The Holy Spirit from God provides to followers of Jesus Christ several powers which aid us in our daily lives and in preparing for the Kingdom of God.
Today is the third Holy Day that God gave to Israel, which occurs during the second Holy Day season in the late Spring. It ties back to Passover by counting fifty days from the Sabbath that falls during the Days of Unleavened Bread. It all fits together into the Spring, and it's called the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost because there are seven weeks plus one day from the Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. It talks about that in Leviticus 23, we won't turn there. I'm sure others will be covering that.
When the Jews celebrate Pentecost, they believe God gave his law on the Day of Pentecost, but this is not necessarily biblically supported, only Jewish tradition. It may have been, it would be reasonable that from the time they left Egypt until they reached Mt. Sinai could have been those fifty days.
The greatest event in history that occurred on this day is the receiving of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the church. Acts 2:1 Acts 2:1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
American King James Version×"When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place." Verse 2 "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting." The disciples were gathered together in a house and this mighty wind came like a hurricane or a tornado… very, very loud. Verse 3 "And then there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire, and one sat upon each of them." Verse 4 "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." This was a mighty act that God did on this day in the establishment of the church. Verse 5 "There were dwelling in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven." Verse 6 "And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language." That had to be very confusing. The paraphrase in the Living Bible says that this sound, this roar could be heard all across Jerusalem and they could see it was over this house and they were drawn to it by what was going on. It would be hard to imagine what that would be like to experience that, to have been there. They received this great power through God's Spirit.
Acts 2 talks about Peter, who shortly before this time had denied Christ at his crucifixion. Acts 2:14 Acts 2:14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words:
American King James Version×"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, 'Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words." Here Peter was, after he received God's Spirit, standing up and preaching with great power boldly. We see here that this is a great power that we have available to us. The Holy Spirit is what causes us, those of us who are in God's church to be different from the world around us. How do we show that power in our lives? Today we will look at just a few of the ways the Holy Spirit empowers us. I've entitled this sermon "The Power of the Holy Spirit".
1) THE FIRST WAY THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS US IS WITH THE POWER TO BE HOLY.
This fits right in with the name "Holy Spirit". We've got to be different than the world around us; if we fit in with the world; we are not exhibiting the power of God's Holy Spirit. James 4:4 James 4:4You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
American King James Version×"Adulterers and adulteresses" (speaking of those who have relationships with ungodly things.) "…do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself the enemy of God." This is what sets us apart… the Holy Spirit, so as to not have that friendship with the world. God's Spirit gives us the power to resist Satan and this world that he is the god of. It must be a part of our daily prayer to have more of God's Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 Ephesians 5:18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
American King James Version×"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit," Here we see the contrast with a world that is like it's drunk with wine, the party lifestyle; God's Spirit is to guide us into a different lifestyle… to be in connection with Him, to be filled with his Holy Spirit. It takes power to do that. It takes power to resist this world and all of its influences. James 4:7-10 James 4:7-10  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.  Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
American King James Version×"Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Verse 8 "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners and purify your hearts, you double-minded." Verse 9 "Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom." Verse 10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." It takes power to every day be consistent in praying and studying and drawing near to God so that we can be stronger in the Spirit. Galatians talks about walking in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-17 Galatians 5:16-17  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.
American King James Version×"I say then, 'Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh," Verse 17 "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." We have to walk in the Spirit, if we walk in the flesh… or let our thoughts be fleshly; we will fall under Satan's influence. We have to be on guard for that and if we see it, we've got to repent daily. We've got a lot of influence through modern technology. When I was growing up you kind of had to seek it out, but here it surrounds you all the time… with the Internet, what's on television. The whole entertainment industry on the whole, is not godly; it doesn't take our minds into Godly ways. I'm not saying you have to avoid all of it, but you have to be guarding your mind all the time. We are equipped to resist these things, but we must ask daily for more of God's Spirit to help us resist Satan and the influences of his world.
2) THE SECOND POWER WE GET IS THE POWER TO SERVE GOD AND OUR FELLOW MAN.
This is what Christ promised his disciples: Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
American King James Version×"You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;" He was foretelling what we read about earlier that happened in Acts 2. "And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." He was saying that the power of the Holy Spirit was going to allow them to go all over the world, to preach the witness of his ways… to the end of the earth. This was right before Christ was taken back up to heaven. The disciples were carnal, they were human even though Christ had taught them for three and a half years, and they still had a lot of carnality in them. I just want to look at a few of them as they were right under his tutorship. God’s Spirit wasn’t leading them even though they were with Jesus Christ. Luke 9:51-56 Luke 9:51-56  And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,  And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.  And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.  And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?  But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, You know not what manner of spirit you are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
American King James Version×"Now it came to pass when the time had come for him to be received up, that He steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem."(This is speaking of Christ) Verse 52 "And sent messengers before his face. As they went they entered a village of the Samaritans to prepare for him;" Verse 53 "But they (this Samaritan village) did not receive him, because his face was set for the journey to Jerusalem." Verse 54 "And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, 'Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?'" They thought they had biblical support to just have this village burned up because they had resisted Christ. Verse 55 "But He turned and rebuked them and said, 'You do not know what manner of spirit you are of." It was not of the Holy Spirit, it was of their fleshly spirit; that's what was guiding their thoughts. Verse 56 "For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them. And they went to another village." Here we see a vengeful attitude that the disciples had.
Matthew 20:20-28 Matthew 20:20-28  Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
 And he said to her, What will you? She said to him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other on the left, in your kingdom.
 But Jesus answered and said, You know not what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say to him, We are able.
 And he said to them, You shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not my to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brothers.
 But Jesus called them to him, and said, You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority on them.
 But it shall not be so among you: but whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
 And whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
American King James Version×"Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him." Verse 21 "And He said to her, 'What do you wish?' She said to Him, 'Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right hand and the other on the left, in your kingdom." Verse 22 "But Jesus answered and said, 'You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to him, 'We are able." It's easy to say, ‘Oh I can take any kind of trial that comes my way", but are we really that strong when it comes? Verse 23 "So He said to them, 'you will indeed drink my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by my Father.'" Verse 24 "And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers." Verse 25 "But Jesus called them to himself and said, 'You know that the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them." Verse 26 "Yet, it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant." Verse 27 "And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave--" Verse 28 "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." We again see the carnal fleshly desire to be granted this authority. What they should have been thinking is that God's Spirit would lead them to where they would be thinking how to serve others instead of ruling over others.
We read about how Peter, James and John denied Christ. They didn't have what it took without God's Spirit. Matthew 26:33 Matthew 26:33Peter answered and said to him, Though all men shall be offended because of you, yet will I never be offended.
American King James Version×"Peter answered and said to Him, (Christ) "Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble."" Peter was always so confident that he was on top of things. Verse 34 "Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."" Verse 35 "Peter said to him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny you!" And so said all the disciples." Verse 38 "Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with me."" Verse 39 "He went a little farther and fell on HIs face, and prayed, saying, "O Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."" Verse 40 "Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping," Here He was under so much distress, and they went to sleep, they just went to sleep. "…and said to Peter, "What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?"" Verse 41 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak." We all struggle with that: following the lead of the Spirit and not letting the flesh take us down. Verse 42 "Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pas away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done."" Verse 43 "And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy." Verse 44 "So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words." Verse 45 "Then He came to His disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners."" Verse 46 "Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand."" Verse 56 "But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled." They were weak.
Matthew 26: 69- 75 tells about how Peter was accused of being a follower of Christ and we see how he vehemently denied that… just a few hours after he said, "O I would go with you all the way to death." Matthew 26: 69-75 "Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee."" Verse 70 "But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying."" Verse 71 "And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth."" Verse 72 "But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!"" Verse 73 "And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you."" Verse 74 "Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed." Verse 75 "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly." So, we see here that their commitment was very weak; they still did not have God's Spirit to give them that help.
John 20:19 John 20:19Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the middle, and said to them, Peace be to you.
American King James Version×"Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be with you."" Here we see they were filled with fear; another characteristic of the flesh is to be filled with fear.
But then we see that after they received God's Spirit, described in Acts 2 and all throughout the book of Acts how they were empowered through God's Spirit to be fearless. They were fearless, they preached the gospel with all kinds of threats; most of them went on to become martyrs, to be killed for preaching the truth about Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation.
Acts 5:25 Acts 5:25Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
American King James Version×"So one came and told them, saying, "Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people."" They had already been thrown into prison, but they immediately went out and started preaching again. Verse 26 "Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. "And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them," Verse 28 "saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!"" Verse 29 "But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men."" That's a boldness that we can all have through God's Spirit. Verse 30 "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree." Verse 31 "Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins." 32 "And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."" Verse 33 "When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them." Here we see a great change. We have great power today with the internet; we were on television and radio, but now we go all around the world. It was difficult, we didn't get to a fraction of the world with radio and television, but now people have access to computers and all of our information is out there. We are preaching the gospel today in every nation, but at the same time as we put ourselves out there… we may experience greater persecution because anybody can read about us. We could be like Peter and want to deny we are part of the Church, unless we are filled with God's Spirit and willing to boldly proclaim the truth in dealing with the public. Our website allows anyone to come in and make comments and this is monitored. I know Kelly does a lot of things on the internet and wisely knows how to contend against those things... that's with the help of God's Spirit… how to do that in a loving way without getting angry yourself. It's difficult to control that. Those who get involved in putting commentary or responding to commentary will need to be strong in God's Spirit in order to interact in this manner and not let their emotions get carried away. We are emotional people and that's when the flesh sometimes comes out when emotion instead of reason gets control of our thoughts and actions and the way we respond.
3) THE THIRD POWER WE HAVE IS THE POWER OF COMFORT OR HELP.
This is a gift from God. Strong's talks about this Comforter, the Greek word is, Parakletos, which means: one who encourages and comforts.
John 16:7 John 16:7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.
American King James Version×"Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send it to you." The Helper Christ promised couldn't come until He went away; and it came in Acts 2 and, also, when people are baptized and have hands laid on them. Each of us receives the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion to God's way.
Christ was telling his disciples about this comforter. John 14:16 John 14:16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
American King James Version×"And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that it may abide with you forever--" Verse 26 "But the helper, the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name, it will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." That's how all that He had taught them could be brought back into their memory as they went out to teach... to teach in that antagonistic world in most cases.
John 15:26 John 15:26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me:
American King James Version×"But when the Helper comes, which I shall sent to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth which proceeds from the Father, it will testify of Me." It's a great Helper. If we're filled with God's Spirit, we will have the power to also comfort and encourage others. That's really something I've had to work on, sometimes I don't know that I'm as empathetic as I need to be. It's an area where I need more of God's Spirit to have better ability. Sometimes I get to where I just don't know what to say and I really need help when people are going through hardships.
4) THE FOURTH POWER IS THE POWER TO BEAR FRUIT, THE FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Each of these fruits is a sermon or two. I know Gary Petty did a whole series on this for several Sabbaths and it has been recorded and is out on the Internet. They are very good and make you think deeply about each of these. Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness," Verse 23 "gentleness (or meekness), self-control. Against such there is no law." You can bear these fruits all you want and you won't get into any trouble, none of these will cause you any trouble; this is so true. But if you go up into these others, the works of the flesh, in verses 19-21, every one of those will cause problems. Family members and others around you who are involved in these will impact your life sometimes. We have to contend with that in our society today.
God's Spirit is a great power to help us bear the fruits of the Spirit; we've got to bear fruit.
We keep the Holy Days annually to keep God's plan firmly in our minds; when people turn away from the Holy Days, they slowly but surely lose sight of God's overall plan. We've congregated with a lot of different people who have gone different ways. Mr. Mann and I were talking about that some on the way up about many who have gone other ways. When you run into a lot of them at funerals and things of that nature, they've all got different ideas now. They're not on the same page with us. I'll run into people in September or something and they ask, "Well, what have you been up to?" And I'll tell them we're getting ready to go to the Feast in Branson or wherever and they'll say, 'Oh, yeah it is that time of year." The Holy Days are no longer a part of their thought process. God's Spirit can keep those things at the top of our thought process.
Today we have the privilege of observing the Feast of Firstfruits which has so much historical and spiritual significance for the Church, but the greatest gift of this day is the sending of God's Spirit for all of mankind who would repent and be baptized and have hands laid on them. Through God's Spirit, we have among other gifts the power to be holy as Christ and God are holy; the power to serve God and preach the gospel; the encouragement and comfort of God's Spirit; and to have the fruits of God's Spirit reflected in all aspects of our lives. Let the focus of this day carry over to every day of our lives. I won't turn to it but in Romans 8 verse 1, it talks about walking according to the Spirit; verse 9 says walk not by the flesh. Verse 11 says we receive eternal life through the Holy Spirit. You must have God's Holy Spirit to have eternal life. Then there will be that great fulfillment through God's Spirit when we become the sons of God as it tells in Verse 16.