Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: What does it really means to follow Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts begins with the Day of Pentecost, which occurred 50 days after Easter, when God gave the Holy Spirit to the church. From that point on, the church is those wh

Breathe Into You

Acts 1:1-8; Romans 8:9

Pastor George Dillahunty tells the story of Norena who lived in southern Florida when Hurricane Andrew severely damaged her home. Norena received an insurance settlement, and the repair work began. However, when the money ran out, so did the contractor, leaving an unfinished home with no electricity. Norena lived in her dark, unfinished home - without power - for 15 years. She had no heat in her home when the winter chills settled over southern Florida and no air conditioning when the mercury climbed into the 90’s and the humidity clung to 100 percent. She did not have one hot shower. Without money to finish the repairs, Norena just got by with a small lamp and a single burner. Acting on a tip one day, the mayor of the Miami-Dade area got involved. It only took a few hours of work by electrical contractor, Kent Crook, to return power to Norena’s house. CBS News reported that Norena planned to let the water get really hot, and then take her first "bubble bath" in a decade and a half. "It’s hard to describe having [the electricity]...to switch on," Norena told reporters, "It’s overwhelming." And then George Dillahunty asks, "How many Christians have been living their entire lives without ever knowing what it is like to have the overwhelming Power of the Holy Spirit operating within them?"

This summer we’re going to look at what it really means to follow Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts begins with the Day of Pentecost, which occurred 50 days after Easter, when God gave the Holy Spirit to the church. From that point on, the church is those who are born of and filled with the Spirit. It is this Spirit which empowers the church to demonstrate God’s presence here on earth and to do the works of Jesus in the world. Now the Holy Spirit is just one part of God. In an attempt to explain more fully the person and nature of God, the early church fathers began to talk about one God in three persons. And thus, the doctrine of the Trinity was formed. The Trinity is one of the distinctive beliefs of the Christian faith, setting it apart from all other world religions. In 2 Corinthians 13:14, we see the role of each person of the Trinity: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit will be with all of you.” In God the Father, we experience love. In Jesus the Son, we experience grace. In the Holy Spirit, we experience God’s presence and power. Now when we come to faith, we do so in knowledge of God the Father and His love and in God’s Son, Jesus Christ and His grace in our lives. And that’s where most Christians stay because they seem to know the least about the Holy Spirit.

Now to learn about the Holy Spirit, you have to go to the writings of Luke which include the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. These are the only two books in the NT written by a Gentile. Luke was a Greek doctor who was one of Paul’s most ardent followers. In the book of Acts, Luke is writing to Theopholis, a Roman official of high stature. He is not just asking Theopholis to buy the myth of the resurrection or the claims of Jesus as Messiah, but rather to consider the evidence. As a result, Luke is concerned with the proofs of Jesus. So Luke seeks to give an account of the evidence of Jesus’ existence and His identity. Now the Gospel of Luke tells the story the Good News of Jesus and the Book of Acts tells the story of Holy Spirit in the early church after Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven. And that’s the thing you need to understand about the Book of Acts, it is not the story of the church or the Apostles but rather the Holy Spirit who is the principle character in the story.

There are several things we learn about receiving the Holy Spirit in today’s Scripture. First and foremost, realize that it is absolutely critical to following Jesus. In fact, the key sign of being a follower of Jesus is the Holy Spirit in your life. It is the Holy Spirit which makes us a witness of the Good News of Jesus Christ. And before the disciples could ever carry on the ministry and mission of Jesus, they must first wait to receive the Holy Spirit. For Jesus told the disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” Now the disciple’s waiting for the gift of the Holy Spirit lends to the absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit. In Greek, the word for the Holy Spirit is breathe. And just as breathing is essential for your physical life, the Holy Spirit is essential for the spiritual life. You can’t have a spiritual life apart from the Holy Spirit. Too many Christians concentrate only on the knowledge about God or knowledge about Jesus by studying the Scriptures. In fact, this was Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees that they studied the Scriptures thinking that you find life in the Scriptures. Life is not in the Scriptures. Life is in the Holy Spirit. Now the disciples had lived with Jesus for three years day in and day out. Can you imagine a better learning experience having personal instruction from Jesus himself? Can you imagine being an eyewitness to all of His miracles? But that wasn’t enough. Now if physical proximity and knowledge of Jesus’ teaching and being an eyewitness of his miracles weren’t enough for the disciples, what is? The answer is the Holy Spirit. You cannot live the Christian life and do the things of Jesus until you have received the Holy Spirit.

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