Summary: Second in a series on the early church. The first of a two-part message on how to get plugged into the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is a sin to be good if God has called us to be great.”
Last week we began a journey to see how God can take our church from good to great. In Acts Chapter 1, we saw that Jesus commanded his followers to wait for the power that would come upon them when they received the Holy Spirit. But while they waited, they didn’t just sitting around doing nothing.
• They persisted in prayer
• They studied the Scriptures
• They proceeded with preparations
What a great lesson for our church as we wait for the power of God to carry His purposes and plans through us. And it’s so obvious that we need that power. We can come up with all kinds of plans, ministries and programs, but if we do that in our own power, while we might, by the grace of God, succeed for a while, we can’t ever have the kind of eternal impact that God wants us to have. So the obvious question for us as a church is how do we plug into that power?
I read this week a story about a man who was looking to buy a saw to cut down some trees on his property. He went to Home Depot and asked about various chainsaws. The guy in the little orange vest told him, "Look, I have a lot of models, but why don’t you save yourself a lot of time and aggravation and get the top-of-the-line model. This chainsaw will cut a hundred cords of wood for you in one day."
So the man took the chainsaw home and began working on the trees. After cutting for several hours and only cutting two cords, he decided to quit, thinking there must be something wrong with the saw "How can I cut for hours and only cut two cords?", the man asked himself. "I will begin first thing in the morning and cut all day", the man told himself.
The next morning the man got up at 4 in the morning and cut, and cut, and cut till nightfall, and he only managed to cut five cords. The man was now completely convinced this was a defective saw. The very next day the man brought the saw back to Home Depot and explained the problem. The salesman, baffled by the man’s claim, removed the chainsaw from the case and said "Huh, it looks fine." Then he started the chainsaw, to which the customer responded, "What’s that noise?"
If we want our church to be able to go from good to great we need to make sure we use the power that God has made available to us. For the next two weeks we’re going to see how the early church plugged into the power of God and see what we can learn from that.
Read Acts 2:1-21
My original intention was that this message would take just one week. But then I decided that not too many of you would want to listen to a two hour message. So I’ve broken it down into two one hour messages – one this week and one next week. Seriously, I’m barely even going to be able to scratch he surface on this whole concept of how we plug into the power of the Holy Spirit, even in two weeks, but hopefully we can lay a good foundation to build upon.
There are quite a few different approaches we could take to this passage and to the Holy Spirit in general. For instance, we could focus on the work of the Holy Spirit. We could talk about how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of unbelievers to convict them of sin and lead them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. And then we could discuss how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers to guide us into truth, to bestow spiritual gifts as He wills and to help us in our prayer life. And we will touch on several of those topics in the next two weeks.
But I’d like to take a slightly different approach. Two of the most important and misunderstood aspects of the Holy Spirit are:
• The Holy Spirit is a person, not an “it”
• The Holy Spirit is 100% God.
As a person and as God, the Holy Spirit has a unique relationship with those who have chosen to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And so I’d like to focus this morning on four important and essential aspects of that relationship.
HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT RELATES TO US
1. We are baptized with Him
All four Gospel writers record for us the words of John the Baptist at the baptism of Jesus. All four accounts are amazingly similar, but let’s read Luke’s account: