Scripture Reference: John 14, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 5:18
The Gift Of The Holy SpiritDr. Erwin W. Lutzer | January 31, 2016
Scripture Reference: John 14, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 5:18
Selected highlights from this sermon
The Holy Spirit is for struggling Christians. And we all struggle. The Holy Spirit comes and ministers to God’s people. In this message, Pastor Lutzer explains the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The question is: are we yielded to Him? Or are we grieving Him as we cling to our sins?
This happens to be the third in a series of messages titled The Inheritance of the Redeemed - blessings that belong to all those who put their faith in Christ. If you have been with us recently you’ll notice that we began with predestination. And then last time it was the righteousness of God. And without both of these gifts you cannot be saved.
And today we come to a third gift, a remarkable gift in which we begin to really experience our salvation. And as a result of this message I hope that when I am finished many of you, and many of us who perhaps have never really learned to walk in the Spirit, may remember this message, and remember what will be said so that your life will be changed, and changed forever. That’s how much faith I have in the Holy Spirit and His work among us today.
When you read in the Bible that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, you probably think, “I have no idea what that is.” And “It’s something certainly good for Apostles and missionaries.” And maybe from time to time we hope our pastor knows what it is like to be filled with the Spirit, but we say, “That’s not for me because I’m a struggling Christian.” If you are a struggling Christian, I’m looking for you today. This message is directed toward you.
You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, are there some people who aren’t struggling Christians?” Absolutely! There are Christians who are non-struggling Christians. I know many of them by name. All of them are in heaven today. (laughter) If you’re not in heaven today, you’re a struggling Christian. This message is for me, and it’s for you as well. That’s the first thing I want to say.
Secondly, this message, as all of these gifts, belongs to believers in Jesus Christ, and if you’ve never trusted Christ as your Savior, I want you to listen to this message very carefully because I hope it makes you jealous, and at the end you say, “I want what Christians have. I want to receive Jesus as my Savior,” so you listen carefully. But Jesus said very clearly that the Holy Spirit (Who is this gift – the gift of the Spirit?) is not known or given to the world. So you have the privilege today of looking in, listening, and at the end you’ll have an opportunity to participate in these matchless blessings.
Well, we have a lot of ground to cover, and this is going to be a topical message in contrast to an expository message, which means we’re going to go through a number of different verses. I am going to ask you to turn to only two passages that are really pivotal and important, and the rest I may quote. I’ll give them to you so that you may write them down, and at the end I hope to finally diffuse all the mystery surrounding this idea of being filled with the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit, so that we can all do it together.
There are four ministries of the Spirit that are very important – really more than that, but four that are very important for all believers who have trusted Christ. The Holy Spirit comes. Four ministries He brings us.
The first is found in John 14, and I want you to look at the text. The first ministry of the Spirit that we are going to look at is the ministry of indwelling. When Jesus told the disciples He was going to leave, they were very disappointed and they were fearful. And He tells them, “Don’t worry. I’m going to heaven and I’m preparing a place for you.” Well, that’s wonderful. How nice! That’s great that You’re doing that, but what about here on earth?” What Jesus is going to tell them is this: “I am leaving you physically, but not actually.” Physically, but not actually!
Let’s look at the text. John 14:15 says: “If you love me you will keep my commandments, and I will ask the Father and he will give you another helper.” Everybody stop right here! In Greek there are two words for another. One is similar and the other is the same. For example, I may say, “I give you this pen, and now I’m giving you another pen.” The other pen that I give you, if it’s similar, may be a ballpoint pen. This happens to be an ink pen. It could be a different color. I’m giving you a similar gift. But if I say, “I’m giving you a gift that is the same,” then I’m giving you a pen that is identical to this. And that’s the word that Jesus uses. He says, “I am going away, and I am going to give you another helper.” And you know that that word helper in Greek is paraclete, which means to be called alongside of. Para (which means alongside) to coleo is [to call] pareclete - someone alongside you. That’s why it can be translated helper. It can be translated comforter, and in other ways as well, and the whole idea is this: God is saying, “That’s what the Holy Spirit of God is going to be to you.” In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon people, and then left them. And Jesus is saying, “There are going to be two changes now that I am [not] here, and I’m going to heaven.”
Your Bibles are open. You’ll notice it says, “The world cannot receive the Spirit of Truth.” I’m in verse 17. The last part of the verse: “You know him for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.” The first is you have the indwelling of the Spirit, and this is going to mean now the indwelling of the Spirit for all believers who trust Christ. If you trusted Christ as Savior you have within you the indwelling Spirit. “Do you not know that your Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” All throughout the Scriptures (the New Testament) that is emphasized.
And not only will He be in you, but Jesus said this. He said, “It’s greater in extent (in the New Testament). It includes all believers, and it is greater in duration. You’ll notice the text. It says, “He will be with you forever.” What a privilege it is for us to live in this age and this era rather than in Old Testament times.
Now here’s the way we generally think of it. We think, “You know, we envy those disciples. They were there with Jesus. They saw Him walk on water. They saw Him do the miracles. Oh, if only we had been there.” You know what Jesus says in the sixteenth chapter? He says, “It is good for you that I go away.” He says, “You’re getting a greater blessing than if I had stayed.” You know why? It’s because when He was here He could only be in one place at one time. Even with His glorified body He couldn’t be in Galilee and Jerusalem simultaneously. He had to travel from one place to another. Now He says, “I will come to you to…” We were in the south this past week for a few moments. “I’m going to come to y’all.”
Now here’s where I want to dispel an idea in your mind. One of the ideas we have is, “You know Jesus is in heaven.” His body is there – yes! He’s at the right hand of God the Father. He’s really far but He sent His Holy Spirit as kind of a substitute.” Is that the way you think of it? No! The Holy Spirit is not a substitute for Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God brings Jesus to us. Jesus is with us. You’ll notice He says, “I’m not leaving you. I’ll come to you. I will come to you. I’m not going to leave you as orphans. I am coming to you.”
Do you realize what this means? You have the companionship of Jesus all the time. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, it is because Christ is present. “It is good for you that I go away,” and by the way, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (why?) and behold I am with you. I am with you.”
If you still aren’t blessed because you’ve had a hard morning, look at this. I’m now in about verse 22 and 23: “If anyone loves me he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we (chuckles) will make our home with him.” We – the Father, the Son, the Spirit! God dwells within you.
The Holy Spirit is God indwelling believers. I know that some of you are lonely. Some of you are going through a hard time. You walk into your apartment and nobody else is there. Can I encourage you by reminding you that somebody else is there (the companionship of Jesus), and of the fact that He is there for fellowship and for companionship. Because He was with the Old Testament saints, He will dwell within you. Ever present – Jesus – right where you are! Even when you ride the El in Chicago, He is there. So first of all, we have the indwelling of the Spirit, and that emphasizes the companionship of Jesus. That’s the gift.
There’s another ministry of the Spirit, and for that I will ask you to turn to Ephesians 1. Please turn there. It is the last verse actually that I’m going to ask you to actually turn to. The others I’m going to either quote or simply give you the reference, but notice what it says. Ephesians 1, and we preached on this when we preached on predestination – the earlier verses, but now I’m in verse 13: “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him (There we are.), you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
The Holy Spirit of God seals every believer. He seals every believer. Now the imagery that comes to us from ancient times is when a king wanted to send a document, a piece of parchment. It would be rolled up, and then some hot wax would be poured on it, and he would put his signet ring right where the parchment comes together, and so it was sealed. If anybody tampered with it, everybody would know it, so what he was saying is, “This is sealed. The only one who can break the seal is me who wrote the document and sealed it, or the person to whom it is given, the recipient of the document.” And in our case, God is the one who is both. He’s the one who does the sealing, and He’s the one where we are sealed, the Bible says (Now I’m in Ephesians 4. You can look it up later.), until the day of redemption.
If, first of all, the indwelling Spirit gives us the companionship of the Spirit, now we have the ownership of the Spirit. You may struggle. You may fight against God, but at the end of the day you believe in Him, and He owns you. That’s why it says, you know, “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the living God? Therefore, live like it because you’ve been purchased at high cost by God and you are owned by Him.”
So it signifies ownership, but there’s something else it signifies. It is the guarantee of our inheritance. That’s what it says back in Ephesians 1 where I read it in verse 14. “He is the guarantee of our inheritance.” Here’s what Jesus says: “I’m sending you the blessed Holy Spirit of God, and as a result of that gift, you are beginning to get a little indication – it’s a down payment – of what someday you are going to inherit.”
I understand in ancient times sometimes when a land deal was done, the owner who was selling it to the buyer would take a bag and put some soil in it and give it to him as a guarantee that more was coming – earnest money. I was introduced to that as a boy on the farm (I’ll never forget it.) when my father bought a combine from a neighbor, and gave the neighbor $45 as earnest money. They shook on the deal, and the deal was done. That’s the way it was done in those days. And then, of course, my father paid the rest. By the way, it was a disastrous combine, but a deal’s a deal. In our case it’s not a disaster at all because we are given a down payment. It’s going to get so much better.
God says, “I’m giving you the Holy Spirit today and He is sealing you and will take you all the way to heaven, but He is a down payment.” Now you get the flower but someday you’re going to get the whole garden. Now you get the drop but someday you’re going to get the whole ocean. Now you get the tree, but someday you are going to inherit all the fruit of Paradise. Now you get the hors d'oeuvres, but my friend today, a banquet is coming. (applause) And the Holy Spirit of God is a reminder that there is more to come. You are sealed all the way to heaven. That’s another ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We’ve had the ministry of companionship, now the ministry of ownership. Let’s go on to another ministry and that’s the baptizing ministry of the Spirit. I’m not going to ask you to turn to this passage because I think that one of the messages in this series is going to be on the Body of Christ, so I’ll simply quote the verse. 1 Corinthians 12:13 says: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jew or Greek or bond or free, and we’ve all drunk from one Spirit.”
The baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit, and when you received Christ you probably didn’t even know what God was doing. He was baptizing you into the Body of Jesus Christ so that from now on in the New Testament, more than a hundred times I think just in the writings of Paul, you have this expression – “that you are in Christ and the whole Body of Christ.” And as a result of that the Holy Spirit of God gives gifts and makes you a part of that larger body. And because I’m going to be speaking about that, that’s about all that I’m going to say today about the baptism of the Spirit, except to tell you that it gives us what we could call now a sense of partnership.
We’ve had the fact that we have companionship. We have ownership, but we also have partnership. We are members of one another for great and wonderful ministry – all gifts of the Spirit that some people don’t even know about. It’s possible, you know, for people to sit on a pile of diamonds and not even know it, and they think that they are sitting on coal. Listen! “He who spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, will He not also with Him give us all things?” I’m so excited about this that I get my mings thixed up and I begin backing talkwards.
Let’s go to a fourth ministry, and this for us is most important because I want you to leave here today filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says it so clearly: “Be filled with the Spirit. Don’t be drunk with wine, which is in excess, but be filled with the Spirit.” And elsewhere it talks about being filled with the Spirit and singing songs of joy, and so forth.
Alright, now we’re going to really talk plainly. I mean I’ve been talking plainly actually, but I want you to leave here today with faith in what the Holy Spirit is going to do through you as a result of what we’re learning together. What comes to mind when you hear about the filling of the Spirit? Peter stands up. He’s filled with the Spirit. There’s so much mystery. Oh, you could never be filled. Not you! Peter? Yeah! One of the Apostles!
There’s no mystery really. The filling of the Spirit! We use that language all the time. We say that he was filled with anger, motivated by or controlled by anger. Or he was filled with jealousy, or he was filled with joy. It has to do with the matter of desire and what is coming as a result of all of that and what is controlling your life, so there’s really no great mystery of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So what we need to do is to recognize here that now we’re talking about the experience of the Spirit. And I am so jealous for you that you get this and experience the Spirit.
Now I don’t know exactly how it all works. I don’t know how it can be that rain can come down. It can water the earth and you have trees that grow and gardens that grow, and then eventually what you have after that is water going back up again. There’s so much here that I don’t understand, and obviously there is mystery connected with the Spirit. But no mystery should keep us away from experiencing His overwhelming blessing.
Now the Bible says this in Galatians. It talks about the fruit of the Spirit, and you probably know this verse, so again we’re not going to ask you to turn to it. But it says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness.” We’re going to look very briefly – just a minute or two – at two of those fruits – the first fruit and then the second fruit of the Spirit. It’s actually not plural. It’s singular. It’s like a tree that grows and all the branches are filled with these blessings.
I have to explain to you that now we’re talking about the fruit of the Spirit. We are not talking just about human ingenuity or ability. And if God finds anything within us, it’s really Christlikeness. If God finds anything within us that is really like Him or like Christ, the only way that can happen is if He Himself implanted that in us. It doesn’t come to us naturally, and that’s exactly what the Holy Spirit does. It implants God in us, and now God begins to show Himself, and show up.
Let’s look at love. Love is universal in all ages, and in all parts of the world – the love of a mother to her child, the love of family. All those things are natural to the entire human race. Okay? But when the Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, that’s a different kind of fruit. That’s not natural. You know, Jesus said, “The people of the world can’t receive the Spirit,” so what kind of fruit is it? How does it differ? Well, first of all, there is the love of God that is implanted within us. People of the world can fear God. They can talk about God. They can write books about God’s attributes, and they can study theology like a surgeon might study disease with a sense of personal attachment. One thing they cannot do is love God, because God implants that love within us. And that’s why I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that people who do not know God could never possibly call Him Father because to them He might be judge or something else, but He is not Father. And Jesus said that the first commandment is to love God, and the only way we can love Him is if that is implanted within our hearts.
It says, regarding Jesus, and this doesn’t happen in any other relationship: “Whom having not seen, you love.” In human relationships you can’t really love somebody you [can’t] see. “Oh,” you say, “I have compassion.” Yeah, but we’re talking about love here. So first of all, it involves the love of God.
Secondly, I believe that it involves expanded sacrificial compassion. Expanded sacrificial compassion! I believe that Christians throughout the world, despite all of our failings, and God knows there sure have been many, have shown that it is Christians who are willing to actually sacrifice for the good of others. You know, you can go around the world and you can find hospitals (mission hospitals) and these hospitals have been built by who? They’ve been built by Christians and staffed by Christians.
A number of years ago I read an article from an atheist in England (I wish I had kept the article. I’m sure it’s probably online.) in which she said she went to a third-world country. And she said, “I am an atheist, but I have to admit this, that the only people who are willing to really sacrifice and help these people are Christians.”
You see, if you are not a Christian, you may give money to charitable causes, but it’s not really affecting you, especially if you are rich. You know, you give millions of dollars that makes the news, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t affect you personally. Christians are willing to sacrifice. If you don’t believe me, go throughout the world. Maybe you can go on the Internet, though not right now thankfully (Please don’t.) and you can see whether or not there is such a thing in this world that in a third world country atheists built a hospital and staffed it. See if you can find that. I don’t think you can. It’s all Christians.
“Oh,” you say, “but I know this Christian. He was so angry and so mean.” In fact, you may be rebelling against him because he may be your father. “He was so angry, so mean, so judgmental. What’s this business of Christians loving?” Alright, a couple of things!
This past week Rebecca and I were with some pastors and one of them shared about a wife of a prominent preacher actually, if I might say that, though he has gone to heaven, who never even had within her the milk of human kindness. And she taught the Bible. So what do you do with that? A couple of things! First of all, despite all that, she may never have believed on Christ. Secondly, though she was mean, you have no idea of how much more mean she would have been if she had not been a Christian. (chuckles) (laughter) But third, and most importantly, just because you have the Spirit does not mean that you are meeting any of the conditions to allow the Holy Spirit of God to break out of your life. That’s why we’re going to talk about that in the next few moments. It isn’t automatic. There are mean, judgmental, angry Christians, and they make Jesus look bad. May their number decrease. So that’s love!
What about joy? Oh the world can have joy. Really? They can have happiness. They can’t have joy though. That’s the fruit of the Spirit – this kind of joy at least. Oh they can have joy. You win the lottery and you have happiness. You’ve got a lot of friends you didn’t know about who are going to be knocking on your door. And you don’t really have joy.
One of the differences you really notice is when you go to a Christian funeral versus non-Christian. I mean, I’ve been at both. The differences! They are just so different. I mean there’s just no joy in the non-Christian context. Well, I should take that back a little bit. Perhaps there have been times. I can’t help but think of the woman who, weeks after her husband’s funeral said, “You know, I’m having such a hard time settling my husband’s estate that sometimes I wish he wouldn’t have died.” (chuckles) Apparently… Actually that’s a lot funnier than many of you perhaps realized. (laughter)
Biblical joy can be had in the midst of struggle, sacrifice, pain or betrayal. I think of Jonathan Edwards who had many enemies. They ran him out of his church, but what his biographer said is this: “His happiness in God was beyond the reach of his enemies.” There is a joy in God that is beyond circumstances, and that is biblical joy. And there are many people who seek that joy, many people who are not joyful Christians, and therefore they are not good witnesses to the Gospel. If you are talking about a cupful of joy many Christians are like a half a cup, trying desperately to spill over, but they can’t spill over because their souls are shriveled and they have no joy.
Well, now the question is, how do we walk in the Spirit? How do we begin to get the benefits of the Spirit? And you may be here today as a teenager, a college student. You need the Holy Spirit because you are a struggling Christian, just like the rest of us. We’re all struggling Christians on this side of the grave.
First of all, I want you to know that the Holy Spirit is not hesitant to fill you so that you can walk in the Spirit. It’s not as if he says, “I don’t want to break out of this person’s life and transform him into the character of Jesus. I’m just not in the mood.” (chuckles) No, my friend, the Holy Spirit is resident that He might be president. That’s the whole point of the Spirit. I can say this – that the Trinity who lives within all believers is eager to show His fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is. You let the Spirit loose and that’s what you get – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
Why then all of this deadness? Why this powerlessness? Where is the Spirit? Let me give you a clue, and then we’re going to talk specifically about how we can receive the Spirit in His fullness (Now He exists within us if you are a believer) so that He can begin to break out of your life into Christlikeness, which is what He wants. I hope you do too. And that is simply this. What we must realize is what is says in Ephesians 4:28 and 30. It says this: “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
The grief of the Spirit! What grieves the Spirit? Well, right in its context… We won’t take time to read it but it’s the end of chapter 4. Right in its context it’s talking about anger, gossip, the spirit of unforgiveness. That’ll quench the Spirit. The Spirit isn’t going to continue to work. He’ll continue to work but it’s not as if He’s going to be seen by others – by your friends, by your family, and in your work place. There’s no way because you are so full of anger. You are being controlled by anger, by unforgiveness, and all those sins. And I’m not going to list any more sins that grieve the Spirit, because they all grieve the Spirit. So the fact is that what we need to do as believers is there is a point of confession.
I’m going to give you three words and, by the way, I went over it quickly, but do you notice that I emphasized the indwelling of the Spirit, which represents the companionship of Christ. We talked about the sealing of the Spirit that indicates the ownership of Christ. We talked about the baptism of the Spirit, the partnership of Christ. And now we talk about the filling of the Spirit, the discipleship of Christ.
You say, “Well, why didn’t you give us those four ‘ships’ and write them down in our bulletin?” There’s a good reason. I didn’t think of them until this morning. (laughter) I had a busy week too.
So what do we do? The first word (and I’m giving you three words) is confession. Sin grieves the Spirit. You are living in perpetual sin. It grieves the Spirit. He’s not going to show Himself in your life. People are going to really look hard and say of your light, “You know, I’m looking for Jesus in your attitude here, but I’m not finding Him anywhere.”
Confession! Confession means that we get rid of all of the guilt because you can’t have joy as long as you have guilt. That’s another reason why the world can’t have joy. As long as your conscience is troubling you and there’s that low-grade guilt, it means that you thoroughly confess as a Christian and lay it all out for God to forgive you and cleanse you so that your heart is clear, your conscience is clear, and now the Holy Spirit says, “Now I can begin to do my work.”
Confession! Related to that we also have submission. If you’re writing it down – submission! “Present your body a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” James, chapter 4 I think it is! “Dearly beloved, submit yourselves to God.” Let me ask you something. Why is it that you and I struggle with submission when we know right well that God knows best? What makes us think that our way is better than God’s, that if we submit, it isn’t going to be for our benefit, because it is. It’s for His glory and for our benefit. It is pride that keeps us bound, saying “My way or the highway! God, you are here to help me on my agenda. I don’t want to submit to your agenda.” It grieves the Spirit.
So you have submission, and then in order that it might rhyme I add another word and that is anticipation. What do I mean by anticipation? I mean faith. Faith! You can’t walk in the fullness of the Spirit if you are going to look at your emotions (aye, aye, aye!). You can’t! You wake up in the morning and you are overwhelmed with anxiety. You are overwhelmed with issues and you’ve got all kinds of things, and you say, “Boy, I sure don’t feel filled with the Spirit today.” No, you don’t, and guess what! You don’t have to if you have faith. “As you receive Christ Jesus, the Lord, so walk ye in Him.”
You go to a bookstore and you buy a two-volume set, and you come home and you only have one volume. You don’t have to go back and pay for the other again. No! You go get it because it’s part of the deal. You receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. You receive redemption. You receive righteousness, which was the message last time. And guess what! The other volume is the fullness of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, who has baptized us, sealed us, and now desires to lead us, control us and guide us. That’s it!
And the Holy Spirit has done all that work, and you and I are fiddling around wondering how in the world this works. So what we do is we do it in faith. Now this isn’t all, as if to say, “Well, you know, here’s another three-step program – confession, submission, anticipation. I realize that that isn’t just as if that’s the formula because, for example, the washing of water through the Word – reading our plan that we talked about today, getting the Word of God in our hearts. “Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you,” Jesus said, and all of that. That becomes a part of discipleship that we’re talking about here, following Christ. So there are the disciplines that kick in here. And it’s coming to church with other believers and connecting together. And we can’t enter into the fullness of the love of Christ, the Bible says, unless our hearts are knit together in love. So all of that is part of it, but basically that’s a part of confession and submission and faith.
So what do you do when you really don’t feel filled with the Spirit? You say, “Father,” as I have done hundreds of times… I may say, “Father, I do not really feel filled with the Spirit today. I’m distracted. This isn’t really my day. I’ve got issues, but by faith, I receive the Spirit in His fullness. I come to drink at the fountain.”
I don’t have to agonize that the Spirit would control me. He wants to do that. Get that settled. “I am going to receive His fullness by faith today. I’m going to trust Him to guide me. I’m going to trust Him to lead me. I’m going to trust Him to be all that I need today. ‘Of Him ye are in Christ Jesus who of God has made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.’ I’m accepting the whole package today for myself.” And lo and behold, as a response to faith, God begins to do His work. You can’t do it without faith.
You know, in Egypt (Can you imagine this? Those pyramids!), when archeologists dug down into the pyramid and they found those monies, they also found that buried with the dead oftentimes there was grain. They took that grain and they planted it and gave it sunshine and water, and it grew. Amazing! For four thousand years there was life in that grain that was held, but it needed water and sunshine to grow. There are believers filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with God Himself. “We will make our abode with Him,” said Jesus. There are believers, and you look at their lives and you are looking for Jesus and you can’t find Him because Jesus said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone, but if it dies it brings forth fruit.”
It begins through confession. You say, “Well, what if I fail God a hundred times a day?” You confess a hundred times a day. You say, “Well surely God has something better for me.” Yes, He does, but if you are at that stage, that’s what you do. If you’re going through a time, you submit to God and then you do it again and again. Ownership of your own life begins to pop up, and you say, “No, this is God’s situation. This is God’s problem.” Predicament! “I give it to you in faith, God.” That’s what submission is. “And I anticipate that in me and through me You will do the miracles that You need to do for Your glory and for Your honor.”
Now here’s what we’re going to do today. It’s a little different than usual. I’m going to pray a prayer and I want everyone here to pray it. It is going to begin with thanking Jesus for redemption and His forgiveness. And if you’ve never trusted Christ as Savior, you can pray this prayer along with us. I invite you to receive Jesus today. You say, “Well, Pastor, I’ve already received Jesus.” Fine! Pray this prayer as an affirmation of your faith.
And then what we’re going to do is we’re going to go through confession. Unfortunately we have to do that quickly in a service because what some of you really need is an hour alone with God to finally let it all get out.
I’m hearing a little twittering throughout the congregation. Could it be that it’s because you are agreeing with me? I hope that you are.
And then what we have to do is to yield, and then by faith, trust the Holy Spirit to begin to lead us. And we do this as often as necessary, every single day, until walking in the Spirit becomes a habit.
You know, D. L. Moody, who founded this church, said, “The reason I have to be filled with the Holy Spirit so often is because I leak.” And I leak. So we come again and again, but we come to drink of the fountain that Jesus promised all those who believed on Him.
Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to pray out loud. I’m going to give it phrase by phrase. Of course, you don’t have to pray if you don’t want to pray this, but I’m saying that most of you are going to want to. And no matter what level of struggle you are at, you are invited to pray. The only Christians that God has are ones that struggle. The others – yeah, they’re in heaven. Their struggle is over.
I’m going to pray a brief prayer and then I’ll tell you when you join me.
Father, I ask in Jesus’ name that for many people this message may be transforming. I pray today that whether it’s through the radio or the Internet, or those watching or those who will listen to this sermon in some way, may they be changed forever because of your blessed Holy Spirit.
And now let us pray together.
Oh Father, thank You for saving me from my sin. I thank You that Jesus died in my place as my substitute. I receive Him as my personal Savior. And now as best I know how I confess my sins. I bring to mind all the issues that have grieved Your Spirit. Help me to confess those sins and forsake them. I cannot do it, Lord. You must help me. And so, Father, now I yield myself to You. I give myself to You, body, soul and spirit. Every closet of my life is open to You. Show me what You see, and grant me the grace to turn it all over to You. I submit to You as my Lord. Every square inch of who I am I submit.
And now, Father, in faith I receive the filling of the Spirit. I thank You that the Holy Spirit dwells within me. I thank You that He baptized me into the Body. I thank You, Father, that He sealed me unto the day of redemption. And now, Father, in faith I receive His fullness for my Christian walk.
I thank You in faith that tomorrow is going to be different than today. I’m going to trust Your Spirit to lead me. I’m going to trust Your Spirit to reproduce in me the life of Christ. And Father, as best I know how, I intend to walk with You until the day of my redemption. In Jesus’ name, Amen.