Let me start out with a Francis Chan quote from his book, Forgotten God, pages 16-17, “If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit. Without Him, people operate in their own strength and only accomplish human-size results.”
It is time. It is time to awaken the quiet Spirit that abides within every believer’s heart. The American Church, especially, is guilty of falling for Satan’s strategy. Believers love God and Jesus but are failing at loving the Holy Spirit. “Many have the knowledge but lack the courage to admit the discrepancy between what we know and how we live.” (Francis Chan, page 18) Do you see the unbalance between the two? Like me, I know you battle with this conflict too. We so want to live for Christ, yet, the struggle is real. We fall short. We let our own wants and needs dictate our choices, and we curtail God moving within us in powerful ways.
Open your Bible to Acts 19:1-7. God is using Paul to get the message out about Jesus Christ. Paul travels around the region sharing the Good News. In his day, believers were of the Old Testament faith where God did not reside within people. Now, Jesus came to earth and resurrected from the dead. This changed everything. Faith had now become very intimate and personal.
God was going to dwell within every believer who follows His Son.
Paul went town to town, being led by the Holy Spirit, reasoning with believers in the synagogues to now believe in the Messiah and follow Him. In this passage, Paul reached Ephesus where he found several believers. Pay attention to the dialogue that takes place. It reveals the importance of the Holy Spirit.
Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”2 They replied no and said they hadn’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit. God provided for His people in more of an exterior way before Christ came. The Spirit was moving but not in an intimate, personal way like He was beginning to do for those who believed and followed Jesus Christ. This is a sign of the transition from Old Testament faith to New Testament faith.
The Bible teaches you who the Holy Spirit is and what He does for you. Check out these truths and look up other scriptures as well:
Acts 2:38 ESV – “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.“
John 14:26 ESV – “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
Romans 15:13 ESV – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 8:26 ESV – “Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Paul then asks them, “What baptism did you experience?” Their reply was the baptism of John. John went ahead of Jesus and prepared people’s hearts to believe and receive Jesus when He came around; see Matthew 3:1-6. These believers had followed what John was telling them. Paul goes on to speak about John’s message which was to repent from sin and believe in the “one that would come later, meaning Jesus.”4
Pay attention to what happens next. “As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”5 Paul laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came upon them!
This, my friend, is how to awaken the Holy Spirit within your heart: First, hear the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Second, believe that God’s Words are true. Third, respond to the truth by saying yes to Jesus. Fourth, confess your sins to Christ and He will forgive you. Fifth, be baptized. When Jesus entered the water to be baptized, the heavens opened up and the Spirit of God descended upon Him; see Matthew 3:13-17. And finally, listen the Holy Spirit as He helps you abide in Christ and walk in obedience to God.
When you follow the example of Jesus, you will align yourself up with God and He will rejoicingly answer your prayers and mold you into His likeness. In His sanctification process, He gives you the Holy Spirit to walk with you and in you as He speaks through His Word to teach, correct and discipline, and love on you.
When the whole Trinity gets involved, there is nothing that can stop the love of God!
We would all become world changers that exude hope and grace to a dying world. Those believers were able to do a whole lot more once they understood who the Holy Spirit was. What could they now do according to verse 6? When Jesus is allowed to sit on the throne in your heart, the Spirit will move in mighty ways. Today is the day to awaken the Holy Spirit and let Him shine.