We love God the Father who created us and God the Son who redeemed us, but what about the Holy Spirit? We hear His name a lot, but who is He? What exactly does He do? What does He want from us? The Holy Spirit is the "quiet One," active in the life of believers but sometimes not acknowledged as being vital. Oswald Chambers noted, "The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a guest in a house. He invades everything!" Today, we consider Him and His role in our lives.
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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Personal Questions about the Holy Spirit:
Greek Terms: Παράκλητος; paraklétos - one called alongside to help; την αλήθειας the truth; Δύναμις; dunamis- power;
Figures Referenced: Lloyd John Ogilvie; Arius; Mary Baker Eddy (Glover Patterson Fry); R.A. Torrey; Sabellias; D.L. Moody
Publications Referenced: Doxology, Thomas Ken
Cross References: Genesis 1:2; Luke 24:32; John 13; John 14; Acts 1:4-5; Acts 1:8; Acts 4:8; Acts 5:1-4; Acts 5; Romans 8:26; Romans 8:27; Romans 15:30; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5; Hebrews 10:29
I trust you brought your bibles this morning. It's always a good thing to do. Turn in those bibles to John Chapter 15 and just how about if we stand up and pray together in respect for the Lord that we're addressing.
Father, we stand before you as your people. You know all about us. We simply, in this gesture and by our words, commit ourselves to you, not just this time but our very selves, and as Paul said, "We give you our bodies as living sacrifices." Lord, I pray that you will prepare us, some of us who are sending kids to school and hard to believe two weeks or grand kids. Prepare us for that, prepare them for that -- meeting new friends, learning new things and the schedules that we'll find ourselves in, in the next school year.
We pray for those who are traveling, Lord. We know a lot of people are out on vacation. Give them a great and relaxing time. Keep them safe and bring them home back to the fold safely. We commit them to you and we now pray that the very one we're studying, the Holy Spirit, will be our teacher. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen. Thank you. Have a seat.
I do want to speak to you today about the Holy Spirit. He is the most mysterious, most misunderstood and I believe in many cases the most neglected member of Triune Godhead. I confess that I stole the title somewhat today from something I read sometime back. The title of the message is "Two Thirds Is Not Enough" and I read something a while back by Lloyd John Ogilvie who had one time was the chaplain of the United States Senate and he wrote these words, "Sadly, many Christians settle for two thirds of God. God the Father is way up there somewhere, aloof in a part from their daily lives. Christ is out there somewhere between them and the Father. The Holy Spirit is some kind of vague force or impersonal power that they hear about but do not know intimately." If that's true in any case in your life, I do pray that will change, and this is a good place to start.
Now, let met just frame the context for you. It's always helpful to know the context before we read the text. This is the last night before Jesus will go to be crucified. He is on the way at this very moment that we are reading from the upper room toward the Garden of Gethsemane where he will be arrested. He's with 11 disciples. He is teaching them. They are worried. They are sorrowful. He has told them that he is leaving and sorrow has filled their hearts.
So to offset the sorrow they're feeling, because they don't want Jesus to leave, he does a few things on that night. First thing he does is demonstrates his love for them. Chapter 13, he takes off their sandals, he washes their feet and he says, "As I have done to you, you should do to one another. Love one another. I love you." And then beginning in Chapter 14, he detailed several promises to them. He says, "Let not your heart be troubled." And he goes to tell them that yes, He is leaving but He is going to prepare a place for them and come again and receive them to himself.
He also tells them about prayer that whether he is there or not, they can talk to the Father in his name and get anything that they will need. He also says, "Greater works than I have done, you will do." He also promises his peace and his joy. And then as if to balance all of those promises, he warns them. He says, "You're my friends, but you got to know that I have lot of enemies and my enemies hate my friends, so just a heads up on that" which would probably emotionally cause them to sink a little bit deeper.
And so immediately now and what we're about to read, he wants them to know that they don't have to face the hostile world on their own, by themselves, in their own power, but rather he will send the Holy Spirit who will live within them and empower them to handle whatever comes their way. With that in mind, we begin in Chapter 15 Verse 26.
"But when the helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bare witness because you have been with Me from the beginning. These things I have spoken to you that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I've told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you."
"But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, "Where are You going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."
"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all of truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whenever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you of things to come. He will glorify me for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you."
I heard about men years ago who wanted to buy a chainsaw. He went to a hardware store. The salesman showed him several models, but then took off the shelf the best one. According to the salesman the latest technology, and then came the promise -- the sales pitch. The salesman said, "Let me tell you something about this chainsaw. This can cut 10 cords of wood per day."
So the man bought it, took it home, came back to the hardware store the very next day, exhausted. He said, "I don't know. Something is wrong with this thing. I work hard all day long and at best I only cut three cords of wood. Now, I've got to tell you something. With my old handsaw, I could do four cords a day. I only did three with this thing." "Huh?" said the salesman. "That's weird. Let's take it out back and see why."
So the salesman took it to a woodpile out back and pulled the cord. The engine started, you know what they sound like, chainsaw -- and the customer heard it, jumped back and said, "What's that noise?" Can you imagine cutting three cords of wood with a chainsaw and never starting it? Can you imagine how exhausting it would be to put that much labor with an implement like that? And yet, Christians every single day try to live victorious Christian lives without the power and the agency of the Holy Spirit.
It's not always easy understanding God, I'll admit that. Some of us I think kind of get God the Father concept. We've all had fathers and most of them have been good. There's a few bad ones out there, bad eggs. But for the most part, we've had good dads who provided. So we get the concept of God as father.
Jesus, God the son, we kind of understand that because some of us are sons and we have fathers, all of us have, so we understand the relationship. But when we come to the Holy Spirit, what is that all about? It's not always an easy gig to understand. At the risk of sounding simplistic, let me put it to you this way. We need God the Father for our external life. He created all things. We need God the Son Jesus for our eternal life. He is the savior who washes off our sins. We need God the Holy Spirit for our internal life. He is the source of power and strength.
Now, today, there are a lot of verses we want to cover, and so I just want to give you some principles that emerge generally from this, about the Spirit, sort of form a composite portrait of Him, if you will. And then next week, we can select another smaller section of what we read today and look at it more in-depth. But there are some things about the spirit. If you don't know already or you need to be reminded of, here is a good place. First of all, the Holy Sprit is a person, He is a person. The sprit of God is not an "It" but a "He", a "Him".
In the section we just read, there are 13, I counted them, personal pronouns when Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit -- He will do this, He will do that, He will do the other thing, Him -- personal pronouns. As an example look at Verse 7 of Chapter 16, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict," and so forth.
The last time I checked, personal pronouns are only reserved for persons, not inanimate objects, not a force, but for persons. Unless of course it's a boat or a storm, we tend to call them a she and give them names. But other than that, it's for persons. Personal pronouns are for persons. Think how weird this sounds, "The wind blew yesterday. The wind he was strong." You don't do that. Or, "I need air on my tires because air she keeps my car going." You don't use personal pronouns for a force.
Here's what you got to know, there is not one version of the scripture that is respectable, responsible version of the Bible that ever refers to the Spirit of God as an "It", but always as a "Him" or a "He". The Holy Spirit is a person. I tell you that because throughout church history, there have been those who have said that the Holy Spirit is an 'It", a force, a presence, not a being, not a person.
It began in 318 A.D. by a guy named Arius who said the Spirit of God is not a person but an essence, an essence that God uses. That upset the church so that in 325 A.D., a council came together at Nicaea. You've heard of the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed that was crafted in response to what was known as the Arian Heresy. It denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit. And Since Arius, there have been others who have followed his cue -- the Jehovah Witness for example, denied the personhood of the Spirit and they say, and I quote, "The Holy Spirit is not an intelligent person but an impersonal, invincible active force that finds its source and reservoir in Jehovah God."
The Mormon Church teaches that God has a physical body that God was once a man who became a God, and by the way, all the Mormons can become gods someday, like God. They say that God has a body of flesh and bones and blood and He has the perfect eternal physical body, and that Jesus is His literal physical son conceived by sexual intercourse. Lucifer was Jesus' brother, they say, literally. The Holy Spirit was a separate force that God uses to accomplish His purposes. Christian Science is another one founded by Mary Baker Eddy Glover Patterson Frye. She had a problem with man.
Marry Baker Eddy said that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal principle. The Holy Spirit is the divine science within Christian Science, just a force. Yet, here we read personal pronouns and personal attributes. I just want you to notice if you look back in Verse 26 of Chapter 15, and notice it says that concerning the Holy Spirit, "He will testify," it means to speak or to reveal or give testimony. Look at Chapter 16 Verse 8 again, "He will convict." Go down to Verse 13, "He will guide. He will speak. He will tell." Verse 14, "He will take and He will declare."
It was some personal attributes of a person. He will do these things that only a person can do. There's more, in the New Testament the Bible says that the Holy Spirit has a mind -- the mind of the Spirit, Romans 8:27. The Holy Spirit has a will, 1 Corinthians 12:11. The Holy Spirit is said to show love, Romans 15:30. He is said to pray or intercede for us, that's Romans 8:26. As a person, the Holy Spirit can be grieved, Ephesians 4:30. He can be insulted according to Hebrews 10:29. He can be lied to, Acts Chapter 5. He can be quenched, 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5.
Now, a force can't do those things or have those things done to it. You can't say, "I grieved electricity today. I lied to gravity. Atomic force cannot love you." You can't say, "I grieved my plants today. They're really bombed out of me. Now, I guess they have to turn over a new leaf. I couldn't resist." Those are attributes reserved only for people or persons. The Holy Spirit is a person, not a human person, but a person nonetheless.
Now, I think that not only do cults err in this, but I think sometimes, we, evangelical believers, often err when it comes to the spirit. I'm going to explain by reading something to you that was written over a hundred years ago by Reuben Torrey, R.A. Torrey, one of the greatest books ever on the Holy Spirit. He writes concerning believers, "They are reaching out after and struggling to get possession of some mysterious and mighty power that they can make use of in their work according to their own will. But the Holy Spirit is to get hold of them. We must rejoice that there is no divine power that being so ignorant as we are, so liable to err, could ever get a hold of a and use. How appalling might be the results if there were."
So the issue becomes then, listen carefully, not "How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?" but rather, "How can the Holy Spirit get a hold of more of me." It's an issue of surrender to Him. The Holy Spirit then is a person.
The second thing to note in our text is the Holy Spirit is a divine person. Now, nothing will heighten your respect more for the Holy Spirit than to realize this person is God, the third member of the Triune Godhead, coeternal and coequal with God the Father and God the Son. He's a divine person. He appears in Genesis Chapter 1 when God created the heavens and the earth, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. And he is seen and mentioned throughout the scripture.
There's a hymn that was crafted to sort of embody this. We still know it and sing it today. It was written back in 1673, if memory serves. It's called the Doxology of Praise, "Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; praise Him, all creatures here below; praise Him above ye Heavenly Host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
Now, I will admit to you that the word Holy Ghost isn't the best translation, it's an old translation. I suggest you don't teach your young children about the Holy Ghost, but the Holy Spirit would be a better term to employ, or they're going to get spooked by God. It's like the little girl who went to church and she heard that hymn being sung and afterwards she said to her parents, "Why do they want to exclude the West Coast," and her parents go, "What?" She said, "When they sang that song, 'Praise Father, Son and the whole East Coast." I couldn't compute the ghost part of that. It works for a song but for modern times, and I think more accurately reflecting the truth of scripture, He is the Holy Spirit, a divine person.
You should also know that throughout history, those who have denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit, that the spirit of God has also been denied deity by some. In A.D. 200, an individual from Libya, actually a priest by the name of Sabellius, taught that God is not three persons in one.
But just one God that goes by three different names to serve His own purpose -- that God is sometimes the Father, the same being as sometimes the Son, the same being as sometimes the Spirit. These three names are three forms of God. It's known as "Modalism", three different modes of God. But we read here when Jesus speaks, Verse 26 as an example in Chapter 15. He speaks of the spirit of God as coming from the Father, simultaneous, not in modes, but simultaneous from the Father, sent by the Son and then in Verse 8, dispatched to the world and He is active within the world. The Holy Spirit is divine. The Holy Spirit is God. He is active in the world. He comes from the Father. He is sent by the Son.
Now, there is some doubt amongst some about this. One is Pentecostals, for example, teach the idea of Sabellius that God is one being in three different modes. But let's just kind of put a seal on it and move on. Turn with me to Acts Chapter 5. There is a scripture tucked away there that is sometimes not really noticed, unfortunately. I want you to notice it. Acts Chapter 5 will seal the deal on this. And if you have a pencil out and you're not opposed to writing in your Bibles, it's all the better because I'm going to have you circle two things.
Verse 1, this is the early church now, "But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and he brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."
And if you were to draw a circle around, "You've lied to the Holy Spirit," in Verse 3 and then in Verse 4, "lied to God" and connect the two, it's easy to see the appositional connection. When you lie to the Holy Spirit, you lie to God because the Holy Spirit is God, and Peter had no problem putting those two things together. The Holy Spirit is God. He's a divine person, part of the trinity. Do I understand it completely? Do I get the trinity? No, I don't. I will admit that to you freely. But I also want you to know I don't lose any sleep over it because I cannot unravel all the mysteries of the Trinity, so what?
How do you describe the indescribable? How do you fathom the unfathomable? It delights me that there is so much of God I don't understand because it makes me realize how much higher and transcendent He is than me. Yeah, I suppose if I could understand God and you could understand God, we would be God. So I get what it says, I don't completely get how it works, but the Bible describes one God manifest in three persons, all of them being God, coequal and co-eternal.
The Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit is a divine person. Here's the third thing that emerges from our text. I want you to look at the Holy Spirit is a "discreet person". Or here's another word, "inconspicuous", the idea of he doesn't draw attention to himself but he is pointing people to someone else, and that is Jesus. I want you to notice that. In Verse 26, again, a key verse, "When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me." "And then when the Holy Spirit is in the world," Verse 9, "He'll convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment: of sin, because they don't believe in Me, Jesus" In Verse 14, "He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you."
The Holy Spirit is sort of like a stage director for a play. He has got the spotlight and He doesn't shine it on Himself, "I'm the director, you ought to know me." He rather shines it on the main character, Jesus Christ, and wants all the applause to be given to the main character as if to say to the audience, "Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jesus Christ," that's what the Holy Spirit does. It's all about Jesus, not all about Himself. You never read about the Holy Spirit saying, "Oh, wait a minute. I want a little more face time. I want a little more notoriety here." He always discreetly points the way to Jesus because He's about glorifying Jesus.
On our building here on this campus, as well as buildings around the city, at night, we have lights and we have lights so you can see your way around when it's dark. But the way the lights were designed were not so that you would really be drawn to the light fixture. I haven't yet met many people who said, "That's a really cool light fixture." Maybe an electrician might do that or an architect. But the purpose of the light is to shine on the building and I've had people say, "Oh, I love the entrance to this building," that's what they notice. That's the purpose of the light -- to get you to focus on what the light is focused on, not itself.
So the Holy Spirit is like the floodlight that makes Jesus plain to people, understandable to people so they can see him and glorify him. So the Holy Spirit is a discreet person. By the way, here's a good test of any group, any person, any church to find out are they really filled with the Spirit. What do they emphasize? Do they emphasize Jesus? Is it all about Jesus in that group, in that church with that person? Good indication they're filled with the Spirit. If however, there is undue attention given to the Holy Spirit over and above Jesus Christ, it might be an indication it's out of balance.
See, if a person walks up to you and the most important thing on his or her mind is, "Do you speak in tongues?" or is it, "Do you love Jesus Christ?" because that, as I read it, is what the Holy Spirit is all about -- pointing people to Jesus.
Here's the fourth thing I want you to notice and I'll draw your attention out of Verse 7, Chapter 16, the Holy Spirit is a helpful person. Jesus calls Him twice in our passage the "Helper". I want you to notice it in Verse 7, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth," because he said, "I have a lot of things to tell you but you can't handle them, and I know that you're sorrowful. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."
Now, we've looked at that word before in previous studies, a couple of weeks back, actually a few months back, not far away from here but it's been a while. The word helper, "paracletus", one who is called alongside to help is the idea. He's a helpful person, the paracletus. I looked this up in the amplified version -- Amplified Bible, and when it came to the word helper, this is how it translated. I think it's so beautiful, "One who is called to stand by you constantly, and take part in anything in which his help is needed?" Isn't that a beautiful description of how the Holy Spirit works? "One who is called to stand by you constantly and is ready to take part in everything in which his help is needed."
God knows that you and I need all the help we can get, and He has dispatched the helpful person, the helper, the paracletus, the Holy Spirit. Do you ever feel like, "I need help"? Do you ever feel like, "This world is so overwhelming sometime -- the temptations and the trials, the pressures that I receive"? Or, "That sin is just so massive I can't handle it."? What's the key? What's the secret? I believe it's this, it's the Holy Spirit, be filled with the Spirit.
Let me give you an example, it's actually not original. Dwight L. Moody, I've told you about him, a hundred years ago, he was speaking about the Spirit of God and he held up a glass to his congregation -- empty glass. He said, "How could I get the air out of this glass?" And someone in the audience said, "You could suck all the air out. You could pump it out with a vacuum." Moody said, "That won't work because in creating a vacuum, it will shatter the glass." And a few other ideas were proposed.
Finally, Moody said, "Actually, it's quite easy to get the air out of this glass", he took a pitcher of water and filled it up with water. And then he applied it and he said, "The secret to a victorious Christian life isn't trying to suck out one sin at a time, but to be filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit. There's no room for anything else." Beautiful example, he's a helpful person. He will be our helper.
Look at Verse 13, this is how he helps, "When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide or direct you into all truth; for he will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." You and I cannot understand scripture unless the Holy Spirit unlocks the meaning, opens the meaning of the scripture to us.
I venture to say that when you started John, what, two years ago now? There were some things about John's gospel you did not know, that you know today, and the reason you know them whether God used a book or a sermon or not, is the Holy Spirit by whatever gifts it means unlock the meaning of the passage to you. He illuminated it to you. He gave you bite-size chunks of truth and you go, "I get it." Have you ever read through a scripture that you've read through before, but then suddenly at this time, you get it? You go, "I understand that." You know what's that called? Illumination.
There are two words you need to know. One is inspiration, the second is illumination. Inspiration is what happens when a select group of men were filled with the Holy Spirit and God enabled them to write down exactly what God wanted to say in the scripture. That's over. That isn't happening anymore. The scripture is complete. But illumination is going on even today when you read the inspiration and the Holy Spirit unlocks it to you. Martin Luther said, "The Bible will forever remain a closed book unless God opens and explains to us the scripture." The two on the Road to Emmaus said, "Our hearts burned within us as He spoke to us and opened up the scripture to us." That's illumination. They got it. He'll guide you into all truth.
Now, a little point I want to make before we go on to the last description of the Holy Spirit. There is an article that is missing from your Bible and mine. Probably, most versions have it missing and I think it's unfortunate. Look in Verse 13 and you'll notice it says, "He will guide you into all truth," right? Is that what yours says, "all truth"? That could be interpreted as generic truth, all truth, any kind of truth. But in the original language, there is an article. It's a definite article before the work truth which is the word "aletheia" in Greek, and in Greek it reads, "aletheia."
He will guide you into all the truth. Not just generic truth, but specific truth that is centralized on the person of Jesus Christ. I believe that's a reference to the New Testament. Even as Jesus promised his disciples that the Spirit of God would bring to their remembrance everything Jesus said which enabled them to write it down. The Spirit will guide you into all the truth that is central to the person and work of Christ.
Now, here's the fifth and final remark on the Holy Spirit. Not only is He a person, not only is He a divine person, not only is He a discreet person, not only is He a helpful person, but finally, He's a dynamic person. He gives you and I the dynamic, the power to pull off, to live a way that would be impossible otherwise. He gives you a dynamic above and beyond what is naturally afforded to you.
I'll take you back again to Verse 26, if you'll indulge me. Look at it a little more carefully, Verse 26, "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. He's going to speak to you about Me. He's going to reveal to you who I am." That's what the Holy Spirit is going to do, "He's going to bring testimony into your life about Me, Jesus." That's just step one, that's phase one. Look at the very next verse. We don't want to skip that.
"And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning," that's phase two. "The Holy Spirit is going to bring testimony to you about Me, then the Holy Spirit is going to bring testimony through you about Me -- to other people." Now when that happens, when by the power of the Holy Spirit were able to represent Jesus to this world, it's not going to be a pretty picture as seen by the very next thought, Verse 1 of Chapter 16.
You see in the original, these chapter headings were not there. "These things I have spoken to you that you will not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me." The hatred of the world will be a direct result of your testimony, but the ability for you to give a testimony with any kind of power, with any kind of togetherness is because of the Holy Spirit testifying in you and then through you.
Okay, here's the promise. I'll expand on it a little bit. Chapter of Acts, Jesus now has died, risen from the dead. This is before he ascends into heaven. This is what he says to his disciples, "John truly baptized you with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now, and you shall receive power." "Dunamis" is the Greek, a dynamic, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth." If that were in modern terms, we would say, "You'll be my witnesses in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, New York, Europe, wherever you go and whatever your face will see, you'll receive power.
Now, Jesus gave them marching orders. Remember the great commission? "Go into all the world." But when he gave that commission according to Luke in the last part of the Gospel of Luke, he said, "Wait in Jerusalem until you receive power from on high." So here's the message. Go, but don't go yet until you get power, then go. Wait first, and when you got the equipment, then go. Don't go without it. Otherwise, you'll be like the guy with a chainsaw. Wait, get the power, and then go into all the worl."
Years ago, there was a captain, a valiant captain. His sword was dreaded by his enemies. The king wanted to know why the sword was dreaded by his enemies so he demanded to see the sword so that he might examine it. He looked it over and said, "I don't see anything great about this sword. I don't know why anybody would be afraid of it. It's just a sword. I've seen thousands like it." And he gave it back to the guy to take it back to the captain and he told the captain what the king said. The captain smiled and said, "King made an error. He only examined the sword. If he would have looked at the arm that wields the sword, he would then understand its mystery."
Sometimes you look at people that God use and you go, "I don't get it." I saw one internet posting that said, "I don't get Skip." It's because you're only looking at the sword, dude. A lot of times it's not that sharp, but you fail to look at the arm that wields the sword. And I'd say the perfect example from scripture is Peter. Here's Peter before Pentecost, before the Resurrection. Peter was a timid fisherman. He couldn't even give his testimony before a servant girl. I imagined all the other guy disciples and said, "Dude, you caved in before a girl. You couldn't even stand up for Jesus in front of a servant girl."
Compare that Peter to Peter boldly preaching in Jerusalem in the books of Acts. What happened? Two things, the Resurrection and Pentecost, and the bible say as much. It says, "And Peter filled with the Holy Spirit." That's the secret. You are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. If you're a believer, that has happened, that will never change. If you're a believer, the Holy Spirit is living inside of you. But Paul says and uses the present tense, "Be filled with the Spirit," in Ephesians, "Be constantly being filled with the Spirit."
So before we go today, let's stand and ask the Lord to fill us afresh with His power. Let's stand and we'll pray together.
Lord, again as we stand in Your presence, closing this time together as we have begun, honoring You, standing in Your presence, we ask You, that You would fill us afresh with the Holy Spirit that He would use more of us, take more of us. Lord, we can't live life like this on our own, this kind of life, this life victorious over sin, boldly before the world. There's a lot of the world's population that just have a tough time getting out of bed. How could we ever possibly live with the dynamic such as described by Jesus and the apostles?We admit we can't, and we don't want to run on empty and we don't want to use a chainsaw without power. We don't want to live our lives without power. We understand as we read the text of scripture that it's not some kind of weird power that makes us act crazy, but it's the idea of being controlled by the living God. And to be filled with the Spirit is sort of like a hand that would fill a glove. It's not about the glove. It's about the hand doing the work. Would You so occupy our lives so as to do Your work through us? As the testimony has come to us, now do Your work through us. Fill as afresh. Fill us anew for your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.