Acts 11:5-18 How the Holy Spirit Helps You Share Jesus
Have you ever wanted to say something to someone, or thought that God wanted you to share something with someone, but then you changed your mind? Who do you think prompted you to share Jesus?
When the Holy Spirit speaks to you about a person, He will reveal to you the person whom you need to share Jesus. When the Holy Spirit speaks to you, He will do three specific things:
The Holy Spirit will speak to you of a person who needs Jesus Christ.
While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
(Acts 10:19-20 NKJV)
PURPOSE OF THE VISION
The vision/dream has a purpose. The purpose is to reveal to you the person whom you need to share Jesus. In this particular case, Peter was praying. Hence the connection between the Holy Spirit and prayer. Notice how often in the New Testament that the Holy Spirit speaks in relationship to prayer. A vision is when God speaks in a time of prayer, while a dream is when God speaks in sleep. One is used in our waking hours, and one is used in our sleeping hours.
When God speaks to you in a dream, it is many times because God wants to wake you up. Many times, while we are awake physically, spiritually we are sleeping. We aren’t praying and paying attention to what God wants me to do. So God can and does speak to you through the Holy Spirit at night.
In this case, Peter was praying in his waking hours and the Spirit showed him a special vision. This vision was given three times. Jesus spoke to Peter at the end of the vision:
And I heard a voice saying to me, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, “Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered me again from heaven, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.’
(Acts 11:7-9 NKJV)
Of course, Peter is dealing with having to change his attitude about some things. The vision was about changing his attitudes about food – a Jewish custom. Peter says later that God showed him the purpose of the vision. Even Peter realized that the purpose was not dietary, but divine. He was not told to change what he eats, but to whom he speaks.
God does this quite often. You will see many examples in the Bible of how He speaks through visions and dreams.
Bad examples include: Pharoah of Egypt and Pilate. Good examples include: Daniel, Nebechadnezzar, Paul, Peter, and John. So God will speak to His servants at night and in the daytime.
In my personal life, if I dream the same dream more than one night in a row, especially if it is three nights in a row, I have learned that the Holy Spirit wants me to speak to a specific person. Sometimes, it has been a specific person whom the Holy Spirit wanted me to speak to them about Jesus, even if it is to answer a question.
This is one of the ways the Holy Spirit works. He will place someone in your mind. And it may seem like a strange vision or dream. You may be seeing strange visions, but God will reveal the purpose in time. In the case of sharing Jesus, the Holy Spirit will speak to you about a specific person whom He wants you to reach for Jesus through you.
The Holy Spirit will erase the fear of sharing Jesus.
Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.
(Acts 11:12 NKJV)
When the Holy Spirit speaks, He will do so to erase the fear. The Holy Spirit will work to erase our fear. Our fear of obeying the Holy Spirit is a powerful weapon that is used against us. Satan uses it, and we talks ourselves into fear. When the Holy Spirit speaks, He will erase the fear. How will He do this?
The reason that the Holy Spirit speaks to us three, four, and five times about something or someone is because He is going to erase the fear. You have to obey Him and go in faith. This is why the Spirit told Peter to go without doubting. What would Peter doubt? Peter is concerned about the cultural barriers and he was afraid of many things. How will the Gentiles react? Will a Gentile listen to me, when my own people hate them?
Part of the reason that the Holy Spirit gives you a dream or vision and then speaks to you about a person is because He wants to assure you that everything will be ok.
Let me share with you a personal example. This same dream happened to me on two different occasions for over many nights. I had a dream when Heike and I were engaged and not married. She was still in Germany and on dialysis. The prospect of a kidney surgery came up. Beginning with the blood test, I began to have dreams that the kidney would fail. But not only that, in the dream Heike died. She had an operation and then Heike died. It was very strange. Of course, I knew that Heike was not going to die from the kidney surgery. But apparently I was still doubting. Because the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about my doubt. The dream was my doubt that was based on fear. After I fasted, the clarity came and we realized that God was going to work this out.
Strange as that may sound, the same dream type kept occurring over the past year. Heike would get pregnant, and then during the birth, she would lose the kidney. I did not understand these dreams at all. The same dream over one week. Then a second dream. In the second dream, she died while giving birth. This second dream would come from time to time. Of course, it was hard to interpret what the Holy Spirit was saying to me. I would never say this came from Satan, because I know that when Satan is tempting me, it is in a completely different way.
So what was going on? Well, at one point, it just became clear. God had provided a kidney, after we trusted God in faith. It became clear to me that God that He would provide a child for Heike and I when we trust Him in faith. How we would receive a child is something I could not know. But the assurance that it would happen is what the Holy Spirit was telling me.
So the Holy Spirit speaks in visions and dreams for the purpose of giving assurance to our doubts. His assurance helps us to follow Him in faith. How does He do that when He wants us to share Jesus? He keeps putting the same person in your mind. He has done that with me on many occassions and He will do the same with you. When the Holy Spirit puts someone in your mind, you need to listen and obey.
The Holy Spirit will do His work as you begin to listen to Him and share the Gospel.
And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.(Acts 11:15 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit is doing lots of work for the purpose of bringing people to Jesus.
For the unbeliever, the Holy Spirit is drawing them and changing their heart.
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
(John 16:8-9 NKJV)
For the believer, the Holy Spirit is going to soften your heart. This is one of the purposes of the dream/vision. God uses the Holy Spirit to speak to us in visions and dreams so that He can change our hearts toward the people He wants us to reach.
When hearts are changed, the Gospel is ripe. The Gospel as you share it, will not be effective in you as a witness if you reisist the Holy Spirit. If you resist the Holy Spirit because you keep your hearts hard, the Gospel cannot be shared. This is the reason that the Holy Spirit speaks and screams to you in dreams.
The Holy Spirit is a heart softener. There are water softeners that are used on water that is called hard. Hard water has lots of calcium which can damage water pipes and itch the skin. Water softeners are used to take these hard minerals and chemicals out. The Holy Spirit does the same thing to our hearts. He softens our hearts so that we can properly share Jesus with those whom He has shown us.
So the Holy Spirit is preparing our hearts for the Gospel. But He also reminds us of our need to share that Gospel.
The Holy Spirit will cause you to remember your Great Commission.
Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, “John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
(Acts 11:16-18 NKJV)
We tend to forget the Great Commission. What is that Commission?
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
(Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)
Then why was Peter quoting another verse? Peter is quoting the verse that Jesus said to them right before He left earth.
for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many
days from now.”
(Acts 1:5 NKJV)
So the Great Commission, the idea of sharing Jesus and making disciples of Jesus can only happen under the power of the Holy Spirit. While methods may make that Great Commission efficient, only the power of the Holy Spirit can make it effective. The Great Commission becomes effective when we remember to share Jesus.
The Holy Spirit will continue to lift up Jesus by reminding me of the Great Commission.
We are going to take some time and pray. We are not going to have an altar call. If you want to accept Jesus or join this church, you can take the time to fill out the Welcome Card in your bulletin. But for the rest of us, I want us to spend this time during the altar call to pray. Worship tends to open our spirit to the Holy Spirit. That is why we worship in spirit and in truth. The Holy Spirit will speak truth to us during this worship time. I am asking that the Holy Spirit come and speak to each of us. I know that during this altar call, there will be someone whom you need to speak to about Jesus. I am going to pray that God reveal that person to you during this altar call. After that, I want you to take time this week and pray about it, and then set a time to speak with someone about Jesus. It probably will be someone on your Operation Andrew list. Maybe it will be someone else. But if we are going to take the Great Commission seriously and if we really want to listen to the Holy Spirit, then we really need to be obedient to Him without doubting, and without resisting with a hard heart.
And I don’t want to hear any Christian in this room saying that they don’t know anyone or that they can’t speak to someone about Jesus. God has already given you the command. He will also give you the opportunity and the ability to do it. Let the Holy Spirit use you. Don’t resist it. Let Him work through you.