20190609 Sunday Worship Sermon
“In the Presence of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:12-14)
Today is the Pentecost.
It is the day to remember that the Holy Spirit descended on the 120 disciples in the upper room of Mark’s house.
The Pentecost is important to us because the Holy Spirit started the church.
However, many of today's Christians do not know who the Holy Spirit is or why the Holy Spirit came.
A Bible study group was learning about the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
After the Bible study ended, one of members came up to the pastor and said, "But, pastor, I think no matter how I see it, I do not believe I can be filled with the Holy Spirit. I do not want to be filled with the Holy Spirit."
He probably misunderstood something about the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
He thought that being filled with the Holy Spirit was a mysterious, supernatural phenomenon.
I think there are many of us who are wrong about the Holy Spirit.
That is why today, we are going learn about the Holy Spirit and think about what we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
First, we need to remember Jesus’ promise, that He would send us the Holy Spirit.
If the Holy Spirit was not important, Jesus would not have sent the Holy Spirit to us.
Jesus had already taught His disciples many times about the Holy Spirit.
In John 16:7 Jesus says,
"But I tell you the truth, it is good for you to go away. If I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you..."
Here, Jesus said that it was more beneficial for the disciples to leave.
What did He mean?
Is there a better reason the Holy Spirit should come?
Yes, because when the Holy Spirit comes, the disciples can clearly understand the truth Jesus has spoken.
Also, the Holy Spirit must come and join together so that the disciples can receive power and become witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
So, in Acts 1:4, Jesus told his disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father's promised Holy Spirit.
In fact, Jesus' vision was the kingdom of God.
Because it was so important to build up the kingdom of God, Jesus resurrected and stayed on the earth for forty days and spoke of the kingdom of God before he ascended.
But then, why did Jesus tell his disciples to wait for the Father’s promised Holy Spirit instead of doing the work of the kingdom of God as soon as possible?
It is very clear.
It was because the disciples did not have the power to build the kingdom of God.
Only when the Holy Spirit comes, the kingdom of God will be built.
That is why Jesus told the disciples first to wait for the Holy Spirit.
We know that when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, through them the gospel spread throughout Judea and Samaria.
But in fact, it was not the disciples who did it but through the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, in the book of Acts, the church and the Holy Spirit were inseparable.
The Holy Spirit and the disciples could not be separated.
The Holy Spirit made the church a church.
The Holy Spirit made the disciples able to spread the gospel.
However, the problem today is the church and Christians are not paying enough attention to the Holy Spirit.
Historically, it was during the Middle Ages that the Holy Spirit was neglected.
When Christianity became the state religion of Rome and the church had power, the churches no longer sought the Holy Spirit.
Even today, many churches and Christians are not seeking the Holy Spirit.
Of course, there are many reasons why the church and Christians have neglected the Holy Spirit, but one of the reasons is that the work of the Holy Spirit has been misunderstood as only supernatural phenomena rather than internal changes.
So, today, the church and Christians have a sense of rejection of the Holy Spirit experience, have stopped asking for the Holy Spirit, and have missed the benefits the Holy Spirit has given to the church.
But Brothers and Sisters, we need the Holy Spirit.
Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit.
Do not miss the power of the Holy Spirit that the early church enjoyed.
So then, how do we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit?
Today's text tells us what happened before the Pentecost in Acts 2.
Here we learn the secrets of experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit and the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
First, we must obey the Word of the Lord.
Jesus told his disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but “wait for what the Father has promised you...” (Acts 1:4).
In Luke 24:49, Jesus already commanded the disciples.
"See, I will send you what my Father promised, and you are to remain in this city until you are clothed with power from above."
The disciples obeyed this words of Jesus.
They did not leave Jerusalem.
Instead, they gathered in the upper room of Mark’s home to wait for the presence of the Holy Spirit that God promised.
Here we can see that the place where they experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit was the place of obedience.
Brothers and Sisters, who can experience the presence of the Holy Spirit?
Those who are obedient.
Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem, and they stayed, told them to gather and they gathered.
They obeyed the word of Jesus.
Therefore, upon the obedient ones, the Holy Spirit was poured out.
I have been ministering for about 20 years.
It may not be long, but I have never seen people in my ministry fast in calculation, critical to everything, and negative to others being filled with the Holy Spirit.
If you are willing to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you must first decide to fully obey God's Word.
The world we live in today sells this "pure obedience" as being foolish, but the Bible emphasizes that obedience is the foundation of the most important faith in experiencing God.
As Pastor Andrew Murray once said, "The moment we enter into faith, we enter a school of obedience."
There are those who decide whether or not to listen and obey God's word based on what they want to do or what they think.
If they agree, they say “OK!”
If it makes them uncomfortable and too much work, they say, “NO! I will not obey.”
But this is arrogance.
Brothers and Sisters, obedience is not our choice.
If we really want to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, then we must obey the word of the Lord.
This is the essence of faith.
We can see how the disciples obeyed in today’s verse 12.
"The disciples have returned to Jerusalem from the mount called the Olive, and this mountain is near Jerusalem and is the right way to go to the Sabbath." (Acts 1:12)
Here, the disciples came back from the Mount of Olive to Jerusalem in obedience to the word of Jesus.
The Mount of Olive, where Jesus ascended, and Jerusalem were not that far away from each other.
Some Biblical scholars speculate that when Jesus ascended from Mount Olive about 500 people witnessed the Ascension of Jesus.
It is based on 1 Corinthians 15:6 that the resurrected Jesus "appeared to 500 brothers at once...".
What is interesting, however, is in verse 15 of today’s text, the number of people who gathered in Mark's upper room was 120.
There is a big difference in the number of people who witnessed the ascension of Jesus from those who were in Mark’s upper room.
Where have all the rest gone?
It was a short distance, but a lot of people started to scatter in the middle of the journey.
Why did they scatter?
We can make a lot of guesses.
Maybe, the people did not think about the Lord’s command, “Do not leave Jerusalem ... wait for what the Father has promised."
There was no heart to obey.
But there were still people who were obedient to the Lord's command to the end.
They were 120 people.
The important thing is that the Holy Spirit came to the place where people who were obedient to the Lord's Word gathered.
If we want to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit and experience the fullness of God's grace, we must obey God's Word.
Second, if we want to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, we must "be together in heart."
If we take a look at today’s text carefully, we can see who gathered in Mark's upper room from the 120 people.
There were eleven disciples of Jesus, and there were also the women who followed Jesus from the time of Jesus' ministry to His death on the cross and burial.
And there was Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the brothers of Jesus.
And, although not mentioned in today’s text, we can imagine that there were 70 other disciples from Jesus' ministry who were not part of the 12 disciples also there.
So, there would be about 120 people.
But what is important here is that they were together in heart."
Looking at the faces of the people who were gathered there, it would not have been easy to ‘be together in heart.’
From the perspective of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the disciples fled, abandoning Jesus they followed.
Mary's heart would not have been so easy to tolerate them.
Yet Mary was ‘sharing her heart’ with them.
The same is true of 11 disciples.
Looking at the brothers of Jesus sitting there with them, they probably felt uncomfortable.
Jesus' brothers, at first, did not believe in Jesus.
They appeared only after Jesus resurrected and ascended, and it probably did not sit well with the others.
How, then, could the disciples 'share their hearts with one another?’
Probably not easy.
What about the position of the women who loved and stayed with Jesus until the end?
They went near the cross when Jesus died, and when Jesus died, they took his body and placed it in the tomb.
They were the ones who kept to Jesus until the end and kept Jesus alive.
But when they see the other people sitting there, they might be upset.
Most of the people tried to live alone and ran away.
Would it have been easy to be together with those people?
They knew each other's weaknesses and heartbreak so well.
But nevertheless, they shared their weaknesses with each other and came together.
And the Holy Spirit was there in the same place where they were together.
We can see here that 'to be together in heart' is the important motive to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. (ppt)
The people who were gathered in the upper room did not point fingers at each other but rather embraced each other's faults, tolerated each other, and started sharing the same heart, and then the Holy Spirit was there.
Yes, the church should be a place where you can share your heart with others.
The Holy Spirit comes into such a church, and such a church can be a healthy church.
I hope that our Olive Church becomes such a church.
Whether you have been attending church for a long time or a new member, whether you are older or younger, poor or rich... there should be no discrimination.
We must be able to share our heart with whatever the circumstances.
Those who gathered in Mark’s upper room did not blame past faults or weaknesses.
They just began to be together in heart.
And remember that the Holy Spirit was right there with them.
Lastly, to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, we must strive to pray.
120 people met in Mark’s upper room in obedience to the words of Jesus.
Their hearts were as one.
So what should they do now?
They should pray, praying for the power of the Holy Spirit.
In verse 14, it is said, " All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer."
Yes, they were focused on praying.
Today, however, most people find it difficult to focus on prayer.
It is more of a debate than a prayer.
Rather than pray, many Christians try to persuade others to follow their thoughts.
But, this is not the way to fulfill God's work.
The Holy Spirit comes where people pray.
The 120 people who gathered in Mark's upper room focused on prayer.
So what do you think they prayed for?
They would not have prayed for their physical desires or safety.
Perhaps they prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit above all to become witnesses of Jesus.
Brothers and Sisters, prayer is not a pathway to our greed.
We meet God through prayer and hear God's voice.
That is why our prayers must lay down our own will and seek God's will.
Above all, praying for the power of the Holy Spirit is important.
The Holy Spirit does not just show up.
It comes through the prayer.
We must not forget that the Holy Spirit comes in prayer.
When we realize that we need the power of the Holy Spirit and pray for the Holy Spirit, then God pours out the Holy Spirit upon us.
Brothers and sisters, today is the Pentecost.
We do not experience the presence of the Holy Spirit by chance.
The Holy Spirit does not come automatically.
We must pray earnestly.
We do not have the strength to live on earth as a witness of Jesus without the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit comes to those who pray.
The 120 people who gathered in the upper room were not scholars or rich.
They were poor people, but when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they became great witnesses of the gospel.
They became the heroes of the remarkable revival of the Early Church.
I hope that we will all experience the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.
To do that, remember these three things.
We must be a person of obedience, we must share our hearts together, and above all, we must strive for prayer.
So that we can create a new revival.
That we become that kind of church, in the name of the Lord. Amen.