Empowered by the Spirit

“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)

Earlier in this chapter the Jewish rulers, the elders and scribes and also the High Priest Annas was there, they had gathered to question Peter and John as to what power they had healed the Lame Beggar. Peter testified before them that they had healed the Lame Beggar by the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus, the Nazarene, whom they had crucified. The rulers had come to arrest the Apostles but were unable to find fault with Peter and John, and because of the people who had gathered they were afraid and did not arrest them. The key to this exchange with the rulers of the Jewish people can be found in verses 8, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them.” The question comes to mind is can we have this power from the Holy Spirit? I believe yes, which brings the next question, why do most of us not?

There are five things I want us to look at this evening. 1) Consume the Word of God. 2) Pursue God’s Face. 3) Believe the Promise in the Word of God. 4) Abide in Him. 5) Love One Another. These five points will awaken us to the power we have through the Holy Spirit.

First we have to study God’s Word. This may seem silly to say but God’s Word is the Word of God. The Almighty God who made heaven and earth and who made all things and by who all things continue to exist. Almighty God who has revealed Himself through His Word in the Bible, which is the revealed truth of God. I wonder why a Christian would not want to know everything God has spoken. God through the Holy Spirit equips us with power and will enable us to proclaim His Word successfully. In order to fully appreciate His power we must make a daily effort to study His Word. Deuteronomy tells us that, “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:2) Jesus tells us in John 6:33. “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” By studying the Word of God we are soaking in the life-giving power of the Spirit. “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:21 When we read God’s Word we activate our faith that helps us walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Second we seek God’s face. We seek God’s face through prayer. We should diligently with relentless earnest talk with our Heavenly Father through prayer in the powerful name of Jesus. When we do we renew the power to walk through life in the power of His Spirit. Acts 1:14 reads, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” They were in the upper room in prayer during the ten days prior to Pentecost devoting themselves to prayer when the Holy Spirit fell upon them.

Third we must believe in the promise of God’s Word. To believe is to accept His Word as truth. If we take His Word as truth then we must act upon it and that takes Faith. If we are of weak faith we can do as the Apostles did and ask Jesus to increase our faith. “The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5) President Ronald Reagan said, “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” Faith is key because it is acting on that which we believe. In Galatians 3:5 Paul says, “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” We cannot walk in the power of the Holy Spirit unless we exercise faith in what we believe. “It is impossible to please God without faith.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Forth we receive the Holy Spirit at conversion, at the time we commit to believe and follow Jesus Christ. The Spirit is there and will be but we must have the trust to dwell in Him. Too often we quench the voice of the Holy Spirit. Paul warns us of this in 1 Thessalonians 5: 19-23, “Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” We must abide in Him. John chapter 14 is a good place to study and meditate with particular attention to verses 12-15. These verses explain how obeying God and keeping His commandments is essential to having a life filled with God’s power. It is that unadulterated life that has access to God’s power. To have this we must abide in our Master Jesus Christ. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

And lastly we must love one another. We have two commands that are given to us by Jesus. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) As children who love their parents we obey them because we love and respect them. We obey them because we have trust in their judgment. Our Heavenly Father who’s greatest attribute is that He is Love, this is His character and He commands us to love. If we love Him then we will keep the second commandment in John Chapter 15. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) To love one another as He loves us. God’s love towards us is unconditional love. For God’s unconditional love we should be abundantly thankful. God’s love is the model we should have towards everyone that comes into our path. It is interesting that in verse 16 Jesus talks about us bearing fruit. “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit.” (John 15:16) Then in verses 17 repeats the command to love one another. “This I command you, that you love one another.” (John 15:17) If we do not love one another then we cannot bear fruit. How can you witness to someone whom you do not love? Where would be that unconditional concern for someone’s wellbeing? Jesus not only wants us to walk in His power but to also walk in His love.

If we follow these steps, living in His Word, seeking His face through Prayer, abiding in Him, and loving one another, all wrapped in our Faith in His Word, then we too can have the power of the Holy Spirit ruling our life, a life abundant. The world does not know Him because the world cannot see Him but we can because “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 5, 2014

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