#560 (18/3/22) EXAMPLES AND RESULTS OF THE EMPOWERING OF THE SPIRIT
This week, as we continue our 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
I hope that we would all say that we want more of what the Holy Spirit does in our lives. We all want more zeal for God and more joy in life and hope for the future. Today, I want to look at a number of biblical examples that teach us what can happen when the Holy Spirit falls on us.
1. THE JERUSALEM ENCOUNTER
‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.’ (Acts 2:1-4)
This is an amazing example of what the Holy Spirit can do. However, its place in ‘salvation history’ (the tipping point between the Old and New Covenant) make it hard to apply to ourselves. However, it does point to the glorious transformative power that we can and should all be seeking and experiencing in some measure.
THE RESULT? The public speaking of tongues (actual human languages in this case); Peter was emboldened to stand up and preach; three thousand were saved. Another result is the formation of a devoted church.
2. THE SAMARITAN ENCOUNTER
‘When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.’ (Acts 8:14-17)
Here, they became Christians and only later did He ‘come on’ them.
THE RESULT? Not specified but was clearly powerful and visible. Such was the experience of the Spirit that Simon (the Sorcerer) offered money for the ability to impart the Spirit (v. 18).
3. PAUL’S ENCOUNTER
‘Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptiSed, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.’ (Acts 9:17-19)
It seems best to understand Saul’s conversion as on the Road to Damascus; Ananias confirms this by calling this former murderer of Christians ‘brother Saul’ (v.17). It is three days after his conversion he is ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ (v.17)
THE RESULT? He was Healed, baptised, and started to witness (v18, 20)
4. THE GENTILE ENCOUNTER
‘While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.’ (Acts 10:44-46)
In this account, the Spirit ‘came on’ the listeners whilst Peter was speaking the gospel – the filling with the Spirit was at the same moment as conversion.
THE RESULT? ‘They heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.’ (v.46)
5. THE EPHESIAN ENCOUNTER
‘While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”“John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.’ (Acts 19:1-6)
Like the account of Saul, the Spirit ‘came on them’ after their conversion (v.6). It’s interesting to note that in his question, Paul separates ‘belief’ and ‘receiving’, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Paul so emphasised the experience of the Spirit that he asked this question; I guess that many Christians today might ask ‘Did you believe the gospel when you believed’? Many have lost sight of the essential place of the Spirit! Let me ask you, “did you receive the Spirit when you believed?”
THE RESULT? ‘The Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.’ (v. 6)
Use the texts we have looked at to inspire faith and prayer. Ask the Father to fill you with His Spirit. Ask for opportunities to help others to encounter and walk with the Spirit. Let the following Quote challenge you.
‘Every child of God is under the solemn obligation to see to it that he definitely receives the Holy Spirit, not merely as a regenerating power, and an indwelling presence, but as a definite enduement of power’ (R A Torey)