6 December: “Led by the Spirit”, leading to Revival

Pentecost, Dove, Holy Spirit

Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
6 December 2020

Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.

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Welcome

Hopefully we will be back in the Bethel building today. Interestingly there were more objections and complaints to the Government this time, from Church Ministers, the general public and even MP’s, regarding closing churches for a second time – “Lord, let it not happen again, Amen!”

Testimony

Revival on the Island of Lewis: 1949-1952

According to testimonies of people present prior to the revival … the churches were dead and … they were in a spiritual winter … At about midnight, Duncan Campbell told a man in that farmhouse that God wanted him to lead in prayer. That man then prayed for 30 minutes … “God, do you know that Your honour is at stake? You promised to pour water on the thirsty, and floods on the dry ground, and God You are not doing it … I stand before You as an empty vessel … I’m thirsty! Thirsting for Thee and for a manifestation of Thy power … God Your honour is at stake, I now take it upon myself to challenge You to fulfil Your covenant engagement.” With that the granite house ‘shook like a leaf.’ A jug on the sideboard fell onto the floor and broke. The dishes on the dresser rattled. Then, as Duncan Campbell testified, ‘wave after wave of divine power swept through the room.’ At that exact moment the Spirit of God swept through the village and people were awakened from their sleep, got dressed and made their way to the church – crying out for God to have mercy.

Worship

Revival – Robin Mark Live with Lyrics. Album: Revival in Belfast

Word

Reading: Acts 1:1-14

Text: “after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.” (Acts 1:2).

Introduction

All the Gospel writers, Luke included, bring out the truth that Jesus was a ‘Man of the Spirit’ and this is the model for ministry and life for all who follow Him and for His Church!

(1) Jesus was led by the Spirit

Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, modelled for us a life of One who was led by the Holy Spirit in total submission to the will of His Father in heaven. We see this in the early chapters of Luke:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted/tested by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Luke 4:1-2

(2) Jesus was anointed by the Spirit

Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit just after His baptism:

When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ Now Jesus Himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry …

Luke 3:21-23

When John the Baptist saw the dove descend upon Jesus after he had baptised Him:

“… we may say that what John saw was the visible manifestation of the anointing of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit”

William Hendriksen

This became part of the later preaching of the apostles:

You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.

Acts 10:37-38

Jesus was accredited by God because God anointed Him and God was with Him and this all through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This enabled Jesus to do good and heal people (see (4) below).

(3) The Spirit remained on Jesus

John the Baptist testified that this was how he knew that Jesus was the Messiah:

Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.”

John 1:32-33

We know that the Sprit Himself has no physical body and cannot be seen with physical eyes (although we can see what He does!) but here

“we are distinctly told that it was under the symbolism of a dove that the third Person of the Trinity manifested Himself to the Baptist”

William Hendriksen

and in doing that Jesus was revealed as the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God!

The fact of the Spirit remaining and resting on Jesus the Messiah is also emphasised after His testing in the wilderness:

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

Luke 4:14

And such had been prophesied in the Old Testament e.g.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:2

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations.

Isaiah 42:1

The Spirit was present in the OT but mainly on individuals and only for a short duration to enable that person to fulfil the work God had called them to do. So, we see prophets, judges and kings anointed for the duration of time necessary. Is this why Elijah was so powerful on Mount Carmel and then so fearfully running away from Jezebel? James tells us:

Elijah was a human being, even as we are.

James 5:17

And we can think of Samson!  But with Jesus the Spirit descended and remained upon Him.

“This is a permanent anointing … unlike anything witnessed before in Judaism …”

Gary Burge

The verb ‘remain’ (‘meno’) is:

”a characteristic word of this Evangelist, here denoting the beginning of the Spirit’s permanent dwelling in Jesus and the inception of the new order: the whole of Jesus’ ministry is accomplished in the power of the Spirit”

Leon Morris – The Gospel according to John

(4) The Spirit enabled Jesus to minister

Jesus Himself made a point of testifying publicly to this:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him.

Luke 4:18-20

Jesus carried out His ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit:

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Matt. 12:28

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Luke 11:20

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Acts 10:38

Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations.

Matt. 12:18

(5) The Spirit enabled Jesus to go through death on the cross

The strength to face death came through the Spirit:

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Heb. 9:14

(6) Jesus had the Spirit without measure

For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.

John 3:34

(7) Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

1 Peter 3:18

who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom. 1:4

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.

Rom. 8:11

(8) Jesus still gives instructions through the Spirit

Even after Jesus rose from the dead, He is still being led by the Spirit to give instructions to the apostles He had chosen as we can see from our text in Acts 1:2. Even His choice of apostles was following spending a whole night in prayer (Luke 6:12-16), which speaks of “His dependence on divine guidance” (Dunn). His followers are given a mission through the Spirit and the Spirit will empower them to accomplish it. However, following His ascension, being glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father, He now becomes the One who baptises with the Holy Spirit.

(9) Jesus is now the baptiser in the Holy Spirit

John, (the Baptiser in water for repentance), testified about Jesus:

I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me comes One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matt. 3:11

In John’s Gospel we have John the Baptist admitting that he did  not know Jesus (his cousin, humanly speaking) as Messiah, the Christ, until he had this supernatural revelation:

And I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptise with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the One who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.

John 1:33

Before John’s words could be fulfilled Jesus had to go through the agony of the cross:

I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!.

Luke 12:49

(10) Jesus had to leave them before the Holy Spirit could come

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

John 16:7

(11) Jesus’ disciples/apostles now minister through the Holy Spirit

Luke brings this out repeatedly in the book of Acts (Acts 1:5,8; 2:4; 4:8; 5:32; 8:17-18,29; 13:2,4; 15:28) e.g.

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.

Acts 1:8

“All Christian ministry depends on the activity of the Spirit in the minister and in the ones ministered to”

Ajith Fernando

Conclusion

May we have a passion and desire to be anointed by the Spirit, in the same way as Jesus and the early Church, so that the Church in these days will do the works that Jesus did. May being baptised in the Holy Spirit become more important to the Church than even being baptised in water! Let us seek Him as those believers in the Hebridean Islands sought Him that the Lord would once more bring glory and honour to the name of Jesus Christ in our nation and the nations of the world, Amen!

Quote of the Week

“True knowledge of God is beyond human reach: It is a gift of divine disclosure”

Gary Burge

Verse of Week

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?

Ps. 85:6

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, thank You for revealing Yourself through Your Son, through Your Word, and through Your Holy Spirit. Lord, as we read the book of Acts and the accounts of previous revivals, we realise that we need reviving. So, heavenly Father, we ask that You revive us again, that we might rejoice in You and do the works that Jesus did, that Your Church did in the book of Acts and also in times of revival, in Jesus Christ Name and for Your glory, Amen.