AftershockPastor Deone Drake - April 24, 2016
The Holy Spirit has been given to those who believe so they can tell those who do not believe in Jesus.
Community Group Study Notes
- What will be some visible differences between someone who is under the leadership of God's Spirit and someone who is not?
- What impact will these visible differences have on our ability to share God's Story of Grace with those who need Jesus? In what ways do our lives reinforce or undermine our ability to share the message of the Gospel?
Peter replied, "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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39)
We're calling this series "Aftershock", because there are things in our world called earthquakes. And an earthquake shakes the earth - a major event. We also know that after an earthquake there are things called tremors or aftershocks. And the significance of this kind of physical wonder is that they are unpredictable and you can't control them. You understand the physical analogy because on Easter Sunday literally the earth shook as the stone rolled away and Jesus emerged victorious over death. But as we are looking at this series there were many, many tremors that happened afterwards. Aftershocks. Because you see God, on Easter Sunday, shook the world - got the world's attention - that the good news that Jesus Christ had hung on a cross for our sins has been validated by the resurrection.
But God wants to keep shaking the earth. And the reason we know that is because God wants everyone to know that Jesus Christ died for our sins and is now living and seated at the right hand. That's where you and I come in.
As Pastor Jerry said on the first day of this series, Jesus has a plan to keep shaking the earth, and that plan is people. Jesus wants to use every single last one of us who are called by his name to shake the earth one person at a time and tell them about Jesus.
But it's important right at the start that we're honest. I can't do that. You can't do that. There's absolutely nothing in and of myself or you that can accomplish the plan God has through Jesus to shake the earth. We need a power that we do not possess in and of ourselves. I recognize that this morning. I have nothing to say to you that if the Spirit does not work through me will make any difference in your life and will cause only to go out of here and say maybe something like this: Nice message, pastor. You and I - when we go out into that world do not have any ability to make any kind of change. We need a power that comes to us through the Spirit of God.
And so I want to insert a word - intentionally so - into that very first line that Jerry gave us. Jesus has a plan to keep shaking the earth, and that plan is empowered people. People who are empowered by the Holy Spirit that we just sang about.
And we begin to understand what that means when we look in Acts chapter two at what is called the day of Pentecost. I could very easily, if I wanted to, tell you that story. But I thought it might be better for us to hear that story from someone who was there. And so I call upon this morning the apostle Peter because he was not only there, he was a major player in that event. I present to you the apostle Peter.
We were waiting - all of us - in that upper room. All one hundred twenty of us were waiting in that upper room. The reason we were waiting is because Jesus told us to wait in Jerusalem until the promise of the Father came. Now, we knew exactly what he meant. The promise of the Father was a reference to the Holy Spirit that would descend on us and fill us. Jesus even said right before he went away he said it's to your advantage that I go back to the Father so that I can send the Holy Spirit to you. We understood that that had everything to do with the mission that he was giving us to do - that we would need that Spirit.
In fact, we got that from the very last sentence that Jesus spoke to us right before he ascended back to the Father. He said "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." So he connected the mission that we had to tell everybody with the Spirit's power.
So we waited. We waited ten days after the ascension and then it happened. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Sprit came. And I have to be honest with you. He did not come silently - not at all! First there was the wind - well at least we thought it was wind. It sure sounded like wind. In fact, well it sounded like a rushing wind that shook violently the house that we were in. And then there was fire. Well it seemed like fire. And the most peculiar thing happened - that fire rested on each one of us as if God was saying, I'm giving you the Spirit - all of you! And then there were languages. This is so unusual. We were actually able to communicate the good news to a bunch of people their native that they understood best.
So there was the wind. There was the fire. There was the tongues - the languages. I didn't have time to think about it then, but I've had time to think about it since, and I realize the wind and the fire and the languages - that reminded us of something that had already happened in our past - Israel's past. Because there was an event in which those three things were present. They were present on the day that God gave the law to Moses at Mount Sinai.
First the wind and the fire. Moses told us that that was present when he wrote these words in Exodus nineteen. "Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. It shook. As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him."
So there was the wind and the fire. What about the languages? Well the rabbis - well they taught us a tradition that when God spoke the law to Moses, it went out perfectly, seven voices to represent the perfection of God. And then it divided into seventy different languages representative of the seventy nations in Genesis ten. The idea was that God communicated on that day the law so that everyone in their own language heard it.
So we knew that God was making an obvious comparison to us. And that was significant, because the day at Pentecost - a very important feast that took place seven weeks after Passover. It originally celebrated the wheat harvest and we offered to God a wheat offering. But it had come at this time to represent the giving of the law by Moses at Sinai.
So, we knew exactly what God was saying to us, because you see when God gave the law to Moses at Sinai, he was making a covenant with the people of Israel. And so when the same things happened on this day at Pentecost, we realized that God was making a new covenant not just with his people Israel, but with everyone who would call on the name of Jesus. We got that from Jesus himself on the night before he went to the cross. He said with his body and blood he was making a new covenant with us. But that really wasn't a surprise to us, because the prophets hundreds of years before had told us that God in fact was going to make a brand new covenant with us.
For example, Jeremiah wrote these words: "The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. it will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt. No, they broke that covenant. Though I was a husband to them," declares the Lord. "This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time," declares the Lord. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."
And then about the same time, the prophet Ezekiel talked about this covenant and said the Holy Spirit would initiate that covenant. He wrote these words: "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean: I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
And now it was coming to pass. God was initiating a new covenant by his Spirit to those who would believe in Jesus. I can't even begin to tell you the excitement on the streets of Jerusalem when people heard the good news of God in their own language. That floored some people first of all, because they could hear through our accent that we were Galileans, and Galileans were considered backward and uncultured people. And it floored them so much that they even accused some of us of being drunk. It was only nine o'clock in the morning. We weren't drunk. I knew exactly what was happening. The Holy Spirit had shown up and was doing something incredible.
And so, I knew I had to say something. I knew I had to speak. So I stood up and I started to speak. Now if I was going to make any sense of what was happening in that day to my Jewish friends, I would have to connect it to the Scriptures - you call it the Old Testament. And so I knew I had to do that and I did.
Why, the Spirit brought to my remembrance the prophet Joel, well known to the people I was speaking to, because he had made a prophecy and it was like this is what is happening on this day at Pentecost when he said "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. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." I knew exactly what Joel was saying to us. Twice he says that God is going to pour out his Spirit on all flesh. And the end result? Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
I can guarantee you something. The people who were listening to me on that day? They had missed two significant things. The first thing they missed was that God had a universal activity. You see my people - they thought that God had confined His activity just to us. But Joel, through the inspiration of the Spirit said, no, God is going to do a work much bigger than Israel. He is going to pour out His Spirit on all flesh - not just a few, not just some, not just my people - but all flesh. They had missed that.
But the second thing they had missed is that when Joel said that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved - they had missed in the days in which we live that that Lord was Jesus. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, Jesus, will be saved because Jesus is the one who saves, and the Holy Spirit had been poured out to point people to Jesus.
And so I figured if the Spirit had been poured out to point people to Jesus, then that's exactly what I should do. And so I began to talk about Jesus. I began to talk about his life - how he had traveled with us for forty-two months and we had seen God confirm that this Jesus was God because he did things that only God could do and he said things that only God could say. And I knew he was God. You might remember at Caesarea Philippi that I confessed that Jesus was the Christ - the Son of God. We knew that he was God. God had verified that. But my people had missed that.
And I know they missed it because they had just, a few weeks before, called for his death and so I had to talk about his death. You see my people had made sure that this Jesus was dead. And they sealed and guarded the tomb to make sure that he stayed dead. That's funny to me, because there was no way any grave could hold the Son of God. And God made sure of that by raising Jesus from the dead. And we know that was so because we saw the empty tomb. And we know that was so because we saw the resurrected Christ. We held him. We hugged him. We heard his voice. We knew Jesus was alive.
And that shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone because our beloved King David acting as a prophet actually talked about this. In Psalm sixteen he wrote these words: "I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay." David is talking and he's talking in the first person singular, but we know he's not talking about himself. But he's talking about an event where someone dies but they don't suffer decay, corruption in the grave because they're resurrected.
And my goodness, I was very clear to point out to everyone, even though it was obvious, there is no way David was talking about himself. I mean, for heavens sake, when I was in the upper room, I was standing over the tomb of David. I literally pointed down and said you know David is dead. His bones are right there. He's talking about the Messiah. He's talking about how the Messiah will die but God will raise him up. And he had!
But he didn't stop there. God not only raised his Son from the dead, he also exalted him to the right hand until he conquers every foe. David had said that, too. The Lord said to my lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."
Well I said a lot of things that day and you don't need to hear them all. But I hear you're big on a big idea - kind of something to wrap your minds around. So here's my concluding point - here's what I said to them: "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah." That's what I told them.
And I'm going to tell you something else. It hit them pretty hard. Because this Lord and this Messiah, they had just crucified him. And so they were cut to the heart. You might use the word convicted. And that didn't surprise us either, because again one of the last things that Jesus said before he went back to the Father as he talked to us about the Holy Spirit is he told us that when the Holy Spirit comes, that's exactly what he'll do. "He will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment about sin, because people do not believe in me."
The one sin that separates people forever from God is that they don't believe in Jesus, and so the activity of the Spirit was directing people to Jesus. So convicted in the heart were they that they asked me what they should do. And so I told them. They should 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. So I told them to repent, to change their minds about Jesus. The one that they thought was worthy of death is really worthy of worship. And I told them that they ought to be baptized - to place themselves under the water as a means of identifying themselves with Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
Well, the reason I told them to be baptized is because that's exactly what Jesus told us to do. In fact, in what you know as the Great Commission he had said this: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
And I guess the reason why he told us to baptize people is because if we learned anything at all from hanging around Jesus, it was that Jesus would not have any secret disciples. He just wasn't going to operate that way. You see, being baptized is the initial way for us to declare our allegiance to Christ. Much like a wedding band in your culture signifies your allegiance to a husband or wife. And so we told them to be baptized.
Well something very unusual happened on that day. Over three thousand people came to Christ. It was rather remarkable that at nine o'clock in the morning there were a hundred and twenty of us who claimed the name of Jesus. By the end of the day, why I guess this room couldn't fill them all. It went that quick.
Now I understand that in your culture there are some people who say something like this: I'd like to belong to a church small enough where I know everybody. I'm just being honest with you - if that's your mindset, you're going to have to read the rest of the book of Acts with your eyes closed, because God's going to multiply the disciples so greatly that by the end, we stopped counting. We can't figure out what he's doing. All we know is this: God says I'm going to do an activity. I'm going to do a work among you that you can't control and you can't confine.
And we began to realize at the end of that night when we put our heads on our pillows that Jesus' mission was true. In fact, he was saying something like this to us: The Spirit has been given to those who believe so they can tell everyone who needs to believe in Jesus. That's what he was doing on the day of Pentecost.
So, now that we've heard from Peter, what do we do with this passage? What do we do with the fact that God has given to us a mission and that the Holy Spirit has empowered you and me to be witnesses? There are four observations that I'm going to make this morning. You could probably think of more. But if I understand the Acts 1:8 mission to receive power and to go out and be his witnesses, these four will suffice.
Here's the first: Empowered people participate in God's mission to let the whole world know. Empowered people participate in God's mission to let the whole world know. No matter how you break it apart, there's something incredible that happens on this day. Look at verse five. "Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heart this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: 'Aren't all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs - we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own language!'"
If you looked at this group, you would think Roman Empire, because this group pretty much sums up what the Roman Empire was like. If you said to us, we want to reach everyone in the United States with the gospel, and we're going to go from Maine to Florida, from New York to LA, that's kind of what goes on here. So many people groups represented here. It's significant what's going on. In fact, if you look at this carefully, you'll realize that many of the places that are listed here are going to become places where Paul will plant churches later on. In fact, most scholars believe that the church of Rome to which Paul would later write was started on the day of Pentecost as believers converted to Christ went back and started the church in that city.
And so what's going on here, on the day of Pentecost - God is jump starting the mission. You think how huge this is. Every message - every message - that God spoke in what we call the Old Testament - the Scriptures - He spoke it in the Hebrew tongue. And when Jesus was on this earth - the gospels - every message that Jesus gave was most likely in the Aramaic tongue. Today, many languages. On the day of Pentecost, many languages. And it's as if God is shouting very clear I want the whole world to know. Break down every barrier that you can so that everyone can know about my Son Jesus. He broke down a significant barrier on this day.
Today, to allow the whole world to know, breaking down the barrier might mean moving to a foreign country, taking years to learn that dialect so that you can translate the Scriptures into a language they can hear. Today breaking down that barrier might mean planting and placing wells for clean water in development countries so that they can live long enough to hear the good news. Today breaking down a barrier might mean planting a church in Bangkok, Thailand or in Akron, New York. Today breaking down a barrier might mean you initiating a relationship with your neighbors so that they can hear.
But make no mistake about it - what happens on the day of Pentecost is that God is saying to us I want you to break down a barrier. I know what we are prone to think when we look at this story. I'm just being totally honest with you. Maybe I shouldn't worry about speaking a language that I do not know when I won't use the language that I do know to tell other people about Jesus. That's the day of Pentecost. Empowered people - empowered people participate in God's mission to let the whole world know.
Here's the second observation: Empowered people are transformed. Empowered people are transformed. There's something that happens here that's very unusual that I don't want you to miss. As you can imagine this kind of thing going on attracted a crowd where they're a captive audience for someone to stand up and speak and talk about Jesus. And the person who does that should surprise you.
Look at Acts chapter two verse fourteen. "Then Peter stood up with the eleven, raise his voice and addressed the crowd." Peter stood up, raised his voice and addressed the crowd. Why is that so significant? Because fifty days earlier, this same Peter in a courtyard outside of Caiaphas' home - Caiaphas is the High Priest - no more than two to three thousand feet from where Peter is now standing he can undoubtedly see the sight where fifty days before he sat and he remained silent except to tell servant girls that he did not know Jesus. And now in the same city where Jesus was crucified Peter stands up, raises his voice and addresses the crowd. I would say that's a transformation, wouldn't you?
And it needs an explanation. How did mister coward go to mister courage in fifty days? I'll tell you how. Peter was absolutely convinced in the resurrection and was empowered by the Spirit to declare it. He was absolutely convinced of the resurrection and had become empowered to declare it. Peter is a different man because of the resurrection and because of the Spirit of God dwelling inside of him.
And so it will be with you and with me when we become absolutely convinced that Jesus Christ is alive. And when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts, how can we not be different? I'm a logical person. Let me say it a different way. How could the God who created the world out of nothing enter into your heart and mine and not make a world wide difference so that people cannot explain - anymore than they could on the day of Pentecost - I don't know what's different about you but something is. What is it? I'm absolutely convinced that on the day we call Easter Jesus Christ got up out of the grave and the Holy Spirit dwells inside of me and he has empowered me to live out the difference and to talk about the difference. You see, empowered people are transformed people.
Thirdly, empowered people point people to Jesus. Empowered people point people to Jesus. You pull apart Peter's message any way that you want and you can only make one conclusion. It is all about Jesus. That has everything to do with the Holy Spirit by the way. Because again on that night when Jesus is talking to his disciples, he talks about the Holy Spirit and he says this will be the function of the Holy Spirit in John sixteen. "When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak about his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you." Jesus is saying that when the Holy Spirit comes, he will point people to Jesus. Isn't that exactly what Peter is doing on this day? To speak only of Jesus?
I have a relationship with a church in the area - it's right behind Darien Lake. It's called North Darien Bible Church. I'm really good friends with their pastor. And I have watched over the last seven or eight years this church go from being on life support to being a thriving, believing community that is earnestly seeking God's best and what God wants to do to reach their region for Christ. And I think one of the reasons they went from life support to being a healthy community is because of their mission. We exist to point people to Jesus. We exist to point people to Jesus.
You know what? We say it a little different around here and you know that, but is that not the reason why we exist? To point people to Jesus? But if I can say that collectively as an organism or as an organization called The Chapel, is that not true of you and of me? Have you ever tried to figure out why God when he saves you doesn't immediately take you to heaven like some kind of Star Trek episode where you're shot up to heaven? Do you know why he doesn't? Because you exist to point people to Jesus.
Has it ever crossed your mind that God knows exactly where you work, and that maybe you're there to point people to Jesus? Is it entirely possible that God knows that you belong to a crazy family and that you're there to point people to Jesus? Has it ever crossed your mind that God knows exactly where you live and that maybe you live there to point people to Jesus? You see that's why you exist. That's why I exist. God give to us a heart that says what the disciples said - just a little while longer. When there were some people who told them not to speak about Jesus they said this: Can't help it. We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. That's why you exist. God give to you, give to me, a heart that says I have to talk about Jesus because he has made every difference in my life.
The previous generation would know the name Jim Eliot. He was a missionary murdered in Ecuador, 1956. He's know for making a lot of statements. This is perhaps one that applies right now. Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road: make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me. You and I exist to point people to Jesus.
A significant spiritual marker in our family's life - I'm talking about my family is the first time that Jonathan, our son, spoke from this platform back in 2009. And at the end of his message he said something that I think is critical here. He said, "I'm young." He was twenty-one at the time. "And I get that. But if you never ever hear the name Jonathan Drake again, I'm o.k. with that. I'm o.k. with that if through my life Jesus becomes famous." We exist to point people to Jesus. And how does that happen? Well, we need to go back to the beginning of this story.
Here's the last observation: Empowered people are Spirit-filled. Empowered people are Spirit-filled. Acts two, verse four: All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. I want to focus on the book ends. The Spirit filled them and the Spirit enabled them. This whole passage would not take place if they were not filled with the Spirit of God. What does that mean? Well I would say that that's something critical that we ought to know.
And the apostle Paul will help us later on when he writes these words. Do not, he says, get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Now isn't that interesting to you? That on the day of Pentecost there were people who confused being filled with the Spirit with being drunk with wine. And Paul uses the same analogy. You see when you're filled with alcohol you're under its influence, and the more you're under its influence, the more you will do what it tells you to do. When you're under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you will begin to do what he influences you to do and what he leads you to do. When you're under the influence of alcohol, you will do things that you won't remember. You will do things that perhaps will make you ashamed. You will do things that may cause great damage to yourself and others. When you're under the influence to the Holy Spirit, you will be involved in activity that lasts forever. Into eternity. And this is the analogy that he uses, for us to be filled with the Spirit of God.
Let me close with this analogy. So, I have this empty glass and that glass represents empty me. Empty me needs to be filled with something. And more often than not, what it's filled with is me. Proverbially, you are so full of yourself. Now I'm going to be honest with you, especially after speaking for forty-five minutes. That looks pretty good. That looks pretty refreshing. And you know what? There are parts when Deone is filled with Deone, and don't worry, I'm not talking about just me - I'm talking about you as well - that are not so bad. I can be a pretty good guy. I can be a good husband, a good dad, a good father-in-law, a good grandfather. I can be a good friend. I can be a good employee. I can be a good teacher. So this is refreshing. You ought to drink from it because it's not so bad. But you know what? You know as well as I do that this isn't the whole story. Deone, even the best of Deone, that isn't the whole story. There are parts of me that aren't so good. And you know what? Some of those parts of me that if you knew and maybe some of you do, when you find out that on April twelfth my wife and I celebrated our thirty-first wedding anniversary, you'd send her condolences. And I'm talking about every single one of us. There are things about us that would make someone say there is no way I'm drinking out of that.
But let me tell you something. The best of Deone and the worst of Deone - the best of you, the worst of you really doesn't matter. Because if this is all people see - the best of Deone and the worst of Deone - it makes no impact for eternity. None. Absolutely none. And maybe I've just described your marriage and the reason for it. And maybe I've just described your work ethic and maybe I've described your relationship with your kids and maybe I've just described your life in general. Because the best of you, the worst of you, you can't make a difference at all. And that's why God said I want you to be filled with the Spirit.
Now, if you 're thinking logically with me and I hope you are right now, you're recognizing something. There isn't any room. And it isn't like the Holy Spirit's going to say, please, just give me whatever is left or just give me half or just give me part. No, he wants the whole. And so he asks me to be filled with his Spirit but the only way that's going to happen is for me to empty myself of me and stand before, empty and say, God, fill my empty vessel with your Spirit. Do you understand why that's why we sang that song, Holy Spirit you are welcome? Not in this place but in this place, in my heart, in your heart because he's the only one that can make a difference.
So, more often than not, maybe some of you are like this - when someone says something to me, I got the perfect put-down. I've got something that many people who know me will say, was he kidding? Because I really don't know if he was kidding. Was he kidding or was he serious? So I've got the perfect put-down. But maybe the Holy Spirit is saying, I know you want to say that but empty yourself of you and let me fill you up with my Spirit so that what you say will encourage.
Or maybe, maybe your deal is, you know what? Someone did something to me, and I want to get even and I know exactly how to get even, even if it means giving them the silent treatment for the next thirty-five years. And God says, I understand you want to do that. But I want you to empty yourself of you and allow me to fill you up so that what you offer instead is grace and forgiveness.
Or maybe there is that difficult neighbor or difficult friend or difficult loved one and you, right now, you're exhausted and you want to say, you know what? I think I'm done loving or trying to love that very difficult person. And God says you know, I get that. But I've got something else to do through this world because I want people to point people to Jesus and so I want you to come as an empty vessel and be filled with my Spirit so that what you demonstrate is the same love that he offered to you.
And I guess the only way for me to close is the same way - I'll close when the Lord began to speak to me about this message. It's this: When was the last time, when was the - honest - when was the last time you asked the Holy Spirit to fill you? And the only way he can do that is for you to empty yourself of you. But you see, this is not, this is not an unusual way to live where once in a while the Holy Spirit does great things through you. This is the way he wants us to live and that's why Paul when he said be filled with the Spirit, is a repeated over and over request because too often it is so easy. Our feelings get hurt, things don't go our way and we begin to fill this cup back up with us. And so we come to him on a daily, regular basis and say, Lord, I'm sensing other people are sensing too that I'm beginning to be filled with me. God help me to empty myself of me and God would you fill me up so that other people will see Jesus because they don't need to see me. They don't need to see you. They need to see Jesus.
I can't think of a better time than right now for you and I to pray, God, help me to empty myself of me and fill me with you. Let's pray.
God, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind what you want to do in each one of our hearts. You've made it real clear in your word - not because of me but because of Paul and because of this day that we've talked about. You want to fill us with your Spirit so that the world sees Jesus because Jesus is the only one who can make a difference and so we ask by the power of your Spirit that you would speak much louder and clearer and sharper than I ever could into each one of our hearts and target and identify that area where we think being filled with money is o.k. And that we would come to the point where you would break us, humble us, humble us before you have to humiliate us so that we come to the point where we recognize, God, the only way for me to live is to be humble before you. To be empty before you. To ask you to fill us up with your Spirit so that the world and my wife and my children and our husbands and or families and our co-workers and our neighbors - they see Jesus. Because you have a plan to keep shaking this earth and that plan includes people who have been empowered by the Spirit to make a difference and to point people to Jesus. Would you see fit to do that in our lives in such a demonstrative way this week that we would recognize the words of scripture that say be filled with the Spirit. I pray this in the name of Christ who the Holy Spirit glorifies and we lift him up as well. Amen.
Thank you everyone. You have a great week.