He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way…
“What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high.”
Luke 24:45, 48 (MSG)
Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit’s power—God living in us.
So how does the Holy Spirit help us?
- Stirs and move our conscience
- Puts God-thoughts into our thoughts
- Prays for us when we don’t know what to pray for
- Gives us internal strength (2 Tim 1:7 – Gives us a spirit that does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline)
We need a better understanding of how the Holy Spirit moves and empowers us. That comes from learning to read our Bibles in such a way that we grasp God’s heart.
The power to live a changed life comes from God.
… But when a person changes and follows the Lord, that covering is taken away. The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NIV)
Jesus is the Spirit, and the Spirit is Jesus. When we decide to follow Jesus and become a disciple, we make a decision at baptism to embrace a life of change… We find freedom.
- Free from condemnation – We repent and turn from our sins, and God forgives every sin: past, present, and future.
- Free from measuring ourselves by a worldly standard
- Free to live out our real purpose – the reason why God made us
Q. What baptism did you experience? One of freedom or one of rules?
Q. Is your mind still covered by distrust, pride, selfishness, and deceit?
Q. Do you want that covering taken away so the you can experience power?
… but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Hebrews 7:24-25 (NIV)
So many people experience religion and are sickened by the lack of power. They get the membership to a church with no freedom for their hearts. They are burdened still with sins and vices that dominate their heart and life. They want to believe they are saved, but feel lost in life.
Jesus is able to save us completely. Becoming a disciple is not perfection but a relationship. We keep changing because we care about the relationship, not being perfect.
Jesus lives to advocate for us – He intercedes for us.
Dealing with Temptations
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
Jesus can relate to the struggles we have, but he had a relationship with God that helped him to overcome.
- Q. How tight are you holding on to your faith?
- Q. How strongly do you believe that God understands what you’re going through?
- Q. How much do you resist sin because you value your relationship with God?
The more we resist the temptations, the stronger our character becomes.
Keeping a Clear Conscience
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
Approach God with confidence:
- Receive Mercy – relieves the guilt on our heart
- Find Grace – resensitizes our conscience
- Ask for help – restores trust; God has our back
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins…
Hebrews 9:14-15 (NIV)
Jesus’ blood cleanses our conscience and removes the stain of sin.
The reason Jesus did that is so that we can serve God – Jesus advocates for us so we can learn to advocate for others.
Advocating for Others
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings,
Hebrews 10:19-25 (NIV)
Confidence comes from having nothing to hide: shame, secrets, motives, desires… Are you free? Or do you still have something to hide?
Advocating for others is deciding to take responsibility for your relationships.
Jesus is our advocate in heaven who lives everyday to help us. When you are baptized and live as a disciple, you will experience him living in you – speaking, prodding and praying when you don’t know which way to go
He wants us to draw near to him, hold unswervingly, and advocate for others. That’s the power to live a changed life.