Sermon Follow Up - Week 48, 2022
TWO GUIDING QUESTIONS DURING THIS SERMON SERIES
Are you growing in the knowledge of God?
Are you growing in loving God and loving people?
“And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”” (Luke 24:49 ESV)
“… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,… (Acts 1:8 ESV)
What does the Spirit do? His works are ineffable (indescribable) in majesty, and innumerable in quantity. How can we even ponder what extends beyond the ages? What did He do before creation began? How great are the graces He showered on creation? What power will He wield in the age to come? He existed; He pre-existed; he co-existed with the Father and the Son before the ages. Even if you can imagine anything beyond the ages, you will discover that the Spirit is even further beyond (St. Basil the Great).
The Holy Spirit empowers believers for the continuing mission of Jesus in our lives, in this church, and in this world today.
1. God’s People are Empowered by the Filling of the Spirit
When Christ ascended, he poured out the Holy Spirit on the church, ushering in a greater experience of God’s presence and power among his people. The Spirit transforms hearts by the miracle of regeneration and indwells all believers in abundant, new covenant measure (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith)
To be filled with the Spirit is to be more fully under his influence, more aware of his presence, and more effective in his service. …The filling of the Spirit brings to God’s people a deeper knowledge of Christ, an increased desire for holiness, a stronger commitment to unity and love, a greater fruitfulness in ministry, and a deeper gratitude for our salvation (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith).
a) Being filled with the Spirit looks like being more fully under His influence.
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18–21 ESV)
Paul envisions a community of people (the church) whose lives are so totally given over to the Spirit that the life and deeds of the Spirit in the Christian are as obvious as the effects of too much wine in one who is drunk. There will be fulness of relational unity and encouragement with one another, a wholehearted worship, deep gratitude to God for everything, and a mutual submission to one another.
b) Being filled with the Spirit looks like being more aware of His presence
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14–19 ESV)
c) Being filled with the Spirit looks like being more effective in his service
- The Spirit empowers us for mutual edification (gifts of the Spirit)
- The Spirit also empowers us, clearly, for evangelistic witness.
All Christians, therefore, must continually seek to be filled with the Spirit by living and praying in such a way that invites the Spirit’s work among us, actively longing for God to accomplish his gracious purposes in us and through us (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith).
“. . . the Spirit’s major role in Paul’s view of things lies with his being the absolutely essential constituent of the whole of Christian life, from beginning to end. The Spirit thus empowers ethical life in all of its dimensions—personal, corporate, and in the world. Believers in Christ, who for Paul are “Spirit people” first and foremost, are variously described as living by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and sowing to the Spirit. . . . the Spirit conforms the believer into the likeness of Christ to the glory of God. The Spirit is therefore the empowering presence of God for living the life of God in the present” (Gordon Fee).
2. God’s People are Empowered by the Gifts of the Spirit.
Christ loves the church, his body, and provides for its health and growth through the Holy Spirit. In addition to giving new life, the Spirit sovereignly bestows gifts on every believer. Spiritual gifts are those abilities and expressions of God’s power given by his grace for the glory of Christ and the building up of the church. The variety of these gifts—some permanent and some occasional, some more natural and some more remarkable—reflects the diversity of the members of Christ’s body and demonstrates our need for one another. The gifts are not to be exercised with apprehension, pride, or disorder, but with faith, love, and order, and always in submission to the authority of Scripture as the final revelation of God. With the exception of those among the apostles who were commissioned as eyewitnesses of Christ and made recipients of normative revelation, the full range of spiritual gifts remain at work in the church and are given for the good of the church and its witness to the world. We are therefore to earnestly desire and practice them until Christ returns (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith).
“We do not believe that supernatural gifts represent the most important issue facing the church today, but we do believe that they point us to a nonnegotiable, crucial issue: They call us to dependence on God’s Spirit in our ministry to others. We do not believe that those who exercise particular spiritual gifts are more “spiritual” than others, but we affirm that all spiritual gifts should rightly belong to the entire body of Christ today” (Craig Keener).
The gifts are not to be exercised with apprehension, pride, or disorder, but with faith, love, and order, and always in submission to the authority of Scripture as the final revelation of God. With the exception of those among the apostles who were commissioned as eyewitnesses of Christ and made recipients of normative revelation, the full range of spiritual gifts remain at work in the church and are given for the good of the church and its witness to the world. We are therefore to earnestly desire and practice them until Christ returns (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith).
- May we be sure that our understanding of and study of the Spirit, our pneumatology, isn’t merely a theological tenet but an experienced reality that is pursued in faith. May we not be of the generation that Paul speaks of to Timothy when he speaks of people “…having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5 ESV)
- May we increase our expectations for the work of the Spirit both at conversion and the ongoing work of the Spirit in both broad, wonderful ways, and specific seemingly unbelievable ways.
- May we not be among those who confine our expectations of the Spirit’s work to just the spectacular gifts and dramatic experiences. Yes, we earnestly want those for the glory of God, for the mission we’re on, for the upbuilding of the local church, and for our own personal joy, but we must be equally aware of the wonderful breadth of the Spirit’s work in the church.
- May we be among those who believe the Bible to be true as it speaks of the ongoing, empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit. May we position ourselves in humility under the word of God.
- May we be consciously aware of the Spirit’s leading. Oftentimes we would perhaps relegate the Spirit’s imminent leading in our lives as just a thought, or a feeling, when in fact we’ve been praying for the Spirit to lead us and guide us and he is doing just that. May we give thanks for the empowering the Spirit does give us daily and anticipate that the Lord will be true to his promises of empowerment for all of life.
- May there be more time spent in prayer and quiet waiting on the Lord. This is hard, but I believe this is one primary application for each of us today.
- What is one or two areas (in the six above) that you might believe the Spirit is prompting you to consider and move on this week?
- Listen to one of the messages in the recommended resources and consider what the Spirit is saying to you. Possibly something to begin believing, adjust your thinking/praying, or something to grow in.
- SOVEREIGN GRACE CHURCHES STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Empowering Ministry of the Holy Spirit
- Sermon - Our Continuationist Pneumatology
- Sermon - Our Continuationist Pneumatology - Concerning Prophecy and Tongues
SONG TO ENCOURAGE
Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God
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