Objective: To inspire to live in the Power of the Holy Spirit
Receive the Holy Spirit and live in the Holy Spirit
Ill.: HE GAVE A WARM BLANKET
(Since we’re telling Pastor Jokes… I’ve got one for you too)
The mother hadn’t been able to attend church
And so she asked her young son,
"What did the preacher preach about this morning?"
"The preacher said that the Lord was going to give us
a warm blanket."
"I have never heard anyone preach on that.
Are you sure that is what the preacher preached about?"
"Yes, Mommy, I'm sure."
All day long the mother could not get the thought out of her mind
that God was going to give us a "warm blanket."
Finally the mother called a neighbor and asked,
"What did the preacher preach about in the morning service?"
The neighbor replied,
"He was preaching about the Holy Spirit;
he preached about God giving us "another Comforter."
Well, this morning I want to preach about the Holy Spirit,
And not only about the Spirit as our comforter in times of need,
But also, the Holy Spirit as our source of power
To walk with God in our daily life.
Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost…
the coming of the Comforter…
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church…
Many of us were moved by the testimony and baptism service.
It was a real mountain-top experience.
This was Alwin’s & Miranda’s day!
This was the Holy Spirit’s day!
This was the church’s day!
For Miranda and Alwin baptism was a step of obedience,
making their commitment known to everyone,
that they have consciously turned away from sin
with an undivided heart.
That they wish to follow Jesus…
And to receive the Power of God’s Holy Spirit…
to live in the Power of the Holy Spirit.
And to carry the “dynamite” of God’s Spirit with them
In their daily lives.
“Dynamite” – that’s the word that the Bible uses
For the “power” of the Holy Spirit.
Alwin’s and Miranda’s baptism
is a sign of their participation with God in the world.
They said, “I want to be part of building God’s Kingdom”
driving my cement truck with a smile…
selling fishing licences and gear
so that people can catch the biggest fish in the lake…
(that in itself has got to be the most noble kind
of Kingdom work there is!)
and building God’s Kingdom at home…
not beating up my little brother anymore (as often)
and at school…
discerning God’s will for my life
and getting a good education to help other
and also in my social life…
choosing my friends carefully
and living a life worthy of a child of God.
The testimonies of Alwin & Miranda spoke to us in a powerful way
of the transforming power of God’s Spirit in their lives…
From a life of sin and living for themselves
To a life of obedience and adventure with Christ
as we participated with them in their baptism
and in the communion service
we felt connected with Miranda and Alwin,
and we knew,
“We’re in this together.”
“This is exciting.”
In their commitment to follow Christ
We were reminded of God’s claim on our lives…
And a call to continue to grow
in our openness to God’s working in our lives.
We were reminded to live by the Power of the Holy Spirit…
to take risks in our faith walk…
and to boldly go where God leads us.
Last Sunday we had a great celebration!
We said “Good for Miranda! Good for Alwin!”
They believed God’s promises…
They received baptism…
They received salvation in Jesus Christ…
Today’s text is actually a sequel
to the events that we experienced last Sunday.
I want to draw just a few thought out of the passage.
First we have the story of a powerful preacher
By the name of Apollos in Ephesus (18:24–28).
Apollos was a learned man, who knew the scriptures well.
He was a bold speaker
and he spoke with great fervor.
You might say, “He was on fire for the Lord.”
“He was a dynamite of a preacher!
And yet, there was something missing.
His understanding of the “Jesus Way” was inadequate.
Enter Aquilla & Pricilla.
They had accompanied Paul in his missionary efforts,
and they were mature in their understanding of the Faith.
Now, this couple invited Apollos into their home
and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
Over a lovely meal and a cup of coffee
they shared their lives with him
and gave him a deeper understanding of the Christian faith.
Then Apollos left on a missionary trip to Achaia.
He took with him a letter of recommendation,
and was a great help to the believers.
He was a persuasive debater
and convinced many of the Jews
that Jesus was indeed the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
ILL.: What we observe here is actually
a Mentoring situation.
Everyone needs spiritual mentors in the faith.
We all need more mature Christians to help us and guide us…
to explain God’s way to us more adequately...
to help us figure out the stuff that doesn’t make sense…
to help us grow in understanding…
to help us rest in God’s promises…
and to gain a deeper conviciton and anchoring of our faith.
At the time of baptism we help our candidates
find and name a person to be their spiritual friend or mentor.
Allow me to ask you,
“How many of you either currently have or have had a mentor?”
“How many of you are mentoring someone in their faith?”
I want to encourage you today
to keep those mentoring relationships strong.
It takes a lot of prayer, preparation, planning, patience and time
to take these relationships seriously.
But, they are very much worth it.
We live in a time,
where we all need someone with a deeper spiritual insight
to help us sort out all the information overload we get every day.
What is essencial for us to know to grow in our faith?
What is interesting but ultimately trivial?
What is of eternal value?
We need people to help us figure it out,
and to guide us so that we grow in our faith.
Next, Paul’s third missionary journey
takes him to Ephesus,
where he preaches and performs many miracles.
Context: As we look at this section,
It will be helpful to remember
that Acts is the Book that documents
the works and deeds and accomplishments
that is, “the Acts of the Apostles”
in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, here is Paul preaching in Ephesus.
And, it doesn’t take long for him to find
12 disciples of John the Baptist.
And a conversation takes place between them:
Paul’s Q: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you were baptised?”
A: “The Holy Who? Never heard of it.”
Q: “Well, what baptism did you receive?”
A: “John’s baptism of repentance.”
Now, this is a bit of a hard case…
When we baptise here at Springfield Heights,
we baptise upon the confession that “we are sorry for our sins”
(baptism of repentance),
and that Jesus Christ is “our personal Saviour”
in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Let me see your hands: “How many of you are baptised?”
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you were baptised?”
Please, don’t feel stupid if you don’t know the answer.
The disciple of John didn’t either…
And they were a lot closer to the action.
Like Kyle said last Sunday,
“we know a lot more about God and Jesus
than we do about the Holy Spirit.”
Ill.: In fact, this is how much we know about the Holy Spirit:
Listen to this,
I asked someone this question out of the blue the other day...
(For reasons of personal safety
I can’t tell you who this person is…
I like to sleep in my own bed after all…)
I asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit?”
And you know what the answer was?
“I don’t know… I can’t open it.
Did you send it to me?”
For all of you who don’t know,
“The Holy Spirit is not an email attachment”.
Rather, the Holy Spirit is the most powerful force in the world.
It is the “dynamite” of God’s love and healing and hope
that explodes through us into a hurting world.
Paul baptised the disciples of John
into the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul placed his hands on them in baptism
the Holy Spirit came on them,
and they spoke in foreign languages…
and challenged the powers that be
with the Truth of God’s justice.
If I understand this passage correctly
the moment we are baptised into Jesus Christ,
and we make a clear decision to follow him
with an undivided heart,
in that moment God’s Spirit of Holiness and Purity and Power
fills every corner of our lives
and gives us the power to do great and wonderful things
in His name.
Sometimes when people are asked,
“Did you feel anything different
when you were baptized?”
“Yea, I felt that ice cold water run down my spine.
And I don’t think that THAT was the Holy Spirit…”
No, but seriously, the Holy Spirit gives us power,
like the people in our story.
Many people speak about a deep sense of peace with God.
All my sins have been forgiven.
I am a new creation…
I am week and I am frail,
And I’m scared that I won’t be able to be true
to my baptismal vows…
but for the moment I am at peace.
And as the days go by,
and we come down from the mountain top
into the valley bellow,
where life goes on,
and the distractions of our everyday lives
challenge our resolve to be good Christians,
We feel the prodding of Holy Spirit
to live a life of self-examination and sacrifice for others.
Its that still small voice saying to us,
“Remember your promise!”
“Remember who you are!
I have called you by name!
You are mine!
I love you!
And nothing in all Creation can take you away from me!”
What a Comfort!
But, there’s more.
Spirit-filled-people are God’s vessels
and channels of Grace & Judgement.
Some speak in languages that they were not able to speak before.
Some are given the wisdom to speak hard truth
into difficult situations,
either foretelling the consequences of human actions,
or casting a vision of a better future in God’s good world.
Some perform powerful miracles and extraordinary deeds
through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was working in a powerful way
through the apostles
and continues to do so today
in the lives of those who trust in Him.
One interesting observation is that God doesn’t usually frontload
all the gifts upon us
just in case we ever need them.
Rather, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be our guide
in times of need,
and he would tell us what to say and what to do
when we are facing difficult decisions.
The Holy Spirit works in great and wonderful ways…
And the Holy Spirit also works in ways that are unseen.
Ill.: Early in this century,
there was a remarkable Methodist bishop
in the southeastern United States named Arthur J. Moore.
Moore had pastored some of the largest Methodist churches
in the South before he became a bishop.
Over a period of several years,
at least one person was genuinely converted every Sunday
that he preached--Sunday after Sunday.
One of Moore's friends was visiting his church on a particular Sunday
and they were discussing his success as an evangelist.
Being curious, his friend asked.
"How do you do it?"
Moore said, "Come with me."
He took his friend to the basement of the Church,
where a prayer meeting was in progress.
About seventy men and women were fervently praying
for their pastor and for the worship service
that was about to begin.
When they finished,
they quietly walked up the stairs and into the service.
Arthur Moore turned to his friend and said,
"Notice where they sat down?"
His friend was puzzled.
"What do you mean?
They are scattered all over the congregation."
"Yes, thank God," Moore replied.
"And where each one of them sits down,
he's such a center of divine warmth
that anyone frozen in sin who sits near him
is liable to thaw out before the service is over."
Arthur Moore knew where the church gets its power.
May each of our lives be such a center of divine warmth…
In our homes
We are centers of divine warmth,
Vessels and conduits
Of the most powerful force in the world.
Let us live in the Spirit
That lives within us!