Summary: This is a practical sermon reminding us how we get the Holy Spirit, how we receive the Spirit’s power, how we can prove the Spirit’s power, and how we can live daily in the fullness of the Spirit’s power.
(Flashlight illustration inspired from www.SermonCentral.com)
Preparation: Have a flashlight ready with parts separated, ie. lens, bulb, batteries, and
2 or 3 small pieces of red tissue paper stuffed down under the batteries
In Acts 8 we can read about some Samaritans who were baptized in Jesus’ name but had not received the Holy Spirit until Peter prayed over them. That sounds strange to us! How can someone be saved but not give evidence of the Holy Spirit’s power in them? I hope to answer these and other questions as we think about how we get the Spirit, how we receive the Spirit’s power, how we can prove the Spirit’s power, and how we can live daily in the fullness of the Spirit’s power.
I’m using a flashlight as an object lesson. As I take this flashlight apart, you can see that it has a bulb, lens, batteries, and a case. Let the case represent our lives. This flashlight case was made for one ultimate purpose. What is that? To shine light in the darkness. Is that not God’s ideal for every person?
Remember that Acts 1:8 shows there is a difference between having the Spirit and experiencing the power of the Spirit. Jesus was speaking to his followers. On several occasions, he had already breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." So, they had the Spirit; but they didn’t have his power. Likewise, Galatians 5:25 implies that if we claim to have the Spirit, let’s live in his power.
So, first, let’s talk about...
I. GETTING THE SPIRIT
Remember who the Spirit is. He is the Spirit of Jesus. Second Corinthians 3:17 says, "The Lord is that Spirit." Therefore, when we get Jesus we also get his Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes in the moment we are saved. We don’t have to ask for him or pray for a second blessing. Paul wrote in Romans 8:9 that if we don’t have the Spirit, we do not belong to Christ. So, every truly saved person has the Spirit living within his or her body. First Corinthians 6:19 says our bodies are the temples of God’s Spirit. If you don’t know that he dwells within you and you don’t have the proofs of the Spirit I’ll mention later, you need to go back and check your conversion experience. You’re probably not saved!
So, let’s let the flashlight bulb represent Jesus. He is the Light of the World and his light should shine through our lives. Our purpose after we’re saved is to show forth his light. So, remember, if we have Jesus we also have his Spirit. But, the Spirit stays dormant until he is energized. How do we get his power?
Second, let’s think about...
II. RECEIVING THE SPIRIT’S POWER
The Bible uses several different terms to talk about the control of the Holy Spirit. It speaks of being baptized by the Spirit, being filled with the Spirit, being anointed by the Spirit, walking and living in the Spirit. All these refer to a victorious Christian life where we’re able to tap into the power of the Spirit.
Everyone is baptized by the Spirit when they are saved. It’s the natural work of the Spirit, positionally, to baptize or place every believer within the spiritual Body of Christ. We can’t see or feel when he does that. But, when we’re saved the Spirit immerses us in Jesus so that we’re hidden in Christ. We become his spiritual body! When God looks for our sinfulness; instead, he sees only the perfect Son of God in our place. That happens only once, and it happens automatically to everyone who’s saved. You don’t have to ask for it or pray for it to be repeated. The baptism of the Spirit is not an event that’s separate from your salvation.
Being filled with the Spirit is different. It may happen over and over. And, it should happen often. It happens when we yield to the Spirit and follow his leading. It means that we are led by God’s Spirit in what we do while he’s in control. Being filled with the Spirit is a conscious act that we decide we want and ask for. The way Ephesians 5:18 records it, it is a command and not an option. It says we should continually be filled and controlled by the Spirit. Now, this is a passive action. If someone tells you to "be loved," you can love, but you have no control over being loved. You just place yourself in position and do all you can so that you will be loved. But, the love comes from someone else. The same is true to be filled with the Spirit. You can’t do it, but you present yourself daily or many times during the day and ask to be filled by God’s Spirit. It’s like the cruise control in your car. You have to turn it on; but if you put your foot on the brake, it will cut off. So, you have to engage it again every time you put your foot on the brake. The Spirit will lead your life when you ask him to; but when you take over, he will back off until you turn yourself over to him again. Jesus said we must deny ourselves daily and take our cross and follow him.