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Early in the book of Acts, we see thousands of people drawn to Jesus. Men were drawn by His presence and power, demonstrated clearly in the early church through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Today we have lost much of that draw as the power of the Spirit has been replaced with programs and plans. We have systems rather than the Spirit. We have forgotten that is about falling in love with Jesus, not about having perfect doctrine. The disciples of Jesus did not understand the mission of Jesus, the plan of Jesus, or even most of what He said, but they followed Him, believed in Him and trusted Him. Jesus loved His disciples and kept them and brought them into the kingdom.
The more time the disciples were with Him, the more they became like Him. When He left, He gave them the Holy Spirit; His presence was not only with them but in them. Peter went from being afraid to identify with Christ to boldly proclaiming Christ (Acts 2:14-46).
Have you ever hugged someone wearing a lot of cologne? As you walk away, you smell like them. The question is, “Do we smell like Jesus? Do we resemble Him?” We should be so close to Jesus that we have the aroma of Christ about us. We need to have a love affair with Jesus, so that we look forward to meeting with Him, learning more about Him, enjoying Him, and talking about Him.
In the book of Acts, we see God forming His church 2000 years ago. We see the promise of the Holy Spirit, the arrival of the Spirit (Acts 2), Peter’s boldness in preaching, the church gathering to listen to teaching, participating in prayer and worship, and having all things in common as thousands followed Jesus.
In Acts 4 we see the church gathered and the power of God displayed as many followed Jesus. We see the beginning of the persecution of the church, the power of God in the apostles who praised God while imprisoned, Stephen crying out for the forgiveness of his killers, and still the church continued to grow. In the middle of much religious, cultural, and political opposition, the church grew. People were attracted to Jesus followers. While the first century church was not perfect, it did display the presence and power of God through the Holy Spirit.
Early converts often lost family, jobs and homes. They needed each other and they needed the power and presence of God in their lives, the Holy Spirit. People were attracted to the power and presence of God. Not all of these people were true believers, but many were. The early church showed a dependence on God and an interdependence on one another, and this was attractive to the world.
In many ways, we’ve lost that testimony of the power and presence of God; the necessity of the Holy Spirit to survive, both corporately and individually. Do we pray first to solve an immediate crisis? Do we joyfully gather and share with one another? Do we proclaim the life of Jesus freely? Is there a display of God’s character in our lives that comes only from His presence, or do we worry ourselves and occupy ourselves with the very same things as those that do not have God?
As we take a brief look at the Holy Spirit, we are specifically looking at the power and presence of Jesus in the Church, which is the Holy Spirit in us. The Spirit is essential to the functionality of the church and so we are studying His presence, purpose, and expression in our Remedy Body.
Our hope as leaders for Remedy:
Remedy is a church who knows and understands the Word of God, the scriptures and experiences God intimately, personally and corporately, through the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit in order to point others to Jesus. The goal is not knowledge, the goal is not the miraculous working of the Spirit, the goal is the exaltation of Jesus.
In this process we have looked at the necessity of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is involved in salvation and sanctification; the Spirit secures us in Christ and empowers us to serve. We have looked at the Nature of the Spirit through His name, divinity and personhood. His name is not a label but a description of the activity of God, a movement like the breathing out of air to blow out candles – the emphasis is on His power, not the intangibility of the Spirit as we see in Acts. We looked at His divinity, that indeed the Spirit of God is God because He shares the same characteristics as God. Through His personhood, we can have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. We can grieve the Spirit and quench the Spirit. The emphasis here is that He is not a force to wield but a person we walk with. He conforms us from one degree to another into the image of the Son.
This week we will look at another foundational aspect of the Holy Spirit and we will answer the question, “Who has the Holy Spirit?” Anyone who is a follower of Jesus has the Holy Spirit. Conversely, if you have the Holy Spirit, you are a follower of Jesus. You can’t have Jesus without the Spirit, and you cannot have the Spirit without Jesus – you can’t have one without the other. Church attendance, a moral lifestyle, or Biblical knowledge doesn’t mean we have the Holy Spirit. Even performing miracles or prophesying in the name of Jesus does not guarantee the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our relationship with Jesus. He seals us and assures us of our relationship with Jesus. Our relationship with the Holy Spirit is in essence our relationship with Jesus. Jesus gave His Spirit because He cannot be with us in bodily form and so His Spirit dwells within us. Is the question, “Do we know Jesus?” or is the question, “Do we have the Holy Spirit?” Both are the same question and the answer is yes.
“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. … “So then, you will know them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Matthew 7:14-18, 20-23
Jesus is saying that what’s in our hearts is most important. What is the affection of the heart? Is it for Jesus? The Gate is small and the path is narrow. Jesus is the gate, the door. The message that we need Him to be reconciled to God will not appeal to the masses. If Jesus preached does appeal to the masses or to individuals from all religions, then the Jesus being presented is probably not the Jesus of the scriptures.
Jesus is saying that it’s an internal, not an external. Whatever comes out of our mouth defiles us because it reflects the heart. Ripe Meyer lemons look like sweet oranges hanging on a tree, but if you taste one, you will quickly realize that it is not an orange at all but a lemon. Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.” Just as a lemon tree produces lemons, the fruit of our lives identifies the root. Some will cast out demons, prophesy and perform miracles who do not know Jesus. These things alone do not confirm or constitute a relationship with Jesus, just like church attendance, a moral life or memorizing scripture alone is not an assurance.
It is Jesus who separates the sheep from the goat, those who know Him and those who do not. We see that in the parable of the wheat and the tares:
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'” Matthew 13:24-30
God separates the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats. It is not up to us but to Jesus to separate those who know Him and those who do not know Him. There are things we:
1. Die for – The person and work of Jesus, who He is and what He did. The character of God, the triune nature of God, and the Scriptures.
2. Divide over – One example may be the Protestants and Catholics. Protestants
believe the Bible is the completed revelation and authority of God while Catholics would add the Pope and tradition into the mix for an authoritative source. Protestants and Catholics are divided over issues that could impact salvation.
3. Discuss – We discuss baptism and communion, issues that are secondary and not specific to salvation.
When we can’t connect the dots in Scripture, we try to because we want to understand God. This is why the local expression is important. At Remedy, our heart is to read and teach the Bible. The Lord wants us to focus on our own hearts and to love Him and others well.
They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. … As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. 1 John 2:19-22, 27
In this passage we see that the Spirit keeps us in our relationship with God. “They left because they were never with us; if they had been they would not have left.” There were people who denounced and left the church because they were never truly in relationship with God. Those in Jesus have an anointing in Jesus; His Spirit abides in true believers. Those who do not know Jesus deny Him in words, works and heart. The Spirit teaches in whom He dwells and gives an understanding of spiritual things.
What we see from these passages are people who were involved in the church body, some who even performed miracles and cast out demons, but they did not know Jesus. They did not follow Him. They may have known about Him, acted like Him, or even quoted Him, but they did not know Him. Those who know Jesus, who have a relationship with Him, have His Spirit. Those who do not know Him do not have the Spirit. The presence and power of the Spirit in a person’s life is the only true confirmation of new life in Jesus.
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him…For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, Romans 8:9; 14-16
Jesus died on the cross to restore our relationship with our heavenly Father, which goes back to Genesis and the Garden of Eden. The Spirit now dwells in us as a mediator of Christ.
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:6-7
There is a change that comes from following Jesus. When you spend time with Jesus, you become like Him. Apart from Christ we are dead in our trespasses and sin, we are in darkness following the prince of darkness, we do not seek or desire the things of God and we do not understand the things of God. In Christ, we are made alive in Jesus, in His marvelous light, we desire the things of God and can know the things of God, and the Spirit teaches us all things.
Evidence of the Spirit in our Lives
– Obedience – Mathew 7:21; 1 John 2:3-6
– Answers to prayer – We pray according to His will (1 John 5:14-15) and the Spirit tells us His will (Romans 8)
– Boldness – Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8)
– Diminished affection for the world (1 John 2:15-17)
– We hear the Spirit speak to us (John 10:26-27; Romans 8:16)
– The Spirit leads us (Romans 8:14)
– Fruit of Spirit (Galatians 5)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
There is a battle between the flesh and the Spirit (Romans 7, Galatians 5:16) and this is a battle we fight until we are in His presence. Are we in the battle? Maybe we are not a follower of Jesus or we believe on His name but don’t know about grace or we’re living behind enemy lines undercover, resulting in a life of compromise and defeat. But the beauty of it all is that it can change today with confession and repentance: agreeing that we need God’s power and presence in our lives, and turning to follow Him.