Today, the Holy Spirit wants to deposit HOPE into your heart and mind. Remember when we first got started how Peter told us that we have Living Hope in Jesus? Sometimes you have to revive hope. You have to remind your soul that your hope is found in Jesus and in Jesus alone.
I love the word of the Psalms, “O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood” (Psalm 81:5). Isn’t it incredible to think that we are joining millions of people throughout human history who have found a Living Hope in Jesus and the empty tomb? I wanted to remind us this day that the tomb is still empty. Peter saw Jesus’ resurrection body and never got over it. He started preaching the Good News and never looked back.
I’ve been reading through the book of Acts recently. I’m seeing Peter in a way I’ve never seen him before. For example, in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit comes, Peter gets filled up with boldness and starts telling people to turn to Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. At the end of their worship, the disciples give people an opportunity to come forward and get baptized. I’ve stood on those steps where Peter would have preached and seen the cleansing pools where the baptisms happened. At the end of it all, 3,000 people came forward. It would have been an amazing day for the early followers of Jesus. I can imagine hugs, tears, high fives, perhaps even some loud cheers. People changed by Jesus. It was new on that day, and it hasn’t gotten old yet! I wonder if Peter finished up the day and said to his friends, “What just happened? Did 3,000 people really just get baptized?” Thomas who loved accuracy might have spoken up and said, “Yeah, Bart and I counted every one of them!” Just let this sink in (no pun intended) for a minute.
Peter, who had previously denied Jesus, is now boldly and effectively reaching thousands.
What happened? He got filled with the Holy Spirit and in the process he got a spiritual gift! Peter previously spoke with his own words, and now he has experienced what it means to, “speak as though God himself were speaking through you.”
What does it do for you when you hear stories of God using other people? Sometimes it can discourage us. I have to be careful how much I look at the Instagram accounts of other pastors. We often see someone else’s story with an extreme filter added.
It can be discouraging when you compare your gifts to another person. You can always find something they do better than you. I’ve found gift comparison to be one of the greatest enemies of living in my gift with bold faith.
Peter tells us that the Holy Spirit gives each of Jesus’ followers a gift, selected from a variety of gifts. So you have a gift from God, given for the purpose of making a difference. You were hard-wired by God to live a fruitful life. There are certain things that only you can contribute to the body of Christ. God has planned for you to love certain people that no one else can love quite like you can.
The Holy Spirit gives us these gifts for the purpose of serving, loving, and blessing others. Some of us like to be on a stage, others love to be behind a computer, some love numbers, others hate numbers. There is somebody who loves the things you hate and hates the things you love. This was intentional on God’s part—to build up a body that exists to bless and serve the world.
Spiritual gifts have to be discovered, but they also need to be developed. The only way to develop the gift is to put it to use. Some of you have dormant gifts because the lies you believe have sidelined you. Your best art is still inside of you waiting to be brought out to bless the world around you.
Who is going to bring it out of you? Good news, you have an Advocate—the Holy Spirit who is whispering into your ear right now. As you start exercising the gift in faith from a good heart, He will begin to fill the sail with wind. He will pour fuel on the fire and use you.
I wonder what that thing is inside of you? Maybe there’s a book that needs to get written, a song that needs to come out, meals that need to be made for others, flowers that need to be delivered, encouraging conversations that need to be had with teenagers, meetings that need to be organized, events that need to be designed, planned, and executed. Wow, what a list! We’re powerful when we trust the Spirit to release our gifts!
When we step out by faith and with a righteous heart, Heaven applauds. Glory rises, and praise ascends to the throne room of God. The church unleashed with fire! An unstoppable force that Hell cannot contain. We get to play a part! We get to be used by ALMIGHTY GOD to bring HEAVEN down. God’s kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven.