Jay Sanders, pastor
Towaliga Baptist Church, Jackson
Men like to live dangerously, or foolishly depending on your perspective. That’s why you generally see us on the news more than you see women. Nowhere is our fascination with living on the edge more clear than when it comes to the gas gauge on our automobiles.
For women, when the little red line gets below half a tank, it’s time for a fill-up. Men are different. For us, that little red line is just a suggestion and the E does not stand for empty. It means extreme.
We’re extreme and we can’t be held back by some silly gas gauge. This, incidentally, is also why you see more men pushing cars into gas stations more than you see women doing such things.
Every Christian has a mission to make disciples. The fuel for that mission had better not be our good intentions or even our compassion. If we are to make the impact that Christ has called us to make, the Holy Spirit must be the fuel for our mission. Otherwise, our mission will be anything but unstoppable.
The leaders of the early church are good examples of what it looks like to keep our mission under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.
Waiting for the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:4-5
When we think of people who did great things, we don’t typically think of waiting. We think of men who fought tyranny. We thing of women who resisted evil. We think of groups who refused to conform.
We never think of the waiting. But, just as champions are built in the off season, mighty servants of God are developed in their time of waiting.
One might expect Jesus to tell his disciples, “I’m alive, now go out and tell people.” Instead, he told them to wait. But they weren’t just to wait for the sake of waiting. They were waiting for the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, their mission would fail miserably.
Peter had zeal but it didn’t keep him from denying Christ. John had love but it didn’t keep him from acting as though the kingdom of God was really the kingdom of John. Only the Spirit could transform the week and self-centered men into the influential servants of God that they became.
The same is true of us today. We put a lot of emphasis on the organizations we start, the things we fix, and the platform we enjoy. But without the Spirit in us and before us, none of it matters.
Witnessing in the Holy Spirit –Acts 1:6-8
The church I grew up in had something called visitation. Every Tuesday night we would meet together and spread out into the community to knock on people’s doors and talk to them about Jesus. I thought that was witnessing. Witnessing is what we did for an hour or two on Tuesday nights.
In Acts, it was different. Rather than being a spot on the calendar, it was a way of life. For them, missions was not a trip you went on but a life you lived. Some stayed in Jerusalem. Some went around the world. All went under the power of the Holy Spirit.
Like the disciples before us, it is not enough for us to simply be witnesses for Jesus. We must be witnesses for Jesus under the power of the Holy Spirit.
Praying for the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:12-14
Shortly after the death of Jesus, the disciples found themselves hiding away in a room. Fear had put them there. What would happen next? Would they be crucified too? What about the life they had left behind?
In the first chapter of Acts, we see them in a room again. But this time, it isn’t because of fear. They are there out of obedience. Jesus had told them to wait for the Holy Spirit. Since the Spirit had not come yet, the disciples did what any mature Christian would do while waiting. They prayed.
Something was beginning to click in the minds and hearts of the disciples. Rather than arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God, they were now praying in unison for the greatness of God to be revealed to them in the person of the Holy Spirit.
As believers today, the Holy Spirit is already with us. But that doesn’t mean that we do not need to wait. We must follow the example of the disciples and make sure that our mission is really God’s mission.