Monday, March 14, 2011
Louie says we are not to engage in our purposes and our agendas, but rather to reorder our lives to carry the name of Jesus and His resurrection. Louie pauses and points out that it is so easy to hear this charge and to be mindful of a message like this, but to then return to our every day habits without purposeful intent. Does this mean that the Holy Spirit hasn't really come into our lives? What is the evidence that we rely on the Holy Spirit? As we read in Acts, we see that anyone the Holy Spirit touches cannot help but scream out the name of Jesus.
Look in Acts 2:1. It describes an event where the Apostles have gathered and a wind blows in and "the whole house was filled up". It seemed like fire came down and touched each person causing them to speak in tongues. It was like God Himself had descended upon the house!
Most of us know that there is something that has to happen that is more than what is happening. When the Spirit came, what is the first thing the Apostles did? What do you think was their first reaction?? Read the text. They started speaking. Now, they were speaking in other tongues, but not "speaking in tongues". They were speaking in other languages! How do we know this? Because a crowd gathered in amazement and witnessed it. People were in the city from all over the world and they heard these men speaking about the name of Jesus in all of their own languages. Knowing these men were from Galilee, they could see this was a miracle. In the midst of this, Peter stands up and speaks to the crowd. "This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel." When the Spirit comes, people speak about Jesus...
Peter speaks to the crowd, “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[a] put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. 24 But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him."
That day, our church was born. But God knew that, even though the birth of the church was powerful, its people would become overwhelmed with life in time. They would begin, over time, to lose fervor, so God knew He had to give them something more.
Look at this story. This lame man had gone to this temple every single day. The apostles told him that they didn't have anything for this man at all. ALL THEY HAD WAS THE NAME OF JESUS. They didn't give him money, a sandwich or clothes, just Jesus' name. We have that same power over us as Christians, as "Christ in us". We might want to do something that would appear to help these people at their point of need. We can certainly do that, but how often do we want to stop, help the person, but then say, "Look at me", and "Don't think of this help as what you've experienced from thousands of others who have just passed by and thrown out leftover change"?! Look at me and hear the name of Jesus!
There is power in that name. In Luke 4, a demon possessed man is approached by Jesus, and the demon immediately screams out to Him because he knows who Jesus was! Jesus then casts out the demon and, at the same time, silences the demon saying that the people are not yet ready to know who He is.
You have to be careful that you don't take away the name of Jesus and then speak on any purpose thinking God will do whatever you ask. As an example, look later in Acts where these seven Jewish men attempt to cast out a demon in the name of Jesus (and with the authority of Paul). The demon responds by saying, basically, "I know who Paul is and who Jesus is, but who are you?" Then the demon severely beats all seven of the men to a pulp, strips them of all their clothes and chases them back into a city.
We have to be careful to use the name of the Holy Spirit, not for our purposes, but for His. Certainly, we have power in His name, but only power for what He wants to do.