November 16, 2022
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit shall come upon you.” (Acts 1:8a)
Everything in God’s created order moves by some type of power. We see by the power of the sun and the power of electricity. We breathe by the power of our lungs and the powerful outside pressure of the air. We move by the power of muscles and nerves placed by God in the human body. We think through the power of the mind.
Businesses succeed by power. Nations are moved by power. Governments run by power. People are persuaded to do all kinds of things by the power of the tongue and human communication. God’s created order, both outside of us and inside, functions by power.
GOOD AND EVIL
Power can be both evil and good. Satan and the demons of hell have a delegated, though temporary, power. We “wrestle not against flesh and blood,” Paul reminded us, but against “principalities and powers.” Our great battle, as Christ-followers, is against unseen powers that are violently opposed to God and the expansion of His kingdom.
THE MOST POWERFUL MAN
… that ever lived on earth was Jesus Christ. He was God in human flesh. And although He temporarily laid down his God-powers, He chose as a man to live in perfect union with His Father. He was filled with the Holy Spirit constantly. The power of God was in Him and flowed through Him. He gave us a picture of how a human can be filled with the ultimate power.
When Christ returned to heaven He made a stunning promise to His followers.
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
This was a very particular promise: “You will receive something for a special task,” Christ said. He knew there was no hope of humans being able to fulfill the massive job of taking the gospel to the world (while “spiritual forces of wickedness” raged against them) without an infusion of Divine power. This task involved men and women, boys and girls being taken from hell to heaven and death to life through regeneration and new birth, accomplished alone by the Spirit.
Who could accomplish such miracles? Only God. This life-giving power resides in one place: the Godhead. And so, the Spirit of God was going to be poured out on Christ’s disciples—just as it was on the man, Christ—to give them the needed power for their part in this Divine agenda. Power that would flow through them to play a part in the redemption of the world.
A few days later, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples with great signs and wonders. It marked a new age, just as the miracles surrounding Christ’s birth marked a new season, so the miracles of Pentecost defined a new season when all believers would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of power. The remainder of the book of Acts describes the miraculous empowering of believers and the works and fruit that were undeniably from God.
Although demonic and earthly forces have tried to kill the church and stop its progress, it marches through human history, supernaturally birthing new believers into the Kingdom. It will have no end, and the “gates of hell will not prevail against it.” No human can take credit for this, for all that is real and Divine has come from one Source.
THE PURPOSE OF POWER
Christ’s promise, though, is specific. It is the power to do something. If you are not going to cooperate with God in the accomplishing of this mission, you do not need power. It is the power to be Christ’s witness throughout the world. This is what this infusion of energy is all about. And it is why the great signs of Pentecost were a rushing wind and tongues of fire resting on each disciple. The miracle of unknown languages coming through each empowered disciple (so that every language in the world was heard at one moment in one place proclaiming the gospel) indicated the purpose of this Divine indwelling, this bestowment of the Spirit of God for power-filled communication.
AND NOW ...
Every believer receives the Holy Spirit as a gift at the moment of their salvation. It is all the power they will ever need. The Spirit performs multiple miraculous functions in us, for us, and through us. We become (whether we realize it or not or access Him) the most powerful people living on earth. We are God-men and women.
Over time, as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, we are conformed to the likeness of God’s Son. Even the darkest forces and circumstances of this life cannot destroy us as we walk by the Spirit, for they are “worked together for good” in us to accomplish God’s purposes. We can rise above anything and are more than conquerors through Christ.
The Holy Spirit of power. The Spirit given as a gift to humble believers. The power to speak boldly of the One who lives within us, even in the face of the assaults of hell and the pressures of the world. The Spirit that can pierce hearts and regenerate lives, birthing them into the Kingdom of our God. This is the Spirit of God and the Spirit we have received. The Spirit of power.
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