When Jesus left his disciples, He promised them to send a very special Helper – a “secret weapon,” so to speak. In the face of insurmountable obstacles, the straggling little band of believers had absolutely no hope of being able to fulfill the seemingly-impossible commission which Jesus had left them with. But the Holy Spirit would change everything. We are all familiar with the dramatic Pentecostal experience when this Power was unleashed. Within hours, thousands of onlookers repented and gave their lives to Jesus. The struggling little group of believers was transformed into an indomitable, supernatural force – the Church, against which the gates of hell could not prevail. And yet, do we find ourselves believing that same Power simply isn’t available to our church today? Check out some highlights from this week’s video – “BASIC. Holy Spirit.”
You know, we so often look at the spectacular miracles and healings of the early church and we think, “Wow, if only we could get that to happen again!” But I think the real miracle behind the Holy Spirit’s work was much deeper and more profound than that:
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. (Acts 4:32-35)
I think we sometimes get caught up into this idea that what the church needs is another outbreak of signs and miracles. We pray for the Holy Spirit to be unleashed, but… do we really know what we’re asking for? It’s as if we all want to be a part of something that’s so dramatically powerful and spectacularly miraculous, but I think we sometimes forget that the real power behind this movement will be – not in the sensational signs and wonders – but in supernatural unity and love for another, in humble submission to each other’s needs, and in self-sacrificial ministry to our fellow brothers and sisters. The Holy Spirit calls us to self-surrender.
And maybe that’s why we haven’t seen anything like this in our churches – not because the Power isn’t available, but because we don’t really want it. You see, we like to charge forward with our own plans and our ideas for the church. We try to do everything on our own and in our own way, and then we wonder why the Holy Spirit just doesn’t come through. In contrast, when the Holy Spirit really does move, He doesn’t necessarily move on our terms. His timing is not always convenient for us. His calling is not always comfortable.
I think it’s insightful to look at the model of the Pentecost experience. Before ever setting foot outside of their little upper room, the believers waited and prayed. For days on end, they did nothing. They just prayed and surrendered themselves to the sway of the Spirit’s influence.
Pastor Chan asks some pointed personal-application questions which I hope we’ll spend some time thinking about together: Have you been trying to do the Holy Spirit’s job? What would the church look like today if we really stopped taking control of it and let the Holy Spirit lead? How would the world react to the church if it truly lets go and lets the Holy Spirit lead? Is this something you want to be a part of? What will you do about it?
(Videos and quoted materials taken from http://basicseries.com/)