We have all been given the opportunity to live a Victorious Christian Life. Because we are created in the image of God we have the potential for great love and goodness. The Fall of Mankind into sin produced great sin and struggle into the world. And yet in God’s plan his own Son Jesus Christ became the Saviour of All who call and believe on him. The potential to live in victory is not possible within our own choices, but only when one receives Jesus as Lord and Saviour and comes into the reality of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. The wonderful miracle of “new birth” is just the beginning of our journey towards a victorious Christian life. This morning we will look at two aspects of the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the life of a follower of Jesus.
Holy Spirit Empowers
I woke up the other day not feeling well, tired and looking towards a busy day. I was not too enthusiastic about my new day where the mercies of God await. I wish that I could have put on a new attitude or maybe some new clothes to make me feel better. This reminded me of Jesus telling his disciples that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This baptism was not to be a tame experience but being “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). I remember washing my clothes in London England when I reached down to steady the portable washing machine. Needless to say, some of the wiring was touching the water and I received the shock of my life, my arms flying in the air, my heart racing and the colour draining from my face. Power from on high sounds to me like “heaven was about to shake the world”! In other words, we, the regenerated Body of Christ, are empowered by the Spirit who changes people into radical lovers of God and people. He gives them the power to preach boldly, heal sick people, even raise the dead.
Last week I shared about Ezekiel’s vision about a new heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone. This vision of the Spirit being poured out was hundreds of years before the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early church on the Day of Pentecost as seen in Acts 2. The Book of Ezekiel begins with fantastic visions of storms and wind and a cloud glowing with fire, lightning and thunder, and extraordinary living creatures with four faces. The vision continues to a throne and figure that looked like a man glowing with fire and dazzling in light. Ezekiel then pens these words, “This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking” (Ezekiel 1:28). This is power from on high… I believe that God was showing Ezekiel power from on high and one day God would clothe his people with power on Pentecost. The early disciples experienced this empowering - the sound of a rushing wind and flames of fire descending on every believer’s head. But the Holy Spirit didn’t stop with just a good half time show, but also filled, imparted and empowered the followers of Jesus with super-natural power from on high. What does this power look like? Just look through the rest of the Book of Acts; supernatural healing, fierce courage, boldness, willing martyrs, dreams and visions to name a few.
The empowering of the Holy Spirit was life changing and far from comfortable for the early church. The Holy Spirit gives the power to Jesus’ statement that “all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me” (Matt 28:18). This empowering of the Spirit is life transforming and in some sense, brings radical change but not chaos. We need to allow the freedom of the Spirit to move in our lives and corporate gatherings. We need to be careful to “not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thess 5:18). We need to be careful that we do not try to control the “power from on high” so we can keep our church services safe and without unexpected Holy Spirit interruptions. I love Peters words to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38–39).
Holy Spirit Guides
GPS is something we rely on in our day and age, 20 to 30 years ago we would use maps and a compass and many years ago a sextant and the stars. Everyone desires how to get from A to B without a lot of hassles. The same is true spiritually or morally in life. The Holy Spirit is like our internal GPS, except that he never gets confused or offers wrong information – “re-routing” …
We briefly mentioned some of the characteristics of God last week, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Omniscience has to do with God not lacking in wisdom or knowledge, past, present or future. The Holy Spirit has access to all the wisdom and knowledge of God; in other words, he makes a great guide no matter what the situation of life. Several Scriptures come to mind when I think of the Spirit as my guide.
· Romans 8:14 tells us: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” If you are a child of God, you have access to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
· Ga 5:18 - But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. Christians do not find their righteousness through the Law but through Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. In other words, the Spirit knows how to led us into righteous victorious living.
· 1 John 2:27 - He is our teacher and those who depend on Holy Spirit will know where to go and what to do because they are following his heavenly directions.
But if you want to know the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you must learn to discern His voice and His subtle nudgings. We must learn to abide in the Spirit and the Word of God.
The world we live in is looking for genuine expressions of God’s Holy Spirit power, not religion that has denied God’s power. The challenge for the followers of Jesus today is to surrender to this power from on high and let the Spirit of God fully direct your life. All too often we play it safe spiritually and do not press in beyond our comfort levels. However, power without direction can be a little scary, therefore we also need Holy Spirit to be our leader and guide. He will direct us through life in wise and knowledgeable ways. There is a world out there to win for Jesus and we need Holy Spirit empowering and guidance to be victorious Christians.