Summary: At times Christians know their theology of the Holy Spirit without sensing the miracle that lies within them
OPEN: This is the first our series on “Connecting with Jesus” and our text tells of how we can connect with Jesus in our witnessing.
TEXT: Acts 1:8
One night a wife found her husband standing over their infant’s crib. As she watched him looking down at their very first baby, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions: …disbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, enchantment, skepticism.
Touched by this unusual display and the deep emotions it aroused, with eyes glistening she slipped her arm around her husband. "A penny for your thoughts," she said.
"It’s amazing!" he replied. "I just can’t see how anybody can make a crib like that for only $46.50."
APPLICATION: Here lay one of the greatest miracles in God’s creation… and all this father saw was a crib. He didn’t see what lay within.
But he wasn’t unique. Many times people look upon God’s handiwork and only see the outside manifestations… never the miracle that lays within. It works that way with many things, whether it be the miracle of the birth of a new baby or the miracle of the birth of a new Christian. There are many who see only the outside framework and miss the miracle that lays within.
Acts 2:38 tells us that something very exceptional lies within each Christian. When we obey Jesus by repenting of our sins and being buried in Christian Baptism we have the promise that we shall receive the “gift of the Holy Spirit.”
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
In fact, in Ephesians we’re told that God’s Holy Spirit is a mark of God’s ownership of us:
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13)
I. There are those who believe that the Holy Spirit is some kind of inanimate object – like the crib that held that baby – AND they see only the crib not miracle within.
Theologically these people accept the idea that God’s Holy Spirit can live within us, but they don’t think that Spirit does very much… and thus they miss out on the miracle of what that Holy Spirit can mean for us.
It’s easy to see how this can happen. There are a lot of churches that teach things about the Holy Spirit that are bizarre and unbiblical… however, we shouldn’t allow those bad teachings or any other distraction to cause us to forget uniqueness that God’s Spirit can have in our lives.
John 16:7-8 says: “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor (or Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment”
Jesus was saying here that when He left, He would send His Spirit in His place. The Spirit was to be Jesus’ CONNECTION to us. His power within us.
The Bible tells us that the Spirit of God does many things within us
· helps us in our prayers
· helps us to understand the deep things of God’s Word
· guides us
· teaches us
· AND empowers us
BUT perhaps the most intriguing thing Holy Spirit was sent to do is implied here in Acts 1:8. Notice the text says 1st that they’d receive the Holy Spirit - and then they would be his witnesses. The Holy Spirit came 1st - then witnessing.
Now that seems rather peculiar. These people had been with Jesus through His entire ministry. They had been trained by Jesus, sat at His feet and absorbed His teachings and had even went out into the surrounding cities to preach that the Kingdom of God was at hand. But Acts 1:8 implies that they would become witnesses AFTER they received the Holy Spirit. Why should they have to wait? Why not just start witnessing right then and there?
WELL, they could have… but they would have lacked the power to effectively witness. In other words, they could have begun witnessing without the Holy Spirit, but it wouldn’t have had the same power. It would have been frustrating. It would have been a lot like man using a hand trimmer on his lawn when he had a gas powered mower setting in shed. He would still get the job done - it would simply be more difficult.
Have you ever felt frustrated in witnessing… inviting them to church… talking to them about Jesus?
People don’t seem to listen to us. They politely put us off. They never come to church. They have other things to do. Just on my way to church this morning, I saw men out working on their roofs, garage sale signs posted on telephone poles, someone out mowing their yard.