You Will Receive Power

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1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 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.”
Acts 19

The Holy Spirit has been engaged in the mission of God from the very beginning.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Genesis 1

When the Spirit of God would come on people or fill people in the Old Testament, we see that they were chosen by God to do a specific task. Some would call this the anointing or anointed by God. They were empowered to carry out the will of god on earth. Malachi is generally to be thought of as the last prophet to be used by the spirit of God in the Old Testament. The time between the death of Malachi and the birth of Jesus is known as the inter-testamental period.

400 years had passed without any record of the Holy Spirit engaging the earth. So it isn’t a surprise that the disciples found in Acts 19 would reply: “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then John the Baptist comes onto the seen and makes a scandalous claim.

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Matthew 3:11

There are pictures in the Bible of the Spirit being poured out. But when the idea of baptism (that is, dipping or immersion) is brought in, the point is that the Spirit is poured over us to such an extent that we are enveloped in him. The point of this image is that the Spirit becomes profoundly and pervasively influential in our lives. When you are immersed in something, it touches you everywhere. So when John says that Jesus is going to baptize with the Spirit, he means that the day is coming when the lives of God’s people will be plunged into the life of the Spirit with profound and pervasive effects. . .

Jesus went to Nazareth one day and went into the synagogue. He opened the scriptures and read:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Luke 4

We know that throughout the ministry of Jesus he demonstrated the Kingdom of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. He proclaimed the good news. He healed the sick. He performed miracles. He delivered the oppressed. He prophesied. He raised the dead. Everywhere Jesus went, he brought freedom to people.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17

The Mission of the Holy Spirit is to bring freedom. Freedom from sin. Freedom from sickness. Freedom from oppression

But Jesus wasn’t the end of the Holy Spirit. He promised his disciples that they too would receive power.

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2

Just as Jesus had promised, they were given power… The Holy Spirit. And they immediately began prophesying and proclaiming the good news.

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
Acts 2

17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
Acts 2

When the Holy Spirit comes on believers, he empowers us to continue the work of Jesus and the Mission of God. The first century followers were devoted to continuing the ministry of Jesus. They were on mission! And they had the power to accomplish it.

You might say, well I’m saved and I have the Holy Spirit. Well… what if there is something more? We can engage in the theological understanding of the regeneration of the spirit or we can read Acts and see that there is something significant, something visible, something powerful happening when people receive the Holy Spirit. And when we see that, for me at least, it stirs a desire to experience God in the same way.

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8

These were new believers who undoubtedly were saved by believing and confessing Jesus as Lord. They were even baptized in the name of Jesus. I find it peculiar that the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them. But Jesus makes this remarkable statement about those who would dare to follow him:

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 14

Even greater things? You mean like healing the sick, raising the dead, casting our demons, walking on water and turning water into wine kind of greater things? Jesus was either crazy or he intended to make good on his promise. God wants to empower you to live a Christ-like life not a Christ-ish existence. Receiving the Holy Spirit is a promise to you from the Father. This is not a weird Pentecostal doctrine, it is a promise. Receiving The Holy Spirit is necessary if you want to partner with God in His mission to redeem, restore and reconcile the world. All we need to do is simply ask God to make good on his promise to you.

Discussion Questions:
• What if the Holy Spirit is still on mission?
• What if there is something more to our faith?
• What if God wants to pour out his Spirit on you today like he did back then?

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