The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, 14 February 2021

The Holy Spirit
Series—40 Days of Prayer with The Alliance
Romans 8:1-6

Series Big Idea: We are beginning—and spending—the year on our knees seeking God’s direction, protection, passion, and unity.

Big Idea: We can live our lives according to the flesh or the Holy Spirit.

Have you experienced God’s love and life-giving Holy Spirit?

Although 40 Days of Prayer officially ended Thursday—we missed a sermon due to Home Missions Sunday—I couldn’t skip the Holy Spirit. After all, the Holy Spirit is the most underrated, mysterious, and misunderstood Member of the Trinity. We serve one God who exists in three Persons…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We sing songs about God the Father. There are countless hymns written about Jesus. But try to find one about the Holy Spirit. The closest hymn in our repertoire I could find is the one we sang…Holy, Holy, Holy.

The Holy Spirit is a Person, not a force or a ghost, though some use the expression Holy Ghost.

Most of us have some idea of God the Father who sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth about 2000 years ago to teach, heal, serve, die, and rise from the dead. Jesus literally separates history for us. The Old Testament is the Jewish Bible describing creation until the prophets. The New Testament begins with four gospels—or good news—about the life of Jesus. As the video said, the Holy Spirit is present in both Testaments, but in the second chapter of Acts, the Holy Spirit was unleashed upon multiple believers in multiple places. No longer was God confined to the temple or the Person of Jesus. God moved from a building to the hearts of men, women, and children.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you get the Holy Spirit, too!

When I was a kid, I wanted my mom to buy what we called “sugar cereals” at the grocery store. What was your favorite? Mine was Apple Jacks. As much as I enjoyed the sweet goodness of those little circles, there was usually another reason I wanted them. The prize at the bottom! Often that was better than the cereal!

I know it’s a stretch, but just as some people ignore the prize while consuming the cereal, so some are so focused on Jesus, they ignore the Holy Spirit.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you get the Holy Spirit, too!

We’ve been looking at Acts 1:8 the past two weeks where Jesus tells his disciples,

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 1:8)

The Holy Spirit arrives in the second chapter of Acts in dramatic fashion.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4)

If you read on, this was not the heavenly language that some speak, but known languages. Imagine if suddenly we all started speaking French, Spanish, Mandarin, and Arabic in a room full of people from all over the world. It was a miraculous moment Jesus predicted about 40 days prior.

What was even more surprising to the first Christians—who were mostly Jewish—was the Holy Spirit coming upon Gentiles. Let me say it one more time:
If you are a follower of Jesus, you get the Holy Spirit, too!

There’s no way we can say everything about the Holy Spirit in thirty minutes, but I want to look at a passage in the letter written to the church in Rome. Paul is talking about the tension between good and evil, God’s law and our sinful nature. He begins chapter eight with a staggering statement.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8:1)

If you are a follower of Jesus, you are no longer declared guilty of your sins. Jesus paid it all!

because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

O how I love Jesus/O how I love Jesus/O how I love Jesus/Because He first loved me!

I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. But Jesus is perfect and He died for us on the cross.

The Jewish religion was all about following the law of Moses. Sure, doing so was good for the individuals and the community, but it was impossible to get it all right. The Jews had to slaughter animals and make sacrifices to atone for their sins, to make amends. I’m so glad our gatherings don’t require a butcher!

Only Jesus lived a sinless life, which is also why he was uniquely qualified to die in our place and satisfy the wrath of God we deserve for our mistakes and failures. He is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4)

Each day—each moment—we make choices. We’ve been given freedom by God to do good or evil, to follow Him or follow the lust, the flesh, the world, our own selfish desired. Have you ever felt the tension? Paul certainly did! In the previous chapter, he talked about the struggle, the battle, the war raging within him and within us. It’s a war we sometimes win and sometimes lose, but Jesus will ultimately be the Victor. Hallelujah!

What causes you to choose the right thing? Why do you mess up sometimes? How can we do better? It’s not by trying harder, but rather it’s by letting go and letting God. It’s about surrender to the Holy Spirit. It’s about confessing your sins and inviting the Holy Spirit to take control. The late Bill Bright called this
spiritual breathing. We exhale and admit our sins and failures and we inhale, welcoming the Holy Spirit into our lives.

Religion and rules and regulations condemn us every time we make a mistake, but we have freedom and forgiveness when we live according to the Holy Spirit, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to a church in modern-day Turkey,

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)

We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The word “filled” is not a one-time thing, but the Greek word implies a continual activity, just like breathing. It’s a daily, hourly, constant activity. We are to do life with the Holy Spirit, influenced with the Spirit like a drunk is influenced by alcohol. I love that one of the results of being filled with the Spirit is an overflow of music, of worship, of thanksgiving.

Have you ever met someone obsessed with social media? They spend hours on their screens, posting and commenting. They live for it!

Others are consumed by sports. They wake up early, workout, practice, and devote their lives to making the team, earning a medal, or winning the championship.

Tragically, many are controlled by their addictions, whether it’s alcohol or drugs or porn or food or work or whatever rules their life. By the way, if that’s you,
Celebrate Recovery meets Wednesdays at 7 PM in the Fellowship Hall. But it’s not just for addicts. Anyone who is dealing with grief, loss, depression, hurts, habits, or hangups of any kind is welcome. We could all benefit from it…and I have!

What if your life was truly led by God? Imagine if you
wanted to do what’s right? What if prayer, love, praise, and studying the Bible came naturally to you? I can’t promise a quick fix, but when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, when we’re surrendered to the Holy Spirit, our lives begin to change. Day by day, we become more like Jesus, a process called sanctification.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5)

Where’s your mind? Who are living for, or where’s your focus?

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

It’s your choice! Death or life and peace?

How do you know if someone is governed by the flesh?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

What’s the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit? Paul mentioned peace. He repeats it again to the church in Galatia, also in modern day Turkey.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 (Galatians 5:22-23)

Here’s the key.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:24-25)

We need to be filled with the Spirit, to live by the Spirit. We can feed our soul with the flesh or the Spirit.

What are you consuming…on social media? Music? Television?

Are your friends following Jesus or the world? You are your friends…choose wisely.

We can live our lives according to the flesh or the Holy Spirit. Which will you choose?

You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.

You can watch this video and others at the First Alliance Church Video Library

The Holy Spirit, John 14:15-31, 26 MAy 2013

Big Idea: Jesus loved us enough to leave…in order to usher in the Holy Spirit


What is the greatest thing you’ve ever waited for?

- spouse
  • job

Chicago Cubs fans have been waiting for them to win the World Series since 1908!

Was it worth it?

Last week in Jesus’ farewell to His disciples, He said it’s good that He leaves because He’s going to prepare a place for them. He’s getting the house ready but He’ll return.

In today’s passage as we continue our series on the Gospel of John, Jesus continues His farewell address to His eleven disciples in the Upper Room.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to a loved one, but it’s easier if we know they are returning for a purpose...and that they will return.

Jesus is telling His friends that He is leaving, He is leaving for a noble purpose, He will die, AND He will return.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. (14:15)

We don’t usually command people to obey, except, perhaps, a parent to a child. This word “command” could be translated, “to watch carefully or attend to; training the eyes.” We will be attentive to Jesus’ commands if we love Him.

If you love Me, you’ll care about what I have to say and you’ll listen to my instructions. If you love Me, attend to my teachings.

Actions speak louder than words.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (16-17)

The Greek word translated “Counselor” in the NIV,
parakleton, might best be conveyed as “advocate,” someone like a defense attorney. “Para” means alongside and “kletos” is to call. The paraclete will come alongside and help in your defense.

Notice the Father will give “another” Counselor or advocate. The Father sent Jesus, and He will send the Holy Spirit.

Because of the Holy Spirit, we are better off today than the disciples. We have 24/7 access to God through the Holy Spirit. Last week we noted we will do greater things.

The Greeks used the same word for truth and reality. Usually it conveyed reality. Jesus is offering us a Spirit of reality, access to things that are most real. We live in a world of illusions and delusions.

For example, we believe we are entitled to at least seventy or eighty years of healthy living on this planet. Anything less and we are robbed. This is an illusion because every day is a gift we receive. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Jesus says, “I will introduce you to reality.”

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (18-21)

I cannot imagine being an orphan. The pain of being alone in the world must be excruciating. Jesus says He will return.

What does Jesus mean when He says, “I will come to you? It could refer to one of three things.

- second coming
- the Holy Spirit
- most likely the resurrection on Easter

We are containing the divine. This is a radical reality.

Paul will write that we are “in Christ.”

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” (22)

J. Vernon McGee notes Judas is the first missionary. His concern is for the world. Is yours?

Back in John 1:10, we saw Jesus in the that He made, yet the world didn’t know Him.

John 3:16 says God so loved the world.

Much of the world does not love God today.

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (23-24)

This is pretty straightforward.

Now Jesus gives a sneak preview of Pentecost Sunday, which was actually last Sunday on the Christian calendar. The second chapter of the book of Acts will record the moment in which the Holy Spirit is activated on earth. Jesus says,

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (25-27)

Verse 25 was long a source of Church history, some believing the Father sent the Spirit and others saying the Father and the Son sent the Spirit (Nicene Creed).

Notice the Spirit will help John and the others remember what Jesus said and they will write it down!

Jesus’ legacy to His followers was Peace; Shalom. This is not a temporary, earthly peace but a divine peace with God (Romans 5:1) that cannot be disrupted.

The passage concludes with Jesus saying…

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

Jesus knows satan is coming.


“Come now; let us leave.

Go...with the Word of the Father, the truth of the Holy Spirit, and the peace of God.

It’s almost time for us to leave, too!

As we await Your return, LORD Jesus, may the power of the Holy Spirit be alive in our lives. Fill us, Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name, amen.

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