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We value the empowering work of the Holy Spirit

SCF Values  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:48
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We value the empowering work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. We encourage the filling (baptism) of the Spirit, the gifts, and the fruit of the Spirit as well as the leading and empowering of the Spirit for a life of ministry that glorifies God. We encourage people to pray in the Spirit either in their own language or the language that the Spirit gives.

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Our Preaching theme for 2022 is “Begin Again”
We begin this year by taking a look at the values that guide our vision.
If you want to know about our vision and values at SCF, they are on our website, in our membership information and I have made some extra copies which are available in the back.
We began with worship, the Word and the sanctifying work of the Spirit.
Then we talked about the Kingdom of God - God’s rule over creation and over the earth that is being reasserted by His people, first Israel and then the Church.
Now we are going to go back and talk about the Holy Spirit again, except this time and the divine empowerment and the driving force at work in God’s people, empowering them to do their mission.
There is a literary feature in ancient literature that occurs often in the Bible called a chiasm.
It is a pattern which builds up to a central focal element and then repeats the pattern leading up to the climax in reverse, making a mirror image of the first part.
We talked about this last year in our study of Daniel, because the first six chapters of Daniel are a chiasm.
If you have ever read the book of Exodus, you may have wondered why Moses goes up the mountain before and after the ten commandments.
No - it wasn’t because he smashed them.
It is the way the story is written with the mountaintop experience being mirrored on either side of the ten commandments which is the focal point of the book.
In the class that I took two weeks ago, we examined a similar pattern in the first three chapters of the gospel of Mark with the verse on new wineskins being at the center and then concluding with the story of Jesus’ mother and brothers attempting to visit him.
Well, I inadvertently created a chiasm in our values statement.
It begins with worship (the overflow of our hearts toward God) and ends with generosity (the overflow of our lives toward others.
Then we have the Word of God which is our objective source of revelation and opposite that we have fellowship which is the context for working out and living out that revelation.
At the center we have the Kingdom of God, which belongs at the center because it is our focal point at the people of God who are tasked with establishing His rule in the world.
And on either side of that we have the Holy Spirit who is the means by which we accomplish this task.
Did the writers of scripture cleverly devise all of these elements or is it evidence of another writer, the Holy Spirit, working through them.
I can tell you that I certainly didn’t know that there was a pattern to what I was doing - I was just listening to our leadership group and listening to the Spirit and this is the result.
When we live by the Spirit, we expect supernatural things to happen!
We expect God to do more working through us than we could do on our own.
This is because we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
We value the empowering work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. We encourage the filling (baptism) of the Spirit, the gifts, and the fruit of the Spirit as well as the leading and empowering of the Spirit for a life of ministry that glorifies God. We encourage people to pray in the Spirit either in their own language or the language that the Spirit gives.
We are going to take a quick tour through what the Bible has to say on this subject.
Each of these sub-points could easily be a whole sermon or a sermon series.
But I want us to see just how much the Holy Spirit wants to take us above and beyond what we could do ourselves.
And then we want to pray for impartation and receiving more of the Holy Spirit.

The filling of the Holy Spirit

Joel 2:28–29 ESV
28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would come upon special people at special times in a special way to accomplish some great thing for God.
But the prophet Joel spoke of a time when the Holy Spirit would come on everyone , regardless of age, social class or gender.
And the Holy Spirit would be given without limit - a literal pouring out to overflowing.

The Holy Spirit indwells God’s people.

I don’t have time to read all of the scriptures pertaining to each point - that would take an entire sermon.
My favorite text to preach from on the Holy Spirit is John chapters 14-16, where Jesus is in the upper room with His disciples and tells them about the Holy Spirit that He is going to send.
The Holy Spirit is just like Jesus except He is in them and therefore always with them.
The point that I want you to hear is that the Holy Spirit is not in just a few “anointed” people.
The Holy Spirit is in every believer to one degree or another.
People who are “baptized in the Holy Spirit” do not have the Holy Spirit whereas other believer don’t.
None of us would know Christ apart from the Holy Spirit.
The language of “baptism in or with the Spirit” implies opening one’s self for more of the Holy Spirit - that literal outpouring that was prophesied by Joel.
Is it a second work of grace - yes, and much more besides!
Why stop with a second filling?
We need to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit!
And continually allowing the Spirit to expand our capacity for more.
The more we are filled with the Spirit, the more we understand that this filling has a purpose.
Luke 4:18–21 ESV
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

The Holy Spirit liberates God’s people.

Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah about the anointing of the Holy Spirit and claimed to be the fulfillment of this anointing.
But this anointing also has a purpose.
It is to liberate God's people from bondage to sin, satan and systems of oppression.
The way to get free from bondage to an oppressor is to bind yourself to someone stronger.
When you belong to Jesus the powers of darkness can’t hold you.
Even the demonic can’t keep you from calling on Jesus.
It can only hide, and operate to the degree that you allow it.
As we grow in Christ and receive more of the Holy Spirit, His Presence comes in conflict with those areas of our life which are oppressed.
You either have to limit the influence of the Holy Spirit in your life by hardening your heart,
or the Holy Spirit will cause those areas of your heart that have been in bondage to lies to be exposed.
Yes, we can pray for deliverance in the Power of the Holy Spirit,
but I have also seen people delivered by virtue of being filled with more of Jesus and the Holy Spirit so that other things just go.
It is also the work of the Holy Spirit to help us to recognize what is of God and what is not of God.
We already talked about the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification.
Sometimes that sanctification is a power encounter with the Holy Spirit where the things that once bound us clash with the power of God moving in our lives.
If that describes your experience, then just know that you can help things along by opening yourself to more of the Holy Spirit and telling those other voices to “go in Jesus’ name!”
I’m speaking mostly about freedom from personal oppression, but the same principle of inviting the Holy Spirit’s influence can be applied to the church, the community or the larger society.
So how do we get more of the Holy Spirit? Where does it come from?
John 4:13–15 ESV
13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

The Holy Spirit revitalizes God’s people.

The Holy Spirit comes from within, like a spring of water coming up from the ground.
We are drinking in Jesus.
We are inviting Jesus to be our source of life.
We are confessing Jesus as Lord - the rightful ruler of our lives.
And the Holy Spirit flows from the Presence of God within us.
The life of God is like a fountain springing up from within us.
People go looking for so many things that they think will satisfy them or bring fulfilment to their life - like they are empty on the inside and need something from the outside to fill them.
The Holy Spirit fills us from the inside as a never-ending stream.
Jesus is the source of life and gives us everything that we need to live life to the fullest.
I’m not just talking about joy and peace, but also creativity, skill and the ability to do whatever we do in a way that glorifies God.
In case you think I’m exaggerating...
The first person in the Bible who was said to be filled with the Spirit was Bezalel, son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. (Ex. 31:3)
Exodus 31:3 ESV
3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship,
So what did God anoint him to do?
He was anointed with the gift of craftsmanship to build the tabernacle and all it’s furnishings.
That’s right, he was anointed to do his job of working with his hands.
We often over-spiritualize the work of the Holy Spirit
by making it for a few instead of the many
by making it it something we do in church instead of something we do everyday.
by making it something mysteriously unattainable, whereas the Bible makes the Holy Spirit very practical.
Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to His followers to finish what He started.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is power; but that power operates through people.
As we look at the power of the Holy Spirit, take special note of the purpose of the power.
What does the Holy Spirit empower God’s people to do?
Acts 2:1–4 ESV
1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
OK, great story; but what is the purpose?
Jesus said in the previous chapter that the power is so that they will be His witnesses.
Acts 1:8 ESV
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to witness.

Do you think that Jesus would entrust his disciples with His mission and not give them any help? Of course not!
But how often do we try to do God’s work (sharing the gospel, teaching Sunday School or just serving the community) and forget that this is a God-empowered activity.
If you could do it in your own strength, you wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit helps us to do above and beyond what we could do on our own.
And that is also how the Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus.
You can’t do what God asks you do do except by the Holy Spirit.
You can’t think of what to say, but the Holy Spirit in you can.
You cant forgive, but the Holy Spirit in you can.
You can’t stop the work of the enemy, but the Holy Spirit in you can.
You can’t comfort the broken, heal the sick or bring peace in the midst of strife, but the Holy Spirit in you can.
You can’t do miracles, but the Holy Spirit in you can.
We don’t even know how to pray, but the Holy Spirit does.

The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to pray.

1 Corinthians 14:13–19 (ESV)
13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. ....18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Praying in tongues is often associated with the Holy Spirit to the point that some say it is the evidence of the Holy Spirit.
We would say that it is one possible evidence of the Holy Spirit, but there are many different things that the Holy Spirit does, any of which could act as evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life.
What I really want to know is how far back do you have to look to find some evidence of the Holy Spirit working through you?
What this passage on tongues teaches me is that I need the Holy Spirit’s help to pray or to speak in a way that is constructive.
Think about it; when you start to pray, where is the first place that you mind goes?
To the problem, of course!
Have you ever been in a prayer meeting where people are praying their problems? You walk out of their more discouraged than when you came in!
When I led a prayer meeting, I like to remind people that we want to be praying God-inspired prayers.
We wait on the Holy Spirit to even know how to pray.
You can do that in English or you can simply pray the words that the Holy Spirit gives you even if you don’t understand them.
Praying in tongues is a good way to pray without your mind getting in the way.
Paul was a big fan of this practice.
But when it comes to praying in a group or praying in the church, at some point you need to switch over to a language that people understand so that they will be encouraged.
So whether you are praying in English or in tongues, the idea is to let the Spirit show you how to pray so that you are aligning yourself with what God wants to say and to do.

The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to live transformed lives.

Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
We know this scripture as the “fruit of the Spirit”
However, we often teach this passage as a kind of moralism - “do these things” if you want to be a good Christian.
However, the point of calling them “fruit of the Spirit” is to say that these characteristics are a natural result of a life that is transformed by the Holy Spirit.
You shouldn’t have to work at them.
What you should work at is “abiding in the vine.”
Work at being aware of the Holy Spirit’s Presence.
Work at yielding yourself to what the Holy Spirit wants to do in and through you.
Work at opening yourself to more of the Holy Spirit.
The fruit grows naturally.
And in that sense the fruit is a better “evidence” of the Holy Spirit because fruit resembles its source.
If you see apples, you know that it is an apple tree because an apple tree will not produce oranges.
Fruit also contains a seed, that is to say it is capable of reproducing after its kind.
The power of the Spirit to witness for Jesus is not just in miracle, signs and wonders - it is also in the fruit of the Spirit.
When people see a life transformed by the Holy Spirit it gives them hope that the same thing can happen in them.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is depicted in scripture as handing out gifts, special abilities to each person that are individually suited to the way God made each of us to be.
We are going to look at three passages each containing a list of gifts.
Each of these lists has different gifts because they are for a different purpose.
Here again, we are going though this very quickly, perhaps another time we can take time to go through one at a time, so you can understand the individual gifts and identify your own gifts?

The Holy Spirit gives us the power to serve.

Romans 12:6–8 ESV
6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
The gifts listed in Romans are called the motivational gifts.
These gifts often indicate natural abilities that are enhanced by the Spirit’s power.
In other words, the Holy Spirit can amplify an aspect of your personality or human ability to a level where God can use you in a supernaturally extraordinary way.
I think Bezalel probably knew a thing or two about carpentry before the Holy Spirit came on him and empowered him to do a project that was well beyond his natural ability.
Sometimes we miss what the Holy Spirit is doing because we think, “oh, that was just me.”
Maybe it was you, but with the Holy Spirit’s help, you may also surprise yourself at what you can do!

The Holy Spirit demonstrates God’s power through us.

1 Corinthians 12:1–11 (ESV)
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. ...7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
The Corinthians list is the manifestation gifts, and these are the ones that we hear about the most.
The consist of revelation, power and perception.
These are like super-powers that the Holy Spirit gives us to be able to do awesome things for God.
One way of looking at this is that we each have our super-power and that we all need to work together, like in the movies, to beat the bad guys and save the world!
Or there is another school of thought that says the Holy Spirit can give you whatever you need for the moment.
In other words, anyone can have any gift when they need it.
I think both are true.
Certainly the Holy Spirit can do what He wants, whenever He wants.
But I also think that we tend to get comfortable with or confident in one or more gifts to the point where we might say, “this is my gift.”
The only thing I want to say about that is: don’ limit yourself to what you think are your gifts.
Just as we want more of the Holy Spirit, we want to be open to more of what God wants to give in the way of gifts.

The Holy Spirit multiplies God’s power among us.

Ephesians 4:11–13 ESV
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
The Ephesians list is called either the ministry gifts or the leadership gifts. (Five-fold ministry or leadership)
These gifts are explicitly for equipping the church.
In other words, these gifts are for the purpose of helping other people to discover who they are in Christ, their role and the gifts that God has given to them.
Does everyone have these gifts?
Just like the motivational gifts, to the extent that each of these gifts is an amplification of our personality, I think each of us incline toward one or more.
Functioning in these gifts though, is a matter of practice and maturity.
When the Holy Spirit is using you to impact the lives of others, that’s when the church says, “we want to recognize that you are called and release you in this gift so that you will be even more empowered by our blessing.”
That’s when the gift becomes an office, we are charged with the responsibility to do what we have been gifted by God to do.
The five-fold ministry is charged with the task of impartation - multiplying the power of the Holy Spirit by raising up and releasing people in their gifts.
Not only that, the Holy Spirit has traditionally been passed on through contact.
People who are filled with the Holy Spirit lay their hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit.
Can you receive the Holy Spirit without having hands laid on you? I think I have heard a few examples of that.
But normally this is the way it is done.
If you would like more of the Holy Spirit this morning, please come forward and I would ask the leadership of the church to come and lay hand on these to pray for them.
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