Now when all the people were baptised, and when Jesus also had been baptised and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, (Luke 4:1)
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. (Luke 4:14)
Thought: I want to talk what it means to be full of the power of Spirit, do we know what it means to be full. The Greek word here has the route plethora. We see the pattern in the life of Christ and his followers of being filled and led by the spirit and then operating in the power of the Spirit.
There are many things and activities that we do to fill our lives some we consider more important than others which Is why we often have to consider what we value in life.
Writing following the Second World War in the USA, someone wrote this...”A person recently bereaved of an only sister, wrote to a friend: “Isn’t it wonderful that the really fine things of life are not things at all.” And so it is. Love, friendship, appreciation, kindness, honesty, thrift, and a multitude of life’s finest qualities, are intangible and spiritual but nevertheless, very real.”
The power of our self will and our determination is God given and it’s our valuable gift we can give. We see this in marriage vows, where ourselves are given completely to one another and we see it in our dedication to The one and only true God.
The answer to our humanity and indeed the temptations of life and doing evil, is that we were never meant to live without God, no separation from his spirit, as vessels we are meant to be filled, filled not with bread alone but the word the spirit the power and the life of God.
We look this morning at Jesus and the life of the disciples.
1. What do we treasure.
2. The power of self
3. Being continuously filled.
Where you treasure is there is your heart.
The danger for us who live in a materialistic society is that we will value material things more than spiritual things.
Question; Why is it that some people have so little time for spiritual things. Generally speaking, there is not much evidence of a widespread passion for God and the things of his kingdom.
People can ask why there is evil in the world, I think when we life without God we put our value in earthly things which leads the power of our self to rule and we are driven by it’s desires.
We live in a culture where relatively speaking we blessed with so many things, even when our freedoms are restricted and travel is limited.
When we rely upon God his spirit his word as the supply of our need, then we never feel like we are missing out, James wrote wars and fights come from unfulfilled desires.
What happens when we feel like something is missing, how well do we cope.
What do we value today?
What do we consider indispensable.
What is the one thing we can't live without.
For most of us this changes day to day, as our priorities change, if we are not careful in how we order ourselves, we get in danger of the most important need is often the one thing we don't have.
Of course It's Hard to value anything when the one thing we need desperately is not there, it could be Simple such as the water stops coming out of the pips or something really important the Internet is down.
All of a sudden we don't know how to function.
Just because something is missing Does not mean that we value it Higher than other things.
It means at that moment nothing else seems to matter.
Jesus, while being tempted by the devil, a test which he was led to by the spirit, his test came at a time when Scripture says he was famished and he was asked whether he could turn a stone into bread, so he could satisfy his own need. Jesus‘s reply “in Deuteronomy it says ‘man shall not live by bread alone but every word that comes from the mouth of God’”
After his testing the devil was looking for a time when he could test him again, we don’t see this only perhaps in the garden close to crucifixion, when Jesus again seems to triumph praying “not my will but God’s will”
David wrote this psalm
One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord , and to inquire in his temple. (Ps 27:4)
We need to keep our priorities set right and treasure and prioritise God and his word.
2. The power of the self
Peter has a great story he saw the Devine in Christ, yet he was weak in his self.
In the gospel of Matthew we read that while Jesus at Caesarea Philippi asked His disciples,
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because no person taught you that. My Father in heaven showed you who I am.
So I tell you, you are Peter. On this rock I will build my church, and the power of death will not be able to defeat it. (Matthew 16:13, 16-18 NCV)
From that time on Jesus began telling his followers that he must go to Jerusalem, where the Jewish elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law would make him suffer many things. He told them he must be killed and then be raised from the dead on the third day.
Peter took Jesus aside and told him not to talk like that. He said, “God save you from those things, Lord! Those things will never happen to you!” Then Jesus said to Peter, “Go away from me, Satan! You are not helping me! You don’t care about the things of God, but only about the things people think are important.”
Then Jesus said to his followers, “If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me. (Matthew 16:21-24 NCV)
Jesus is saying that the revelation of who Christ is in accompanied by the denial of the power of self.
This revelation is reminiscent of Jesus baptism as it’s the voice from heaven confirming who Christ is.
With this revelation comes power, of the gates of hell, and power to build a people of God, the church.
Peter however after this amazing revelation is tempted and starts to speak against the will of God,
Jesus’ rebuke concerned Peter only thinking humanly and about what he wants not what God wants, Peter fails the test.
Perhaps when the power of the self takes over we too can fail the test.
Maybe this is why so many are wasting their lives trying to self satisfy, looking out for their own needs instead of living in the manifestation and the privilege and the glory of the child of God?
Maybe we can’t conquer self as it’s not given completely into the will of God. Maybe we have a hundred times prayed and vowed, yet here we are still living a mingled, divided, half-hearted life?
To those two questions there is one answer:
it is the power of the self that is the root of the whole trouble.
“How can I get rid of this compromise life?” the answer would not be, “You must do this, or that, or the other thing,” make a new year resolution
but the answer would be
“A new life from above, the life of Christ, must take the place of the self-life; then alone can we be conquerors.”
Jesus said to Peter: “If any man will come after me let him deny himself, his own self, and take up the cross and follow me.”
That is a mark of the disciple; that is the secret of the Christian life—deny self and all will come right.
Self is the power with which God has created and endowed every intelligent creature.
Self is the very centre of a created being.
The object of this self was that we might bring it as an empty vessel unto God; that He might put into it His life. He formed a clay being in his image and then breathed in his life (spirit)
God gave us the power of self-determination, that I might bring this self every day and say: “Oh, God, work in it; I offer it to thee.”
God wanted a vessel into which He might pour out His divine fullness of beauty, wisdom and power; and so He created the world, the sun, and the moon, and the stars, the trees, and the flowers, and the grass, which all show forth the riches of His wisdom, and beauty, and goodness. But they do it without knowing what they do.
Now what are the works of self?
—self-will, self-confidence, self-exaltation, Living to please self, is the great sin of humanity, and it is at the root of all that compromising with the world which is the ruin of so many.
We find Christians pleasing themselves in a thousand ways, and yet trying to be happy, and good, and useful; and they do not know that at the root of it all is self-will robbing them of the blessing.
Christ said to Peter, “Peter, deny yourself.” But instead of doing that, Peter said, “I will deny my Lord and not myself.” He never said it in words, but Christ said to him in the last night, “You Shall deny Me,” and he did it. What was the cause of this? Self-pleasing. He became afraid when the woman servant charged him with belonging to Jesus, and three times said, “I know not this man, I have nothing to do with Him.” He denied Christ. Just think of it! No wonder Peter wept those bitter tears.
3. Being continuously filled.
The change in the life of the disciples from hiding in the upper room to changing the world was more than just a short blessing it was a total transformation. We see them filled with power from on high, just as Jesus promised.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit was the secret to the disciples changed life. This followed peters restoration, when Jesus asks him, do you love me more than these, (There is a great debate on what he meant but actually he could’ve meant do you love me more than things, do you love me more than fish, do you love me more than your old life, do you value me more than you value yourself. Or your own life, will you deny self and follow me?)
Peter had to face another test we read in Acts 4:23
They had been arrested, threatened and told not to preach Christ Peter and John were released and reported to their friends what had happened to them.
The church then went to prayer to the Lord.
In the face of hostility from entrenched and powerful enemies, they prayed,
‘Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness’ (Acts 4:29).
That prayer was answered. Luke notes remember in Jesus’s baptism that it was as he prayed the holy spirit came it seems that this prayer on the arrival of the holy spirit is the key to unlocking the spirits filling leading and empowering.
‘The place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness’ (Acts 4:31).
The church prayed for boldness; they received boldness. As a result, the Gospel was proclaimed fearlessly. The Holy Spirit did it.
To know where our heart is we need to think about what it is that we treasure.
If we think it is an easy thing to get rid of self. We can be mistaken, Often in a church meeting, it is easy to make a vow, and to offer a prayer, and to perform an act of surrender.
There is but one way of being delivered from this life of self. We must follow Christ, set our hearts upon Him, listen to His teachings, give ourselves up every day, that He may be all to us, and by the power of Christ the denial of self will be a reality
The secret we know to being filled with the spirit is prayer.
Jesus said if you ask you shall receive seek and you shall find and knock and the door is opened to you,
This is a great pattern for us to learn today,
Ask seek and knock. Being filled, led and being empowered by the spirit.
A life of prayer shows us what we value,
a life of prayer seems to be the answer the power of a self, (Just as Jesus prayed not my will but your will be done
A life of prayer seems to be the answer To being filled with the holy spirit and continually field.
God doesn’t want us to live empty he wants us to rely upon him his word and spirit his life and we can conquer whatever life tests us with
We are meant to be more than conquerors through Christ who loved us and gave him self for us.