What does it mean to be saved? What is the result? Sometimes we get lost in a haze of denominationalism and sectarianism in the church which does a lot of damage to the unity Christ prayed for in John 17.
On the day of Pentecost Peter made it clear:
Acts 2:38 (ESV) And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Repent of your sins.
- Believe on the Lord Jesus.
- Receive the Spirit.
I think about how some have only been to step one… They’ve decided it’s time to change. Perhaps this is you. You knew sin wasn’t working for you. You knew you needed a change of friends, scenery or habits. This is where programs like recovery, AA and rehab come in. We want to change our lives and so we stop doing the wrong things. But listen, this is NOT salvation, it’s simply behavior modification that doesn’t last. This is why many never get past trying to get past their bad habits. Lasting change requires more than what any human can do. We need stage two, we need Jesus.
Some are at step two. They’ve repented of sin and they’ve received Christ. For all who call on His name shall be saved! Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. It’s not perfection, but it’s the process of redemption, becoming ever more like our Savior inside and out. I do believe you’re on the way to heaven, but there’s nothing much to your testimony other than what you’ve been saved from. Christ came to save you for something, not just from something.
Many Christian never make it past this stage. They sit in pews and week after week, hear messages they completely agree with and that’s it. There’s no power! There’s no positive momentum for good in their witness and work. They have confessed Jesus but they do little in the name of Jesus. This is where step three comes in… receive the SPIRIT! The Holy Spirit gives you the power to do the works God desires from His Church. Remember the Apostles? They weren’t ready to witness to the world until they received the Spirit.
An effective church is a Spirit-filled Church. A Church that thrives in works of service and the gift ministries of the Spirit as described in 1 Corinthians 12. A church where ordinary people do extraordinary things by the power of God. Where anyone can be a vehicle of healing as the Spirit enables. Where someone with little education can offer someone else a word of Divine Wisdom or Knowledge. Where prophesy doesn’t just happen by the guy on the stage, but in small groups and day to day interactions with each other. That is a powerful church! A Church I want to be a part of. A Church the Lord had in mind from the beginning (see John 14:12).
Don’t just repent and believe, receive the Spirit and let Him empower you to serve others to the glory of God.
How do you do it? Simple. Right now where you are, ask for the Holy Spirit.
Luke 11:13 (ESV) If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Have you asked and not yet received? Start seeking. Perhaps there’s a sin you need to confess and repent of. Perhaps you need to change your actions in accordance with the Word of God before God will let you be the Holy Spirit empowered witness He wants. Perhaps you’re seeking a feeling and not empowerment for service. Perhaps you’re asking with the wrong motive – to be someone important when this gift is given to help build the Lord’s Church.
Check your heart. Do some spiritual house-cleaning and then ask again.
The Church needs people who not only stop doing the wrong thing and believe the right things, the Church needs people who are mightily empowered to perform GREAT THINGS. Who knows… there may be a world-wide movement ready to start through you. Keep asking and you will receive!