Yan Hadley spoke tonight on 2 Cor 3:17, ‘where the Spirit of the Lord, there is liberty.’ This verse speaks of both a place and a promise. Wherever the Holy Spirit is (and this is not confined to church buildings by any means!), there will be great things happening; the promise He gives us is the promise of freedom.
The Holy Spirit is mentioned right at the start of the Bible (Gen 1:1-2) and the breath or wind of God is at work bringing transformation, as the valley of dry bones (Ezek 37) reminds us. In the Old Testament, we see characters like Saul, Gideon and Samson completely changed by the Spirit of God (see 1 Sam 10:6, Judges 6 & 7, Judges 14 & 15). David was overlooked and underestimated by all, but when the Spirit of God came on him, he was able to defeat Goliath. In the New Testament, this transformation is continued at Pentecost, when ‘a bunch of misfits were transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.’
God’s Spirit brings us:
1. courageous boldness (Acts 4 demonstrates the fearlessness and audacity of the apostles, even when facing great opposition)
2. consuming motivation (giving us zeal and passion for God’s cause, a motivation that frees us from complacency and mediocrity). We need the fire of God to keep things going so that we can maintain our witness even in the face of rejection, torture, beatings and death.
3. convincing signs and wonders (supernatural power giving rise to signs and wonders was a feature of the early church, which saw healings, deliverances, miracles and even raising of the dead.) Paul may have preached with fear and trembling, but his preaching was confirmed by the power of God’s Spirit. (1 Cor 2:1-4)
4. conviction leading to salvation. We are called to bear much fruit for God (John 15), but we need to acknowledge that only the Holy Spirit can bring conviction (see John 16:8). Conviction comes not by our own messages but when the Spirit breathes life into our words (2 Cor 3:6, Luke 4:18-22). Only the truth can set us free and the Holy Spirit is the one who will lead us into truth. (John 16:30)
How do we receive this transforming power? Jesus tells us that if anyone is thirsty, they should come to Him to drink. (John 7:37-38) We have to have a thirst for God in order to receive from Him; we must believe Him in order to know the living waters of the Spirit in our everyday lives.