You gotta have it… what’s the It?
Acts, #3 in a series.
Think of the things you ‘gotta’ have’ throughout your normal day--coffee, food, clean clothes, something to do, Jesus, love, flowers, conversation… haha, maybe that is my list! Yesterday, I floated the notion that based on what Jesus said about the power he was going to send the apostles, I wanted some o’ that. Further, I will say, ‘if there is something available to me that empowers me to live effectively, on point, on purpose and fully, I gotta have it!’ And so do you.
The scene of the promised power - Jerusalem, AD 33, when Jesus told his closest friends and followers “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1.8
Because I did not grow up in a church that taught a lot about the Holy Spirit, I imagine I am not alone. Heck, I remember going to the Christian Reformed Church in Alameda, California, with my friend Diana too - I never heard teaching on the Holy Spirit there either. In fact, there is a lot of confusion around the whole notion of the Holy Spirit, so let's talk about it a little here--after all, the Holy Spirit plays a huge role in the book of Acts, the story which continues to this day.
What was Jesus talking about with reference to the Holy Spirit? Folks have asked me straight up WHO or WHAT is the Holy Spirit? Straight up, here’s the answer. The Holy Spirit is a Person, the third Person of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is not a vague, ethereal shadow, nor an impersonal force. He is a Person, equal in every way with the Father and the Son. Well before this mention of him, Jesus had a lot to say about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Consider what Jesus had explained about this powerful figure:
John 14:16 – He [God] will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.
17 - the world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him or knows Him But you know Him for He lives with you and will be in you
26 – The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name will teach you of all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 16:7 – Unless I go away the Counselor will not come to you.
John 16:13 – 16 But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own. He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.
He will bring glory to me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine.
That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you.
The Holy Spirit is a WHO, not an it.
WHAT does the Holy Spirit do?
~takes up residence in us/believers/followers of Jesus Christ at the time of our decision to put our trust in him. [Note: there is to be a particular point in time where we make that decision for ourselves. It is not something our parents or anyone else makes for us.]
~prior to this point recorded in the New Testament, [where we find ourselves right now in the start of the book of Acts] the Holy Spirit only empowered specific individuals for specific purposes--
~Jesus is telling them here in Acts 1.8 that each of them will receive the gift of the Spirit. . . amazing.
~breathes new life in us
~initiates power for change in character->behavior - the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22-23)
~brings conviction and also comfort
~unites the Christian community -> creates the bond between 'brothers'
~equips believers with gifts (check out the lists in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12.6-8, 1 Peter 4.10-11, Ephesians 4.11-13)
~gives guidance and direction through promptings
~helps us to be effective witnesses--to tell others what we know and have experienced in Christ
~intercedes for us - that is to say, He goes to the Father on our account.
'Need some encouragement today? Look up Romans 8.26 Fill in this blank: Who is praying for you?______________________________
The ways of the Holy Spirit can seem mysterious at times, but I pray that as we study WHAT He does in the lives of these early believers, we will desire to know the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives like never before.
Look over the above list--is the Holy Spirit alive and working in you? In what ways? Or, do you see lack? Talk to Him about it. . . Be desirous of Him.
We gotta have him!
p.s. the picture above? Well...the hummingbird has always reminded me of the Holy Spirit. Not bound by the rules of flight, suspends itself, goes backward...wait, what?! Well, one day a hummingbird stunned himself flying into one of our windows; I picked him up (Danny took our picture), and then I released him outside. Great memory. Holy Spirit = power. Gotta have it.