Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Power of the Spirit - Luke 4:14-15 - July 17, 2022

 Luke 4.14-15 The Power of the Spirit

Good morning, turn with me in your Bibles to Luke 4:14-15, page 859 in the pew Bibles.

We have been at Camp MACC all this past week so this sermon may not be that long… Maybe you’re relieved to hear that!

I would like to consider this morning what was on display at camp this week for us, and that is the power of the Spirit.

Let’s look at Luke 4:14-15.

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Let’s pray.

So in Luke’s record he skips over a pretty sizable chunk of events in the life and ministry of Jesus. In fact he skips over what John, in his Gospel takes the better part of four chapters to describe. If you’d like to see what happened in the gap between Luke 4:13and Luke 4:14 you can read John 1:19-4:45.

Luke skips over the calling of the first Disciples, Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana, the first Passover of Jesus’ ministry which is how the scholars determined the approximate length of Jesus’ public ministry by the number of Passovers were recorded in the Gospels.  Luke skipped over Jesus interacting with Nicodemus, as well as the woman at the well in Samaria.

These were all important events with a lot to learn from…That’s why John recorded them…

Luke, however, skips from Jesus’ baptism, to the temptation in the wilderness to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in Galilee.

All three of these events, or summaries of events have one major thing in common, and that is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

After Jesus’ baptism in chapter three, while He was praying, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in bodily form like a dove. At the beginning of chapter four, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil. And here, in verse 14, Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about Him went out throughout all the surrounding country. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

So what is the significance of the presence and power of the Spirit? 

This, again, speaks to the doctrine of the humanity of Jesus. We know that Jesus is the Son of God, He is divine, He is God, fully God. But He is also fully man. 

John 1:14-16 says,

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, fully God, now fully man.

Philippians 2:5-8 says, Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

When Paul says that Jesus, “emptied Himself,” He didn’t empty Himself of His divinity but of His power and glory, fully man while still fully God.

What this means is that Jesus was dependent on the Holy Spirit for the power to accomplish God’s will.

Jesus needed the power of the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish His work on earth. Without the power of the Holy Spirit there would be no miracles, there would be no resistance to temptation, no effective preaching, there would be no redemption. Nothing good was possible, nothing productive for the kingdom of God was possible in Jesus without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee…

What is the importance of this truth, beyond seeing the cooperation of the Trinity in the life of Jesus, what is the significance of the dependence of Jesus on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and what does that have to do with us? 

It’s simple really, if Jesus needed the power of the Holy Spirit to do anything good, how much more do we need Him?! 

Jesus reminded His disciples of His promise of the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter one. This was after the resurrection just before he ascended to the Father. Acts 1:4-8.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. Power to do what exactly? To accomplish the Father’s will just like Jesus.

In John 14:12-17 Jesus said,

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

The same power that dwelt in Jesus to accomplish the Father’s will dwells with and in Jesus’ followers, those who have put their trust in Him.

Charles Spurgeon, known as the “Prince of Preachers,” said, “[Jesus] was a divine teacher, and yet, when He went to His work, it was ‘in the power of the Spirit.’ Tarry, brother, [wait with eager expectation] till you have that power; it is of no use for you to go without it.”

Without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit Jesus couldn’t accomplish anything and the same is true of us, our work is different but the source of power to do that work is the same, the power of the Holy Spirit.

Maybe one major difference that you might notice between you and Jesus is that he was really good at operating under the power of the Holy Spirit, and you… not so much.

We are never going to be perfect at this but we can definitely learn to connect to the Holy Spirit better by following Jesus’ example.

Jesus’ recognized His dependence on the Holy Spirit, He submitted to the Spirit’s work through Him, and He took advantage of the opportunities to do the work that the Spirit empowered Him to do.

With the Spirit’s help we can do those same exact things. 

We must recognize that we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to do anything good, no good comes from ourselves but from the Lord working through us.

We must submit to the Spirit’s work in and through us, we must recognize that we have been given work to do by the Lord, to be His witnesses to the world, to tell our friends and family and coworkers and strangers about the love of Jesus and the forgiveness of sin that is available through faith in Him alone.

And we must learn to take advantage of the opportunities that are given to us to do that work, to let the Spirit speak through us, to pay attention and look for those opportunities, and walk through those open doors, or at least jiggle the handle!

Trusting in the Lord is so much more than just trusting Him to deal with our sin through the cross, we need to trust Him in every moment to lead us, to protect us, and to empower us to do His work and his will on the earth that he may be glorified by all.