“The Power of the Holy Spirit”
Pt. 2 of the Series: “The Ghost”
May 17, 2020
Acts 1:1-5, 8
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach2 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.”…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.”
We are in week 2 of our series called, “The Ghost.” It is a series about what some consider the least known person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Two weeks ago, we started the series and talked about the presence of the Holy Spirit. We said that many people today live Holy Spirit-less lives, or Holy Spirit reduced lives because of one of three reasons. They either aren’t fully aware of the Holy Spirit. Some don’t even know that there is such a One as the Holy Spirit. Or, they misunderstand who the Holy Spirit is. They don’t know who he is in their lives. They don’t realize that He is more than just a force, like, May the Force Be With You. He is the third person of the Trinity. He is God. Or, they resist the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit nudges them to stop something they are doing, these people say, “But, I want to do it,” and they go ahead. They resist the Spirit. Or, when the Spirit says to do something, like to go and share their faith, they say something like, “But, I don’t want to” and they don’t. They resist the Holy Spirit. So, we finished with the prayer that we can know the Holy Spirit more fully and dial into who He is so that our lives are different from people who are unbelievers.
Now, today, I want to talk about, “The Power of the Holy Spirit.” Again, some people don’t fully dial into the Holy Spirit because they don’t realize what incredible power they have at their disposal in the Holy Spirit. It is like going to the Louvre in Paris where there are priceless paintings, then turning off the lights so that it is pitch black and saying, “Aren’t these painting beautiful?” People are trying to do life without turning on the light that only the Holy Spirit, without utilizing the Holy Spirit’s great power. The power of the Holy Spirit is what Jesus promised.
- Jesus Promised You Can Have the Power of the Holy Spirit
The time frame for our Scripture for today is 40 days after Jesus was resurrected. During those 40 days, Jesus had appeared to the women at the tomb, to Peter and John, to the other disciples in the Upper Room and later to Thomas and to over 500 giving many convincing proofs that He was alive. Then, Jesus told His disciples that they were to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the gift the Father would send. Jesus alluded to John the Baptist saying that John baptized with water but that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus’ disciples will receive the Spirit’s power
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” Acts 1:8a
The Greek word is dunamis. We get the word dynamite from that. The Holy Spirit is powerful. He is a miraculous explosive power. Throughout Scripture, we see the Spirit’s power at work. At creation, we find the Spirit hovering over the face of the deep at creation. The Spirit gave Joseph the power to rule over Egypt, Joshua the power to conquer the nations in the Holy Land, and Samson the mighty power to tear a lion apart with his bare hands. In the New Testament, Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. You remember that Mary asked how could she have a child since she was a virgin and the angel told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her. Of course, we see the Holy Spirit’s incredible power at Pentecost with tongues of fire and a mighty wind. Throughout Scripture, we see the Spirit’s power at work. But, listen to this;
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11
Did you hear that? The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, the power that brought Him back to life, the power that rolled that stone away, the power that had Him defeat sin, death and the devil, that power is yours! That power is yours! But, the problem is
- Many Christians don’t take advantage of that power
They live Holy Spirit-less lives or Spirit-reduced lives. They figure they can do life on their own, all by themselves. Pastor Craig Groeschel tells the story of digging up railroad ties at his house. Those railroad ties had been in the ground for 30 years and he wanted to get rid of them. He called his buddy and, together, they attacked them. They put on their little work gloves and they got their little shovels and they went to it. They did okay until they got to a retaining wall that was 4 feet deep. Three hours later, with their hands bleeding, they hadn’t even gotten out one of those railroad ties from the retaining wall. With that, another friend called. That friend told Pastor Craig that he had a Bobcat. He brought it over and in no time at all had all of the retaining wall dug out of the ground.
Christians all over the world get out their little gloves and their little shovels and they attack life all by themselves when they have a bigger than life Bobcat like Holy Spirit that can make all of the difference in the world. Listen again; that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, that same Spirit is available to you! Are you going to live your life like going to the Louvre and turning off the lights? Are you going to do life with your little work gloves on and your little shovel when you have a far greater power at your side? Let me give you 5 examples of
- How the Holy Spirit is Powerful in Your Life
- The Holy Spirit is powerful in your life because He gives you faith
Faith is not that you close your eyes , click your shoes and bingo, bango you have faith. Faith is not, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Faith is not something you choose to do. You can do things to increase your faith like reading your Bible or praying but coming to faith, justifying faith, is a gift given through the power of the Holy Spirit. Listen to what the Bible says is
- Your condition before you have faith
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” Romans 8:7
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…” Ephesians 2:1
Did you hear that? Before the Spirit works, you can’t accept the things of God, you can’t understand them, you are hostile to God, you are dead as a doornail DEAD dead. Based upon these Scriptures and others, Martin Luther would say in his Catechism; “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him…”. We are powerless to effect faith in ourselves. But now, listen to
- What the Holy Spirit has done to give you faith
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:3
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
The Holy Spirit is powerful in your life because He gives you faith
- The Holy Spirit is powerful in your life to give you strength when you are weak
As a matter of fact, the Holy Spirit does His best work when you are weak. We can learn a lesson from Alcoholics Anonymous here. Many times AA says that a person can’t begin to move away from alcoholism until they hit bottom. By hitting bottom they mean that they come to a place where they recognize that they cannot beat this bear by themselves. It is when they have to admit their total weakness, that they cannot do this on their own, that is when they can be turned around.
When you come to the point where you cannot conquer on your own your circumstance or your sickness or your sin, when you come to the point where you are weak, where you cry out to God, that is when the Holy Spirit can step in and change you.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 2:9-10
So, you get sick. You try to self-medicate. If you are Jamie Gullo, you get out your Thieves Oil and smell like a thief. You try to self-medicate or you go to the doctors and he might give you something, but there may come a point where you must admit, I am not getting better. I can’t do anything about it and my doctor can’t. All I have left is God. That entire time, the Holy Spirit is saying, “Trust me, trust me, trust me.” But, when you get to the end, when you are weak, then you can say, “You take over.” When you are weak, that’s when you are Holy Spirit strong. Or, your finances are shot. You just get one bill paid off and the car breaks down. You try everything you can. You get on a budget. You cut back but you aren’t making it. The bills are piling up. That entire time, the Holy Spirit is saying, “Trust me, trust me, trust me.” But, when you get to the end, when you are weak, then you can say, “You take over.” When you are weak, that’s when you are Holy Spirit strong. Or, as I read about this week, your kids are going bonkers. They are tired of being out of school. They are bored. They are grouchy. You are going nuts. You’ve tried everything but you are at your wits end. That entire time, the Holy Spirit is saying, “Trust me, trust me, trust me.” But, when you get to the end, when you are weak, then you can say, “You take my kids. I’ll give them to you.” Did I say that? No, you give that over to the Spirit because when you are weak, then you are strong. By the way, parents, what a great teaching moment for your kids. What a conversation you can have when you ask your kids, what is God teaching us through this whole CoVid 19 thing. Or, here is one more. You have this sin and you keep doing it and doing it. You have tried everything to conquer that sin but you cannot. That is when the Holy Spirit can enter in. You give that sin over to the Holy Spirit because when you are weak, that is when you are strong. Here is another way the Holy Spirit is powerful in your life.
- The Holy Spirit is powerful in giving you hope in a hopeless world
By hopeless world, I mean the ethics and morals of this country are deteriorating at an alarming rate, values are warped, money, power greed rule the day, right becomes wrong and wrong becomes right. By hopeless world, I mean the world, our country, our community is moving farther and farther away from Christ. People today are missing the main thing.
It is like that young father who was standing over his child’s crib. His wife saw disbelief, doubt, delight and amazement on his face. Seeing this unusual display of emotions, she nudged up against him, put her arm around him and said, “A penny for your thoughts.” The young dad said, “I can’t believe they can make a crib like this for $46.” He had one of the greatest miracles in God’s creation lying in that crib and all the father saw was the crib. People today have all of what God is doing before them but they don’t see a thing.
People have limited hope. They put their hope in themselves and in other people and in circumstances and in a job and in money but they haven’t put their hope in the unlimited God.
“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
If you are hurting today, put your hope in the unlimited God. If you lose your job due to CoVid 19, put your hope in the unlimited God. If you are worried about tomorrow, put your hope in the unlimited God. If you are grieving at the loss of a loved one or a friend, put your hope in the unlimited God. The Holy Spirit’s power gives you hope in a hopeless world. Next,
- The Holy Spirit is powerful in helping you experience the fullness of God
Many times people see the Christian life something like this; “Yeah, I believe in God, I pray now and then, I try to be a good person, but that’s about it.” There is no real life transformation there. Compare that to what Paul sees as the power of the Holy Spirit;
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19
Would your world take on a whole new meaning if you prayed to the Holy Spirit to strengthen you with power, to know of Christ’s love, that His grace will just permeate your heart, where you are rooted and established in that love, when it becomes the central aspect of your life, when you have the power, together with all of the saints who ever lived, to know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. How would your life change when your prayer to the Holy Spirit is to know that love more deeply every single day, when your prayer is that you can be filled to the full measure of God. How would that prayer change your life? Finally,
- The Holy Spirit is powerful in encouraging you to share your faith
That’s what Jesus said;
“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 1:8
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
Paul wasn’t concerned about using persuasive words. He was concerned about utilizing the Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit’s power moved Paul to communicate the message of Christ in life-transforming ways.
Now, you might say think you cannot share your faith boldly. You may think you won’t know what to say or you don’t know any Bible verses. You may be thinking, I am not a pastor. But, listen to me, Jesus calls us to be witnesses. A witness merely tells what they know. Sing this song with me; “Jesus loves me this I know…”. Are you singing the truth there? Is it true that Jesus loves me this I know. Do you know that Jesus loves you? How? How do you know that? That’s the witness you share. You just tell what you know.
You may think you are not the best person to speak to someone else. The Spirit’s got this. I went to see a woman in the hospital who was having a mastectomy. I may have been her pastor, but as a man, who was I to relate to her? Who was I to tell her I understood what she was going through? As a man, how would I know? Who can minister to her best but another Christian woman who has been through the same operation. You may be that person. Or, who may be the best person to talk to someone about a deteriorating marriage than a Christian couple who have had a bad marriage but, through the grace of God, have worked through it. Who better to talk to a teen who feels she is not in the “in” group and she has no friends. Who would be better to minister to her than another Christian teen who has felt those same feelings and has moved through that to see that God loves her and will always love her. The Holy Spirit is powerful in encouraging you to share your faith.
Could I just encourage you to dial in to the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t do life like turning off the light in the Louvre. Do life fully recognizing the power of the Holy Spirit, the power that will achieve great things in your life. Know that Jesus promised the power of the Holy Spirit to you. Let me say it one more time, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, that same power that rolled away the tomb and brought Jesus out, that same power is yours. It is yours. Live in that power, dear friends. Live in that power.
In Jesus’ name,