People have done all kinds of things while sleepwalking–cooking, driving … even killing–to wake up without a recollection of their actions. That’s how some believe the Holy Spirit works in our lives, that it takes us over and we have no choice but to do what it forces us to do. Usually assemblies of these folks will have multiple people at once babbling in tongues, dancing, jumping, fainting, or rolling around. But, is that how we see God’s Spirit working in the lives of first century Christians? Rather, like a boy who has just caught a big fish and can’t help but tell others about it, we see the Spirit giving them boldness to edify and evangelize.
I. Acts 4:17-31. It must have seemed overwhelming to Jesus’ followers who didn’t yet have the Counselor to be told to go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that Jesus had commanded. What a difference there was between the group in Acts 1 of about 120 huddled within the walls of the upper room with the gospel message hidden within them to the same group accused in Acts 5:28 of filling Jerusalem with their teaching. That difference was the gift of the Holy Spirit given to them at baptism (Acts 2:36-39).
II. 1 Corinthians 14:26-33. Without the complete Word of God written that thoroughly equips us today (2 Timothy 3:16-17), God used the lesser gifts of tongues, prophecy, and knowledge early in the first century to impart and attest to His Word, but these would end (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) and had largely ended by the time the gospels and epistles were written and circulated (Hebrews 2:3-4). But, God was never about chaos. Even when He chose to use lesser gifts to impart His Word, the spirits of prophets were subject to the control of the prophets. Those through whom God used to speak in languages they hadn’t studied, prophesy, or present knowledge were to take turns and choose to remain silent at times. God did not take them over but equipped them through His Spirit.
III. Romans 8:9-11. Though we were given the gift of God’s Spirit dwelling within us at baptism, we (probably in reaction to the misuse of how He works in us by groups around us) act like we don’t have the Spirit within us and largely ignore this gift. Though we know the great commission that Jesus has given to us, we huddle within the walls of our upper rooms with the gospel message that a lost world so desperately needs to hear hidden within us. Like Acts 1 followers, we pray that God will change the world to make it more receptive and tremble in fear of politically-correct persecution. But, after the Acts 2 Christians had been beaten and threatened not to speak in the Name of Jesus anymore, they prayed instead for boldness to edify and evangelize … and the Holy Spirit equipped them to do so.
Understood within the proper context, we have an incredible gift–God’s Spirit living within us to guide, equip, strengthen, and embolden us to live as Acts 2 Christians. Are you ignoring it or guarding it (2 Timothy 1:13-14) to use for God’s Kingdom?