Encountering His Spirit

MAKING CONTACT – Message #2

Pastor Chuck Hill – Trinity Fellowship Church

January 10, 2010

Acts 8:14-17

Well good morning!

Today we’re continuing the series we began last Sunday entitled MAKING CONTACT!

The purpose of this series is really to help us not only begin this new year well…but to ensure that the entire year of 2010 becomes one where we make contact with God in a much deeper and more powerful way. I

Last week we talked about beginning this connection with God by developing an intentionally closer walk with Jesus –studying His life, reading the gospels, and walking with Him daily!

But this morning, I want to share with you another way we can connect with God — and that’s through Encountering His Spirit.

How many of you know the name Bill Bright?

Well, for those of you who aren’t familiar with him — Bill Bright was a passionate author and Bible teacher…and will probably be remembered as one of the greatest evangelists of the 20th century. Bill passed away in July, 2003…but only after accomplishing some great things for the Kingdom of God.

He was the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, and through his ministry he was involved in leading millions — literally millions — to Jesus Christ, all over the world. He developed and produced the first JESUS FILM, which has been translated into hundreds of languages and used to share the love of Jesus with countless millions all around the world. He was the founder of a ministry known as CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST which is one of the strongest college and university gatherings still today around the world.

As an author, it was his desire to simplify biblical truths so that everyone could understand and apply them to their lives. But of all the Biblical doctrines and spiritual disciplines which he was passionate about, there was one topic more dear to him than any other.

He once said that if he had only one message to preach, it would be on this topic which we are going to look at today. In his words — He said,

“If I had only one sermon to preach, it would be ‘How To Be Filled With The Holy Spirit.‘”

Let me tell you, from personal experience — I have seen how this experience with the Holy Spirit really changes people’s lives.

I’ve seen it happen to Episcopalians and Presbyterians and Lutherans and Baptists and Pentecostals and Catholics and Liberals and people from nearly every imaginable Christian background.

And when they experience a personal connection with the Holy Spirit, their life seems to go into overdrive. Their prayer life changes, their joy increases, their strength to overcome sin multiplies, and they begin to develop a closeness to God like they’ve never felt before.

And that’s just some of the effects from ENCOUNTERING THE HOLY SPIRIT. And it’s no wonder….because that is exactly what Jesus said would happen.

He told his disciples (in John 14:16),

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.”

John 14:16

And He went on to say in verse 27,

The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”

John 14:27

And then again, after His physical resurrection from the dead — as He stood with them again…in Acts 1 He said to them,

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

What Jesus was saying was that when we ENCOUNTER HIS SPIRIT, that our lives will never be the same! When the Spirit of God begins to work within our lives — we experience something deep and life-changing.

ENCOUNTERING THE HOLY SPIRIT is an experience that opens the door to power & peace & the presence of God in our lives!

And just to answer the question, “The Spirit-filled life” was never intended to be an option for Jesus’ followers. It is something that Jesus always intended to be an essential to the life of faith!

To better understand the experience of ENCOUNTERING THE SPIRIT OF GOD in our lives today — I want us to look back at a brief story in the book of Acts. I believe this story will really help us have a better understanding of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Look with me in the New Testament to Acts 8:14-17.

Here the writer tells us…

“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 8:14-17

This is a very short story – but it packs a lot of punch!

What I want you to notice, is that there were those who were following Jesus but who had not experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit. They were believers in Christ — and had begun the journey of living for Him, but according to this passage, the Holy Spirit had not yet “come upon” any of them.

I’ll explain this a little more in just a minute, but I want you to realize that there are many believers today — who find themselves in this very same situation!

There may even be some of you who would could be described in this way. You’ve given your life to Jesus, you’re saved and going to heaven — — but maybe you’re not walking in the fullness of the Spirit.

Having placed your faith in Jesus, you’re salvation is settled and your sin is forgiven…but when it comes to living your faith day in and day out, maybe you feel like you’re living your life on your own strength, and you’re doing the best you can do, but you’re finding out that the best you can do just isn’t quite good enough.

Well, folks — God’s plan for His people isn’t just that we accept him and then do our best to follow His rules.

God’s plan for his people is that we accept Him and receive him into our lives, so that he lives through us.

  • When you’re weak, He wants to give you strength.
  • When you’re afraid, he wants to give you courage.
  • When you’re in turmoil, he wants to give you peace.

God isn’t asking for you to merely try and obey His rules, He’s asking you to allow Him to come into your life and personally empower you to become more like His Son — Jesus!

(Which is exactly what we have determined to do this year…

to dedicate this year to really discovering Jesus and living like Him!)

That’s what the infilling of the Holy Spirit is all about. It is really the “Personal Relationship” part of our connection to God.

So here’s what I’m going to encourage you to do today. I’m going to encourage you to come before God, just like those Samarian believers that we read about a few moments ago, and ask to receive the Holy Spirit into your life in a greater and more powerful way.

You may say, “Wait a minute. I’m a Christian. I already have the Holy Spirit. I’ve already been filled. I already know about this.” I understand what you’re saying.

Here’s what I’m saying. I’m encouraging you to come before God and admit your need for his presence and his power and his fullness in your life.

Ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit like you have never been filled before. Ask him to send his Holy Spirit into your life in a life-changing way — with power, with blessing, with anointing, with gifts, with fruits, with service, and love.

Ask Him to fill you to over-flowing with His Spirit and Presence.

Here’s what I know: If you ask for more of His Spirit and Presence — He’ll give it to you! That’s a request that He longs to fulfill.

He made this promise to all those who would strive after Him. He said in Jeremiah 29:13,

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13

Hebrews 11 says that God rewards those who earnestly seek him.

That means that if you ask God, “Lord, fill me with your Spirit, he will do it.”

Point of emphasis. You receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit the same way you were saved…it’s a matter of request and faith! It’s something that you receive just by asking for it. Not by working for it or paying for it or earning it in any way. You receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit by asking for it with a pure heart!

Now, in that same chapter of Acts, there’s another story about a man named Simon who, after seeing Peter and John pray for people to receive the Holy Spirit, decided that he wanted that ability too.

But his heart wasn’t right. He was prideful and wanted to be noticed…and so he offered them some money, saying, “Give me this power, too.” But Peter said to him, “You cannot buy the gift of God with money.”

Here’s the thing — the Holy Spirit is a gift; and you receive Him in greater measure into your life the same way you receive salvation: you just need to ask God to fill you!

Now, when it comes to being filled with the Holy Spirit, there are three things I want you to remember:

1. THE INFILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ABOUT GOD GETTING MORE OF YOU!

Splitting theological hairs, when you were saved you received the Holy Spirit — all of him. Jesus came into your life, he forgave you of your sins, the old sinful nature was buried and you became a new creation in Christ. That work is complete. When you ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit, it’s really you submitting more of your life and allowing God to receive more of you!

You might say that he’s like a visitor in your home who so far has only been allowed into the front room, but now, when you surrender yourself fully to God, the Holy Spirit is given free reign through the entire household — the den, the study, the halls, the kitchen, the bedroom, the attic and the basement — every part of the house.

When you invite God to fill you with His Spirit, you’re essentially giving Him access to more of life.

Here’s the second thing I want you to think about.

2. THE INFILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS REALLY ABOUT YOU LIVING UNDER HIS INFLUENCE!

You know, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell upon those who were in the upper room and subsequently filled their lives with His presence and power — well, when that happened, there were those who suspected that they were filled with wine or alcohol of some type. And their assumption was literally, that they were drunk…or intoxicated.

And though they were incorrect, (the people in the upper room were not drunk from alcohol) — the context of their rational is a pretty good analogy.

Because, the realities of alcohol is that it only takes a few ounces of alcohol (most tests have found that the average person can become legally drunk after just 2-3 drinks). When the alcohol hits the blood system, it begins to completely take control over the body. It affects the way the person thinks and the way they talk and act. It affects their judgment! It affects their temperament.

The reality is that when you’re under the influence of alcohol, you become a different person.

The same can be said for being under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will affect your temperament. He will affect your judgment. He will affect the way you think and the way you talk.

I’ve seen and heard people under the influence of alcohol who lose their inhibition and say outlandish things to people. And then when confronted about their rudeness – they are quick to blame the drink and say it wasn’t their fault, it was the alcohol talking.

Well, in the same way…when you’re under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you find yourself in situations where you respond differently than you might expect – because you have submitted to the Holy Spirit and been filled by His presence. And so, in those moments…maybe you’re able to speak the exact words of comfort that a hurting person needs to hear. And again — it’s really not you, it’s the Holy Spirit working through you.

When you’re under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you find yourself in situations where you’re able to pray with power, where you’re able to give generously, where you’re able to accomplish great things — and when that happens, you will know: that’s not you, it’s the Holy Spirit working through you.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit will result in you being influenced to live and act differently!

Here’s the third thing I want you to notice.

3. THE INFILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS AN ON-GOING EXPERIENCE!

You’re not just filled with the Holy Spirit one time, and that one filling lasts you till you get to heaven. It’s an ongoing experience. You ask to be filled day-after-day, moment-after-moment. One old pastor once remarked, I remember, “No less than 2000 times a day I ask God to fill me with his Holy Spirit.” When he said that I began to do the math, trying to figure out how many times an hour or minute that would equal, so that I could be sure to ask that often, too. Actually, his point was that the filling of the Holy Spirit is an on-going experience. We are constantly filled and re-filled and filled again as we walk with God throughout the day.

That’s why this is so important to the idea that this is the year that we make contact. Making contact does not mean one encounter that will carry us the distance. It means a daily encounter with the Holy Spirit, where we experience his presence again and again throughout the day, day after day after day.

CONCLUSION

According to one of the greatest Christian leaders of the 20th century, the most important aspect of the Christian life for you to nail down is learning how to live the Spirit filled life. When we are filled with the Spirit, we have power and peace, we bless others with spiritual gifts and we are driven by the fruits of the Spirit.

If you want to MAKE CONTACT WITH GOD in 2010, then make it your objective to be filled with HIS HOLY SPIRIT…to be empowered by His presence in a greater way than ever before.

How do you do it? —  You just ask Him to fill you!

And so you ask at the beginning of the day, every hour of the day, at the close of the day, you ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit — to fill you like you’ve never been filled before, to come upon you with power, so that you can be useful to him, and so that your life will be filled with his glory.

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