Filled with a Power Beyond Ourselves
“We are not going to move this world by criticism of it or conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.”
Vance Havner made that statement and he was right. The early church had none of the things that we think are so essential for success today – buildings, money, political influence, social status – and yet the church won multitudes to Christ and saw many churches established throughout the Roman world. Why? Because the church had the power of the Holy Spirit energizing its ministry. They were a people who ‘were ignited by the Spirit of God.’
That same Holy Spirit power is available to us today to make us more effective witnesses for Christ. The better we understand his working at Pentecost, the better we will be able to relate to him and experience his power. The ministry of the Spirit is to glorify Christ in the life and witness of the believer.
This week we begin a brief series leading up to the Advent season. We want to consider the thought of a church going ‘beyond ourselves’. The work of planting a church is hard and tiring. It is tough because it is raiding the enemy’s camp, and he doesn’t like it one bit. It is taxing, especially when that church is reformed (seeks to be biblical in all it does). Planting a reformed church in the rural South is also wearying. It can deplete one physically, mentally and spiritually. There is the fatigue of constantly setting up and breaking down. And there is the anguish of spiritual war on two fronts. We are not only going against the culture of society, we are also moving counter-culture to much of the contemporary church as well. If we are going to do this, it will require something, or someone, beyond us.
Indeed, we will see that without the Holy Spirit, Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, even impossible. There can be no life without the life-giver, no understanding without the Spirit of truth, no fellowship without the unity of the Spirit, no Christlikeness of character apart from his fruit, and no effective witness without his power. As a body without breath is a corpse, so the church without the Spirit is dead.
Yet God has promised to empower us to follow his call. What do we do and where can we go when we are tired? Join us this November as we take a journey ‘beyond ourselves’ and into the grace of God that not only sustains but renews us. Come and experience what the Lord’s grace is doing in us, among us, around us and through us as he takes us ‘beyond ourselves’ for the service of the Kingdom.
We will begin where the early church began on the day of Pentecost. We invite you to join us this Lord’s Day as we consider being filled with a power beyond ourselves from Acts 2.
May the Lord grant us his Spirit as he did the church in Acts. Once filled with God’s Spirit, the church was unified (2:44), magnified (2:47a), and multiplied (2:47b).
For Christ and His Kingdom,
 I am indebted to Mark D. Roberts, a Presbyterian TE, for the inspiration of this series’ theme: Beyond Ourselves.