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#3 Walking in the Spirit

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WALKING IN THE SPIRIT

(Foundations Discipleship Series)

Session #3                                                        Westgate Chapel                        

PROPOSITION:  The Christian life can only be lived in and through the indwelling Spirit of God.

i.    introduction

-     IN the first session of this series on the Foundations of the Christian life, we established by God’s Word that the Christian life can only be lived out in intimate interdependent relationships in the body of Christ . . . the local community of faith.

-     IN the second session we established by God’s Word that being saved is not just forgiveness of sin and heaven when you die . . . it is living every day with Jesus as the boss of you, the Lord of all.

-     TODAY I want to lay another foundation stone of the Christian life . . . and it has to do with the third person in the Trinity, or life in and through the Holy Spirit.

-     YOU see, there is an important distinction between “The Christian Faith” and “The Christian Life.”

-     “THE Christian Faith” can be examined as a set of doctrines, principles and precepts . . . and even with a measure of detachment that prevents anything in your life from being touched or changed.

-     “THE Christian Life,” on the other hand, is active, on the move, surrendered day-to-day, in the nitty gritty, living the life of Christ in and by the person of the Holy Spirit.

-     THE Christian life is life in and through the Holy Spirit.

ii.   the holy spirit in jesus’ earthly life

-     GOD has revealed Himself to humankind as an inter-related community of three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

*     God the Father is the foundation and source of creation and the author of our salvation.

*     God the Son is our resurrected Redeemer, our Intercessor and soon coming King.

*     God the Holy Spirit is the Power and Presence of God at work and on the move throughout creation.

-     THE Holy Spirit is not just a force or an influence or a feeling. He is the third person of the godhead.

-     LISTEN to the Bible describe Him.

*     In Romans 8:27 it says that He (the Holy Spirit) “intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”

*     In 1 Corinthians 2:10 it says that He “searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

*     In Ephesians 4:30 it says that He can be “grieved” by our disobedience.

*     In 1 Corinthians 12:11 it says that the Holy Spirit distributes gifts “as He wills.”

-     THESE are all clearly the actions and reactions of the personality of the Holy Spirit and not some impersonal force.

-     THE Hebrew and Greek words used for the person of the Holy Spirit in the Bible are the same words as used for breath or wind….both of which are active, powerful, life-giving and formative.

-     THERE is nothing passive in the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

-     AND He was present and active in the life of Jesus.

-     WHEN Jesus came to earth He was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the work of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20).

-     WHEN Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River the heavens opened above Him and the Holy Spirit descended on Him to empower Jesus’ earthly ministry in human flesh (Matthew 3:16).

-     IN Matthew 4:1 Jesus was “led by the Spirit” into the dessert for a season of testing (Mark 1:12 uses the word, “sent.”)

-     IN Matthew 12:28 Jesus cast out demons “by the Spirit of God.”

-     IN Luke 4:14 Jesus returned from the dessert testing time in the “power of the Spirit.”

-     IN Luke 4:18 Jesus says, “the Spirit of the Lord is on Me” to preach good news to the poor and release the oppressed.

-     PAUL writes in Romans 1:4 that Christ’s resurrection was the Holy Spirit’s declaration with power that Jesus was the Son of God.

-     FROM Jesus’ birth to resurrection the living, active, moving power of God that propelled Jesus here on earth in the will of the Father every day was the person of the Holy Spirit.

-     IF that was the case for Jesus, how much more do we, His followers, not need to be propelled in the will of the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells us?

iii.  The holy spirit in our lives

1.   THE HOLY SPIRIT IN SALVATION

-     JUST like Jesus’ physical birth was the work of the Holy Spirit, so our spiritual new birth is the result of the Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives.

*     Revelation to our spirits concerning Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit (John 14:26).

*     Conviction of sin comes from the Holy Spirit (John 16:8)

*     And then the power of God that gives us saving faith and enables us to act on that saving faith in Jesus, is the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, in John 3:5,

      “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water (natural birth) and the Spirit.”

*     In John 6:63, Jesus said,

      “It is the Spirit who gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing.” (New Living Translation)

*     In 1 Corinthians 6:11, Paul says that we are “washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

 

2.   THE HOLY SPIRIT IN EVERYDAY LIVING

-     THE Holy Spirit is not just active in our salvation and then we are on our own for the rest of our Christian lives.

-     IN fact, some of Paul’s strongest words on the subject are reserved for the Galatian Christians, in Galatians 3:3,

      “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

-     JUST as Jesus was led, moved, anointed, preached and destroyed the works of the devil in the power of the Holy Spirit in His life on earth, so the same Holy Spirit is resident in every Christian to do the works of the Father.

*     The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).

*     The Holy Spirit will reveal to you the mind and will of God for your life (John 16:15). We can understand what God has given us (1 Corinthians 2:12).

*     If you find yourself in a hostile environment, where you have to defend your faith, the Holy Spirit will speak through you (Matthew 10:20).

*     The Holy Spirit can reveal things yet to come to you (John 16:13).

*     The Holy Spirit will lead you to the places (spiritually and physically) God wants you to be (Acts 20:22/Romans 8:14).

*     The Holy Spirit sets you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

*     The Holy Spirit gives life to our bodies (Romans 8:11).

*     The Holy Spirit empowers you to put to death the sins of the flesh (Romans 8:13).

*     The Holy Spirit empowers you to meet the righteous requirements of the law (Romans 8:4).

*     The Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are sons and daughters of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:16).

*     The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26).

*     The Holy Spirit intercedes for us since He knows our hearts and the mind of God (Romans 8:27).

*     The Holy Spirit gives “each one the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)

*     The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

*     The ministry of the Holy Spirit brings the glory of God to bear in our lives in ways more radiant than the shine on Moses’ face after seeing God on the mountain (2 Corinthians 3:8).

*     The Holy Spirit ministers freedom to us (2 Corinthians 3:17).

*     The Holy Spirit ministers transforming power in increasing measure in our lives (2 Corinthians 3:18).

*     The Holy Spirit is a deposit and guarantee of what is to come (2 Corinthians 5:5).

*     The Holy Spirit enables us to pray and worship in intimacy with God, our dear Father (Galatians 4:6).

*     The Holy Spirit produces fruit of His presence and activity in our lives, which are . . .

      “. . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

*     The Holy Spirit will enable you to “pray in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:18).

*     We worship “by the Spirit of God” ( Philippians 3:3).

*     We get the “fire” (zeal, passion) of God by the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

*     We are sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13/1 Peter 1:2).

iv. walking in the holy spirit

-     CAN you see why we need the Holy Spirit in our lives every day of the week, every week of the year?

-     BUT here is the catch: Walking in the Spirit is not an automatic part of the Christian life.

-     I REMEMBER my father saying, “The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.” He will not barge in where He is not acknowledged, recognized or invited.

-     UNFORTUNATELY the Church of Jesus finds itself caught between two extremes on this subject, as usual.

-     ON the one hand, we have the non-Pentecostal Church that includes the Holy Spirit in their creed and liturgy, but has, for all practical purposes, marginalized Him out of their everyday lives.

-     ON the other hand, we have a large percentage of the Pentecostal Church that has elevated the Holy Spirit above the Word, opening the door to what Dr. Steven Land calls “subjectivism and fanaticism.”[1]

-     THIS lack of understanding of and appreciation for the Holy Spirit is what separates the Church of Jesus in our day from the Church in the New Testament.

-     CERTAINLY, the Church in the New Testament was not without flaws, but they lived in daily dependence on the Holy Spirit.

-     THEY believed that the Holy Spirit was God’s empowering presence who enabled them to live out the victory and righteousness and joy and glory of the coming Kingdom of God in their day.

-     THE Church of Jesus is intended to be evidence to the world that the Kingdom of God had come . . . already, but not yet in its fullness.

-     UNTIL Christ returns you and I are living our lives in the tension between the fullness of the Kingdom that is to come and the evidence of that Kingdom God intends His people to demonstrate in a dark and sinful world.

-     THE Holy Spirit is the guarantee and down-payment of that coming Kingdom, present in the Church today.

-     THE Holy Spirit it preparing us for and leading us in procession towards that Day.

-     GORDON Fee says that the Holy Spirit was the empowering presence of God in the early Church that resulted in fruit, witness and gifts.[2]

-     SO, where did we lose this life in the Spirit and how do we get back to walking in the Spirit like the early Church did?

-     FIRST, by returning to a deep fear of God, with the realization that salvation is not a static inevitability with an automatic outcome, but a dynamic relationship empowered and facilitated by the person of the Holy Spirit.[3]

*     It is an unfortunate result of extreme Reformation theology all through the American Church that salvation is taken as a given, whether or not there is evidence of a transformed life.

*     When our theology of salvation concludes that only compromise with the world is possible, then compromise becomes the goal.

-     SECOND, we get back to walking in the Spirit by living our everyday lives in the presence of God.

*     Steven Land says this does not entail certain constant sensations, nor is it a mental exercise.

*     It is the daily, conscious placing of oneself at the disposal of the Holy Spirit as the Source of and direction for life.[4]

*     The means of doing this has to include a regimen of the disciplines of the faith, which are God’s methods for drawing near to Him.

*     Land says that “They are all ways of learning to attend to the Holy Spirit in following Christ.”[5]

-     THIRD, we get back to walking in the Sprit when we recognize that the Holy Spirit is a Person and must be consciously invoked, received and welcomed into our lives on a daily basis.

*     The reason that this must be done daily, says Land, is that “the point of the Christian life is to live out of the Spirit’s fullness and by His direction and not that of the world, the flesh or the devil.”[6]

-     FOURTH, we recognize our need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, which is God’s accelerated program for life in the Spirit.

v. conclusion

-     AS Christians we are called to live the Christian life in righteousness.

-     AS Christians we are called to love God and each other with self-dedicated love.

-     AS Christians we are sent on the mission of the Kingdom of God . . . salt and light in this world.

-     THERE is only one way to do this . . . in the power of the indwelling, baptizing Holy Spirit of God.


----

[1] Steven J. Land, Pentecostal Spirituality (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993), p.40.

[2] Gordon D. Fee, Paul, the Spirit and the People of God (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996), p.vii-ix.

[3] Steven J. Land, Pentecostal Spirituality, p.176.

[4] Ibid., p.177.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., p.203.

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