November 26, 2006
INTRODUCTION – The need for power to be released in the lives of our family members, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow students who are mired in addictions to food, alcohol, sex, drugs; others are in bondage to hatred, anger, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness; and many if not all of these people are estranged and separated from God and in desperate need of His saving grace.
Charlie Christian over the years he worked at so and so company observed one of his co-workers slowly but surely sinking in the destructiveness of sin. His marriage was breaking apart; his kids were failing in school and trying to soothe their pain with alcohol and drugs; and Charlie knew he alone had the answer to his co-workers problem. But somehow week after week went by without Charlie ever taking the time and the risk to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to this needy man. He knew God wanted him to do it. He wanted to do it. But busyness, excuses, fear of rejection, etc., seemed to overrule every time Charlie started to make a move.
Charlene Christian is a homemaker. Day after day while chasing her kids around their property she noticed her neighbor lady across the street sitting out in her open garage smoking cigarettes. Over the years different men came and went. Beer bottles and cans often littered their property. And Charlene could see the sadness growing on her neighbor’s face. Charlene knew this lady was looking for love in all the wrong places. But she had children to feed and care for; and a home to keep; and home schooling to manage; and ladies bible study lessons to prepare for… and well she just didn’t have anything in common with this lady… and maybe next week I’ll get over there she thought…
Peter pastor had a church to lead and shepherd. He knew, while he did not have the gift of evangelism, nor was he an evangelist, he clearly was to do the work of an evangelist (according to Paul’s letter to Timothy) and according to the rest of the New Testament. He cared for the lost, he knew they were lost, and he knew theologically where they were headed if they did not repent of their sins and place their faith and trust in Christ as their Savior. But he had sermons to prepare, and meetings to attend, and articles to write, and letters to write and respond to, and phone calls to make, and the maintenance of buildings and grounds to oversee, and retreats and conferences to prepare for and attend, and counseling to prepare for and on and on the list goes. Good things, necessary things, but in the back of his mind Peter Pastor knew he needed to be out more with needy people.
Susie Student was saved at an early age. Because she lived in her town for all of her life she knew many of her fellow students at the middle school. She knew that most of them did not know the Lord. And by the end of 8th grade she was beginning to see the sad results of their bondage to sin. Some had already lost their virginity, some were regularly drinking and playing around with drugs, some were starting to lose motivation to do their homework, and were getting in more and more intense conflicts with their parents (or parent). Susie knew her sense of security and purpose was due to being saved from her sins and being brought into a daily relationship with the Living God of the Universe. And she knew God’s plan was to use people like her to help others come into that relationship. But she didn’t feel confident with her ability to answer everyone’s questions and objections. And besides she didn’t want to be labeled a Jesus freak. And she was only in 8th grade. And….
If we were honest, every person in this room who knows the Lord knows – often in our daily lives there is a lack of power to do what we know the Holy Spirit is wanting us to do in terms of reaching out to lost people.
Good news this morning – John 3:11, 12
The might or power of Jesus Christ & His holiness and greatness that highlights our unworthiness.
Four things He will do that will manifest His great power and might; and that will be in keeping with His holiness.
I. He Will Baptize His Disciples A. With the Holy Spirit 1. Rooted in O.T. prophecies a. Isa. 44:3 “I will pour My Spirit upon your offspring.” b. Joel 2:28 “And it will come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh.” Meant for any and every person irregardless of age, education, social status, ethnicity, etc.
2. Meaning of the word “Baptize” – “dip, immerse, wash, plunge, sink, drench, overwhelm, soak, or placed” with water is symbolic and you dry off; with H. S. – the person, not the force it is not symbolic nor temporary, but permanent and ongoing.
3. Confusion with some over I Cor. 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” Paul emphasizes one thing = placement; Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Jesus (Acts 1:5,8, 2:1-4) emphasize the other = power. Paul’s use of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is immediate or concurrent with your conversion. The baptism of the Holy Spirit that the gospel writers and Jesus speak of starts with your conversion and continues throughout your Christian life (in my opinion).
4. Question: Were the disciples in Acts 1 saved? = 40 days after Jesus rose from the dead and had been spending time discipling and preparing them for starting and leading His church. John 15:3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” For the disciples this baptism clearly came after they were saved, and as you study the book of Acts there are not exceptions to this.
5. Purpose: To enable us to fulfill the great commission; to be Jesus’s body and representation on the earth in every sphere of life; to enable us to heal the sick, cast out demons, and set the captives free from sin. To enable us to do His will as it is in heaven on the earth. And to be His instrument to see His kingdom as it is in heaven manifested on the earth through us.
6. Question: So what about those who say that the sign or the evidence of being baptized with or by the Holy Spirit is the ability to speak or pray or sing in an unknown (to you) tongue or language? Well many charismatic and/or Pentecostal leaders of Christ’s church do believe and teach that. Personally I believe an undue emphasis on this alone is shortsighted. If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ – one who is seeking to follow Him as your Lord and Savior – He is constantly seeking to baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Let me put that in another way: He is constantly seeking to mold you into the kind of person that the Holy Spirit can work through anytime any place with unhindered power and authority. As He does that you will not only be able to speak or pray in an unknown tongue, you will also be able to prophesy, heal the sick, know things through revelation, and cast out demons.
Should the baptism of the Holy Spirit result in the ability for every believer to speak or pray in tongues? I believe it should. But I believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit is bigger and wider than just that.
B. With fire – Used in several ways: 74 references in N.T. 1. judgment – Matt. 3:10 “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees, therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” 40 references
2. purify – I Cor. 3:13,15; I Pet. 1:7; Rev. 3:18
3. God is – Heb. 12:29 “For our God is a consuming fire.” Mal. 3:2-5 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”
Note the contrast between the symbolism of water with John and that of spirit and fire with Jesus. “Water only touches the surface, and, though purifying, has no permanent result. In contrast to this is the Spirit which, wherever He works, reaches the heart, and there produces life; and fire, which, taking hold of its object, either melts or entirely destroys it.” Levertoff
Practical things or steps: 1. In the book of Acts – every time the Holy Spirit was poured out on an individual or group of individuals – people were either praying together, someone was praying over them, or the word of God was being proclaimed. a. 1st time – disciples had been praying together for many days
b. 2nd time – 4:23-31 8:14-17
c. 3rd time – 8:14-17 10:44-47 cf. Acts 11:15,16
d. 4th time – 10:44-47 cf. Acts 11:15,16
e. 5th time – 19:1-7
2. Somehow the Holy Spirit loves to work through the laying on of hands – Acts 6:6; 8:17; 9:12, 17; 13:3; 19:6; I Tim. 4:14; II Tim. 1:6
3. The Holy Spirit is quick to respond to humility – Prov. 28:13 “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” “Therefore, confess yours sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” Jas. 5:16 “But to this one I will look; to him who is humble, contrite of spirit, and who trembles at my word.” Isa. 66:2
4. We need to pray more and talk less. The Holy Spirit wants to empower you this morning. But if we talk too much, prayer will be rushed. Things the Holy Spirit wants to free us from this morning. 1. fear of man
2. tendency to rationalize away the fact that He is speaking to us right now and wants us right now to obey Him and reach out to whatever person
3. fear of praying outloud with others
4. fear of speaking in tongues
5. laziness in using our prayer language
6. fear of rejection
7. willingness to trust God with whatever undones if you go and spend time with an unbeliever
II. He will Clear – or separate the wheat from the chaff; the A. What is a winnowing fork
B. What is His threshing floor
C. Cf. Matt. 13:24-30;36-43
III. He will Gather A. What is His wheat? believers
B. What is His barn?
IV. He will Burn
A. What is the chaff
B. The reality of unquenchable fire
Jesus on the reality of the fires of hell in Matthew alone!