May 20, 2023

Commissioned, Empowered & Guided by the Holy Spirit (Ascension, Year A)

 Ascension is the final direct teaching moment in Jesus ministry. He is comforting the disciples with the news they will be commissioned, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is good news for us as we too live in a hostile and dangerous place. Like the disciples we cannot continue Jesus ministry on our own. Like them we need both a community for emotional support and the Holy Spirit to commission us, guide us and empower us for ministry. We live in the spiritual wreckage of failed politicized churches that did not depend on the Holy Spirit to commission, guide and empower them.

 1.  “You will be baptized by the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1.5)

Jesus tells His disciples to stay in Jerusalem. The baptism of the Holy Spirit comes when we are in unity with one another. It does not come when we are arguing, debating or in conflict:

·     Very few churches take baptism in the Holy Spirit seriously

·     Anglicans have ritualized baptism, emphasizing the washing of water, death to sin and giving the light of Christ which may or may not be Holy Spirit

·     We do pray they will receive the Holy Spirit and some clergy use special oil of Chrism to anoint them with Holy Spirit

·     All very invisible and discrete in comparison of the disciple’s baptism in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

·     Most clergy and congregations would be dumbfounded if Holy Spirit actually showed up and people started praising God in tongues

·     John Wesley was booted out of his parish by his bishop when he reported “feeling his heart strangely warmed”

·     Point is if Christians are not baptized by Holy Spirit in a powerful and tangible way they may not be guided or empowered by the Holy Spirit and unable to grow in their spiritual life and witness to others

·     We all need to experience Holy Spirit in our lives


2.  “Give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation”

Jesus “opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures” (Lk. 24.45). This is a repeat of the Emmaus Road story. Jesus is teaching His disciples the difference between human reason and spiritual revelation: 

·     Human reason is not able to understand how things work in the supernatural dimension.

·     Liberals were able to deconstruct the supernatural in the Bible and create a false Christianity because conservative clergy did not understand the supernatural either

·     The words are all there in the Bible, but we all need to have our spiritual eyes opened


3.  Empowered by Holy Spirit

“You will receive power when Holy Spirit comes to you” (Acts 1.8) Jesus is calming their fears. They had seen Jesus crucified for proclaiming the Good News He was asking them to witness to.

·     They were terrified, barricading themselves in homes.

·     The religious leaders were trying to kill them also

·     Everywhere Paul went, the Pharisees followed him and told people they were just troublemakers

·     Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned

·     But he always survived, had joy, pressed on, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit


4.  Bible is about the supernatural acting in the natural dimension

·     Sadly, many church leaders today are not commissioned, guided and empowered by Holy Spirit

·     Example: Do not believe Holy Spirit had power to father Jesus

·     Consequence: Liberal churches now preach a non-divine Jesus, who couldn’t die for the non-existent sins of good people


We need to pray for spiritual revival and a building up of Holy Spirit commissioned, guided and empowered disciples and churches

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