Holy Spirit and Power
Holy Spirit and Power
Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 28th July, 2019
For the last couple of weeks we’ve been looking at the Holy Spirit and Faith… the Holy Spirit and Love… and this morning I want us to immerse ourselves in a few thoughts about the Holy Spirit and Power…
And when I say immerse – I mean immerse… because although the Holy Spirit will use our minds and give us wisdom… He flows like a river down into the very depths of our being, and operates at a much greater level than our own understanding and logical reasoning. So it’s not all about receiving on a head level this morning. It’s about the flow of the Anointing over our whole lives.
So let’s launch straight into the Word – because again, you cannot separate the power of the Spirit from the Word of God. They go together like a hand in a glove. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.
And I have to say… there are an overwhelming number of scriptures on the Holy Spirit… on His Power… and His Anointing… and I am so grateful that as a Pentecostal Church, we believe that the same Holy Spirit that converted 3,000 people a day, and more, in the early church, still converts and convicts hearts today. That in itself is the greatest miracle of all time – that human hearts would be transferred and transformed from spiritual death into spiritual and eternal life.
The same power of the Holy Spirit heals the sick, delivers the oppressed, comforts the soul, reveals and teaches divine truth, anoints men and women to fulfil their calling and destiny, breathes upon the gifts He has placed in us when we were baptised… not only baptised into Christ, but baptised with His Spirit…, He still longs to draw people to Jesus Christ through these same expressions of love today!
So it’s not all about me finding inspiring words this morning that tickle your ears. It’s about having our hearts and souls open to respond to and step,into the flow of His Anointing… There’s a spiritual oil that is a never ending supply. We need never run dry!
1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.”
In other words, the power we carry isn’t about how clever or impressive we are with our words. I for one am totally glad that that’s the case. My words, without the Anointing, are just dry old stale crackers. That’s not a scriptural description, but I think it fits really well.
And all our traditions and religious practices – all the form and structure in which we do things – they are not bad in and of themselves… and in fact we need to have order and structure – the bible says so! But that alone does not have any power to do a thing without the Spirit.
2 Timothy 3:5, Paul says that many are good at “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
Religion without the Holy Spirit is dead. It’s not only sad, but it’s tragic that those who deny the power of God for today, and in some cases deny the Word itself… still try to uphold some form of godliness through ritual.
What is the difference between the Anointing and the Holy Spirit? Not much. He is the third Person of the trinity. He’s called the Holy Spirit… and the Anointing is simply the Holy Spirit’s empowering, equipping, enabling to do things that we could never normally do on our own.
When the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, it says:
Acts 10:38, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
What a wonderfully simple description of the work of the Holy Spirit. To do good! To set people free from the devil’s oppression – whatever form that takes.
Of course, His work is far more complex than that… but everything He does points us to the sovereignty and divine nature of Jesus, and His goodness.
We won’t get through all aspects of the Holy Spirit this morning. As if you thought we could. I don’t even know if that’s possible in a lifetime.
But let’s look at what happened at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit didn’t just come as a quiet little dove resting on the disciples. He came with power!
Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The word power means strength, ability, power to perform miracles, moral power, excellence of soul… it even means the same power that rests upon armies and forces…
I think about that scripture in Matthew 11:12… “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
There is a violent battle going on in the heavens – over the Church – over your family – over your destiny… and sometimes we need the boldness and powerful force of the Holy Spirit to rise up like an army and pull down the strongholds of the spiritual forces that oppose us and would want to see us completely defeated.
Again – the scripture describes the Holy Spirit coming with a purpose – to be witnesses. This is His Anointing – to do good – to declare righteousness – to empower the Christ followers. The purpose is to be a witness to Jesus.
So what happens then?
There were burning tongues of fire on their heads. There was a loud sound from heaven like a mighty rushing wind blowing through the place – in fact filling the whole house where they were.
There was a loud commotion as others in the street heard these disciples speaking in foreign languages – the languages of those who were visiting Jerusalem at that time. They actually thought they were all drunk – but then realised it was only 9 o’clock in the morning.
And then an incredible boldness came upon Peter – unlike anything that had happened to him before – and He proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ to those in the streets – with power. They were words of truth – but you would have to consider them violent against the deception and lies and false religious teachings of the time.
And he said – this is what the prophets said would happen in the last days. God said – I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…
Boldness is an outworking of the Anointing – it involves the courage and faith to stand for Christ even in the midst of mockery and unbelief.
The people who heard Peter speaking were cut to the heart. They cried out – what should we do?
The Holy Spirit’s Anointing will cut people to the heart. Not because of the words necessarily – but because of the deep sense and feeling of conviction… only the Holy Spirit can change a person’s heart to that extent.
So this is the primary work of the Holy Spirit – to draw people to Christ. All the miracles, the healings, the deliverances, the outworking of the gifts of discernment and prophecy and words of knowledge and all the spiritual gifts – they are not for our own benefit… they are tools that draw people to Jesus – to bring them to repentance… to help them come face to face with the truth.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about how we bring increase – how do we manifest this convicting, powerful, presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives – more and more? Because let’s face it – we aren’t operating on the same level of miracles and healings and salvations as the early church did.
And I don’t for a moment believe that God is deliberately holding back His church. I think we put ourselves in a place of resistance to what the Holy Spirit would love to do in and through us. Maybe not to the extent or for the same reasons as the religious Pharisees… because if you remember from my message on faith recently, that was something that Stephen accused them of doing – resisting the Holy Spirit…
But resistance can come through complacency, lack of zeal and passion, lack of surrender to God, lack of obedience to what He has asked of us in the past… we resist perhaps because we are so distracted by the multitude of things our modern world tempts us with… and the demands of 21st century life.
I believe we simply need to stop resisting and give ourselves to Him. Pray and ask Him to flow afresh over us. Pray that He would fill us again… If we have been born again, we already have His infilling presence, but there’s always room for more… there’s always room for a fresh outpouring…
If you haven’t done so already, pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit – or better still – have a Spirit filled believer anoint you with oil and pray for that baptism.
I love the story of Paul’s missionary trip to Ephesus:
Acts 19:1-2, “And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
I don’t know why, but I just love their naive and honest response. It’s like – what is the Holy Spirit?
These are disciples – believers. It’s possible to know all about Jesus and follow Him, and not be baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Acts 19:6, “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
Without the Holy Spirit, we are like a V8 running on 2 cylinders, if that…
This isn’t about being weird – or a super spirro – so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.
It’s about being empowered to be an effective witness for Jesus. It’s about doing good – but not in your own strength – in the power of God.
So pray – or have someone else pray for you…
Smith Wigglesworth is always worth a mention when we talk about the Holy Spirit. To be honest, he frightens me with some of his stories. But I know he was a man a great faith and anointing.
And he says, “there must be a resemblance between you and Jesus. The evil spirit said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you??”
Wigglesworth was referring to the story in Acts 19. I want to read it because this is really important.
Acts 19:11-16, “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
If we are using the name of Jesus to pray for people and help them overcome oppression, then we need to not only know Jesus’ name – we need to know Him! We need to be completely reliant on Him. We need to know that it’s the Holy Spirit that is calling us to pray for others – with His boldness – not our own.
Otherwise we could end up running away naked and wounded ourselves.
I remember praying for people on a missionary trip to Tanzania. And they were getting healed. Particularly those with paralysis. Totally set free.
But on our way home I felt this numbness creeping up my own face. I’d never felt anything like it before. Venese and I prayed and it gradually went away just as it came.
But here’s the thing. When we pray and bind the works of the devil, we need to know we are being violent spiritually. And always keep our faith and humility in knowing that it’s the Holy Spirit’s victory, not ours, that’s seeing people set free.
I think I might have started to entertain the idea that I myself might have had something to do with their healing – and perhaps it opened a door. But I know – it’s the presence of God alone that does it – and to Him be the glory in everything.
Wigglesworth goes on to say, that it’s only His presence that changes you. You are not going to be able to get the results without the marks of the Lord Jesus – he says. You must have the divine power within Yourself; devil’s will take no notice of any power if they do not see Christ.
He quotes Luke 14:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me.” That alone is the power.
Secondly, ask the Holy Spirit to bring the Word of God to life for you. The word of God is alive – but it’s the Holy Spirit – His Anointing – that brings it to life!
As I’ve said before, you can’t separate out the aspects of faith and love from the power of the Holy Spirit. They all work hand in hand. And to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, you need to know the Word and believe it – and declare it from a pure heart – with pure motives – with self completely out of the picture.
There’s not much point just praying your own nice words and thoughts over someone who is sick or oppressed or in need of a breakthrough. The Word of God carries the greatest power. It is a sword that cuts through sharper than anything else.
Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
When the devil hears the Word spoken with faith by a Holy Spirit filled believer, then he trembles.
We have to have the Word hidden in our hearts. We need to have a confidence and conviction that in the name of Jesus – by His stripes – by the power of the Holy Spirit – we are healed.
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 things that I said to you.”
The Holy Spirit can only bring to remembrance the things that you already have stored within – the things you have already read and placed in your memory and in your heart.
We need to be ready in season and out of season, the bible says… ready to share, ready to pray, ready to speak a word of wisdom… but that will only happen as we look to the Anointing to help us.
We need the boldness and faith to know that whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Do we really want to see the miracles of the revivalists? Like Smith Wigglesworth? Like Kathryn Khulman? Like Maria Woodworth-Etter? They were so theatrical in their day… which seemed to work for them…
It’s not these people that we want to copy or emulate. But it’s the same Holy Spirit that we so want to see take hold of our lives.
Do we really desire to become a church filled with signs and wonders and miracles?
Then every day, we need to clothe ourselves with the Spirit of God.
Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, he said to the disciples:
Luke 24:49, in the NKJV says, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
But that word “endued” means to be clothed, to have the power wrap around you… to be fully equipped…
Our casual and complacent Aussie attitude of she’ll be right – I’ll just say a few words and God will do it… That attitude won’t cut it. We have to clothe ourselves with a His presence and power. Lay down our own self centred attitudes and look to always bring glory to God.
I remember in bible college – as we were “practicing” praying for one another – there was this definite sense of imparting the Anointing – like throwing the presence of God that we carried over the one we were praying for.
That’s why the bible says, lay hands on one another… see the Holy Spirit flow like a river from His presence within us – imparting life giving healing and restoration to the one we are praying for.
Let God use you like an instrument in His hands.
It’s not mystical – it’s powerful! It carries the substance of our faith.
And in this atmosphere of faith and Holy Spirit life – let’s pray right now for the for Holy Spirit to pour out His divine power over each one of us – and whatever needs to be healed or miraculously restored in your life – open your heart to the Anointing.
Actually – let’s get the worship team to come – because worship is another powerful way to connect with the heart of God.
I want you to not just sing the song – but pray out loud – no one will hear you..
Ask the Holy Spirit to fall upon you – that you would be endued – wrapped – clothed afresh in His presence.
This is not just for us – it’s actually mainly for others. So that we would be effective witnesses to those who are yet to know Him.