You need the Holy Spirit. So do I. That is exactly what Jesus says.
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restorethe kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But 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.”
The same Holy Spirit that is promised here is promised as a gift to all (Acts 2:38-39). Yet in most churches, talk of the Holy Spirit still seems as if we are entering into unchartered waters. Why? What is it that makes churches/Christians afraid of the Holy Spirit?
As a preacher/minister, I have had more requests for preaching and teaching on the Holy Spirit than any thing else. While I am not currently preaching on the Holy Spirit per se, I have begun a new sermon series with the Columbia Church of Christ from the book of Acts titled “The Church: Christ Convicted, Spirit Fueled Mission Living”. So I am thinking about the way in which the Holy Spirit fuels our witness as followers of Jesus.
Here is where I start: I believe that any faithful reading of Acts reveals that our calling as disciples of Jesus is to be animated by the Holy Spirit to embody the gospel of Jesus Christ in all that we do and say. Within this belief I have two additional convictions.
First, being the third person of the One Triune God, the Holy Spirit will never empower Christians to do anything that goes against the will of God. While we can haggle over the question of God’s will, disagreeing on certain issues and such, we know the basic story and how God has acted throughout that story. We know what sort of values, what sort of things make God tick, what he loves and what burns his anger, etc… Scripture and tradition must be our conversation partner in discerning the leading of the Spirit.
Second, the Holy Spirit will empower us to accomplish our calling as “witnesses” in ways that are beyond our own ability. That means that the mission will always be bigger than our own capabilities. Yet that is why we are called to prayer. So if we are living by the power of the Holy Spirit, we’ll be a praying people because there isn’t any other way except to go to God the Father and pray to be strengthened with power from the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph 3:16).
If you have time and want to listen, the sermons I am preaching on from the book of Acts will be uploaded on the “Columbia Church of Christ Sermons” page.