“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (from Acts 2:4)
Yesterday we talked about the vital importance of the ministry of the Holy Spirit from within us. God’s plan has always been to inhabit His people and do His work through them. This is the purpose of the Church in a nutshell.
We ended with the hard observation that a lack of power in our churches means a lack of the presence of God’s Spirit. God’s work IS God working – so if the power of God is not at work, there is something wrong on our end. What would that something be?
There could be a number of reasons, but let’s just focus on the main reason…
We don’t really understand what it means to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
When you look at the pages of the Book of Acts, the meaning of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is actually pretty clear. To be baptized in the Holy Spirit means that God takes over… and speaks or acts in ways that only He can do – meeting needs as only He can.
The initial outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2) made it possible for people of different nations and languages to hear of “the mighty works of God” in their own native tongue! (Acts 2:6-11) This was God getting their attention so that He could speak into their hearts – which Peter was used to do (again, by the Holy Spirit; 2:14-41). God’s work, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, produced GOD’S results… and, that day, the Church grew by 3000 souls!
Throughout the pages of the Book of Acts, you notice that whenever we see an act of power (in deed or testimony) it is obvious that God has “taken over” and done or said something that only He can do – producing results only He can produce. This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit at work.
But we need to understand one more aspect of this baptism. It is not just a one-time event… this baptism is actually available for our everyday opportunities.
Paul is inspired to command us to “be filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Eph. 5:18) The idea is that the filling is meant to be an everyday occurrence (some have translated this as “BE being filled…”) God eagerly desires to work through us, and speak through us, in our everyday lives – IF we will submit to His “take over” when the opportunities arise.
This was exactly the case when Peter and John healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3). The apostles were just going about their business (going up to pray at prayer time) when an opportunity arose and Peter let the Holy Spirit take over. Peter’s action was never Peter’s action – it was God within him that was doing the miraculous work.
Because we so often tend to see the work of the Holy Spirit as uncommon and rare, we have trouble seeing the common and everyday intention that God had in Mind for us. The Holy Spirit was not given as a Source of occasional miraculous power – He was given as our Source of everyday power. He is God’s abiding Presence to accomplish the work He desires to do, in the course of our everyday lives.
Prayer Focus: God, open my heart to see the everyday opportunities all around for Your Spirit to do work through my life.