63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life
This Week's “Words for Life” are Pastor Paul Hawkes Message
May 31 - June 3
TARRY UNTIL AND THEY WAITED EXPECTANTLY
Luke 24:45 -49 Then Jesus, opened the minds of the disciples to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Scripture is abundantly clear that in a SALVATION or the NEW BIRTH experience we are baptized into the one body by the one Spirit and yet still we are commanded to wait until we are clothed with power from on high, or with the BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Billy Graham said and I quote, “To the great gift of forgiveness, God adds the great gift of the Holy Spirit. If we wish to be men and women who can live victoriously, we need the two- sided gift God has offered us”.
Justification or new birth by the action of God’s grace launches us into discipleship. This initial experience of sanctification in Christ sets us apart from the world. However, God intends that in order to grow spiritually, the process of sanctification in our lives must be continuous. We cannot expect any real success in our inward struggle in Christian life unless we are emphatically aided by the continuing power of the Holy Spirit which is to be a joyful experience. No wonder Paul says in
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Consider then with me three definite aspects that need to be addressed
FIRST – THERE IS A LIFE AND POWER EXPERIENCE
It is very evident that there are two definite experiences God has provided for every living person, one is the SALVATION experience of being “born again” which is a LIFE encounter, which must be followed by continual sanctification which alone will produce fruitfulness in a Christian life. When a person changes citizenship from this world to the one to come by the transforming power of God everything becomes new because of the power of the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus Christ. This is described in Scripture as a LIFE ENCOUNTER.
Jesus meets Nicodemus perhaps one of the most religious and upright men of his days who despite his knowledge of the OT was still searching and Jesus talking to him says,
John 3:7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'
Paul will later say in
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
Every child of God has been given the ministry of reconciliation, the task of sharing and bringing other people to be reconciled to God. To do this every person needs the power of the
Holy Spirit in one’s life.
Scripture is noticeably clear that there is a second encounter with God which is a POWER ENCOUNTER described as the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. Never is this spoken of in Scripture as a LIFE experience but as a POWER experience. This is Pentecost Sunday so look at the Scriptures that emphasise this.
Luke 24:49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 we are not left in doubt that everyone who received the Pentecostal experience knew personally that they been the recipients of this power.
Acts 2:6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.
In Acts 8, Philip goes to the Samaritans and many people get saved so the Jerusalem council sent Peter and John to pray for these new converts that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Obviously it took place but there is no record that they spoke with tongues but we need to note that Simon a magician who was present wanted to buy this gift so that he could lay hands on people and get them to speak in tongues. He wanted to add this gift to his magic repertoire.
Acts 8:18-19 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money saying, "Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
Acts 9 tells how Saul is converted on the road to Damascus, subsequently Ananias lays his hands on him so that he might receive the baptism of the Spirit. Again, it does not say he spoke with
tongues at this instant, but Paul later records his own personal testimony.
1 Corinthians 14:18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.
In Acts 10-11 we have the crowd gathered at the house of Cornelius and they experienced the same phenomena as those on the day of Pentecost. Peter was astonished at what happened and when later called into question by the council at Jerusalem about the whole incident reported the factual story of what had happened and the executive council at Jerusalem concluded their report with these words
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they fell silent (In other words they could raise no objection). And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."
The account in Acts 19 gives noticeably clear evidence that when Paul prayed for the Ephesians Christians and they too spoke in tongues.
Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
It is extremely hard to doubt the Biblical evidence of salvation as the LIFE experience and the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the POWER experience?
The question that needs to echo in our own hearts and lives is, have we availed ourselves of these two experiences that God has provided for us? Have you experienced both LIFE and POWER?
SECOND – HAVE YOU REGARDED THE EXPERIENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
AS A GOAL OR A GATEWAY?
Many who have had a Pentecostal experience, a POWER encounter have regarded it as a gaol that needed to be reached and after having received the Holy Spirit especially if it was accompanied with speaking in tongues as the Spirit gave utterance, feel they have arrived.
The fact remains very clear that in Scripture that the experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking other tongues was never regarded as a GOAL but as a GATEWAY into an ever increasing experience of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives. People who have seen it as a goal have lacked the understanding and the need for a constant refilling of the Spirit to allow the work and power of the Holy Spirit to overflow from their lives in a day by day experience. Pentecostal power was certainly given to WITNESS, the phrase stands out very clearly in Luke and Acts that you shall be a witness. A witness is obviously one who has experienced something in such a manner that that the fear of sharing is overpowered by the dynamic experience of the blessing in one’s life. Certainly, the Biblical example of this are noticeably clear.
Peter who would previously not acknowledge to the servant girl his connection to Jesus now stands on the day of Pentecost and preaches powerfully to the crowd so that 3000 are saved. Then, following the healing of the man at the Gate Beautiful his very bold and clear presentation to the Sanhedrin caused them to wish they could throttle him. Something life changing had taken place. Stephen becomes the first Christian martyr because he fearlessly declared the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and they stoned him. Philip a deacon goes to Samaria and preaches powerfully, under the dynamic overflow of an experience of the power of God and many are saved, and the story goes on and on. It was and is an experience that is true to life, for anyone who has had a real encounter in the baptism of the Holy spirit has felt the power of God that overwhelms and thrusts them forward to tell other about what God has done.
This does not imply that the person who is born again and has had a REAL-LIFE ENCOUNTER does not, nor cannot witness, for obviously every Christian can witness to the experience of the life of God in their lives. The fact of the matter is that when people first become Christians, often they become powerful witnesses to the New Birth experience but unfortunately that seems to fade quite quickly for many. Perhaps this is so because the salvation experience is not an experience we need to repeat again and again, we may be at the altar in deeper consecration again and again but often even this is not stressed too much in the Christians life today.
However, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was repeatedly referred too in Scripture as being NOT a one-time experience but an ongoing experience, thus we often speak of one baptism but many refilling’s. The Scripture repeatedly uses the phrase being “filled with the Holy Spirit”. Everyone of us realizes that in the courses of life as we are bumped repeatedly by many people something always spills over from our lives as a result. If it does not spill over in the immediate situation because of the immediate company it often spills over to our friends or our spouse afterwards. Tragically what spills over from many people is not the overflow of the Holy Spirit but an overflow of the carnal nature. The reason is simple the fullness which was real at one time is now diminished. Let me simply illustrate by a glass of water. If you take a drink obviously, what is in the glass comes out, but when one goes to drink a second time the glass is no longer
full it needs to be filled again and again.
These aspects are evident in the Biblical record, Luke records for us that Peter and Paul were filled many times Peter in Acts 2 Pentecost; 4:8 before the Sanhedrin and after a good prayer meeting in 4:31. Paul filled with the Spirit in Acts 8:17 and again in13:9 when he dealt with the sorcerer Elymas;
Then Paul writes to the Ephesians 5:18 “Be filled with the Spirit is easily translated “by be continually filled with the Spirit” This clearly indicates that the filling of the Spirit is potentially a repetitive gift. Too many Pentecostal people think and say “I have received the baptism of the Holy
Spirit last year and then assume that the experience is over and done with.
Praise God for every experience, but if it is like the glass of water there needs to be a refilling because when you have used some of that power to testify to others then you are never totally full afterwards. There is a constant need to be refilled. You can be filled repeatedly and still have a long way to go for spiritual maturity. The refilling is not just speaking in tongues again although often this happens but a waiting on God for a fresh deluge of power to refresh and refill our lives again.
Has the baptism of the Holy Spirit been for you a GOAL or a GATEWAY? “Do you need a new infilling, a fresh overflowing portion of the power of the Holy Spirit in your life?”
THIRDLY – WHY DID JESUS COMMAND THEM TO WAIT UNTIL
THEY SHOULD BE FILLED OR REFILLED?
Jesus told the disciples to wait or tarry in Jerusalem until they had been filled, obviously Jesus thought this was important. Many people do not see the need to “tarry or wait” any longer in the presence of God once they are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. We live in the day of “instant” and we have come to feel that the spiritual touch or infusion of the Spirit is something that is instant too. We have not grasped the purpose of waiting in His presence.
Many will remember September 11, 2001 the attack on the World Trade Center and the pictures of the tower bursting into flame and then the fuel in the planes starting the inferno. Ask yourself today on Pentecost Sunday “What has to impact your life to set you aflame for God”
Clearly Jesus told his disciples initially to WAIT … UNTIL they were endued with power from on high. This is obviously a real aspect of truth, but I believe there is another facet to this truth too. There are at least three reasons for waiting which are still applicable, the season of waiting on God for the
Pentecostal power had at least three purposes for the disciples…
1. It was to teach them to cease from themselves in order to prepare them for a greater
transition in their ministry
Those days of waiting were to lead them to a new dependence on God and sometimes God has to break the patterns of our lives, to enable us to get out of old ruts and enable us to make the transition into the ministry that God would have for us. Many times, in the Psalms you see the word SELAH which simply is a pause that allows for complete silence so that the chorus that follows has a double emphasis. God wants to prepare us for the double portion of His power in our lives. Do you remember Elisha after years of following Elijah when asked what he wanted finally replied “I want a double portion of your Spirit” The double portion of any inheritance Biblically was a firstborn’s child right and those who are saved in Paul terminology are the firstborn
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
You will remember that Elijah told Elisha you shall have it if you shall see me when I go. Certainly, Elisha did NOT take off for the corner store to buy some goodies after he had waited so long and when he received the double portion what blessing and power it brought to the ministry of the younger prophet Elisha.
IF WE DO NOT WAIT there is the great danger is that we might try to do what God wants us to do in our own strength, what we have not been empowered to do. Do you remember the seven sons of Sceva? They tried to cast out evil spirit using the same formulae that Paul the Apostle used but it did not work.
Acts 19:15 But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?"
Perhaps the hardest lesson for us to learn is that we are utterly helpless and wretched in ourselves. We must die to our self-sufficiency. There are times when INACTIVITY can be the most profitable thing we can do. For the disciples it was one of those times when Jesus wanted to prepare them for transition into ministry where they would cease from their own strength and power and enter into His divine plan in His power, for their lives.
But we say we cannot wait for long? Well Abraham had to wait 25 years before Isaac was born and by trying to hurry, he brought Ishmael into the world. Moses was not called until he had spent 40 years in the desert of Midian and was 80 years old before God had him ready to deliver his people from Egypt. AT the Red Sea God have him a beautiful message for the people who were totally scared and frightened of the Egyptian taskmasters
Exodus 14:13 Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD.
The New Testament puts it this way
2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.
2.The waiting was to prepare them to empty themselves so that God might fill them
In those days of waiting the disciples must have thought of their inability to carry on the task now Jesus was gone, and the more they talked together the more they realized their inability and in their realization of their inability I am sure they cried out to Him for His help and for His empowerment.
They remembered He had said…
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Oh, how they longed for and how they now knew they needed that power.
Perhaps God wants us to tarry until we are prepared to empty ourselves and begin to hunger to be filled with the power of God. Sometimes we need to wait and, in our waiting, realise the insufficiency in our own lives. It is an experience like the command Elisha gave
Jehoshaphat when there was no water.
2 Kings 3:15 But now bring me a musician." And when the musician played, the hand of the LORD
came upon him. 16 And he said, "Thus says the LORD, 'I will make this dry streambed full of pools.' 17 For thus says the LORD, 'You shall not see wind or rain, but that streambed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.'
Folks often spiritual conditions cannot be accomplished in a moment, the breaking up of fallow ground takes time, the frosts of winter are as necessary as the rains of spring to prepare the ground for fertility. Sometimes God must break our heart by the slow process of discipline until he can saturate us with his divine power.
3.Waiting was to prepare them to listen to the voice of God
How very necessary it is to listen to the voice and commands of God Elijah’s story is still relevant today
1 Kings 19:11-12 And he said, "Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.
Sometimes we are in so much of a rush and so occupied with the clamor of the day that we cannot hear the still small voice of the living God. Listen to Paul and Jeremiah,
Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Jeremiah 33:3 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'
I think all three reasons for waiting that were true for the disciples still apply to us today.
Have you been reticent to WAIT in the presence of God? God wants to use these special times of waiting to make our lives more productive.
a. Preparing you for a great transition in ministry whereby you cease from yourself
b. Preparing you to empty yourself so that God might fill you
c. Preparing you to listen to the voice of God
In conclusion let me ask three simple questions that need to captivate our minds.
1. Have you experienced both LIFE and POWER?
2. Has the baptism of the Holy Spirit been a GOAL or a GATEWAY for you?
3. Have you been reticent to WAIT in the presence of God? Why not consider that perhaps God is trying to reach your innermost being
GOD HAS PROVIDED SO MUCH FOR EACH ONE OF US
DON’T MISS OUT ON WHAT GOD HAS FOR YOU
DO YOU HAVE JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT?
THIS IS PENTECOST SUNDAY WHY NOT SEEK A FRESH ENCOUNTER WITH GOD?