The book of Acts gives a few more details about Jesus’ final moments with His disciples before His ascension. “Wait for the Promise of the Father, which you have heard from Me,” He tells them. “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me … to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:4,8)
The disciples then returned to Jerusalem, where they prayed and waited with over one hundred more of Jesus’ closest followers. Their prayers were answered with a miraculous manifestation of God’s power: “Suddenly there was a sound like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them and it filled the house where they were meeting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on their heads. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in languages they didn’t know, for the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.” (Acts 2:2-4)
This was what they’d been waiting for-supernatural power to continue Jesus’ work now that He had departed. Suddenly, the fear, worry, and inability to act on their convictions were all gone. One of the most spectacular evangelistic experiences of all time was about to take place.
A major religious festival, the Jewish Feast of the Harvest, was being celebrated in the streets of Jerusalem, and Jewish pilgrims from many nations had come for the annual event. As Peter and the other disciples began telling pilgrims the wonderful news of God’s love and salvation through Jesus, they each found themselves speaking fluently in the languages of the various pilgrims-languages the disciples had never spoken before. As news of the miracle spread through the city, multitudes quickly gathered.
Peter climbed the steps of a nearby building, raised his hands, and shouted to the enormous crowd. He spoke to them with such conviction and authority that 3,000 people accepted Jesus as their Savior. (Acts 2:41)
Less than two months earlier, Peter had been so cowardly after Jesus was arrested that he had denied even knowing Him. Now he stood before thousands in the very city where Jesus had been arrested, tried, and executed, boldly proclaiming God’s message to all! Peter had changed, just as the Lord had prayed he would. (Luke 22:32) What caused this sudden transformation?-The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.
If you feel shy or awkward when it comes to sharing your faith with others, you’ll be happy to know that the same power is available to you. The Holy Spirit can override shyness, inhibitions, worries about what others might think, or any other natural tendencies that get in the way of your freely reaching out to others with the message of God’s love and salvation in Jesus. You may never preach to or win thousands at a time like Peter did, but in the end you may win just as many or more, one at a time.
If you haven’t yet been baptized, or filled, with the Holy Spirit, you can be right now by simply praying the following prayer:
Dear Jesus, please fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit so that I can love You more, follow You more closely, and have greater power to tell others about Your love and salvation. Amen.
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Rivers of living water
“‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in Me.’ (He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him)” (John 7:37-39).
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a baptism of love. God is the very Spirit of love, so when He baptizes you with His Holy Spirit, He pours on His love till it fills you from top to bottom, and He keeps pouring it on until you can’t contain it; your heart bursts with His love and overflows on others. You just have to share the love and happiness God’s given you, so others can know Him and experience His love also.
If there’s anything that catches people’s attention and causes them to take notice of what you’re saying or doing, it’s enthusiasm! The word enthusiasm is derived from two Greek words: en, which means “in,” and theos, which means “God.” So enthusiasm literally means “in God,” or “God in us.” Thus the truly enthusiastic person is one who acts and speaks as if he or she were possessed by God.
Getting inspired to witness
It’s been my experience that most people don’t go witnessing because they don’t feel inspired to. They say they are waiting for God to work in some supernatural way first. But God’s not going to give power to those who are not going to use it. We need to obey in order for Him to have a chance to work.
When you get out there and see the multitude as Jesus saw them, “as sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36), you’ll get the desire. When you get out there face to face with the need, the Lord will give you the inspiration and compassion you need.
We want to be humble, but we don’t like to be humbled–and talking with others about God and faith can be very humbling, especially at first. It helps to remember, though, that in God’s eyes, humility is an important virtue. It also goes hand in hand with unselfishness, another of His favorites and another key to overcoming shyness. The Holy Spirit helps us overcome our natural tendencies to think mainly about ourselves or how we come across or how people see us, and instead concentrate on the needs of others and how we can help them; it gives us power to get past the awkwardness.