Summary: Sermon eight in a fourteen sermon series based on the popular Bible study by Henry Blackaby.
We have said that God speaks to His people by His Spirit through His Word, prayer, circumstances, and His church to reveal Himself, His purposes and his ways. Over the next few weeks, we will consider the means through which God speaks to us by His Spirit. Today, we will consider how God speaks to his people through His Word.
In our text, Jesus told these new believers that the key to their truly being his disciples was that they would “hold” to his teaching. If they would do this, he said, then they would know the truth and the truth would set them free - free to experience all that God had in mind for them. Christian freedom - true freedom - isn’t freedom to do and be what I want to do and be, but freedom to do and become all that God wants me to do and become.
What was true for those believers addressed here by our Lord is also true for us today. If we are going to experience all that God has in mind for us as his children, we must “hold” to the teachings of Christ - teachings which are discovered in God’s Word. I must learn to hear what God has to say to me through his Word, so that I might adjust my life to his truth.
Letting God speak to me through His Word involves three things:
1. I must submit to the Spirit of Truth.
Why is this important if I am to hear God speak to me through His Word?
A. Because God’s Word has been inspired by the Spirit.
This is what Peter tells us about the Old Testament -
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
- 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NIV)
This is what Paul tells us about the New Testament -
“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ - but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:9-16 (NIV)
B. Because God’s Word is discerned by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10; 12; 14
“The Spirit shows what is true and will come and guide you into the full truth. The Spirit doesn’t speak on his own. He will tell you only what he has heard from me, and he will let you know what is going to happen. The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you.”
- John 16:13-15 (CEV)
How do I submit to the Spirit?
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.” - Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)
“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].” - 1 John 1:9 (Amplified)
1) Submitting to the Spirit is something I do consciously.
Being filled (controlled) by the Spirit is a command!
2) Submitting to the Spirit is something I do continuously.
My life is either being lived under the control of the Spirit or under the control of sin and self.
Therefore, when I find unconfessed sin in my life, I must choose to confess it, thus renouncing sin and self’s control over me and submitting myself to the control of God’s spirit.