The Power of the Holy Spirit
Billy Graham has to be one of the most prolific evangelists of our time. The man has not only provided so many different crusades where he provided the gospel message to thousands and millions through the crusades being televised but he also passed down to his own children the passion to be a witness for Christ. Every time anyone of his children are on air to provide an interview or as a guest on a talk show they always give the gospel message. Billy Graham has instilled a passion within the hearts of millions to share the gospel even in his own children but even though people have become imitators of Billy Graham in sharing the gospel do you know that the power to be a witness for Christ doesn’t come from Billy Graham. The power in his children to be resolute in always providing the gospel on air doesn’t come from their father. Also the power of those millions of people who heard the gospel message to understand the gospel message didn’t come from Billy Graham. No the source of the message, the source of the understanding the source even of the witness doesn’t come from Billy Graham or Billy Graham’s education or his parents, mentors or experiences. No the source of the power of Billy Graham’s witness comes from God and it is through the third person of the trinity the Holy Spirit.
This morning we will take a look at the third person of the trinity, a very special person just as the Son and the Father but He is the unsung hero of all of God’s Word, He is the Holy Spirit and He is a major theme and focus of Luke’s gospel and the book of Acts. This morning as we continue wrapping up Luke’s gospel we will focus on the Holy Spirit. As we began last week to wrap up the gospel of Luke we focused very clearly on Jesus Christ and the peace He has offered. Jesus appeared to His disciples who were gathered together in Jerusalem and they were sharing with one another their personal experiences with Jesus and how Jesus revealed Himself to at least three of the disciples who were there. As these men are sharing their experiences Jesus pops up out of nowhere and opens with a calming phrase, “Peace be to you.” The men were frightened and Jesus had to assure them He was not a Spirit but He was flesh and bone. He did this with His identifying marks on His wrists and feet and by eating food with them.
In Jesus’ life we can have life as well. That is the offer Jesus provides in offering peace it is an offer of peace between man and God so that man can now come into God’s presence. Jesus provides the offer of peace but the power of understanding all of this can only come from the third person of the trinity. So let’s take a look at the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Power of the Holy Spirit
The Power of the Holy Spirit
We will see this in Luke 24:44-49, Luke 24:44-49
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. “You are witnesses of these things. “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Now what Luke provides for us here is a commissioning of the disciples. The way Luke has written this makes it seem as though this is still the same day of Jesus’ resurrection, and it very well might be. Luke here in verse 44 all the way through to the very end of the chapter is summarizing for us the what he will write in the beginning of his account in the book of Acts. We have a more familiar commissioning of the disciples in the gospel of Matthew.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This commission in Matthew would have been given near Jesus’ ascension, however, there is no reason to look at this text and say well Luke jumped the gun or this couldn’t be the same day and time. It is very possible Jesus gave two commissions and it is also quite possible Luke was just condensing Jesus’ last 40 days here because in Acts 1 he provides a more detailed account of Jesus’ final words to His disciples as He is taken away to heaven. Still this doesn’t take away from the power and the impact and the reality of this event here. The power of course is in what the Holy Spirit is doing and what He will do.
Luke 24:44 is still focused on Jesus’ teaching them. This is great section of Scripture because here Jesus now in His glorified body is still teaching and training His followers and as He is teach and training them He provides the fulfillment of a past instruction, He provides a present understanding and a future office. All of which comes from the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s take a look at the The Power of the Holy Spirit in Passed Instructions
The Power of the Holy Spirit in Past Instructions
The Power of the Holy Spirit in Past Instructions
In verse 44 Luke writes, “Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” We looked at this very important point two weeks ago that the Hebrew Scriptures as a whole point to Jesus Christ. They point to Him and to the need for Him to come and even to die on a cross. The Hebrew Scriptures are important, they are not an antiquated book that is written for us to have a history of the nation of Israel and it doesn’t apply to us. The Hebrew Scriptures in actuality help us to understand the gospel better, and the book of Acts more fully and Paul’s Epistles as well as the other epistles. I can recall many, many years ago, I really don’t remember who I was talking to but I remember the conversation. The person told me that evangelical churches only focus on the New Testament and the Catholic church looks at the entirety of the Bible. Well I grew up Catholic and I don’t remember ever hearing a message that spend the entirety of the Scripture I also don’t remember any teaching that provided any breath of the Scripture.
I also know of a very prominent pastor and teacher of our own do who set out to teach his congregation the New Testament as the Lord willed for him to do so. It took him forty years but he did teach the entire New Testament but I also know this man didn’t teach the New Testament without taking his congregation to the Hebrew Scriptures as well. You can’t have a full understanding of the purpose of God if you don’t spend a little time in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Hebrew Scriptures are God’s instructions to the nation of Isreal and as we said two weeks ago they point to the coming of Jesus Christ. Now the power of the Holy Spirit in this Scripture and as Jesus is telling His disciples here in verse 44 is the things that were written about Jesus in the Hebrew Scriptures must be fulfilled. Moses didn’t just write his own words in fact Moses had no idea that when he was writing down Genesis 3:15 that God was pointing to Jesus. Moses by what he wrote does demonstrate any idea that the Ark Noah built was a picture of the redemption God would bring through Jesus Christ. Moses when he slaughtered the lamb for the first passover had no idea of the Lamb who would be slain and the kind of deliverance He would bring. All that Moses wrote was not created out of his own mind but he and all the prophets and all those who wrote the psalm were all carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Peter the Apostle is standing here as Jesus is telling them this as He is providing His last instruction and as He does so Peter still doesn’t have the full understanding of what is about to happen. But when the Holy Spirit empowers him in Acts 2 Peter becomes one powerful preacher. Peter also writes two letters to the disburse Jews and in His letter he is telling them about what he witnessed on the mount of transfiguration.
Look at what he tells the church;
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
As you can see here Peter even tells the church they didn’t follow “cleverly devised tales.” There telling sharing the gospel didn’t come from them, they were witnesses to the power and honor and the glory of God and Jesus. Peter is telling the church what he and James and John saw on the mountain and then he continues and this is what I want you to understand. Look at verse 19. They are eyewitnesses to the events that happened for a purpose and Peter is telling them this so they would understand, it validates the prophetic word, that is the Scriptures, the Hebrew Scripture. Now watch as Peter continues, he says in verse 20 that the prophecy which they have, the prophecy which we have today which has been preserved for us for millennia is not up for our own interpretation and I love this it was not made by an act of human will. It was written by men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. Man’s personality, a man’s unique style might be visible in the original manuscripts but it was not by the mind of man that we were able to have all the rich truth of what God had to say. It is from God who through the power of the Holy Spirit utilized these men to write what He wanted us to know.
The Holy Spirit is not some concept that was thought up by Luke as he was writing the book of Acts. He was there at Creation, and he was there when Abraham was called, He was there when Moses was called. He has always been there and He was the One who worked in and through the men of the past to write what God wanted penned. I find it funny so many times the religious leaders of the day asked Jesus for a sign, they wanted proof He was the Messiah and all the while they had their proof in what the Holy Spirit had guided those men to pen. God has utilized men to write for us what He wanted His people, the Nation of Israel to know and what He wants us to know. God has written for us His words so the nation would have instruction about the coming of the Messiah and so they would have the signs of the coming of the Messiah. He has also written what the Messiah would do and how the Messiah would redeem Israel and all nation to Himself. It is through His suffering and being raised from the dead. What the Holy Spirit has moved the prophets of the passed to write has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, now we will see the power of the Holy Spirit in Present Understanding.
The Power of the Holy Spirit in Present Understanding
The Power of the Holy Spirit in Present Understanding
Look with me at verses 45-47. Luke continues and tells us in verse 45, “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. This isn’t their eyes were opened this time it was their minds. There was obviously still a fog. In fact if you read through all the gospel accounts you find each time Jesus teaches these men there is always a disconnect between what He is teaching and how they perceive His instruction. The simple reason why is because they didn’t have the understanding. Poor, poor Peter he is has to be one of our greatest examples through out all of the gospels of how the Holy Spirit works in and through these disciples. In Matthew 16:13-20 we have the confession of Jesus as the Christ by Peter, quite arguably one of Peter’s shinning moments, but we are about to see who’s moment it really is.
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
Jesus posses the question of who do the people say He is, began with those outside the group, getting a feel for the public opinion. Then He asks the question of who do you say I am, to hit at the heart of His disciples. Simon Peter is the first to answer here and he answers correctly, verse 16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” First time it is uttered by a single person, the first time this is actually confessed. Jesus acknowledges Peter’s answer but He the credit for the answer doesn’t go to Peter. Verse 17, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Now how do you think the Father revealed this to Peter. It was through the work and power of the Holy Spirit. This is the work of the Holy Spirit it provide illumination to the minds and hearts of believers. We can’t understand the Word of God with out His intervening work. In all honesty we can’t even get into the Word of God with out His prompting us.
The Holy Spirit is the only One who can open our minds and our hearts to the things of God and to the truths of Scripture. Look at Paul’s prayer to the Ephesian church.
For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
The spirit of wisdom and the revelation in the knowledge of Him the prayer fro the eyes of their hearts to be enlightened, that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Now with their minds opened to understand now with the Holy Spirit working on their minds so they can understand what Jesus is telling them. Jesus continues and says to them in verses 46-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” This is the present understanding the Holy Spirit is providing for them. The only way they could understand the truth and the impact of Jesus’ death,burial and resurrection is through the work of the Holy Spirit in them. As we have seen in the passed few weeks this truth of Jesus’ death burial and resurrection is hard for the human, finite mind to wrap around and the only way they were really about to believe it was because the Holy Spirit who is infinite was able to provide the enlightenment they need to understand this present truth.
In verse 48 we have Jesus commissioning these men He tells them; “Your are witnesses of these things.” They have been with Jesus they have heard Him teach they have seen Him die and now they have seen His resurrected body. They have seen and heard with their own eyes and their own ears and these things they have seen and which the Holy Spirit has now caused in them to understand these things they are witnesses to and what does a witness do, provides the account of what they saw and heard, an accurate account. This is the same as if you witnessed and accident and are called to court as a witness you are called to provide an accurate account of what you saw and heard. This is their commissioning and they will be in the court of the world making a defense of what they have seen and heard.
This is amazing here. Think about this, who brought understanding on their minds. It wasn’t by human will it was by a divine intervention. Salvation is not from us and in and of our selves we can’t understand the message of salvation. The understanding of salvation can only come from God. God chooses who will understand we don’t choose Him. God opens our hearts to realize the consequences of sin not us. If we are left to make the choose on our own we will choose to follow our own way every time. This should provide encouragement to you because God chose you and you didn’t chose Him that means you can’t chose to not chose Him. That is assurance. We can’t boast in our salvation only God can.
This is the present power of the Holy Spirit. So we have seen the Power of the Holy Spirit in Past Instruction, and the Power of the Holy Spirit in Present Understanding and now let’s look at the Power of the Holy Spirit in the Future Office.
The Power of the Holy Spirit in the Future Office
The Power of the Holy Spirit in the Future Office
As these men go through the world providing the defence of what they have seen and heard they are not going to do this alone, in fact they are not even going to do it in their power at all. Look with me at verse 49; “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” The Holy Spirit is the One who has worked in and through the men of the passed to bring about God’s written word. He is also working in and through these men in the present so they will understand Jesus’ mission and how the Hebrew Scriptures point to His finished work on the cross and the impact this truth has on them and the world. Still even with all of this work the Holy Spirit is doing He is not staying in these men. The Holy Spirit has been active through out all of Redemptive History as I said earlier but He would come and go and work in people and leave. Now Jesus is provide these men with a promise of the One who will come.
The promise of the coming of the Spirit is actually found in the book of Joel
“It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
This is the promise of the Spirit which happened on the day of Pentecost and we will within the next six months look at that day much more in depth. The promise was made by God through the Spirit working in Joel.
Jesus Himself also promises the Holy Spirit. The apostle John writes a great deal about the One who the Father would send.
“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
See this the Holy Spirit is called the Helper and He will be sent by God and He will teach all things and bring to remembrance all things. This takes a huge weight off my shoulders, I’m not teaching you the Holy Spirit.
John also writes this;
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
Again He is called the Helper and Jesus is sending Him from the Father, He is also called the Spirit of truth and He is the one who testifies about Jesus. This is awesome, because in the same way that we can’t take credit for our own Salvation guess what other peoples salvation are not on you either. So when you think “oh, I can’t give the gospel, our I don’t know enough of the Word to tell people about Jesus.” That is the flesh speaking because the Spirit that resides in Billy Graham resides in you too. The One who Helps him to provide a testimony of the Saving Grace of the Cross of Christ is the same One who can move your lips to speak for God. We are not the ones who save, we just need to stop making excuses and being afraid and let the Holy Spirit moves us to testify Christ to them. Our responsibilty is not to save them it is to herold the message that is all. The Spirit is the One who saves them. That should be all the motivation you need to share the gospel.
Look Jesus makes this point very clear in John 16:5-15
“But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.
See this future office of the Holy Spirit is to Guide, lead, teach and open up the mind to understand all things that Jesus has said, all things that God has said and all things pertaining to life and godliness. We can’t save ourselves, only God can do this by opening our minds through the power of the Holy Spirit and we can’t save others only God can through the power of the Holy Spirit who opens their minds to the truth.
Listen you can take people through every point of scripture that presents the gospel message. You can be so very eloquent in how you speak and you word can be so gracious and the person can turn around and say to you yeah that’ not for me. Then on another occasion just say Hi to someone and they bring down in tears and beg you to tell them the gospel message. It has nothing to do with you, nothing. You are only the herald the messenger. You are God’s mouth piece and oh how beautiful are the feet of the one who brings the gospel. With this fact in mind listen don’t worry about what people will think of you and what they will say or even if they listen to you. The only thing you are to do is testify to Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross that is all, the Holy Spirit will do the rest. It is His job to lead and to teach and to save. When He moves you to do so don’t ignore it.