Before His ascension into Heaven Jesus carefully described the purpose of the Holy Spirit and why believers should welcome Him into their life. He took time to insist, not suggest, that all believers welcome Him into their lives. That’s because of what the Holy Spirit offers! And here is what the Spirit offers: He offers the ability to master life at every point!
Self-help principles are wonderful; motivational seminars can improve your skills: reading books increase your knowledge; but Christ knew the unlimited power and knowledge of the Holy Spirit was the key to mastering life at every point. That’s why Jesus commanded Christians to welcome Him into their lives. But do you realize only certain people are qualified to utilize the Holy Spirit’s transforming endowment? Jesus said in John 14:17, “The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.” Life’s greatest helper is virtually unknown to vast majority of the world! But a greater tragedy is when Christians neglect life’s greatest partner. The intent of this message is to encourage you to invite the Holy Spirit to impact your entire life. If you do, God will lift you to a higher spiritual dimension you have ever known.
(Transition) First, let’s note that the Holy Spirit is a lifegiver.
Why is it important that we understand the life-giving nature of the Holy Spirit? What’s so significant about 2 Corinthians 3:6 that says: “the Spirit gives life”
(Definition) The Greek word for Spirit is pneuma, which means, “to breathe or blow.” The Hebrew word for Spirit is rauch and rauch refers to the atmosphere, or, the air. Without breath and without air the human race is lifeless. We understand the Holy Spirit is not our literal breath or the literal air we breathe, but He is indeed the life-giving agent to everything we experience in the kingdom of God. Notice how the Bible associates the Holy Spirit with life.
The Holy Spirit is the life-giver for all creation and that’s why His companionship is compulsory. There’s no spiritual life without His presence; no New Birth; no vibrant fellowship Christ; no quickening of His Word; we’re yet dead in our trespasses. The purpose of the Spirit’s outpouring at Pentecost was to impart Christ’s life where death reigned. And He not only imparts life where death reigns, He brings vibrancy and joy where there’s indifference. Many Christians need to be infused with a hypodermic of Holy Spirit vitality. They need this because even though they exist, they exist without any trace of spiritual jubilance.
If you’ve ever seen a truly talented person minister—whether he preaches, testifies, or sings—without passion and enthusiasm you knew something was missing. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Successful politicians, entertainers, and businessmen exude enthusiasm. There’s something about the fire of excitement that attracts and persuades people. That’s why Spirit-filled living isn’t optional for believers. The Spirit’s life-giving presence energizes our relationship with Jesus and helps attract sinners to Jesus.
Notice the emphasis the Bible places on Spirit-filled living:
In Luke 24:49 Jesus declared: “I am going to send you what my Father as promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
John 20:22 notes that Christ “breathed on them and said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit.’”
The Lord’s final public exhortation to Believers was: “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (ACT 1:8).
And Ephesians 5:18 commands: “be filled with the Spirit.”
Faith is important, Bible study is imperative, trusting God’s providence is beneficial, but a constant infilling with the Holy Spirit is also mandatory. The Holy Spirit is God’s signature upon Believers and He offers to autograph anyone presenting their life before Him. And if you need a filling or refilling then permit me to make Christ’s Messianic manifesto: “Receive the Holy Spirit . . . Receive the Holy Spirit!”
(Transition) Second, The Holy Spirit transforms you.
Let’s illustrate the Spirit’s transforming upon our lives by keynoting the Feast of Pentecost. There were seven annual Jewish festivals but three were most holy: The Feast of Passover, Tabernacles, and Pentecost. Pentecost was celebrated fifty days after Passover. Its purpose was this: It served as a worshiper’s opportunity to thank God for his harvest. The worshiper would bring a thank offering and offer it to the Lord in proportion to how the Lord had blessed him.
None of the seven Jewish festivals permitted worshipers to appear before God empty‑handed, each required an offering. But Pentecost was unique because it didn’t designate a specific measurement. The worshiper’s generosity was purely subjective.
Let’s read Deuteronomy 16:16-17. “Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. (17) “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you” (NASU).
At the Feast of Pentecost the Temple in Jerusalem swelled with mounds of corn, wheat, barley, and vegetables. When the Temple overflowed the worshipers poured out their offering on the streets leading toward the Temple. The area burgeoned with the people’s generosity. It’s significant that the effusion of the Holy Spirit came during the Festival of Pentecost because God actually inverted the worship procedure. For centuries worshipers brought their earthly resources, but in Acts 2 God poured forth His heavenly resource, the Holy Spirit, to worshipers. And He did it “when the day of Pentecost had fully come.” And that’s significant! That phrase, “fully come” means the Holy Spirit descended into the lives of Christians at the apex of the festival when worshipers had piled their gifts at the Temple. And when they arrived with their resources, Christ arrived with His! And there’s no question about which brought the greater blessing. Christ’s blessing spilled from Heaven into the 120 believers, onto Jerusalem’s streets, across the Roman Empire, down through the ages, and into every nation on earth.
The purpose of the Pentecostal experience is to empower believers to continue Christ’s ministry and reap a harvest of souls for the Kingdom. Jesus knew that once He ascended into Heaven that His kingdom could only prosper as Christians worked with the same power He operated with.
One ordinary man preached at Pentecost but the extraordinary Holy Spirit ignited the words, swept through the crowd, and converted 3000 people.
Several days later two apostles conventionally walked toward the Temple but the Spirit unconventionally intervened and poured strength into a disabled beggar’s legs.
Peter, in all his mortality, walked down the street, but the Spirit’s immortality energized his shadow and instantly cured afflictions and diseases.
Paul and Silas sat beaten and bruised in jail. There are no records indicating these men possessed choral qualities. Their vibrato couldn’t shatter glass much less shafts of steel. Most ministers are tone-deaf and sing off‑key anyway. But as Paul and Silas sang the Spirit’s power swirled, shook the cell, split the bars, and converted the jailer.
That’s the Spirit’s transforming impact. And nothing offers greater consequence. When you take hold of Him and He takes over you, you’ve accessed the ultimate transformation. You see, the Holy Spirit was given to provide divine assistance and supernatural power for everything we do. He literally transforms us to manage life and overcome its difficulties.
(Illustration) Television commercials are aimed at convincing the public their product is supreme. You’ve never seen an aspirin commercial purporting: “We can’t match Tylenol or Advil but we’re adequate.” No, they brashly announce their product is turbo-charged. One tiny Ibuprophen dwarfs the potency of a brimming bottle of Bayer. One Acme paper towel absorbs a gallon of spilled water. You’d have to eat twelve bowls of Raisin Brain to equal the nutrition of a single bowl of Product 19.
A little hyperbole but you get the idea of commercials. But it’s no exaggeration when Jesus announces the Spirit transforms and impacts us in every way. We’re repositioned to a higher plane of living and He conquers life through us.
John 14:16 speaks of His counseling impact when it says: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—(17) the Spirit of truth.”
Romans 8:26 speaks of His intercessory impact by saying: “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 with groans that words cannot express.”
He supplies productivity in witnessing, power in praying, victory over temptation, and the fruit of righteousness to reflect God’s radiance.
He supplies power to heal the sick, exorcise devils, and duplicate Christ’s works.
(Transition) Third, The Spirit provides abundant living for you.
(Illustration) A favorite class during my ministerial studies was a homiletics course. Homiletics is the study of sermon preparation. But one primary lesson from that collegiate course didn’t directly relate to sermon structure. In a moment of heart-felt passion the professor paused and addressed the students with these words: “Gentlemen, whatever else is preached to your congregation never fail to convey this message: ‘Jesus Christ came to give life and give it more abundantly’” (John 10:10). In other words, Jesus furnishes life for the hereafter and He furnishes abundant living for the here-and-now.
Let’s illustrate that from an Old Testament passage. Genesis 24 expressly symbolizes the cooperative relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Abraham, symbolizing the Heavenly Father, sent his unnamed servant, symbolizing the self-effacing Spirit, to secure a bride for his son Isaac, symbolizing Christ. When the servant, later identified as Eleazar, approached his destination and arrived at Mesopotamia he paused to pray:
Genesis 24:12-14 (Read)
As Rebekah approached the spring she precisely fulfilled Eleazar’s request (17-21). In response Eleazar lavished her with costly gifts, symbolizing the spiritual gifts to Christ’s bride (22-23). With Rebekah’s consent and her father’s blessing Eleazar presented Rebekah to Isaac (53). Truly a marriage made in heaven. Notice what transpired in Rebekah, representing Christ’s bride: Her entire life was renovated and she entered another dimension of living. She moved from Mesopotamia to Canaan; and she was transformed from a domestic servant to an heir of Abraham’s abundant blessings. And it was all because she permitted Eleazar, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, to impact her life.
The Holy Spirit mediates an abundant-life experience for Christ’s bride. Had Rebekah rebuffed Eleazar she would have rejected Abraham’s blessings. That’s why we shouldn’t spurn the Spirit’s companionship but embrace everything He offers. And remember, claiming His provisions is a subjective experience, only you can connect His dynamic into your life. It’s your choice to approach the river and without cost drinking until you’re overflowing. Christ makes the invitation but you have to accept. And He wants you filled with what His Spirit offers:
Acts 6:3 speaks of being filled with wisdom.
Acts 6:5 speaks of being filled with faith.
Acts 6:8 speaks of being filled with power.
John 15:11 speaks of being filled with joy.
Colossians 1:9 speaks of being filled with comfort.
2 Corinthians 7:4 speaks of being filled with the knowledge of His will.
Someone may ask, “Is the Spirit-filled life necessary to enter Heaven?” No, but why would anyone want to enter Heaven without accepting what He has to offer? Let me distinguish the difference the Holy Spirit infilling makes upon believers.
(Illustration) Imagine traveling along a dark, lonely, two-lane highway and approaching an oncoming automobile. There’s nothing unusually luminous about its approach just two headlights clearing its path. That’s the conventional Christian. Now imagine traveling that highway with an eighteen-wheeler approaching. Two giant beams of light illuminate its passageway. Spanning the cab’s top border are grade courtesy lights. Enveloping the grill is also band of glowing lights. Road lamps dot the bumper. Streaming along both sides of the cab and trailer are a ribbon of colorful lights. You’ve seen semis like this. They literally glow as they travel the road. That’s the Spirit-filled Christian. The Spirit amplifies everything about us.
Let me close by noting the very special place Jesus takes in baptizing believers in the Holy Spirit. You realize how important is to Christ when you understand He functions as our Prophet, Priest, and King. Although each operates simultaneously in each office He primarily ministered 2,000 years ago as our Prophet. From the Cross until today He’s primarily functioned as our Priest. At the Parousia He will reign as King of Kings.
We are presently occupying the time between the Cross and the Parousia when Jesus functions as our High Priest. And the special responsibilities of His priesthood include ministering as our Savior, Healer, Provider, and Deliverer. But along with that is His imperative position as being our Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist recognized this when he said: “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (MAR 1:8). And Jesus echoed the same refrain about Himself. The Spirit-filled life is imperative because it’s inextricably linked to Christ’s priestly position. Allow Him to continue His priestly ministry and baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
Aug 31, 2019 Comments Off on YOUR TIMES ARE IN GOD’S HANDS
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