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 Filled with the Power of the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:1-8

Dr Alex Tang

 

Message : To see reality as it is ( including the supernatural world ) and seek the filling of the Holy Spirit for Power and Truth Encounters.

I.                   Context

After the disappearance of Jesus’ body from the tomb, he suddenly appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He had supper with them and Luke 24:31 said ‘ Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “ Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scripture to us?.” Then they returned to Jerusalem where Jesus appeared amongst them. Jesus appeared to his disciples for forty days; eating with them and gave them many convincing proof that he was alive. He also taught them many lessons until he was taken up. He then told them to wait for the gift that the Father has promised.

      Acts 2: 1-13

 

II.        Observations

Now  I want to share with you three observation from my study of this passage:

1.                  Khairos Encounter ( God’s Timing )

Can you imagine the disciples. After a traumatic period of watching their teacher being crucified, then the joy and confirmation that Jesus is indeed who he said he is by coming back from the dead. Then to spend another forty days with the risen Christ. Man, they must be excited and all ready to go. “Come on,” Peter must have said,”  let’s show these Pharisee and Sedducees and Essesses that Jesus has risen from the dead. How I would like to see their faces. Thomas, let us arrange a press conference ( you must notice I am paraphasing ). We shall get CNN, NBC, Straits Times and Berita Harian.  Bartholomew, you book the indoor stadium. John, you be the secretary…. What you’re busy. You are writing a book called the  Gospel!  It’s going to be a bestseller?  Judas, you are in charge of raising fund. Maybe we can go into merchandising. Jesus action figures.  Yes, let do it……

But what did Jesus do ?

Acts 1:4 “ On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit”.

 Sometimes we are so impatient so get things done that we wait for God. Wait…. Wait … wait for the correct time. We live in a fast track world. We want everything instantly. Instant coffee. Fast food. Post laju. Email. Fax.  When we are sick, we want instant cure.

I have parents who brought their child to see me. He has fever for 2 days but has seen 4 doctors!  Three in one day and one prior to seeing me. They gave the child one dose of medication and if the fever did not subside, onto another doctor.

So when we come to church, we also want to do things fast. Sanctification must be instant. We are impatient to receive our spiritual gifts and be off serving God.

We start a new project for God. It become very successful. Then things begin to go wrong. Then we ask, “ Lord, where are you?”. The Lord said, “ I was not with you. You left me behind long time ago.” God has His own timing.

Look what happen to Moses. If you have watched the animated movie, Prince of Egypt, you will have seen a young and impulsive Moses striking and killing an Egyptian for striking an old man. In Exodus, the Bible actually said Moses committed cold blooded murder. He saw no one was watching and killed the Egyptian and then buried his body in the sand. That is not a man doing an impulsive act. Moses thought he was ready to lead God’s people. Being prince of Egypt and all the excellent training. He thinks he is ready. But God did not think so. So Moses spend another 40 years at the backside of the desert, at Midian until God calls him again.

Our Lord, Jesus spent 30 years in relative obscurity before He started his ministry. Yet we are so impatient. We need to wait for the Lord’s timing. He will give us the filling when He wants to. Not when we demand it.

 

II.                Power Encounter

My second observation is that on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit to poured down, there is an actual Power Encounter. In Greek, power also applies to the Unseen world/ supernatural world. Paul said ‘ We deal with powers, principalities              .’ When we are filled with the Holy Spirit,we are able to operate within the supernatural world. What used to be available to a few chosen prophets, kings and priest are now available to those filled with the Holy Spirit.

1.1              We encounter the Divine Spirit – the Spirit of God.

Direct and Indirect work of the Holy Spirit.

1.2              The filling of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by many tongues. There are …. Language groups mentioned in the passage. Here I am not saying that Filling or Baptism of the Holy Spirit must be accompanied by the gift of tongues. In the 4 episodes in the Books of Acts that deal with the Filling of the Holy Spirit  Acts 2:1-41 (Pentecost Experience) ; Acts 8: 5-25 (Samaritan Experience); Acts 10:1-11,18 (The Gentile Experience) and Acts 19:1-17 (The disciples of John the Baptist Experience). In 3 out of 4 episodes , the people received the gift of tongues . Again it is up to the Holy Spirit whether a particular gift is given or not. We can ask for it.

             We must also note that a spiritual gift does not make the recipient more spiritual than another who do not have the gift. The Corinthians have a lot of  spiritual gifts. Paul wrote to them to scold them for misusing their gifts and for being spiritually immature.

 

III.             Truth Encounter

3.1      Understanding

Even when Jesus was with them for forty days after the resurrection, the disciples still do not understand about the Kingdom of God. They still ask in Acts 1:6          “ Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” They are still thinking that Jesus will call down a legion of angels, overthrow Caesar and set up a political government.  Noticed after the filling of the Holy Spirit, all these have changed. They know what the Kingdom of God is and they what their role in it is.

Paul later wrote ( 1 Cor 2:14)  that only those with the Holy Spirit can understand the things of God. To others, it is all foolishness.  The Filling of the Holy Spirit gives us understanding.

3.2      Boldness to speak.

The power of the Spirit is for witness. Notice how bold the disciples are to speak. Stephen. Peter. Paul. They spoke and as they speak, the Spirit of God gave then utterance. It is the same with us. The Filling of the Spirit gave us boldness and empowering for ministry. Otherwise, we shall be moving forward in the flesh, in our own power.

 

IV.              Application

So we see, to be effective Christians we must have a power encounter and a truth encounter. But this has to be done in God’s own timing.

Sir William Osler is often called the Father of clinical medicine. He said most diagnosis of diseases can be made by talking to patients, by careful physical examination and observation. Because of his fame, he often has a large group of student. One day, he was at the bedside of a patient with  diabetes. He spoke to the patient, examined him and held up a beaker of his urine. To the astonishment of his students, he put his finger in and put it into his mouth. Then he passed the beaker around. Everyone put their finger into the urine and put it into their mouth. The grimaces on their face told the story. One of them said, if I am to taste all my patients’ urine, I am going to give up medicine. On hearing this, the great man smile. Notice that I put my little finger into the beaker and my index finger into my mouth…….

Isn’t it so with the Holy Spirit. We hear of what is happening in other churches and we want to imitate. We get into trouble and say we do not want the gifts.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones of Westminster Chapel in London is a famous preacher and teacher. I have a special affection for him because he was a physician before he went into the ministry and all his writings have the flavor of  his medical training.

He said one of the great danger facing the church today is to have an experience and then try to explain the experience by using Scriptures. Much of the Controversy of the Works of the Holy Spirit- First Wave 1905 Pentacostal; Second Wave 1960s Charismatic Renewal; Third Wave 1990s Signs and Wonders Movement and lately the Apostolic Reformation are center of trying to explain our experience by the Scriptures.

But what is worse, he said is to interprete the Scripture in the light of our own experience and reducing its teaching to the level of what we know and experience.

Friends, where are you now ?

As you begin your study of the book of Acts, I challenge you to look at it in three perspective : Kairos Encounter ( God’s Timing ); Power Encounter ( Sighs and Wonders) and Truth Encounter ( Revelations by the Holy Spirit through human mind ). Then look to your own life. Are you encountering God in these 3 levels ? That’s the whole idea of these encounters. It is not for show, or prestige but to lead us to God. So are we encountering God at these 3 levels. If not, then we should ask God to meet us. These encounters only happens by grace. Not by our own works or our goodness. It is given to us freely. We have only to desire and to ask.

1.                  Seek God’s timing in all things and wait on Him.

2.                  Seek for a Filling of the Power of the Holy Spirit that you might experience Power and Truth Encounters.

 

                                                                                                                                                      Soli Deo Gloria

 

 

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 "spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"  

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