Since I have been at Restoration Praise Center (RPC) I have gotten to know many people. Many of them are students and they know what it is like to prepare for that big final. Some of them have recently gotten married and they know what it’s like to prepare for the big wedding day. They know what it’s like to feel the urgency, anxiety and anticipation of preparing for that day. I’ve also gotten to know many of them who are young parents and they too also know what it’s like to prepare for the big day when their newborn baby is birthed. Parents you know what its like to wait, yet while you waited, you were preparing. Well, I’m just crazy enough to believe God is wanting to birth something new in us. I believe that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, wants to do something big through us. But He wants us to know that it’s going to take focus. It’s going to take Pentecostal power. And it’s going to take preparation. I recently heard my colleague Pastor Kelvin Mitchell say, “The victory is in the preparation.” I believe God’s telling us that He’s giving us the victory, but its going to take focused, pentecostal, preparation.
So what does that look like? I believe that Jesus is going to show us today in Acts chapter 1.
We begin our journey in Acts chapter 1 today in Luke chapter 24:46-49...
"Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
In the early Christian church the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts were read as a two volume set. Therefore many scholars today refer to it as Luke-Acts. So as Luke closes his gospel, he picks up the story in the book of Acts and expounds on it in greater detail. His two volumes read together almost like one continuous story. And as we enter the story in Acts chapter 1, Luke wants us to know that Jesus is alive. He is the resurrected Lord, as evidenced by what he calls “infallible proofs.” Now Luke is recorded as being a physician and a historian, so he is a man who pays attention to details. So as you read the beginnings of both Luke and Acts he wants you to know that he has done his research. As he says in Luke 1:4, he writes “that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” And in Acts 1 he wants you to know with certainty that Jesus is alive. He is not dead, but alive! Can we just take a moment to praise God that we serve a risen Savior? Can we just pause to be astonished at the fact that He has conquered the grave? Jesus is alive!
Since they didn’t fully get it after 3 ½ years, Jesus now spends another 40 days with His disciples, giving them a crash course on the Kingdom of God. Jesus knew that central to their success in gospel mission was there clear understanding of the nature of His Kingdom. Yet mere understanding wasn’t enough. Mere intellectual understanding of truth wasn’t enough. Jesus is about to share with them what they really need in…
"And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The command of Jesus to His disciples was to wait. Waiting is one of the hardest things for us to do. Especially when it is something we really want. However, Jesus knew that without the Holy Spirit the efforts of the early church would have been an abject failure. It is God alone who initiates the mission. So if we want to see Pentecost repeated we need to…
Focus on the Initiation of the Holy Spirit
What we need is to be driven by the Holy Spirit. We want to move at His impulse. We want to see were He is working in the community and join Him in His work. It is Jesus, the resurrected Lord, working in us through the Holy Spirit that initiates, drives and accomplishes the mission. Without Him we can do nothing, but with Him we can do all things.
iPad & iPhone
I have an iPad and an iPhone. Now for all the PC and Android users out there, don’t hate. There is so much I can do with my iPad and iPhone. I have downloaded so many cool apps that allows me to do all sorts of things. I often thought about getting my mom one of these, but all she would do is use it to make phone calls or ocassionally send a text. It was made for so much more than that. However, I have the terrible problem of forgetting to charge up the battery. So often my iPad or my iPhone will shut down during the day, because it has no power. No matter how much it was made to do. No matter how many cool apps I have. If it is not connected to the source of power... if the battery is not charged up, its not good for anything but being a paper wait. Someone has to take the initiative to connect it to the source of power for it to do what it was made to do!
In order for the disciples to do what they were called to do, they were to wait for the “Promise of the Father” which Jesus said, “you have heard from Me.” Here, Luke is referring to what John records in John 14:15-18.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
Jesus promises to be with us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. He is not speaking of an it, but rather a Person. He is the third Person of the Godhead. Again Jesus says in John 15:26.
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me."
Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will speak of Him. The Holy Spirits main job is to bring people to Jesus. So when Jesus told them that they would be baptized by the Holy Spirit, it was so that the Holy Spirit working in them would bring people to Jesus. They were to seek the Person of the Holy Spirit, not merely the power of the Spirit. Sometimes we treat the Holy Spirit, like a Genie in a bottle, to be used for our own benefit. We are not to use the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is to use us. It is in seeking the Person of the Holy Spirit, that the power of the Spirit becomes the by product. This experience is what the entire book of Acts is all about. It is Jesus through the Acts of the Holy Spirit moving though the apostles and the early church. As you read the end of the book of Acts, it reads as though Luke never finished the book. He did that intentionally, because the book of Acts continues today, in your life.
The question is, “are we going to let the Holy Spirit be the One who drives us.” Will you let Him be the One who guides your decisions? Will you wait for the Holy Spirit, like the disciples did, or will you make a move without His leading. Singles, are you going to wait on the Holy Spirit for the right mate or are you going to make something happen on your own and ruin your life. The greatest need of the church today is for us to be baptized by and led by the Holy Spirit!