When we first meet him He is a bird. Or rather he’s pictured as a bird…a mother bird…hovering or brooding over the still unformed creation. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
· the Hebrew word for hover is the same as a bird brooding - It’s a mysterious picture of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is least known member of the Trinity
· The Forgotten God – Francis Chan
· The God I Never Knew – Robert Morris
· Sometimes (the Holy Spirit) is treated a bit like the crazy uncle who shows up at thanksgiving once every few years and horrifies everyone with his inappropriate behavior. Calvin Miller, Loving God Up Close
And in our ignorance and maybe even nervousness we err greatly.
To ignore the Holy Spirit is to distance yourself from the greatest power in the universe.
To disregard the Holy Spirit is to deny the presence of God when and where you need him most.
The Holy Spirit is our God who is power.
The Holy Spirit is our God who is present.
Today I am beginning the first chapter in our Days of Wind and Fire Series. I am convinced that the supernatural must become natural in us and through us into our world. I am utterly persuaded that we need to experience the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
· If you were unable to be with us last weekend then by all means go back and watch the message of last week. You will see and hear our journey - how we have come to this place.
· What we’ve come to believe is…The world is not waiting for a new definition of the Gospel, but for a new demonstration of the power of the Gospel. Leonard Ravenhill
Mark this date…the adventure begins. 3 chapters in the Days of Wind and Fire.
1. We are going to study the Holy Spirit
2. We are going to look more carefully at prayer
3. We are going to dive back into the book Acts and see what we can learn for today.
I am anxious to see how God wants the supernatural to become natural at Grace.
We begin with The Holy Spirit. We must do a little theology. (note on Bibles)
1. He is God. Maybe best illustrated by something Peter said recorded in Acts 5. He was confronting a man who purposely deceived the church: You have lied to the Holy Spirit. You have not lied to men but to God. Acts 5:3-4
Calvin Miller: “there’s not a first, second and third, not one is subservient to the others”. Jesus himself made this crystal clear Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19…not the father the son and the other one,
2. He is a person not an “it” and not a force.
a. he has a mind: And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit…Romans 8:27
b. he has a will: Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. Acts 16:6
c. he has emotions: he broods, he can be grieved, he groans, he brought joy to Jesus
d. Note about His gender - The Holy Spirit like God the Father is genderless. Interestingly the Hebrew and Aramaic terms for Spirit are feminine and the Greek term is gender neutral. But we will refer to Him as Him in keeping with the rest of the NT.
3. So what does he do? I can summarize in two large categories his role in this world from two key pieces of scripture…both declarations of Jesus:
Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised. In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…Acts 1:4-5; 8
· The Holy Spirit is the source or the conduit of power to followers of Jesus Christ. I’ll spend the bulk of our time focusing on this today. (in 2 weeks we’ll examine this baptism more directly)
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you foreverthe Spirit of truth. He lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17
· The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in our lives. The one who comes along side us with comfort, truth, and direction.
· Next week Tim will take us into the mysterious parakaleto …the Counselor who is the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is our God who is power.
The Holy Spirit is our God who is present.
So let’s talk power. What is this power that Jesus promised would befall his church?
There are two metaphors the bible uses to help us picture the power of the Holy Spirit: Wind and Fire.
· we live in Indiana – we know the power of the wind (image)
Both the Hebrew word for spirit and the Greek word for spirit are literally the word for wind or breath.
· Jesus referenced this in his conversation with a man in which he described what it meant to be born again - The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. John 3:8
· And later shortly after his resurrection: He breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:2
· Wind is capricious, sudden, mysterious, it is powerful, and instantly changes things (just the other day I experienced this during one of our many summer storms) Such is the Holy Spirit
Then there is Fire. We all know the power of fire. (Image)
· Fire means many things. It brings light and warmth but it is also dangerous and destructive. It changes everything by its presence. It is awe inspiring and frightening.
Which makes these words of John the Baptist kind of unnerving: I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Matthew 3:11
Wind and fire…awesome, unnerving, mysterious, powerful and together quite stunning:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-4
This wind and fire…This Spirit unleashed power.
· the veil between the physical world and the spirit world…the heavenly realms… was pulled back.
· The Holy Spirit opened the floodgates of heaven and became a conduit to the power of another world.
· Instantly the supernatural became quite natural.
· Capacities were unleashed, potential was vented… power was let loose… into and through the lives of human beings who were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
What kind of power is this power? Can we be more specific? …Absolutely!
Let’s go back into the scriptures…and into theology to understand this role of the Holy Spirit…the portal to the power of heaven.
First…the Holy Spirit’s power can change the physical body:
· The Spirit of the LORD came upon him (Samson) in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat Judges 14:6
o In a battle with the Philistines : The Spirit of the LORD came upon Samson in power. He tore through massive ropes on his arms. Judges 15:14
· The Holy Spirit changed Mary’s body so that she could give birth without procreation:
o The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35
· in September we’ll examine the numerous times the Holy Spirit healed bodies.
Second:…the Holy spirit’s power can transform our mental, emotional and relational states.
· The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
o the Spirit’s power can make you more loving, peaceful, patient, good, gentle and give you more self-control!
Third:…the Holy Spirit’s power can affect our imagination and dreams
· 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. Joel 2:28
Those who have the gale of the Spirit go forward even in sleep. Brother Lawrence
Fourth: The Holy Spirit’s power gives us spectacular supernatural abilities to accomplish God’s mission and literally change the world.
· the power to speak persuasively and prophetically - With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33
· power over the demonic world. Jesus said that when he drove out demons it was by the Spirit of God!
· Then there is the power of supernatural gifts (or literally grace endowments). He also refers to them as manifestations (showings up)of the Sprit
o There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:4
o These are not unique personality quirks or nice personal abilities. They are supernatural…power infused…energy rich…divinely anointed capacities to unleash heaven on earth.
o Here’s a list of them (but note: this is not exhaustive and they may be temporary) Wisdom, knowledge, faith, teaching, leadership, mercy, evangelism, administrating, serving, encouraging, generous giving, pastoring, apostleship, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, spiritual discernment, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues.
How powerful are these manifestations?
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these. John 14:12
With the spirits power inside of us we can do things previously unimaginable. Calvin Miller
Don’t miss this. The Holy Spirit is our God who is power.
And that power is applied into and through us. In us and through us the supernatural becomes natural.
Are you experiencing any of this? In 2 weeks we’ll look deeply at this but for now let me remind you of the final way the Holy Spirit’s power affects us…
Fifth: …the holy Spirit has the power to regenerate the human souls.
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…Ezekiel 36:26-27
This is where it begins for all human beings. This is where the supernatural first impacts a human life.
I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:5-8
The Holy Spirit can change you. Rebirth you. Transform you. He will hit reset on your life. …if you let him… If you surrender your life to Jesus Christ.
· If you do…He will change you from the inside out.
· If you do…He will enter into your life.
· If you do…a portal will be opened from God’s world into yours.
· If you do…you will have the ability to experience powerful phenomena that will alter not only you and your family but also the world.
Why not, right now, surrender to Jesus and in so doing receive the power and presence of God, the Wind and Fire of the Holy Spirit?