"Examples of Spiritual People (NT)"
This week we will take a look at some spiritual people in the New Testament. We will focus on Jesus, Cornelius, Stephen, and Philip.
Spiritual People In the NT
A. Do you believe you can be more than what you are right now? If you evaluated your life, would you be satisfied with where you are right now? For many people they believe they can be more than what they have become. For some of us, our own sinfulness has impeded being more than what we are. For others, it is circumstances, past issues, physical limitations or other difficulties that have kept a person from becoming more than what they are.
B. But I believe there might be a bigger and more overriding reason. For people who look at their spiritual life and desire more, the question is not “can I be more of a disciple” but “will I be more of a disciple?” Our spiritual failures or not reaching true potential is not based upon past problems, circumstances or personal limitations, it is often a result of resisting the Holy Spirit’s work in our life. For the last several weeks I have shared the need to submit, surrender, and die to self in order to live, serve and grow closer to God’s will. Today we finish our series by taking a look at four men in the NT that really showed what it meant to be spiritual.
C. What we will see in some of these examples is how men tapped into the power of God by allowing themselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Try to understand the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God was a part of the creation of the world. You remember Gen. 1:1. What was “hovering over the waters?” The Holy Spirit. When Jesus talked about being born again into a spiritual kingdom, he told Nicodemus that a person had be born of the water and the Spirit. Then Jesus pushed the idea of the Spirit (John 3:5-8). Peter tells us in Acts 2 how when we are baptized with water in the name of Jesus we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and as we read in Rom. 8 the same power of the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead also gives life to our mortal bodies. What we need is to tap into the power that God has already given and what we have seen is that happens through surrender and service to God.
D. The church that Jesus established exploded into existence because “regular people” became spiritual people and did spiritual things. You don’t agree? Let’s start with two wonderful men.
A. Open to Acts 6:1-7. There was a problem in the church and people were upset because favoritism was being shown. It played out in the form of food, but the root was prejudice. The twelve understood their role, but they also understood what was happening to the church in its infancy. This had to stop, so called upon the congregation to choose from among themselves seven men, not as deacons, not some less-than-me, person to play errand-boy, but to choose seven men who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. That was the qualification. The first person who is mentioned in this group of seven is Stephen. The description given to us is that he was a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.
B. Do you remember the old Brim Coffee commercial? The slogan was “fill it to the rim with Brim.” Stephen was a man who filled to the rim, or in Greek he was “saturated, fully covered, full, lacking in nothing or perfect.” Stephen was not created special, Stephen became special because he knew what he wanted to fill him. What do you want to fill you? What do you want to saturate your life? Is it the things of this world? Is it peace? Power? Or the Holy Spirit and faith? But that type of fullness can come with a price.
C. Keep reading in Acts 6:8-10. Stephen is then taken before the Sanhedrin and there he gives his testimony. He takes his people on a journey through history. As he did he told them the truth about what they as a people had done. He ends with great passion. (read Acts 7:51-53). Stephen said that his people had “always resist the HS.” The result, it was read a few moments ago. He was killed. “But Stephen, full of the HS, looked up to heave and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”
D. Tap into the power of the HS by allowing Him to fill you up like he did Stephen. Boldness and peace will both come.
A. Another man who was chose in that group of seven was Philip. His story picks up in Acts 8:4-8. The people responded and the church began to grow. A little later in that same chapter we see Philip with a man from Ethiopia. (Acts 8:26-29). Again, we find Philip teaching and this man also responds with a desire to be baptized.
B. A Spirit-filled person does not have the ability to keep quiet about God. We are all called to minister. We minister in many different way. I have an opportunity to preach publicly and teach privately. I have been given a wonderful gift by God to have the time because of you all to share the story of Jesus and learn more about the Bible every day. But what I do is only one aspect of ministry. Can you find anyone who was filled with the Spirit that kept it to themselves? Brethren we are all called to ministry. You are a minister, a servant of God, called to be a living sacrifice. Find your Ethiopian and share your story. When the world is scattering you because of Jesus, don’t run and hide, go and tell. Go light your candle and put it on a lampstand for all the world to see.
A. The perfect example in the NT of what it means to be led by the Spirit and filled with the Spirit is Jesus himself. From his baptism and trial in the wilderness it was the Spirit that led him. Through the healings and the words that were spoken, it was done as the Father spoke through him. When he was going to leave this earth, he wanted his disciples to have the power that was extended to him during his ministry, the Holy Spirit.
B. He gave up equality with God in order to become man. That is submission, spiritual. He went about preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, that was spiritual. When he was beaten he did not fight back, when he was reviled he not answer back, that was spiritual. He listened to the voice of the Father and spoke only what he heard, that was spiritual.
C. You want to understand spirituality, then walk in the steps of Jesus. Are you as willing to live for Jesus as much as you are willing to die for Jesus? What made Stephen and Philip so spiritual? They died TO Christ before they died FOR Christ. It means giving your life over to him and let him dictate your daily activities.
A. Cornelius was good man. He was Roman soldier of high rank, but came to fear God. He was devout, giving and prayerful. Yet he lacked something. God had him send for Peter who told him the good news of Jesus. While he spoke the HS came upon those who heard the story. Yes, the HS was being poured out on Gentiles as well as the Jews. Peter understood what that meant, and called for these people to be baptized. Salvation was now about being a Jew, it was about being born again by the power the Spirit and in the water that represented the blood of Jesus.
B. Are you spiritual? Have you taken upon yourself the passion of Stephen, the endurance of Philip, and the example of Jesus? Like Cornelius you can be a good person and not be filled with the Spirit. It takes being born again to tap into that power. That opportunity is your if you will surrender to him. If you have been quenching the Spirit in your life and hiding your light under a bushel instead of putting on a lampstand for all to see, then God opens himself up to you to repent and fan into flame the Spirit he gave you when you became his child. If we can help you live in the Spirit, please come as we stand and sing.