The Gift 6
"The Spirit's Empowering"
Luke 24:49 "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Acts 1: 4-5, 8 "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; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
So far in our series on the Holy Spirit we've talked about the "gift" of the Holy Spirit, the "personhood" of the Holy Spirit, the "infilling" of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit as our "Helper" and the Holy Spirit as our "Guide."
Now today I want to talk about the EMPOWERING of the Holy Spirit...
First in Luke, Jesus commands His disciples not to begin their ministry until they had been "clothed" with power from on high.
The word clothed is en-doo'-o, from which we get the word "endued."
It is used by Paul to describe "putting on" the armor of God, "putting on" the new man, and "putting on" Jesus Christ.
Then in Acts Jesus is quoted as commanding again that they be "baptized" with the Holy Spirit.
The word "Baptized" is (bap-tid'-zo) in the original and it means "to be submerged in."
Jesus compares the baptism of John--where the person would be totally submerged in water--to the baptism in the Spirit where the recipient would be, as it were, totally submerged in the Holy Spirit.
When a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit they are literally submerged in, clothed by His power.
Both words--"baptized by" and "clothed by"--carry the idea that the receiver is totally encompassed by, totally enveloped by the mighty power of God.
This is not just a kind of "touch;" it is an experience involving the whole person from head to toe!
You don't jump into a pool and get "kind of wet."
You don't get dunked in a baptistry and get "sort of wet."
You get totally saturated, which is why we call it "taking the plunge!"
This is the baptism in the Holy Spirit--you get totally covered by, saturated by, clothed in God's power!
When the Day of Pentecost came, this is exactly what happened...
The 120 were gathered together in prayer when suddenly the Holy Spirit fell upon them, and they were "all filled" with, clothed with the Holy Spirit's power!
Now the word for "Power" that Jesus used is the word "dunamis."
It means, "force, might, ability"...literally, "Power through God's ability."
The word "dunamis" is all throughout the New Testament in connection with Jesus' ministry:
Jesus returned (from the wilderness) in the power (dunamis) of the Spirit" (Luke 4:14).
"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power (dunamis)" (Acts 10:38).
Matt 11:20 "Then He (Jesus) began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works (dunamis) had been done, because they did not repent:"
Matt 13:54 "When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works (dunamis)?"
Two things caused people in Jesus's day to marvel at Him--His incredible wisdom, and His works of power (dunamis).
In light of all these verses, think about it:
Jesus promised His fledgling church, "You're going to receive the very power of God (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit falls upon you."
Jesus intended for His church to be an "EMPOWERED" church--not a retiring, reticent, timid, fearful, defeated, or weak church!
Now, for what purpose did Jesus say the Holy Spirit's power was given?
He said it Himself: "You shall be witnesses to Me..."
So Jesus makes it abundantly clear that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not poured out on people to play with like a toy, or to get goose bumps, or to seek endless emotional experiences...
The Holy Spirit wasn't given to get "drunk" on as some put it, or to be made a spectacle of, or to create "bless me clubs."
The Holy Spirit was poured out on the church to empower her for ministry!
"You shall be witnesses for Me..." Jesus said.
And ministry is exactly what happened immediately after the Holy Spirit fell upon the 120...
A lame man was healed as Peter and John went to pray in the temple.
Everyone who saw it were amazed, but Peter said to them:
Acts 3:12 “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power (dunamis) or godliness we had made this man walk?"
"We didn't do this, it was the power (dunamis) of God that we've been clothed with!"
The Bible describes the early church this way:
Acts 4:33 "And with great power (dunamis) the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all."
Acts 6:8 "And Stephen, full of faith and power (dunamis), did great wonders and signs among the people."
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he said:
1 Cor. 2:4-5 "And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power (dunamis), 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power (dunamis) of God."
The small company of believers gathered in the upper room on that glorious day were totally transformed from fearful, nervous, sometimes doubting and timid people to a company of bold, persuasive world-changers once they were "empowered" by the Holy Spirit!
They preached under the power, prayed under the power, advanced under the power, and conquered city after city under the (dunamis) power of the Holy Spirit!
So, How can a person be baptized in the Holy Spirit and receive this power?
How can we as a church become empowered afresh and anew?
I. Immerse Yourself in the Word of God, the Bible...
You will likely not be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit if you are not filled with the Word of God.
Why do I say this?
Because in Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:48 we're told that the power of God is given for power in witnessing.
And we witness primarily with the Word of God.
The power of his Spirit is released when our spiritual bow is loaded with the arrows of the Word of God!
For example, Luke 4:14 says that Jesus returned from the wilderness full of the "dunamis" power of the Holy Spirit.
And we are told that every time He was attacked He answered, "It is written," and He quoted Scripture.
Jesus was full of the Spirit's power because he was full of the Word of God.
In John 6:63 Jesus said, "It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life."
The words of Jesus are the voice and life-giving power of the Spirit.
If we're not regularly hearing His words, we won't be walking in the Spirit's power.
In Ephesians 6:17 Paul says that we should put on the whole armor of God including "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
If you want the Spirit to come mightily upon you, then you must take hold of the Spirit's sword, the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit will not fight without His sword!
Spiritual power accompanies the Word abiding in you!
In 1 John 2:14 John says, "I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have conquered the evil one."
Notice that being spiritually strong and conquering the evil one are both connected to "the word of God abiding in them."
If you want the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, then change your routine and immerse yourself in the Word of God.
Read it, think about it, memorize it...
So...the first way to experience the power of the Holy Spirit is to immerse yourself in the Word of God.
The second way to experience His power is to...
II. Believe the Word of God
Let me clarify....
I mean you must believe by faith that God intends to do wonderful things for his glory through you because that is what the Bible teaches!
For example, let's say you change your routine and set aside an hour to be with God in the Word before work.
And then let's say that during that time you immerse yourself in the book of Ephesians.
And then let's say that the Lord especially impresses on your mind 1:12 that tells us that we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.
And then you also notice 3:20 that tells us that, by His power at work in us, He is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think!
Then you head off to work.
During the day an opportunity arises to speak a word of testimony to the praise of God's glory.
Because you got with God that morning, and His Word spoke to your heart and built your faith, two things can now happen...
One, the Word of God jumps up into your mind—You remember that this is what you're alive for! To show forth His praises by testifying for Him!
Second, you remember that He can do "exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ask for or think!"
Your faith arises because of the Word and you testify with power of God's goodness!
So the first way to seek the power of the Spirit is to immerse yourself in God's Word, and the second way is to believe that Word.
The third way to experience a fresh baptism of Dunamis power from the Holy Spirit is to:
III. Pray Earnestly for It...
ILLUS: What happened to me in living room...
Acts 1:13 tells us that this is what the disciples devoted themselves to in the upper room during the ten days of waiting for Pentecost.
"All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer."
This is what the disciples were doing in Acts 4:24–31 when it says they were "all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word with boldness."
They were praying!
In Luke 11:13 Jesus says to his disciples, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Now, since His disciples already had a measure of the Holy Spirit in their ministry, I take Jesus to mean that we should ask for MORE of the Spirit...
We should boldly ask God for the power of His Spirit!
So we seek the fullness of the Spirit's power by 1.) immersing ourselves in God's Word, 2.) by believing its promises with expectant faith, and 3.) by praying earnestly that God would give us our heart's desire for his power.