One glance at Acts and you probably recognize a power in the early church that is sometimes missing in today’s church. Where did the early believers get such boldness to speak up? Where did they find the words when confronted with skepticism? How could they stand before the high court and proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ? What fueled their passion in the midst of intense persecution? The most obvious answer to these questions is…
The HOLY SPIRIT!
Some believers think there’s a magical formula to walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. Others believe this power is reserved for leaders and pastors with big followings. We often think that God doesn’t empower all His saints with great power.
Well, I disagree! The Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost and still lives and dwells within EVERY believer. It’s true that many aren’t tapping into the full power within them. So today, I want to bring before the story of one early believer and what we can learn from him.
His name is Philip and his story is in Acts 8:26-40. You may want to familiarize yourself with this story.
When we look at Philip’s story, we see two specific ways to tap into the Holy Spirit’s power…
1. Making yourself available to the Holy Spirit!
Are you someone who operates by a daily to-do list? You get up in the morning, pour yourself a cup of coffee, have your devotions (hopefully), get dressed, and then make a list of all the things you want to accomplish for the day.
I’m assuming the same was true of Philip. I wonder what this particular morning was like for him. He may have had his own agenda and was on mission to get it done. Then the call came to “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza” (Acts 8:26).
I love that Philip obeyed without hesitation. He just followed and trusted God for the rest. You see, the Holy Spirit prompted Philip to go to a certain place because it was in that place, a man was searching for the truth. And he needed guidance. By making himself available, Philip had the tremendous opportunity to lead this brother to the Lord. If Philip had not obeyed because it was not on his agenda, he would have missed out on the powerful work of the Spirit working through him, and he would have never witnessed the exuberance of this new convert when he understood God’s redemptive purposes.
Now, you may wonder how relevant it is to make yourself available to the Holy Spirit. Well, it’s VERY relevant. The relevancy lies in the fact that we are all a little task-oriented—some more than others. In any case, when the Holy Spirit calls, oftentimes our task-oriented personalities go into overdrive when what He’s asking is not on our to-do-list. There’s nothing that squashes His work more than pushing Him aside for our own agendas. And when the Holy Spirit is pushed aside, we miss out on something greater. Consequently, we need to be a little, and for some of us—a lot—more flexible when it comes to being filled up with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s work in us can die by our busy lifestyles.
2. To let the Holy Spirit control you!
Philip obviously demonstrated this when he let the Holy Spirit control his words and actions. The Apostle Paul writes: “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
When someone is drunk on wine, the wine has control of their body. The person cannot think straight, reason correctly, or talk clearly. Their motor skills are distorted, their equilibrium is off, and they certainly cannot make good and proper decisions. Therefore, it’s safe to say that when a person is drunk, the wine has control of their body and they are not in their right mind.
Now do you see why being drunk on wine can be compared to being filled with the Spirit? In both instances, we are under its control. But I’m sure you realize it’s much better to be controlled by the Holy Spirit than by alcohol. The Holy Spirit wants full reign of our bodies. He wants to control our minds, our emotions, our thoughts, and our actions.
I just heard a renowned pastor’s testimony of this exact thing. He said that he was in his late teens when he accepted Christ and in those early days, he wanted to tell everyone about Jesus. But he was afraid. Then he prayed for boldness. One day he was walking home from school with a friend and felt compelled to tell him about Jesus. He felt his heart racing and his mouth drying up. But as soon as he spoke, the words just came out. It was a little awkward at first, but as he went on, the words became clearer and he noticed a greater power.
Speaking up for Jesus can be frightening. But all it takes is obedience and letting the Holy Spirit control your tongue and your words.
I hope you realize that tapping into the Spirit’s power is not hard. And we just covered two ways to do that.
You still have time to join our ACTS Online Bible study. We begin Monday, January 15th. Sign up here…
You and I can be as effective in our witness as the early believers were.