Damariscotta Baptist Church
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

10/09/16 Sermon - Holy Spirit Come

“Holy Spirit, Come”

Acts 19:1-7

 

Today’s Scripture begins with Paul on his third missionary journey. You can see on the map in your bulletin the distance Paul covered in all of his missionary journeys. Today we find Paul back in Ephesus and apparently while teaching or meeting with a group of disciples he questioned whether or not they had received the Holy Spirit. We aren’t sure why Paul thought to ask the question, but the response he was given demonstrated it was a valid question. The disciples answered that they had not heard there was a Holy Spirit. They obviously knew enough about Jesus Christ to be called “disciples” but they were missing some important information. Paul continued to ask questions to see what these disciples knew and didn’t know. Paul asked “Into what then were you baptized?” and they responded, “John’s baptism,” which meant they had heard of John, either from listening to Apollos, before he was informed further by Priscilla and Aquila, or maybe they had been baptized by John. Either way they had repented of their sins. Paul then explained the difference between the baptism of John the Baptist and baptism in the name of Jesus. Paul pointed out that John’s baptism was one of repentance, but did not necessarily demonstrate a faith which brought salvation. John’s baptism produced disciples who were ready to receive the Messiah.

 

Paul explained that the Messiah had come, he was Jesus of Nazareth and when their faith was placed in the person and work of Jesus then they would receive the Holy Spirit. The twelve Ephesian disciples understood what Paul said and we are told they believed on Jesus and were baptized. Then Paul laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit and his gifts.

Interestingly enough, Paul wrote both his first and second letters to the Corinthians, while he was in Ephesus at this time and first Corinthians has a lot to say about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

The work of the Holy Spirit was the identifying mark to determine if disciples were following Jesus or following John the Baptist. There is a debate among Biblical scholars as to whether these Ephesian disciples were actually Christians or not before they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were called disciples and appeared to be part of the Christian community in Ephesus. However, they knew so little about Jesus so they were baptized in water again, this time in the name of Jesus. Whether they were Christians or not, Paul perceived they lacked the Holy Spirit in their lives.

What about you?

What do you see when you look at life?

What do others see when they look at your life?

Do you feel the Holy Spirit’s presence, His peace and power in your life? Or is there an absence of the Holy Spirit?

These Ephesian disciples knew enough to be a part of the Christian community. But they had not gone any further, until Paul came along and noticed they were missing something special. They needed to take the next step, and put Jesus in charge of their life, by accepting the Holy Spirit.

You may be thinking, What if I don’t really know?

I know I believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of my life. That He is God, he came to earth, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, and was killed, buried and rose three days later. By conquering death, he demonstrated that there is life after death for all who believe He is my Savior. His death paid for all of my sins. But this being filled with the Holy Spirit thing sounds Pentecostal to me.

Many Christians know little or nothing about the power, both mentally or experientially, of the Holy Spirit. Paul wasn’t questioning the Ephesian disciples whether they had been baptized or not, he was questioning whether they had received the Holy Spirit. Which meant; Did they live their lives aware of, open to, filled with and guided by the Spirit of God?

That is the question I have for you today,

Do you live your life

Aware of

Open to

Filled with

And

Guided by the Spirit of God?

Regardless of how or where we were baptized, how is our life in the Spirit now? How are we living out our baptism now?

We read in today’s Scripture that Paul laid his hands on the believers after their baptism and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. What if Paul were to have returned a year later and asked them again if they had received the Holy Spirit and they answered, “Of course, you were there, don’t you remember, the day we spoke in tongues and prophesied, after you laid hands on us.”

I think Paul would have responded with something like, “Yes, I remember, but what about today?

Walking with Christ, living in the Spirit, isn’t about one particular event, such as baptism. The moment of decision and baptism are moments we should remember as the starting points in our walk with God. As believers our stories begin with turning towards God and choosing to walk closer to Him, daily. It’s the Spirit of God that gives us the courage, the strength and the hope to continue with our walk.

Paul wasn’t as concerned with baptizing people as he was in making sure they lived a life of baptism afterwards. He spent two years in Ephesus discussing and teaching in the synagogue and lecture hall making sure these disciples and others grew in their faith.

Which brings me back to my question of the day –

How is your life in the Spirit now?

For those of us who have experienced baptism, you will remember that you were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. So if you have been baptized, you have made the decision to live in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

How are you living out your baptism now?

The intent of the Book of Acts is to focus on Christ and then to follow the example of Paul and others we read about and share with others what Christ brings into our lives and into the world.

Living in the Spirit, means we do not focus on Christ only as someone who did something for us “back then” but we focus on Christ as someone who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, lives in us and moves us closer to Him today.

The Holy Spirit transforms us. And that transformation can be seen when we experience and see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. There are 9 fruit we should experience and they are listed in Galatians 5:22-23

Galatians 5:22-23 New International Version (NIV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Is it possible to be a Christian and not be filled with the Holy Spirit?

 

Oh yes, and I have seen evidence of it all over the place.

It’s not enough to say you believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

James 2:19

You believe that God is one. Good for you! Even thedemons believe that, and shudder!

The Holy Spirit needs to not only reside in you, He needs to be actively involved in getting you through the day. Helping you to grow closer to God.

Helping His fruit to grow in you.

When others see you, hear you, get to know you, do they see evidence of the Holy Spirit?

love, joy, peace, forbearance, (which means restraint and tolerance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control

The question is,

Today, were you to be accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Let’s pray.