Powerfilled Christianity (5/15/16)

Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Sermons | 0 comments

Tongues of fire…. speaking in “different tongues,” supposedly drunk apostles!  Pentecost- we’ve heard the story so many times.  But what does it all mean?  Is it relevant to us? What does the coming of the Holy Spirit mean to us in our day and age?

Click the below “Play” button and scroll down to follow along (the recording is from the 9:30  service)…

The scripture was Acts 2:1-13.  Click the following Drop Down box to follow along.  Pastor Jim read from The Living Bible.  The New Living Translation (NLT) is shown below.

Acts 2:1-13

1 On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.

2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.

3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.

4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

5 At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem.

6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.

7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee,

8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!

9 Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia,

10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism),

11 Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!”

12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other.

13 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!”

Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

 

 

God’s Plan isn’t Complete Without Pentecost!

Christmas and Easter are really important.  If Christ weren’t born and if He didn’t rise from the tomb, we couldn’t be saved from our sin.  But something else is really important too- Pentecost!  If the Holy Spirit never came God’s plan of salvation could never be complete.

Our salvation and redemption swing on the following 7 hinges:

The conception of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
The Life and Mission of Jesus
The Death of Jesus
The Resurrection of Jesus
The Ascension of Jesus
Pentecost- the arrival of the Holy Spirit

Without the Holy Spirit, we could never be saved.  We’re dead in our sins.  The Holy Spirit wakes us up and shows us that we’re apart from God.  Then the Holy Spirit initiates the next step by pointing us to the source of our salvation: Jesus.  The Holy Spirit always points us to Christ.

In John 14:15-18 Jesus tells the disciples that He won’t leave them as “orphans.”  Yes, He does ascend into heaven; it looks like He left us.  But, His presence is still with us through the Holy Spirit…

“If you love me, obey my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.  He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.  No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.

NLT

Without the Holy Spirit, there would be no salvation.  Without the Holy Spirit, we’d be abandoned as orphans.

 

The Holy Spirit Brings Power

In Acts 1:4-8 Jesus told the disciples that they hadn’t gotten the whole story yet.  He told them to wait around in Jerusalem until something big happens…

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.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them:
It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  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.

NIV

You will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.  The Holy Spirit isn’t only a hinge that leads us to salvation, it’s the power behind the life after salvation!  We have a justifying moment when we accept Christ and repent of our sins, but the Holy Spirit sanctifies us from that point onward.  The Holy Spirit saves us, but then He makes us more and more like Christ.

Everybody’s into “power these days…

Business People: Keep taking Power Lunches
Teenagers: Want Power cars
Governments: Want to know how to deal with Superpowers.
Banks: Want to be the most Powerful bank in the world.
Olympics: All about Power Sports.
Power brokers… Power Plays… Nuclear Power….

Even in the church we talk about God being “all powerful.” 

But one subject that is largely ignored in many Christian circles is the “gift of Power” that God has made available by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Could it be that we trust in our own power and our own abilities instead of relying on the power of the Holy Spirit???

Charles Wesley’s hymn, Come Holy Spirit Our Hearts Inspire” reminds us of our dependence on God’s Power (and the futility of our own “power.”)…

1.      Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire, 
	let us thine influence prove; 
	source of the old prophetic fire, 
	fountain of life and love. 

2.	Come, Holy Ghost (for moved by thee 
	the prophets wrote and spoke), 
	unlock the truth, thyself the key,
	unseal the sacred book. 

3.	Expand thy wings, celestial Dove, 
	brood o'er our nature's night; 
	on our disordered spirits move, 
	and let there now be light. 

4.	God, through the Spirit we shall know 
	if thou within us shine, 
	and sound, with all thy saints below, 
	the depths of love divine.

Have you been in touch with the Holy Spirit?  The Holy Spirit makes impressions on our Hearts which draw us closer to God.

 

 

Power for What???

I was really, really young… but I actually remember an episode of the Merv Griffin Show.  My grandmother watched that show every day.  One day I joined her in front of her TV, and I remember the following exchange between Merv and a body builder…

On one show a guest appeared who was a body builder.  As he entered with his huge muscular frame, bodybuilder-295375_960_720 400x300the crowd went crazy with applause as he flexed his muscles walking over to take his seat to be interviewed.

Merv’s first question seemed to catch the body builder off guard, however.  Merv asked him, “What do you use all those muscles for?”

A bit puzzled, the body builder simply stood up and flexed his muscles again while the crowd applauded wildly.

As he sat down, Merv asked him again, “What do you use all those muscles for?”

Again with a puzzled and somewhat frustrated appearance, the body builder stood up and flexed his muscles once again to a cheering audience.

Merv however was undaunted and insisted a third time, “What do you use those muscles for?”

Th body builder was stumped and had no answer, all he could do is sit there and look bewildered at Merv’s constant question.  Merv realized it was time to cut to a commercial…

The man was all power, but with no purpose!  While he could impress the audience, there was no application for all this power.  How many Christians are like this??? Jesus is the greatest power in the world, but all too often we don’t know what to do with it!

 

Power to Witness

The greek word for Power is dunamis.  We get our English word Dynamite from it.  When the power of dynamite is released, it moves outward… not inward.

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria….

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

Acts 8:1 & 4, NIV

The apostles went out from the place they were in and out to where the explosion-417894_960_720 400x300people were.  And, as we journey throughout the book of Acts, we see the Apostles and followers of Jesus out with the people doing great and mighty things as the Holy Spirit empowered them.

We can see clearly that this word “power” has more to do with “power” in the sense of “ability” than in the sense of explosions.  In other words, God saves us through Christ, fills us the the Holy Spirit, so we can be witnesses of Him in the world.  The Christian Church is called to make disciples of Jesus Christ… period!

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,  and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

You are witnesses of these things.  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 24:45-49, NIV

During Jesus’ 3 year ministry, the Apostles were being prepared to be witnesses.  After the ascension, on the day of Pentecost, they were given the power to be witnesses…

He (Jesus) said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  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.

Acts 1:7-8, NIV

They were already witnesses, but until Pentecost they didn’t have the power to proclaim what they had been witnesses to.  They were weak.  They needed God’s power in order to witness, and this is where the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes in.

Before Pentecost, notice how weak Peter was.  First he denies even knowing Jesus (3 times).  Then- even after the resurrection- he and the disciples return to Galilee. 

The scene in John 21 seems to be saying that the disciples had given up hope and they decided to return to where they were before they met Jesus…

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:  Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. John 21:1-3, NIV

Before the Holy Spirit’s tongues landed on the Apostles, Peter could only say “I don’t know Him!” and “I’m going out to fish.”  But after being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit Peter boldly tells the Sanhedrian:

Then they (Jewish leaders) called them (Peter & John) in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.

For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Acts 4:18-20, NIV

The Holy Spirit drives out fear and fills us with confidence.  It gives us the power to witness.

 

Power to Serve

We’re also called to use our “Holy Spirit Muscles” to serve.  We can’t serve and obey God until we overcome the grip of sin that holds all of us back.  And we can’t fight off sin’s grip by ourselves… it is the Holy Spirit that frees us for service to God…

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

 

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Galatians 5:16-26, NIV

Trying to live by the law is trying to live and obey under our own power.  But living by the Spirit fills us with the fruits of the Spirit and empowers us to live like Christ and to serve Him.  Being filled with the fruits of the Spirit allows us to pray and study together.  It gives us the compassion to give of our time and resources to help others.  It gives us the power to changed lives.

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to “speak in other tongues.”  They spoke in the languages understood by the people who were listening.  In the same way, the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to speak the Gospel in a way that people understand.  We are able to make the Gospel “palatable” to those who would tend to resist or misunderstand it.

 

Rise Up and Walk!

Acts 1:8 tells us that we will RECEIVE Power when the Holy Spirit comes on us.  The Greek word translated as “receive” in this verse literally means “to take, seize, or grasp”… take hold of this gift.  It will empower you for all the right reasons in all the right ways!

What keeps you from seeking???

Larry McKenzie was the 1951 polio poster boy.  His picture and story have been used by the March of Dimes to help thousands of other stricken children back then.

But Larry was also a Christian.  Whenever he traveled and spoke, he always included his testimony of his faith in Christ and how his love for the Lord strengthened him. His testimony has been published in a tract entitled, “Rise Up and Walk!”  by the American Tract Society.  In that tract, Larry states how he met such famous people as President Harry S. Truman, J. Edgar Hoover, and others.  But he says, “I often think about the time I will meet the Lord Jesus.  And until then, I really want to serve Him any way I can.” 

 

That’s a person who was filled with the Holy Spirit.  He was a person who received, who reached out, and seized the Holy Spirit and the power which comes from the Holy Spirit.

How about you?  Are you seeking the Holy Spirit?

 


Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment)…

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