Acts 1:1-8 Holy Spirit series: The Gift the Father Promised

D. L. Moody said, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of…everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride, (selfishness and worldly things), there is no room for the Spirit of God. We must be emptied before we can be filled.”

Even Paul said, “I consider everything rubbish compared to the greatness of knowing Christ. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3). This person Jesus, he is worth giving our lives to! Whoever we are and whatever we do for God, our #1 great desire should be to glorify God and be filled with God’s Spirit so that whoever we are and whatever we do will spring from his resulting power.

In the first few verses of Acts Luke is communicating 3 things: how the church prepared for receiving the Holy Spirit, the promise and the power of the Spirit, and what can be achieved when a church is submitted to the Holy Spirit.

One key is in what Billy Graham was asked once, “What is the most important theological concept in the Bible?” Without hesitation, he responded, “Surrender.”

“Began”, is an important word here in the text. What Jesus in the power of the Spirit had begun in his own ministry, the church in the power of the Spirit continues to do. Because what is the church if the Holy Spirit is absent?

It’s crucial we appreciate the enormity of Luke’s teaching here because it represents what the book of Acts is about, and our priority as a church. What we must appreciate is he is not finished, actually. Because Jesus is a living Jesus. Jesus now is “building his church and the gates of hell are not prevailing against it.” Jesus is alive and active in our ministry today.

We can be certain of this. God says so in his word and he never fails to deliver on what he promises (see Isaiah 11:2; 61:1–2; Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:49; John 16:13-15…)
There is clear biblical evidence for the Promise of the Holy Spirit, but to be effective as a church we are to be recipients of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus is saying in Acts 1 for you to be effective, for mission, you need to be immersed (what baptism is) in the Holy Spirit. The main purpose for the Baptism in/with the Holy Spirit was and is for power, to be witnesses for Jesus – in our case – our city, our nation and the world and, to live the Christian life.

The Holy Spirit is not a person stuck in the pages of history who is aloof and distant to us. He is not someone we just acknowledge with our intellect but someone to personally encounter and experience. We are to be filled with him and by him, for the purposes of mission.