Filling of the Spirit
Good morning.It is great to be here with you, and I am excited because I have come with some really good news.How many want some good news?This news is so good that it can radically and powerfully change your life forever.Here it is:the same Holy Spirit that we read about in the Bible; the same HS that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, the same Pentecost Power that came upon those early believers is alive and well and wants to come upon us and change us and transform us, and empower us to live a fruitful and victorious life.
Sadie lost her husband almost four years ago and still has not gotten out of her depression, mourning as if it were only yesterday. Her daughter constantly is calling her and urging her to get back into the world. Finally, Sadie says she'd go out, but didn't know anyone. Her daughter immediately replies, "Mama! I have someone for you to meet."
Well, it was an immediate hit. They took to one another and after dating for six weeks he asks her to join him for a weekend in the Catskills. And we know what that meant. Their first night there she undresses, as he does. There she stood, nude, except for a pair of black lacy panties. He in his birthday suit. Looking at her he asks, "Why the black panties?" She replies, "My breasts you can fondle, my body is yours to explore, but down there I am still in mourning."
He knows he's not getting lucky that night. The following night the same scenario. She standing there with the black panties on and he in his birthday suit; except that he has an erection on which he has a black condom. She looks at him and asks, "What's with this ... a black condom?" He replies, "I want to offer my condolences."
“If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”Romans 8:11
Memorize this, meditate on this, pray this, affirm this.Oh how we need to live out this verse.And in our text today, we see this truth being experienced by the early church, and what we see for them is what is available for us today.
We have in Acts 2 the day of Pentecost.Penta = 50;50 days after Passover. This was a time in the Jewish calendar when people came to Jerusalem from all over (Acts 2:5men from every nation under heaven) to celebrate the feast of harvest, (little did they know a spiritual harvest was going to happen), giving God praise for the crops that had come in, dedicating the first fruits to the Lord with the faith that more would come in, and how cool that at this time, at this feast, God in His sovereignty would choose to bring the power of the HS on His people so that a more important harvest (of souls) could be launched from Jerusalem to Judea, to Samaria and eventually to the uttermost ends of the earth.
The HS empowering His people to share the good news of salvation and forgiveness and healing in Jesus.And we are here today worshiping God because of this.And that is why your series is called “The Church Unleashed.”Unleashed to do God’s work with God’s Power:.Aren’t you glad that God gives us the ability to do what He calls us to do?!
So the first point I want to make right out of the shoot today is this:
1.Pentecost power is essential.
Essential for what?A victorious and fruitful life.We cannot live the kind of life God wants without God’s power.
I know you have covered this but it never hurts repeating the importance of being filled with the Spirit. (By the way, you have had some great messages on Acts so far.I have listened to all of them.Daniel, good stuff.Wish I had your accent … I could be more anointed!)
This point comes from the background to Acts 2 and that is what Jesus told His disciples in Luke 24 and what we saw in Acts 1:8
“Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”Luke 24:49
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…”Acts 1:8
Jesus told His followers to not even begin to try to live for Him and do His work until they were clothed with power from on high.
Ex.Prop:putting on a jacket.I can’t do it dressed as I am.I must put this on before I can do it!!!
This command by Jesus might be the most important in all the Bible.What about love God with all your heart?Can’t do without the power of the Spirit.What about love your neighbor as yourself?Can’t do it without the power of the HS.What about go into all the world and make disciples?Can’t do it without Acts 1:8be filled and be my witnesses.
This is why so many famous Christ followers have talked about the importance of being filled with the HS:
“Do not get drunk with wine … but be filled with the Holy Spirit” Eph. 5:18
“The church will never prosper until it more reverently believes in the Holy Ghost.”Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
“I believe the greatest need tonight is for men and women who profess the Name of Jesus Christ be filled with the Spirit.”Billy Graham, 1949
“I have never shared any message that has been more used of God to transform the lives of multitudes than the message of the Spirit-filled life.”Bill Bright
“The most important thing in the life of any Christian is to be filled with the Spirit.”Tim LaHaye
“It is one thing to become a Christian.It is another thing entirely to become a Spirit-filled Christian.”Charles Swindoll
The sooner we realize how absolutely inadequate we are to be and do what God has called us to be and do, the better off we are, because God wants us to realize how inadequate we are so that we will depend on His power.
Following Jesus is not a matter of trying hard to change ourselves from the outside in by human energy and effort.It is allowing Jesus to live His life in us and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.It is living by His energy and His resources.This is why:
Chall.Do you realize you can’t do it without His power?
(Let me tell you something here:often God has to take us through a brokenness experience before we realize this ….
2.Pentecost power is for all believers.
It is not for just some elite group.It is not for just those back then.It is for us … today…. You … today.
As I was preparing, I was struck by a few words in v. 1-4:all, each one, all.
This reminds us all that the filling of the Spirit is for each one of us.Each one of you can be filled each day by God’s Spirit.Isn’t that awesome.You don’t have to be someone superspecial or have a theological degree or ….. none of these 120 had that.They were just all ordinary people who loved God and wanted all He had for them. What about you?Do you want all God has for you?Why would you not?Do you know that if you settle for less than God’s will you are ultimately cheating yourself, because the best thing for your life is God’s will!
Furthermore, look at
Acts 2:17fpour out:all people, sons, daughters, young men, old men, servants, men, women …. Everyone!!!!Regardless of gender, social class, age, …. Some of these were the low end of society, but often what is low end in man’s equation is prime candidates for God’s filling.God takes the foolish things of the world to confound the wise!!!
All can be filled.You can be filled today!From the brand new Christian in this church to the person who has known the Lord the longest ….
(let me say a word to young people right now:this is for you, too.You are not Jr. Christians.You are not little c Christians.You can be just as filled as Peter in the book of Acts!Some of you are facing some stuff right now where you need the power of God...and you can have it.For relationships, for school, for decisions, for school, for sports….
(2 Chron. 16:9eyes of the Lord …. He is looking for hearts to fully support.
TSNow, it’s going to get very interesting.Buckle your seatbelts.Here we go:What happens when one is filled?What happened in Acts 2 when they were filled?Some really interesting stuff.Pt. 3:
3.Pentecost power results in supernatural phenomena.
God doing in and through people what is humanly impossible.The Holy Spirit doing supernatural things. Supernatural phenomena:Aren’t you glad for this?Oh how we need things to happen in our lives that are unexplainable apart from God.The first thing we see in Acts 2 is:
a.Tongues. V. 4-13
God enabled them to speak in languages they did not know. If you are taking a foreign language, you probably really wish you could get this gift around test time.
But here they spoke these languages so people could hear the Gospel and respond and thus the message could go out really fast to a lot of people.Remember there are all these people coming to Jerusalem to celebrate.Great opportunity for evangelism.Just one problem.The disciples didn’t speak all those languages, but here God’s Spirit enabled them to do so, with the result being massive church growth.The purpose of tongues here was evangelism.
Now we aren’t going to have a course on the gift of tongues, but it is important to note that the Bible talks about 3 kinds of tongues:tongues like Pentecost; tongues like 1 Cor. 14 where you speak a message and it is interpreted for the benefit of the body; and then tongues for private prayer.And it doesn’t have to be a known language to be biblical tongues because 1 Cor. 13 talks about the tongues of men and of angels.
(Notice this little phrase in v. 4:As the Spirit gave them utterance. Oh boy, this will preach.Get ready.That little phrase really hit me in my preparation.
As the Spirit “gave them utterance”/enabled them (NIV).In other words, they did something (speak in tongues) that God empowered them to do.They did something beyond what they were humanly capable of doing.And this, my dear friends, is what God wants to do for you.If you will allow Him to fill you with His Spirit, what will result is things happening in your life that you are incapable of doing on your own.
Chall.Where do you need this enablement:Marriage?Parenting?Temptation?Work?Besetting sin?Bitterness and unforgiveness?An addiction?Whatever you face in terms of a challenge, the Holy Spirit is greater than that challenge.
We are no different than other religions or philosophies or self help strategy if we don’t have a supernatural power, but we do.God wants to do in and through us what we cannot do ourselves.
One more thing to note here:those who saw it were (look with me in v. 6 “bewildered”, “amazed”, astonished” .. v. 12 “amazed”, “perplexed.”
When God moves you can expect some to misunderstand it.
1 cor. 1:21 “the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to Him…”
TSThe next supernatural phenomena we see here is:
b.Dreams, visions, and prophecies.V. 17-19
To help defend what was happening, since so many were not understanding it, Peter quotes from the book of Joel, and look at this passage
Acts 2:17fprophesy … visions … dreams … wonders …. Signs….
This stuff really does happen.God is the same yesterday, today and forever.And when it happens like God wants it to, it yields good fruit in our lives.
Chall.How many of you have ever experienced a dream, a vision, or a prophesy that you know was of God and bore good fruit in your life???Caused you to love God more, follow God more carefully or influenced another to come to Christ?
I am so glad God is still doing this stuff today.
I know Steve has shared with you about how God used dreams to lead him to plant this church…. God has used dreams in my life (to confirm we were to move back to GA).Dreams will often confirm something God has been already speaking to you about or to start the process of something that he will confirm in other ways.I would never make a major decision on a dream alone.
Recently God used a vision and a prophetic word in a very powerful way in our family’s life.
Personal:We have a son that in the last year has really caused us a lot of heartache and pain.He has made some bad decisions, gotten involved with some young men that have really led him astray.We were really at a loss as to what we needed to do, and so we got some people who began to really pray for him.One of these prayer warriors contacted a missionary in Africa …. Called me one day “David, I just came out of a 3 hour worship service in which I had a vision of your son …. Will get worse before it gets better but will be completed resolved in less than a year.”3 weeks later we got a call from the police that he had been arrested for something very serious …. Dede and I said, “I guess this is the worse before it gets better.”God prepared us through this vision ….. long story short:he has repented, received Christ, and things are looking much better.This was visions and prophecies in a NT way that is yielding fruit for God’s glory!!!!
Sailboat:Oh, how we need to be open to God doing this stuff in our lives.Oh how we need to pray every day to be filled with the HS… I say it this way:lives with your sail raised high so that should the wind of the Spirit blow your way, you are ready to receive it and be carried by it!!!
TS Another way the HS manifests Himself in this chapter, and this just might be the most important, and that is changed lives.
c.Changed Lives. v. 14f, 37-41
Perhaps this is the most powerful one of all.That other stuff (tongues, prophecies, dreams, etc.) can be faked or made to look like the real deal, and Jesus warned about false prophets performing false signs and wonders, so you have to be real careful about these, but a changed life is hard to refute.A changed life will especially minister to those who are the closest to you.Don’t forget
Gal. 5 the fruit of the Spirit is just as much a testimony to the Spirit’s filling as tongues, dreams, visions, etc.
Someone once said, “a Person with a testimony is never at the mercy against a person with an argument.”
Where do we see changed lives here in Acts?
1)First we see it with the man preaching here:Peter.If ever there was an example of how the Power of Pentecost can change someone it is Peter, remember Peter?You know, the same man who was just denying Jesus about a month before this and now he is boldly proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world.What brought about this difference?The death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit now in him.
2)We also see a powerful change in the lives of the other disciples.Radical change by a radical power.And most of them were eventually martyred for their faith in Jesus.This, by the way, is a powerful piece of apologetic evidence for Jesus being who He claimed to be?Who would die for a known lie, Josh McDowell, has wisely asked.
3)Now look at Acts 2:37-41 for one more evidence of changed lives and that was the people who were converted.The unsaved getting saved because of the powerful preaching of Peter. The Word preached with the Spirit’s anointing, cut them to the heart and brought about salvation.
Chall.Where do you need to change?This Pentecost Power is still available to change lives for the glory of God.Where do you need to change and feel powerless in yourself to bring about this change?Maybe it is conversion;Perhaps it is a habit or a repeated sin or an addiction.Maybe it has to do with your marriage or parenting or other relational issue.Some of you are in situations where you are out of God’s will and you feel stuck,You can have victory through the power of the Spirit.
The power of the HS is greater than that sin or addiction.The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is alive within you if you are a follower of Christ.
1 Jn. 4:4Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
Rom. 8we are more than conquerors.
Let me show you how this change works:
Prop:Chocolate milk:Eph. 1:13, Eph. 5:18.Let me demonstrate this with a prop.
Let me show you another way to look at this:the bible says we are spirit, soul and body. Before we receive Christ we are dead in our sin.When we repent and receive Christ, we receive the indwelling HS.And this indwelling spirit wants to change us from the inside out.
1.3 concentric circles with the inner one marked “Spirit”, the next one labeled “soul”, and the outer circle labeled “body”
2.Same 3 circles but now the spirit circle labeled “dead in sin”
3.Same 3 circles but now the spirit circle labeled “indwelling Holy Spirit”
4.Same 3 circles but now arrows go from the “indwelling Holy Spirit” circle out to the soul and body circles.
TSSo, we have seen with this point that Pentecost Power leads to supernatural things:tongues, dreams, visions, prophecies, signs, wonders, and changed lives.Now as we think about some of these manifestations, as I said before, it can get a little messy and there be some things like tongues and dreams and visions and prophecies that take place and we not be totally sure it is of God.How do we tell? How do we discern?How do we stay balanced and not get misled?….. making sure we always go back to God’s Word!This (bible) is our standard of truth.This is our plumbline.This is the certain word of God.So our 4th point is this:
4.Pentecost power flows with the Word.
There are two rivers:word and Spirit.As the Spirit is poured out (phrase used here), it flows with the Word!
Notice how often in this chapter we see them going back to the Word for support and guidance and truth….In v. 14 when people were very confussed about this speaking on tongues stuff, even thought they were drunk, how does Peter give light and clarify to this misunderstanding?He does what we should always do when we need clarity about something or when we need to know whether or not something is from God, the flesh, or the enemy, and that is what? We should go back to the Word of God, the certain truth of God, and that is what he does in v. 16f.He quotes from the book of Joel.
He also uses the Word to preach Jesus, quoting from the OT to support the resurrection and to support the ascension.
We see this throughout the book of Acts:the Word and the Spirit working together in perfect harmony.I will be sharing a lot more about this at the conference this week (how many are coming?) so I will keep this very brief but I will say this:the Holy Spirit and the Holy Word are really good friends.They get along real well.So well that they don’t like to be without the other.Come on now.
Some churches today have the Word without the Spirit.Their functional trinity is Father, son, and Holy Bible.Other places have what they think is the Spirit without the Word and things are chaotic.The Spirit and the Word are two rivers that love to come together for some white water rafting.And we will see that in this chapter.
Quo Steve:I love what my brother says about this and I have this quote in my book:Word without the Spirit is “dry up”
Spirit without the word is “blow up”
Word with the Spirit is “grow up”
Let me illustrate it this way for you, and we will come back to this during the conference:
Window and screen.Open the window and things get blown around, but as long as it is due to the wind, cool.But if birds and limbs are flying in, not good.What keeps the birds and limbs from flying in?The screen!Screen is the Word of God.
Here is the bottom line when it comes to the Word and the Spirit:if you have the Word without the Spirit you will have dead orthodoxy …. Legalism …. Staleness …. Judgmental of others ….. self righteousness ….
If you have the Spirit without the Word you will have craziness … led by feelings …. Up and down …. Going down all kinds of rabbit trails …. Very unstable …..
If you have Word and Spirit you will have power with stability…. Truth and grace … boldness and sensitivity …. Men of steel and velvet….
The Word and the Spirit working together.There is no more powerful combination in all the universe!!!!
(if you come to the conference this week, I will be speaking on how the power of the Word shows itself all over the early church and the book of Acts.
(Folks, the Word is so important in our growth and in our ministry to others.We must be in it just to know God;we must be in it to grow in truth and doctrine.We must be in it to discern false teachings.WE must be in it to share with others.We must share it in evangelism.We must use it in discipleship.We must know it will not return void.Sharper than any 2-edged sword.….
What is God saying to you today from this powerful chapter about Pentecost power?We desperately need the power of the Spirit.He is available to everyone of us.He wants to do supernatural things in and through our lives.He wants to work in harmony with His Word in our lives.
Do you believe the same HS that we see here is available to you?
What do I need to do to be filled?This is by no means a formula but here are some principles from God’s Word that I believe are involved in being filled.To make it easy to remember, I have it DCBA.ABCD backwards:
Being Filled with the Spirit
D – Desire
You have to have a desire to be filled.Jn. 7 if any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink and out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.
C – Confess
Sin will inhibit God’s Spirit from empowering us.We need to immediately confess and repent of sin as we are aware of it.
B – Bow
Bow or surrender.Here is where we yield to God.If there are areas of our life that we are holding back, then that too will hinder the power of the Spirit from flowing as God would have it.Some believe the reason for the disciples in prayer before Pentecost was for them to confess their sin and deal with their disunity and other fleshly stuff that was in their lives.
Once you have done DC and B then all that is left is to:
A – Ask
Just ask and accept by faith.Ask and believe that He is filling you, based on His character and His promises, once being:
Luke 11:13“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
God wants to fill you.It is His will, so Ask Him to fill you!