Thursday, June 26, 2014

Holy Spirit

Praise God for the Holy Spirit!  We would be powerless without the Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives.  It was the Holy Spirit that enabled those early disciples to go from being fearful to fearless, from denying Jesus to declaring the Gospel, and from being selfish to be selflessly willing to die a martyr’s death. 

This same Holy Spirit is not only available but essential for us today.  Do you have the Holy Spirit in your life?  Are you filled with the Spirit?  Are you hungry to experience as much of Him as He would allow you to?

This blog is designed to give you some basic truth about the Holy Spirit, as well as biblical principles for living in His power each and every day of your life. 

Personally, there is nothing that has made a bigger difference in my Christian life than the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.  You do not want to miss what God has for you.

Prayerfully read this and ask God to personally speak to you.  Allow the Word of God to speak to your spirit and challenge you to experience Him more and more. 

1.    Be sure you have truly received Christ, because it is when you receive Christ that you receive the indwelling of the Spirit.
Stop now and pray to invite Jesus Christ to be the forgiver and leader of your life, if you haven’t done so.  This insures that you have the Holy Spirit living inside of your spirit, thus making you a temple of the Holy Spirit.
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
Rom. 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the flesh but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
1Cor. 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own

2.     Meditate deeply upon who it is that actually lives inside of you. 
This Holy Spirit that indwells you is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.  He is the presence and power of the living God.  He is the third person of the Holy Trinity.  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:  each equal in deity yet distinct in personhood and function.  He is the one who radically transformed the lives of the Apostles, as well as the lives of many down through the ages.  Take a moment to pray and thank God that His Spirit lives in you. 
Mt. 18:19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Eph. 1:18-20  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and 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.
Eph. 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

3.    Realize it is God’s will that you not only be indwelt with the Holy Spirit, but also filled with the Spirit. 
The Holy Spirit came to live inside of you in order to help you, teach you, lead you, guide you, convict you, sanctify you, and fill you. He wants to be a part of every area of your life.  He wants to help you live a life pleasing to God.  You and I cannot live the victorious, fruitful life without the power of the Holy Spirit.  God wants you filled with His Spirit.  Anything He commands you to do is most certainly His will.
Eph. 5:18-20  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Phil. 2:12-13  Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Phil. 4:13  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

4.    It is God’s Spirit who gives us gifts and power to serve Him and bless others.
God wants to pour out His presence through us to touch others for His glory.  The Holy Spirit distributes special spiritual gifts to each believer.  We are to use those gifts to bless others.  Pray and ask God to show you what your gifts are.  Ask Him to give you additional gifts you might need to serve Him to the max!  Have you ever asked for the gift of prophesy (i.e., ability to speak specific words that build others up)? This is the one gift we are all told to earnestly desire!
Heb. 2:4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
1Cor. 12:7  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
1Cor. 14:1  Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.  For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.  But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.

5.    Be careful to analyze your motives and why you wish to be filled. 
One of the primary reasons God fills us with His Spirit is to minister to others.  He empowers us to boldly proclaim the Gospel. The most defining evidence in the book of Acts for being filled with the Spirit is not speaking in tongues, but rather boldly proclaiming the Gospel.  His power is not just for our benefit, but also for the benefit of others.  Our motives in wanting to be filled with His Spirit must include the ability to ministry to others.
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 4:31  After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

6.    Be confident that God is faithful to answer prayers that are in accordance with His will, and it is His will to fill you with His Spirit.
Therefore, ask with confidence for God to fill you each and every day with His Spirit.  1 Jn. 5:14-15  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

7.    Remove anything that might be quenching His Spirit. 
The Bible says to not quench the Holy Spirit. To quench the Spirit is to do something that hinders the Holy Spirit from filling us.  The true Christian is always indwelt with the Spirit, but is not always filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled and empowered by the Spirit. This is why being filed is compared with being drunk (Eph. 5:18).  When one is drunk, he/she is being controlled and empowered and influenced by the alcohol, thus we call it “under the influence.”  In the same say, when one is filled, he/she is under the influence of the Spirit. But if there is sin, laziness, apathy, or fleshly behavior and thoughts, the Spirit is quenched.  Ask God to examine your heart and show you anything that might be quenching His Spirit.  Sin hinders the flow of God’s Spirit.  Confess and repent of whatever He shows you.  Claim the forgiveness offered through Jesus, and pray for God to remove those things and fill you with His Spirit.  In addition, throughout the day, keep short accounts with God about your sin.  Anytime you become aware of sin in your life, immediately confess it to God and ask to be filled afresh with the Spirit. 
1Th. 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
Eph. 4:30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
Psa. 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

8.    Step out in faith to do things that require God’s power. 
The Spirit is most released when we are in situations that require His presence and power.  If we remain in our comfort zone, we often do not depend on God.  It is often on missions’ trips, evangelistic efforts, stepping out to serve and help others, praying for the sick, etc. that we experience God’s power the most.  This is one of the reasons we see repeated fillings of the Spirit in the book of Acts.  Look for ways each day to step out in faith, and in doing so, pray, “Lord, I cannot do this without your power, so please fill me afresh for this situation.” 
Acts 2:4  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 4:8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people …..
Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Jn. 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

9.    Allow weaknesses and struggles to drive you to greater dependence on the Holy Spirit. 
Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” that he begged God to remove, but instead of removing it, God told him that it would be through this weakness that he would actually experience the power of the Holy Spirit.  In the same way, it is often through our feeling weak, that we in turn depend on God and see His supernatural power at work.  Learn to view trials and weaknesses as the means by which we can tap into God’s supernatural power.  Every time you feel weak or inadequate, allow that to be the very signal that drives you to greater dependence on God’s power.
2Cor. 12:7   To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

10. Have others pray over you for the filling of the Spirit and the bestowing of gifts.
Paul told Timothy to guard the gift that was bestowed on him through the laying on of hands.  This may seem odd, but God does seem to honor a prayer that includes the laying on of hands.  So, why not ask some gifted, anointed, godly people to pray over you to be filled in power with God’s Spirit?  You have nothing to lose in doing so.
1 Tim. 4:14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
2 Tim. 1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

11. Ask God throughout the day for the filling of the Holy Spirit. 
As we have stated, the filling of the Spirit is not a one time only event.  It is an ongoing, continuous experience.  In Eph. 5:18 the verb “be filled” is in the continuous, ongoing present tense.  The book of Acts reveals repeated fillings upon the same individuals.  Just as a father is pleased when his children ask for his assistance, so is God pleased when we ask to be repeatedly filled with His Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:1  When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit ….
Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

12. Read about others who have experienced the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Church history is filled with those who saw a dramatic difference in their life when they were filled with the Spirit.  D.L. Moody is a great example.  He preached for years before he was filled with the Spirit.  He said that after being filled he preached the same sermons but they had new power and new results. 

13. Study the book of Acts and note the many times the Holy Spirit is mentioned.
The book of Acts should be called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” instead of the “Acts of the Apostles.”  The only reason the apostles were able to do the incredible things they did was because of the Holy Spirit’s power.  Read the book of Acts and note the many references to the Holy Spirit.  You will see miracles, bold preaching, spontaneous leading, hearing God, holy living, generosity, unity, etc. 

14.  Never get complacent and always seek to go deeper with God.
I heard someone once says, “Until your shadow is healing someone, there is more of God for you to experience.” Therefore, keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking and never get complacent in the Lord.  Go after all of the Spirit that God would enable you to experience.  This is part of the great adventure of being a follower of Jesus.
Acts 5:15-16 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.

Phil. 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,