Spirit-Filled, Spirit-Fueled

Matthew 4:18-22 ESV - While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Acts 1:8 ESV - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 

Acts 2:1-4 ESV - When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 

Acts 2:38-39 ESV - And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Jesus calls us - not only to save us but also to remake us.  In order to make us into who and what God intends for us to be, we are not without the offer of a most special gift - the Spirit of God Himself living within us and empowering us.  No discussion of using our gifts to honor God and increase the health and growth of His Church can be complete without thinking about this.  When drawing applications from the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the gift of the Spirit is perhaps the main investment God has given to us.  Yet what was the purpose of the Master giving talents of gold to the servants?  To have them increase their Master’s possessions (Matthew 25:14-30).  What is the purpose of our spiritual gifts and God-given talents?  To build up the Church in health, strength, growth (number), and in love (Ephesians 4:15-16).  So what is the purpose of our receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit according to Jesus in Acts 1:8?  To be His witnesses to a lost world.  God empowers us for ministry, specifically to be productive in His harvest - His mission to save souls from the coming judgment.  We have been given the seed of God’s word in our hearts, hands, and mouths to plant in a way that produces more disciples who are receiving eternal life.  

The Pentecostal renewal of the last 120 years has morphed in both good ways and bad ways, but one of the more unfortunate ways may be when entire groups started celebrating the Holy Spirit baptism as an end rather than a beginning, as if it were like a “Willie Wonka Golden Ticket” to Heaven or to a spiritual experience alone rather than God fueling us with His Spirit to go into all the world and make new disciples!  There are too many people in churches across America who are more pleased with their ability to speak in tongues than they are bothered by their refusal to be a consistent witness and a disciple-maker!  God has fueled us up to serve His mission.  If you haven’t experienced the powerful Promise of the Father - the baptism of the Holy Spirit, will you ask God to fill you to overflowing in an Acts chapter 2 way like the early Church experienced?  And if you’ve already experienced this, will you rethink your inward focus and actually use the power God has filled you with to be a witness of Jesus Christ?  Will you use God’s power to multiply new life, to make new disciples, and to expand the health, size, and influence of Christ’s body, the Church?

Acts 4:31 ESV - And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV - For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.