Good morning, welcome to part two of Ghost Walk, today I want to talk to you about “Walking in His Power”. This is important, because in this day and age we’re experiencing an energy crisis. And it’s not just here in America but it’s around the world, and there’s a whole lot of talk about how we get our power, how we can conserve power, and how we can find better ways to get it. But you know what’s really scary, in a lot of ways I’ve noticed that I have become my father! And just like my father, I find myself walking around the house turning off lights in empty rooms, because when I see bright lights in an empty room, I picture the electric meter spinning, I imagine dollar bills aflame, and I don’t know about yours, but my electric bill just keeps going up all the time. However, as important as conservation of electricity is, it’s not the only power we need, as Christians we need the mighty power of God. And yet too often believers, just like the people of this world, are trying to find alternative power sources, but it’s not wind power, nuclear power, or solar power that we need. What we need is more of the Holy Spirit’s power and we need to walk in His Power!
So this morning, I want to talk to you about the power of the Holy Spirit. In the Bible we see the power of the Spirit working in a multitude of ways. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit gave Joseph skill to rule over Egypt and gave Joshua great wisdom and military power. When building the tabernacle the Holy Spirit gave two men the power to work as supernaturally skilled craftsmen. The Holy Spirit also gave words to the prophets, gave Gideon power to lead, and came upon Samson with mighty power. In 1 Samuel 10:6, Samuel spoke over Saul saying; “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power and you will prophesy with them and you will be changed into a different person.”
In the New Testament we see the power of the Holy Spirit everywhere; John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth (Luke 1:15). Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). When the angel announced the presence of Christ in Mary she asked, “How will this be?” The Angel answered in Luke chapter 1, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most high will overshadow you” (Luke 1:34-35). When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove (Matthew 3:16). He drove out demons by the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:28). The Spirit of the Lord was on him, anointing him, to preach good news (Luke 4:18). He was full of joy through the Holy Spirit” (Luke 10:21). He announced that true worshipers must “worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). And when Jesus gave his life for our sins on the cross, he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit; but before Jesus ascended to Heaven, he promised his followers that he would “not leave them as orphans” (John 14:18), but that he would send them the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Reading from Acts chapter 1: “On one occasion, (after his resurrection) while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit …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 1:4-5, 8).
Jesus said to the believers, about 100 of them gathered together, “In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” And he compared that baptism to the baptism of John, the word “baptism” meaning to immerse, and therefore when we baptize, we dunk you, we make sure you’ve gone under, that you’re soaked, you’re totally wet, and you’re saturated. And that’s what Jesus meant when he said, “You're not just going to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you’re going to be baptized, you’re going to be over your head, overwhelmed, overcome, immersed in the Holy Spirit.”
And then he says in verse eight, the result being that “You will receive power.” Now this is amazing, because this isn’t just another power, this is power from heaven, this is the power of the Holy Spirit! This word “power” used here comes from the Greek word “dunamis” from which we get our word dynamite. It means a great force, a miraculous power, and so when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, he’ll baptize you into the explosive dynamite power of God. Ephesians chapter 1 tells us, this “power is like the working of (God’s) mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20). And so God want you to know this same dead body raising, miracle working, powerful Spirit is available to you today.
So Jesus tells his disciples in verse eight, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…” Now you’ve got to grab the context to understand the depth of that statement. You remember he was talking to his disciples, this was a bunch of guys who never seemed to get it right. Even Peter the leader of the bunch denies Jesus three times right before the crucifixion, yet they’d all sworn that they’d give their lives for Jesus, but at the cross only one of the 12 showed up... John was there, but the others were hiding in fear. So Jesus died, rose from the grave, and he comes looking for his disciples, finding them locked in a room scared to death of the Jewish authorities. So he walks through the locked door entering the room and they don’t believe it… they doubt it… they’re rubbing their eyes like it’s a dream. Even remember Thomas wasn’t there and he said I won’t believe until I touch…until I put my fingers in the wounds. And so Jesus looked at these guys and said… “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses…”
Today, you and I are here at this moment declaring that Jesus Christ is Lord, because the Holy Spirit came upon this group of ordinary people and gave them an extraordinary power to take the good news all over the world. And that same powerful Spirit is available today to all who believe and receive him. I encourage you to quit struggling, to stop trying do the Christian thing in your own limited strength, and to surrender to the unlimited power of God the Holy Spirit; because this morning I’m going to show you four distinct characteristics of a believer in Jesus Christ who is walking in His Power. Four things we can learn, four things we can receive, four things that become our identity in Christ as we walk in His Power.
And the first is that the Holy Spirit gives you boldness to witness. The apostle Paul says it this way in first Corinthians, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). It’s the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to boldly share the message of Christ in a life transforming way.
The renowned preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “We might preach until our tongues rotted, till we would exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless the Holy Spirit be with the Word of God to give it the power to convert the soul.”
The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what you feel, it doesn’t matter if you’re the best speaker around, it matters what the Holy Spirit does. And honestly, if you’ve ever felt that you weren’t good enough to speak or share your faith there’s nobody that understands that better than I do. You see, I’ve never liked to speak in front of large groups of people, and to make it worse, my mind wanders drastically and my memory fails me consistently. So I must rely upon the Holy Spirit every single week as he works with me in preparation, as he works with me in the delivery of each message, and as God takes my words and by the power of the Holy Spirit uses them to communicate his Word effectively into our lives.
And he’ll do the same thing for you if you’ll trust him. You’ll find yourself in a conversation and suddenly feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit. You get an opening and you just speak and watch what happens. You’ll be quoting Bible verses that you didn’t even know you knew. The Holy Spirit will give you words to say and prayers to pray to minister and to share Christ boldly. That’s the Holy Spirit working through you, because you have access to the very same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.
And the next thing, number two, the Holy Spirit gives you strength. The apostle Paul tells us, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness…” he comes alongside of us, lifts us up and carries us. The Holy Spirit gives you power when you’re weak and I know this is going to speak to some of you, because the Bible says in Romans chapter 8, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26). The Spirit prays for us when we’re without strength, he helps us, and gives us power in our weakness.
Maybe you’re a parent and you don’t know what to do with those kids. The Holy Spirit can give you wisdom and peace if you ask him. Or if you have a presentation to give at work or at school and you just know you’re going to freeze or your voice is going to shake. Ask the Holy Spirit, because when you’re weak he is strong. Or maybe there’s a sin in your life that you just can’t seem to beat, a temptation you can’t overcome; ask the Holy Spirit and he’ll give you the power to overcome.
You see, that's what the Apostle Paul was talking about. He’d learned that when he was broken, when he had nothing more to offer, and he cried out to God… when he prayed and prayed… and maybe you’re there right now… Well Paul prayed and God said in second Corinthians, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul experienced God’s power the most when he had nothing left and he says, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me…. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
You see, the less of us there is, the more room there is for God, and the more of his power we’ll experience. Our weakness is simply an opportunity for a demonstration of God’s strength. It’s a divine opportunity to experience God's ability to heal, to intervene, and to carry us to the other side. It’s walking in His Power that will release something beautiful, something unforgettable, and something amazing through your life. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit that will give you boldness and give you strength when you’re weak.
And number three, as you’re walking in His Power the Holy Spirit gives you hope. For many of you this is the clincher, this is what you’re here for. Romans chapter 15, at verse 13, Paul prayed, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” If you’re hurting, if you’re without hope, let the Holy Spirit speak to you this morning. I pray that this verse comes alive for you, and even though you don’t see anything, that you would “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.
You see, in these last days, most people are not overflowing with hope, because their hope’s not in God. And hope that’s in anything besides God, such as hope in ourselves, hope in other people, hope in our circumstances is limited and will only take us so far. But the good news is that if you’re hurting, if you’re afraid, the prophet Isaiah said, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31). If you put your hope in our unlimited power of God he can cause you to overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So if you lose your job, you’re sick, you’re worried about tomorrow, or you lose a loved one, the Bible says in Psalms chapter 25, “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame” (Psalms 25:3). So you put your hope in God to be your provider, to be your healer, to be your comforter, and you don’t grieve like those “who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Instead, we put our hope in God and the promise of the resurrection and the glory of heaven. And the Bible says, this “hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given” (Romans 5:5). If you are hurting today, put your hope in God, “so that you may overflow with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The fourth characteristic of a believer walking in His Power is that the Holy Spirit gives you the fullness of God. Really it’s a modern tragedy that so few Christians are aware of the power of God. We rejoice when God answers prayer and yet few of us expect him to be involved in all aspects of our lives. And I think for many people they’re content with just enough of Jesus to hopefully get them into heaven. Many people have reduced Christianity to the bare minimum: they believe in God, they prayed the prayer, they got baptized, joined the church, read the Bible every now and then, and then maybe, kind of, sort of, tried to be a good person.
So when you look at the lives of many Christians, what you see is really not that appealing, and honestly doesn’t look much different than the rest of the world. People are still hurting, still addicted, still filled with worries, still broke, still struggling in marriages, no real faith, no real victory. Yet God has made himself available to us so that we would have the power we need to live for him. The Holy Spirit will give you power to experience all the fullness of God.
The apostle Paul was concerned about this. He was worried that the church wasn’t tapping into the power that was available, and he prayed in his letter to the Ephesians: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19).
He prayed this prayer, because we need to walk in the fullness of God, we need to know that there is more to Christianity than good things and bad things. When we talk about walking in his power it is to walk in the fullness of God. That is the reality of the constant presence of God through the Holy Spirit, giving you peace that surpasses human understanding, so that you can manifest the fruits of the spirit, the fullness of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control; that you can be led by the Spirit, walking by faith and not by sight, that you can have immeasurable joy, that you can have supernatural strength, that you can be rooted and established in the love of Christ, and walking in his power moment by moment.
This is the power, the supernatural power that is available to you. Call on him and watch the Holy Spirit fill you, strengthen you, and comfort you; as he empowers you to live the life that you are incapable of living on your own, but one that will bring glory and honor to the God of heaven.
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
303 West Lincoln Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
October 11, 2015