This summer we are going to be emphasizing corporate prayer for the purpose of asking for God’s direction in seeking the lost. However, before we move on we need to make sure we’ve heard what we need to regarding the Holy Spirit.
As I mentioned at church Friday night, I want to challenge you to use this week to consolidate the teachings of the last two months. I am asking everyone to daily read over the following notes and scriptures and prayerfully consider where God would have you respond most fully. Our lives should have changed in some tangible way in response to at least one of these teachings.
Please come Friday night prepared to share a testimony of what God is teaching you. I am asking everyone to at least be prepared to do so.
Review of Teachings:
1) Promised Presence
The great tragedy of the Fall was that Adam and Eve were driven from God’s presence. But God, through the drama of the Old Testament, promised that one day his presence would be returned to humanity in a final, life-changing way. Paul understood that this happened through the ministry of Jesus and the subsequent giving of the Holy Spirit.
26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.1
(Eze 36:26-27 ESV)
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us– for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”– 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
(Gal 3:13-14 ESV)
-Do you carry a sense of the wonder of the gift of the Presence of God?
-Do you long for more of God’s Presence?
-What is your “one day” that you are holding out for?
2) Risen Lord Baptizer in the Spirit
At Pentecost, Peter told the crowd that because Jesus had been raised from the dead, he had received the Spirit from the Father and poured it out on the apostles. All through the New Testament, the Risen Jesus is depicted as the one who through his sacrificial life and high priestly intercession continues to minister the Spirit to his people.
ESV Luke 3:16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luk 3:16 ESV)
ESV Acts 2:33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, ehe has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. (Act 2:33 ESV)
-Are your heart and mind captured with the King and his Kingdom?
-Is your imagination daily gripped with his reign and the Father’s right hand and eventual return in glory?
-Do you see your daily life in light of that vision?
-What catches your attention and interest more than that?
3) Receiving the Promised Gift
Reception of the gift of the Spirit was the culminating promise of Peter’s sermon at Pentecost. Repentance, baptism, and forgiveness prepare us to receive the Gift. Reception of that gift is an experience of joy, vitality, and freedom in worshiping God and declaring his goodness to others. We should not shy away from asking for that experience.
ESV Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, a”Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Act 2:38 ESV)
ESV Acts 10:47 a”Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Act 10:47 ESV)
ESV Galatians 3:2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? (Gal 3:2 ESV)
-Have you received the Spirit?
-What experiences have you had with the Spirit in the past two months?
-Do you rejoice?
-Do you have joy?
4) Gifts of the Spirit
The Spirit now fills believers and generously distributes gifts to the body of Christ so that she can build herself up for her mission in the world. Diminishment of those gifts in our day is primarily the result of a worldview that increasingly pushes God out of its expectations. In the name of love, we are called to be zealous for all the gifts.
ESV 1 Corinthians 12:31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
(1Co 12:31 ESV)
ESV 1 Corinthians 14:1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.
(1Co 14:1 ESV)
-What gifts do you have? Do you use them for the body?
-What gifts are you pursuing?
-Do you love people?
5) The Fruit of the Spirit
If we will listen to the Spirit in our lives he will daily lead us in becoming more like Christ. We are not called to new rules, but a relationship with Jesus through the indwelling Spirit that produces something no rules or laws ever could; likeness to God in our hearts.
ESV Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
(Gal 5:16 ESV)
ESV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
(Gal 5:22 ESV)
-How do you walk in the Spirit? Could you explain it to someone?
-Have you grown in fruit over these past months?
-What do you turn to when there is pain or boredom?
-Are there any works of the flesh that God is pruning?
6) The Cross & the Spirit
Ultimately, he wants to lead us into a poured-out life. If we will let him, the Spirit will daily set us free from a grasping, self-oriented life, to a life of emptying and humble service for others. In other words, he will lead us into the lifestyle of Christ himself, the Way of our Lord.
ESV Philippians 2:17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
(Phi 2:17 ESV)
ESV Philippians 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
(Phi 3:10 ESV)
-How has the Spirit led you away from grasping, self-preservation, and inwardness?
-For whom are you learning to go out of yourself and lay down your life? How?
-For whom do you demonstrate a deep concern?
7) Power for Witness
Pentecost Sunday, we discussed the power the Holy Spirit gives for witness. The fire ofPentecost transformed a flawed and bewildered bunch of fishermen and send them to the ends of the earth to turn it upside down by declaring the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen one. The Holy Spirit ultimately wants to do the same with us.
ESV Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord bis upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
(Luk 4:18 ESV)
ESV Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Act 1:8 ESV)
-Do you carry a sense of being a missionary?
-Has the Spirit stirred up in your heart a sense of being sent into the world?
-What are you more caught by; affluence and personal peace or an urgency for doing what God is doing?
-Are you expectantly waiting with others to see where the Lord wants to send y’all?
Points Various Leader Stress:
I think what is most important is 1.) have people really been crucified and 2.) did they learn to encounter more of the Holy Spirit in their lives in the past 2 months. If no, why not? I’m concerned that people stay stuck in ruts or concerned with their own lives/trivialities rather than pitch in their lot to carry the church and make disciples.
Looking forward to gathering…
How about a last call on the baptism of the Holy Spirit? “If you don’t speak in tongues but want to…” Because we came to the spirit after all that time on living the crucified life, it seems to be a great opportunity to make sure everyone can benefit by the experience. based on the assumption that that one night that we all prayed, God really came and manifested himself. You might try to tie it all together around that reference point: The gifts are not yours, for others, it’s not about your joy, it’s Jesus glorified, he promised and was faithful, you will suffer, you will manifest fruit.
The things that I have had on my heart is the reality that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God, given for the blessing of others.
I think you did a good job of explaining this, but I think, none-the-less, people want an experience, or something for themselves vs. viewing the gift as a way to serve. As great as I think many people in our church are, I think given our culture, it is difficult to keep people outwardly focused.
The other thing I have carried most significantly is the fact that the Spirit met/meets with people during times with God (prayer, worship, etc), and thus requires work on our part. It has challenged me to try to incorporate prayer or worship in some way into general/casual conversations or visits with people. It seems that those guys in the early church were constantly seeking God together.
Not sure what sermon it was from, but I’ve been thinking about living and walking by the Spirit and not the flesh. I think it is important to keep hammering away at our affluence and american ideals. We are inundated with it, how can it not be a part of us? And instead to embrace a life of the Spirit, living for God and for others. I think many of us relate selfishly to God, and that includes the Spirit, just wanting to spend on ourselves, whether we realize it or not.