Summary: In this sermon, the following doctrine is discussed: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the filling of the Holy Spirit, and the grieving of the Holy Spirit.
The Power of the Spirit
Life in the Spirit, Part 3
There was a mental hospital that devised a very unusual test to determine whether their patients were ready to go back into the real world. They took the mental patients who looked like they were making progress into a room where they had a water faucet that was turned on, and water was draining onto the floor. They handed the patient a mop, and the patient was told to clean the floor. The essence of the test was to see how long it would take the patient to turn off the water faucet, as to indicate whether they understood the source of the problem. You can imagine what it would be like to be one of those patients who perpetually mopped the floor, but who never turned of the tap. They never got around to solving their dilemma—all they did was mop all day long.
Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are like those mental patients. They spend years trying to mop up the junk in their life, not understanding that they have to turn off the tap. It really doesn’t matter how hard you mop, how hard you mop, how much help you get to help you mop. If you don’t get around to turning off the source of your problem to begin with, you can spend the rest of your life mopping.
A lot of us have things in our lives that don’t belong there. We know it, and we spend a lot of time trying to mop it up. We spend money trying to fix it. We go to counseling and seek professional help to get it fixed, we talk to friends to get it fixed, we take medication to get it fixed, but like the patients in the mental hospital, it just gets messier and messier.
One of the great failures of the Christian life for all of us is not understanding the source of our dilemma and the power to overcome it. Each of us has a problem. The problem is how to deal with ongoing evil that we can’t seem to get rid of. No matter how hard you try, evil keeps on jumping up; even when you don’t want it, it jumps up. If you boiled all of our problems down, it results that people are innately sinful. Any problem in our world you can tie back to that fact, that men are evil.
Even redeemed people have problems. They are on the way to heaven, but sometimes only they know it. Because for some reason, we can’t seem to beat this problem, this bad habit, this sin pattern. This is not a new
problem. Paul struggled with the same thing. Look at how Paul describes his own struggle in Romans 7:
I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?
Romans 7:15, 18-19, 22-24
I want to talk to you about the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Indwelling of the Spirit
The Importance of the Spirit’s Power is seen in the fact that you and I are trapped in what Paul calls ‘this life that is dominated by sin’. We are trapped, and you don’t get un-trapped until we die, and the body of sin goes into the grave. Our bodies full of sin is unfixable. There are no repair shops you can go to fix this body of sin. The reason why that is because each of us has a sin principle that has infiltrated our bodies.
Now, this is very important because this sin principle starts with you—not with your neighbor. We’ve gotten into the habit of blaming somebody else for our’ body of sin.’ “Well, if they didn’t do that to me, I wouldn’t have responded this way.” No, you need to understand ‘They didn’t make you do anything’; you’re
‘body of sin’ did its thing. Bu there is Good News! Romans 7:25:
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.