Summary: Pictures the believer before beiing filled with the Holy Spirit and after being filled
“Before and After”
Text Acts 9:1-22
How many of you have seen the pictures in the paper, in the Weight Loss Ads, the before picture, and then so many weeks, or years later - we see the After Picture. Of course the after picture is supposed to look a lot better than the before picture. The new thinner you - is supposed to be in the after picture. Welllllll, I have taken a lot of these pictures myself. My problem is I can never get to the after picture, I’m stuck on the BEFORE!!!!!!
We focus a lot on our weight and our looks - because they’re important to us. We want to be healthy. We want to look good - and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this morning I want to ask you to shift your focus from your physical self to your spiritual self for a few minutes.
This morning we Celebrate Pentecost Sunday with all of Christians around the world. In one real sense - it is the birthday of the Church. The Day of Pentecost was the day that Jesus, before he ascended back into heaven, had promised his disciples that he would send them a Comforter. He would send One that would empower them to do great and mighty things for the kingdom of God. Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem, so they did. We talked a little bit about that waiting period last week. They waited for 10 days – between the Ascension and Pentecost - then God’s promise was fulfilled. Listen to the description.
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
This day, this event was the turning point in the lives of the disciples, and for the church. Can you pick out a time - an event in your life - where you point to that and say, “That was a real turning point in my life.” You hear coaches use that terminology all the time. “When Joe Montana threw that 80 yard Touchdown pass, that was the turning point in the game.” Or something similar.
Maybe it was it was the day you first child was born. Life never was the same was it? Maybe it was the day you finally got the courage to ask Mr. or Mrs. Right out on a date. A turning point in my life was when I opened a Bible and began to search for a purpose for my life. Turning points can be negative things also.
The day you had that accident.
The day you found out your Mom or Dad had died.
The day the Doctor gave you the bad news.
The day you found out Mr. Right wasn’t so right.
We all have had turning points in our lives. It’s almost a way of marking our way through this life. But what I want to share with you this morning is that God wants you to have a Turning Point in your Spiritual Life that will empower you to be more than you ever could dream of being on your own.
Let me make some comments that I believe about the Spirit led life that you need to think about, and internalize. I believe the Word of God teaches us that unless we are living a life LED AND EMPOWERED by the Holy Spirit we will not be able to live life to the fullest. We will not be able to experience the greatest things in life without it. I believe that the Word of God also teaches us that we will not REACH OUR GREAT POTENTIAL THAT GOD HAS FOR US WITHOUT BEING FILLED BY The Holy Spirit.
I want to ask you this early in my message, because I want you to think about it, “Are you filled by the Holy Spirit today”, “Are you living a Life Led by the Holy Spirit?”
Saul of Tarsus was one of the most feared men in all of the known world. Who was he feared by? Christians. Saul was on a mission. It was a crusade - and he thought it was a crusade for God. There have been a lot of people who throughout history have done some horrible things thinking they were doing “for” God, when in reality they were fighting “against” him.
That is where we find Saul. He had just gotten permission, not that he needed it, but you will notice Saul was a man who lived by a code - to seek and persecute anyone who claimed to be a Christian. He had just gotten permission to seek and persecute any follower of Christ. Saul was one of the ones who had Steven stoned to death simply because he was a Christian. There had been others, and that’s why the Christians were afraid for their lives.