Summary: Living With Power #3

I want to begin our study with some comments made by the famous British preacher G. Campbell Morgan … he writes about the accusation leveled at the Spirit-filled disciples on the day of Pentecost — the accusation of many in the crowd was that the Spirit-filled disciples were … drunk!

Morgan writes:

"[Carefully consider] Peter’s answer to the accusations — ’These are not drunk as ye suppose’ — that is, in the way you think. Compare this with Paul’s injunction in Ephesians 5:18 — "Don’t be drunk on wine … but be filled with the Spirit." The one is a false and destructive method of attempting to realize life in its fullness. The other is the true and effective method.

Has anyone ever charged you with being drunk with your Christianity? O God, how seldom men have thought us drunk. We lack the flashing eye, and the pulsating song, and the tremendous enthusiasm of an overwhelming conviction. That is what the city needs to ... create the opportunity for prophetic proclamation!

The church’s responsibility is that her members be so Spirit-filled that the Spirit may be able to produce the new phenomena required to startle this age. The church has been far more anxious about wealth, and theologies, and organizations, than about the Spirit ... what’s the use of preaching when the world is not amazed?"

• How many believe that God wants us to be — an amazing people?

• How many believe that amazing people are hard to ignore … the world can’t help but check out people whose lives are so full of life that they are compellingly different!

listen carefully —

Every one of us in this room have been created to live an amazing life … a life of incredible purpose, passion and power … but we can’t live that kind of amazing life on our own!

We can’t live an amazing life without an amazing partner … that’s why Jesus promised his disciples a partner … a parakletos who would be with them and in them forever … because the fullness of their lives depended on how full they were of Holy Spirit!

In Acts 2 we not only encounter some amazing people … we discover some of the key characteristics that made them so compelling to their generation!

How many want to live such an amazing life that people will wonder what happened to you … and if it can happen to them?

There are 3 characteristics of the amazing disciples highlighted in Acts 2 … characteristics that offer both — instruction and inspiration — for all who desire to live and model a truly amazing life!

1. Amazing People Are People With An — experience!

Key question —

What made the disciples so compelling to the crowds that gathered?

Answer is Acts 2:1-4 —

It was the experience they had with the person and power of the Holy Spirit … the men and women who went out of the upper room weren’t the same men and women who went in to the upper room!

Robert Heidler … helps us understand the importance of experience when it comes to our relationships… he writes —

"A relationship between any two people involves mutual interaction. They communicate with each other. They experience each other."

"I have a relationship with my wife. We talk to each other. I share my heart with her, and she shares her heart with me. I can experience her presence. We can hold hands. We can embrace. I do things to please her, and she does things to please me. We express our love to each other. There is two-way interaction. That’s what a relationship is all about."

"Let’s suppose I decide to have a relationship with Abraham Lincoln. I might study Lincoln’s life to learn what he was like. I could read his writings and the writings of those who knew him. I could gain a great appreciation for the kind of person he was and the things he accomplished. I could even travel to Lincoln’s tomb, stand near where his body lies and attempt to talk to him. But I would not have entered into a relationship with Honest Abe."

"Relationship requires interaction. Abe could never talk to me, acknowledging my presence, shake my hand or give me a pat on the back. Without the ability to experience Lincoln, I can never have a true relationship with him. I may end up knowing about him, but I can never know him."

Don’t miss it —

There’s an incredible difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone … experientially … just ask the upper room disciples they went from knowing about the Holy Spirit to knowing the Holy Spirit and their lives were never again the same! (We are meant to have a personal experience with the Holy Spirit)

To experience the person of the Holy Spirit and the ability he brings is vital for two key reasons:

A. Our Experience with the Holy Spirit is a — confidence builder!

It’s been accurately noted that —

A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument!

Illustration —

A number of years ago … a great evangelist by the name of H.A. Ironside was preaching on the streets when a well known professor who was a very vocal and active atheist … began to heckle him and his message!

Ironside kept trying to preach but this bitter professor kept yelling — "There is no God, Jesus is a myth!"

Ironside kept preaching … the antagonistic professor got more belligerent and began to taunt Ironside by shouting — "I challenge you to a debate! Are you afraid to debate me?"

Ironside knew that a debate wouldn’t prove much … but he needed to respond to the attacks … so he said — "Sir I accept your challenge … but on one condition! When you come to the debate, I ask that you bring with you ten men and women whose lives have been changed for the better by the message of atheism! Bring some alcoholics and drug addicts who have been set free by atheism’s power … bring former prostitutes, criminals and outcasts a let them tell us how atheism has lifted them out of the pit!’

"And sir,’ Ironside said — "if you can find ten such men and women, I will be happy to debate you. And when I come, I will gladly bring with me two hundred men and women from this very city whose lives have been transformed in just those ways by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ!"

The professor … walked away.

A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument!

B. Our Experience with the Holy Spirit is a — communication builder!

We communicate most effectively what we know most experientially!

"Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" … the more my heart and life are filled with the Holy Spirit … the more relational experience I have with him … the better I’m able to communicate the amazing life I’m called to live!

The Spirit-filled disciples model one of the first keys to being an amazing person … it’s the characteristic of — experience!

There’s a second key characteristic of amazing people revealed in Acts 2.

2. Amazing People Are People With An – Explanation!

The Apostle Peter wanted the curious and confused crowd to understand what they were hearing and seeing!

Look at verses 12-14 —

12 "Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ’What does this mean?’

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, ’They have had too much wine.’

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you…

The curious crowds reacted to the dynamics of Pentecost in 3 basic ways:

• Some were bewildered and amazed …

• Some asked honest and sincere questions …

• Some ridiculed and mocked the Spirit-filled disciples!

I find it interesting that the reactions of the crowd to the Spirit-filled disciples is still the reactions many have to the Spirit-filled life —

• There are many people who aren’t opposed to a Spirit-filled life, they’re just curious and amazed about it!

• Others are hungry for an amazing life … they sense deep within that there’s got to be more to life than what they’re living … and they ask — "What’s this Spirit-filled life all about?"

• Still others are critically sarcastic … their attitude is — "These are flaky people addicted to emotion or experience ... they’re just people who love the feeling of being intoxicated … with anything!"

don’t miss it —

The apostle Peter wasn’t defensive or threatened by any or all of the reactions to the Spirit-filled life … by the enabling help of the Holy Spirit Peter gave them a biblically based explanation for the amazing praises and prayers they were hearing in their native languages!

If the truth be known —

The confusion of the crowds … is often the confusion of the church as many believers wrestle with dynamics of the Spirit-filled life!

Anybody ever been confused about the ways and workings of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives … have you ever witnessed something you didn’t understand or know how to take?

Key — The place to start if we want to clear up the confusion about the dynamics of Spirit-filled life is the Word of God … so let’s take a moment and seek the explanation we need to know and the explanation we need to make known!

A. The purpose of the Spirit-Filled Life!

Acts 1:8 —

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

The purpose is two-fold:

• "Be my witnesses" … emphasizes who we are!

• "Witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria" … emphasizes what we DO!

B. The precedents for the Spirit-Filled Life!

It’s important to watch what happened when the Holy Spirit worked in and through those he filled … because it sets the precedent for the ways the Holy Spirit wants to work in and through us!

Let’s review four occasions when people experience a personal Pentecost:

Acts 2:4 — "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."

Acts 8:14-19 —

14 "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

Acts 10:44-48

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God."

Acts 19:6,7 (In Ephesus … taught them about Spirit’s role)

"6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all."

There are two constants in each passage of people being filled with the PERSON and POWER of the Holy Spirit:

• All were filled … the fullness of the Holy Spirit isn’t for a select few it’s for every hungry believer!

• All spoke with tongues (languages) … they had never studied or learned previously — the release of unrestricted praise and prayer was the universal experience of them all!

It’s tragic … that one of the most needed enablings of the Holy Spirit has often been so misunderstood, misused, and misrepresented!

Because of all the confusion and abuses over the use of Spiritual language … many have forfeited this incredibly needed dimension the Holy Spirit brings to the believers life!

Let’s turn to — 1 Corinthians 14 … and consider a couple of foundational facts about "speaking with tongues":

1. The essence of speaking in tongues is — prayer and praise!

1 Cor. 14:2 — "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God.”

1 Cor. 14:14 — "For if I PRAY in a tongue, my spirit prays…

1 Cor. 14:16 — "If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say ’Amen’ to your thanksgiving since he does not know what you are saying?"

On the Day of Pentecost the people from different lands heard the Spirit filled disciples doing what?

"Declaring the wonders of God" … praising/worshipping!

Key — It’s important to note that when Peter stood up to speak to people he didn’t do it in "tongues" but in his own language of Aramaic!

The essential purpose of tongues is to praise and worship God, which is a vital means by which our lives are — built up! (14:4 — "edifies himself")

The Holy Spirit enables us to praise and pray in ways that our limited vocabulary and understanding won’t allow!

Illustration —

Robert Heidler writes about an experience he had with a Russian couple … wife spoke a good English … pastor who speaks no English opened service by praying — "Holy Spirit of God we welcome you here today…"

2. The expressions of speaking in tongues is — personal and corporate!

In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul helps us understand that speaking with other tongues has a personal purpose and a corporate purpose!

There’s a little phrase that’s vital to catch — the phrase: ’but in the church … in the church’

Understanding that speaking in tongues has a place in my personal prayer life and in the church life clears up the confusion of Paul’s question at the end of chapter 12 — "Do all speak in tongues" and Paul’s statement in 14:5 — "I would every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy … so that the church may be built up!"

Key — Everyone does not have the ministry of tongues in a church service … but every one should have the manifestation of tongues in their personal life with God!

That’s what Paul meant … when he wrote:

"I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue." (14:18,19)

Paul wrote to correct abuses … that’s the spiritual leader’s job to correct without killing the sovereign moving of the Holy Spirit!

Two books I highly recommend —

"The Beauty Of Spiritual Language" — Jack Hayford (Word Publisher)

"Experiencing The Spirit" — Robert Heidler

The Spirit-filled disciples were indeed an amazing people … they show us that —

1. Amazing People Are People With An — Experience

2. Amazing People Are People With An — Explanation!

3. Amazing People Are People With An — Exhortation!

Exhortation is an old word that means — words that encourage or inspire!

Amazing people want to see others become amazing people so they look for the ways and words to inspire others to become all they were created to be!

Peter could have stopped with an explanation … but he wanted the crowds to move beyond the facts to personal faith … that was the purpose of his exhortation — words meant to instruct and inspire!

How many want those you know and love to come to a personal faith and fullness in Christ?

The Spirit-enabled exhortation of Peter offers us two keys to life-changing communication —

A. Words that change lives are — relevant!

Peter was answering the question the crowd was asking … now there’s a novel communication approach!

Verse 12: ’What does this mean?’

Verse 14: ’Let me explain this to you!’

Life-changing communication doesn’t begin with the question — what am I going to say?

Life-changing communication begins with the question — Who am I trying to talk to … what are the real needs and issues that they’re wrestling with?

Spirit-enabled exhortation … meets people where they are!

B. Words that change lives are — Christ-centered!

The theme of Peter’s exhortation … was Christ!

If we truly want to help people live amazing lives … it won’t happen with indoctrination … it will happen with an introduction to Jesus!


How many want to be — amazing people?

How many want to live such an amazing life that people will wonder what happened to you … and if it can happen to them?

Acts 2 … offers us the key characteristics of a truly amazing life!

1. Amazing People Are People With An — Experience!

2. Amazing People Are People With An — Explanation!

3. Amazing People Are People With An — Exhortation!