Sermon: Experiencing The Holy Spirit By John Gannon
*John 14: 16-17 reads as follows: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever- The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him or knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
Who is this Advocate, Helper? Who is this Paraclete that the World cannot know…but that You know and will be IN You? What does it mean to know someone? …Their name?… Who they are? …What they do? What does it mean to Know Jesus? Some say that Satan too believes “in” Jesus! We “know” Jesus by cultivating a personal relationship with Him! It is the same way we get to “know” the Holy Spirit in us!
My “unknown GPS” in my car comes to mind. My helper, Guide and direction finder was behind another screen in my dashboard! But I didn’t know it was there… I did not benefit from this helper! And for many…when it comes to the Holy Spirit, that is the Problem!
The knowledge and awareness of the Holy Spirit seems to be one of the most neglected subjects in a sermon and I’m glad that the importance of the identity of “God IN US” (The Holy Spirit) is not being left out here at Bay Point Church.
My sermon preparation has helped me question myself about my awareness of how important it is to have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit in me! What took me so long? I’ve decided that I have not been knowing God enough by seeking His Word! That’s why we Need to be in God’s Word! We grow in knowledge and awareness of God…His Will for Us…His providence for us and His promises there in His Word to Us!
His Promise Is: I will send someone in my place, Who Will Be Inside of You?
As with His apostles, when He left them, Jesus knew they could not (even after knowing Him for 3 years in His presence and teaching) do the work without a super- powerful helper and advocate… to serve and accomplish the Great Commission required a power that was “super-natural”. God’s power and strength through this HELPER would dwell IN them. This helper was The Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God is given to all of His Children when they Accept Him as Lord and Savior. .. remember, we didn’t choose Jesus. The Holy Spirit, when we acknowledged our Need and Sinful Nature when we came to the end of ourselves…it was the Holy Spirit that led us to Christ. Maybe we didn’t know that it was NOT just Our Good Nature that brought us to Christ.
There are 3 major kinds of Spirits that we can choose to follow. They are: The Human Spirit, The Holy Spirit and demonic spirits (aka: Satan).
Human Spirit does show Godly values and standards…our compassion, our charity for sure. Our sinful nature, however, allows a human spirit of selfishness, self- centeredness, disobedience and rebellion.
Galatians 5:16 …Our human “desires” are of the flesh.. our desires have us make decisions that are outside the Word or God! Our desires have us sin.
Demonic spirits pray on our human weakness and glories in our sin and separation from God.
The desires of God are to trust His ways…to become more like Christ. God desires that our fruit…thanks to the Holy Spirit in us, builds His kingdom and brings salvation to us…Yes………but also to all we encounter as we reflect Christ in the world!
We need to cultivate our relationship with the Holy Spirit in us and become more and more aware of His voice in our hearts and minds. It is so often in our minds that the battle is fought.
We need to become sensitive to the initial urgings, directions and guidance of this great helper. Our conscience is the Holy Spirit speaking to us. He wants to give us peace and joy…like a father or mother who knows what is best for their children. We reap the “Best in Life” through the peace and joy that follows the guidance, and our fruits will be evident as we walk in the Spirit!
*Galatians 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk (behave) in the Spirit!
So how do we walk in the Spirit?
To walk in the Spirit is to live moment by moment in dependency upon Him, sensitive to His initial urging and through prayer and meditation with Him. We are not just to ask but to listen. This can take days, weeks of listening…communing in silence…to become aware of the Spirit of God in our lives. We are so impatient and often expect an answer to prayer right away.
We must spend time with the counselor. But again…how? We require communion with the spirit in prayer and meditation…listening with our hearts.
This is why one of the great works of the Holy Spirit is to help us pray…even when we don’t know what to pray for. This is because unlike us, The Holy Spirit knows the future and God’s will for us. It is not improper to be in prayer for many days….even if it’s just “groaning” ….not knowing what outcome to pray for, in any given situation! The Holy Spirit is perfectly made for prayer upon which you don’t even know what outcome you are praying for! He advocates to God for us! He knows what is best for us and those we pray for!
As Jesus prayed….Lift this cup if possible from me…but Father Your Will Be done! The Holy Spirit is our perfect prayer companion! He is the perfect helper in discernment for any situation in which we find ourselves. He will help you discern between “Biblical Truth” and “Manmade Theology”. Sound like someone we ought to get to know? …especially today?
Does our Father who created and saved us not know the best way for us to walk? So He gave you the Holy Spirit to guide you… and the Holy Spirit directs us to the Word…and never goes against what He helps us interpret in the Word… when peace comes over you in prayer and meditation on the Word…you have your answer. No peace. Continue to pray and go the Word and wait. Sometimes our answered prayer is the sense we get not to take action on a given concern but to leave it to God. We often must find the peace in trusting God with it.
*John 16: 8-13 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 (Satan) 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 (Holy Spirit) 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.
So…when so much is held out to us as “what the world values” and so many “things” are promised to bring us joy and happiness there must be a conflict in us that we need to fight, if we are to walk in the Spirit! When we see something that gets our attention and something inside you says “Don’t go there”…that is
the Holy Spirit guiding you. The Spirit will arouse us to do things that reflect Christ! The Holy Spirit speaks to us and urges us to forgive. We listen to the Spirit or we fight it and choose what the world would have us do…to get even…to get revenge! Do I surrender to the flesh or to the Spirit? In our World “the self” is glorified! Do I focus on the light of the Spirit in me or on the darkness offered by the Spirit of the World? Do I focus on the treasures on Earth or the Promises of God?
But you say: I’m only human……I feel down, sad, depressed, tempted and defeated so often! You are NOT only human!!!! You are human AND you have been indwelled by God!!!!….in the Person of the Holy Trinity called The Holy Spirit!!! You are entitled to all the strength and power that raised
Jesus from the dead! You simply need to own it and start employing it moment by moment in your life!
*Romans 8:11 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodiesbecauseof[a] hisSpiritwholivesinyou.
The Holy Spirit gives us strength to stand firm and hold our ground against the forces of a wicked world! Jesus said you will be persecuted if you follow me!
They persecuted Him…why not you? Do we really want to stand before the Lord at our judgement and say that somehow, I got through life in a world that didn’t honor him with no dirt on our football uniform?
The Holy Spirit in us gives us the power to speak, to defend, to fight for what we
believe is God’s Will! It emboldens us! We see so much in the world today…where what was wrong is now right…what was right is now wrong…. according to the world! When you are faced with “What to say about something
you know is wrong and you are afraid you don’t have the right words…trust that the Holy Spirit in you! He will give you the strength and wisdom to speak! Maybe you hear that a friend won’t forgive and It’s just so easy to “stay out of it” and to “not get your hands dirty”! Christ spoke words for us that turned his world on its’ head! He died for what he said! Trust the Holy Spirit in you to suggest the “peace that comes from forgiveness” to a friend, for example.
A friend came to me and said that there was one person in his life he could not
forgive. He was hurt and angry! He asked me how he could forgive such a man? At that moment…I truly did not know what to say. I said a 10 second prayer that the Holy Spirit speak through me. I was amazed. As the words came from my mouth I listened as if to remember that this lesson may be for me as well! I told him to imagine that the tree in front of us was the cross with our Savior about todie…with blood running from his wounds…for our sins. Now, imagine I say to you, fall to your knees (as you obviously would) and can speak to the Lord of how grateful you are of this sacrifice for your eternal life. Now explain to Him as he is dying for you…a sinner…why this other sinner is somehow not worthy of the same forgiveness that you receive.
I knew I was not the author of such a striking message! It was the Holy Spirit. I
pray that all of us will cultivate a real personal relationship with “God in us” through the Holy Spirit! Amen.