Episode 1. Power from On High
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One of the things that I’ve noticed is that I don’t have the strength, or the power in my own right to live the life that God wants me to. Have you noticed that too? We try … and we fail. …
One of the things that I’ve noticed is that I don’t have the strength, or the power in my own right to live the life that God wants me to. Have you noticed that too? We try … and we fail. What we need, is power. Power from high. Fortunately that’s exactly what Jesus has in mind.
Today we’re continuing this series of messages called ‘Walking In The Spirit’. You know I often think about this, it’s kind of strange to me how God has set things up. He Himself is Spirit, we can’t see Him or touch Him or hear Him here in the physical dimension where we live.
Now of course at one time in history He stepped into the physical dimension when Jesus came and dwelt among men but that was two thousand and something years ago. And whilst we can read about Jesus and who He is and what He has to say and what He does, we can’t experience God in the physical dimension in the same way as those people did back then in the first century. So now we have something of a dilemma.
God lives in a dimension that’s spiritual and you and I, we live in a dimension that’s physical. How do we communicate with God? How do we know not just about Him but how do we know Him? How can we have a relationship with Him? Well fortunately that’s something that God thought about. And to do that He sent His Holy Spirit, one of the three persons of the God Head, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He sent His Spirit to dwell in us.
You see, this problem happened the moment Jesus was set to depart from this world, the physical God departing leaving what? Well fortunately leaving behind the Holy Spirit. And this is the promise that Jesus made to His disciples, the ones who were to become the Apostles who would spread His good news throughout the known world. John chapter 14 beginning at verse 15. He said:
If you love me you will keep my commandments and I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate to be with you forever. This is the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him or knows him but you know him because he abides with you and he will be in you.
So Jesus promised to send His Holy Spirit to those who believed in Him with their lives. And in fact in those final days and hours before He was crucified this is something He promised over and over again. That through the Spirit of God the Father and the Son would come and make their home in us. Now you and I we have a body, we have a soul, our mind, our will, our emotions and deep down we have a spirit, it’s at this level that the Holy Spirit connects with us.
So after Jesus had risen again and just before He ascends into heaven and leaves His disciples behind, He gives them this instruction. Acts chapter 1 verses 4 and 5:
He ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait there for the promise of the Father. This he said is what you have heard from me for John baptised with water but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.
Now the disciples, as it turned out, thought that this was fine but that wasn’t the most important thing to them. You see, Jesus was their Messiah and to the Jew in the first century that meant something like the warrior King David of old to boot the occupying Romans out of Israel, to restore the kingdom of Israel. The disciples, despite three and a half years with Jesus, were more interested in what was going to happen in the physical dimension of their lives instead of the spiritual dimension. I wonder, does that remind you of anyone you know?
Have a listen to the exchange between them and Jesus about their physical concerns on the one hand and the spiritual priorities of Jesus on the other. Acts chapter 1 beginning at verse 6:
So when they’d come together they asked him, ‘Lord is this the time when you’ll restore the kingdom of Israel?’ And he replied to them, ‘It’s not for you to know the times and the periods the Father has set by his own authority but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in all Judea and Samaria and even to the ends of the earth. When he had said this as they were watching he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight.
Do you see that? They’re interested in perhaps the most important thing from their perspectives, so um when’s God going to finally restore the kingdom of Israel? And Jesus completely brushes that off because He didn’t come to restore the kingdom of Israel, He came to usher in the Kingdom of God and that’s spiritual not physical. Again have a listen to what Jesus said earlier on this subject. Luke chapter 17, verses 20 and 21:
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees, ‘When is the Kingdom of God going to come?’ And he answered, ‘The Kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed nor will they say here it is or there it is for in fact the Kingdom of God is among you.
Now Jesus in the very last thing that He said to His disciples before He left them and ascended to heaven was the fact that He wasn’t so much interested in the physical dimension, His priority for them, these men who would go on to found the Church, His real concern is that they should have spiritual power, the power of God in them.
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and even onto the ends of the earth.
Why is that? Why was this Jesus greatest concern? Because He knew that without the power of God, without the witness and the communication and encouragement and guidance and truth of the Holy Spirit these men simply would not be able to do the things that they were called to do.
If you read the Book of Acts of the Apostles, which in my view should really be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles, what you see is that these men came across horrendous opposition. They were called on to do mighty things and many of those things were miraculous. They went way beyond the ability of these eleven men and Jesus knew that if these men had power from on high, if they were filled with the Holy Spirit of God they could do whatever God needed them to do and then some.
And friend that’s how it with us. We kind of think sometimes that it’s all up to us and our gifts and our abilities and our hard work. Hey, I’m not knocking any of that but even as I sit here and share the things of God with you I know, I know beyond any shadow of any doubt that I could not do what I’m doing if it weren’t for the power of the Holy Spirit.
Part of walking in the spirit is being filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit so that we have the power to do what God has called us to do. The power to resist the evil one, the power to overcome temptations, the power to love those who abuse us, the power to die to self, the power to take up our cross and follow Jesus every day. Friend those things take power. They take power that is way beyond any of us and it’s for this reason that God has sent His Spirit to dwell in us.
Now tomorrow we’re going to see how the Spirit of God, even before He came upon these men in power, guided them in the physical dimension and that’s the exciting thing. The spiritual and the physical dimensions aren’t two separate things. As the Holy Spirit dwells in us He gives us the guidance and the power that we need to operate for Gods glory in this physical world in which you and I live. That’s the exciting bit.
But let me encourage you to open your heart and your soul and your spirit to the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. He would come and dwell in each man and woman and child who has set their trust and their faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God. He would come and clean us out from the inside. He would come and fill us with power and transform our lives so that we may be the vessels clean, pure and holy that shine the light and the glory of God into a lost and hurting world. That is Gods plan for each person who believes in Jesus.