Sermons

Summary: The Holy Spirit was given for us to be witnesses not for our entertainment or exaltation. He was given to empower us for our only purpose for being here.

Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The purpose of receiving power from the Holy Spirit is not for goosebumps and roo jumps. It is to be witnesses. Indeed, as we see in other passages in Acts from chapter 2 on when the people were filled with the Spirit they spoke the Word of God with boldness. Often this speaking was done in front of a hostile audience. In one instance, it led 3000 to Christ and in another it cost Stephen his life and caused beatings and imprisonments for others. Indeed, the Greek word for witness is where we get our word martyr and many have been martyred for their boldness.

Some of what I have seen in some services and from what I have heard people lament what is no longer in services has/had nothing to do with speaking the Word with boldness. Emotions are present, but they are in balance and in control. Indeed, the Word says that the spirit of the prophet is under the control of the prophet so that things can be done in decency and order.

The power is not for entertainment for the hearers nor exaltation of those who speak the Word. It does not cause chaos or make people look and speak oddly. Indeed, under the Spirit's control people who lacked theological training put to shame the learned professors, which made them respond with violence. David in the flesh feigned insanity in front of his enemies, but when he was in the Spirit he stood before a giant and won. The Spirit makes people more lucid and profound, not weird. Unbelievers do not walk into a service questioning the sanity of the people, but rather people under the Spirit's control cause them to confess that God is among the people convicting the unbeliever.

The Holy Spirit can and has raised the dead, made the lame walk, the deaf hear, and healed diseases. Those miracles need no odd props or strange manifestations. As one prominent Pentecostal pastor asked, "What purpose is in it?"

He sharpens and clarifies doctrine which does not lead people into strange teachings that take the Word far out of context. He does not lead people to set dates for the Lord's return since Jesus said that He did not know so why would God reveal it to a man and not His Son?

He does not lead people into error about Christ saying that He went to Hell to be beaten on by demons and becoming the first born-again man. He clearly said that He was going to be in Paradise. Demons feared Him in His earthly ministry. Jesus bore God's wrath on the Cross. The demons had no right to exercise any wrath they might feel though I am sure they wanted to do that. Indeed, there is nothing to prove that demons even torment lost people as the rich man only complained of being tormented by the flames. I cannot picture them wanting to be anywhere near a place that would be a preview of their fate. The rich man's testimony seems to validate that. Nor does He lead people to say that there are a trinity of trinities and then recant it. He leads us into truth.

So, if we claim to be filled with the Spirit are we witnesses? Church is where we are trained to do the work of the ministry according to Ephesians 4. It is not just about us. It is not an hour to sing and shout and then leave to live the week to ourselves. The gifts are given for the Body, but also for our communities. The Holy Spirit gives us the gifts and then gives us power to exercise them in our calling to be witnesses.

When is the last time we spoke to an unbeliever and became a witness to them? When is the last time we exercised the power to speak in boldness in the face of evil, be it in our family, our jobs, our government and even in our own church? It takes boldness to mark them who cause divisions. They are as much of a heretic as a person who corrupts the Word and teaches false doctrine. It takes boldness to tell family or employer that we will not do something that is not right to please them or get a raise.

When did we quit? In the early days of our salvation, we were more bold and consistent in being a witness. When did we go AWOL? Why did we retire to putter in sheds and gardens or on courses? When did we think the last person was saved and evil has been banished so that we can take our ease to eat, drink and be merry?

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