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Sunday, 22 July 2018

'THE HOLY SPIRIT'

Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor in the Ottawa area for the last 28 years
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PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - 

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018:
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The Holy Spirit
     
            Good morning Welcome to good news in the morning. I am so glad that you have tuned into the program today. My name is Brent Russett. I have been a pastor in Ottawa for 28 years. One of the things I love to do is show how God’s word that was written a long time ago, connects with our world right now.

            I know that some of you who are listening have been followers of Jesus for a long time, and I know that others of you think of yourself as spiritual, but you are not really sure of this Christian thing, and I know others of you just curious how people of faith think. I trust that wherever you are on yours spiritual journey, that you will find this program interesting and informative, and I believe that for those of you desire it, God can use a program like this to take you another step closer to Him.

This program is kept on the air by many faithful donors. I want to thank this morning’s program sponsor Bruce Newman. Bruce would like to give a shout out to Jericho Road Christian Ministries as a local registered charity, for their outstanding service to the community.” Jericho road is a great ministry in our area that works to see people’s lives changed. Thanks Bruce and thanks Jericho Road.

            This morning I want to talk to you about the Holy Spirit. Christians believe in the triune God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We believe they are there yet one. And I am going to let that mystery be for today. But if you are a Christian and want to understand you faith, you need to know who the God you believe in is. If you are not a Christian but are interested in understanding the Christian faith then you need the same.

            Let me take you to acts 2. It is about 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus, just the week before had ascended into heaven. Now we read,

Acts 2:1–4 (NIV)
 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.

            You may remember the story. Peter stands up and preaches to the crowd and 3000 people give their lives to Jesus. Pentecost marks the birth of the church. Pentecost marks a change of how God would deal with his people. For the most part, in the Old Testament, God was with his people but not in his people Now there were a number of people, usually Kings or Prophets, where the Bible records that they were filled with the Spirit. But for the most part God was just with his people,


            After Pentecost God, by his Holy Spirit was in his people. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the definition of being a Christian, a Christ follower, a believer now – A true Christian is one in whom Jesus lives by his Spirit. You will sometime hear Christians talk about Jesus coming into their life. This is what they mean by that.

            If you are a Christian, Christ lives in you by his Spirit. If the Spirit of God is not in you, you do not belong to Christ. The way the Spirit of God comes into your life is by faith. When you pray a prayer like, Jesus I give you my life, come into my life, forgive me of my sin, I want to follow you. – if you pray a prayer like that in believing that God will do what you are asking, the Spirit of God does come into you life.

            But just because the Spirit is in our life does not mean that we know him all that well.

            The Holy Spirit is the least known member of the trinity. We get God the Father, All powerful, All knowing, Everywhere present, and full of love. We get God the Son. Jesus. We see how he demonstrated who God is. We see his love and his sacrifice for us on the cross. But we don’t really get the Holy Spirit.

            He is the third member of the trinity. But after that things seem to get a little confusing. So this morning I want to talk about the Holy Spirit. I want to do that for a number of reasons. I want you to know this wonderful third person of the trinity. But more that that, He is really important to your Christian walk. In fact he is the member of the trinity that you are in touch with most regularly, but you are probably unaware of it.

            It is the Spirit of God, who applies what Jesus did on the cross to your life. He is the one who puts the life of Christ in you. He is the one who transforms you into the image of Christ. He is the one who empowers you to live a new life. He is the one who speaks to you both through the word of God, and in your spirit.

            Although he is the one who we are in touch with the most, He is the one we know the least
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            Whenever we talk about God, we need to use metaphors because God is totally other than what he has created. God is so far beyond our imagination that we use comparisons to what we know to help us understand what we don’t know.

            When the Bible talks about the Holy Spirit, it uses metaphors, that give us insight to what the Spirit does, but it can sometimes confuse us as to who the Spirit is.  So in the passage we read, the believers were all filled with the Spirit. In that metaphor, it sounds like He is a liquid filling a cup. We hear in Scripture about the Spirit moving in power. It sort of conjures up visions of the force in Star Wars. We hear the Spirit described as a fire, and in the passage that we read, it describes tongues of fire that came to rest on everyone in the room. With these kind of metaphors you kind of get the idea that the Holy Spirit is a powerful, untamed, wild force in our lives.

            But the first thing you know need to know about the Spirit of God, despite all those metaphors, is that He is a person. Just like the other members of the Godhead are persons. Persons, not in the sense that they are human, but they think, they have unique personalities, they relate and are relatable.

            Come with me to John 15:26–27 (NIV)
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. (Notice the personal pronouns)

John 16:8–15 (NIV)
8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” 

            Notice all the way through Jesus use the personal pronoun “He”. The Spirit is not a force like star Wars. The Spirit is not an impersonal power. We don’t refer to the Spirit as an “it.” We use personal pronounces because he is, in fact, a person. He is relatable. You can speak to Him. He has a personality.

             And notice what the Spirit does – He acts as go between, between the Father and us, Jesus and us. The Scripture we just read says
(Don’t use verse)
Verse 26 – He will go out from the father and testify about Jesus.
Chapter 16:8 – He is going to talk to the world about sin and righteousness and judgement.
Verse 13 – He will guide you into truth
-           He will tell you what is to come
Verse 14 He will glorify Jesus
Verse 15 – He will tell us what Jesus told Him.

            The Spirit of God is not just some supernatural force, he is a person, who takes on the roll of bring people to Christ, of glorifying Christ, of delivering the words of Christ to us.

            One of the reasons that we don’t know the Spirit as well as we might is that He is constantly saying, look at Jesus come. Come to Jesus. Hear the words of Jesus. He doesn’t focus on himself, but points us towards Jesus. So he is little tricky to get to know because he is like that person who doesn’t really talk about themselves, they talk about what they love.

            But in spite of the fact that the Spirit is always pointing us towards Jesus, we can still have a relationship with Him. In fact, if you are a follower of Jesus, if Christ is in you, you do have a relationship with the Spirit. That relationship can either be healthy or unhealthy.       
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MUSIC -  Spirit Thing – Newsboys 3:27
(Try to describe the what the Spirit does in song)


            The apostle Paul, in giving instruction to the church said,

Ephesians 4:30 (NIV)
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

            But you can grieve the Spirit. He leads us into all truth and we reject it. He works in our lives and we reject his work. Like a friend who see another friend going in way that is self-destructive and there is nothing that she can do to stop it, so the Spirit is grieved when we choose death rather than life. He is grieved when He leads us one way and we go a different way.

Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica and says
1 Thessalonians 5:19 (NIV)
19 Do not quench the Spirit.

            The Holy Spirit is gentle. He does not force himself on us. He is at work in you, but you can stop his work. He is calling you to be like Jesus – but you can stop his work in your life. He will lead you but you can refuse to follow. He will convict you, but you can ignore his conviction. But whenever we say no to Spirit of God, we quench the work he wants to do inside of us. And that my friends is a tragic loss.

            Because the Spirit of God wants the very best for you. When he is allowed to work in your life, not only does he apply the work of Christ to your life in salvation, not is he a deposit guaranteeing your inheritance in heaven, but he is causing a change in you.

Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

            As you put your hand in His, the Spirit of God is a work in your life producing love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control. It is not like you have to work to make those things happen, that is just what happens when the Spirit of God rubs off on you.


            You see that is who he is. He is the Spirit of Love. He is the Spirit of Joy. He is the Spirit of peace. He demonstrates Patience and Kindness and goodness to us. He is incredibly faithful and gentle, and helps us to live the way we are called.

            So Paul says  -Verse 25
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

            Since he is producing these things in our lives, let’s keep in step with him.

            There are so many other things I could tell you about the Spirit. When the Spirit comes inside you, he gives you spiritual gifts for building up the believers around you. As you use those spiritual gifts you will see God glorified in your life.

            I could tell you the power of the Spirit. Paul writing to the Corinthian Church talked about all kinds of sinner, swindlers, sexually immoral, the greedy, the idolaters – and then he says this

1 Corinthians 6:11 (NIV)
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

            God transforms people by His Spirit. He has done it in many of your lives – you were that, by you were washed, you were made holy, you have been forgiven in the name of Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit.

            There are so many things upon which we could focus, but I want to spend the rest of my time being very practical about cooperating with the work of the Spirit in your life.

Galatians 5:25
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit

            The gospel is about life. Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full.

            Here is what you need to know. If you want that true great, abundant life,  that life comes by the Spirit. We are brought from death to life by the Spirit. We live by the Spirit. The life of Jesus in us, happens by the Spirit. You will experience the fullness of life that God has intended for you, because the Spirit of God is at work in you. We live by the Spirit.

            So Paul says, Verse 25
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit

            The question is how. How do you keep in step with the Spirit?


            I am a naturally slow walker. I am a tall person with short legs. When I am walking with people I am aware of how fast they are walking and so I will make an extra effort to walk faster for them. If I am going to keep in step with them then I need to be aware of them..

            It is the same with the Spirit. If you are going to keep in step with the Spirit then you are going to have to be aware of the Spirit.

            So, the general question to you, is what is the Spirit up to in your life right now.

            We read a little earlier from John 16
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. -  So what truth is the Spirit of God teaching you right now? What truth has he led you into in the last little while? If you are going to keep in step with the Spirit, you will have to be aware of what the Spirit of God is up to.
           
Romans 8:14 (NIV)
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

            How has God been leading you lately? Has he been guiding you to do something, or not do something? As you look back over the last week or two, have you seen how he has led, even though you weren’t aware of it at the time? Often time it is only in retrospect that I see what God was up to – but you see how he was leading. If you are going to keep in step with the Spirit, you will have to be aware of what the Spirit of God is up to.

            The first step to keeping in step with the Spirit is to becoming aware of the Spirit’s work in your life. What is he up to in your life.

            A little earlier we looked at the fruit of the Spirit. We looked at how this fruit is produced when you put his hand in his. But the reality is that there are so many times when we want to pull away from him. Just before the fruit of the Spirit it says this.

Galatians 5:16–17 (NIV)
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

            If you are going to keep in step with the Spirit then it is important that you keep your hand in his and not give into all the stuff your old nature wants. I like how the New Living translation paraphrases these verses

Galatians 5:16–17 (NLT)
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other.

            Sometimes you feel that battle keenly. The temptation will be real and it will be big. You don’t have to give into it – but you feel its cravings.

            If you are going to keep in step with the Spirit, if the Spirit of God is going to rub off on you in such a way where you see His fruit in your life, then keep your hand in his. Choose to do what he desires rather than what you old nature wants to do.

Romans 8:5–6 (NIV) puts this way
5 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. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

            Set you mind on what God wants, not on what your selfish old nature wants. Where you set your mind eye will determine where your spiritual feet will go. If you want life and peace, let the Spirt govern your mind.

            He is the Spirit of Love. He is the Spirit of Joy. He is the Spirit of peace. He demonstrates Patience and Kindness and goodness to us. He is incredibly faithful and gentle, and helps us to live the way we are called. He wants who He is to become a part of who you are. Will you keep in step with Him.

            Pentecost was not just an event in history; God wants it to be a reality in your life.

            The third person of Trinity comes to us and fills us with himself. In doing so he applies the work of the cross to our lives. Your are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
           
            If you are a Christian, he has been at work in your life, he is at work in your life, and he will be at work in your life. But your job is to become aware of him. See what he is up to. Watch how he is leading you, if you are not a Christian, then the Spirit is going to be at work urging you towards Jesus, so that you can know him.

            Put your hands in his because he is the one who fills you with life, real life abundant life. He is the one who transforms you and makes you into all that you are created to be.

            He is the one that will fill you with Love and Joy and Peace. He will help you to live out of patience and kindness goodness. You will become like him as you put your hand in his. Talk to him. Focus in on what He is doing in your life. If you have grieved him, apologize. If you have quenched his work, welcome him anew. He wants life for you.

            So I say to you
Verse 25
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit


Lord, thank you so much for this morning and for the chance to remember who you are and who your Spirit is.
Spirit of the living God, we would invite you to do your work you want to do in our lives.
For people who are far away, I pray that they would come close. For people who are walking with you, I pray that you would give them life and life to the full.
I pray this in Jesus’ name. AMEN


            And thank you for listening to Good News in the morning.  And thanks again Bruce Newman and your salute to Jericho Road ministries for sponsoring today’s ministry. This program is on the air by the grace of God and donations of many faithful people.

            My name is Brent Russett, and it has been a privilege to bring you Good News in the morning.


By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor in the Ottawa area for 28-years: 
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PODCAST LINK to the CFRA broadcast:

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