The Disciples’ Power: The Holy Spirit

Published on February 27, 2020 by

As an older teenager, I came to faith in Christ at a Christian student camp. After professing my faith in Jesus, several people encouraged me as I began my new journey. I can’t recall all of the words of encouragement I received that day, but there is one encouragement I still remember to this day.

standing in the sun

This encouragement came from Pastor Godwin (what a great name for a pastor!) who was attending the camp with teenagers from his church. It was obvious that this pastor loved teenagers because he took every opportunity to spend time with them and speak into their lives. Pastor Godwin spoke into my life. He said, “Tim, the Christian life is either easy or impossible.” I asked, “Pastor, what do you mean by that?” He said, “It is impossible if you try to live the Christian life in your own strength. It will become more easy when you allow the Lord Jesus to live His life in and through you!” It may not be the best English grammatically; but it sure is theologically sound. Pastor Godwin was right! The longer I’ve followed Jesus, the more I’ve become aware of this truth found in John 15:5. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. (John 15:5, CSB) 

In the same way the branch must be connected to the vine, I must be connected to Jesus; because without Him I can do nothing! Just as the vine supplies all of the life-giving nutrients for the branch to remain healthy and bear fruit, Jesus provides all I need for “life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3) When Jesus says, “you can do nothing without me,” He means apart from Him (in and of yourself) you can do nothing. This truth highlights the fact that we must be totally dependent on Jesus and not ourselves. The good news is that when we turned from sin and put our faith and trust in Christ; He came to live within in the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the disciples source of power. Notice what Jesus tells His disciples in Acts: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8, CSB)

The Promise Of Power

Jesus told His disciples they would receive power. He had already told them in John: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. (John 14:16, CSB) He also told them in John 14:17 that the Holy Spirit would be with them (collectively) and in them (individually.) Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would empower them to do kingdom work.

The Person Of Power

The person of power is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity. He is God and is in every way equal with God the Father and God the Son. He is described in the Bible as having real attributes and characteristics of personality. He has a mind (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), a will, (1 Corinthians 12:11), emotions (Ephesians 4:30), and prays (Romans 8:26-27). He is God Himself and has come to indwell the hearts of every believer. Because the Holy Spirit lives within the disciple, He is a constant comfort and helps the disciple to follow Jesus in his walk and his witness.

The Purpose Of Power

According to Acts 1:8 the purpose of the power given to the disciple is to be a “witness” for Christ. Being a witness includes your words and your walk. It involves not only the things you say, but how you live your life. Disciplemaking involves both evangelism and discipleship. Both inviting people to faith in Christ and investing in those who come to Him. The Lord Jesus has promised to provide all the power we need to accomplish His purposes. Consider the disciple Peter. In his own strength, he was a miserable failure who denied Christ. But when empowered by the Holy Spirit, he fearlessly stood before the Jewish leaders and would not deny his Lord. Following Christ is impossible in our own strength, but when we allow the Holy Spirit to control and empower us, we can follow Jesus wherever He leads. 

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