Power of the Spirit
Series: Pauline Letters
Acts 19:5-7 ESV
Zechariah 4:1-6 ESV
Romans 8:28 ESV
Romans 8:26-28 The Message
Romans 15:13 The Message
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
Romans 8:26 ESV
Ephesians 1:11-14 ESV
When Paul arrived in Ephesus his first stop was to the Jewish Synagogue.
He wanted to give his fellow Hebrew brothers a chance to hear the good news about Jesus.
BUT…here’s the kicker. When the Jews did not receive the message Paul shared and if they rejected it, Paul walked away.
Not only that, but Paul walked away and offered it to the gentiles!
In addition to that, when the people in Ephesus accepted Jesus a wonderful thing happened. In Acts 19:5-7 we learn, “On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.”
What a wonderful wonderful day for the new believers in Ephesus!
And…AND even gentiles received the gift of the Spirit!
When Paul approached them with the message about Jesus and the gift of the Spirit, they didn’t even know what he was talking about. They had not heard of the Holy Spirit and then they were filled with the Spirit!
Now, the gift of the Spirit wasn’t really a new deal. In Zechariah 4:6 we are told, “And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”
To a believer it’s not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the living God. The Apostle Paul explained it this way in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
The Message says in Romans 8:26-28, “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
Every sigh is a prayer. Every pain. Especially every tear. I also believe every Hope. Every dream. Every waiting moment. IS translated into a prayer by the Spirit of God that lives in us.
But wait…it gets better ,
In Romans 15:13 the paraphrase (Message) Paul wrote, “Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”
By the Spirit IN us we have joy. We have peace. We have an abundance of hope! By the Spirit IN us…
In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul wrote to his beloved Timothy, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Paul was reminding his dear dear friend and student to refuse to live in fear. Instead Paul prayed he would take up his holy calling and be bold! Paul knew he could be brave in the Spirit who supplies power. The aspiration supplies love. The Spirit GIVES self-control.
Paul was telling him, do NOT be afraid. Seize it. Seize the power of the Spirit. Know the Spirit is fighting FOR you.
In addition to that, Paul wrote in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
We really don’t have to sit and think about how to pray when we’re all worn out. When we have no idea what to ask, we can just moan or cry. The Spirit of the living God takes our feelings…all our feelings and translates that into a really cool very awesome prayer!
Finally, Paul wrote to his friends in Ephesus, in Ephesians 1:11-14, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
God gave (and gives) us an inheritance and God planned to work things out according to what He desires for us for our greater good. In other words it’s a done deal. You are free. God planned wonderful things for you and it’s wonderful and glorious. Oh sure…we still have pain in this world, but that’s very temporary. In our forever home there will be no pain. Because we know pain, when we go to our forever home we will remember we had pain but we won’t feel the pain. Because we remember we had pain we will seriously seriously appreciate the abundance of love and peace we have received in our forever home.
It’s a total win win.
Also, just as a bonus…telling your friends and family that you really really love the secret of life is found in receiving the gift of the Spirit just might make it possible for you to see them in your forever home. That, my friends is one of the best gifts we’ve been given.
So, go tell your peeps that God is awesome and God loves them!
Amen? Okay. Amen.
Spiritual Practice: Sit
Sit with the Spirit of God and laugh. Hope. Moan. Shed a tear. It’s a great way to pray.
In God, Deborah