I used to live in an apartment building that had a fast-food restaurant by the ground-floor entrance. Without very much advertising, the restaurant tempted me every time that I walked into the building. It was the aroma that attracted me.
This is one way that we, as Christians, are to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission to take the Gospel to the world. We are to live lives that attract non-believers even before we say a word. This is something that we can’t do on our own. Fortunately, Jesus, in Acts 1:8, promised us help in the person of the Holy Spirit, who would give us power to be his witnesses.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill our lives, he produces his familiar fruit in us – love, joy, peace, and all the rest, listed in Galatians 5:22 and 23. His fruit is what makes us attractive to a world that needs hope. The Bible gives a wonderful example of this attraction in the story of Paul and Silas in prison (Acts 16:16–34). It was the witness of Paul and Silas’ actions, not their words, which moved the jailer to ask, “What must I do to be saved?”
However, the power that we receive from the Holy Spirit is also undeniably verbal. Whenever we see, in both the Old and the New Testaments, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it is accompanied by speech. When Christ’s promised outpouring was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, the believers were immediately empowered by the Holy Spirit, “declaring the wonders of God” in languages understood by the crowds visiting Jerusalem (Acts 2:11).
If we, as a church, are looking for the kind of life that attracts unbelievers and for the power to declare God’s message with boldness, we must seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit – for ourselves individually and for the church as a whole.
-Otis A. Fortenberry