Sermon:

New Paradigm People: Filled with the Spirit

July 26, 2009 ()

Bible Text: Acts 4:8

Series:

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Eph 5:15-21. We are called to live Instructed by God’s Wisdom. Our life’s character, direction, and daily decisions are to be determined by God’s wisdom, perspective, and will. Sometimes, for those who have come to embrace God’s view of reality, wise decisions will seem foolish to those who have not experienced the paradigm shift. For a world that measures success by how much you possess and consume, pursuing experiences, comforts, ease and upward mobility, the wisdom of God will often seem outlandish. The Gospel Pattern we have in Jesus (Phil 2) is so counter to the world that to live out that vision of reality is often perceived as foolish. 1 Cor 1.18-19 “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” What are you doing in your life that is so in step with the Gospel of Jesus that it appears foolish to the world? We live instructed by God’s wisdom in the daily decisions we make with time and relationships, and how we treat money, possessions, sexuality, our careers. 1 Cor 4.10 “We are fools for Christ’s sake…” Because of Jesus, we have embraced a new prevailing view of reality that does not always translate for people who don’t know him.

Inspired by God’s Spirit. Eph 5:18ff. How do we who have come to believe in Jesus experience the Holy Spirit? *Sealed with the Spirit (Eph 1:13) – receiving the Spirit into our lives as God’s seal so that we are his possession/people. *Filled with the Spirit – used to speak of a special enabling by the Holy Spirit to perform a given task or special purpose. We see the use of this word in Acts when believers were given bold courage to suffer for and speak about Jesus clearly and compellingly (Acts 4:8, 31). It is a moment where God’s Spirit so powerfully lays hold of a person and enables them to love or serve or speak with such compelling force, conviction and effectiveness that things happen.  Filled with the Spirit is used in a different way here in Ephesians. It is a present imperative  designating a continual state that we are commanded to live in; we are responsible to continually be, day by day, moment by moment being filled with/by the Holy Spirit. The word “filled,” signifies to be controlled or influenced. Notice the contrast, do not be under the influence of wine. People can be drunk on all sorts of things that hold sway over our thoughts, attitudes, actions, motivations and life directions. The Holy Spirit is a Person, the 3rd person of the Trinity. To be filled with this person means to be under his influence, direction, control. It means that moment by moment, day by day, we let the HS be the dominant controlling influence of how you think, feel and act. It is a command to be utterly affected by the presence and influence of this Divine Person so that we feel what God feels, desire what God desires, do what God wills, and know with the knowledge that God gives. ***So the way we experience the Holy Spirit is receiving him by faith in Jesus; experiencing his controlling influence over our lives moment by moment so that our thoughts, attitude and actions are in sync with God; and occasionally experiencing him giving us a special capacity for compelling service or suffering or speaking for Jesus. Paul is emphasizing the day by day, moment by moment experience of the Spirit.

What kind of life does this produce?  We saw the same language of Ch 3:19 (filled with the fullness of God). We said: This must be the greatest experience available to us (filled with all the fullness of God); and it will result in our lives looking more and more like Jesus. The fullness of God dwelt in Jesus bodily (Col 2:9). And, Jesus had the fullness of the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). The prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus (Isaiah 11) as the one upon whom the Holy Spirit would rest with wisdom, counsel, knowledge, might and the fear of the Lord. In his incarnation, Jesus relinquished the independent use of his divine attributes and became completely dependent upon the Holy Spirit. He lived fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit, he taught with wisdom and authority that came from the Holy Spirit, he cast out demons by the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit he offered himself on the cross and was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit. All of his life was lived under the influence, inspiration, enablement of the Spirit whom he had without measure. So that he felt, desired, and acted completely in line with God the Father, doing all that was in the Father’s heart for him. So, for us to live controlled by the Spirit in increasing measure in our lives means our lives will begin to look more and more like Jesus in our feelings, desires, motivations, actions, reactions and directions – (responding to the Father as Jesus responded, and loving others as he loved. That is the point of vv19-21; we respond to God and to others as God would have us – praise, thanks to God rooted in joyfulness that comes from the Spirit; and  a mutual investment in the joy of one another).

How do we obey this command? You are responsible to obey this command. Stop ignoring him and start acknowledging him. Jesus told his disciples, John 16.6-7 “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7) Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”… The Spirit’s presence in us is better than Jesus’ physical presence among us. In other words, there is a greater, deeper, fuller experience of God available to us now than even when Jesus walked among us. The Holy Spirit is how we experience God in our daily lives. It is the Spirit who convinces you of the Love of God in Christ, who bears witness with your spirit (convinces your heart) that you are a son or daughter of God, gives you fullness of joy, peace and comfort as he strengthens your faith in the promises of God and empowers you to live a God-ward life. But to experience the Person of the Holy Spirit, you must acknowledge him in your life. Begin your day by acknowledging the Holy Spirit lives in you and that you desire to be mindful and attentive to him as he lives and works in your life. Be completely open to Him. Consult him, ask him to make his presence known more and more in your life in ways that are obvious and life giving. Expect a glorious adventure of being led by a unpredictable God.  

Stop Grieving Him and Start Obeying Him. Eph 4:30. We grieve him when we despise what he prizes and we prize what he prohibits.  When we go after the things that he prohibits, we grieve him and cannot experience being filled by him. When we despise the things that he prizes and don’t pursue those things, he is grieved. He is grieved by our active disobedience and our passive disobedience. Where are you grieving the Spirit? This is why it is important for us to know the Scripture – it reveals what God prizes and what he prohibits. The Spirit leads us with the Scriptures, he inspired them and a life inspired by him is one lived in accordance with his word. Hear it; Read it; Study it; Memorize it; Obey it. If you want to be filled with the Spirit, live under his life giving influence, search your life and see where you have grieved him and stop, repent, line your life up with his revealed will in the Scriptures.

Stop Quenching him and start responding to him. 1Thess 5:19 We quench the Holy Spirit when we resist him in our lives; when we refuse his promptings. Phil 2:13 “God is at work in you both to will and to do…” He is always at work in us, prompting us to a life of Christlikeness – leading us to love, serve, give, pray, speak, rejoice. He is at work stimulating my thoughts, giving me desires and ideas, prompting actions and if I say, “no” or “not now” I am quenching the Spirit and can not be led or controlled by him. Here is the tragedy: When I quench the Spirit, I miss what would have been on the other end of the prompting. I have no idea what I have forfeited by resisting his promptings and leading. Illus: Pamper the Vassars, my first thought, “none of these people knew each other 2.5 years ago and now…what if.” Don’t quench the Spirit. Yield; respond. The abundant life is often in the place I left it when I did not respond to his promptings. Don’t want to manufacture these moments; but my greatest failings are not due to trying to manufacture these moments by presuming upon the Spirit, but due to missing these moments by quenching the Spirit.

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Sermon Speaker:

JR Vassar

Former Lead Pastor, Apostles NYC