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Acts: Empowered to Extend


2017-09-17T08:00:00-05:00

Ron Williams

Ron Williams

The Word and the Witnesses

Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:1-5

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Luke 24:44-49

44Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."

Acts 1:1-5

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

1In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

4And while stayingOr eating with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized withOr in the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

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Sermon Reflection

They seem to be a rite of passage for becoming a youth pastor. Or maybe it's a merit badge for middle school interns. But the Friday night, church gymnasium lock-in has winnowed out more than a few. Hardly ever is there an Adult Seniors lock-in. It's equally predictable that at some point between "lights out" and "Praise The Lord, it's over", someone will roll out a ghost story. We can't help ourselves. We're captivated by the murky mysteries beyond what we can see. Most years, Americans buy more Ouija boards than Monopoly games, and in the United Kingdom there were recent fears of a shortage at Christmas.

It's no wonder there is often confusion and even consternation when Scripture speaks of the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity is even commonly called the Holy Ghost in many traditions. But in the months between the Lord's passion and His ascension, Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will come upon all believers, and lead the expansion of the Kingdom of God until Jesus returns. On the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus explained the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Then He reminds them again before He leaves. Luke mentions the Holy Spirit three times in the first eight verses of his second volume.

So what is the role of God the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the expansion of the church? It seems that, said most simply, the Holy Spirit proclaims the gospel.

First, He proclaims the gospel to us. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of unbelief so that a soul sees the Savior. The calling from death to life is by the power of the Holy Spirit based on Christ's finished work. It is by grace alone through the power of the Holy Spirit that any of us can be born again.

The Holy Spirit also proclaims the gospel in us. It is the Spirit's work, through the means of grace, that we grow up into the fullness of Christ. The Spirit holds us fast that we may abide in Jesus.

And then, it is the Holy Spirit proclaiming the gospel through us that advances the Church to every tribe and every tongue, until the end of the age.

Those frightened fisherman gathered in the upper room would live the rest of their lives remembering their Lord's words. So can we, because of the help from the Helper.

  These things I have spoken to you while I am still 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 have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:25-27).