were fixed on Jesus. And he began to say to them that day, 'Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.' "
The eyes of all those that day were fixed on Jesus by the very words that he spoke from this prophet. And when you approach this passage, it's kind of interesting because it's one of the only occasions that we really have in the Scriptures where Jesus goes to church. If you think about it, I mean, he obviously attends synagogue, it was his custom to go in there, but as far as recorded for us where he actually attends synagogue and represents the heart of the Father, quotes from the prophet Isaiah, and reveals himself to the nation.
But here recorded for us, he could have, again, chose any prophet. And that's pretty mind boggling when you think about that he could have chose Daniel, spoke of the prophecies related to himself; maybe even Isaiah 53 speaking about him as a suffering servant; or you think of, like, Psalm 22, it speaks about the cross. I mean, he could have chosen any passage, any prophet, and Jesus decides to choose this prophecy. That alone says a lot about Jesus.
The question then is: Why would he choose this particular passage? Why this prophet? And to top it off, it's only like a verse and a half, and it ends up being one of the shortest sermons ever. And Jesus reveals his nature, reveals who he is out of this passage, as many of us are aware. When we look at the life of Jesus in this passage, in some ways I've broken this down just for our understanding tonight as representing in verses 1 through 13, really that pre---come before this in Luke, chapter 4, in the first portion of that.
It really speaks of his power building up as the Spirit of God had filled him, and he was full of the Holy Spirit in verse 14. And then, of course, as the Spirit of the Lord is upon him in verse 18, it speaks about his power centered on the Holy Spirit. The second thing also we see in Luke chapter 4 verse 18 is the characteristic of the Holy Spirit or his purpose. So we have his power, and then his purpose. And the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in Jesus' life would lead to his person and who he is. So, we also see that as well.
So, we have his power, his purpose, his person, and then, finally, his promise that he gives. I believe today what we see in a church is in many ways a lack of the power of the Holy Spirit, speaking about being disconnected; a lack of the person of the Holy Spirit and his power within the Christian life; and not only that, but the emphasis that Jesus is coming again.
When I think about Calvary Chapel even as a ministry and a movement, two characteristics, I believe, that when I came to know the Lord in 1989 was the emphasis, placed of course, on the teaching of the Word which is done so well. But also during that time as well, and you could see it continue, is the emphasis on the person and the power of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life, and the soon return of Jesus. Just like the early church, a full reliance and a dependability on the Holy Spirit.
Going back to our study, as we look at this passage, again, I believe Jesus is giving us something, a clue here, if you will, an answer to many of our problems. I think he's giving us an answer of what it's all about, the totality of even his ministry. I think this passage here in Isaiah reveals something so profound, because it is the only one recorded that Jesus spoke openly about himself directly saying, "This day it's fulfilled."
The interest that we have as we look as this is Jesus goes into the city of Nazareth visiting church. The response to Jesus would be, as he gives this revelation, would be rejection. We're told at the tail end of this passage itself that Jesus---they would be so angry that they would want to kill him. As a matter of fact, they lead him to the edge of the city to where they're going to throw him off a cliff to start the stoning process, because of this kind of talk about he is the Messiah, that he has come to heal the brokenhearted.
We live in a world and a generation many people are heartbroken, brokenhearted. Many are living in poverty spiritually, lacking power within their life, lacking salvation, the lost, the blind, as it mentions here. And Jesus came, as he said, to accomplish that, to bring physical and also spiritual healing. We find that as Jesus goes into Nazareth, as they rejected him, he would turn his attention to the Gentiles as the story unfolds for us.
And looking at Jesus' power again, we know prior to this Jesus was tempted by the devil. In Luke, chapter 4, prior to this, as I mentioned earlier, revealing his power, Jesus displayed his power in the Word of God. You know the story really well, because Jesus as he was tempted those three times and, of course, for forty days relentlessly by the enemy, Jesus used the Scripture. "It is written . . ." "It is written . . ."
It gives us an indication of how to war against our enemy, the enemy of our soul, Satan, using the power of the Word, the Word of God. And then again here we find that it continues on, Jesus shows us and displays the power of the Spirit of God. And that's what I want to talk to you mainly about tonight, is the power, the purpose, and the person of Jesus Christ revealed to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Notice here God reveals himself through this passage in Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 61 verses 1 and 2, part of verse 2 is only quoted here, but God has given a revelation to each one of us. In Psalm, chapter 19, God says that "the heavens declare the glory of God," that day unto day is uttering speech, and their words go out as if there is a universal language. It's referred to as a general revelation. God has given general revelation through creation in one of the ways that he's done that.
But general revelation should always lead us to what is known as special or specific revelation, where God is predicted, used prophecy, spoken through his Son to reveal his heart, his nature, his character. General revelation leads us to specific revelation. And that specific revelation---these people listening at that moment had the opportunity to see the actual specific Revealer before their eyes.
I love what the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 1 of Hebrews. He said, "God at various times and various ways spoke to us in past by the prophets of old. But in these last days he has spoken to us by and through his Son." God has chosen specifically to speak to us as a final revelation everything consisting in the person of Jesus Christ. How exciting is that when you think about the love of God to send his Son.
Not to just leave us guessing in creation, as great as that revelation is, but to specifically mention, to specifically through prophecy and the revelation through his Son Jesus Christ to come and be man, to be a human, to take the destruction of sin upon his own life and go to a cross and die at Calvary for our sins. We find here too that as God would reveal his power, a question comes to my mind as Jesus begins to say, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me."
I think of the gospel, because what Jesus, in essence, is saying in Isaiah 61 as he quotes out of Isaiah here, this totality of the revelation of Isaiah is wrapped up in these simple verses---the gospel. So what is the gospel? What is the gospel? What truly is the gospel? I know it's a forgiveness of sins through the Righteous One, through Jesus Christ who died on the cross. We know that is the good news, that he came and died for the bad news that we were sinners and fallen. We understand that, but what is the gospel? What is it?
I'm not trying to be silly here, but when you really think about it and try to define it in one word; you discover that Paul just captures it so well in Romans chapter 1 verse 16. You know the verse. Remember what Paul says about the gospel? He defines it for us. He says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for anyone who believes." So what is the gospel? It is the power of God.
Everything that we know about what Christ has done, and what he has revealed about himself, and what Scripture has told us about who the Messiah is---all of the gospel comes down to the power of God being revealed to us. So then why do we look around so often at the church and look at the weakness? Why do we see a lack of power even in our own lives? Could something be wrong? Could I have a wrong gospel? Could it be possible that I'm living without that kind of power? Could it be possible that I'm living a very religious life, but not a transformed life?
Many people can live a reformed life, but God has done something even greater, hasn't he? He's provided a transformed life, a whole new creation in him, a transformed life to live in the power of the Spirit of God. Jesus reveals that to us because he declares for "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me." Look at verse 18 in Luke 4 here. He's says, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me."
You think about the Holy Spirit, and you think about the representation of the Holy Spirit as many symbols in the Bible; of course, there's fire, and oil, and you think about the water and the living water. Jesus even promises that the Holy Spirit would come upon us, that there would be torrents of living water coming out of our life and through our life. It would be characterized by the person of Jesus. We would see this manifestation that he's mentioning here even within our own life.
And that's what I think is mind blowing, because even as Jesus begins to tell us in verse 18 the Spirit of the Lord is upon him, and we know to be a messianic psalm or a messianic prophecy, we also know that what is true of Jesus Christ, him being in us as a believer, as a Christian, is also true in the nature of our own lives as the Holy Spirit would be manifested through our lives. Just think about it.
If this is a prophecy regarding Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit being upon him, the promise then continues forward even into our own lives that the Spirit of God would be upon us revealing the nature and the character of the Holy Spirit through our lives. It's amazing. The present experience in Romans chapter 8 verse 11, one of my favorite verses---you can turn there if you'd like. I'll read it to you.
Paul declared, "But if the Spirit [or since the Spirit of Jesus Christ or] of him who had raised Jesus from the dead [since he] dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal body through the Spirit who dwells in you." The same Spirit of God that dwelt in Christ---the Holy Spirit---and upon him, dwells in us. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead---that takes a lot of power to raise a dead man---dwells in us.
Look at that verse. It's amazing because so often you hear that, "Does God really dwell inside of a believer? Is he really inside of a person?" And the answer to that is: Absolutely, because the same Spirit who dwells in us is the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead. And notice that he says it's not just your immortal body, although we know that's coming. Looking forward to that day when we have that immortal body, but this is your mortal body.
This means the body you have now, the body that you're living now. That God has given us the power and the strength to live the Christian life now. Now, it's interesting because I know I am speaking somewhat to the choir. But my challenge for you this evening is really: When's the last time you stopped and asked God to truly fill you with the Holy Spirit, to have the power to represent Jesus, to live the Christian life in holiness, to live the Christian life surrendered, absolutely surrendered to God?
And not in a condemning way, but in a very loving way to look around and say, "You know what? I see the standard around me and it's fallen so short, and God desires so much more, that my life would be filled." As much as Jesus could say, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me," we could say the same thing---"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he's anointed me as a believer to live for him."
I think about God's power. I think about his purpose. We see his purpose lived out here in verse 18 as we continue. Notice that it says the purpose of the anointing and the power of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus' life is pretty clear. Isaiah the prophet lays it out: "To preach the gospel to the poor," those that were banished, those that were bankrupt, those that were bruised. God has given us the power to preach the gospel.
What I love about Calvary Albuquerque and Pastor Skip is that he's not afraid to do that. And I know as a body here we believe in preaching the gospel. One of the most intriguing things when I came here, I was sharing with some friends---it's almost been a year since I've been on staff. I was so blown away that a message could be taught nearly every service and people were getting saved. You don't see that very much. And it's just amazing to me to watch souls come to Christ.
And I love the fact that the staff here, and those who are part of the volunteer, and those who are ministering here, that that heart is there to preach the gospel to the poor. That's a mark of the Holy Spirit active in a person's life. That's a mark of the Spirit of God being upon them as we see here in the life of Jesus, a heart for the lost, a heart for the poor in spirit. It's a heart of Jesus. When that happens in our life, people are astounded. When people come to Christ and lives are transformed, nothing like the power of a testimony; don't you agree?
Watching "My Hope" just last week and watching those testimonies on video bring you to tears. Why? Because you can relate. Many of us are like that. We all have a testimony, a story in our life, a coming to Christ. We know the darkness that we were involved in, how radical it was, how we fought and struggled, how we were enslaved to sin. The moment someone hears the gospel, it stops them right where they are.
The power and authority of God's Word being spoken, because the power of God is being manifested, it stops a person to where all they could do is fix their eyes on Jesus. That portrait of Jesus in their life gets that much clearer. And I believe the Lord was speaking not only to those in the synagogue, but his disciples, I'm sure, that were with him at this time. This is what is to be manifested in the life of the believer, as much as it was Jesus'.
So that when people look at us, as the Spirit of God would even be upon our life, it would arrest them to where their eyes would be fixed on Jesus and that is what they would see. They would see the gracious words that would come out of our life as it says here, as they all bore witness to the gracious words that came out of Jesus' mouth. They were shocked. Why? Because Jesus opened the door to grace. He fulfilled the law and perfection. And when he opened the door to grace up to these people, they didn't know how to handle it.
Isn't it funny, as you walk with the Lord sometimes you can be that way, or I can be that way as well? We get the walk down, we begin to walk with the Lord, and after a while we can get kind of weird. You know, I mean, it's like we get even kinda legalistic---kinda. Sometimes it's bad, isn't it? A return to grace, a return to the heart of Jesus here, because he loves the poor in spirit. He loves those who are broken. Get back to grace in the Spirit of God freshly anointing my life and your life like Jesus.
Can you imagine, the power was present to heal them right there and they were blind to it? But not just blind because they didn't want to see in that sense, because they could no longer see. They had rejected. They didn't want it over time, and it got to a point where they could not see any longer, the hardening of the heart. So much so that instead of receiving the Messiah, they rejected him. And the purpose that we see here is Jesus came to preach the gospel to the poor.
Notice there he also says that the Father, by the Spirit, "has sent me to heal the brokenhearted," the brokenhearted. I don't know your condition tonight, but maybe you're like Job. You've gone through tremendous suffering. You've questioned God. You're at a crossroads in your life. The word here for "brokenhearted" means someone who is so crushed because of the circumstances of life, they're shattered; life is fractured. They can't even get up off the floor.
And God says, "If you're brokenhearted, I can heal you." The amazing thing to me is not only did Jesus bring healing, but he is the healer. Just as much as he gives us peace, but he is our peace. He's the one who can mend the broken heart, the only one who can heal the broken heart. Job said at the end of his book evaluating God, his assessment of the circumstances of life, he said, "I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen you." I only heard of you out here.
And I don't know if you're in here this evening and you've only heard things about God, but maybe as Jesus reveals in this passage, my prayer is that you would see him; that you would see this portrait of Jesus and come to him with your broken heart and your broken life and receive healing, because only he can do that, only he can take the poor in spirit.
And listen, the Bible declares the truth about us. It says "you were dead" in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1, as he made us alive, of course, but we were dead. That's the evaluation of God towards us is that we were dead in our trespasses and sins, and Jesus came and made us alive. He brought life. And not only did he bring life and take away the punishment, but then he decides to make us an heir with him. You gain it all, here's the keys to heaven, and he writes our name in the Book of Life. It would have been enough to not go to hell, right? But we get heaven too.
So here we have the Spirit of God, as he takes the Word of God, he reveals the Son of God to us. The Spirit of God takes the Word of God and reveals the Son of God. Do you see the nature of Jesus, not only in this passage, but for you as a believer tonight? Do you see this in your life? Is the Spirit of the Lord upon you, because God has anointed you? When's the last time you relied upon the Spirit instead of getting in front of God, and stood back and allowed God to lead you, to guide you, to teach you?
It's so true, we're all like that at times where we're like, "Lord, I got this," like a little kid. You know, I have four kids, and my youngest I remember she would run ahead of me, and to grab their hand. And you know what it's like, moms, dads, when your kid takes off and they're running. You're fearful that they're going to run into the street and you run after them---careless. Love has boundaries. Love has boundaries.
You know, I think about allowing your kids to play out in the front yard, and you tell them, "You can't cross the sidewalk. You can't go any further than this." You lay down the line, you know, because you know there are cars out there in the street. Someone who's unloving wouldn't care; they just let their kids do whatever they want. "Go ahead and cross the sidewalk, run, go play on the freeway." Like many of your grandfathers probably told you, "Can't you go play on the freeway?" [laughter] I understand now being---get rid of you.
But a loving father puts boundaries. Love has boundaries. And when he sees that you've crossed that boundary, and whether you've allowed sin to come back into your life, or quench the Holy Spirit, or grieve the Holy Spirit---you can't grieve a force, but you can grieve a person. And God says, "You know, I've put these boundaries, and you've overstepped that, and your heart is broken, and I want to heal it." You went passed that boundary, and God says, "I want you to come back."
I love the fact that the Holy Spirit is likened to oil. And as the kings were anointed with oil, and it says in one of the psalms that as David was even anointed by Samuel, that as the oil came down symbolizing on the Holy Spirit, came down through his beard, he rejoiced in that---the fragrance of that oil, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. The fragrance of the Holy Spirit upon a person's life heals the cracks, heals the wounds. Jesus said as he displays his power and his purpose, it would manifest his person.
The last verse here, in verse 19, we see that Jesus would declare to them centering on the fact that it would be "the acceptable year of the Lord." This verse reveals to us not only at this moment in time when Jesus is sitting there in that synagogue after he said these things, that it was acceptable to come to him, but it is his ongoing ministry presently as we're sitting here tonight. If you look at Isaiah, verse 2, the verse continues and it speaks about the vengeance of God.
This verse here in the first portion of verse 2 of Isaiah, chapter 61, is speaking about his first coming. And Jesus was revealing his first coming not only in his power and his purpose but also in his person. That in his first coming it was acceptable to come to him, and the door is still open tonight. The door is still open to you and me. Many refer to it as the "age of grace." But that door is going to shut.
In the second coming Jesus said that he would come to judge the earth, and that he's coming in a whole different way. In his first coming as Jesus came fulfilling this prophecy as the Spirit of the Lord would be upon him---and he did, we know he physically healed the blind and the brokenhearted and the demon possessed. It transfers to us in the Spirit, of course, but also physically I believe the Lord can do the same, because he is the healer, and he hasn't stopped working.
And that acceptable year is still open to us as the Lord reveals his grace with open arms. The biggest question is: What are you waiting for to be accepted of the Lord, his person? Again, astounding to me that the Word of God became flesh, dwelt among them, full of grace and truth. Jesus the Word himself is sitting right before them proclaiming the prophecies, the very Word that spoke of him, having the answer right before them.
You know, the saying goes that there's only one way, of course, to heaven. And it's true. And Jesus said he is the way. He is the only way. And it's declarative, meaning that there is no other way. There's absolutely no other way. He is the way, the truth, and the life. You know the verse. But I would say, too, that all roads eventually lead to heaven. They all do depending on what side you're on.
Because in John, chapter 5, Jesus said that he will speak and everybody will hear his voice, and some will be raised to condemnation, to judgment, and then there will be those who will be raised unto eternal life. We're told in Revelation, chapter 20, that at that great white throne that there will be those standing before the Lord, small and great, and give an account for their life.
So, yes, we could say all roads do lead eventually there, but the road that that speaks of is not a road you want to be on. And whatever road you're traveling down this evening, you can change that. You can change that path by turning back to Christ, or turning to him for the first time and saying, "Lord, I want your way. I want the way of life." As one of the prophets said, there are many who stand, "Multitudes in the valley of decision!" What will be your decision tonight?
What is your decision in regard to the Holy Spirit, and him declaring this truth about Jesus, that Jesus is the acceptable one? I think of this final thing, not only revealing his person, Jesus wants all eyes to be fixed on him, and they were seeing this snapshot of who the Lord would be manifested by the Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus wants us to know about his promise.
As we see his power revealed---and he had absolute power in these short verses demonstrated by the Holy Spirit, characterized by the Holy Spirit in his purpose, in his person---that all eyes would be fixed on him; that he would be the only one; that they would turn away from religion and come into a relationship with him; that they would have a vital life, a vital relationship with God, living true life, and not a substitute; that they would be healed from their blindness.
And, finally, I believe, again, Jesus wants us to know this promise. What is this promise that Jesus speaks of? I think, and, again, reference to verse 19, as it was the acceptable year of the Lord in relationship to the Old Testament book of Leviticus, chapter 25, Jesus knew that they would understand what he was talking about. To us it's a little foreign, but it did speak of the Year of Jubilee when slaves were set free. Every seventh year in the Jewish calendar, they were to rest as a sabbatical year.
But after forty-nine years, into the fiftieth year, it would become a Year of Jubilee. This was a year where land was given a rest. So, really, from the forty-ninth to the fiftieth year they'd actually have two years of rest where they didn't even work. And God through history and the nation of Israel, we see that he wanted them to know and to experience complete rest, absolute rest. Imagine if you could take a whole year off---paid though. I mean, how nice would that be? Amen to that. God bless you.
It's awesome---a complete year of rest, hitting that fiftieth year with the economy stabilized, slaves were set free, the land was restored, debts were paid off---the Year of Jubilee. The amazing thing is Christ is referring here in this last verse, in verse 19 that we're looking at, as the acceptable year of the Lord, that only in him, only in Jesus, as he's speaking to them in that synagogue, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled," the urgency of that day, that rest is right before you.
Absolute peace and rest were right there in front of them and they didn't know how to receive it; and so is the life of many believers. We find ourselves spinning in a circle chasing things, grasping for something, never really satisfied. Yeah, we're content to a certain degree because we get our fix of the Word throughout the week or we hear Bible study or listen to a song and we're refreshed on a certain level. But let me ask you this: Are you walking in the Spirit? Are you living in the Spirit?
You're like, "Well, I thought that's what the Christian life was all about." Well, it is, but Paul makes it clear that it's possible to actually live in the flesh as well. As a matter of fact, I think most of our battles actually happen within the flesh and the spirit, and those two things war against one another. Forget the devil, that's a whole different study, but you know what I'm saying. Colossians, chapter 2, says that Christ when he died on the cross, he took the handwriting of the requirements and the law and he was crucified and he defeated our enemy.
Satan has been defeated. And although he tries to discourage and bring depression and oppress us, I think most of the time what we deal with really is our flesh. That's what I have a problem with, war against the spirit and the flesh, and they war against each other. And Jesus in this acceptable year, this acceptable day is really saying to them, "You can enter into this rest and rest in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit."
How do we do that? One, it begins by asking. In Luke chapter 11 verses 11 through 13, you can turn there, it says something like this: If a son comes to you and asks for some bread, would his own father give him a stone? Being a rhetorical question, the answer is: of course not. And if a son comes and asks a father for, let's say, some fish, would he give him a serpent? or ask for an egg, would he give a scorpion?
Interesting enough, then Jesus even said, "And you, even being evil"---meaning that we're fallen. And, really, "evil," to quickly define that is just really the absence of what should be there, that we're fallen in nature. "You, even being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children." You give your kids gifts for their birthday and for Christmas. "How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Amazing.
Let me say this: I believe without a doubt when someone confesses Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they turn from their sin, they repent of their sin, they come to Christ, and they're a believer, they're a Christian, that the Holy Spirit comes into them. He's with him, and in them, and, of course, as Acts 1:8 talks about, he comes upon them. And I believe this is in reference to even Acts 1:8 where it speaks about the Holy Spirit coming upon us to empower us to even be a witness, and to be empowered to live the Christian life.
And, I do, I believe that with that "upon" experience the continuation of "be being filled," as it says in Ephesians, "in the Holy Spirit." The word "filled" in Greek actually means to be under the influence, to be controlled by. And it's God's desire that we be controlled by the Spirit to enter his rest, to live in the Spirit, much like the Promised Land. Yes, we still fight battles like the land of Canaan as Joshua entered in.
We fight battles, but you know what? We're victorious before we even enter in, because Christ has given us the victory. But it's very clear that we are always going to war against the flesh and the spirit until we go see Christ, go to heaven, until we see the Father face-to-face, and we are glorified. The challenge for us as believers is to be being filled, to have the "upon" experience of the Holy Spirit upon our lives, and to enjoy the peace and the rest that only the Lord can bring.
I was thinking about Elijah. He found himself in great desperation. He had seen and encountered God in more ways than we can imagine, and maybe that was the problem, in a good way. He had seen God perform things in fire, in wind, as the story tells us, and in earthquakes. God did great and mighty things. Many of us have had those kinds of experiences. But the moment that Elijah was seeking the Lord in that desperation, and God chose not to be in the wind or the earthquake or the fire.
He told Elijah to walk out in front of that cave, and you know the story. God speaks to him in a whisper. The New King James says it was "a still small voice." I believe God was showing Elijah at that moment there's something more powerful than the fire, something some more powerful than earthquakes. "As great as those works are and that I do, there's something greater than all that---and that is, my Word spoken to you that can cut through anything."
How we need to learn that as believers, that we're one word away from experiencing the peace that Jesus speaks of, the rest that he desires for our life. And the promise of the Father is the Holy Spirit. The promise that he gives here as "the acceptable year of the Lord," that we too would experience the baptism with the Holy Spirit; that we too would have, like Jesus, a heart for the lost and the brokenhearted; we too could open the eyes of the blind, if we would only stop and listen.
They weren't listening in Luke, chapter 4, really listening, as Jesus quoted Isaiah 61, were they? And what they heard they rejected. God has peace, life in the Spirit for you. It's for the asking. As you walk in that and you ask the Lord, "Lord," (whatever terminology you want to use) "baptize me with your Holy Spirit to have power to live the Christian life. Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit." You can use that. I don't think you're going to be disqualified from God at all, but I think it's so needed.
I think the Holy Spirit is so needed in my life and in your life and in the church that we see. We need to see the power of the Holy Spirit in a way in these last days that would cause everybody's eyes to look at Jesus; so fixed on Jesus, to know that the year is accepted; that they can come to the grace, by the grace of God into his kingdom. And, believer, myself, we need that rest. Would you stand with me and pray.
Lord, we thank you that your power and your purpose and who you are and the promise of your Holy Spirit as revealed to us in this gospel of Luke through Isaiah the prophet. And, Lord how we want your Holy Spirit to be upon us to do a great work. But, Lord, not just to see those works even manifested, but to see you, to experience the rest, true rest.
I pray, Father, that unbelief wouldn't stand in the way. I pray that as we come to you, Father, each one of us would just cry out and ask for the Holy Spirit to be upon us. May the promise of the Father be upon us. Lord, we thank you. May you direct our week this week as we serve you. May you empower us now, and anoint us, in Jesus' name, amen.