God sends Help
Read Acts 2
This week we are going to take some time to go through this part of Acts. While this is not the beginning of the Holy Spirit’s appearance in the Bible, it is where He seems to start to manifest in a new way. The sermon this week focused on the idea that as disciples, we have the Holy Spirit already. The problem is that the church does not seem to live as if the Holy Spirit is at work around or in them.
One of the first things that was talked about in the sermon, is the results that would be present when the Holy Spirit is present. For the chapter we just read, that looked like 3,000 people being saved. But a careful reading of the text shows us that this was not the only result.
- What are some other results that you see in the work of the Holy Spirit in this chapter?
- How have you seen some of these results in your life?
- Do you see this in the churches around us each day?
- Why do you think that you do or do not?
Read Acts 2:42-43
For this day and time, direction was pretty crucial for the church. Imagine sitting there after watching Jesus ascend back into Heaven and wondering what is next. It was all about following Jesus and His work, but now He is gone and so therefore…what’s next? When the Holy Spirit began to manifest Himself among the believers, that is when they were clear about the direction. They began to chase the work of the Holy Spirit. It made sense that where the Holy Spirit was doing great things is where they needed to be.
There are many times in our life that we wonder about this same lack of direction. What is next and what are we supposed to be doing? As Christians, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit that works sort of like a compass for us to help guide our lives.
- What do you think it was like for the early church to finally have that direction they longed for
- Can you remember a time in your life that you were lacking or looking for direction?
- How do you experience the Holy Spirit directing your life now?
Read: Acts 4:13-14
Fear, that one little word can cause so many people to become frozen and unable to move. When I think of the disciples on that Pentecost day, I can just see them entering the upper room so afraid that someone may have seen them. They didn’t go in with a brash attitude, not even the boisterous Peter. Yet, when they came out of that room there was a surgent of boldness. What had changed? Nothing on the outside, but everything on the inside! The Holy Spirit had come upon them and gave them a boldness that was unheard of. What I marvel at is that same boldness resides in each of us, we just choose to keep it sequestered. Peter and John was standing before some of the most powerful Jews, and yet they spoke with a boldness that baffled the Jewish leaders. It wasn’t because they had gone to class and figured out the right words, or had taken speech classes to know how to formulate a sentence correctly, it was the fact that they no longer relied on their strength, but on the strength that the Holy Spirit gave them. If we have accepting Jesus Christ, then that same power and boldness resides in you. The question we need to ask ourselves is “are you going to let the Holy Spirit loose in your life?”
- Each day we are faced with a choice to display fear or boldness, which do you display often?
- What sets the disciples apart that day was their willingness to give the Holy Spirit complete control, does He have that same freedom in your life? Explain some instances of where He did and where He didn’t?
Read: Acts 5:12-16
In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years.
Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, “Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable.” He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life. For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.
We have this incredible power residing in our lives known as the Holy Spirit. Many times it is only the loose connection from God’s Word and our commitment to be used by God that keeps the power from roaring through our life. Could 2018 be the year that the Holy Spirit comes truly alive in your life and you experience the power that all those disciples experienced on that Pentecost Sunday?
- Do you seek to be used completely by God daily, or only when it is convenient to you?
- If you looked at your life can you see loose connections that are keeping you from fulfilling the purpose God has for you?
- Spend time in prayer today and ask God to show you exactly how He wants to use you in this new year.
Read: Acts 4:5-12; 32-34
One of Satan’s greatest weapons that he brings against the church is disunity. If he can make us take our eyes off of our Father and put them on ourselves, we lose the power that the Holy Spirit gives to us. I recently read a script from Charles Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts cartoon that said:
In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn’t. “What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” asks Linus.
“These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.”
“Which channel do you want?” asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”
Can you imagine for just a moment the impact we could have on our family, our church, our community, on just about anyone if we were unified with one purpose and had the drive to see God’s Kingdom impacted. As we prepare for our first Sunday in 2018, let it be a Sunday that you come in with one mind and one focus to see God lifted up. Take the weapon from our enemies hand and don’t give him the victory that isn’t his. Let’s be the change that we are seeking by allowing the Holy Spirit to have complete control as we become unified together with one drive to make disciples for Christ.
- Ask yourself which were you in 2017; a hinderance or unified for Christ?
- It is easy to become distracted, and lose focus on the power and help God has given us, ask God to show you when you have relied more on yourself than on the Holy Spirit? What happened when you did that?
- How are you going to use the Holy Spirit to drive you to become a stronger disciple and how are you going to use the Holy Spirit to help you make more disciples?
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