As we open to Ephesians 5:18, we are learning what it means to Get Full, Stay Full & Live Full of God’s Spirit. This may be one of the most vital topics, in the Bible, for any believer.
Sometimes, when we study a topic as massive as the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we need to remind ourselves why this study matters. For a moment think of the record we find in Acts.
We just spent several weeks looking at the ministry recorded in Acts for those 30 years from Pentecost and on to Paul being imprisoned at Rome. As we remember all those events, do you ever get puzzled at how they did it? If we are not careful we can even get overwhelmed at what amazing things those saints did for God, while struggling with huge obstacles.
In fact, as I read over some of those more vivid parts of the New Testament again this week, some of the words that came to my mind were: Unbelievable, incredible & unattainable.
Isn’t that where most of us get to after a while? Unbelievable, incredible, but alas for me, unattainable! Three words frame many people’s view of Biblical living:
UNBELIEVABLE, INCREDIBLE & UNATTAINABLE
What do I mean? Think over with me what you know about just a few of those who lived across the pages of the New Testament:
The Apostle Peter was a stumbling, bumbling man who always was sticking both feet, up to the ankles, into his mouth in the Gospels.
In fact, after the 1st Lord’s Supper, one servant girl in the dark scarred him into uttering some horrible curses and denials of Jesus.
Yet only days later he is standing up in front of 3,000 families, facing both the murderous religious establishment of Jerusalem and their guardians, the Roman army; and was no less than totally fearless.
He is never recorded as wavering again from that day onward. He faces the inevitability of personal pain and certain martyrdom with serenity. See why we think: unbelievable, incredible & unattainable?
The Apostle Paul was beaten within an inch of death in Acts 16.
He was neglected to the point of abuse, thrown into a dark, damp, bug-infested dungeon, fastened down with iron and wood stocks, and left to grow infection, burn with fever and perhaps die.
What was the result? He started to quote and sing aloud from the Psalms. He was so convincing almost everyone who heard it wanted to become a Christian also! Unbelievable, incredible & unattainable: or is it possible to live that way?
The Apostle John was alone, imprisoned, troubled, and for all he knew forgotten by God and man as Revelation 1 opens.
He was on a baked rock in the middle of nowhere, kind of like an ancient version of an Alcatraz or San Quentin Penitentiary.
He had already survived beatings, mobs, and jails and even lived with the scars that marked his body from the boiling oil torture the Romans had subjected him to. So what comes out of a wasted and scarred body? He is in the Spirit, worshiping God on a Sunday: in nowhere; and all alone on that island prison he gets the best look at Heaven’s beauty even seen. Unbelievable, incredible & unattainable: or is it possible to live that way?
What do they all have in common? Only one thing: the Spirit of God is how they made it and were used so mightily.
The galaxy of unbelievable lives goes way beyond the Apostles. There are countless 1st-century saints who found their pathway colliding with the godless and belligerent Roman Society, whose lives ended in the sands of the arena, at the stake, or in ghastly martyrdom. Yet history records they went to their end singing, radiant with joy and serenely. Unbelievable, incredible & unattainable: or is it possible to live that way?