Summary: Spiritual people are followers of Christ who bring life and hope to those around them.
Marks of a Spiritual Person
Intro: Much could be said about what it means to be spiritual. [Ask for response- What are spiritual people like?] Spiritual people pray a lot, worship in spirit, they read the Bible and faithfully obey God’s commands, they fast in order to get closer to God, they hear from God, and they are good examples to others, they have strong faith…. The list can go on and on. These are all good and true, but I want to look at a few traits of a spiritual person as found in our passage in Acts 19. Very little is found directly in these verses about the followers of Christ, or so it would seem. However, if they had not been living as the spiritual people they were, these verses would never have been written. Somebody said that everywhere Paul went, he either saw revival or a riot. I’m not sure we all have that kind of calling, but I do know that we should see some kind of results when we are living as spiritual people! Spiritual people are those who are led by the Holy Spirit, which leads us to the main thought of the message.
Prop: Spiritual people are followers of Christ who bring life and hope to those around them.
Int. Sentence: How do we know this?
TS: Let’s look at some behavior patterns of some spiritual people in the 2nd half of Acts 19 that will give us a clear picture of who God wants us to be.
I. Spiritual People Are Motivated to Encourage Christ’s Church (Acts 19:21-22)
21 After all this had happened, Paul decided [in the Spirit] to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. "After I have been there," he said, "I must visit Rome also." 22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.
-Throughout the 2nd half of the book of Acts, we can see that ministering to churches was a very high priority in Paul’s life. Why did Paul care so much about churches? Because Jesus did! The Church matters to Jesus more than the best-loved wife matters to her husband! Paul loved Jesus and he lived a life that was guided by the Holy Spirit, who came after Jesus returned to His Father in heaven.
-In v.21, we read that Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia, then also to Rome. These places all had churches that needed encouragement, many of them being founded by Paul. Scholars differ on the meaning of the words, in the Spirit. See, in the Greek language, the capital letter for S (sigma) was not used to distinguish between the human spirit and the Holy Spirit. Both were indicated by the same word, pneuma., which appeared identical for each. So, some translators think that when Luke wrote this, he was referring to Paul’s human spirit (Paul decided or purposed in his own spirit or heart to go to Jerusalem). However, Luke usually qualifies the human spirit with words like “my” or “his.” When Luke says “The spirit” he usually means the Holy Spirit.
-The important point here is that we know Paul’s human spirit was lined up with the Holy Spirit. It was the HS who gave him direction and motivation to visit and strengthen the churches scattered all across the region and beyond. So, Paul was a spiritual person because he listened to the HS and brought life and encouragement to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
-Let me ask you a question: Do you love the Church? I’m not talking about Christian Life Center alone or any other solitary church. Do you love the universal Church that Jesus loves and gave Himself for? Remember, the Church is people. Do you love to bring encourage-ment and hope and life to other believers? Here’s another related question: What kind of effect does your presence have in your local church? When you meet other believers, do you try to lift them up and share something with them that will bless and encourage them? Here is a Scripture that shows us what kind of effect we should be having on other believers: Hebrews 10:24-25 24…”let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
-Encouragement is everyone’s job. Some seem to be more naturally gifted at it than others, but it is up to each one of us to make it happen. I cannot encourage everybody, but if everybody encourages somebody, then everybody will be encouraged. There are certain people who need to hear from you. Certain people need to hear how God helped you, delivered you, rescued you, forgave you, and changed you! When you share your personal experiences with others, it often gives them the hope they need to go on. Maybe God will do it for them as well!