When we give our lives to Jesus and get baptized, that is just the beginning…we have to work out our Christian faith for the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years.
So when Jesus ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to come and help believers live out their Christian life and calling. For example – We are changed at the new birth when the Holy Spirit does a work of re-generation. We are healed when Jesus heals us through the Holy Spirit. We are led in our every day journey by the Spirit.
To live an overcoming Christian life, therefore, requires that we work with the Holy Spirit. For this purpose, I want to share a few points from Acts 13:1-12.
1. We have to ask ourselves – Who is in charge?
a. The church leaders fasted and prayed and the Holy Spirit spoke. Through one of them…He spoke. Who is in charge of our church or our cell groups or our ministries? Who is in charge of our family? When we make decisions, do we wait for the Holy Spirit to guide us as He is the Lord and not us?
b. How do we know that the Holy Spirit was in charge of that church? When the Holy Spirit spoke, the leaders obeyed instantly. There was no debate. No argument. No committee meetings. When the Holy Spirit spoke, that was it. It was settled.
The Holy Spirit was in charge and the early Christians submitted to the leadership of the Spirit.
c. When we want the supernatural blessings to be upon our church, our cell groups, our families, we need to be obedient to the Holy Spirit as He leads us and not keep trying to debate further.
d. Difference between a guide and a map. A map is written down and we have to try and interpret its meanings and directions. In this way, there is a huge possibility of making mistakes. But a living guide will actually interpret the way for us and lead us safely. The holy Spirit is our living guide to lead and guide us.
2. Ministering to the Lord
a. For many people, we are not used to waiting and spending time to minister to the Lord in worship, prayer, meditating on His Word and goodness. The early church leaders ministered to the Lord and the Spirit spoke (Verse 2).
b. How do we wait? Just that – WAIT. The opposite of busyness in the Kingdom of God is NOT doing nothing. It is waiting. Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”. It is an active thing. It is being inwardly focusing on listening for God’s guidance, His voice and His will, while meditating on His word, His goodness and His dealings. Example – the early church waited for 10 days after the resurrection of Jesus for the Holy Spirit to fall on the day of Pentecost.
c. Taking time to minister to the Lord creates a space in our hearts for the Spirit to speak to us very clearly. But it takes time. For example, in my days at the bank, I found that the normal devotional time every morning before work was not enough so I spent about 3 hours every Saturday to simply wait and minister to the Lord. Now I can spend more time because I am now in full-time ministry.
a. They had a practice of fasting together with prayer. But the modern church has a practice of feasting and discussion. We need to follow the practice of fasting and prayer for major decisions of the church so that the Holy Spirit can lead us and guide us.
b. Notice that they fasted and prayed, the Holy Spirit spoke to them to separate Saul and Barnabas for missionary work but again they fasted and prayed and laid hands on them for their mission.
c. We were supposed to lay hands on a couple to be the new cell leaders but we needed to follow this example and lay hands after our fasting week this week. So next Sunday we will be laying hands and praying for the couple. This practice emphasizes our utmost dependence on the Holy Spirit to make our ministry successful.
4. We need to grow into maturity
a. When the Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas, they did not send Christians who were babies in the Word of God. They did not send Christians who were not able to hear the Holy Spirit.
b. When they faced this situation with the witch-doctor, immediately Paul knew exactly what the Holy Spirit was saying and he knew how to deal with this witch-doctor.
c. The body of Christ is suffering because we have too many spiritual babies. We need every saint to grow up. To study the Word of God for themselves and get close to the Holy Spirit. When we are close to the Holy Spirit, we are able to walk in the supernatural power and see God’s anointing power flowing in our lives.
d. I consider the growing process to be according this timeline as a guide. First year – milk, second year – meat of the Word, 3rd year – training for ministry and leadership (1 Peter 2:2, Luke 13:6-9)
5. We must be bold
a. There are times when we need to speak by the Spirit. Paul rebuked the witch-doctor, Elymas and Elymas went blind immediately. Many miracles happen when we step out by faith and just do what we feel the Lord leading us to do.
b. Paul’s name means “Small”. He was also not a very eloquent speaker. This is confirmed by 2 Corinthians 10:10. But he was still able to touch the gentile world for Jesus. He did not allow any weaknesses to stop him from obeying the Holy Spirit.
c. No matter what problems you are struggling with. You can still be a powerful vessel for the Holy Spirit to use if you are bold and step out.
d. That’s the difference. One second, we can be ordinary, normal people. But all of a sudden, as we obey the Holy Spirit, all of a sudden, bang, the supernatural happens and a miracle starts to happen. Many times, God will not do anything until we step out by faith.