I really believe Dr. Luke’s second book, “Acts of the Apostles,” is misnamed. There were 12 apostles (not counting Paul) and Dr. Luke’s book really only focuses on two of them: Peter and Paul. We might call the fifth book of the New Testament, “Acts of Some of the Apostles.” (Remember Luke didn’t name his book so we are free to call it anything appropriate.) However, I think a better title would be “Acts of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is mentioned over 60 times in Acts!
Talking about the Holy Spirit makes some people uncomfortable. The old King James translation talks about the “Holy Ghost” and that makes us even more uncomfortable. Some of the pioneers of the Restoration Movement even denied the Holy Spirit was anything more than God’s power at work. Others equated the indwelling Spirit as simply incorporating the word of God into our lives through reading the Bible!
So what can we expect from having a relationship with the Holy Spirit? First, this relationship is available to every single Christian. The Spirit was poured out upon the earth on the day of Pentecost and every baptized Christian (is there any other kind?) receives forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Second, the work of the Holy Spirit is to make us holy. Something that is “holy” has been (1) set apart (2) for God’s purposes. We are forgiven (justified) when we become Christians. We become holy (sanctified) through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Third, the Spirit fills us with power. Some people try to wait to become Christians until they are “better” people. That’s like trying to cut a log with a chainsaw without ever firing it up! The Spirit gives us the power to live holy lives and makes real change possible.
The Holy Spirit is God’s gift but can you imagine someone receiving a lovely birthday presentwrapped in shiny paper and topped with a beautiful bow. What would you think if the birthday boy simply set the package on the shelf for all to see but never opened it? We have received the gift of the Holy Spirit but many, many people have never taken the time to open the package!Fourth, the Holy Spirit gives us assurance. Satan often takes the form of a nagging voice: “You’re really not a very good Christian.” (Christians aren’t perfect – they’re just forgiven!) The presence of the Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee of our salvation. (See 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:14.)
So how do we do that? First, say “Thank you!” God has given you this special gift. Worship is an attitude of gratitude. Second, just like a GPS won’t help you reach your destination unless you refer to it; learn to listen for the Spirit’s voice. Third, “let go and let God.” It’s time to relax and start turning our troubles over the God. Finally, the best place to see the Holy Spirit is in the rearview mirror. Take time to remember and reflect on what God has done in the past. He spoke to the fathers. He rescued Israel. He gave us his Son to show us the way and now He has given us his precious Holy Spirit to empower us in his service.