Sermon Notes for the teaching at Christian Fellowship Church on Sunday, May 31.

Whatever Could This Mean?

by Pastor Phil Schaefer

Scripture References:
2 Timothy 1:6
Acts 2: 1-47

‘Whatever could this mean?’
That’s the perfect question.

This morning my prayer is that there may be a stirring of the gift of God in you.
-Every time I read this account in Acts 2 my spirit is stirred.
-I find it breathtaking.
-It sends a certain chill through me.
-We read this incredible act of God upon His followers that is designed to forever change them & the course of this world.
-The former trajectory was Death reigns.
-The new trajectory is a new creation, a new earth, a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. (the kingdoms of this world…)
-The promised Holy Spirit has come, and the trajectory of the world has been forever altered.
(Whatever could this mean?)

In John 20:22 – Jesus breathed upon his disciples, and said to them – ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
This is Christ on earth breathing the Holy Spirit upon them.
But in Acts 2 we see another kind of breathing.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and this sound, this wind, filled the whole house where they were staying…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
This is Christ, ascended on high, breathing the Holy Spirit upon them.

Jesus 1st act of ascendancy is to start with that 120 in the upper room and from there breathe over Jerusalem, & Judea, & Samaria, over all people of the earth, to the ends of the earth, unto the end of time.
Jesus is breathing the Holy Spirit.
This is God’s plan for salvation.
Peter – Acts 2:33 – Therefore, being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
(Whatever could this mean?)

This is the great communion of the redeemed with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus says in John 14– in that day – what day?
The day of Pentecost.
‘In that day you will know that I am in My Father and you in me, and I in you.’
Jesus is making an unimaginable statement. He is telling you
You are in the Son and the Son is in you.
You are in the Father and the Father is in you.
You are in the Spirit and the Spirit is in you.

These are not statements merely of experience, or feeling, or intellect.
These are statements of position.
This is a statement of the position of the redeemed for all eternity.
To say ‘I am in Christ’ is the most powerful statement one can ever make.
(Whatever could this mean they asked?)

What have we done to deserve this? Nothing!
It is the gift of God. This is His plan of salvation
– not yours/not mine.
It is an act of his unfailing, unlimited, unalterable grace.

Peter says in Acts 2 – Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
-Repenting and being baptized literally means you haven’t done anything to deserve this.
-You did not earn this. You did not qualify for this.
-Repenting literally means ‘I got it wrong’.
-Baptism is designed so that someone else has to do it for you.
-By its very definition you can’t baptize yourself.
-It is Jesus who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit comes to make Jesus not just an historical figure, but makes him alive to us, real to us, personal to us.

One of the most audacious statements that I made when I first came to know Christ was:
‘I know God. I know Jesus in a personal way.’
That offended people when I said it, but I couldn’t back off of it.

This is what happens to us when the Holy Spirit comes upon us.
-In that moment, my eyes were opened to the reality of Jesus as alive, and personal, and for me. He saved me.
-In that moment I knew my life was forever in his hands, and somehow, in ways I still cannot comprehend, he was going to use my life for His good purpose.
It was and still is life changing.

(Whatever could this mean?)
These disciples had walked with and lived with Jesus for 3yrs.
They saw his miracles, saw him crucified, saw him resurrected,
but there was this piece that still needed to be added.
It was a piece that put all the pieces together.

What was that piece?
Jesus is from the sphere of heaven.
We are from the sphere of earth.
Jesus came from a realm of sinless perfection, the kingdom of God, the presence of God.
We are from the realm of Adam, of dust, of sin and death, and ungodly dominion.
What was that piece?
The coming of the Holy Spirit is the sign that we are now being oriented and sustained by Jesus Christ ascended on high from the realm of heaven.

What is the sign of the in-breaking of heaven to earth?
I am! You are!
Paul says, ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief.
The Holy Spirit is saving & sealing sinners to God.
Paul says in Ephesians – ‘We are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee – the down payment – of our inheritance until the full redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.’

The Holy Spirit has come to stay.
‘Never will I leave you,’ Jesus says.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t come and then go.
If you are in Christ, you have the guarantee of your salvation.

Don’t for a moment mistake not feeling his presence as a sign of his absence.
You can’t shake off God so easily.
You can’t get Him off His course in your life.

Jesus tells his faltered & failed disciples to wait till they receive power from on high.
Waiting is a work of the Holy Spirit.
Asking, seeking, knocking is all part of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Remember, you are the vessel in God’s hands.
It is the Holy Spirit who is shaping and ordering your life in His way, in His time and on His terms.

The disciples learned over the course of their 3 yrs. with Jesus to look to him, to follow him, to lean upon him,
to become utterly dependent upon him.
That is the life the Holy Spirit comes to give us:
A life of learning, leaning, looking, following, and utterly dependent living upon the Holy Spirit.
That’s what Jesus did when he walked the earth.
That’s what eternal life is.

The Spirit-lead life is the life of a follower of Jesus.
Or as I like to say. ‘Resistance is futile.’
God will have his way in your life.

The Holy Spirit comes to replace our ego – ego – that pride portion of ourselves – that most sinful portion – pride – which causes so much harm.
Under the Holy Spirit we no longer concern ourselves w/ our titles, our achievements, our wealth, or power over others.
Paul says, I labored more than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
The Holy Spirit is the spirit of grace & humility.

The Holy Spirit comes to replace any heavy-handedness in us.
God is not heavy-handed.
Mt. 11:29 – Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Without the Holy Spirit we live in our own ideas, our own desires,
our own goals but w/ the Holy Spirit we are guided differently.
We seek to follow His lead. That is what matters to us.

This is what matters to us as a church.
As a people gathered by the Holy Spirit, we desire to follow His lead.
‘It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.’
The King James version says quickeneth – It is the Spirit that quickeneth.

That word ‘quicken’ describes something.
It is when you are reading the Word of God and suddenly a verse stands out. You are gripped by it.
It makes something come alive in you. You are quickened.
All of a sudden, the word of God is not dry, it is alive. Go with it.

That word quicken works when you go through a season of prayer and your prayers are dry, or you may have stopped praying, or prayer doesn’t seem to matter or be effective, and suddenly the Holy Spirit quickens prayer in you.
You want to pray; you are moved to pray.
You aren’t so concerned with what you are praying you just need to pray.
When that happens that’s the Holy Spirit using you. Go with it.

That word quicken works when you are in the midst of worship and all of a sudden the atmosphere in your heart and in the room is elevated, there is a greater awareness of God’s presence. Go with it.

The word quicken works when someone is in your mind and heart and you can’t quite explain why. That’s the Holy Spirit.
That’s the Holy Spirit giving you a burden for someone. Go with it.

Our world is going through a most tumultuous time.
Are we acting in it as everyone else?
Are we scoffing at it?
Are we caving into it?
Are we fearful as Donnie addressed last week?
Are we unruly?
Is there a spirit of judgment, of discord?

We are a Spirit people.
We are a people who orient ourselves from another realm
– the realm of God’s Kingdom, a realm of rightly relating,
of peace, and of joy.

The burden for Timothy was challenging.
What does Paul tell him to do?
Stir up the gift of God.
Live in the Spirit.
That’s the place of power from a different realm.
That’s the place where love shines and powerfully affects other’s lives.
The Holy Spirit has given us a spirit of love, so let us love others, laying down our lives.
We are in Christ. We are of a different spirit.
We are from a realm not of this world.

And they asked, ‘Whatever could this mean?’

Stir up the gift of God which is in you…for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.