Welcome back, I hope you read part one of this series. If not, you might want to do that before you read this post. In part one; we talked about what God's purpose for us involves. That is the first thing we need to know. We looked at Ephesians 2:10 for that answer and found that it involves doing the good works that God has called us to do. We also learned that it is not possible to do that until we receive Christ and become born again. What then is step 2?
It says in the last part of the verse in Eph 2:10 that God has prepared these works in advance for us to do. So step 2 is finding out what those things are that the Lord prepared for us, individually and corporately to do. Ok, but how can we possibly know what those works are? I believe that the only way we find the answer to that is in developing a personal relationship with Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit! I submit to you that all too often the missing ingredient, which, by the way, is not mentioned in Pastor Rick's book, is the critical role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. I believe that much the body of Christ does not really understand the person and work of God the Holy Spirit and it prevents them from fulfilling their purpose.
Did you know that even born again believers can do works that are completely worthless in the sight of God because we do them with carnal motives, by the power of our own flesh and bring the glory to us not God? Listen to these scriptures
1 Chron 28:9 "for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts."
Prov 20:27 "The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being."
You see, works that are truly good are always "Spirit led and Spirit powered", done with pure motives.
I really believe that a big part of this problem is the lack of proper teaching about the Holy Spirit in much of the church today. OK, so why is the Holy Spirit so important in accomplishing God's purpose in our lives? Because it is He who gives us the direction and power to do God's will. If you have studied the book of Acts you know this to be true. If you haven't, I suggest that you do. It will open your eyes to the working of the Holy Spirit in the early church.
I have recently been re-reading Pastor Chuck Smith's book called "Living Water" which has reminded me how much our lives need to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish God's purpose in our lives. When He is leading you, it brings great joy to your life. But, I have noticed over the years that even people who believe in the Holy Spirit, sometimes don't seem to have the joy that comes in serving the Lord. Why is that so? Usually it is because they are still trying to do God's work in their own power. That will always lead to failure, discouragement and defeat. We cannot do God's work by our own power. We need the "power" of the Holy Spirit at work in us. To help in understanding this we need to see the three different aspects of what the Holy Spirit does in our lives.
Pastor Chuck, in his book, shows us three prepositions used in describing the work of the Spirit. The first one is found in John 14:16, 17 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you."
The word with in Greek is "para." It literally means "come alongside" This is normally your first relationship with the Holy Spirit. He comes alongside to convict you of sin and leads you to put your trust in Christ. When you do, He then enters into your life and now resides in you The Greek preposition for in here is "en." In John chapter 20, verse 22 it says that Jesus, after His resurrection breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now the disciples had the Holy Spirit in them.
But there is one more preposition used to describe our relationship with the Holy Spirit and I think that this is what so many people lack. Acts 1:8 says, "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 end of the earth." The word for on here is "epi". It means to come upon or over you. The purpose of the epi experience is to bring "dunamis," which means miraculous power.
Notice that Jesus then tells them that they will be His witnesses after they receive this power.
This is so important. You see, this power comes from God the Holy Spirit, not from us. Without it we cannot do the works God has prepared for us to do.
We often call this experience, of receiving the power that comes from the Holy Spirit, the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Why? Because in Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16 John the Baptist spoke of Jesus saying that his(John's)baptism is with water, signifying repentance from sin but that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. And, in Acts 1:5 Jesus said they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days. In Acts, Chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit filled the apostles, there appeared tongues as of fire that rested on them. Miraculous "dunamis" power was demonstrated by speaking in tongues. Peter explains that this is what God meant when He said through His prophet Joel that in the last days He would pour out His Spirit. The term pour out can literally mean to overflow. Again this is the epi experience where God overflows us with His Holy Spirit, bringing the power necessary to do His will. Notice too that this is a separate experience from the para (alongside) or "en" (receiving) experience. The disciples had already had that experience we read about in John.
You see, if we are going to fulfill our purpose in doing the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do, we need this dunamis power! Dunamis power doesn't always manifest in a supernatural way as on the Day of Pentecost, but don't be alarmed if it does. Don't quench the Spirit when He desires to do something supernatural. We want to be open to however the Lord wants to accomplish His will. I really think that the reason we so often don't see the miraculous power of the Lord, is simply our lack of faith, not necessarily that the Holy Spirit can work in that way, but that He will. Remember when Jesus was in His hometown. He could not do many miracles because of the lack of faith there. We don't want to limit what God might do because of our lack of faith, do we?
So then, step two in how we can fulfill our purpose in life, is receiving the baptism of the Spirit. We do that by simply praying and asking for it and then receive it by faith. It is, after all a gift from God, but we need to ask. The scriptures teach us that anything that is in God's will is ours when we ask for it. John 14:13-14 says "And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it."
GAME PLAN: If you have never yet prayed to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, do it now! Then ask the Lord to reveal Himself by the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and just watch what He does. You will find yourself able to understand His word better and serve him with joy.
May God bless you in your walk with Him