Saturday, October 25, 2014

Touching Base, Part 253

This is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

This series Core Strength is designed to address various core truths, foundational truths of the Christian faith. It comes out of a spiritual life survey we did with the church back in November of 2014. Thus far in the series we have addressed Scripture, faith, God, Jesus, and today, the Holy Spirit.

Before we jump in, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that we’re going to be talking about the Holy Spirit? Pay attention to that and feel free to discuss it with God along the way.

In your group or on your own, what are the texts that you would go to (in the Old Testament and New Testament) that would help describe who the Holy Spirit is?
How does Christianity collapse if the Holy Spirit is taken out of the equation?

Text: Acts 1:4,8 “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about…. 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.”

Our text first speaks of the promise that Jesus makes to his disciples, that God will give them the Holy Spirit to empower them to do what He has called them to do. It soon happens in Acts 2.

Acts 4:24-31 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David…Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

This text is all about needing more power to do what God had called them to accomplish in the face of opposition. So the Holy Spirit comes on them a second time.

Our key text last week was 1Timothy 3:16. Mark explained that to be “vindicated” means to be “justified” “(declared righteous), to show, or exhibit.” What was Holy Spirit actually doing to “Vindicate” Jesus? Take a look at Matthew 12:28, Romans 1:4, and 1 Peter 3:18.

The Holy Spirit’s power flowing through Jesus proved who Jesus was.
How does this reality affect how we live as the Church – as Jesus’ Body?

If you’re in a group setting, you might have some interesting dialogue around this topic. Consider this quote:

"Satan has opposed the doctrine of the Spirit-filled life about as bitterly as any doctrine there is. He has confused it, opposed it, surrounded it with false notions and fears. . . . The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people"
(A.W. Tozer, How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit, Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, n.d.).

What’s your first response to this statement?
Why do you think this statement may or may not be true?
What issues can cloud our understanding of who Holy Spirit is? Could fear influence our interpretation of Scripture regarding Holy Spirit? If so, what distortions are possible?

The Holy Spirit is the person referred to by Jesus as “…the gift…”
Next to Jesus, could Holy Spirit be the most important gift God gives to the church today?

“Do not leave…wait for the gift my Father promised…”
Being head of the Church, He knew what it would take to make it happen. Interestingly, Jesus put a boundary so that they weren’t to run with the visions on their own, but wait. The Holy Spirit’s power enabled men to do what God had planned. It had been talked about, envisioned, planned and the preparations made, but nothing could go ahead and Jesus didn’t let them go ahead until they were empowered by the Spirit of God. Why is that significant to you?

God keeps His promise
Our Heavenly Father does what He promised through Jesus because the disciples waited on God’s method, God’s timing, and God’s power. They did things beyond what was humanly possible as the Spirit of God enabled them to communicate and articulate the message.

In the face of opposition they prayed: “enable your servants to speak…with boldness…”
The need for courage was urgent. So the Holy Spirit comes on them to empower them a second time. Apparently, it’s ok to get “filled” twice? I wonder if this presents any challenge to our thinking or beliefs.

This is great news. God calls us to do his will, but never expects it to be done in human strength. So when we step up to doing His will, we need Him. We need the person of the Holy Spirit who is the power to make it happen. All we have to do is ask, based on His promise and His call on our lives. God pours out His spirit on His people to advance his purposes and build His Kingdom.

In our culture of opportunity & affluence, it’s way too easy to think, “God helps those who help themselves.” But that’s not in God’s vocabulary! God’s reality? He calls us to Himself, to do His will, His way, which He empowers by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is as much as part of God as the Father and Jesus are. The fact is that if you see one, you get a glimpse of the others.

So, the good news? If you need help to do God’s will, there’s Someone whose nature is to unleash the power to make it happen!

That may make you do a double-take the next time you consider what He’s asked you to do. But think of the possibilities if the Holy Spirit pulls it off!

Kent Bandy
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