If you haven’t yet read the Introduction to Encounters with Jesus, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.
Many families have an heirloom that has been passed on down the generations.
Family heirlooms come in different shapes and sizes. It may be a piece of jewellery that is passed down to the eldest daughter of the family. It could be a family bible. A silver tea set or even a special commemorative mug like the one in the photo.
What makes an heirloom unique is that it has been handed down from one generation to the next. Because it has crossed numerous generations, family heirlooms may be valuable antiques. However, to an heir, it is of more sentimental value than its financial value.
GOD’S PRICELESS HEIRLOOM
As Christians, and members of the family of God we have received an heirloom – a priceless gift from God. This gift is only passed down to God’s family members.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”(John 14:16,17)
Our Lord Jesus himself received this priceless gift at his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit came down upon Him in the form of a dove. From the moment of His baptism by John and His receiving of the Holy Spirit, everything that Jesus did was empowered by the Spirit. (Matthew. 4:1; Luke.4: 1,14)
A PROMISED GIFT
Then on the night of the Last Supper Jesus promised his faithful apostles they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper…the Spirit... The world cannot receive Him, because it cannot see him or know him.” (John 14:16,17 GNB)
Jesus needed the help of the Holy Spirit in order to fulfil the Father’s will. So, too His disciples would need the Holy Spirit’s help to accomplish the tasks that He had in store for them.
Jesus chose those first disciples so, “that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach...” (Mark 3:14)
Jesus has these same two goals for His present-day disciples, you and me. We are to spend time with Him. And go out and share the Good News about Him.
i) Called to be disciples
The word ‘disciple’ means ‘pupil’ or ‘learner’. Jesus has called all Christians without exception to be His disciples, daily learning from Him through the Word.
To be true disciples of Jesus, we need to be in constant contact with Him, receiving His instructions daily. At times those instructions may not be easy to accept. For they are aimed at correcting us, moulding us, perfecting us to become more like the Master.
ii) Called to be witnesses
Not only does Jesus require His disciples to spend time with Him, learning from Him. But in effect to become his apostles. An apostle is one who is ‘sent’. In His parting words to His disciples, Jesus said, “You are witnesses of these things...(Luke. 24:48 GNB)“Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples…teach them to obey everything I have commanded you...” (Matt. 28:19,20 GNB)
- What things were they witnesses to?
They were witnesses of all that they had seen and heard during the time Jesus was with them.
Today those who believe in Jesus are called “Christians”. Yet our Lord never gave His disciples that title. He called them “witnesses” – You are called to share your personal experience of how you opened your life to Christ. And what the Lord is doing daily in your life is a powerful witness for Jesus.
iii) Called to be Spirit-empowered
Before Jesus’ disciples could carry out their mission to be His witnesses and make disciples they had to fulfil another important instruction:
Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised…in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4,5 GNB)
“When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power; and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7,8 GNB)
Jesus’ disciples of all ages need the empowering of the Holy Spirit to help them accomplish the tasks that He has set for them.
THE GIFT IS GIVEN
Ten days after Jesus’ ascension, on the Jewish feast day of Pentecost, in obedience to Jesus’ command, His followers were prayerfully awaiting the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2: 2-4 describes how God poured out His Spirit upon Jesus’ followers in the form of wind and fire – signs of power and purification.
That frightened group of followers was empowered to become Christ’s witnesses. Through God’s precious gift of the Holy Spirit working through them, they were able to fulfil their calling to be Christ’s witnesses and to make disciples.
Witnessing to others about Jesus Christ and teaching them to be His disciples remains our task as Christians.
- Did you realise that when you opened your life to Christ you received this wonderful inheritance?
- What difference is the Holy Spirit making in your life?
In west Texas, there is a famous oil field known as Yates pool. During the depression, this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr Yates was not able to earn enough money on his ranch to pay the principal and interest on his mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes and food, his family, like many others, had to live off a government subsidy.
One day a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told Mr Yates that there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a well and he signed a lease. They struck a huge oil reserve giving 80,000 barrels a day.
Thirty years after this discovery, a government test of one of those wells revealed that it still could provide 125,000 barrels of oil a day. And Mr Yates owned it all!
The day that he had purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he was having to receive a subsidy from the government because he did not know that it was there. He owned the oil but he did not possess it until that well was drilled. (Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ – ‘How to be filled with the Spirit’)
A WELL-USED HEIRLOOM
When we opened our lives to Jesus Christ all the resources of the oil of the Holy Spirit were made available to us, but often through ignorance, like Mr Yates, we are not aware that it is there.
Everything that you need to be a fruitful Christian, who is leading others to Jesus and helping them to become Jesus’ disciples, is available to you.
In Ephesians 5:18 we are encouraged to: “Be filled with the Spirit.” The word “filled” in the original Greek is in the present continuous tense.
Rev Andrew Murray wrote, ”I have learned to place myself before God every day as a vessel to be filled with His Holy Spirit. He has filled me with the blessed assurance that He, as the everlasting God, has guaranteed His own work in me.”
When you entrusted yourself to Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, you received the precious heirloom of the Holy Spirit. How about following this link, and spending a few minutes in worship, praying for the Holy Spirit’s power in your life? He will help make your encounters with Jesus all the more real.