Key Text Joel 2:28-32; Ephesians 5:18
So Tonight I want us to celebrate the gift of God's Spirit. Tonight is the night traditionally that the church celebrates the gift of Holy Spirit to the church where in Acts in obedience to the command of Christ the Apostles met and the Spirit was poured out...
If you could turn with me to Joel 2:28-32 and also find and keep your finger in Ephesians 5:18
Firstly why celebrate this?
We who live post Pentecost cannot fathom the significance that God has poured out His Spirit on His church! We celebrate this because it is due to the Spirit's role in our lives that we have the power to live the life that God has called us to live in Christ Jesus.
Secondly why do we ignore this?
I believe for two reasons; firstly in the secular and predominantly materialistic world we live in there is little recognition or time given for Supernatural realities. Ironically in the world we find ourselves in there is either a complete ignoring or a obsession with it. Secondly as Protestants we have abandoned most of the Ceremonial obsession of the Roman Catholic church.
I believe we must take time to celebrate the amazing gift given to us from the Father! God lives in us in Holy Spirit; He is the one who convicts the world of its sin; he is the one who guides us and conforms us into the image of Christ.
If we would simply stop and consider for a second we should marvel at the idea that we have the Spirit of Holy, Living God within us!
Joel 2:28-32 was quoted on the day that the Apostles were filled with the Spirit; it says in Joel [READ]
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
whom the Lord calls.
There is too much to consider and go into in detail in this passage but for tonight I want us to address the reality is that Joel was describing the end of days; or the Day of the Lord. The fact that God poured out His Spirit on mankind for the time of the end.
We have been empowered by God Himself for the reason of living through the end days. The significance of all this is that we will be empowered by God Himself.
I want to stop and address this quickly; Christian, you have the very power of the Living God in you! Empowering you motivating you! If you feel your problems are insurmountable you have lost the idea of who God your God is and you have lost the idea that He is in you empowering you to what He has called you to!
You think you can't be used by God in your school; let me remind you, you have Holy Spirit in you.
You think you can't change the negative culture in your workplace; let me remind you, you have Holy Spirit in you!
You think your family problems can't be helped; let me remind you, you have Holy Spirit living in you!
We are empowered By God to do His will in what He has called us to do; verse 32 reminds us "and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!"
This is the great calling; this is what we have be called to!
Therefore let us be filled with the Spirit!
Which leads me to where I want to focus on tonight
18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
If I was to ask you if you filled with the Spirit of God I wonder what your answer would be. Tonight I want to encourage you firstly to celebrate the Spirits work in your life and also for us to leave tonight more empowered to go in the Spirit's power so that we can truly have an impact on the world that God has called us to live in.
The Spirit of God is the power we need to live the life we are called to live; the command is to be filled by the Spirit; the real question is what does it actually mean to be filled by the Spirit?
Well firstly we have to understand the meaning of the text is that this is a
Passive Filling When Paul gives us the command to be filled with the Spirit the command is not to gain something you don’t have rather it is to be filled with that which you possess. The Bible is clear that if we do not posses the Spirit of Christ we have none of Him.
The Bible's teaching is that you cannot be a believer without the Spirit of God, so then why dos Paul ask us to be filled?
Well let's ask what it means to be filled in this context?
The word Paul uses here for to "be filled," is plerousthewhich literally means be being kept filled.
Continue being filled with the Spirit that you already have is what Paul commands us.
We often understand this filling by the illustration of a cup that is empty and needs to be filled. The interesting thing is that this is not what Paul is saying.
When Paul says "be filled" this word "filled" more depicts the pressure of wind in the sales of a boat; being filled means being carried along by the Spirits power.
We don't have to conjure this up. A captain of a Ship cannot not create wind, He simply fills his sails with the wind that is there.
Likewise we cannot create a filling of the Spirit we simply fill our lives with Him and let His power direct us on.
To add to this the word has the idea of it has the idea of permeating every aspect of something like when you add sugar to coffee; the sugar permeates the liquid completely.
Also the word has the idea of domination. Filling something so that it is the overriding reality of that situation. kind of like when deep sorrow comes over you; you are filled with it. every thought every idea is filled with this dominating idea of sorrow.1
Being filled with the Spirit is then not so much an active seeking after a feeling, rather it is a surrender to the Spirits work in our lives.
In other words for us to celebrate the gift of the Spirit is not to so much conjure up some feelings within ourselves or do anything (which is in danger of becoming a gospel of works). Rather we are to simply surrender to the Spirit's leading, allowing Him to permeate every aspect of our lives (in surrender to His will) and let Him and the will of God be our dominating reality.
We are so often so obsessed about having some experience with God that we forget that God is at work in our lives through the work of salvation in us.
And if we would simply by faith surrender to that work in of the Holy Spirit in us we would find more power than trying to seek after an experience.
The Spirit is moving; He is at work in our Land we simply have to allow Him to continue to use us.
This is applied by
Active Obedience No greater surrender to the Spirit can be done by just being obedient to Him as good sons and daughters should be.
We surrender to His will when we surrender ours and adopt His. Even though this seems obvious I need to say it because most of us are so bad at this.
Most of are obedient to the Spirit with democratic efficiency. We question His motives; negotiate our terms and then give Him our conditions of obedience.
This is not obedience.
We are called to be surrendered; be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Let's His movements move my life and let His will supplant my own. Let Him be that which permeates my life and creates my desires for my life.
Not on my terms but on His!
Simple obedience is what God calls us to by His grace we are freed and by His Spirit we become followers of righteousness.
Let me challenge you church; as the early church was challenged; we have the Spirit of the living God dwelling within us; empowering us and conforming us into the image of Christ. We have available to us the very power of God to do this through the indwelling of the Spirit.
So we tonight celebrate that fact by following the command of be kept being filled with the Spirit!
Let us not grow tired of doing the will of God; let us not seek our own desires, but seek the will of Him who called us.
Let us conform our lives and wills actively to God who called us.
This is how we are going to celebrate. This is how we are going to honour Pentecost.
Let me invite you tonight into a time of silence; where we will confess before God our need of the forgiveness of Christ.
We will confess our tendency to go our own way.
And we will commit ourselves to the will of Him who dwells within us.