Session 3: Living in the power of the Holy Spirit –  (April 2008)

Romans 8:1 - 14

“In Christ Alone” verse 3:

No guilt in life, no fear in death; this is the power of Christ in me;

No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand

Till He returns or calls me home; here in the POWER of Christ I’ll stand!

This is our 3rd Session of The Word – Andrew in the first session told us all there was to know about ourselves, our fallen state and what, without Christ, we really are like.  He went on to say that in Jesus alone we are saved, God alone came to save us and bring us back to a living relationship with Him.

Session 2 - John spoke of Repentance and listening to that message again this week, he strongly spoke about how we cannot have our feet in both camps and we must live a life of repentance, where Jesus, because of his death on the cross, wipes away every sin, refreshing and renewing us to live new lives for Him.

And this 3rd Session is about how we now continue to live our lives not on our own but with that same power of the risen Lord Jesus living inside us – the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, He leads us to Jesus (in the first place) and he shows us Father God.  The Holy Spirit is an equal part of the Trinity – 3 persons in One, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 This power that brought Jesus back from the dead, has made us ALIVE in God, ALIVE in the Spirit as He (the Spirit) dwells in our lives so that we can live for Him in this evil world.

It is worth reminding ourselves He is the HOLY Spirit – and that we are Temples of the HOLY Spirit from the moment we ask Him to come to live in us - God places Himself, Spirit, Life and Power within us.

 In Colossians 2:6 ‘Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him’.

Two requirements – receive and continue.  We receive Christ by surrender, we give to Him and we take from Him.  We give the one thing we own – ourselves and part of the purpose of giving is so we can receive. 

 The Holy Spirit is a hugely powerful ‘Person’ (an understatement) - working on our behalf, working on our side, working for us and with us.

 John 14:  tells us that the Holy Spirit will –

Be with us forever, Lives in us, Teaches us, reminds us of Jesus’ words (14:26,15:26), convicts us of sin, shows us God’s righteousness, guides us into all truth and brings glory to Jesus Christ. (the list goes on)

 The Holy Spirit came to live in all believers after Pentecost – many people are unaware of His activities BUT to those who believe the Spirit gives power to look at life in a whole new way and to live that life in a whole new way.

 Acts 1:1-8 (v8)   ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’

 The power is given so that we can be witnesses – to what – to the fact that Jesus has risen. That resurrection power proved He was God, saved us from sin and death and meant the Holy Spirit would be poured out on mankind and poured in to dwell in each individual believer – that’s YOU today.  That power enables believers to speak for God – with Wisdom – with plain words that we might not know where they’ve come from - so that Jesus Christ is proclaimed in your front room and throughout the world.  The aim is to bring others to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and for our lives to be changed to become more like Christ –

We might have to pay a price – choices to make - jobs, partners, friends, habits, our journey.  The only affective witness is a life truly changed by faith in Christ – shown by attitude and actions -

The early Christians were not afraid to speak out for the Gospel because they wanted to do what Jesus had told them to do.

They had the Power to be Witnesses -

 Ephesians 5:15-18  

(18) ‘Do not get drunk on new wine, which leads to debauchery but be filled with the Holy Spirit’ (debauchery – over-indulgence in harmful or immoral pleasures).   

Paul contrasts getting drunk with wine, which has a temporary high, with being filled with the Spirit, which produces lasting joy.  In Christ we have a greater joy and longer lasting cure to depression, tension, stress or peer pressure or anything else that drink might be used as a means of escape. 

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is an ongoing thing – we are leaky buckets and like sieves somehow we loose something of the Spirit and need to be filled again and again.  We should not be worried about how much of the Holy Spirit we have, but how much of us the Holy Spirit has!

Submitting ourselves daily to His leading and draw constantly on His power – He will fill us again to supply our needs.

On Thursday morning I was looking at these verses when someone rang me and they fitted perfectly into the situation:

A Dilemma – a youth work position with the church OR an interview for a secular job with young people (what to do?)  Ephesians 5 says for him  1) be careful how you live 2) be wise 3) make the most of every opportunity 4) don’t be foolish, understand what the Lord’s will is AND 5) don’t get drunk on wine BUT be filled with the Holy Spirit

 We don’t always have the answers but we can look to the Holy Spirit to point to the way we should live whilst we are waiting for the answers – to pray, ask others to pray, This friend, will move as the Spirit leads him, he will draw on the wisdom of others and he will trust that God will put him where He wants Him to be.

That’s being filled with the Holy Spirit, drawing on His power, and relying on the Word of God to help us understand. 

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is strongly linked with the Gifts of the Spirit as we read of them in 1 Corinthians 12-14, unfortunately we haven’t time this evening to study those gifts, like tongues, prophecy, etc or those specific things like hospitality, administration, etc, BUT all of them are for the building up of Christ’s Church NOT just for us as individuals. 

These gifts are available today – and I must say that for young people today, living in this culture and society receiving a Gift like that might be very beneficial BUT if you want a gift of the Holy Spirit it comes with great responsibilities.  As Andy Hawthorne said at Soul Survivor – just ask for the Holy Spirit to give you what He wants you to have. 

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is saying……….Spirit of Christ in me, do with me what you will – …….. fill me so that I have the power from you to live for you

Romans 8:1-11 (5b) ‘but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires’.

Paul divides people into two categories – those who let themselves be controlled by their sinful natures, and those who follow the Holy Spirit.  All of us would be in the first category if Jesus hadn’t offered us a way out.  Once we have said ‘yes’ to Jesus, we will want to continue following him, because his way gives us real life – life thru the  Spirit.

(Romans 6:6 - 8 says that our old self has been crucified, we are now alive in Christ and no longer slaves to sin.)

(Ephesians 4:22 - 24 says – put off your old self, be made new in the attitude of your mind)

(Colossians 3:3 - 15 says – your life is now hidden in Christ – put on the new self which is being renewed – others are unaware that the strength by which we live and the power by which we practise our faith are drawn from God)

(John 12:24 - 25 says – except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, we cannot bear much fruit – this means we must let go of our  self-centredness, we must die to self, so that the Spirit can work thru us).

Therefore, if our old nature has been dealt with - we can live according to the Spirit – and are controlled by the Spirit of God instead of our own spirit.

So how does that work?  What does it really mean to be controlled by the Holy Spirit?

A very simple example from my own life this week – I was writing a birthday card to April who has an 11 year old son.  April used to be Ying Ty Lee and came from Hong Kong, she is now a Christian married to a Yorkshire lad and they live in Skipton. 

As I was writing the card I thought of Daniel and thought how he might (or might not) enjoy coming to Camp with us. Then I began to think of all the things that might go wrong – he might not fit in, doesn’t know anyone, etc etc.

Then, prompted by the Holy Spirit, I prayed – I asked God to be in these thoughts and said, ‘Your will be done’.  Amazingly I found an Application Form shoved it in the envelope and sent it to her.

NOW – that means I am now free from worry

            Aware that if he does come – it’s God who’s done it

            And I’ll be looking for the Holy Spirit to be working in Daniel’s life all that week

I believe that was the work of the Holy Spirit in me – that’s being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Lets look at that more closely:

Watchman Nee believes that Living in the Spirit means – I have to trust the Holy Spirit to do what I cannot do myself

When we receive the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it’s not like a miraculous force within us that makes us superhuman – like superman or woman AND it is very different from the natural life I try to live serving God myself.

The TEMPTATION is ALWAYS to do it in our own strength  -  often I have done things that I thought were for God without asking him about it at all, later I just might remember to tag him on at the end and say a prayer – I might even thank Him for what I have done in my own strength. This is the fight with the flesh and the Holy Spirit’s work in us is to aid us so that we will not do the things that ‘naturally’ we would do. 

Wouldn’t it have been better if He had been given control of it at the beginning and then the outcome might have been very different – lost opportunities - God wasn’t even given a say.  If I allow him to be in control, he will speak through me, I will be able to respond with the right response to the right person and the HS is at work in me….…..  

The Holy Spirit has not been poured out on us to prove how great we are, but to prove the greatness of the Son of God.  The Spirit that lives within us is not just an influence, He is a living Person – He is God and we are only a vessel – that carries a great treasure.

When Watchman Nee says living in the Spirit is trusting the Holy Spirit to do what I cannot do myself he means that at every opportunity we must ask Him in to deal with the situation. 

We release the Power to work for us.  We are free of worry or real responsibility because He will do it for us.  Our satisfaction is in seeing His perfect plan carried out…………….we are being changed into new people for Him……an that means that we walk by the Spirit and don’t follow the lusts of the flesh. (lust means here, lust for power over our own lives).

When I am faced with a new demand from the Lord, I look to Him to do in me what He requires of me.

It’s not a case of trying but trusting not of struggling but of resting in Him - the Spirit of God will produce confidence in us that He will do it for us.

There’s the story of the man who was asked to go and visit a friend – but he knew the friend was not very friendly but he trusted the Lord to see him through. He told God before he set out that in himself he would fail, and he asked Him for all that was needed.  Then to his surprise, he did not feel at all irritated, though his friend was not friendly.  On his return he thought over the experience and marvelled that he had kept so calm, and he wondered if he would be just as calm next time.  He was amazed at himself and sought an explanation – this is the explanation – the Holy Spirit carried him through.

This experience should be ours constantly –

Some Issues Here?

So I Do Nothing from now on?…………….

I don’t want anyone to think tonight that being Spirit led means that we are from now on going to do nothing…………………it is most probably the reverse………you will probably do more than ever before BUT being Spirit led, means the Spirit of Christ in you will do it in and thru you – so let go and get on with whatever God has asked you to do.

Changed our characters……………………..

Similarly maybe we thought God was going to change our characters completely – I don’t think so  - He will make our characters more what they were meant to me –  He will develop every part of you to your full potential and you will be completely fulfilled in Him.

 What He will do is:

Change our ‘Attitudes’ our ‘Actions’ our ‘Responses’ as travel on the road that is our life – much the same as everyone else’s –

As we ask the Holy Spirit to be in our lives and fill our lives these things will be more and more controlled by Him.

We might still get it wrong – get to the Cross – Repentance and then ask to be FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AGAIN

The fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians (5:22 - 23) are a by-product of living in the power of the Holy Spirit:  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are the spontaneous work of the Spirit in us, and they are by products of Christ’s control in us – as mentioned before, we don’t know how these are produced, when they are produced in our lives – only through  the Holy Spirit.

To end with tonight  – I would like to say that the Holy Spirit living in me is amazing:

I want to live my life out living this way:

I want to know more of the Spirit of Christ in my life – I want to be willing to give up more of my life to Him over and over.

I want to submit myself to him in all aspects of my life and in every situation.

I want to be a witness for him in this dark world – ‘cause He’s got the answers.

I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily – because I know I am a leaky bucket.

I want to trust this Holy Person living in my life who wants to live His life out through me totally, utterly and completely

Because I believe He died for me and rose again so that I will be with Him in eternity.

 If you feel the same way tonight I think we’re got some time to spend telling God how we feel – share it with someone else, or pray with a leader but do it.