Posted on Sun, May 1, 2016
Pastor Bob Norton
Jesus said to his disciples and to you, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22) Why? How important is this? Can’t you just read your Bible, go to Church, and do your best? Isn’t that good enough?
Jesus also said, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on “high.”
(Luke 24:49) After mentoring his disciples 24/7 for three years, he says “wait”…”don’t go out and try to change the world”…”you must be clothed with power from on high (the Holy Spirit)”.
The Christian life is a supernatural lifestyle. We cannot live for Christ in our own power and ingenuity. To try to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit is an exercise in futility and frustration. If we receive God’s gift of His promised Holy Spirit, what can we expect to realize in our daily living in today’s world?
First of all, we must understand that prayer is the prelude to power (Acts 1:14). After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the disciples committed themselves to fervent prayer in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Professing Christians who do not pray will not experience the power of the Spirit. Those who learn to pray much will experience much power. There is a direct causal relationship. Do you pray?
Second and third, with prayerful anticipation and receptivity you will experience God’s empowering presence. God promises his power in answer to his people’s prayers. On Pentecost, God showed up and the signs of His presence and power were evident. A new wind of His Spirit was blowing. A new communication miracle set the people free to proclaim the mighty acts of God. And a once defeated, but now empowered Peter stepped up and preached the good news demonstrating a passion for Christ (Acts 12-41) which was to become the distinguishing mark of this revolutionary people movement called the Church of Jesus Christ. Today, the Church filled with the Holy Spirit demonstrates a passion for Christ (Philippians 1:21 and 4:13).
Fourth and fifth, the Lord is our priority (Matthew 6:33) and God’s perspective brings hope and peace in our daily living (Romans 15:13 and Philippians 4:4-7). Living in this dangerous, threatening contemporary world can be like skydiving into a hurricane, but through faith we experience the “eye of the storm” knowing hope and peace in the midst of the turmoil. God’s shalom (Hebrew for “peace, a deep sense of well being”) pervades our anxious hearts. People will see and ask about your hope and peace (1 Peter 3:15) and we can tell them about Christ our Lord whose Spirit grants us these precious promises (2 Peter 1:4). Are you anxious, worried, and fearful? Be filled with the Spirit!
Finally, the Church filled with the Holy Spirit will demonstrate that people matter to God and will live to the praise of His glory ministering to people with love, mercy, and generosity (Acts 2:43-47). In many cases the contemporary Church limps along poorly reflecting the magnificent mission to which we are called (Matthew 28:16-20) Only in the power of the Holy Spirit can we change the world! Arise! Awaken the Church to become His people living in the power of His Spirit! (Acts 1:8) The weary world awaits an empowered Church! It’s our only hope!
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