Summary: Living the Christ-like life is humanly impossible but He has given us His very Spirit, empowering us to live the lives He desires!
The Power of the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for anyone to experience a victorious Christian life or fulfill their God-given purpose in life without the direction and empowering of the Holy Spirit. Example: Peter was cowardly and often very ignorant before being filled with the Holy Spirit. After being filled there was a complete transformation (Before: Jn.18:17, 25-27; After: Acts 2: all especially v.41). Many Christians live life in their own power for their own purposes. Many ministries are conducted in the same way. It is vital we allow the Holy Spirit His place. It is impossible to be in tune with God, without the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 2:6-16). A life without the Holy Spirit’s power will be void of God’s Character and power (Gal.5:22 - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control). Who is the Holy Spirit and what does He do? He is not an impersonal force, a mystical feeling, a spooky ghost, a hijacking tyrant or an unbridled lunatic. He is God, part of the Trinity.Verses: 2Cor. 3:3 and 17. He indwells every Christian as a guarantee of their salvation. Verses: 2Cor.5:5, Eph.1:13. He empowers us and directs us, as we allow. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit in their life but not all Christians allow the Holy Spirit to lead them – empowering and directing them. Everything He does is done to glorify Christ (Jn.16:14). Here are a few things the Holy Spirit does: He intercedes for us (Rom.8:26), He convicts us of sin and draws us to Christ (Jn. 16:8), Gives us access to God through spiritual rebirth (Titus 3:5, Jn.3:3-8) and a Spirit of Sonship (Rom.8:15), He sanctifies and renews us (Rom.5:16, Titus 3:5), He encourages, comforts and helps us when we are weak (Jn.14:6, Rom.8:26 - Parakletos - “one who comes along side!”), He guides us (Rom.8:14), He leads us into all Truth (Jn.16:13), He teaches and reminds us (Jn.14:26), He illuminates God’s Word to us (1 Cor.2:12), He enables us to obey God (Ez.36:27, a specific example - Ez.2:1-2), He empowers, energizes and strengthens us (Eph.3:16, Col.1:29), He specifically empowers us to witness (Acts 1:8), He Ministers through us (1 Cor.12:7), He gives each of us different gifts, talents and abilities as He desires (1 Cor.12:11; Obedience is the issue!), How are you supposed to find out where you’re gifted? 1 Tim.4:14 - do not neglect those gifts (Parable of the talents - Mt.25:14-30), He is transforming us, making us more like Jesus (2 Cor.3:18) and He produces God’s fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) in us (Gal.5:22-23). If you’re doing (or trying to do) any of that on your own, you will come up short! Baptized, Indwealt and Filled - what’s the difference? Baptism (A placement into God’s family): Mt.3:11, Mk.1:8, Lk.3:16, Jn.1:33, Acts 1:5, 11:16 - Jesus will Baptize with the Holy Spirit. Observed in 3 places - Acts 2:38- Jerusalem, Acts 8:16 - Samaria, Acts 10:44-47 - Ends of the earth - the Gentiles. Remember Acts 1:8 - But 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. Acts 10:47, 11:17-18 - God proved to the Jewish Believers these were their brothers. Defined in 1 Cor.12:13 - For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.The baptism of the Spirit is the initial placement into God’s family and receiving of the Spirit. Acts 2:38 - Peter even proclaimed, on the day of Pentecost, that from there on anyone simply believing in Christ would receive the Holy Spirit. A pentecost experience was no longer needed - the Holy Spirit would indwell all believers, upon trusting Christ. Baptism of the Spirit = initial receiving and indwelling of = occurs at salvation (Eph.1:13, Jn.7:37-39, Acts.2:38). Indwelling (He lives in you spiritually): Jn.7:37-39 -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. Eph.1:13 - And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 2 Cor.5:5 - Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Filling (His power and direction): Eph.5:18 - Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? To be empowered and directed by Him (Col.1:28-29). To be filled with and abiding in Christ (Jn.15:1-8). To be effective in fulfilling the great commission (Acts 1:8). To be producing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23). To be maturing in Christ, the Word dwelling in you (Co.3:16). Indwelt or filled – what’s the difference? All Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; each must choose to be filled. There is a big difference between being indwelt and filled. Hopefully this analogy will make this difference clear. Being indwelt is like having a spare canister of gas in your car. It presents all the opportunities a full tank of gas does but will not empower or direct the car until it is put in the gas tank. The gas is in the car but not filling and empowering it. Being filled with the Spirit is like taking the gas canister and putting the gas in the tank – becoming empowered. Living in the Spirit is like keeping your tank full. Allowing Him to continually empower and direct you. Many Christians live their lives without the filling (the power and direction) of the Holy Spirit. Carnal Christians are ignorant of God’s love, forgiveness and power. Carnal Christians are satisfied with the mundane, not knowing Spiritual heritage. Carnal Christians are often confused about the Holy Spirit’s filling. Carnal Christians have a lack of faith and doubt the Holy Spirit’s filling. Remember: Your God-given purpose in life is humanly impossible; the entire Christian life (the abundant life) is humanly impossible. The victorious Christian life requires the Holy Spirit. How to be filled (empowered and directed)? Note: The filling is not received through dramatic, emotional events!!! There is no Biblical basis for a personal day of Pentecost. The “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is described, in the Bible, as the baptism of every believer into God’s family the moment of their salvation (1 Cor. 12:13). Being filled with the Holy Spirit is God’s command (Eph.5:18). Ask Him to fill you (Lk.11:13). Believe He will; claim it by faith alone (1Jn.5:14-15). Confess all known sin (1Jn.1:9). Desire His power and direction (Mat.5:6). Surrender control to Christ (Rom.12:1-2). Remember: Every Christian is indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Being filled (empowered and directed) requires that you accept the filling through faith, believe that you are filled (through His grace not your actions), confess all known sin and desire His filling in your life. A way to remember what it takes to be filled is to remember your A.B.C.D’S – Ask, Believe, Confess, Desire and Surrender. Believe the Holy Spirit’s filling through faith, not because of emotion. The Holy Spirit’s filling in the book of Acts. Acts 2:4 - All of them were filled... Acts 4:8 - Peter, filled, witnesses. Acts 4:31 - All were filled, witnessed boldly. Acts 9:17 - Paul was filled. Acts 13:9 - Paul filled, speaks God’s Word boldly. Acts 13:52 - All were filled. These verses specifically mention Peter being filled 4 times, Paul being filled 3 times and all the disciples being filled 3 times. Almost every reference deals specifically with the Great Commission. Walking in the Spirit involves living your daily life being continually filled with the Spirit (Gal.5:25). This is a continual process of keeping Christ on the throne in every situation. Sometimes we will operate in our own strength (sin) and must put Him back on the throne. You must get off the spiritual roller coaster. You can think of this process as spiritual breathing. Inhale: spend time with God, read God’s Word, pray, etc. Exhale: confess all known sin (it isn’t necessary to sin -1Cor.10:13, 1Jn.2:2) but when you do, confess it and He’ll forgive you). Remember: If your physical body only exhales it will die. If you are trying to live the Christian life only exhaling without “inhaling,” your walk with God will become very stagnant. It is vital that the Christian inhale continually and exhale when necessary (if and when you sin). The Holy Spirit’s power is real: Eph.1:19-20 - his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead. Gal.2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Phil.4:13 - I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Col.1:29 - To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. That doesn’t mean you will not have fear! “If faith had a feeling it would probably be fear” - Russ Akins. "Courage isn’t the absence of fear - it is the presence of fear, yet the will to go on"- Samuel Langhorne Clemens - Mark Twain. 2 Cor.5:7 - for we walk by faith, not by sight. Get yourself into a situation where He has to show up or your dead - then watch His power manifest itself. He empowers you to: Live the Christian life, Love others, even when it isn’t easy, Say no to temptation and sin, Forgive others, Share your faith, Have a great marriage and more. To experience the Spirit filled walk, follow four basic principals. Be filled, through faith (accept, believe, confess and desire). Every Christian is indwelt. To be sure you are filled remember you are filled by faith (Eph.5:18) and through God’s promise (1Jn.14:15). Don’t depend on feeling or circumstance. Characteristics of the Spirit filled Christian: Christ is on the throne, living a balanced life, demonstrating Christ’s character in all areas of life, being effective in evangelism and most importantly, exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23 - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control). When do you cease to be filled with the Spirit? When you have an attitude of disbelief and choose (by an act of the will) to go your own way. Be aware of your Spiritual heritage (2Peter 1:3-11). Christ lives in us (Gal.2:20), we are complete in Him (Col.2:9-10), every need is supplied (Phil.4:13), we are joint heirs with Christ (Rom.8:17), we are children of the King (Jn.1:12) and we can do all things through Christ (Phil.4:13). Be prepared for spiritual conflict (2Cor.10:5). Satan hates a Christian walking in the Holy Spirit’s empowering and direction. The Spirit led Christian is in a war (Eph.6:12-end), the battle is not ours but the Lord’s (2Chron.20:14). There are three forces warring against the believer – the world (1Jn.2:15-17), the flesh (Gal.5:16-17) and the devil (1 Peter 5:7-8). Live by faith (Heb. 11). Experience the Spirit filled life through faith – not feeling. When you are walking in the Truth, in faith, proper feelings will result. Seeking an emotional counterfeit will distract you from the Holy Spirit’s empowering and direction. The object of Faith is God and His Word. The Holy Spirit always glorifies Jesus. Thanksgiving demonstrates faith. Remember: Walking in the Spirit is a lifestyle of living continually filled with the Spirit (Christ is on the throne). The Spirit filled life is available to the believer when the believer accepts His filling, through faith. The signs of the Spirit filled life are 1effective evangelism (something ALL Christians are called to do), 2a balanced life, 3demonstarting Christ’s Character in all areas of life (Christ is on the throne) and 4increasingly demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. Walk in the Spirit through faith, not depending on emotions and circumstance. Summary: Your God-given purpose in life and even the Christian walk itself are humanly impossible. Experiencing the victorious Christian life requires that you learn to live with the Holy Spirit’s power and direction. True fulfillment (the abundant life – Jn.10:10), effectiveness and the fruit of the Spirit are only found in the Spirit filled life. Results of the Spirit filled life: Christians living victorious, purposeful and effective lives, Multiplication and maturity in the Body of Christ and A changed world and eternity. Remember: Choose today to quit trying to live the Christian life in your own power. Decide to live with Christ on the throne, through His power and direction. Application Points (start applying this principal now). Discussion Questions: The Holy Spirit fills, empowers and directs you through faith alone as you let Him - Why is it that we so often try to conjure up other types of motivation (feelings, circumstances, etc.) before stepping out in Faith and trust alone? Thinking about the difference this made in Peter’s life and ministry (Before: Jn.18:17, 25-27; After: Acts 2: all especially v.41) how might walking daily in the Spirit effect yours (be specific)? How does Spiritual Breathing differ from living day to day assuming your filled? How will you implement regular “throne checks” and the ABCD’S principal (Accept his filling, Believe He will fill you by faith alone, Confess all known sin, Desire His power and direction, Surrender your will to Him) in your life and ministry?