Posted by: pastortomvabeach | July 31, 2012

Thought for the Week August 5, 2012

Two weeks ago I asked readers to take the week and draw near to the Lord, then on Sunday, July 29, at the end of the service, I mentioned something very similar asking the congregation to take this week to draw near to the Lord, listen to the Spirit, and see what God will do in our lives this week.

Paul asked some new believers he met in Ephesus if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed (Acts 19:2). In his letters he said, I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16); If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25); and Don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18 HCSB).

Paul seems to be passionately concerned about Christians being filled and overflowing in the Holy Spirit, from the time they first receive Christ and throughout their lives. His encounter with those from Ephesus indicates that he wanted every believer to experience this overflow as soon as they could after trusting in Christ. Could that be because the overflow of the Spirit is the key to living “in the Spirit” and being what Jesus wants us to be?

I want to ask you – did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? I am referring to the baptism in the Holy Spirit which Jesus said would be a river of living water flowing up out of your heart and which, in both the Old and New Testaments, was accompanied by a form of divine speaking. In the Old Testament it was mostly “prophesying”, while in the New it was mostly “speaking in tongues.”

Have you had such an experience? More importantly, have you continually walked in the presence and overflow of the Spirit all the time? In Acts 4, we find the account of the disciples being beaten and threatened for preaching Jesus. When they returned to the group, they all gathered and prayed that God would give them boldness to continue to preach. The answer was that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31). Notice that these disciples had already been baptized in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost so what we see here is a subsequent and then continual infilling.

Gary Butler, the Potomac District Director of Church Health and Revitalization, wrote in his blog this week that according to Leonard Sweet we need a new way of determining success today. In the old days we counted attendance, buildings, and cash, and if things were going up, we felt as though we were being successful Christians. In today’s culture, Sweet says we should be counting whether we are actually doing the Great Commission; actually being friends with people who don’t know Christ; and actually being “Jesus with skin on” (being the church rather than just going to church). Sweet later asks, “Has anyone mistaken you for Jesus today?”

Dear friends, the only way anyone is going to mistake me or any of us for Jesus is if we are constantly living out our lives under the direction, guidance, and power of the Holy Spirit, who is the river of life within us. It’s not enough to have the Spirit and just go about life. We need to go about life “in the Spirit”. The fullness of the Spirit is not a one-time event or experience that we go after and they say, “been there, done that.” We need His overflow all the time.

I really want to be constantly aware of the things the Spirit is aware of, the people He is working on, the words He wants me to speak, and the situations He can influence through me. I want to be filled to overflowing, to be in the middle of the current, and be carried along in the power of the Spirit. The book of Acts is filled with accounts of believers living out their faith this way.

Let’s begin to expect the Spirit’s activity in our lives. Let’s believe that He can use us so that we might be mistaken for Jesus or, at least, so the unchurched world around us might say, “They have been with Jesus.” And let’s get ready for something big! Just a thought.

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