Strengthened by the Spirit | Spirit-Filled Church Life Group Series 4/6
By Andy Coleman (one of our Life Group and Ministry Leaders)
“This, is the last of earth. I am content.”
(John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States.)
“See in what peace a Christian can die.”
(Joseph Addison, English essayist, poet, playwright and politician.)
“Now comes the mystery.”
(Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman, social reformer and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery.)
A person’s final words before they leave this earth often provide an interesting insight into the person themselves. For some, it can be a moment to speak words of truth when there is nothing more to lose. For others, their words may not have universal significance but are a final, lasting memory of an individual’s personality. A person’s last words may be treasured by family and friends simply because they were their last.
In Acts 1:8 we get a fascinating insight into Jesus’ final words to the apostles before His ascension into heaven. Imagine being one of those apostles, having seen your precious Messiah crucified in horrific, brutal circumstances, only to encounter the risen Lord just a few days later. And now, Jesus is preparing to return to the Father, His work on Earth accomplished. What final words would Jesus give to this group of people who had given up everything to follow Him?
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Before being lifted up to heaven, Jesus’ final words were to promise that the Holy Spirit would come upon them (which we know happened shortly after at Pentecost), and that they would receive power. That they would be strengthened to do His work in all the Earth, to preach the good news of the Gospel; strength to stand up for the truth, to resist temptation and sin amidst trials and persecution; strength to “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19)
Does this resonate with you? Do you see this power at work in your life? Do you draw your strength from the fountain of life, the Holy Spirit at work in you and through you, day-to-day? Or are you weary; worn down by the demands of life, trying to do things in your own strength? Stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted by the pressures of a life you are trying to do by yourself. It seems that more and more people are burning out, working every hour of the day and night, seven days a week, realising too late that they are going to fall short, unable to cope with all that life throws at them. Is this what your life looks like?
As followers of Christ and members of the church body we have an incredible opportunity to show people another way. When we live lives that are fully empowered by the Holy Spirit, empowered to know the fullness of God and the love of Christ, we can display to the people around us a different way to live: a life strengthened by the Spirit.
Do you know the Spirit’s power?