It's not what you think

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The wrong emphasis

Let’s start with a question. Think about all that you have heard, all that you have been taught when it comes to the Holy Spirit working in the lives of humanity.
Today we are going to be asking ourselves some hard questions and seeing where the answers lead us.
Why does this verse excite you?
Acts 2:1–4 CSB
When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.
There’s a lot to be excited about in these verses, the problem is, at least in my estimation, we get excited about the wrong things. In fact in much of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives we get excited about the wrong things or for the wrong reasons.
We like the idea of this wind whipping up in a house, except it was the sound of wind, more on that in a moment. We think the whole fact that there were tongues of fire resting on the heads of 120 different people, and then we really dive head long into the fact that different tongues were spoken. We are excited for all these physical, tangible proofs that the Holy Spirit was there.
In some respects we have made the evidence of the Holy Spirit more important than the actual work of the Holy Spirit. We have turned the Holy Spirit into a teacher at Hogwarts. We look at the gifts found in 1 Cor. 12 and then there are classes developed and teachings, there are all sorts of things that we do to get those gifts, to have them. We read the verses here in Acts and the ones in 1 Cor. 12 and we kind of leave out a key element.
We stop in Acts at the manifestation and camp there for a while and make that the proof that the Holy Spirit is working in someones life. We say they Got it if they speak in tongues.
When we hit 1 Cor. We like this set of verses
1 Corinthians 12:8–10 CSB
to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues.
The problem is the same one we have when we camp out at the outpouring. We skip over the important part.
Lets add one little verse for context here in Corinthians
1 Corinthians 12:7 CSB
A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good:
Notice the last four words in that verse.
For the common good. This is where many followers of Christ get tripped up. Whenver we lose sight of what we are supposed to be doing, when we lose sight of the outcome that we are to be working towards, we end up working for ourselves we emphasize the gifts we have been given as opposed to the people we should be serving. Paul talks about this issue when he talks about having all sorts of gifts and yet not having the love for others to go with it. When Paul says but you have not love it to me is the equivalent of saying, you don’t care about the people around you, you don’t reach to them you don’t let the gift you have been given which means you don’t let the Holy Spirit use you, you wield Him for your own devices. Sure you have the gifts but you may as well hire a band, find a crew and a good director and good producer and get all the claps and acollades you can from the people that look act and sound just like you. The reaason that Jesus promised the other comforter is seen time and again whenever scripture talks about him being maifest in Christ Followers life.

What Loves got to do with it!

What is the proof that the Power of the Holy Spirit is working?
Acts 2:5 CSB
Now there were Jews staying in Jerusalem, devout people from every nation under heaven.
This verse is the beginning of our answer. We can also point to these verses.
1 Corinthians 13:1–3 CSB
If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Specificlly I want to look at the but do not parts.
When you and I are more excited about the fact that the Spirit is using us. When I’m more excited about the fact that I have been used to bring a word, or in the gift of healing, or prophesy or tonuges when that becomes the thing that excites me I”m missing the point. It’s not enough to have a gift of the spirit, it’s not even enough to use that gift if in using it I’m doing so becasue of how it makes me look.
These verses actually dovetail into each other when it comes to the reason for the power that is promised and given with the Holy Spirit.
When Luke starts out by saying there were Jews in Jersualem from all over the place, he is talking about a group of people who may or may not have spoken Hebrew, He is talking about a group of people who may or may not have had more than a cursory relationship with their faith (Judaism). He’s talking about people who needed to understand and know not just what was going on but who the cause was for all the commotion.
Love is what makes the gifts of the Holy Spirit relevant. (repeat)
It’s love that compels us to reach to a world that is in need of something more. It’s love that makes us want to bring Jesus to other people, at least it should be. It’s love is wrapped up, or should be wrapped up in every act of service every word of encouragement, every sharing of our faith.
When we see Peter sharing his faith, we realize that the spirit had given him a boldness, we realize that his voice was not soft, that he was no longer operating under the weight of his denial, all that is true. Peter goes on in his sermon to talk about Jesus, he tells 3000 people who Jesus was, some of them who wouold have known about Jesus, some who would have not, some who were there on the day of the crucifixion, it’s even likely that some of those standing there listening to Peter an the other disciples would have been in the crowd screaming for Jesus to be crucified and yet when asked what they needed to do, the fruit of Love is evident because Peter tells them clearly.
Acts 2:37–38 CSB
When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Peter does not do what so many would do. He does not hold back, he does not pass judgment or tell these people they aren’t worthy, he shares the gospel boldly yes, but there is a love for a people that he doesn’t know born from the power of the Spirit.

What we’ve got to do with it!

Which brings us to our last question and today’s challenge.
What is your role in the growth and health of the Body of Christ?
The answer to all of these questions is not all that hard to figure out.
The gifts of the Spirit are not the evidence of the Spirit working in and through us. They are the tools that God gives to humanity to fulfill a purpose.
Love and the other fruits of the spirit work in our lives to enable us to use the gifts that are real, and relevant and for today but they are to be used just like the were all the way back on the day of Pentecost. To open a door into peoples lives so that they can hear the gospel message, and then to help those individuals grow spiritually.
A clearer picture couldn’t be given about what we have to do in answer to that final question.
We are the chosen method of the gospel being shared with those around us. We are an integral part of the plan of salvation, not because we have any power to save anyone, but because we have to share the gospel with others. Our role in the growth of the Body of Christ is clear. We are supposed to share Who Jesus is, What Jesus did, and How it applies to humanity. That’s the growth part, the health part comes next.
Acts 2:42 CSB
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.
And the amazing this is. As we read on in Acts 2 we see something happening. When these things are working in the lives of Christ Followers people will notice. Healthy people are attractive. It follows that healthy Christ Followers will be attractive as well and when that happens, when we as believers get our priorities straight. What Luke says in Acts 2:47 will happen. The Lord will add to our number every day. Because we will be modeling what it means to live with the answer to all of the issues and problems and sin and mess that was such a part of our lives.

This Week’s Challenge

Go to the mall, or a flea market, or a plaza, or the park, as you walk around ask God to let you see the people there with His eyes. Come back next week for part two of the challenge.
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