Summary: Part 4 of this series focusing on what the Holy Spirit can do in our lives to help us through all adversities.
Handling Adversity Part 4
In my message last week I gave you an introduction to the Holy Spirit and why Jesus sent Him here to be a helper for us. If you recall from last week, before Jesus ascended into heaven, He met with His disciples and shared with them that He would send them a helper. He instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until they had received power from on high which would come through the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit fell on them, they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. These “other tongues” that they were speaking in were actually the native language of the crowd that was witnessing what was happening. So the Holy Spirit delivered a message to everyone present in a way in which they could all understand. When they were questioned about what was happening Peter stood up and preached one of his best known sermons. Notice the change within Peter. Weeks earlier he was scared and in hiding, now he was bold and openly professing Christ. This change within him was what Christ had stated would be necessary for the disciples to accomplish the ministry that they were about to embark upon. The Holy Spirit enabled them to walk boldly in their ministries. What the Holy Spirit did for the disciples He is able to do for us today and this is the point of my message. The disciples faced constant adversity, even death, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, they prevailed. So let’s start by examining some specific instances where the Holy Spirit helped the disciples.
I. The Holy Spirit Being A Helper
After the day of Pentecost, the disciples began their public ministries. They began preaching and teaching God’s Word based on what they were taught by Christ. They also began to share revelations as it was revealed to them by the Holy Spirit. Remember one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit was to empower them.
Shortly after the disciples began their ministries, Peter and John were going to the temple to pray. Notice that they were no longer in hiding, but they were openly going forth in what was customary at the time, to pray during the ninth hour or 3:00 p.m. As they were entering the temple, they came upon a lame beggar at the gate of the temple begging for money. Look at Acts 3:3-7. “When he (the beggar) saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, ‘Look at us!’ And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk! And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were strengthen.”
I want you to focus on what Peter said. When the beggar asked for money, Peter said “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!” What did Peter have that he did not have before? He had the Holy Spirit. You see, before he was given the power through the Holy Spirit, Peter could have “questioned” if he could heal the man. This was not the case in this situation. As he walked in the power of the Holy Spirit, he did not question that if he told the man to get up, that he would get up. Now I want you to consider this for a moment. What would happen if we walked in the power that we given? When we prayed we knew we’d receive an answer. When we laid hands on the sick, we knew they’d recover. When we talked about Christ it would not be with a sense of embarrassment that we are a Christian. You see, many of us act like the disciples did before they received power, but I am here to tell you that God has given you power to be an over-comer through the Holy Spirit. We have everything we need to succeed if we would just listen and allow the Spirit of God to lead us. Let’s move on to another example. After Peter and John healed the man, they got in trouble with the “religious” leaders of Jerusalem.
After healing the man, the man gave God the glory. When others saw it, they too marveled which got the attention of the religious leaders and other rulers who eventually had them arrested for causing such a stir amongst the people. When Peter and John were brought before them they asked them “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” What they were really asking was “Under whose authority did they heal this man and preach about Jesus Christ.” Now here is where we see the change in Peter fully manifested. Remember, his previous sermon was delivered to the general public who had witnessed them receiving the Holy Spirit but now he was getting ready to preach to those who he used to be afraid of. Look at Acts 4:8-12. “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, who you crucified, whom God raised from the dead – by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”