Thursday, August 28, 2008

where does one find power to share their faith?

When we became believers, the Holy Spirit came into our hearts. But why did He come in? What is His purpose and what does He do? The Holy Spirit comes into our lives to change us. The Holy Spirit comes to make us more like Christ. We call this process sanctification. Sanctification means the process of becoming holy. It means the Holy Spirit is going to transform our lives to make us more like Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit’s primary job: transforming Christ-followers. We can do nothing apart from the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. An amazing transformation took place in Peter’s life when he received the Holy Spirit. Peter was the man who denied he knew Jesus three times while Jesus was being led away to be crucified. Peter was afraid to admit he knew Jesus.

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter and the other disciples. Before His ascension, Peter did not understand all Jesus was saying about what was to take place. Ten days later, Scripture reports the Holy Spirit came and filled Peter and the other apostles. Peter did a complete 180-degree turn. He was no longer timid and afraid; he was bold and courageous in the face of persecution.

Peter preached the first sermon after Jesus’ departure. In this sermon, he said in Acts 2:22-23, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know – this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” Does this sound like a scared man? No. The man who was once full of fear is now full of boldness.

Later, Peter and John were arrested. They were answering to the religious leaders of the day when Scripture says in Acts 4:8, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…” He goes on to say in verse 10, “let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead…” He states in verse 12, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Peter had experienced a life-changing transformation.

Early church history records Peter was martyred by crucifixion upside down. He did not find himself worthy to be put to death in the same manner as Jesus Christ. Peter’s transformation took place because of the Holy Spirit living inside him. This is the same Holy Spirit living inside us. The Holy Spirit wants to transform us as He transformed Peter.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit. How does the Holy Spirit transform us? What does the Holy Spirit do in the life of the believer? First, He teaches us. Jesus says in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” We as Christ-followers have the Holy Spirit to teach us the things of Christ. As we read our Bibles and a thought comes to us about a sin or attitude we need to repent of, the thought is the Holy Spirit convicting us. When we go through a difficult time, the Holy Spirit brings to our memory what we heard in church regarding one of God’s promises. The Holy Spirit recalls to our minds the very words of God.

Second, He assures us of our salvation. Many of us have had times in our lives when we doubted our salvation. Galatians 4:6 says, “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 1 John 4:13 says, “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” We have assurance of our salvation because the Holy Spirit is inside us. Our salvation is not assured on any work we have done, but because the Holy Spirit dwells in our lives. The Holy Spirit does not come in without salvation.

Third, He helps us in times of temptation. Romans 8:4b is talking about Christ-followers when it says, “who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” We are not to live according to our former life, but a life now in step with the Holy Spirit. When temptation comes, the Holy Spirit tells us this temptation is not from God. He may remind us of a Scripture, give us an exit plan or tell us we should flee quickly.

Fourth, He prays for us. Often times we do not know how to pray regarding a circumstance in our life. The good news is the Holy Spirit prays in our behalf. Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” The Holy Spirit is in touch with what God wants to do in our lives and the circumstances around us. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us according to God’s will.

Fifth, He produces fruit in our life. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” We cannot produce any fruit in our lives. It is the fruit of the Spirit because He must produce it. We allow the Holy Spirit to work. We bear the fruit.

Finally, He gives us power to be witnesses. Jesus’ last words before His ascension are recorded in Acts 1:8. It says, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Earlier we read of Peter’s transformation. Notice the greatest transformation dealt with his evangelism. The main reason people do not witness is they are not filled with the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit operating in our lives, we are like Peter, full of fear and anxiety. With dependence on the Holy Spirit, we will have the power needed to tell others about Jesus Christ.

It is impossible to have life transformation apart from the Holy Spirit. He works in us as He teaches us the truth, assures us of our salvation, helps us in temptation, prays for us because we do not know how, produces His fruit in us, and gives us the power to evangelize. Thank God we have a helper to transform our lives to become holy as He is holy.

No comments: