Tuesday, May 22, 2018

And Now, Compelled by the Spirit

And Now, Compelled by the Spirit
Acts 1:1-8; 20:17-25 (May 20, 2018. Pentecost Sunday
There are two spirits in this world. One is the spirit of the world, and the other is of the Holy Spirit who is holy. In other words, the spirit of the world is the spirit from Satan, and the other is the Spirit from God, the Spirit of the Lord Jesus. “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words” (1 Cor 2:12, 13). So we must be with the latter. We must be caught by the Holy Spirit.
Those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit bear many good fruits in life, and the Apostle Paul displays them in nine ways. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Gal 5:22, 23).
On the other hand, those who are governed by the spirit of Satan produce the following fruits of life: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Gal 5:19-21). Furthermore, he adds the following warning: “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21).
Furthermore, the Elder James points out that, among those who claim that they are believers, there are some still caught up by the spirit of the world, not by the Spirit of the Most Holy: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (Jam 4:1-3). According to James, therefore, we need to receive the Holy Spirit by earnest prayer so we can be free from the control of Satan.
However, we should admit that it is not our own strength and power to win the spirit of the world, the spirit of Satan. There is only one way, that is, we go under the control of the Holy Spirit. We must be captured by the Holy Spirit. In other words, we must be the captivity of the Holy Spirit. If not, we will continue to live like the people under the demonic dominance.
We must be all caught by the Holy Spirit, so that we can acknowledge the things belonged to heaven. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14).
A. W. Tozer, who dedicated his entire life to the study of the Holy Spirit, urges us to be the captive of the Holy Spirit, and he provides the four recommending steps that we would be filled with the Holy Spirit:
First, we must give our bodies to God. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship (Rom 12:1); “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom 12:2).
Second, we must ask God for the filling of the Holy Spirit. God pours out his Spirit to those who earnestly pray and desire. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” (LK 11:9-12).
Third, we must always strive to obey God’s Word in our daily lives. “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32). According to this teaching, the Holy Spirit comes and actively works only within those who obey to God. When reading and hearing the Bible and then striving to live according to the Word, we are fully filled with the Holy Spirit from God.
Fourth, we must believe that the filling of the Holy Spirit is a gift to the believer. All of us are God’s children after having received Jesus by faith. Therefore, we already have faith. Because of that faith, the Holy Spirit comes to us.
And if we want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we will not simply let the Holy Spirit stay in us. We must let him rule over us. We must make sure that the Holy Spirit fully controls our bodies, our minds, our lives, and our souls. That is a life filled with the Holy Spirit.
"To be filled with the Holy Spirit" means "to continuously remain under the control of the Holy Spirit." It is the filling of the Holy Spirit dominating our lives.
Acts 1: 1-8, which we have read together today, is a statement that Jesus asked his disciples to wait to receive the Holy Spirit right before his ascension into heaven. It was impossible for his disciples to preach the gospel only after receiving the Holy Spirit. Only by the filling of the Holy Spirit could help the disciples to go out Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the end of the world, and preach the Good News of Jesus. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (vs 8).
So Jesus asked the disciples, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about” (vs 4). Therefore, his disciples gathered together at one place in Jerusalem and all joined together constantly in prayer. They were about a hundred and twenty (vs 14, 15),
In Acts 2: 1-4, when they gathered and were only trying to pray, the day of Pentecost came. On that very day, “suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven” and all the people gathered in the room were filled with the Holy Spirit. What came down upon them looked like “tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them” (vs 4). “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (vs 5).
In Act 2:5-8, we can see those God-fearing Jews who were staying in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven. They came together to find out what was going on with the disciples of Jesus who were speaking in many different tongues. Some were bewildered to hear the disciples speaking in their foreign language. “Utterly amazed,” they asked each other, “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?” (vs 7). Because the ignorant Galileans seemed to be better at speaking foreign languages than the Jews who came from foreign countries. But some of them ridiculed the disciples and said, “They have had too much wine” (vs 13).
Of course, the people tried to ridicule the disciples. But indeed the disciples seemed like they were drunk with some strong wines. The things happened with them were extremely eccentric and nonsense. What the Galileans were doing was impossible unless they were influenced by some powerful spirits.
This same thing should take place in our church today. We should all get drunk by a new wine. If so, we can be filled with the Spirit. If so, this church can be revived once again. If so, we can be the Lord’s witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
The New Testament introduces so many people who are captured by the Holy Spirit, and one of those was the Apostle Paul. After being caught by the Holy Spirit, his life was completely different. He put the will and plan of the Holy Spirit prior to his own. So, after many years of preaching the Gospel of the Lord in the gentile world, he was going up to Jerusalem and he said, “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace” (Acts 20:22-24). Because strongly compelled by the Holy Spirit, he was able to bear to the end the task entrusted to him with humility and tears. He was able to go up to Jerusalem without hesitation or fear, even though he knew that all hardships were waiting.
Brothers and sisters, do you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you want to be controlled by the Holy Spirit? Do you want the Holy Spirit to take leadership and lead you in your life? Then are you ready to obey the Holy Spirit? If the Holy Spirit says to you, "Go out," and are you going out? If he says, "Stop," are you going to stop? If he says, "Sit down," are you going sitting down? If he says "Wake up," are you going to wake up? Are you sure about that?
I believe you will still remember the Thomas Fire, driven Ventura County to devastation last year. The fires were burning for several weeks and destroyed the surrounding forests and houses. The fires took away from us so many precious things.
On the contrary, however, even though the Holy Spirit is a burning fire, he is burning the sins that ought to be burnt. And then he makes our spirits, souls and fleshes anew. The Thomas Fire was a fire to kill, but the fire of the Holy Spirit is a fire to save.
The one hundred and twenty believers of the Lord who had gathered at the Upper Room of Mark in Jerusalem were “all joined together constantly in prayer” so that the Holy Spirit descended on each of them and put them on fire. The fire of the Holy Spirit should come to all of us here as well. We as a church should get ready to receive the saving fire of the Holy Spirit.
How? We should all desire the Holy Spirit and pray earnestly for his coming. We should surrender ourselves (our thoughts, spirits, and souls) to God so that his Spirit can come. And we should absolutely obey the Spirit's guidance afterward. We are no longer drawn to our own thoughts, feelings, or wills. Rather we should totally commit ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul said, we all should be “compelled by the Holy Spirit” and do his work.
Now, dear brothers and sisters, what are you going to be controlled by? By the spirit of the world? Or by the Spirit of the Lord? The choice is up to us. This is what I earnestly pray: We are all compelled by the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, and become a partner of his marvelous ministry in this life. Amen?

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