Key Text: Acts 2:14 – 21
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
- Key Text: Matthew 25:14 – 30
- Theme of text: God expects his servants to be fruitful.
- Third servant: failed to be profitable because he misjudged the character of the Master (Jesus).
- Key Text: Hebrews 12:1-2
- Theme: God takes joy in giving us gifts.
- Blocks to spiritual joy: selfishness, wrong image, legalism.
- Holy Spirit’s role is to make it possible for us to express the gifts of God.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus
Question: When you think about the Holy Spirit what do you think of?
I could have asked this another way: “What is on the Holy Spirit’s mind?” Jesus! “the Spirit of truth…will testify on my behalf”(John15:26)
The Holy Spirit is the perfect witness to Jesus because he has been totally present in all parts of Jesus life.
Look up Matthew 1:18; Luke 4:1, 18 -19; Matt12:28.
Question: By what power did Jesus exercise his life and ministry?
By the power of the Spirit, not by his power as God. Jesus was tempted, hungry, thirsty, weary, in pain etc. like we are, but because he lived in the power of the Spirit he was obedient to the Father –in this way he became “Lord” over all that troubles of human life. The passion of the Spirit is to make this real in our lives.
The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life
Reflection Exercise: Take five minutes to reflect on your most powerful experience of the Holy Spirit. (You will have opportunity to share.)
Look up Ephesians 5:18 – 20.
Question: What does it command?
The command is in what we call the present continuous tense, it is not a one – off experience but something that needs to happen repeatedly (e.g. Peter in Acts 2:4; 4:8,31; Paul in Acts 9:17; 13:9). It is also in the passive, it is something that happens to us; something God does.
Question: According to the passage we just looked up (Ephesians5:18– 20), how do you know if you are in a Spirit –filled community (Colossians3:16may help)?
To be filled with the Spirit is to be filled with the presence of Christ (Eph1:10, 22, 23;3:19;4:10;Col1:29; 2:9 – 10). You know you are in a “Spirit- filled” community when people are spontaneously talking, praying, singing to each other about Jesus and what he is doing in their lives. As a church do we want to be filled with the life of Jesus so that it overflows to others?
Look up Luke11:11-13.
Question: What is the key ingredient in asking God for the Holy Spirit? (Hint: we have talked about this before.)
Our image of God as a Father is the crucial ingredient. If Jesus is in us and we are in Jesus, the desire of the Father to fill us with his Spirit must be the same desire he had to fill Jesus with the Spirit.
Look up 1 Corinthians 12:3 and 14:1.
These teach that the expression of spiritual gifts e.g. wisdom, healing, serving etc. is an important way in which the Holy Spirit fulfills his longing to reveal the Lordship of Jesus in the church.
Question: Is seeking spiritual gifts optional?
No, because the expression of Jesus’ loving Lordship through the church is not optional. Are you therefore seeking spiritual gifts?
Blocks to a Spirit Filled Church
As a group B.C.F. is devoted, prayerful and considerate, but it s not a “Spirit –filled” church.
Question: Go back to our key text (Acts2:14- 21). What strikes you most about this passage?
The outstanding feature of this passage is that everybody, from the youngest to the oldest, male and female, slaves and free persons, is to have the Spirit poured out upon them.
What blocks churches from being Spirit – filled communities?
1. “Old Testament Christianity”:
Question: What do you think I mean by this?
Power of the Spirit is thought of as concentrated in only a few people who then are seen as “the ministers” Like an Old Testament system of priestly mediators.
2. Personal Obstacles
a. conscious sin – unwilling to change, so we grieve the Spirit (Eph4:30).
b. fear – unknown consequences, don’t want to take a risk (opposite of 2 Tim 1:7).
c. lack of desire/laziness – spiritual passivity
d. pride – independence. We want to work things out in our own strength.
Question: Which of these obstacles (corporate or personal) do you most identify with?
The Gospel and the Spirit
I have suggested throughout this series that the most serious obstacle to that growing in the gifts of God is the image we have of God as our Father. We will only trust the Father if we believe he is faithful to give his children all the supernatural help we need to achieve all that he asks of us. Did the Father always give the Spirit to Jesus?
Question: Did the Father give the Spirit to Jesus on the cross or was he left alone?
Look up Hebrews 9:14.
On the cross Jesus offered forgiveness, made a promise to the penitent thief, sought God in prayer, committed his spirit into the hands of the Father etc. through the Spirit.
The resurrection was the Father’s final earthly work for the Spirit in the life of Jesus.
Look up Romans 1:4 (8:11; 1 Tim3:16; 1 Pet3:18).
Jesus is raised from the dead and declared Son of God and Lord with power by the energy of the Spirit.
Someone said; ‘To the degree I can say, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil.4:13), to that degree I am filled with the Spirit.’
Question: Do we want to be a Spirit- filled church?
If we say “Yes”, what must we do? We must seek and pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who gives life to the dead. It doesn’t matter how you are feeling, your situation: marriage, family, health, finances, employment, spirituality etc. cannot be deader than Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones that was turned into a living army by the Spirit of God, or more dead than Jesus was in the tomb and the Holy Spirit empowered him with resurrection life.
We must believe God can penetrate every one of these situations with the gifts and power of his Spirit in a way that will bring honour and glory and praise to Christ.