Back in June, we met Nehemiah and all he had to go through to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. We adopted a battle cry of “Remember the Lord.”
We also met the Duck Dynasty family who stood firm in their faith and told the Discovery Channel they would refuse to continue filming if the family prayer before dinner was removed from of the show.
By the way, their latest season opening broke all records in television history.
We also learned a list of things we needed to do in the Home Makeover of our church. We keep God first and pray for His guidance.
- We unite and work together
- We set up a plan and get our ducks in a row.
- We all work together and do our own part – we are all part of God’s plan.
- We use the Word of Jesus and His Father as our sword to protect us.
- We protect ourselves by standing firm in our faith against Satan and evil. The devil and evil will flee when we do this.
- We keep the communications open all the time.
In July, we learned that Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB and President of Russia, was secretly a Christian and recognized that the United States seemed to be on its way to becoming another Sodom and Gomorrah. He told us we must stand by our faith within our government.
We also learned that Emilio and Doc of the Tower Of Power changed from their sinful ways and repented. This brought the Tower of Power back into the spotlight and they are going strong to this day. Emilio said “We just continued to grow in faith and our walk with God.”
We were also charged to proclaim to all those around us whom we will serve.
In August, we were introduced to Archie Bunker and his wife Edith along with Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife Beth all who are God-fearing Christians. We learned through their stories not to be bigoted against anyone, particularly Christians who may practice a different flavor of Christianity than we do.
Now it is September and I am honored to present part four in a series of rebuilding our church.
Joel and his country had gone through a great hardship. For years, locusts had stripped the land of every plant, tree and even weed that dared to show its greenery. Times were really hard, but the Israelites survived.
God told Joel that he would make them whole again. God would reimburse them for the years of scarcity.
God promised they would have enough to eat until they were full. God also told Joel the Israelites would “praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you.” (Joel 2:26)
I ask you: What would God do next?
Please turn to Joel 2:28-32 (NIV)
28 ‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
Joel reveals that God will pour out the Holy Spirit on everyone. Young and old will receive the Holy Spirit.
Daughters and sons will receive this gift too! Even servants will receive the Holy Spirit – both men and women.
God promises He will pour out the Holy Spirit. This not a sprinkling or even a fire hose worth of spirit, but a God-sized bucket dumped from the heavens.
It will make that big Gatorade barrel dumped on the winning coach at a football game look like a little thimbleful.
This will be no ordinary spiritual blessings, but blessings of a magnitude never before seen by mankind. Everyone will be affected.
God will give gifts of prophesy, visions and dreams.
There is some debate among biblical scholars when Joel’s prophecy will be fulfilled. A few say the prophecy will be fulfilled with the final return of Jesus on judgment. The majority agree that the fulfillment starts on the Day of Pentecost and continues until Judgment Day.
We know that the start of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Started on Pentecost with the followers of Jesus receiving the Holy Spirit in a dramatic physical way.
This outpouring continued throughout Jerusalem as the gospel was understood by thousands who heard the gospel in their own native language.
Jerusalem had dozens of different languages being spoken. This was the Holy Spirit at work.
It would be extremely difficult to find a language spoken in any part of the world that was not represented in Jerusalem, yet everyone understood.
Joel is not the only prophet who speaks of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 44:3 (NIV)
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
Ezekiel 39:29 (NIV)
29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
Zechariah 12:10 (NIV)
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.
The Apostle John tells us of Jesus mentioning the appearance of the indwelling Holy Spirit which was to come.
John 7:37-39 (NIV)
37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Fifty days after Jesus was raised from the dead, he appeared to the Apostles and bestowed the Holy Spirit among them.
And after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was spread throughout the world. It continues to this day in the indwelling Holy Spirit which believers in Jesus have.
The numbers of Christians throughout the modern world are increasing and this is further proof that Joel’s prophesy is being fulfilled.
Now we have the Gospel being printed and read in every language known to man.
Now we have the Holy Spirit residing in people of every language known to mankind.
To many people the Holy Spirit is somewhat of a mystery. They may ask “What does it feel like to have the Holy Spirit inside?” “What does the Holy Spirit do?”
Isiah has a really cool description of the Holy Spirit that is fairly easy to understand.
Turn to Isaiah 11:2 (NIV)
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD–
The Holy Spirit will rest upon us – in other words it will not just appear for a while and then fly off or disappear. The Holy Spirit will remain with us.
We get God’s wisdom and understanding. With these two we are able to discern what is right or wrong. We can discern what teachings are true. You can discriminate between good and wrong intentions.
You may have experienced this. Did someone ever try to encourage you to do something that looks innocent on the surface, but may prove to be disastrous?
For instance: Someone directs the following question to you “Did you stop worshiping idols?”
No matter if you answer ‘Yes” or “No” you have admitted to idol worship. Discernment allows you to see the evil intent behind this question. The correct answer to this question would be “You are trying to create a trap for me and I am not going to fall for that.”
The Spirit of Counsel allows us to give sound spiritual advice. Power is for us to realize the power of Jesus’ resurrection which effects all parts of our lives.
The Spirit of knowledge is strengthened by reading the Word of God. The more we read the Bible the more our knowledge of God is expanded and strengthened.
The spirit of knowledge can talk to us in other ways.
The fear of God is a healthy respect of His power and judgment; an obedient fear.
Here is an example of the Holy Spirit:
[Craig’s story of the pastor counseling someone]
Now that we have an idea of what the Holy Spirit is and how it affects us, we can continue with Joel’s prophecy.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
What exactly is prophesying? It is not just telling the future, but it is speaking while under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Visions are attributed to the younger men who have the necessary drive and energy to bring those visions into reality.
Dreams are relegated to the old men. So, In keeping with Joel’s prophesy let me continue.
I had a dream the other night.
- Realizing I had left my sermon at home and running out the doors.
- Suddenly stuck in a swamp.
- An anaconda snake wrapping around me.
- Nests of rattlesnakes around by feet biting.
- Rattlesnakes biting the anaconda and killing it.
- My grabbing handfuls of rattlesnakes and raising them high above my head and praising Jesus.
- The rattlesnakes turning into deadly vipers.
So I recommend we get a box full of vipers and sometime during our service, the Worship Leader will reach into the box, pull out two handfuls of vipers, lift them above his head and praise Jesus!
Now I ask you: “Was this old man’s dream from the Holy Spirit?
[wait for congregation to answer ‘no’]
See, there’s discernment at work in you!
Joel tells us that even the servants, both men and women, will receive the Holy Spirit.
Everyone, no matter what their station in life, whether they are the head of a multi-billion dollar world-wide corporation or are the street sweeper at the end of a parade, will receive the Holy Spirit as long as they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Joel also lets us know what will happen to the non-believers. Those who do believe will be saved.
So how will the Holy Spirit protect and unite the church?
Please turn to Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.
From the moment that you heard the Gospel and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit.
You may ask what being sealed means.
Official letters and documents were often sealed with wax. Then a stamp or ring with a unique design, picture or word would be pressed into the wax.
A seal such as this would vouch for the authenticity of the letter or document. It would also protect the contents of the letter. If someone received a letter with a broken seal, the contents could have been tampered with.
The seal also usually told you the author of the letter. Every king and official had their own seal. You could look at the seal and see from whom the letter came.
Now a document could also have a seal. We see this today at the Notary Public. When we need a copy of an original document such as a birth certificate, we take the original and the copy to the Notary Public and they verify that the copy is an exact copy with no changes and then they imprint their seal into the paper.
You may remember an earlier sermon when Nehemiah performed a difficult makeover on the walls of Jerusalem. When he was traveling to Jerusalem, he carried an open letter from his king who asked all the other kings to provide safe passage for Nehemiah, his workers and his small army.
All they had to do was look at the seal and know the letter was genuine.
So when we accepted Jesus, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit. As soon as we are sealed, God knows we Belong to Him.
Let’s look at the last part: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”
Being sealed with the Holy Spirit insures our souls belong to God. When the Holy Spirit eventually delivers us to Jesus in heaven, God just needs to look at the seal and see we have not been tampered with.
Isn’t this cool? We get our own Special Delivery stamp to take us to Jesus.
So now we have received the down payment and a guarantee of what is to come.
Now is the time to use our gifts of the Holy Spirit to further our church makeover.
We received God’s Wisdom and Understanding. We will need to use these and discern what is true and make wise decisions.
Remember, even evil ones can speak the truth, but have evil goals in mind, not for the purpose of glorifying God. Deuteronomy 13:1-4 warns us of this.
The indwelling Holy Spirit will allow us to discern the true goal of these evil ones, which is to try and make us lost sight of God.
We will use the Spirit of Counsel to apply God-driven guidance to our makeover. It is extremely important that we provide counsel to each other, not only to keep us on a righteous path, but to support each other.
We will use the Power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish what we ourselves cannot do on our own. When we are working for God as His servant, we may run into tasks that are seemingly impossible to perform.
We have the judicious use of the Power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish our task. Remember, Jesus used this same power to feed thousands from a few fishes and loaves.
We will use the Spirit of Knowledge as our reference to the ways of God. It serves as our reference to all things known about God. It also provides glimpses into the mysteries of God’s workings and thoughts.
Remember that we strengthen our ability to use the Spirit of Knowledge when we study the Bible. Bible study and reading the Word of God in an indispensable part of our church rebuilding.
We will also use the Fear of God to totally submit to Him and His wishes.
If each of us prudently uses our indwelling Holy Spirit, we will remain united in purpose and be able to save our church.
Let us pray.