Summary: Jesus spoke in John 14:12 of believers doing the “works that He did” and even “greater works.” Where are those greater works today? The early Church believers, in the Book of Acts, healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead. What did they have that we have overlooked? I believe that a big part of the answer to that lies in their awareness of their need to be continuously full of the Holy Spirit.
•• Various Greek scholars and bible commentators point out that the Greek present imperative tense is used in this verse. It has the connotation of a continuous replenishment, an ongoing and repeated filling.
• It has been suggested by some that an awkward but accurate translation would be something like: “...go on being filled.”
•• I try each summer to keep two thirds of an acre of grass alive in my yard! To do so, I must water it ... again and again and again! If I don’t water it repeatedly, it dries up in our hot southern Oregon climate.
• This is an illustration of Ephesians 5:18 — they received another filling, a replenishment — presumably another of many replenishments of the Spirit — just like my lawn, which again and again needs another watering. It can’t just go on last week’s watering.
•• What is the environment, the context, for this repeat filling in Acts 4:31? Let's see.
Acts 4:24, 29-31 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, ... (29) “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. (30) Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (31) After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
•• The refilling of these Spirit-filled believers came as they prayed to God for MORE — (1) bold preaching ... (2) healings ... (3) miraculous signs and wonders — all in Jesus’ Name.
•• If they had been content to rest in their initial, Acts 2:4Holy Spirit anointing, they would not have asked, they would not have received — “Ye have not because ye ask not” (James 4:2).
•• Jesus said, “Believers, you will do the works I do.” Well, these first-century believers did those works! How? — Many of that group, perhaps even most or all of them, had already received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). But they understood their need to stay full of the Holy Spirit in order to effectively preach the word of God confirmed by the supernatural spiritual gifts.
John 14:12, 16-17a I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.... (16) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — (17) the Spirit of truth.
•• How and why can we do the works Jesus did and greater? He says, “...because I am going to my Father... [and] He will give you another Counselor ... the [Holy] Spirit...” And one result of our receiving the heaven-sent gift of the Holy Spirit baptism is an empowerment of us to do His works, especially by the enablement of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
•• So you see how totally dependent we are on having the fullness of His Spirit in order to do His works.
•• How are you doing today? Do you find yourself somewhere between your own personal Acts 2 and Acts 4? Somewhere between that first anointing and a current one?
• I first received that Acts 2 anointing, that mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit, in 1971. That outpouring of the Holy Spirit on me personally was a starting point, not the end.
• I’ve needed a lot of Acts 4 replenishments since then. I (and you) need an ongoing renewal of Holy Ghost power in our lives and our ministries.
John 7:37-39 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. (38) Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (39) By this he meant the Spirit....
•• We need to thirst for this living water — for a flowing river, not just a glassful ... for Holy Ghost fire, not just a flickering candle.
•• We need to believe Jesus, and to believe in Him.
•• We need to come to Him. He is the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). Take advantage daily of His blessed gift to you of speaking in tongues, of praying in the Spirit.
•• We need to drink deeply. Don’t just sip; drink!
2 Kings 2:9, KJV ...Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
•• Let that be our prayer:
• “Lord, thank you for that firstActs 2 filling with the Holy Spirit. Thank you for many additionalActs 4 fillings since then. Lord, my prayer today is for a double portion of your Spirit, twice the measure of any of my previous experiences. In Jesus’ Name.”