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The Holy Spirit and the church

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The Holy Spirit and his work in us Summer Hill Church 12 August 2018 1. How should we expect the Spirit to work in our church? a. What is God doing? i. The most important question we ever ask of our lives after we have become Christian is what is it that God wants me to do I. how does he want me to live our lives II. and it’s a constant prayer that we have - and we’ll sing the prayer at the end of our meeting today a). May the mind of Christ, my Saviour, Live in me from day to day, By His love and power controlling All I do and say. III. it’s a prayer for God to use us the way that he wants to ii. interwoven in that question is what is God doing in our world? I. or even more close to home - what is God doing here in our church a). what does he want our church life to look like i). how does he want to change - because I am sure he does, if for no other reason than I know that we aren’t perfect b). but what does a healthy, or vital church, look like b. what do we look for? i. so what are the marks that we should look for in ourselves to see the work of God I. some christians think it should be miracles, or extraordinary gifts, or hundreds becoming Christian, or amazing music - which I must say I think we already have - but of course I’m not biased. a). how should our church look. What should we be experiencing. What are the marks of a Spirit-filled church? 2. The Essential work of the Spirit i. so what can we expect the Spirit of God to do in our lives? I. what are the things that he does that we can look for our expect ii. we have already seen that the Spirit works in us to produce holiness, and we’ll find that this aspect of what he does is still actually central to his work iii. and that’s all very well, but what is that in reality I. certainly, as we have seen, it means turning from our sin and turning towards Jesus. iv. but what are the practical outworkings of having the Spirit of God? I. he produces fruit in us b. produces fruit i. have Galatians 5 open I. the passage is setting up the inner conflict that we saw last week a). that the Spirit moves in us so that as we are granted new life, the old life still struggles against us i). For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. v17 II. and the sorts of things that the old life produces are obvious Paul says: a). The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. vv19–21 III. each one of these actions are leading us to destruction because they are the fruit of the flesh - of our sinful nature that is in opposition to God/ ii. but the fruit of the Spirit is very different I. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. vv22–23 iii. these are the aspects that spring from the life controlled by the Spirit. I. if we have the Spirit of God dwelling in us, he will produce his fruit iv. But like all fruit, while it will come, it comes not necessarily predictably I. When I was growing up in the West of Sydney, we had a mulberry tree in the back yard a). and I remember getting silkworms and feeding them on the mulberry tree II. and playing in and around it, I even remember setting it on fire once - accidentally of course. a). about the only thing it didn’t seem to do was produce mulberrys. And they are delicious, so every year I would go and look, and every year mum would say to me - one year they’ll come III. And after I had given up on them they did. v. the Spirit brings the fruit - he will definitely bring fruit, but in his own time I. not to order, and certainly not to our plans and wills vi. and it’s significant that the word fruit is singular - we can’t tell that as easily from our English so much - but the singular verb “is” I. but the point is that they come as a unit - it’s not that I can be a self-control person and you can be a gentleness person, and not be concerned about the others. a). the fruit come together, and the Spirit will produce all of them in us. To differing degrees no doubt, so some of us may need to cultivate self-control more than gentleness, but. think all of them are a challenge II. and that’s because they are not natural to us, they aren’t part of who we are from the beginning a). they are things the spirit works in us in the middle of that conflict we saw earlier, III. and unlike the actions of the flesh, which spring from the sinful nature, these are actions that are really things of character, they are attitudes that we put on more and more a). Paul puts it like this in Colossians 3 i). Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:9–10 IV. We take off an old self - like a set of clothes - you wear your new clothes because that’s who you are now. You are a new creature under God a). brought to life by his Spirit V. and being moved to live differently a). but the changed actions spring out of the changed character. c. for godliness i. which is exactly what we saw last week as we looked at the Spirit’s action in our lives I. so it shouldn’t surprise us that what the Spirit is doing is moving us to be GODLY a). and the work is primarily internal i). see Eph 3 א. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16–17 ii. so God uses his riches - to strengthen us inwardly - in our inner being I. our outer being wastes away and is the subject of failure a). but our inner being - our heart and mind is being strengthened iii. and the Spirit is at work so that Christ may make his home there! I. when you move into a new place - you make the touches that reflect your character - that’s what the Spirit is doing. Getting the house to be the way Christ wants it. To be holy. d. to live a life worthy i. and so to live a life worthy of the gospel I. but that change happens inside. ii. that you now want to live God’s way, you want to be more like Christ, you want to please him, even though we are often imperfect and often fail. I. that we feel the guilt and want to change, want to turn show that the Spirit is at work in us a). slowly reshaping us to be more like Christ inside, so that we live more and more like Christ on the outside II. in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. iii. that is the work of the Spirit in every one of us who claim to be Christian. And in doing that work, brings praise to God I. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1Peter 2:12 3. The Determined work of the Spirit i. Now I come to a part of the Bible’s teaching on the HS that is both important but nowhere near as central to what the Spirit is all about as to what we have learnt so far. Determined - as he decides. I. but the issue of gifts of the Spirit needs to be addressed. a). and you may notice that I have placed a ? in brackets after the subtitle in my outline, and let’s see if we can work out why I did that? b. gifts - of the Spirit (?) I. there are three main passages in the NT that we refer to as lists of gifts - in your outline there. ii. 1 Corinthians 12 I. Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 1Corinthians 12:1 iii. Ephesians 4 I. So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, Ephesians 4:11 iv. Romans 12 I. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Romans 12:6 v. So we can see that while the gifts are given by the Spirit in 1Cor 12, gifts don’t come just from the Spirit I. Eph 4 it is Christ who gives the gifts and then in Rom 12, while you have to read a few verses earlier, it is God the Father who gives the gifts. a). it is the Father who gives all gifts i). Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 II. so the gifts - whatever they are - come from God. a). and it’s easy then to focus on the gifts and what exactly they are: c. but what are the gifts? i. and therein lies a great challenge. I. if you sit and read the Scripture carefully it is actually hard to tell what the gifts actually are. a). what precisely is a “word of knowledge” and how is it different from a “prophecy”. II. and today is not the day I am going to answer your questions on this, or even try - because you would be very hard pressed to describe most of the gifts. a). you would not be able to make a “handbook of prophecy” or a textbook of “healings” or a manual of “administration” from the verses we have III. and I think show us that exactly what the gift is not of central importance a). there is a slight exception for this - tongues - normal word for language i). and the only time it is clearly described what is going on as they speak in tongues, it is a recognisable human language (Acts 2:4-6) IV. But if it was important that we know exactly what these gifts are and how to do them, we would be told a). and we have the Bible i). so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2Timothy 3:17 א. so it would equip us for this if we needed it. b). but much more important that what they are exactly (because we’re not told) is why they are given which is quite clear d. and what is their purpose? i. their purpose is to strengthen the church I. the gifts are given, whatever they are, so that we can help each other in our faith together a). Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1Corinthians 12:7 II. God gives us things that are for each other - that is, that are there so that we can love each other. a). We can see it again in 14:12 i). So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church. 1Corinthians 14:12 III. love is the reason that the gifts are given a). and that’s why 1Cor 13 follows 1 Cor 12! i). Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1Corinthians 12:31–13:1 b). no matter what gift we have, no matter how angelic or spiritual it seems, no matter how much we feel that God has given us a special talent, i). if we don’t have love - it’s completely useless. No substance - just useless noise. IV. but because it encourages others in their faith, he says desire prophecy i). Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 1Corinthians 14:1 b). Reminded me again I need to work on this: but I think prophecy is when we make the mind of God known on something i). and we can do that by teaching, or by scriptural encouragement, or by rebuke for someones restoration c). as we talk over morning tea, we may need to remind someone of the gospel that forgives and changes them i). and it’s hard - and it’s challenging, and yet, we should pursue this. א. else we are just small-talking, when we perhaps should be encouraging other to take our Christian walk seriously d). so when we do that, we are building the church - we are growing one another in our life in Christ - together. 4. The work of the Spirit in blessing a. God does bless i. Finally, God does bless us I. blessing is a strange word - but it means more that just to say something nice a). it’s means that God has shown us favour. II. that he has given us some of the good things that we need a). of course there is the general blessing of living in the world that God has created - even, though it has been twisted and corrupted by sin III. yet, even in our amazingly rich and privileged society, even in your and my lives we see things that fall short of even the expectations we have for them a). ways that we could imagine a better life. i). and we wonder where is God in our life IV. and the Bible is very realistic about this. a). people suffer, the apostles all died - some a horrible martyr’s death i). the scriptures don’t try and pretend that we are in a perfect world V. in Romans Paul says a). We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22–23 VI. and it is true, that as he says earlier a). I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 VII. the future glory God has in store for us is just astonishing, and transforms our current experience of life a). but God is also acting now - and blessing now b. gives us every ________blessing i. and he blesses us in all sorts of ways - all of us are very blessed physically, but God doesn’t actually promise us physical or material blessings in this life - in fact, as Christians we should expect to suffer I. but he give us something far greater than material blessings a). Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 II. need to hear that carefully. ii. he has blessed us - where? I. in the heavenly realms - not here in the physical realms - don’t become a Christian and turn into a super-athlete, or become suddenly even more hunky than I am II. and what? every spiritual blessing in Christ a). which ones? Every one of them. Who has them? Us. In Christ. i). if we are in Christ, we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm III. but what are they a). well he spells them out in the next few verses. i). For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. ii). In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— iii). to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. iv). In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace v). that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, vi). he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, vii). to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Ephesians 1:4–10 IV. So just to summarise them a). election - he chose us - he has given us salvation and relationship to him that we never deserved b). adoption - he has brought us into that relationship of firstborn child to him - that means we are his heirs c). grace - and he has lavished on us his grace - his unmerited favour because of nothing we have done d). redemption - brought about by redemption - we have been bought at a price back from our slavery to sin e). forgiveness - and been forgiven for all our rebellion to God i). and this is the great news of the gospel in those three words ii). and if you aren’t a christian yet - this is hear of what Jesus is all about iii). that God, freely in his love, needing no action on our part iv). has rescued us from our sin and judgement. Because God will judge sin, judge rebellion against him v). and offers forgiveness, through Christ’s death on the cross for us. vi). who took our punishment for us. God’s judgement in our place vii). and that is the gospel f). revelation - and he has revealed his plans in Christ for offering salvation to the world - that in Jesus, any who have trust in Christ can be saved g). consummation - and that one day he will bring it all to an end, and bring everything, willing or unwilling, under the rule of Christ. c. because he is a generous God i. all from the amazingly generous hand of our God who loves to give good gifts I. but who is working in our life to produce holiness and godliness a). not comfort or even refreshment II. Christians suffer, and we should actually suffer more than those around us who do not have faith a). not because God is untrustworthy III. but because we suffer, groaning as part of this creation - suffering outwardly as we are inwardly renewed a). but also we suffer because we own the name of Christ i). and if they hate Christ they will hate us too. א. Jesus actually warns us if people speak well of us. b). but if we love Jesus, then the world will not love us IV. but the blessings God gives us of new relationship with him and forgiveness and election and redemption and adoption are far far greater. 5. The work of the Spirit in the church a. What is God doing? i. God is building his church I. he is calling people to himself and creating a holy people a). a people that will be his, and reflect him and his character and nature II. and that’s what the Spirit is at work doing? a). making a group of people who are called out of the world, while staying in the world III. who encourage and strengthen and correct and teach and rebuke and above all love one another ii. God is giving fruit that reflect his character I. that we should all look for in our live and cultivate and pursue and desire and pray for a). love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control b. what do we look for? i. and these are the things that should mark us - that should be the main aspects of our life together I. so consider carefully - how can I love my brother or sister better a). what is it about the gospel that brings me joy in all circumstances that I can share with him or her for their encouragement II. how can I foster a peaceful heart - rather than a hear that fosters bitterness a). and how can I be bear with my fellow-christian even when sometimes they drive me mad. i). there are nine aspects of the fruit - pick one to pray about every day for at least the next nine days - then return and go over and over. b). challenge III. and whatever way you can encourage and strengthen and correct and teach and rebuke and love one another, then do it in for your brother and sisters good. a). do it so they would grow in Christ - so that they would grow up into maturity in Christ IV. that is true love ii. and if you aren’t yet a Christian - then let me remind you of the heart of the gospel I. Jesus Christ, died on the cross, a sinner’s death, taking our judgement a). the judgement that we so fully deserve for our rebellion to God b). and that he didn’t deserve c). simply because he loves you. He loves you so much that he died for you to open the path of forgiveness and friendship with God. II. and you can know that, you can experience that release, that redemption that fresh start today - you just turn to God, ask for forgiveness and trust that he loves you and died for you. LETS PRAY
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