Acts 9:31 - The Comfort of the Holy Spirit
Welcome to our Bible Study today. We are studying "Spiritual Apps from Acts." We are applying what the Book of Acts says to our lives. Today I am speaking from Acts 9:31 and the title of my messages is "The Comfort of the Holy Spirit."
The apostle Paul, when he was still known as Saul, was converted and empowered by the Spirit to proclaim the gospel. After his conversion, Saul began proclaiming Christ in the synagogues in Damascus. After this, Saul preached in Jerusalem, Caesarea, and Tarsus.
In Acts 9:31Luke writes, "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase." Several points about the comfort of the Holy Spirit stand out:
One, the Holy Spirit is the source of comfort.
The English word comfort is a translation of the Greek word paraklesis. My text translates the Greek word with the English word comfort. Luke uses this Greek word several times in the gospel of Luke and Acts, but Acts 9:31 is the only place where he uses it in connection with the Holy Spirit.
In our text the comfort of the Holy Spirit refers to what the Holy Spirit provides.
The Holy Spirit enriches the church with His comfort. When we have a need for comfort or when we minister comfort to others, we must rely on the Holy Spirit. In the gospel of John, the Holy Spirit is known as the comforter or helper. When the Holy Spirit is at work, the church will have peace.
Two, the Holy Spirit comforts us through the Word of God.
The Spirit ministers comfort to the church in a variety of ways. One of the ways is through the Word of God, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Word of speaks persuasively to all who believe. Jesus said (John 6:63), "the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." The words of Jesus are imbued with the Holy Spirit. Those words are powerful and minister to the church.
It is very important that we regularly read the Word of God. It is likely daily food for our soul. When you read God's Word, the Holy Spirit ministers to you. Many believers have a plan to read through the entire Bible every year. Such a plan gives great understanding of who God is and what He desires for us. Without this regular reading habit, we can starve our minds and hearts of spiritual input.
Three, the Spirit inspires men and women to speak comforting words.
The Holy Spirit inspires men and women with comforting words to the saints. When Saul preached, the church had peace. This is amazing. Before his conversion, Saul had been a persecutor of the church. He sought out believers in order to arrest them. Because of this, those who heard Saul in Damascus initially were afraid of him, but it soon became evident that his conversion was genuine. His messages inspired peace in the hearts of the believers in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. And the church grew.
Through the Spirit's inspiration, He encourages, directs, enlightens, and empowers. He works through the lives of individuals and the church collectively. Many times we have listened to ministers inspired of the Holy Spirit with words that change our lives. We can testify to the great impact of these words. Underlying all that is expressed, is the inspiration of the Spirit.
Four, the Spirit directly comforts the believers.
Another way that the Spirit comforts is that He speaks to us inwardly and directly. Normally, this is an inner voice. The Spirit enlightens us with thoughts that He originates. We meditate on those ideas and thoughts. As we learn to hear His voice, we discover the will of God. All of this brings comfort and peace to us. We can act without misgivings because of what the Spirit has said to us. In times of prayer, we hear His voice.
Millions of people testify to the comforting presence of the Spirit. When our hearts are troubled, we must listen to the voice of the Spirit. His presence brings a sense of peace and joy. He alone can turn the darkness of a sorrowful night into the brilliance of a new day that is lit by the light of truth and hope. A church that is at peace becomes a powerful witness to others.
In summary we find: (1) that the Holy Spirit is the source of comfort in the church; (2) the Spirit ministers comfort to us through the Word of God; (3) the Spirit inspires us with messages and words that bring comfort to others; and (4) the Spirit directly ministers comfort to our hearts. This helps us be strong witnesses. This, too, cause the church to grow.
Mission and spiritual well-being go together. We must maintain a strong relationship with Christ in order to be effective. When our relationship is strong, other people are attracted to Christ. As the Spirit inspires and comforts us, we bring comfort to the aching hearts of many people who seek peace. Let us enjoy the comfort of the Holy Spirit.