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CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215
“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now He is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as He had promised, gave Him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”’Acts 2:32-36
“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer.Acts 2:42-47
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell themActs 4:32-34
Last week, as we celebrated the Day of Pentecost, also known as the birthday of the church, we began a mini-series focusing on the Spirit of God. We took a look at Acts Chapter 2 and drew from the passage three Biblical truths concerning the Holy Spirit.
First, we talked about the fact that the Holy Spirit resides in people who have made a faith commitment to Jesus and His death upon the cross as a means to secure the forgiveness of sin and hope of eternal life. I mentioned that for several reasons Christians doubt that they have the Spirit; some because they read in the Bible that the Spirit fell upon the early Christians and they began to manifest certain gifts that they don’t have. Some because they are still struggling with sin.
And may I add today that some doubt because they don’t feel they have the Spirit. If God’s Spirit was really with me, I wouldn’t feel so empty, depressed, powerless, etc.
If that’s you, let me remind you that the Bible says, if you are in Christ, you also have the Spirit of God. That truth is not based upon our feelings; it is based upon the sure foundation word of God, in which Jesus told His disciples in John 14:17b, “He (He is speaking of the Holy Spirit) lives with you now and later will be in you.”
Secondly, the primary role of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus! Again, Jesus from John’s gospel: “He (that is, the Holy Spirit) will bring Me glory.”
Thirdly, we mentioned the extraordinary privilege we enjoy in offering ourselves to God allowing His Spirit to work through you and I to help the Kingdom of God come to earth as it is in heaven, and, thereby, bring glory to Jesus!
Perspectives on Pentecost Power, Part II
From Reader’s Digest, “Life in These United States,” Ann Spivack writes,
While our friends from India traveled around California on business, they left their 11 year-old daughter with us. Curious about my going to church one Sunday morning, she decided to come along. When we returned home, my husband asked her what she thought of the service.
She said, “I don’t understand why the West Coast isn’t included too.”
When we asked what she meant, she replied, “You know, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the whole East Coast.”
The Holy Spirit makes up one-third of what theologians refer to as ‘the Trinity.’
I remind us of that truth because some Christians have a tendency to think that the Father and the Son sent the Spirit as some kind of force, as in the ‘force be with you.’ The 3rd person of the Trinity is not a force,
In his book, The Counselor, A.W. Tozer wrote,
The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not enthusiasm, He is not courage, He is not energy. He is not the personification of all good qualities, like Jack Frost is the personification of cold weather. Actually, the Holy Spirit is not the personification of anything. He has individuality, He has will and intelligence. He can hear, speak, desire, grieve and rejoice. He is a Person.” 1
The Holy Spirit is God the Father, and the Holy Spirit is God, the Son. The three are co-equal.
To be sure, the Bible indicates that each person of the Trinity has a special role or function in our lives. In that regard, I have a verse for us to ponder.
“Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us” (Ephesians 2:18).
Now when I back off of this verse to grab a big-picture perspective of it, I see something very inspiring that I would .like to pass on to you. This verse tells us that the Triune God is interested in you and me.
It’s very easy for us to think that we come together in this place to show God that we are interested in Him. But if we could get it in our heads that we come to this place because God is more interested in us than we are interested in Him, it would make a significant, if not tremendous impact, in our faith journey.
If only every Christian realized the truth of this statement, that, “Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us,” the Church would be so different that we would scarcely recognize it.
For how many think of the Church as a place where we attend now and then, when it suits us, when there’s nothing else more interesting going on, you know, just to let God know we are still interested in Him? Or we come as if it’s our obligation to come to worship God, or then again as a place to come where we use our gifts to serve and be busy, kind of like a service club. In other words, to indicate to God that we are interested in Him.
But the big picture of this verse is just the opposite; that God is interested in us! So interested in us that the Triune God has gone to great lengths to prove it to us.
God, the Father, planned it long ago and Jesus, the Son, accomplished it. As Peter declares in his first sermon, “But God knew what would happen, and His prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed Him to a cross and killed Him” (Acts 2:23).
So God the Father planned and arranged for our salvation, God, the Son accomplished what needed to be done in order to save us and then God, the Holy Spirit takes it from there. Where?
Specifically, the Holy Spirit is responsible for our transformation from sinners to Saints.
Indeed, the Holy Spirit is the one who reaches out to us when we are not even aware, drawing us to in some way desire or reach out to Him, The Spirit, Jesus said, would convict us of our sin, and then helps us see that Christ is the answer to our sin problem and prods us to have believing faith in the cross of Jesus so that we might be saved.
But our salvation doesn’t end there! That’s only the beginning! God has much more in mind for us than accepting Christ as our Savior, and then sitting back on our laurels awaiting the day when He will take us to heaven. He not only wants to be our Savior, He desires to be our Lord.
It is not just about salvation, it is also about transformation; sinners to Saints.
Jesus declared in John 13 that His disciples were saved, but He had much more in mind for them than that. And indeed, after the Spirit falls they begin to be transformed before our very eyes as we read the Book of Acts.
Peter is transformed from one who denied He even knew Christ to a bold preacher.
Then, Acts 2:42-47 informs us that all the believers were being transformed as they “shared everything they had,” (44), “they worshipped every day” (45). Acts 4:32 says, “All the believers were united in heart and mind.”
Throughout the Book of Acts, we see the truth of II Corinthians 5:17: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone, a new life has begun” . . . transformation!
God accepts us as we are, but He has so much more in mind for us. Transformation; transformation into Christlikeness. As Paul writes the Romans: “For God knew his people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son” (Romans 8:29).
Through what means does this transformation into Christ-likeness occur? And Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians: “And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image” (II Corinthians 3:18b).
But how does the Holy Spirit accomplish this transformation?
Do we just sit around passively and wait for the Holy Spirit to zap us? No way! We too have a role to play in our own transformation.
Pastor John Ortberg wrote an article on this in Leadership Journal:
Spiritual transformation is a long-term endeavor. It involves both God and us. I liken it to crossing an ocean. Some people try, day after day, to be good, to become spiritually mature. That’s like taking a rowboat across the ocean. It’s exhausting and usually unsuccessful. Others have given up trying and throw themselves entirely on relying on God’s grace. They’re like drifters on a raft. They do nothing but hang on and hope God gets them there. Neither trying nor drifting are effective in bringing about spiritual transformation. A better image is the sailboat, which if it moves at all, it’s a gift of the wind. We can’t control the wind, but a good sailor discerns where the wind is blowing and adjusts the sails accordingly. Working with the Holy Spirit, which Jesus likened to the wind in John 3, means we have a part in discerning the winds, in knowing the direction we need to go, and in training our sails to catch the breezes that God provides. That’s true transformation. 2
My guess is Ortberg was studying the Greek of Ephesians 5:18, where Paul instructs his readers, “Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.”
This word ‘filled’ is not the word that we would use if we were going to fill a glass with wine. This word for filled was used to describe the wind
‘filling’ a sail, with the result that the boat would be most efficiently powered by the wind. Thus to be filled with the Spirit is to turn our sail to catch the wind in such a way that the Holy Spirit can help us be transformed.
And the Church has always said that we make ourselves available to God’s Spirit through the so-called Christian disciplines. Primarily, worship, Bible study, and prayer. To these Ricard Foster, in his 1978 classic on the subject, Celebration of Discipline adds: fasting, fellowship, meditation, simplicity, solitude, and submission. 3
How do we turn our sails to catch the wind of His Spirit? We engage in the classic Christian Disciplines.
But please be aware; the disciplines are only a means to an end, not the end in and of themselves.
We must not be fooled into thinking that engaging in the disciplines is the end result of transformation. When I first became Christian and began hanging out with Christians I became convinced that having a daily personal quiet time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study was the measure of my spiritual growth that defined my transformation into Christ-likeness. When someone would ask me, “How’s your spiritual life?” I would immediately answer in terms of my devotional life. What I didn’t understand was that my devotional time was simply a means to achieve the goal.
What goal? To become like Christ. In other words, to love like Jesus loved.
In other words, we must not allow our engagement in the disciplines to masquerade as evidence of a changed life.
If we really desire to measure our spiritual growth, to see if we are obtaining the victory, to perceive if we are being transformed into the image of God’s Son, we must be willing to examine ourselves to see whether or not we are loving others as Jesus loved people. If you are really brave, you’ll try to discern whether or not your love for your spouse indicates transformation.
And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.I John 4:13-17
“Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us” (Ephesians 2:18).
Because this is true, we should realize that the most marvelous, the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to anybody in this world is simply becoming a Christian; to be in Christ, and to become like Him . . . transformed!
I say again we think we come to this place to show God we are interested in Him, and to a certain extent, that is true. But what will really make us fall on our knees in worship and praise is that God, the eternal, the omnipotent, omnipresent, the One who created the heavens and the earth, including you and I is interested in us!
The three persons in the blessed, holy Trinity are interested in us and are engaged together in our salvation, both saving us and transforming us into the kind of people He desires for us to be.
The world talks about honors and privileges and getting admission to clubs and exalted positions and being introduced to great people. But here is a fact: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are interested in you and have done something about your salvation!
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has His eye on you, knows you, and is interested in you. The Son of God has so loved you that He has given Himself for you. And the Holy Spirit so loves you that He comes to you to apply all this and work it all out.
And He is here, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is (are) present among us right now because you are here. He is here accomplishing His will in us to become more and more like His Son through the working of His Spirit. He is here because He has filled our hearts with the love of the Savior and love for His people. He is here, God is Here, Jesus is here, Spirit is here!
And so, let us celebrate together the Sacrament of Holy Communion which symbolizes for us the love of God the Father through the death of Jesus His Son, appropriated through the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit.
1 Tozer, A. W. The Counselor, Straight Talk about the Holy Spirit. [Chicago, Illinois: Moody Publishers, © 2015], Page 72.
2 John Ortberg, True (and False) Transformation, Leadership Journal (Summer 2002), p. 104
3 Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, [London: Hodder and Stoughton, © 2008]