And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52 ESV
Paul and Barnabas were having a great time in Antioch (in Pisidia). Many Gentiles were saved. “And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region” (v. 49).Then persecution arose and they were driven out of Antioch. Paul and Barnabas did what Jesus had told the disciples to do when they were not received at a certain place. “They shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium” (v. 51).
And the disciples were filled with disappointment and sadness. No! “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (v. 52).
As I read this account at the end of 2016 and wanting a good theme for the coming year, I wished for JOY in the Holy Spirit. So, that is what I chose. My desire for myself but also for you, is to be filled with joy, the joy that only the Holy Spirit can bring into our lives.
Remember my Christmas visitors? Here is a picture of the family!
Pilar is very active in her Sunday school and she had decided to start the year off with studies that I have prepared on the Book of Acts. Since the emphasis was going to be on the Holy Spirit she thought of having an introductory lesson on our Helper and Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Praying about how I could contribute to this lesson I asked the Holy Spirit, “What is the best way to introduce you to children? Holy Spirit, please show me!”
These 4 points came to my mind:
- Who is the Holy Spirit?
- What does He do?
- How does He work?
- How can you have the Holy Spirit?
When I sent Pilar this suggestion, together with Bible references on each point, she decided to do a whole month of studies instead of just an introductory lesson.
I then went on to study what Jesus promised about the Holy Spirit in his final speech to his disciples before going to the Cross.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever. John 14:16
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. John 15:26
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
- concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
- concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
- concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:13,14
After the Cross and before leaving the disciples to go home to his Father, Jesus gave his final promise:
And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. Luke 24:49
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. Acts 1:8
Many of our brothers and sisters around the world suffer persecution. Many Christians are beheaded because of their faith in Jesus. I admire them and I’m sure they will have a special reward when they get “home.” I hope they will! They deserve it!
What am I saying? They deserve it! That is my human perspective. We don’t deserve anything. It is all by the grace of God. Jesus paid the price for our redemption. He deserves everything!
But Jesus, in his great love for us, sent us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. And today, in 2017, we can have joy amid persecution. That was the case with Paul and Barnabas. They were driven out of Antioch. They arrived at Iconium, not pouting but rejoicing.
When the apostles in Jerusalem were arrested and imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, they were beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus.
Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. Acts 5:41,42
They rejoiced because they were honored of suffering for the name of Jesus! If we are persecuted, do we consider it an honor?
I have lots more to this study, but I’ll leave it for another day. My purpose now is to inspire you to have joy and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
If you are a Christian you received the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation, but there is much more to receive.
- The infilling of the Holy Spirit with power to be witnesses
- Speaking in tongues, a prayer language for your edification
- The fruit of love, joy, peace… (see Galatians 5:22,23)
- Gifts, as described in 1 Corinthians 12—14
Never forget that…
the Spirit’s main “job” is to glorify Jesus!
The Father will give you the Holy Spirit. Don’t miss out on the wonderful work he wants to do in your life. Receive with open hands and heart all he has to give you!
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13
I wish you JOY. I wish you JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.
May 2017 be a year of renewal and refreshment.
Even amidst persecution, may you rejoice!
I talked to Sarah, my youngest grandchild, this morning and told her it’s only 2 weeks until I’ll be where she lives to stay. Her reaction? “It’s so exciting I can’t wait!”
That should be our reaction to the expectancy of Jesus return. Jesus is coming! Oh, how exciting! I can’t wait!