Our key to walking in the Spirit
Glad to see everyone here this morning. How many of you did not plan on coming to SS this morning but did? I needed that extra hour this morning—it has just been one of those weeks. I can tell from up here that some of you feel the same way.
One of the things that I look forward to about going to heaven is that I will finally be free from bad days. Would not that be great? I know that right now as a believer in Christ that I have received everything that is necessary for life and godliness, but some days I just do not feel very godly-- you know what I mean?
The other day I was reading about Niagara Falls.* Evidently the volume of water is such that one can actually feel the nine million gallons per minute go over the edge. That low rumbling sound in the distance… that faint subwoofer effect just shaking the ground. Well one morning on March 29, 1848 people near the falls were awakened to a very different sound—complete silence.
They just stopped. After several hours they suddenly began to flow again and all they can tell is that somehow large icebergs from Lake Erie had somehow gotten wedged at the source and just stopped the flow. That is how I feel sometimes… I know I have the life-giving Holy Spirit, but sometimes I just feel jammed up. Like something is just blocking the flow. How about you?
How much of His life is flowing through you? Are you like me and start off well, but something happens during the day that blocks the flow? At the moment, it does not seem like much, but just something really small can start to disconnect me from the source.
I think of it like this garden hose. With all of the force of the water going through this hose all it takes is a simple kink and…it is obstructed. You know what I am talking about…
· That person saw you coming and still pulled out in front of you.
· Your kids tell you about all of the materials they need for their school project… the night before it is due!
· Your wife’s cute little Chihuahua poops at the bottom of the stairs so you punt it over the neighbor’s fence.
· You show up to work late again... and then when your boss asks “why”-- you lie.
· Half-way to school your son informs you that he left his lunch at home… along with one of his little brothers.
· Intending only to have one glass of wine after dinner…you have five.
· You “accidently” fail to properly cite that pithy little quote in your essay.
· You were tired of being lonely and waiting on God’s timing so you began dating an unbeliever… now you are sleeping with them.
· You repent and ask God to forgive you of something you have done… and then you insult Him by refusing to receive His forgiveness, and move beyond it.
When several of these things began to happen over time, they accumulate, the guilt begins to bear down, and you begin to feel cut off from the source. It can be a slow process, but eventually we are no longer walking in the Spirit, but in the flesh. We can continue that way for days, weeks, months, and even years.
The good news is God knows our failures and has made a provision for us. In the Bible, in the seventh chapter of the book of John, Jesus gives us our key to walking in the Spirit.
Here we have Jesus in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles. This was one of the three annual feasts that every male Jew had to attend and it occurred about this time of the year near the end of the harvest – around mid to late October. It lasted for eight full days and was considered the most joyous time of the year. It involved building small structures called booths, or tabernacles, made out palm boughs. During the festival they would sleep in these little booths, offer ceremonial sacrifices, eat lots of food, and basically have a big party. It pointed back to the time in the wilderness when Israel was sustained by God, and commemorated when God dwelt, or “tabernacled” with them. Secondly, the feast recognized God’s bountiful provision throughout the year during their harvest cycles. Finally, the feast anticipated God’s coming kingdom when His spirit would be poured out on the nation, and righteousness would dwell under their long awaited Messiah. He would come in, subdue their enemies, and restore their relationship with God.
During the eight days of the feast and in anticipation of this kingdom, a priest would conduct a ceremony that involved a procession from the temple, carrying a golden vessel, through the streets of Jerusalem down to the Pool of Siloam. He would fill the container with the spring fed water, carry it back to the temple, ascend the bronze altar and pour out the water on the altar as a libation to God. It is here in John 7:37, in anticipation of this kingdom, where we pick up the story (SLIDE 16). (read)
“On the last and most important day of the feast”, probably right after the priest pours the water on the altar, “Jesus stands up and cries ‘If anyone is thirsty let Him come to me and drink!’” Now when Jesus said this everyone knew who He was claiming to be—the long awaited Messiah. Their minds would have instantly went back to the rock in the desert. The one that Moses struck and life-giving water gushed out for the nation to drink.
He is in a sense saying the ceremony is over, the reality is here. If you do not find that fulfilling, come to me. Go to the source because life, true life is found in Jesus.
Let me ask you a question, are you drinking from the source? Some of you are here this morning and you have not trusted Christ to take away you sin, to cleanse you, and to make you right before God. You do not know this life of which we speak. What you have is not life. You are alive physically, but the Bible saiys you are dead spiritually.
Believers, you have come to source in the past, but what about lately? The word translated as “come” means to continually come, again and again—come daily, come immediately. Verse 38 says that …”the one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams, or literally “torrents” of water…”
I remember in school having a water fountain in the boys locker room. It was a horrible water fountain. You come in to the locker room after a grueling practice dying of thirst. You go up to the fountain press the button and it is just a pitiful little trickle. You put your mouth on it and are practically trying to suck what little bit comes out.
For some of you here this morning that may be your life right now. You have been going to that fountain called success trying to get life. You have been going to that fountain called education trying to get life. You have been going up to that fountain called parenthood trying to get life. You have been going up to that fountain called relationships, or drugs, or self-sufficiency trying to get life. You cannot get life from your job, or your education, or drugs. You cannot get life from your marriage, a motorcycle, or even you kids. Life is only found in the source of life.
The rest of the verse says it is “living water flow from deep within.” In the desert of Israel water was life and there were basically only three places to get water.There were wells similar to this one. Also, there were cisterns like this one. They caught rainwater and anything else that wanted to crawl in or fall in. Or, one could have living water—water that was refreshing, plentiful, and clean. This is the water that Jesus gives to all who come.
What is our key to walking in the Spirit? The key is coming to the source again and again and again. Imagine what it would be like get up and start your day with prayer, and then praying all the day through every time something comes up? I challenge you to try that for one week. Every time that car pulls out in front of you-- come to the source immediately. Confess it, ask God’s forgiveness and His strength to see that person from His point of view. Then get going and forget about it. Move on. You are not doing God any favors by holding on to it. The key is to keep short accounts with God.
What is the key to walking in the Spirit? Coming to the source again and again and again.