[reprinted from February 18, 2010]
32God raised this Jesus, and we are all witnesses to it. 33He was elevated to the right hand of God and received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father. Now he is pouring it out as you both see and hear.Â Â Acts 2:32-33 (HN)
â€“ Henry Neufeld
Sometimes as Iâ€™m telling stories of my own life, part of my testimony, I pause and think about just how unlikely many of these stories are. Thereâ€™s the time my father was miraculously healed. There are many answers to prayer in my own life.
Then consider the simple claim to salvation. â€œIâ€™ve received Jesus as my Lord and Savior,â€ I say. â€œIâ€™m not a friend of God. God is my dad!â€ What an unimaginable claim that is. I add to that the story that Iâ€™ve received the Holy Spirit into my life, Iâ€™ve been empowered by God, and through his Spirit he lives in me.
Then we go back in Christian history and we see these remarkable stories. Here is Peter, the fisherman, preaching to crowds after the crucifixion. The day before he was hiding out, hoping nobody would find him. The disciples had been pretty scarce even after they saw Jesus. They knew heâ€™d been raised from the dead, but they also knew that he had died, and they were aware that they might die as well.
Yet on Pentecost they received the Holy Spirit and began to tell these weird and wonderful stories with boldness to large crowds. They quit worrying about dying and began to challenge the world with the gospel message. They quit trying to melt into the countryside, and began standing out as a challenge.
That was the action of the Holy Spirit in their lives. When the Holy Spirit gets hold of you, you do and say things you wouldnâ€™t do otherwise. You step out of your comfort zone. You tell stories. You talk about hearing God speak to you. You tell people that Jesus is risen, and you know it because he lives within your heart, or perhaps you even say that you, yourself have seen him.
There are two important elements I would like us to think about here. First, the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to challenge their world. They didnâ€™t call for some little decision, such as going to church once a week, or attending a small group. They called on people to be transformed, and then to transform the world. Second, the power of the preaching involved both the Holy Spirit and the personal testimony of the disciples. They talked about what they knew and what they had witnessed.
If youâ€™ve had life-transforming experiences with the Lord, are you letting people know? If youâ€™re a Christian, and you canâ€™t talk about something that is life-transforming, shouldnâ€™t you check your relationship with God?
Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, and he has sent us the gift of his Spirit. But we have to go, live, and speak.