“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”
Jesus made it very clear that the empowering of the Holy Spirit was essential for the church to be an authentic expression of Himself in a fallen world. God’s people have been called out from this world to then return as effective witnesses for Christ and His Kingdom. Not even Jesus began His public ministry until He was empowered by the Holy Spirit and it’s naive to think we would not need the same power if we are being sent into the world as The Father sent Christ.
The Apostle Paul is a great example of the amazing difference being filled with the Holy Spirit can make in someone’s life. Paul did more to bring the Gospel to the world than anyone else in his generation. He clearly attributed this to the power of the Holy Spirit. He wrote, “I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God…And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:1, 4-5). Paul made it abundantly clear that his effectiveness was the result of the power of the Holy Spirit combining truth and spiritual gifts in his life. He was so effective that even those who opposed him said of him, “those who have turned the world upside down have come here” (Acts 17:6).
If a generation is going to be brought into the Kingdom of God, it’s vital that they look to the empowering of the Holy Spirit. The history of the church is clear on this. The church begins to die wherever Christians depend upon man’s wisdom, compromise, and religious form that are devoid of power. You need to look no further than Europe to see what happens when the church is not living in the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, we are in desperate need of a fresh awakening in the church that will empower us to reach this generation. Make it your aim to be a vessel the Holy Spirit can use. God is ready to reach this generation; let us be the same.
This initial empowering of the Holy Spirit God desires to give you is referred to in different ways in the Book of Acts, yet the end result is the same. The power of the Holy Spirit dramatically elevated the effectiveness of God’s people bringing Christ and His Kingdom to a world ruled by the Prince of Darkness. Read the following examples to get a balanced view of the believer’s initial experience with the empowering of the Spirit. You will see different terms, different circumstances, and different manifestations, but the end result was the same: the power of the Holy Spirit filled a new generation of Christians and the gospel spread like wildfire throughout the Roman Empire.
As the first disciples of Jesus waited in prayer for the empowering of the Holy Spirit, without any human instrumentality, they were “filled with the Holy Spirit” and began to speak in tongues – Acts 2:1-13,37-39
Peter and John laid hands on new believers in Samaria to “receive the Holy Spirit” weeks after their conversion and water baptism.-Acts 8:14-17
Three days after Paul’s conversion he was prayed for and was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 9:17-18
Cornelius, the first gentile to come to Christ along with his household, “received the Holy Spirit” as they put faith in Christ while listening to Peter’s teaching and began to speak in tongues, followed by baptism. – Acts 10:44-48
Disciples of John the Baptist put faith in Christ and were baptized in water, followed by Paul laying hands on them and the Holy Spirit “came upon them” and they prophesied and spoke in tongues. – Acts 19:1-7
In these diverse examples it is clear that the Holy Spirit is not as rigid on the timing, methodology, or even the terms used as so many are today. But the bottom line is, do you have the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life? If not, do something about it. Pray, be prayed for, and begin walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our world desperately needs a new generation to rise up and proclaim Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.