I want to share with you a few thoughts on being filled with the Holy Spirit, on what the role of the Holy Spirit is in our lives.
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you...
Luke 24:49 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.
I love this passage of Scripture where the disciples are waiting because Jesus told them to tarry, and then there’s a moment, and suddenly there’s a sound from heaven.
There are multitudes of men that need to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They need that transformation in their lives. Preceding revival is a “suddenly” moment, when the Holy Spirit comes on our lives and empowers us for service. The outpouring of the Spirit will always precede harvest.
Pentecost was a feast that God required Israel to keep. What was so important to God to bring every man of Israel together to a Promise Keepers event way back, maybe 3400 years ago? The feast of Pentecost was a feast of first fruits. It was the beginning of the wheat harvest. God was saying, I want you to declare that the harvest begins now. We’re thinking it’s all about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but that’s only part of the picture. In the Old Testament God was saying, I need you to proclaim.
Fast forward to the New Testament: God is planning to pour out His Spirit on the Church. He chooses the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit comes; they’re all empowered. Peter stands up and preaches, and 3000 souls are added to the Church.
It’s the heart of God that we receive power so that we can be His disciples. Heaven falls, harvest begins. God wants us to have an experience with His Holy Spirit in such a way that we are able to bring harvest to our nation.
Pentecost was the empowering - heaven falling, and the harvest - souls being saved. It seems to me that the Church over many years has attempted to have one without the other.
Imagine [in] Acts 2 - the Holy Spirit comes upon the early Church in the Upper Room, and they all get filled with the Holy Ghost. Imagine if they just stayed in their Upper Room and started praying for each other, but they never got outside the door. It would have been a travesty. You see, God never intends us to be filled with the Holy Spirit without winning the nation to Christ.
There’s another extreme: there are churches today that are so passionate about winning the lost, but don’t need the Holy Spirit: we don’t like that speaking in tongues stuff; we don’t want to have any manifestations. They’ve got harvest without heaven falling.
I don’t think it’s ever been God’s intention that the Spirit of God would be poured out without harvest. Neither do I think it’s ever been God’s intention that we try and do harvest without the Spirit of God falling.
This thought of being empowered for service is a theme that goes through the entire Bible. When you think of David, he’s just a young man. Samuel comes and he says, he’s the guy that’s going to be the next king. What does Samuel do? He took the horn of oil and he poured it out upon [David’s] head and he said, here’s the power of the Holy Spirit. He anointed him for service from that moment.
Moses was a burnt-out leader. He’d been 40 years in the wilderness and one day he comes upon the fire of God, and it’s amazing to him. Right there, God gives him a revelation to be a man that walks with the fire of God. It was like an empowering of the Holy Spirit; he had to have the fire before he could face the Pharaoh.
When you think of Elisha, God’s looking for a new prophet. Elijah comes down from the mountain, he finds this young man Elisha, he takes off his coat and he throws his mantle on him. Basically, he was saying you need a mantle - you need the empowering before you can be a prophet.
Even Jesus, He’s about to go and heal the sick and preach the Gospel and cast out devils, but what’s the first thing He does? He gets baptised, the heavens open, the Spirit of God comes down upon Him, He’s anointed for the ministry (Luke 4:18).
If Moses needed the fire, if Elisha needed the mantle, if David needed the anointing oil, and if Jesus needed to be filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit, what hope have we got if we just go out there and try and do it in our own strength?
Jesus said that He would send a comforter - the word paraclete, which is actually a military term for one who comes alongside and encourages in the battle. The Holy Spirit is not just a force. He is a person. He literally comes upon us - He fills us and He begins to walk with us. He begins to counsel us, to empower us, to encourage us.
In John 20:24 Thomas says, unless I feel Him for myself I will not believe. I really believe Thomas personifies our generation. They’re an experiential generation. We say to them, you need to believe in Jesus because we believe. They say, no I’m not going to believe just because you believe - I need to experience Him for myself. When we try and share our faith with this generation without the power of the Holy Spirit, we’re just bringing a teaching. When the anointing of the Holy Spirit comes on a man he preaches that same message, but under the power of the Holy Spirit, people experience God for themselves. They say, man I don’t know what it is, but I can’t deny there’s something real going on here - there’s something of the supernatural.
You might have been filled before, but the Bible says be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s like the wind and the sail; we’re to continually live dependent lives on the Holy Spirit.
In Luke 11:10 it says everyone who asks receives. God is more interested in heaven falling on your life than you are.
Excerpted from Promise Keepers Leave No Man Behind 2008 Christchurch Men’s Event - Courage Under Fire.