The Holy Spirit’s Passion
Imagine for a moment as a daddy is taking her daughter on a daddy daughter date. They walk, holdhands, go for coffee and coca-cola and a bun and talk and listen – mostly he listens. Picture them walking, hand in hand, the little girl looking up into her daddy’s face and sees his love!
Suppose an aggressive drunk comes stumbling in their path as they walk to the coffee shop. The man stops about ten feet in front of them and stares into their faces and says to the little girl, "Hey stupid! You still like to hold hands with your mama?” She looks up at Dad – what she doesn’t want to see is the loving look, or worse panic or fear. At this moment she don’t want to see mainly kindness,tenderness, warmth. She would want to see strength, indignation, andconfidence. And she wants to feel a new kind of grip, that is so tight it would be uncomfortable in ordinary circumstances, but now says, "You won’t slip even if you faint, and no one can take you out of my hand." And as she looks up, the dad steps between her and the man and say, "Back off. You better cool it mister. I’m her Dad." And then the dad would shield his daughter as they walk boldly right by the man and leaves him behind.
I hope I’d be like that! But Now picture our Christian walk – one the one hand we have a loving Father and one the other we know He is unswerving and invincible in purpose. Sovereign and in control. When things are tough,when there is betrayal and it looks like Satan has the upper hand and we lookto God we don’t want to see fear, panicor just a loving look!
To quote John Piper, We need to see the tough features inthe face of Christ as well as the tender ones. And specifically this afternoonwe need to see not only the sweet, quiet, gentle ministry of the Holy Spirit asa Comforter, but also the awesome invincibility of his purpose and hisunflinching unwavering zeal for the glory of Jesus Christ.”
And that is exactly what we are going to get in the nextsection of Acts. A couple of weeks ago we look at Acts 1:1-12. This week we areat v12-26 – a seemingly strange section sandwiched between the promise of theSpirit in v8 and the fire falling in fulfilment in ch2. It’s position there isimportant as we will see in a moment.
Read the passage and find out this
1. God wants us to see the invincible purpose ofthe Spirit
2. The Holy Spirit is zealous that Jesus isglorified.
3. So what – how we can apply that to our Christianwalk.
Read Acts 1:12-26
God wants us to see the invincible purpose of the Spirit.
Days after the ascension of Christ. Jesus has told them tomake disciples in all nation, but to wait for the Spirit’s power first. So theygo back to the upper room and gather for prayer regularly. To pray in thepromise!
Why is this odd passage about Judas the betrayer here,sandwiched between the promise of the Spirit and the fire falling?
So Peter stands up and says “Brothers, the Scripture had tobe fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David.”That;s the key that unlocks what this strange section is about and so we askwhat Scripture? Peter answers that in v20 with 2 quotes from the Psalms:
The first half of verse 20 is a quote from Psalm 69:25,"May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it.."And that word is fulfilled in how Judas died and purchased a field by hisblood-money that became a desolate field of blood (vv. 17-19).
The second half of verse 20 is a quote from Psalm 109:8,"Let another take his office." And that word is fulfilled in the wayJudas was replaced by Matthias, described in verses 21-26.
The passage is about those two get fulfilled. The first partup to the quotes in v20 is about how Judas’s blood-money came to buy a desolatefield of blood. Then the second section after verse 20 shows how the secondprophetic scripture is fulfilled – he is replaced!
So the first point is that God wants us to see the invincible purpose ofthe Holy Spirit
The Scripture HAD to be fulfilled! God had spoken centuriesbefore and it HAD to be fulfilled! Often we see life as open ended and thingsgoing well and going badly. How can Peter say, "It had to be"? Whydid it have to be? Isn’t life full of ups and downs? Isn’t the futureopen-ended? Aren’t people free to make of life whatever they want so that evenGod has to adjust his plans?
Well either Peter was wrong or actually God is invincibleand His purposes will come to pass. This is one of the things you want to seeon the Father’s face when you look up to him in a time of crisis and danger-andespecially in a time when you are being betrayed. You want to see that hispurpose is not crumbling; that he is not worried; there is no panic in hisface; but only the confidence of an invincible purpose. He has spoken and ithas to be.
And God used Peter to talk about Judas story to illustratethis.
It is easy to believe God is sovereign when things are goingwell! But when things go bad, when there is lying, and mistrust and betrayal,and death, then you need all the help you can get to believe that the purposesof God are invincible. And that is what Luke gives us: not even Judas and Satancould undermine or escape the all-encompassing invincibility of God’s purpose.
Jesus knew full well that Judas would betray Him. In John heis talking to his disciples and says “But there are some of you who do notbelieve”. In Jn 17:12 he prays “While I was with them, I kept them in yourname, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them hasbeen lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” Jesus didn’t pray “I just don’t understandit. What happened? Why is he betraying me? Whatis going on?”. Because God issovereign and in control even when things look bad.
So at the end of the 19th C when Nietzscheannounced “God is dead” and when in the second half of the 20thCentury the church started declining to the point that 1000 people a week gaveup on the Church in the 90’s. God wasn’t worried, He wasn’t panicing. He issovereign and his purposes will be brought to pass by the invincible purpose ofthe Holy Spirit.
So when things are pressing in hard to your life. When allseems bad, out of control, people turning against you. When you loose your job,there’s sickness, even death and look up to the Father you won’t see a puzzledand worried face. We will see what we want so much to see, the confidence of aninvincible purpose.
So there is the first thing – God wants us to see theinvincible purpose of the Holy Spirit in the midst of crisis, tragedy andbetrayal.
Why then are there precious verses of God breathed Scripture, God breathed to be useful for us!Devoted to the replacement of Judas? Especially as they used a strange practiceafter prayer of casting lots.
The lots was an OT custom – they didn’t have the Spirit ofprophecy to hear from God yet – so God used an OT custom for the last time!
But why is Judas’ replacement so important – especially aswe don’t hear from Matthias again? Why didn’t they wait for Paul who do hear alot of?
Why does Luke want us to see that the invincible purposeof the Holy Spirit, expressed in Scripture, includes the replacement ofJudas-and specifically the replacement by one who had been with the 12 duringthe whole three years of Jesus public ministry? That is the important point ofverse 21 & 22, " So one of the men who have accompanied usduring all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out amongus, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he wastaken up from us-one of these men must become with us a witness to hisresurrection.”
It is important because those 12 apostles had been withJesus from the beginning of his ministry to his resurrection and they wouldensure that the message of the work of the historical Jesus was passed on. TheSpirit is passionate about the glory of Jesus and to ensure that we are guidedinto all truth. While only 3 Peter, James and John wrote any Scripture, theother 9 ensured we got the whole deal. The Spirit glorifies Jesus.
So this strange little passage is sandwiched between thepromise of the Spirit and the fulfilment of the Spirit coming for all, becausein all our pursuit for more of the power and presence of the Spirit, we mustremember it is all about Jesus.
One preacher said “For if our roots are not sunk deepinto the words and deeds of Jesus (preserved for us by the apostles), then itis certain that our branches will not reach very high into the sky of God’spower.”
God wants us to know that his purposes will be fulfilled by the Spirit andthat the Spirit wants to see Jesus glorified in everything.
So how does that change tomorrow morning?
1) It’s all about Jesus – so get deeper in Him.
2) What God begins He will carry on to completion. Soknow that when you look to the Father in those dark moments, you see the quietdetermination that He will accomplish His purposes.
Individually -strength and hope – God is with You and He will get it done
He will fulfil his promises and prophecies
Prophecy does need to be weighed – know in part and prophecy in part.
What do I have to do?
What is of God unconditionally will happen!
Living with unfulfilled prophecy – we want it now, whenGod was revealing an end game.
Can lead to frustration and “hope deferred makes theheart sick”
Minister into that in a moment.
Corporately -promises from God
Wave of growth coming
So Prepare the ground and sharpen the plough.
1. PrayBiblically – reminding God of His promises
2. Throwout the nets again, even if you haven’t caught anything all night!