Spirit-Empowered Witnessing

Spirit-Empowered Witnessing

Scripture: Acts 4:31
Date: 08/01/2020  Lesson: 5
'As we witness for Jesus, it is crucial to remember that we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit. He is there before us, preparing hearts to receive the message of the gospel.'

Holy Spirit: the Need - Paperback or Digital PDF

Holy Spirit: the Need - Paperback or Digital PDF
When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.
If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.

Jean Ross: Good morning, friends, welcome to "Sabbath School Study Hour" coming to you here from the Amazing Facts offices in Granite Bay, California. I'd like to welcome those joining us. I know we have friends across the country and even in other countries that are tuning in for our lesson study time. Some of the churches are still unable to gather together and study the lesson as they normally would, and we are glad that you're able to join us and at least share this very important lesson, very important subject today. We've been going through our lesson quarterly entitled "Making Friends For God." Today, we're going to be looking at lesson number five, which is entitled "Spirit-Empowered Witnessing."

But before we get to our lesson, we'd like to tell you about our free offer that we have. It's a book dealing with the Holy Spirit, it's entitled, "Holy Spirit: The Need." And we'll be happy to send this out to anyone who calls and asks. The number is 866-788-3966. And all you have to do is ask for offer number 723. Again, that number is 866-788-3966. Ask for offer number 723 and we'll be happy to get this in the mail. You can also request a digital copy of the book, "The Holy Spirit: The Need." Just text the code SH099 to the number 40544. Again, the code is SH099 and you want to text that to the number 40544. You'll be able to receive a digital download of the book and you'll be able to read it wherever you are, even if you're outside of North America. So, we want to encourage you to take advantage of that.

Well, before we get to our lesson, we always want to start with a word of prayer And so, wherever you are, just ask if you'll bow your heads as we pray. Dear Father, we thank You that we have this opportunity to meet and study together a very important subject. We know that the great commission has been given to each of us individually, as well as the church, in taking the gospel to the world. That would include those living close to us, our neighbors, our friends, even family members. And so, we pray that You'd bless our study today. We're going to look at the importance of the Holy Spirit in witnessing and how we ought to seek the Holy Spirit to guide us. And also bless those who hear the Word that we share. So, bless our time today, for we ask this in Jesus' name, amen.

Our lesson today is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug.

Doug Batchelor: Thank you, Pastor Ross, and good morning, friends. It's morning here. We're doing different Zoom Bible studies and meetings for people around the world, and so sometimes I have to think about where I am because I'm actually teaching in another time zone. Last night, I was doing the worship service for a church in Beijing, China, and it was 8, 9 o'clock for me, and it was morning for them. And the day before, I was studying with a group in Norway, and again it was the opposite side of the globe. But we're coming to you live right now from Northern California.

And you know, for a little longer, you're probably going to see us in this background. We've actually set up a mini studio in what is normally our AFGO staff worship room. We are not having group worships as we normally did because of the pandemic. People are sort of having it a more spread out in their departments, but we're finishing off a nice studio downstairs. And I think soon, you're going to see a different background here for the "Sabbath School Study Hour." But we're glad that we can get together and study the Word of God, especially during these extraordinary times right now, where the whole world seems has been turned topsy turvy in a number of different ways. But the Word of God never changes, and we're so thankful for its dependability.

As Pastor Ross mentioned, we're continuing in our lesson "Making Friends For God," talking about how Christians can share their witness. And today again, we're dealing with lesson number five, which is "Spirit-Empowered Witnessing." This is probably one of the most important things that we could be talking about, how to be witnessing in the power of the Spirit, and this is the purpose that God gives us the Holy Spirit. And we have a memory verse, and the memory verse comes to us from Acts chapter 4, verse 31, I'll say this, some of you have it in your lesson. It may also appear here on the screen. And it says, "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness." When they were filled with the Spirit, they spoke the Word of God, which is the principle reason that God gives us the Holy Spirit.

So, in our study, I want to just tell you in advance what some of the categories are that we're going to be talking about in connection with Spirit powered witnessing. We've got Jesus and the promise of the Holy Spirit in one section, an empowered church, the Holy Spirit in witnessing, the Holy Spirit the Word in witnessing, and then in the last section is the life transforming power of the Holy Spirit. So, first thing we're going to talk about is Jesus and the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Now, I probably should explain that the Spirit coming did not happen only in the time of the apostles in Acts of the apostles. The Holy Spirit has been available to God's people all through Bible history, but never quite in the proportions that you see happening in the book of Acts at Pentecost. You can look where you read the story of Samson and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Tells us that when David was anointed, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. David prays, "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me." You can read where in the experience in the wilderness, God told Moses to bring the 70 elders before the tabernacle. And God said, "I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put it upon them." And they were filled with the Spirit. And you can read where that king Saul ran into the prophets and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.

So many, many, many times in the Old Testament, you can see that God's Spirit was working. But the special baptizing of the Spirit on the church never really happened in the degree and the proportion, the power with the signs and the wonders that you see until you have the New Testament age and what happened at Pentecost. And so, Jesus promised that this would come. And you can read for--got a few verses here. You can read in John chapter 14, verse 15 and 16, Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father and He will give you another helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth." And He said, "And He will be in you." And so, He'll not only be with you, He will be in you. Notice Jesus says, "Keep My commandments and I will pray the Father, that He will give you another comforter."

He said, "If you love Me, keep my commandments and He will abide with you forever." Now, that's a wonderful promise that He will abide with you, but I'm going to read this verse a little later in our lesson as well in another context. I want you to kind of get another perspective or facet of that important promise. You can also read in Matthew chapter 28 in the great commission, Jesus said, "Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Now, even during the ministry of Christ, before Pentecost, when Jesus sent the disciples out preaching, you know, they went out teaching, preaching, casting out devils, healing. Do you think they did that without the power of the Holy Spirit? No, they had the Spirit. And even in the upper room, Jesus did something a little unusual. It says He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." Now, this is before He's even died. So, He gave them His Holy Spirit many times. You'll notice the Spirit of God kind of comes in waves in the Bible. And so, but again, there's a special filling, a baptism, a saturation of the Holy Spirit that God was promising would come upon His people in a special way. Did Jesus have the Holy Spirit before His baptism? Now, yeah, I know you can't nod the camera, but I see Karen nodding out there.

Obviously, Jesus had the Holy Spirit, but did a special filling of the Holy Spirit come upon Christ when He was baptized? Yes, that's when the Spirit came down like a dove and the very name Christ is the Greek way of saying Christos, it means the anointed, and the Messiah is the Hebrew equivalent for that, the anointed. Anointed with what? It's talking about that God's Messiah, the Savior, would be anointed with the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit at His baptism, then He started doing miracles He had never done before in His life. He began a life of teaching and ministry. So, right here you understand something about the purpose for the Holy Spirit. It's to empower us to live the Christian life and to do the Christian work. It's in the example of Christ Himself. And He said, "You are to go and teach and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit." Obviously, the Holy Spirit was going to be part of the new baptized life. John 3, verse 5, what is the priority?

How important is it to be baptized in the Holy Spirit? It says here Jesus answered, and He's talking here to Nicodemus, "I say unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Now, in a lot of Protestant churches, I know in our church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we put a big emphasis on baptism. Baptism is very important. It's as important to a Christian as a wedding is to a marriage. It's the ceremony by which we publicly commit ourselves to the Lord and say that we want His Spirit. And there are new rights and privileges that come after marriage and that come after baptism. And God promises these special blessings and a deeper relationship. But He says it's essential.

Now, not only is it important that we're baptized in water. Unless you're born of the water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. I think sometimes churches make a mistake of thinking, "Well, as long as we get them baptized in the water, we don't have to worry and pray and be concerned about whether they're baptized in the Spirit." But both are equally important. In fact, if you were to say one is more important than the other, I think that Spirit baptism is more important than water baptism. I know that may shock some people, but you know, there might be people like the thief on the cross who could not come down and get water baptism. But to live in heaven with God, God is a Spirit, we need the Spirit baptism. Now, I don't know that that means necessarily that you're going to go out and heal the sick and raise the dead and cast out devils, but being Spirit filled is a privilege of every believer. We're going to talk more about that in some other verses.

So, when the children of Israel came out of Egypt, God brought them then through the Red Sea, this is water baptism. And you remember when the Egyptians came after them, it says God then appeared in a pillar of fire. And the whole time they went through the wilderness, God was daily giving them water, and He was guiding them with this pillar, pillar of cloud during the day, pillar of fire that illuminated the camp at night. One represents water baptism. And you can look in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, and there Paul tells us that going through the Red Sea is a symbol of water baptism, and then they were also baptized in the Spirit. And that pillar of fire represents Spirit baptism. We must be born of the water and born of the Spirit.

You know, when you are going into the sanctuary, the children of Israel, when you went into the temple, tabernacle or even Solomon's temple, before you ever got to the holy place, you had to go by the altar of sacrifice. There you've got the fire baptism. You had to go by the laver of water, there you've got the water baptism. Then you went into the holy place. And you needed both baptisms. Our world in the days of Noah was washed with water. Peter tells us, 2 Peter chapter 3, when Jesus comes that the elements will melt with fervent heat, the earth and the things in it will be burned up. There's going to be fire baptism. And then God's going to make a new heaven and a new earth. So, after the water baptism and after the fire baptism, the planet even gets made new.

We, like the planet, like the children of Israel, we need to be washed in the water, purged by the fire, and then we become fit vessels for God to use. Both are important. John 16, verse 7, Jesus again is speaking. It says, "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it's expedient for you that I go away. For I, if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you. But if I depart, I will send Him unto you."

Now, why was it important for Jesus to go away in order for the Holy Spirit to come in special power? Well, I think that is somewhat of a mysterious statement, but I believe that the Lord is telling us that when He died on the cross and He ascended to heaven, He told Mary, "Do not cling to me, but I go to My Father." I think there Jesus went into this heavenly temple, He spread out His hands, all of heaven had been watching His life, His perfect life and His sacrifice. And He was declared victorious. So He really, by ascending to the Father, purchased the right then to send the Spirit in special power upon His church unlike any other time in history because of His sacrifice. And so, it was important for that to happen.

Something else to think about, God is the person of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God the Son was here on earth for 33 and a half years. I don't know that God wanted to vacate heaven. And the Spirit is--you know, all of God is omnipresent, but Jesus, when He became a man, He sacrificed it seems a dimension of His divinity in that He really lived in time and space in a body. And He said, "Look, I'm going away. I'm going to send the Spirit because I can only be with you physically in one place at a time."

You realize after the incarnation, Jesus never appears at more than one place at a time. Which means like us, He--you know, unless you've got a split personality, you know, we're always at one place at a time. But the Holy Spirit, He said He can be in you. And so, He said, "It's expedient that I go because He's omnipresent, He will be with you everywhere."

All right, under our next section, we're going to talk a little bit about an empowered church. You know, friends, this is probably one of the most important things I can talk about, and it's also at the same time a little frustrating. Because we, myself included, sometimes try to substitute methods and machines and programs and products in place for the Holy Spirit to grow the church. And we think if we could just send people to one more seminar, that so often it happens that people go to a seminar, they're inspired, they come back from a seminar, they've read a new workbook, and they'll spend a day or two trying to put it into practice. But it often evaporates, and you then need to try to inspire people with another seminar, and another new program, and another new book, and new machinery, and equipment. And you know, the single most important thing the church needs for the revival of the members and to do successful public evangelism is the Holy Spirit.

I marvel when I look in the book of Acts that Paul says in more than one place that the gospel had been preached to every creature, the gospel had gone into all the earth, all the known corners of inhabited civilization, the apostles and the converts and the disciples had taken the message. They did not have the Internet. They did not have a printing press. They did not have satellites and televisions. They did not have so many of the modern methods of communication, telephone, that we have today. How is it they were able to take the message so far, so fast, with so little of the technological advantages that we have today?

It's a simple answer, they had the power of the Holy Spirit. They were driven, they were inspired. They believed that Jesus was coming soon. They believed that He was with them. They believed that He had risen from the dead. And they were so inspired, and I guess the word is passionate about it, that you couldn't stop them. You could torture them, and threaten them, and take away their possessions, and divide their families, and put them in prison, and you could not shut them up. They were so excited about the gospel.

You know, if we had that today, we'd see the same results. But I think sometimes we depend too much on the artificial, and we depend too much on--I'm thankful for this technology right now. But you know, without the Spirit, it doesn't matter. It's really got to be the Holy Spirit that's going to take charge of people's hearts. People are going to have to really believe and have faith in the truth of the gospel and be mobilized by it. So, we need an empowered church.

Amazing Facts has a program where we send some of our evangelists, and Pastor Ross might go from church to church, and it's called the Empowered Church Program. And it talks about how churches can get involved in a cycle of evangelism, and it's really a very good program, it's got a workbook, and it's proven to be successful if it's combined with prayer, and those prayers are especially dependent on the Holy Spirit. So, programs are okay. Machinery, technology, you know, cameras and radio, all of that is great, but you can't do it without the Holy Spirit. And that's the single most important thing.

All the lights and the glitter and the technology is not going to help if you don't have the unction of the Spirit in it. Notice it says in Matthew 3, verse 11, "Jesus declared, 'I baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I'm not worthy to carry,'" this is actually not Jesus, it's John the Baptist speaking. "'Whose sandals I'm not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.'" Now, those things both happened at Pentecost. They got tongues of fire. And talking about that fire of the Spirit, it's also just that passionate cleansing, that purging of the Spirit.

You know what makes a car go? Fire. That's right, your car going down the road is a series of very rapid explosions, and you got a sparkplug that is sparking, it's creating fire. If your plug's not firing, your car don't go nowhere. And it is a fire that is making that go. And church needs the fire of God's Spirit. John the Baptist knew this would be a special work of the Messiah not only to be anointed, but to anoint his people with the Holy Spirit.

I remember the story when God told Moses, "I'm going to take your spirit and I'm going to put it on the 70 elders." And He summoned all the 70 elders to come to the tabernacle. Two of them, I can remember their names because they sound familiar, Eldad and Medad. Eldad and Medad, they were 2 of the 70 elders, they did not come. And I believe they did not come because maybe they did not feel worthy. And the Bible doesn't really say, but when God took His Spirit and He put it on the 68 elders that showed up, as they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they did prophesy. They began to preach, and Joshua saw them preaching and prophesying and doing some of the things that Moses had done, and he said, "Master, look, they're prophesying. You're the--you're the national prophet, but they're prophesying," and Eldad and Medad, they didn't even come, they got the Spirit and they're prophesying. Moses says, "Joshua, are you jealous for me?" And he said, "Would God that all of His people were prophets." You know, that was part of God's plan, that it said, "I want you to be a nation of kings and priests."

It's not just the pastors and the evangelists and the elders that should be Spirit filled, every member. "I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions." He wants His whole church to be Spirit filled. He'd like for His whole church to have the gift of prophecy. And it's God's desire that He can empower with the Spirit everybody. And everybody, with whatever their gifts are, to be using their gifts of the Spirit in the church. Zechariah 4:6, "So he answered and he said to me," you know this verse, "'This is the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts."

It is not by the internet, it is not by the satellite, it is not by fiber optics, it's not by digital CDs or by telephone lines. It's the thing that's going to change hearts, it's going to be the Spirit of God. Now, the Holy Spirit might use technology, the Holy Spirit might use a printing press, it might use a laptop computer. The Holy Spirit can work through these things, but it's still--it all boils down to the Spirit of God.

And then you look in Luke 24, Jesus said that this would happen. "Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you. But tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endowed with the power from on high." He said, "Don't go out preaching a message until you have the power to live the life." The Holy Spirit that gives us that power will empower us to preach the message.

Now, don't misunderstand this. I think the Holy Spirit is reminding me to say something while I was up here. And you know, sometimes things come to me while I'm teaching. I sometimes meet people that they say, "You know, I just don't feel like I have enough of the Holy Spirit to go out there and to do the work."

If you've committed your life to the Lord, if you've prayed for the Holy Spirit, you may find that sometimes in the process of your sharing with others, the Holy Spirit will come upon you. I've seen that happen many times. Even in the Bible, while Peter was preaching to Cornelius, the Holy Spirit fell upon them. While Paul was preaching to these 12 Ephesian believers in Acts chapter 19, the Holy Spirit fell upon them. In the process of prayer, the Holy Spirit fell upon them. And so, sometimes as you step out to do what God has called you to do, He will then empower you to do it.

You'll notice that after Jesus baptized, He was then empowered with the Spirit to preach, and to teach, and to do the miracles. And so, God gives the Spirit when you need it. Don't wait for the moving of the Spirit before you need it. Pentecost did not happen to the apostles until there was a crowd outside their window and they needed it. So, when you're ready to be used of God, you take a step of faith, he will give you the Holy Spirit.

You know, in the--the Spirit is compared to fire by John the Baptist in the verse we just read. In the temple, they had a light that was burning. And that light was kept burning not by the lamp, but by the oil in the lamp. And what does that oil represent? It's the Holy Spirit. And the thing that's going to keep the fire of God's grace and His truth alive in the church, it's going to be the Holy Spirit. When we read the Bible, there's bread in the sanctuary, but you couldn't find the bread without the lamp. When you read the Bible, we need the light of the Spirit to illuminate the Word. And it's that Spirit that gives us power.

You know, Corrie ten Boom used to use an illustration. Corrie ten Boom, of course, was that--the author or at least the co-author of the book called "The Hiding Place." And she was instrumental in rescuing Jews during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. Spent time in the Robins Brook prisoner of war camp. And it wasn't really a POW camp, it was an extermination camp. And she survived the war. She was a great Christian, went around lecturing on faith and Christianity. And she said, "I've got a glove." She puts her hand in the glove and she says, "The glove doesn't do anything unless my hand is in it. The glove is just an instrument." He said--she said, "We are just instruments. It's as the Holy Spirit then fills us, then we do what the mind of the body says, but we're just like the glove." So, we must have the power of God filling us and then guiding us in what to do.

Without the Holy Spirit, the church--you know, I like flying kites. And I've had several in my life. Growing up in New York City, we were fortunate enough just to live right across the street from Central Park. And there was some big meadows in Central Park, where a lot of people would gather on weekends and they would fly kites. And there was some master kite flyers out there. I got several kites and I crashed several kites and wrecked several kites, but I would want to go fly my kite even on the days when there was no wind, but it was never much fun because to get the kite in the air, I'd have to run.

Because there's no wind, running I'd create artificial wind. And I'd run and I'd run. I'd get it up in the air, but as soon as I stop running, it would drop. And then I'd run some more and I'd run. And you know, after about ten minutes of trying to fly my kite by constantly running, as soon as I turned around to look at it, it would plummet out of the sky. I had to just keep on running.

How much better when you have a windy day? And that's the difference between what the church is doing and what we sometimes do. We're trying to keep the kite in the air by running, by human effort. And what we need to do is pray for a wind. It's like do you want the sailboat to go because you're rowing or because the wind is blowing? It's a whole lot easier if God fills the sails with His wind. And that's what we need.

So, just I read a couple of quotes to you that deal with the importance of the power of the Spirit in the last days. And this is from Acts--well, it's actually a reference from the book "Great Controversy" page 612. And it says, "The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening.

The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain and at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are the times of refreshing, to which the apostle Peter looked forward to when he said, 'Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins might be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord and He will send Jesus.'"

Notice, just before He sends Jesus, he said a time of refreshing. What is that refreshing? It's the baptism of the Holy Spirit that would come upon God's people. And then I'm reading on still in "Great Controversy," page 612, "Servants of God with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message of heaven by thousands of voices all over the earth. The warning will be given, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers," maybe even resurrections again. "Satan also works with lying wonders, even bringing fire down from heaven that in the sight of men. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand."

We're going to have to know how to tell the difference between the true signs and wonders and the counterfeit. But God's church is going to be given power in the last days when the latter rain falls, when these times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord. How is it going to come? You receive not because you ask not. If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those that ask Him? We should be asking, praying, pleading that God will give us His Holy Spirit. So, we need the Spirit of God for witnessing and to be using it to its full purpose. There is so much power that is available to the church today that is never used.

You know, not too long ago, Karen and I have had four wheel drive vehicles for 40 years because we have a home that is really off-road. You have to go at least 12 miles of dirt road one way. A lot of that road is not maintained by anybody but us, and it gets pretty rough in the winter. And if there's snow, it gets ruts. And there's some very steep hills. And with the mud and the ice and the snow and the steep hills, you just can't get up sometimes even with four wheel drive.

And I remember when I first moved to the hills and I didn't know how important four wheel drive was, I got stuck a lot. In fact, there were places in the road, I actually had a Volkswagen Bug at one point, and I kept a come along. You know what a come along is, a little hand winch. I kept a come along in my car. And there was one place in the road that whenever I got to it, I would go as fast as I could, and so I could get into these ruts and slide as far as I could. And I'd rev the engine and it would go shaking as far as it could, and pretty soon the wheels would be spinning, I'd say, "Okay, time to get out." I get out and I winch it the rest of the way out of that wet spot. I got home, every time I went home, I had to take a run at it with my two-wheel drive.

Finally, I got enough money to get a four wheel drive. And boy, it makes a big difference. Well, not too long ago, our four wheel drive pickup truck was hit in an accident. It was just parked at a red light and someone ran into us. So, because it wasn't our fault, nobody was hurt, the insurance company said, "Here's the money, go buy yourself another truck."

Well, I'll tell you, friends, I had some fun because I got to go out four wheel drive truck shopping. And I ended up getting, this is not an advertisement, but I ended up getting a four wheel drive truck, a Toyota truck that not only had four wheel drive, but it had positraction. Not only had positraction, it had the special crawl mode, it is like the ultimate four wheel drive pickup truck. And I saw they had rows of them in the dealership. And in my neighborhood, I could look and see several of my neighbors had these trucks that have these really sophisticated off-road abilities, but they never take them off-road. You can ask Karen, she's sitting out there. This week, we probably drove 40 miles off road, dirt roads up in the hills.

We really use the four wheel drive. And I think sometimes the church, they're like these people who say, "Yep, I've got a Hummer. You know, it'll cross rivers six feet deep." And they never get off the pavement. I think it was Peter Marshall, a famous pastor for Congress years ago, and he said, "The church today is like a deep sea scuba diver that puts on all the equipment that you would need to dive at 300 fathoms, and then they step into a bathtub."

This is what's happening today, is the church has no idea how much power is available that we're just not using. And God wants us to trust in him, pray big prayers, expect big miracles, and you'll get big answers. Now, when do we receive the Holy Spirit and why? You read in Acts chapter 2, verse 38, Peter said, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for the promises unto you and your children, and as many as the Lord God shall call." Said, "Be baptized and you'll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Notice that water baptism, born of the water, that he connects it with Spirit baptism. After a person is baptized in the water, you know, we hand them a certificate. It'd be nice if we gave them a second certificate that said, "And this is for your Spirit baptism." That doesn't happen because I think we put a little too much emphasis on the water baptism and we forget how important the Spirit baptism is. We have to be fasting and praying more for that. So he said, "The purpose for this is that they could be witnesses."

Look again, now I read this earlier, but I'm going to read it again. Luke chapter 24, verse 48, Jesus said, "You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending you forth the promise of My Father upon you. But you're to stay in the city until you're clothed with power on high." Why were they going to be clothed with power? He said, "You are witnesses. I'm going to give you power. You've seen the miracles, you saw the resurrection. I'm going to give you power to witness of the things you saw."

And you know, even in Revelation, John makes a point of saying, "Now we have seen these things." In his gospel, he says, "We've seen with our eyes, our hands have handled. We are firsthand witnesses. It was not a phantom, a spirit. We touched Him. We walked with Him. We ate with Him." And he says, "He's real. We are witnesses of these things."

Do you have a real experience that you can witness to? Hebrews chapter 2, verse 3 and 4, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken of by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him." Notice the rest, the Word of God was spoken, "God also bearing witness with signs and wonders and with various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit." Holy Spirit witnessing.

Through the power of the Spirit, we are to witness. He gives us the Spirit to bear witness for the truth and based on His own will. And then, of course, that famous verse. Acts chapter 1, verse 8, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth."

Now, does God say, "Look, I'm going to give you the power of the Spirit so you can speak in tongues"? Is speaking in tongues the fruit of the Spirit, or is it one of the gifts of the Spirit? Jesus said, "You'll know them by their fruits." And so, He doesn't give us the Holy Spirit just so we can speak in tongues. And I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, I believe in the biblical technique or methods of the gifts of the Spirit. But some people say, "Oh, we're going to prove you have the Holy Spirit because you can speak in tongues." That's not the evidence of the Holy Spirit.

The evidence of the Holy Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, and I probably left something out. But that's the evidence for the Holy Spirit in the life. He said, "You'll be receiving power of the Spirit so you can be a witness." If you're willing to be a witness, God's more likely to give you the Holy Spirit. Acts chapter 4, verse 31, "And when they prayed," this is our memory verse we started with, "when they prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken."

Now, why were they praying? They prayed that they might receive boldness, so they would not be intimidated. The priests had said, "Don't preach in Jesus' name anymore." And they prayed that they might have boldness so that they could preach. And when they prayed, the Bible says the place where they were assembled was shaken, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.

Well, there's a great formula, friends. Pray for the Spirit, He gives you the Spirit to speak the Word, that people might be saved. We want to pray for the Spirit that we might live the life, that we can be an example of Christ, that people might be saved. And so, the whole purpose for the baptism of the Spirit is that we might make friends for Jesus and be His witnesses. Psalm 51, verse 11, talking about the Holy Spirit and witnessing. "Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me by your generous or your free spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will be converted."

When are sinners converted? Not just when they receive the generous spirit, but notice the joy of your salvation. You know, if we're saved and we're joyful, if we believe the gospel is good news and if we have--I'm not talking about the kind of happy slappy behavior some people have in church, where they carry on. I'm talking about that peace that passes understanding.

If Christians have a real joy and a confidence, especially in a world right now that's so afraid with everything going on, if we can show that we've got confidence and peace and that we're able to sleep like a baby, we don't worry, people are going to want that. Says, "Then I'll teach transgressors your ways. Give me the Spirit and I will teach and sinners will be converted." And that's, of course, one of the most important purposes for the Holy Spirit.

Now into the next section, the Holy Spirit, the Word, and witnessing. Look at John chapter 14, verse 26. "But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance what I have said to you."

Every week, we have a Bible answer program. And we never know in advance from week to week what questions are going to get called in, it's always very interesting. Sometimes, we get the same questions. Sometimes almost every week, we get a question we've never heard before. And we usually average about 15, 16 questions per program. We can only take three or four minutes to answer a question. But sometimes, people put us on the spot, they've got really good questions. Sometimes, they'll ask a difficult question. I know at one point, I knew the answer to that, but I haven't looked at it in years.

We pray before the program, we say, "Lord, give us your Spirit to bring back to our remembrance the things that we have studied in the past." And millions of times, maybe not millions, thousands of times, I've had that experience where I didn't really know the answer, but right when a person asks the question, I pray and boom, it pops into my mind. Now you know, as I'm going through the day, I'm trying to remember people's names and I have trouble remembering their names. But it's amazing, God can help you remember the Scriptures through the gift of the Spirit.

Let me just share you a quick story, and you ought to check this out on your own. There was a pastor evangelist in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and his name was Byron Spears. And they called him--he was converted, I think he was Episcopalian, pretty sure. Came from the Anglican Church. He went through a dramatic conversion, struggled with polio, so he always had problems walking. And so, he walked with canes for the most of his life. But he was a powerful evangelist, and he spent years reading the Bible. And they called him the walking Bible because he would preach, and Karen and I went and saw him many, many times, and he was in his 70s when we went to see him. I was blessed to be invited by him to do his funeral, died at 100. And we'd go listen to him preach, he'd go 90 minutes, was not uncommon.

He'd preach 90 minutes, walk back and forth with a cane, never pick up a Bible, did not have his words on an overhead projector, did not use a screen or multimedia. He just preached from memory using between 50 and 100 different verses that he would quote. He quote them all out verbatim, King James version, and he'd tell people, "Check on me." And he would read them, and people came back night after night because we thought, "Has this guy memorized the Bible?" And he told me, he said, "No, I haven't memorized the Bible, but--" And he said, "I can't remember names." He said, "You know, sometimes I can't find my way home." He says, "I have all kinds of problems with my memory." But he said, "I claimed the promise of the Holy Spirit that when I'm up there and I'm preaching, that God will help me remember the verses."

He not only remembered the verses, he remembered the chapter, the verse, every thee, thou, the, will, shalt, unto. He remembered every word. Now, if you doubt me, you can go to the Amazing Facts website or just type in. It's free, so I'm not selling anything, you can type in "Trumpet of the Lord, Byron Spears." All of his sermons are online. They're audio, so you don't get to see him preach. I think there's a couple of YouTubes. Yeah, there's a couple of YouTubes of him preaching at the Sacramento Central Church in his 90s, still preaching from memory, 45-minute sermon, never pick up a Bible because the Holy Spirit brought the words back to his mind. He would always pray that prayer before he preached. It's an amazing thing to behold.

Anyway, so God's promises, he said, "I'll bring these things to your mind." Now, talking again about witnessing and the Word, look at Acts chapter 8, I like this story. And start with verse 26, "Now an angel of the Lord," notice it's an angel, "spoke to Phillip, saying, 'Arise and go towards the south along the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza,'" this is desert, it's a desert area back down towards the sea. "So he arose and he went. And behold, a man from Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, the queen of Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury." It's the principle CFO for Ethiopia, wealthy man. "He'd come to Jerusalem to worship."

You know, they say that ever since the days of Solomon, when the Queen of Sheba went to the South, that the truth about Jehovah went down and there were many worshippers of Jehovah in that part of the world. So, he had come, he knew the Scriptures. And he's riding along in his chariot, and he's reading from the book of Isaiah, but he doesn't completely understand what he's reading. And Phillip sees him sitting in his chariot, reading from Isaiah, and says, "Then the Spirit said to Phillip, 'Go near and overtake his chariot.' So Phillip ran near and he said, 'Do you understand what you're reading?'" He was reading from the book of Isaiah, reading the prophecy about Jesus.

So, notice first it says the angel of the Lord, then it says the Spirit of the Lord. Is it possible the Spirit of the Lord sometimes speaks through angels? I think so. I think a lot of times when we say, "The Spirit told me," God's really nudging us through an angel. And sometimes when it says the Lord did this, or the Lord did that, he's often working through angels. And Phillip then catches him reading the Bible, he doesn't understand. He says, "How can I understand unless some man guide me?" He invites Phillip up into the chariot, this is the first hitchhiker in the Bible that we find. And he gives him a Bible study.

The Holy Spirit guides Phillip to a place where someone is reading the Word. How often I've seen that happen, is I'll meet somebody and spiritual things will come up, and the very thing we talk about is what they read in the Bible that day. Or maybe that's happened to you. John 6:63, it says, "It's the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, they are Spirit and they are life."

You know, whenever we read the Word, it's a good idea to pray first that the Holy Spirit will give us guidance and understanding so we can know what we read. And if we really are getting the Holy Spirit, you can get two different people in different parts of the world reading the same difficult passage. And if they're praying for the Holy Spirit, they can end up coming to the same conclusion. In John 16, verse 13, again Jesus speaking here, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth." That doesn't mean you become all knowing like God. He means He'll guide you into all the truth you need to know to do the work you need to do. "He'll guide you into all truth, for He'll not speak on His own authority. But whatever He hears, He will speak and He will tell you of things to come."

Now, this is another very important truth that just got established here. I've been in churches before where sometimes the pastor will say, "Well, I know the Bible says this, but I've got fresh information because I'm not going by the letter of the law, I'm going by the Spirit. The letter kills, the Spirit gives life." And they build this whole false doctrine that somehow the Spirit of God is going to conflict with the Word of God. That's heresy. That's not at all true.

The Holy Spirit is never going to teach you something different than the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is going to bring to your remembrance what the Word has said. The Holy Spirit is going to help you understand what the Word has said. The Holy Spirit is never going to conflict or contradict what the Word has said. Revelation 2:7, "He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church." How does the Spirit speak to the church? Through the Word of God.

So, next section, this is really the last section, the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Someone put it this way once. Well, let me read this verse first. Ezekiel chapter 36, verse 27, "I'll put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgements and do them." Someone once said that the Holy Spirit helps us to understand the truth with our heads, believe it in our hearts, live it with our hands, follow it with our feet. Or you might say it gives you wisdom, worship, works, and walk. The Holy Spirit will affect all these areas of life. It's not just for discussion, the Holy Spirit is for transformation, you become a new creation. Old things have passed away.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy. This is the "Desire of Ages" page 250, "There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and lives a life wholly consecrated to God." Someone once told Dwight Moody, "The world has yet to see what God can do with a person that is wholly consecrated to him." Moody said, "I want to be that person." And so, there's no limit to what God can do with each one of us. John 3, verse 5, "Most assuredly I say to you, unless you are born of the water," I already read this, "born of the water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom." We need both births.

Friends, I wanted to mention to you in closing, don't forget we have our free offer. I think Pastor Ross walked off with it, but it's talking about life in the Spirit. And you can receive that book simply by asking and call the number that you see on your screen, it's going to say, 800--866 rather, 788-3966. One more time the number, 866-788-3966. Ask for offer number 723 and we'll send that to you for free. You can also text the code SH099 to 40544 and receive your free copy. I hope you'll take advantage of that, friends. And it's been a blessing studying with you. We'll study His Word together again next week.

Announcer: Don't forget to request today's life-changing free resource. Not only can you receive this free gift in the mail, you can download a digital copy straight to your computer or mobile device. To get your digital copy of today's free gift, simply text the key word on your screen to 40544, or visit the web address shown on your screen. And be sure to select the digital download option on the request page. It's now easier than ever for you to study God's Word with "Amazing Facts" wherever and whenever you want, and most important to share it with others.

Doug: We're here in Ponce, Puerto Rico, in an iguana park surrounded by big lizards or small dinosaurs, depends on how you look at it. These magnificent creatures are found mostly in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean Islands. Here's a few amazing facts about iguanas. Iguanas come in a great spectrum of colors. They can be brown, green, blue, and their skin will often work as camouflage, allowing them to hide in the jungle. They're social creatures who like to eat together. And what's really interesting, even though they look fierce, iguanas are vegan vegetarians. They're regarded as popular pets, though if they're not cared for, they can actually just stop eating and will themselves to die.

Typically, iguanas just lay eggs and they abandon their offspring, so those little iguanas have to fend for themselves from the time they're born. If they're attacked, they'll fight with their tail, either punching or whipping their opponent. It's interesting to see a dog running for mercy after being whipped by an iguana. Also, to ensure a fast escape, they can detach their tail and later grow another one. Iguanas generally like to live around water. And they can swim away, escaping from predators. Green iguanas in particular are excellent swimmers. They have the ability to inflate themselves and swim incredible distances. This is one way they've been able to populate the different islands of the Caribbean.

What's incredible is these creatures have lungs where they're able to hold their breath for up to 28 minutes, putting even a crocodile to shame. They also know how to compensate for when things get hot or cold. They can regulate their body temperature using the loose flaps of skin they have under their throats and under their legs. You might even say an iguana has ESP because God made them with sort of a third eye on top of their head. They can't really see with it, but it's a photoreceptor that helps them to regulate their body's circadian rhythms.

You know, in the same way that God made iguanas where they're some of the toughest creatures in God's natural kingdom, Christians need to learn to be resilient in the spiritual realm. Through God's grace, we can learn to be great survivors. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4, verse 8 and 9, "We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."

I think, friends, we all know sometimes life can be tough. We feel like we're being beaten, pressed on every side. Sometimes, it's health problems, relationship problems, financial reverses. But in the same way God made the iguana resilient, God can help you to bounce back. Jesus said that through His help, we can be overcomers and we are able to endure. If you turn to Him and ask Him for His help and His Spirit, He will recreate you and make you even tougher than an iguana. Wouldn't you like to ask Him now?

Announcer: Amazing Facts, Changed Lives.

Male: I met my ex-wife, and her family were real big into drugs. And it started out with them wanting me to go to the doctor to help get them drugs. And you know, I'm noticing they're going to the doctor, they're coming back with like 60 pills, and they're selling these pills for like $1,000. And I'm thinking, "Wow, this is a lot of money I'm giving these people, so I'm just going to start selling it myself." My problem with that was that we had all this money, but we was absolutely miserable. She would go out and sleep with other guys to get drugs, and that ended my marriage. But during this time, I have to get a job to build back up to where I was at to open my shop again.

So, I get a job at Food City. And when I get this job at Food City, there's my wife now, Rebecca, she's a cashier there. And when I walk in, she's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen in my life. I was like, "Man, I could never have a girl like that. Wow, she's so beautiful." But as I'm working with her, she's actually kind of mean to me, and she's saying, "I don't want anything to do with you. Get away from me," stuff like that. But you know, I just keep being nice to her and keep trying to give her my phone number.

And it's around Christmas Eve, we'd just been dating for a little while and moved in together. My ex-wife shows up with my three children that I had by her. And she's like, "Here's your kids. Here's their birth certificates. Here's their Social Security cards. I'm done." And we're starting a family, we already have three kids. During this time, we spent the next year watching nothing but "Amazing Facts" on YouTube. I didn't even know they even had a website at this time, I just knew that this little guy on YouTube was super smart, was teaching Bible, and I wanted to follow him, I wanted to be a Christian.

I gave my life to God now because of these truths that I'm learning from Doug Batchelor. Just because Doug taught it didn't make me real sure about going to this church. I really didn't want anything to do with it, but I called the guy up and I'm telling him, and I'm not very nice about it actually. I'm telling him, "Look, we was thinking about coming to your church." And he's really nice and he's like, "Well, you're more than welcome to. We'd like to have you come." And I'm like, "Well, hold on, I'm going to lay down some ground rules." I'm telling him, I said, "Look here, I'm covered in tattoos and I'm a tattoo artist." And he don't say, "Well, you know, wow, I didn't know all that. Don't come to my church." He says, "You're more than welcome. We would love to have you. Please come."

He asked me what I want to do and I said, "Well, I want to preach." I said, "I have all these truths. I have all this knowledge, stuff I've never known before, stuff if I'd have had when I was younger that would've been life changing to me." I said, "I got to share this with the world." I said, "I want to preach, I want to teach." He gives me the book, says, "Study that."

Well, now that I'm a Bible worker, I'm able to go reach people that most of the normal churches wouldn't even bother to even speak to. I'm able to go out and reach the people who have lived the life that I've lived. I'm able to let them know that I am like you. I've been there, I've done that. I want to show you what my life is like now. I want to teach you this Bible. I want to show you what Jesus can do for you. It's not too late.

Announcer: Have you ever skipped a meal? Not a bad idea if you need to watch your waistline. But there's a heavenly food you should never skip, God's Word. Yet how can you dive in daily when you're so busy? Amazing Facts has you covered, and it's as easy as signing up for our daily devotional and verse of the day, both sent directly to your inbox, ready to bless, inspire, and inform you. To start receiving the Amazing Facts daily devotional and verse of the day, visit amazingfacts.org and click on Bible study in the main menu. You'll be glad you did.

Name:

Email:

Prayer Request:


Share a Prayer Request
Name:

Email:

Bible Question:


Ask a Bible Question

Back To Top