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September 12, 2018, 8:05 AM

Be Filled With The Spirit!

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“And be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17).

According to Acts 9:10-22, as dramatic as Saul’s conversion was, it was incomplete. Something else needed to be added. More correctly, Someone else was needed – the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the moment of conversion must be followed by a lifetime of service for the Lord, and the power for Christian living is not the memory of a past experience, however sensational, but a present indwelling of the Holy Spirit. With this in mind, let’s consider some truths about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

1. The Holy Spirit is power for obedience. The Lord said of Saul, “This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel” (v. 15). Years later, on trial before Festus and Agrippa, Paul would affirm, “I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven” (26:19). In the power of the Spirit he fulfilled the plan of God for his life. Obedience is not always easy. In Acts 9:13-14 we see how difficult it was for Ananias to accept the assignment of ministering to Saul. He reasoned that in doing so he might be signing his own death warrant. But if Jesus is Lord, then there can be no refusal of His orders. Therefore, the Lord spoke again to Ananias, “Go!” “Then Ananias went” (vv. 11-17). The Spirit empowers obedience for the toughest assignments.

2. The Holy Spirit is power for suffering. Jesus said, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name” (v. 16). Saul had caused others to suffer for the name of Jesus (vv. 1-2); now he would experience suffering for that name. As we follow his career in the later chapters of Acts, that burden of suffering he carries is impressive. Illness, imprisonment, hunger, cold, stoning, beatings, shipwreck – these, and more, dogged his steps wherever he went as the Lord’s chosen instrument. The Christ who suffered for us cannot be truly represented by disciples unwilling to suffer for His sake. But to suffer triumphantly, to find joy in the midst of the suffering, we need to be filled with the Spirit.

3. The Holy Spirit is power for witnessing. We read of Saul that “at once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God” (v. 20). Those who heard him, and who knew of his former life, were amazed. The persecutor of Christians had become a preacher of Christ. He was but one of many. The Book of Acts is made up of people bearing witness to Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. It was for this purpose, primarily, that the Spirit was given (1:8). It was seldom easy or safe then to bear that witness. In many places where we are sent today, it is still risky and costly. But the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and speaking through us is the power by which that witness becomes effective.

Two things are of special importance when we think about the reception of this power. First, the Holy Spirit was received by Saul in a context of prayer (v. 11). This is true throughout the Book of Acts and fulfills the promise of Jesus (Luke 11:13). Second, the Holy Spirit was received by Saul in contact with another person. Ananias placed hands on Saul (v. 17). In other instances, this was true as well (8:17). All of this suggests that, at the place of prayer, with Spirit-filled people present to pray and counsel, is a wonderful opportunity for those who need this power for Christian living to come, seek, and find!

Let’s pray: O Lord, shed abroad in our hearts your love and fill us with your Holy Spirit. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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