June 1, 2020

The Difference the Holy Spirit Makes

“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised. … the Holy Spirit fills you with power from heaven.” Luke 24:49 (NLT)

If you track the exponential growth of the church from Pentecost in the Book of Acts and throughout church history, it is nothing short of miraculous! This is the difference the Holy Spirit made when He came to fill the lives of Christ followers. It is what I call Holy Spirit momentum! What began with three thousand new believers baptized on the day of Pentecost, quickly spread throughout the known world! Those new Christ followers returned home completely changed from that Jewish feast in Jerusalem. They began to gather in homes, and churches were planted throughout the Roman world that proclaimed the risen Christ! By the time the Apostle Paul finally got to Rome after his third missionary journey, a dynamic growing young church was already developing! The same was true in Colossae, where Paul had never visited. This is Holy Spirit momentum! It’s when God is moving in the hearts and lives of those who hear the good news about His Son and respond in simple faith, trusting Jesus as their Savior from sin and receiving His life in exchange for their old sinful life!

Dr. Luke, who wrote the book of Acts as a sequel to his Gospel of Luke, chronicles this Holy Spirit momentum from the beginning, in an upper room where 120 Christ followers gathered following the ascension of Christ. They were doing what Jesus told them to do when He left them. After His resurrection, Jesus told them, “‘And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.’ Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting His hands to heaven, He blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped Him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy.” Luke 24:49-52 (NLT)

Luke picks up the narrative in his second book, Acts, and tells us that these followers gathered in an upper room to pray and wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit came, they were empowered and emboldened to proclaim the good news wherever they went! Track the Holy Spirit momentum with me from 120 believers in an upper room to 3,000 new believers at Pentecost; from 3,000 at Pentecost in Acts 2, to over 5,000 in Acts 4:4. By Chapter Five, Luke says, “Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord –crowds of both men and women!” Acts 5:14 (NLT) In Acts 6:1, he says that the believers “rapidly multiplied.” The math shifted from addition to multiplication! By this time, “… many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.” (Acts 6:7b) Later in the book of Acts, it is said that these men and women turned the world upside down! I could go on and on. Even when persecution against the church in Jerusalem broke out, the church simply spread wherever Christ followers fled until the message of Christ reached the ends of the earth! Wow! You can’t stop Holy Spirit momentum!

We live on the other side of Pentecost. The same Holy Spirit that filled their lives is available to fill ours today! His presence and power brought a new normal to the lives of Christ followers then and today – a better than normal!  You and I cannot possibly live the Christian life without the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If you want to experience a “better than normal”, Christian life, I challenge you to ask God to fill you every day with the Holy Spirit and begin to see the difference He makes! Your life will never be the same!