“Can we talk?”
Every now and then, Randy or I will say to the other, “Can we talk?” And we both think, “Uh-oh.” We think there must be something serious we need to discuss. It’s kind of a “what have I done (or not done)?”
Pentecost could be met with the question, “Can we talk?” When the first disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, the first visible signs involved talking. First, they spoke in tongues or in different languages — languages other than their native tongue.
Then, Peter speaks to the crowds, explaining this strange phenomena. He quotes from the Old Testament prophet Joel, saying that his prophecy is being fulfilled.
You’ll recall that last week in looking at the Ascension of Christ, we spoke of how Jesus instructed the disciples would be witnesses, in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the world … but don’t leave Jerusalem until you receive power from on high; wait, until you receive the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus ascended, he left a great work to be done, a work that every believer today is still entrusted with: being witnesses; making sure every person, every people group represented around the world has the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ and what he did for all humanity: He is God, come in human form; though sinless, he suffered and died, taking our sins to the cross. And as he rose to life, he brings new life for you and for me.
The disciples witnessed this firsthand. I have witnessed this in my life. You have witnessed it. We see it one another’s lives. And Jesus says, share it with others.
But he also says, that even though he’s left, he sends his Spirit to be with us, to live in us and to guide us in this enormous task.
“Can we talk?”
There are some people in this world who seem to talk incessantly and then there are those who seem to hardly have a word to say and then all those who fall somewhere in the middle. It doesn’t matter where we fall, the call and commission are the same: be my witnesses. So many of us are like Moses and say, “But … I can’t. I don’t know what to say; I’m too afraid” or even that society tells us to keep our faith a private affair.
But Jesus says otherwise, “Be my witnesses.”
Most times our very problem is we get too focused on the I. I can’t. What if we focus on God? What if we focus on the gift of the Holy Spirit, who was given to empower us for this task?
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth ( John 16.12-15)
At the time these words are spoken, Jesus has not died or resurrected yet. Jesus is trying to prepare the disciples for this, but they can only bear so much. They can only take in so much. The Spirit of Truth will continue to reveal Jesus, as the way, the truth, and the life. The Spirit of Truth will help them to understand who Jesus is and the implications of his actions. The Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus.
The Holy Spirit Teaches and Reminds (John 14.26)
In John, remind means to recall and to understand. Teaching and reminding are two ways of speaking the same thing. To “teach you all things” indicates the revelation of God through Jesus. There is a progressive revelation of who God is. “All” is the comprehensiveness of the Spirit’s teaching – the Spirit understands all about Jesus and will leave out nothing. Jesus is given the full revelation of the Father. The Spirit gives the full revelation. There is no further revelation. It is the understanding of the revelation that is given and that is needed.
The Holy Spirit Gives Words (Luke 12.11-12)
This passage speaks specifically to defending the Gospel. When you are questioned about your beliefs, the Holy Spirit will lead you in what to say. The two greatest of fears of witnessing is rejection and knowing what to say. To the first, Jesus instructs it is him that is rejected. And he promises that the Holy Spirit will give us the words to say. The words may be different for different situations. Each person we share with is unique and the Holy Spirit understands what they need to hear and even when they need to hear it.
The Holy Spirit enables our lives to speak (Galatians 5.22-25)
And last of all, the speech of our lives …We have all heard the phrase, “practice what you preach” or “actions speak louder than words.” Not only our words, but our actions are called to be witnesses to Jesus Christ. Our words are meaningless, unless we live what we speak, or “walk the talk.” We can know about God, but do we know God? Has he transformed our lives?
The fruit of the Spirit demonstrates the moral qualities to be present in the life of the believer. If we belong to Christ, we will be transformed and exhibit character that is Christlike. It is the power of the Holy Spirit who works these qualities in our lives. The Holy Spirit transforms our lives.
This is not a list of laws to be kept; this is not a list of goals to try to develop or attain in our lives, it is evidence the Holy Spirit is present in our lives. It is he who transforms us, bringing about these qualities. The Holy Spirit is Sanctifier, it is he who purifies our lives. The Holy Spirit enables our lives to speak and give witness to God’s presence.
“Can we talk?”
Yes, we can talk, with the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit. Let us invite the Holy Spirit into our lives, to dwell within us so that we may be emboldened as witnesses to Jesus Christ. Then we can talk. He will give us the words to speak, He will give us a deeper understanding of Jesus Christ and God the Father, He will transform our lives so that they speak that we belong to Jesus Christ.