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.
It’s like getting on an elevator. More than 150 years ago, elevators were little more than open platforms. If the cable broke, they’d come apart and people would be seriously injured. As such, no one dared put an elevator in a building more than six stories high. Then Elisha Otis devised a braking system for the elevator that insured its safety, and Otis elevators have been the industry standard for more than 150 years. His elevator braking system made modern skyscrapers possible.
But initially, Elisha Otis had trouble selling his elevators until he concocted a creative sales pitch at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in Manhattan in 1854. Every hour at the exposition, the World's Fair of its day, Otis stepped into his machine. He gave the order to an assistant who cut the rope. The crowd held its breath. The brake kicked in, the elevator stopped and Otis announced: “All safe, gentlemen. All safe.”
With this demonstration, Otis quickly sold his first three elevators for $300 apiece. Today, New York City alone has about 70,000 elevators, and it's estimated that the equivalent of the world's population travels on an Otis elevator, escalator, or moving walkway every three days. (James Barron, “A Mid-19th-Century Milestone in the Rise of Cities,” The New York Times, 4-3-13; www.PreachingToday.com)
Today, we don’t think anything about stepping onto an elevator; but 150 years ago, it took great faith. It wasn’t enough just to hear about the safety features; someone had to trust the elevator with his life.
In the same way, your life with the Holy Spirit begins when you put your faith in Christ, when you step on to Him, so to speak, and trust Him not to let you fall. It might be a little scary at first, but you quickly discover that you are safe in Him.