Summary: In our Scripture today, Jesus is talking about being born again and the necessity of the Holy Spirit in your life. Paul was passing through Ephesus and he met these people who claimed to be believers. Well, the test to being a believer according to Jesus
Breathe: Think Sailing
Dr. J. Henry Jowett, an English preacher, was talking to an old salt about sailing a ship and he asked him, "Will you explain to me the phenomenon of the wind?" The seaman replied, "I don’t know what you mean, sir." Jowett persisted, "Well, how do you explain the wind which propels your great ship?" The sailor came back, "I don’t know anything about the wind, but I can hoist a sail." Then he writes, "Just so, the Christian may not be able to explain the movement of the Holy Spirit, but he can experience the Spirit’s power in his own life and ministry." There is probably no better metaphor for life in the Spirit than that of sailing. One is because in the Greek it doesn’t say Holy Spirit but Holy breath or holy wind. The second reason is that when you are living in the Spirit, you have to pay attention to the movement or direction of the wind. Third is the realization that you cannot do it by yourself but rather it takes a team and you have to yield to the wind. That is what life in the Spirit is all about.
In our Scripture today, Jesus is talking about being born again and the necessity of the Holy Spirit in your life. Paul was passing through Ephesus and he met these people who claimed to be believers. Well, the test to being a believer according to Jesus is having the Holy Spirit in your life and the evidence of the power of Jesus in you. So Paul asks them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “we have never heard of anything called the Holy Spirit.” If you don’t have the evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life then you aren’t a follower of Jesus.
If you are going to sail or live life in God to the fullest, then you need several things in your life. Bob Munford tells of a certain Italian harbor that can be reached only by sailing up a narrow channel between dangerous rocks and shoals. Over the years, many ships have wrecked, and navigation was hazardous. To guide the ships safely into port, three lights have been mounted in the harbor on three huge poles. When the three lights are perfectly lined up and seen as one, the ship can safely proceed up the narrow channel. If the pilot sees two or three lights, he knows he’s off course and in danger. Mumford goes on to say that God has also provided three beacons to guide us. The same rules of navigation apply in life – the three lights must be lined up before it is safe for us to proceed. 1. The Word of God 2. The Holy Spirit 3. The circumstances of our life.
If you are going to live life in the Spirit, you have to understand the map. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” What’s the map? The Bible is our map, a guide on the journey of life. The problem is that we too often have treated the Bible as knowledge to be gained and mastered, and most Christians have failed even to do that as Biblical illiteracy rates have skyrocketed in the church. The Bible is not an end in and of itself but rather is a map of the journey of following God. When we fail to see the Bible as this mysterious treasure map, including this incredible journey of the Spirit then we live below the inheritance that God created us to receive and live out. Instead, we need to see the Bible for what it is, a love letter from God written personally to you of God’s wishes, hopes and dreams for the life He created you to live and how to embrace it. So when we come to the Bible, our principle concern should be, “What is God calling me to do? And how can I apply it to my life?” So the Bible acts as a map for our lives.
Second, in sailing and in living with the Holy Spirit, we need to seek the direction of the wind. Sailors are constantly looking for signs of the wind in flags and even the way dust is blowing on the deck of the boat, so they’ll intentionally leave some dust on the boat so they can see how it blows and what direction. They notice how the ripples of water are moving or the direction the clouds are floating. They look at other sailboats in the area. One of the most important things they do is they close their eyes and feel the wind in their face or hear it in their ears until they can discern the direction of the wind. If you want to really do God’s will, you have to seek the direction of the wind. You have to go where the wind is, know how to use it and be in tune with it. You have to train yourself to listen for the Holy Spirit, otherwise you can’t discern and sort out the voices.