Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 11:58
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1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Imagine you own a big SUV that weighs almost three tons. A Chevy Suburban or Ford Expedition. You need to parallel park. How will you do it? Maybe it has new technology that will do it for you. But let’s say your SUV is a little older and can’t self-park. As you turn the steering wheel and parallel park, what enables you to maneuver the 3-ton vehicle with little effort?
A simple answer: a power-steering pump. Have you ever tried to turn the wheels on a stationary vehicle without power steering? You pull and crank and pull and crank and pull and crank - you get the idea. But in your imaginary SUV, as you turned the steering wheel, the power-steering pump added pounds of power to turn the front wheels.
The Holy Spirit does the same for the followers of Christ. The moment we decide to live obediently for God, the Holy Spirit empowers us with ability beyond our own to obey Him.
The Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Trinity. We must know and rely on His ability.
Today we look at the promise that God gives us:
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The Holy Spirit arrived at the Feast of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Harvest.
“Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me.
It was one of three feasts that all Jewish men were required to attend in Jerusalem
The Festival of Unleavened Bread
The Festival of Harvest
The Festival of Ingathering
The Festival of Unleavened Bread - to celebrate coming out of Egypt
The Festival of Harvest - celebrate the firstfruits of the crops
The Festival of Ingathering - celebrate the end of the year after the harvest
There were Jews and God-faring Gentiles from all over Europe, Africa and Asia (Acts 2:5). A lot of ethnicities and languages were gathered there (see Acts 2:11).
The followers of Jesus were gathered in Jerusalem to pray when the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them. The Holy Spirit came like a mighty wind. Tongues of fire rested on each of them and they were speaking in other languages. The crowd A group of common, unschooled, ordinary men astonished the crowd as they preached and healed. The were dragged before the Sanhedrin, the leaders of the Jew. These leaders where concerned about what to do. They noted that Peter and John and been with Jesus. There were too many witnesses to the miraculous healing.
When I was growing up in church. I didn’t hear much about the Holy Spirit -OR- maybe I wasn’t paying attention. Maybe I avoided Him. We know the Father, we love the Son, but often times we neglect or avoid the third person of the Trinity, His Spirit. We thank the Father for sending the Son but ignore that both the Father and the Son give us the Holy Spirit to receive power to live our Christian life.
Paul asked the Galatians:
3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?
Why do we try to get things done under our own power? Jesus spoke more about the Holy Spirit than about the church, about marriage, about money, even about the future. After the ascension mentioned in our scripture today, the Holy Spirit is the one who is active in the life of the church, active in each Christian, and active in the world.
The Holy Spirit causes our Christian lives to flourish when we connect, when we attach, to Him.
The Holy Spirit...
Provides power and strength. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26 NIV).
He helps us in our weakness. He helps us right where we are.
The Holy Spirit...
Bears fruit in us. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23 NIV).
There should be a combination of all these in each of our lives as we bear the Spirit’s fruit. Maybe our personalitaties emphasize some attibutes over others, but they will all be evident as we connect to the Spirit. To bear fruit - the branch has to stay attached to the tree.
The Holy Spirit...
Creates unity in the church. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3 NIV).
No matter our personalities and history - the Spirit fills us with the love and peace we need to to be united in Christ Jesus. He is our connection to one another.
The Holy Spirit...
Energizes the church. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV).
We can overflow, be energized, by the hope that God places in our lives. In the present pandemic situation, God has “stopped” us in our tracks and said “Trust Me”. Trust my Spirit.
The Holy Spirit...
Produces holiness in the church. “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:7–8 NIV).
God is calling us to live a holy life. He gives us His Spirit so we can indeed become holy.
Jesus promises the power of the Holy Spirit to all who believe in him and avail themselves of his presence in their lives.
Look at the early disciples. They were not overqualified. There wasn’t a theologian, rabbi, scribe, or priest among them. Most of them were low-class and blue-collared. Yet God chose to empower them with the Holy Spirit.
You receive the Holy Spirit when you became a Christian. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord & Savior? Do you believe you have all the power you need to live a life for God?
The Holy Spirit brings transformation to our lives if we let Him. If we allow Him to work in us, we begin to think like God thinks, love like God loves, and see like God sees.
Max Lucado says, you would be skeptical of buying a tripod with only two legs or a tricycle with only two wheels. So why be content with relating to only the Father and the Son? [Unshakable Hope ©2018 by Max Lucado]
Are you settling on a “two-thirds God”?
++Have you let the Father and the Son into your life but unsure about the Spirit’s presence?
++How much of His presence are you aware of in your life?
What keeps you from fully relying on the Holy Spirit?
A sin to confess?
A grudge to release?
A promise to keep?
Avail yourself of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus says - “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8 NIV)