Yesterday was Pentecost. Today is the day after. And so will tomorrow and all the days for the rest of your life. For, if you are in Christ, every day is the day after Pentecost. Why?
Because God has come to make His home within you.
It might be worthwhile to reread that statement again. It is one of the most incredible truth claims in all of Scripture. How much do you and I believe it? I mean really believe it? To be honest with you, most of my day is spent without that perspective of who I am and Who dwells within me and what His endgame is for me.
It might also be good for us to reread the declaration that Jesus made to the disciples regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit so that we might not forget what His purpose was:
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.” 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.” Acts 1:4-5,8
Did you catch the purpose for which the Holy Spirit was going to come upon us? That we might be witnesses for Christ and that witness would eventually penetrate to the ends of the earth. I must confess to you that most of my Christian life has been lived with the thought that the Holy Spirit was for me. I now realize that was a totally self-centered perspective. Yes, there are great benefits from God living within me, but “neo-Christianity”, or “meo-Christianity” as we will define it in the Engagement Project, has increasingly led us to believe that Christianity is all about me.
But it is not all about me. It is all about Him and what He wants to do through me.
There is no way we can sum up the myriad of passages that speak of the work that the Holy Spirit is wanting to do in us so that He might change the world through us. So, as much as it is difficult for me to do, we will only list, with references, a half dozen of them. I would encourage you to read the passages. And, as you go through this short, abreviated list, contemplate how each is not primarily for us, but for “turning the world upside down” as the early Christians were doing (Acts 17:6).
Here is our equipping that comes from God dwelling within us:
1. We are not to be timid, fearful, or cowardly, but instead are given a Spirit of power and love and self-control, discipline, sound judgment (2 Timothy 1:7). Paul says that the power we are given is the same power that was “exerted when He raised Christ from the dead” (Ephesians 1:15-20). This is quite phenomenal to contemplate.
2. The “Spirit of Truth” guides us into all truth (John 16:13-15). We receive benefits from the truth of God, but remember, this is not just for us. It is easy for us to think that God’s truth is primarily for me rather than His “equipping” of me.
3. He will reveal the thoughts of God to us (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). This is amazing! That God has granted us the privilege to know His thoughts? But again, His thoughts aren't revealed to me just for my personal benefit.
4. Allow us to “speak the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31). We are equipped to express the truth of God with “boldness” which means openly, plainly, with confidence and with “cheerful courage”.
5. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). This is another absolutely shocking thing to me... that God takes my blundering words and inward groans and translates them into divine prayers. What an amazingly freeing thing! I do not have to try to impress God with some kind of grand eloquence when I pray. Too often our prayers are for ourselves, but think about His purpose in us and that God has given us, as His children, the privilege to ask on behalf of, and for the benefit of, our neighbor. And He listens to us!
6. The Holy Spirit produces gifts within us. Ah, I suppose this one may throw us as it did me for many years. For I used to think that the gifts of the Spirit were for me. But if you look at the list just in Galatians 5:22-25, you will begin to realize that they are for others (love, patience, kindness, goodness, etc.) These gifts all make you attractively winsome to your neighbor.
These are a merely a sample of how God is equipping us to “turn the world upside down”. May we be privileged to see the Body of Christ do so again as in the early days.
But, there is also great gain to us as believers by God dwelling within us. We would be remiss if we did not also list at least six of those blessings:
1. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit who is our “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:11-14)
2. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are “adopted as sons, by whom we cry “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).
3. We are “saved through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-6) and the Holy Spirit is our “sanctifier” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
4. He is our “Helper” (John 16:7). The Greek work is paracletos, or “paraclete”, which means advocate, counselor, and literally means “called to one’s side”. Wow.
5. He gives us hope (Romans 15:13).
6. He is conforming us to the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18)
And, to bring all of this back to the resurrection, it is the Holy Spirit who will raise us up:
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:10-11
It would be to our great benefit to spend time daily in contemplation and thanksgiving for the reality that God has taken up abode within us. Let us pray that God would increasingly move us from simply knowing this to a saturated belief, and from belief to action.