Summary: Start, finish and continue your life with the Spirit by faith.
On February 10, 2013, a fire broke out in an engine room of the Carnival cruise ship, Triumph. The fire knocked out the ship's power, leaving the vessel drifting in the Gulf of Mexico and more than 4,200 passengers and crew in limbo. The lost power made it impossible to operate the flush toilets, keep cool in the un-shaded waters of the sea, and preserve and cook all the perishable food on board. Passengers reported long lines for food, shortages of fresh water, illnesses, and widespread boredom. Many passengers slept in hallways or outside to escape the odors and heat below decks. CNN dubbed the Triumph “the cruise ship from hell.”
The ship finally ported safely in Mobile, Alabama, four days later (February 14, 2013) at 9:00 P.M. News crews riding in helicopters followed the ship and watched passengers beg for help. The ship's loss of power wasn't just a tragedy for the passengers. Carnival expected to lose hundreds of millions of dollars due to this incident.
Apparently, Carnival learned their lesson. Later that year, in June 2013, Triumph set sail once again, but this time it was outfitted with new emergency power capabilities. Carnival knows that when the power goes out, the party is over. (Susan Candiotti, “Investigators find fire clues aboard crippled Carnival Triumph,” CNN, 2-18-13; Thom Patterson, “Carnival Triumph Returns to Service," CNN, 6-13-13; www.PreachingToday.com)
I think we Christians know that too. When we are not connected to our Power Source, the Holy Spirit, life quickly deteriorates.
So how do we connect to our Power Source and stay connected? How do we plug in to the Spirit of God and keep that vital relationship going until the end? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Galatians 3, Galatians 3, where the Bible asks six pointed questions which give us the answer.
Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? [Literally, Who has given you the evil eye?] It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. (ESV)
Paul says to these Galatian Believers, “I showed you that Christ died for your sins. Christ paid the penalty for every wrong thing you did, but now you are behaving like you’re under a spell. By trying to keep a law to pay for your own sins, you act like somebody gave you the evil eye and erased your brain.”
“Who did this to you?” Paul asks as his first question. “Who has bewitched you?” And then, just in case their minds were actually erased, he asks a second question.
Galatians 3:2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or be hearing with faith. (ESV)
The obvious answer is we received the Holy Spirit by hearing with faith, by hearing the Gospel and believing it, not by trying to keep the law. The moment we trusted Christ, the Holy Spirit came to live within each and every one of us. That’s how we got started in the Christian life. We began with a simple faith in Christ who loved us and died for us.