LET’S PUT THE HOLY SPIRIT BACK ON OUR AGENDA.
This is my last official message to the King’s Church BW because next week I’ll be handing over the reins, pastoral responsibility, to Matt and you’ll be praying out Liz and I to do mission work in Spain.
Last week I introduced a subject that I believe is probably the most important message for us all today, about putting the Holy Spirit back on our agenda. I gave a biblical background on the subject which will bless you if listen. I made the point that, in both the OT and NT, the Holy Spirit is indispensable in God’s work and God’s people, to help us be both effective and blessed.
Today I will look at another view of the essential role of the Holy Spirit and conclude with some practical applications. We going to look at Abraham - who is called the Father of the Faith.
Our roots – Pioneer - Prototype
Abraham is our father – father of the faithful, the ‘father of us all’ Rom 4:16.
As Christians, we are individually connected or associated with Abraham.
We are his descendants. We are family. Children of promise. Heirs of Abraham.
Gal 3:9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Gal 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, + heirs according to the promise.
Gal 3:8 “God announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." Imagine! Being a blessing to the nations is part of Gospel! We are caught up in Abraham’s calling, his blessing, his purpose – we are heirs of this!
And all those who are in Christ, in the seed of Abraham , have access to all the promises God gave him! He is the prototype and he was given promises that are relevant to us. Lets take a look
So we do well to study him
Gen 12:2-3. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. What a great promise! - to carry the blessing of God, to be used in the purpose of God, to dispense the blessing of God.
This is the primary prophetic promise in the Bible- everything based on this. But this promise didn’t happen automatically. Something else had to happen. About 10 years later, Gen 15 “believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness……” Then about another 10 years went by and in Gen 17, something else happened. v1 first. Then “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” And something else happened.
A’s name changed. The meaning of the name “Abraham” is given by God Himself, as “father of many nations” and he was promised to become fruitful.
There’s an extra syllable in Abraham, h-a, ‘ha’ in English. In Hebrew a single letter, “h”, is inserted in the middle Abram. The letter is called in Hebrew “heh”— it produced by breath¬ing gently in the throat. Thus the letter “h” is essentially the “breath” letter. The insertion of this letter into Abraham’s name speaks of the coming of the breath, or the Spirit of Almighty God, right into the very midst of Abraham’s being.
It’s reminiscent of John 20:22 where the risen Christ breathes on his disciples and says “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Or on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2:2, it says “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind” as if God was breathing from heaven into those 120 disciples. The HS is the breath of God.
Abraham’s story is an example to us! He was Abe called, converted, consecrated + filled HS!
Not only have we been ‘justified by faith’ as he was, but Paul says we also received the promise of Abraham and the blessing of Abraham, which is the Holy Spirit, like he did! He says, Gal 3:14 “so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” So, Abraham was uniquely blessed by the HS and walked in this blessing all his life, as an example to us. He was a forerunner of you and I.
Let’s leave Abraham for a moment and look at some children of Abe that were heirs like us.
He is the power behind all the children of Abraham in the OT. All who were used of God OT
Sampson - the strongest man in the OT– Jud 14:6 S of Lord came upon him
Moses - the greatest leader in the OT– Dt 34:9-12 Filled with S of wisdom, LoHds!
Joshua - the greatest leader after Moses - Because Moses laid hands on him …
Solomon - the wisest man in the OT - Kings 3:12 (implied) God given wisdom
Joseph - was the purest person in the OT– Gen 41:38 one in whom is the spirit of God
And when we come into the NT it’s the same story:
The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! Preach
Acts 4:31 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 6:3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them. deacons
Acts 6:5 They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit;
Acts 7:55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. All the principal people and all principal acts initiated by HS
Now the HS is unleashed to all. The windows of heaven were opened and Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled – pour out the Spirit on all people.
The N.T. mentions the Holy Spirit 264 times
60 or more references in the gospels
59 times in the book of Acts. (which is why some call it "The Acts of The Holy Spirit")
In 36 of those appearances he is speaking, giving directions and guidance. He clearly in charge!
Not just for apostles – also for all believers - Letters: refer to the Holy Spirit 132 times
Only 3 epistles make no mention of the Spirit (Postcards! Philemon, 2 & 3 John)
NT references to HS
Live according to the Spirit, have your mind controlled by the Spirit, by the Spirit put to death the misdeeds of the body, be filled with the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, gets sanctified by the Spirit, power of the Spirit, love of the Spirit, revelation by the Spirit, taught by the Spirit, the Spirit lives in us, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, manifestations of the Spirit, gifts of the Holy Spirit, praying in the Spirit, singing in the Spirit, the freedom of the Spirit, keep in step with the Spirit, please the Spirit, unity of the Spirit, don’t grieve the Holy Spirit, love in the Spirit, renewal by the Spirit, sharing in the Holy Spirit, having fellowship with the Holy Spirit, recognising the Spirit, hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He is involved in everything! Get into this. HS is available, accessible, now!
This is our heritage and inheritance, - Not by might or by power. Have ‘H-a’I n centre of lives
The story is told of a farmer who worked his small farm his entire life, tilling the rocky soil year after year. Happy! At his death, the farm was passed down to his son who continued ploughing the ground — but one day the son found a gold-streaked nugget in the soil, began digging. The land was full of gold and he instantly became a wealthy man. Yet that wealth was lost on his father, even though it was on the land his whole life. So it is with the Holy Spirit. Many of us live in ignorance of what we have, unaware of the power that resides in us. Some Christians live their entire lives thinking they have everything, just saved, even BITS, but they are not living in His fulness and power. Not currently filled with HS., Being filled with the Holy Spirit, being led by HS
There is so much more that he wants to do in our lives. And I believe we have to change that! Put the HS back on the agenda! Some practical benefits: Not all those ‘big’ issues like gifts and power..
1. He will improve your devotional life – your relationship with God
In the heart of every believer there is a desire to come closer to God, to know him better, to have a deeper fellowship with him and to become sensitive to his voice. We all want to do that. This desire is written in our DNA. It’s a God-given desire. Most of us can look back on times of deep fellowship with God, times when we were acutely aware that He was with us + He was for us. There were those times when nothing was too much trouble, nothing was too great a sacrifice, we would give our right arm to remain in the atmosphere of His presence and His love, or to please Him. We were so grateful for the grace of all He had done and for knowing the glory of all He was.
But as times’ gone by, as our lives became filled with busyness, anxieties, responsibilities and challenges we have found it easy to slide away from this high ground. And it’s the Holy Spirit who is the one who can bring us back to that closeness and intimacy that we once enjoyed. It’s the Holy Spirit who can sustain a deep relationship with God.
Eph 1:17-19 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
John 15:26 the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
2 Cor 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Rom 8:14-17 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
The Puritan, Thomas Goodwin compared this experience to that of a toddler son when his father swoops him up into his arms, spins him around, and tells him, “You are my son and I love you!” In that moment, the boy has become no more his father’s son, legally speaking, than he was the moment before. But being caught up in his father’s arms he feels his sonship more intimately. When God’s Spirit fills us, he sheds abroad God’s love in our heart, making our spirit rise up to say, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 5:5, 8:15).
2. He will make you more Christ-like.
This is another issue which is common to all Christians. We have come to so admire Jesus that we want to be like Him. In fact, it was His beautiful character that first attracted me to the Christian faith. His love overwhelmed me, His kindness and compassion melted me, His faithfulness and commitment left me in awe, His sacrificial life astonished me. Everything is extraordinary about Jesus. I admired Jesus so much that I wanted to follow him.
I’m not talking about his miracles, they are another issue; but I wanted to be like Christ. Still do! He has provided a facility that all of us can become more Christ-like. It’s by the fruit of the Spirit.
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Doesn’t that describe Jesus Christ?
Wouldn’t you want more of these things in your life? Even if you cannot imagine these things improving your life, God has in mind to improve your character and make you more like His Son. Who doesn’t want to be a nicer person? Who doesn’t want to overcome their weaknesses, quirks and foibles? Who doesn’t want to reflect something of the nature of the Saviour and attract people to him through their Christ-likeness?
3. Then there’s the issue of overcoming our sinful traits and temptations
Here’s one we can all relate to. Is there anyone here who would like to confess that there is no shadow of darkness in them? No besetting sins, nothing they’re embarrassed about, no temptations they are struggling with? Of course not!
But how do we manage to overcome these traits and temptations. Well it’s quite simple really!
Gal 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Gal 5:25 live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Rom 8:4 live … according to the Spirit.
Rom 8:5 have (your) minds set on what the Spirit desires.
4. Many other things
Worship and witnessing, gifts and graces, guidance and gladness, peace and power, freedom and fruit - everything comes from the Father, because of the Son, by the Spirit.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, British pastor of a previous generation, said,Those who have received the Holy Spirit are aware of a power dealing with them and working in them. A disturbance, something, someone interfering in our lives. We are going along, and suddenly we are arrested and pulled up, and we find ourselves different. That is the beginning; that is what always happens when the Holy Ghost begins to work in a human being. There is a disturbance, an interruption to the normal ordinary tenor of life. There is something different, an awareness of being dealt with—I cannot put it better; that is the essence of the Holy Spirit dealing with us. (Life in Christ: Studies in 1 John, 386)
How we actually do this. How do we walk in the Spirit, live by the Spirit? How do we get to see the Holy Spirit active in our lives? What will it mean to me, in my life? What do I do?
1. Meditate on what God has said in the Scriptures.
..Were inspired by the Spirit, men wrote them ‘moved by the Sp.’ When we read them we get illumination by the Spirit. Quickened by the Spirit. They are the Old and New Testaments. Read them like they are last will and testament of Jesus he has left us, His beneficiaries. Jesus said in Jn 6:63, The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Remember “All the promises of God are Yes and Amen through J.
It’s like the farmers son, going into the fields, digging over the turf to see what treasures he can find!
2. Believe what you hear and see in the word.
In Galatians 3:5 Paul asked, “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” So, the Holy Spirit is supplied to us and works powerfully in us as we hear the word with faith — as we believe it.
Believing, or having faith, goes along with being filled with the Spirit
Stephen was described as a man “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). Barnabas was “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24). This coupling of faith and Spirit are not coincidental. And Galatians 3:14 says that we “receive the promised Spirit through faith.” So, as we meditate on the word of God, faith comes by that word (Romans 10:17), and by this faith we experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. So we seek him by meditation on the word and believing. All things are poss…
3. Hold fast in obedience to what you have heard and believed.
Gen 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.
There has to be some response on our part. Don’t go down the Calvinistic route on this one. God looks for a heart response from us that requires a corresponding lifestyle.
Ps 24:3-4 Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
He gives the HS to those who obey him Acts 5:32
In conclusion: For those who love Christ and keep his word, there is a special intimacy of love given by the Father. And the Father and the Son draw close with unusual fullness and sweetness. And they do so by the Spirit. If anyone keeps God’s word — holds fast to it as a treasure, in obedience — he will not quench the Spirit, or grieve the Spirit, but will know the fullness and sweetness of fellowship with the Father and the Son by the Spirit.
Desire - “‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. . . .’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive” (John 7:37, 39). Thirst for him.