Summary: Part one of this series deals with the Holy Spirits power in the Church of today. What is it for and what does God want from us?
Walking In the Spirit
Pt 1 ¡V Power with a Purpose
George Barna ¡V several years back brought a man to the US from China to see the church and it¡¦s impact. As he left Barna asked him what he thought of the church in the US ¡V ¡§It¡¦s amazing, he said, how much you have accomplished without the Holy Spirit.¡¨ What a stinging indictment of the church ¡V but too often it is right on the mark. The truth is that today¡¦s church is often more impotent than it is powerful. More filled with strife than it is love. More like the world around us than it is like a foretaste of heaven. What has happened to the church today? Why have our dreams become so small, our outreach so impotent, and our coffers so empty? Why have we become irrelevant to the world around us when we carry the banner of freedom in our hearts? Why are we so timid with our faith, so afraid of stepping out, so centered on everything but eternity, and so consumed by our own desires? Those questions and others sparked the heart of a series of messages I want to share with you during the month of February. A Series entitled Walking in the Spirit.
I believe that you and I in the church of the 21st century need to be reminded that:
1) We have a promise ¡V a promise from the Father v4 ¡V a promise to equip us for the plan He has for his church. The great promise of the Father was that He would send His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of men.
John 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
John 15:26 "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me,
John 16:7-8 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
This is the promise of God
¡V Understand several things here
a) This Promise is Personal it is for all who believe ¡V not special classes or denominations The Spirit will come to dwell in our hearts ¡V To take up residence in our lives
b) This Promise is Constant ¡V The Spirit did not come only to the apostles on the day of Pentecost, this was no once in a lifetime encounter. The comforter has come to stay until Christ returns to take us home. There are those who believe that the power given to the apostles died out with them ¡V hogwash ¡V His Spirit is here and where His Spirit is His power goes as well.
c) The Promise is Outwardly Focused - The Spirit comes not to serve but to empower ¡V Not for warm fuzzy feelings, or enjoyment or to act on command ¡V The Spirit comes to transform and empower us to serve. Inundated by claims that the Holy Spirit is come to make us Healthy, Wealthy, Wise ¡V he has come to transform us and to empower us.
2) It is a promise of Power ¡V v8 ¡§You will receive Power.¡¨ Have you looked at what was going on in the early church? Just a few passages to remind you of what it looked like.
„Y Power for Reaching the Lost ¡V Acts 2:41 says ¡§Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.¡¨ This was not pulpit preaching it was the spirit empowered preaching of a fisherman.
„Y Power for Boldness ¡V Acs 4:31 ¡V ¡§And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.¡¨
„Y Power for Unity ¡V Acts 4:32 ¡V ¡§And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.¡¨
„Y Power for Generosity ¡V Acts 4:34 ¡V ¡§For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35and lay them at the apostles¡¦ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.¡¨
„Y Power for Healing the sick ¡V Acts 5:14 ¡§multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, 15to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them.¡¨