Bryan Collier ~ Intoxicated Promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:13; John 14:15-26; 16:5-15)

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“They’re just drunk!” That was the accusation against the disciples. They are “under the influence”—they are intoxicated. And to be completely honest they were intoxicated. Just not with alcohol as their accusers supposed. They were intoxicated with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had promised the Power from on High and had told them to wait until they received this power from on high and now that they had receive it people thought they were drunk.

We use the word intoxicated in other ways than just to describe someone who has had too much to drink. We say that someone’s presence is intoxicating or that an aroma of good food or pleasant perfume is intoxicating or that the emotion of love can be intoxicating. We use the word intoxicated in other ways than just to describe someone who has had too much to drink—it’s just that the common use has been related to alcohol.

But this was a different kind of control. This was not “out of control” as too much to drink often produces—this was under the complete control of God’s Spirit and this kind of intoxication brings life.

The promise of this kind of intoxication had been given to them by Jesus when he promised them something more fulfilling, more empowering, more beneficial, more significant than his own presence with the disciples.

In one of the most difficult to understand affirmations of Jesus he says, “[I]t is best that I go away, because if I don’t the Holy Spirit won’t come. If I do go away then I will send the Holy Spirit to you” (John 16:7).

So for the next four weeks we are going take a look at this “more” this “better than Jesus’ presence” that Jesus promised.

But to do so we have to…

Rewind 55 Days

When Jesus gathered in the upper room with his disciples just days before his crucifixion, he was trying to prepare them for the day that we read about in Acts.

On that day and the following days the resurrected Jesus was going to turn resurrection power loose on the world, through them. But before He would let loose resurrection power THROUGH them, he would turn loose resurrection power IN them. And so he spent his last hours teaching them just what that Power would look like so they would recognize it! Others might accuse them of being drunk—but they would know what God was up to!

Flash back to that upper room and the words of Jesus with me. That time and that teaching are found in John 13-17, but we are going to look at two smaller sections.

The Holy Spirit’s Work in the Follower of Jesus (John 14:15-26)

Jesus says, other people are going to be confused by this, but so you won’t be, let me tell you what to expect. What I am promising you is:

  • The constant presence of God in your life because God will live in you, be in you and never leave you (14:16-17). This is why it was “better” for Jesus to go away. Limited by time and space in his earthly body, the Spirit had no such limitations.
  • The constant guidance of God in your life—this Spirit that I am promising will lead you into all truth (14:16) and will teach you further about me (14:26) and remind you of everything I taught you (14:27).

Jesus is saying, there are confusing days ahead. There are challenging days ahead. I won’t be with you in body anymore—but I will send my Spirit and here is what I promise that Spirit will do in your life: be constantly with you and constantly guiding you, leading you, teaching you, reminding you of all the truths I have taught you.

A little later in that conversation Jesus also reveals to them how the Holy Spirit will be at work in the world. Turn over to John 16.

The Holy Spirit’s Work in the World (John 16:5-15)

Jesus says, other people are going to be confused by this, but so you won’t be, let me tell you what to expect. What I am promising you is:

  • The convicting of the world of its sin (16:8).
  • The convicting of the world of God’s righteousness (16:8) and…
  • The coming judgement (16:8)

The Holy Spirit that I am sending will point out/reveal the broken, sinfulness of the world and the perfect righteousness (right way) of God and the impending collision of those two things.

This same Spirit will continue to guide you into all truth and teach you about the future of these things (16:13) and He (the Spirit) will point at (bring glory; 16:14) to Jesus by continually lifting him up as the only solution for the world in that collision.

Why was Jesus Teaching Them all of This?

Because he knew that 50 days from this upper room gathering what he was promising them was going to be fulfilled and that the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of Resurrection/New Life was going to be let loose on the world and it was something never before seen or experienced and that they were going to need some context for what was happening because the world was not going to have any idea.

The world had seen religious practice before; the world had seen cultic traditions before; but the one true God active by His constant presence in the world was unlike anything they had ever seen and the effect was going to be unlike anything they had ever seen. It was going to be such a surreal experience for the world to see the power of God unleashed in people’s lives and through people’s lives that they were going to not be able to make sense of it and so they would use words to describe from their experience what they were seeing and they would say—They are just drunk!

What does all of this mean for us?

What began on that day in Jerusalem—the power of the Holy Spirit let loose in our world—is still happening today. It is ongoing. There has never in the nearly 2,000 years since that moment been a lull or a pause or a stoppage in the work of the Holy Spirit in our world.

What I am saying is that for those first disciples Jesus was pointing to a DAY and we are living in those DAYS.

The Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of the followers of Jesus.

Whenever we become Christians, accepting the suffering and death of Jesus as payment for our sins and step into the resurrection of Jesus embracing the new life he offers, The Holy Spirit fills our lives.

We are going to talk about the effects of this filling throughout the rest of this series, however, you can know without a doubt that one of the effects in the life of the follower of Jesus is the constant presence of God sustaining and strengthening you because the Spirit of Christ lives in you.

When we walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death as Psalm 23 says, we have nothing to fear. Why? Because the Spirit of God is there with us.

When we are tempted to abandon the hard road of doing the right thing, the God-honoring thing? The Spirit is there—the same Spirit that gave Jesus the will to say, “not my will but your will be done.”

Unless there is within us that which is above us, we shall soon yield to that which is about us.

P. T. Forsyth

The Holy Spirit lives within us giving us the strength to say yes to what we need to say yes to and no to what we need to say no to!

Over the last couple of years in several circles of teaching our men have studied a definition of godly manhood articulated by a man named Robert Lewis that goes like this. A godly man: rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously and expects God’s reward. It is the Spirit of God living in the man who creates the desire to be a godly man and that constantly gives that man the strength to reject passivity, accept responsibility and to lead courageously to the end that their greatest desire is not the acclaim of the world, but the reward of God. (Obviously this is no less true for women.)

The Spirit of God is living in you to strengthen you, to encourage you, in the ways of God, and when in doubt to guide you in the ways of God.

In the Sacred Museum of the Vatican, there is a sixteenth-century sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini entitled “Habakkuk and the Angel.” In this masterpiece, Habakkuk is holding a packed bag, as if he is traveling somewhere, and his movement is forward, as if he is walking ahead. However, his movement is impeded by an angel hovering above him, who has grabbed this startled prophet by the hair, as if lifting him to heaven. There is something about that image that is so apropos to us. Some of us are very much on our own way, walking in a very different direction than God would have us walk. We need to be redirected, to be pulled by the hair, if you will, up into the heavens to see what Habakkuk saw (1:1)—a vision of God.

God doesn’t always grab us by the hair (some of us he obviously can’t!) but that same thing is what God is up too. He works in our mind, in our learning, in our gut, in our community, in the truths of Scripture studied and memorized, in our praying—to give us guidance by His Holy Spirit!

Most of you know I am from rural Union county (which is kind of redundant to say) a postal address of Etta, but a community outside of Etta called Pinedale. If I were to tell you to meet me at my parents house for Sunday lunch but not give you a garmin, an address or any directions, it would be unlikely that you would know which way to go. But if you put me in the car with you and asked me which way to go, I could tell you every turn because I have been there a million times.

That is the work of the Holy Spirit. When we don’t know where we are coming from, where we are or where we are going or when we are going in the wrong direction—the Spirit knows exactly and reveals it to us. He knows perfectly the ways of God and guides us into all truth.

The Holy Spirit is at Work in the World

Then and now–pointing out the brokenness and sinfulness of our world, the righteousness/right ways of God, and the impending collision course between the two.

And pointing at Jesus as the only solution.

Now this is where it gets very real and personal for the followers of Jesus.

The primary way that the Holy Spirit points out the brokenness and sinfulness of our world and the contrasting righteousness/right ways of God is through the lives of Jesus’ followers who are intoxicated by the Holy Spirit.

Let me say that again: the primary way that the Holy Spirit points out the brokenness and sinfulness of our world and the contrasting righteousness/right ways of God—is through the lives of Jesus’ followers who are intoxicated by the Holy Spirit.

We have to be careful that we don’t let this way of living degenerate into an I am better than you…look at me! Nothing is more anti-Christ and an affront to the Spirit’s work in the world than that spirit of arrogance.

A friend recently loaned me the book The Ten Second Rule by Clare DeGraff. It is a good, quick and profound read. In it the author describes how he came to the impression that he was in every moment of prompting—just do the next thing you are reasonably sure Jesus is asking you to do. The book is full of stories and insights, but this is it—in the power of the spirit and under the guidance of the Spirit by the prompting of the Spirit—do the next thing you are reasonably sure Jesus is asking you to do.

The life humbly lived in the ways of Christ, by the strength of the Spirit of Christ contrasts with the world that lives by a horde of other deadly spirits.

And when this happens—when in a world of competing spirits…the spirits of pride, and self-serving and lust and greed and anger and self-righteousness are subdued in the life of an individual by the Holy Spirit at work in their life—the world will not know how to deal with it or describe it and they will use words like: they are crazy, they have lost their minds or they are drunk!

Conclusion

Under the control of something/Someone, the world rarely sees someone under the control of.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to his followers—to the ones gathered in the upper room that night—and to all who would come after them. This promise is being fulfilled today and as we will see that Spirit gives power to the believers and bears fruit in their lives and gives them gifts to announce that this Spirit—and the life that really is life—is available to all who would call on the name of Jesus.

Let me ask you, “What are you under the control of?” “What would you LIKE to be under the control of?” The Spirit of Jesus is promised to the people of Jesus—to work IN their lives and THROUGH their lives.

If you would like to receive that Power…to become RIGHTLY Intoxicated (can’t wait to hear these rumors!)…I invite you to pray with one of our pastors.

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