Summary: Two reasons for the Holy Spirit - power to live for God and to work in those who are yet to believe.
One thing that is very much a part of our society is power. We crave it. We get it. We use it. We abuse it.
This morning in preparation for our time of communion together, I want us to think about power for a few moments.
To begin, I ask for your response to this question: “What are sources of power for us?” (Congregation to respond)
The story is told of a logging foreman who sold a farmer a chainsaw guaranteed to cut down fifty trees in a single day. A week later, a very unhappy farmer came to report that the power saw must be faulty – it averaged only three trees a day. The foreman grabbed the saw, pulled the cord, and the saw promptly went, “Bzzzzzzz.” The startled farmer demanded, “Hey what’s that noise?”
We laugh at the foible of the farmer. But, how many of us have had a similar experience when it comes to the Christian life? We respond with great joy and enthusiasm when it comes to a salvation experience, but after a while, we think that we have been had.
“This is hard. This is tough. I feel like a failure. I can’t do this!” But, the Spirit can help us do it, if we ask Him to! He is the power source to live for God. We must plug into Him if we are going to live for Him!
As we heard last week, John records in his account that Jesus “breathed” on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” then went on to give them the power to forgive or not forgive sins.
But, why did God send the Holy Spirit in the first place? What is the Spirit’s purpose in the scheme of things? There are two purposes revealed in John 14:16,17,and 26 and John 16:8-10 during the last moments the disciples and Jesus were together prior to His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. – The power to live for God and the power to be changed by God. (Read the passages)
In John 14 Jesus is letting the twelve know that He will not be with them much longer and that God the Father will be sending them another advocate or helper – the Holy Spirit - to lead them into all truth by teaching them and reminding them of what Jesus taught them. The Holy Spirit plays a critical and central role in our lives to help us become more responsible and mature believers. In this instance power is available to live for God and follow Him.
For example, let’s say that Mike and Mary have been asked to substitute teach the middle school Sunday School class. They have done some preparation but with recent work issues for both of them, preparation time has been minimal. Still they follow through on their commitment and stand before the class, white-knuckling their Bible and lesson guide.
In the strength and power of the Spirit, Mike and Mary will teach while relying on the work and strength of the Spirit to guide their thoughts and words. Having done the best they know how with the best preparation they were able to do, they are open to the Spirit to lead and help them.
But, what would happen if they do not both prepare and seek the help of the Spirit? Perhaps they would stumble and stutter or tell stories or fill the time with something. Fear would probably grip them and they may say, “Never again will we do this!”
On a daily, and at times, hourly, basis we must ask the Holy Spirit to empower us to do and say what must be done and said because the Spirit is present for us to live more completely for God.
But, the Spirit has another important purpose that Jesus shares in our second passage. “He will convince the world of sin, of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.” We see this take place in Acts 2:37 when the Spirit brings conviction through Peter’s sermon and people ask, “Brothers what should we do?”
What Jesus said would happen in John 16 did happen. What Jesus said would happen in Acts 1:8 did happen. But, it happened because the Holy Spirit came and began to work in those who preached and those who heard. The power of the Spirit changed both the lives of those who spoke and those who listened.
I know that there are days in which we feel as if no one is responding to God because we don’t see it. We get frustrated and discouraged when we share and tell and live out our lives for God in the hopes that others will too. But, we need to remember that the Spirit is always at work and people have a choice of whether or not to respond to Him. He is the one who does the real convicting.