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Releasing God’s Power To Change Us
John 7:37-39
Pastor Paul Dawson shared this illustration: While visiting Grand Coulee Dam, my family and I were surprised to see that the visitor’s center was dark.
It was a sunny day, so we thought the center might have tinted windows, but as we got closer we realized there were no lights on.
We went in and saw that none of the displays were working.
Suddenly it became clear: there was no power to the center.
Due to a technical difficulty of some kind, the visitor’s center that sat only hundreds of feet from a hydroelectric dam had no power.
How could something be so close to the power source, yet not be "plugged in"?
This illustrates the way many of us feel even though we’re trying to follow Christ.
By faith we’re connected to the ultimate power source of the universe.
We should be a shining city on a hill, but we’re having trouble just turning the lights on.
We read the Bible and get pumped up when we think about the things God wants to do in us and through us.
We repeat Jesus’ words when he told his followers, “You’ll do greater things than the miracles I’ve done” and we want to believe.
We’re all juiced up to win the world for God, but then our enthusiasm implodes when we see that we’re still struggling with the same stupid habits and hang-ups and sins that have been plaguing us for years.
We want to be world-changers for God, but give up because we seem unable to change ourselves.
We feel like the visitor’s center on top of the dam – disconnected and powerless.
If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ this morning, here’s what God wants you to understand: You’ve got the power.
You’ve just got to let it out.
Because of your faith, you have the power to produce the fruit of the Spirit -- love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – no matter what difficulties you face.
Your life should be so much more than some kind of dry religion.
You’ve got the power to experience an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
You’ve got the power to truly and deeply love other people.
You’ve got the power to be steadfast in your faith and values.
You’ve got the power to share your faith and see other people come to trust in Christ.
You’ve got the power to make disciples of all nations.
You’ve just got to let it out.
That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.
How can we unleash God’s power into our lives?
I’m going to show you how to uncover and tap into the secret agent of change God’s Holy Spirit.
First, you’ve got to get really basic:
\\ 1. Trust Jesus for the power to change.
This is what faith in Jesus Christ brings.
When you trust that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, died for your sins and rose from the grave after three days you know that several things happen.
God forgives all your sin debt and views you from that moment forward as “righteous,” completely right with him.
You meet his perfect standard by faith.
The judgment and wrath that you deserved was deflected and poured out on Jesus.
You have a right relationship with God that will never end.
You’re in his family for all eternity.
God also recreates you on the inside.
You come alive spiritually.
By faith you are a new person.
I’ll let Jesus’ words in John 7:37-39 explain it:
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.
Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
God’s Spirit takes up residence in your heart and that’s where the power is.
The Holy Spirit is the agent of change.
When you come to faith you have everything you need to be the person God created you to be.
2 Peter 1:2-4  says, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
During Superbowl XXXVII, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years.
Looking like the bedraggled Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.
When the lady comes to the door, he explains that he survived five years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her.
She gives a simple, "Thank you."
But he is curious about what is in the package that he has been protecting for years.
He says, "If I may ask, what was in that package after all?"
She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, "Oh, nothing really.
Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds."
Like the contents in that package, the resources for growth and strength are available for every Christian who will take advantage of them.
I’m afraid many of us will feel like the guy in the commercial when we meet God in eternity.
The power for change was within us all along, but we never opened the box.
If you want the power to change it begins with faith in Christ and faith that he indwells you with his Spirit.
One of the ways to do this is to …
\\ 2. Overcome your personal obstacles to the Spirit’s influence.
The way we think, speak and act can actually thwart the Holy Spirit’s influence in our lives.
The Holy Spirit is personal.
You can affect him.
Ephesians 4:30 says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Although he is powerful he will not overwhelm you.
Even as a Christian you have the ability by your freewill to block his influence.
That’s why we’re given warnings like this one in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
One of our obstacles involves our motivation for personal change.
A. Check your motives.
Answer this question for me: What is your motive for wanting change in your life?
Why do you want be more godly and effective in your spiritual life?
Maybe you want to see more fruit in your life.
Perhaps you feel that God will finally approve of you if you can just get it right.
It could be that you want people to approve of you too, even Christian people.
Maybe you’re into self-improvement for greater happiness or fulfillment.
If any of those were your answer, your motivation is wrong.
If your motivation is wrong you will not experience the full power of God’s Spirit.
I have to admit that much of my prayer for change is so that I’ll be a better pastor or preacher.
So that the church will grow.
So that I can be successful.
So that I can get approval from people.
But there is only one legitimate reason we should desire change: To honor Jesus Christ with my life.
If you need religious terminology to understand, it means that your desire for personal change is so that God will be glorified by your life.
This motivation will be empowered.
2 Corinthians 5:9 says, “So we make it our goal to please him [Jesus]”
This is not about going after God’s approval.
By faith he’s already approved you.
It is a response of thanksgiving for what Jesus did for you on the cross.
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