Charles Stanley - The Power of The Holy Spirit In The Life of The Believer
Once you and I have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior, we begin to immediately learn some lessons or some principles by which we learn to live the Christian life. But the big mistake we make is this. We learn those principles, we start out utilizing those principles or abiding by them and after a while we feel like we get a little confident and things are go, sorta going our way. And we feel a little success in our Christian life. Next thing you know we've had a big collapse, or we've had a falter or a fall in some fashion. Why is it that somehow even though we start out right, often times we don't end up right? Well, one of the primary reasons is the fact that we drift away from the very principles that make us a success in whatever we're doing.
And often times we think that we're practicing the same thing, but we've gotten so familiar with it. We've become so familiar with the Word of God, with the principles, with the messages that we hear, that the next thing you know, we are not practicing them and then we're wondering, What in the world's going on in our life? So, what I'd like to do in this message, I want to deal with one of those very basic but awesome powerful principles that will make the difference in whether you live the Christian life victoriously or whether you fail in it. Not only that, but whether you can fail or whether you succeed in everything else you're doing in life because God has made it very clear in His Word, there is one thing in this life that is so absolutely essential. It is essential every single day no matter what.
So, I want you to turn if you will to Luke chapter twenty-four. And in this particular passage, right before Jesus ascends, He gives His disciples a very specific command. Absolutely essential to their whole future. That simple command not only will determine whether they succeeded in what they did, but also in how they lived. So if you'll notice beginning in verse forty-four of the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke. "Now He said to them, 'These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness of sin should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.'"
Now notice this next verse. "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you, but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. And it came about that while He was blessing them, He parted from them. And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising God". Now, right before His departure Jesus said one of the most important things He could possibly have said. He had prepared them for this moment but now He said to them, I want you to sit down in the city of Jerusalem until you be clothed with power from on high. What I want to talk about in this message is "The Power of the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Believer".
Now to many people, their idea of the power of the Holy Spirit is some miraculous thing that God does through some so-called healer or some outstanding preacher or teacher and so forth. But what I want you to understand in this message is this, that the work and the ministry and the power of the Holy Spirit is not only available to every single believer, but is the will of God for every single believer, no matter who you are. So, what I want to do first of all is to define what I mean by the power of the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit is that divine authority and energy which God releases in the life of every single one of His children in order that you and I may live a godly life and that we may live a fruitful life. The power of the Holy Spirit is that divine energy and listen, that divine energy and authority that God releases in and through every single believer in order that we might live a godly life and bear a fruitful life. So, when He talks about being clothed with power from on high, that's the kind of power He's talking about.
Now, let me just say this. The Holy Spirit cannot be manipulated. You can't make the Holy Spirit do anything. God has given us the Spirit; therefore we don't have to try to manipulate Him to do anything. The Spirit of God, once He comes into a person's life, listens. He energizes the body. He enlightens the mind to understand truth. And listen, not only that, He inflames our spirit with a passion of devotion to Almighty God. One thing I am certain. If you will listen carefully to this message, if you'll be wise enough to take some notes, you will not only be enlightened probably, in some areas, but you're gonna be encouraged in your life no matter what your vocation, or what God has called you to do.
So, what I want to do is I want to answer five questions. I'm gonna ask you to talk back to me. I'm gonna ask you to give them back so don't just sit there. I want you to be able to tell me back because, listen, you need to be able to tell someone else when they say, Well, who is this Holy Spirit and where did He come from? What's all this about? I not only want you to be able to answer the questions, but I want you to be able to answer them from an experience that you have in your life as a result of your relationship to God through His Son Jesus Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. Question number one: Who is the Holy Spirit? Well, it's very clear in the Bible who He is. And the Bible says that the Holy Spirit, listen, He is a person of the Trinity. Go all the way back to Genesis chapter one, verses that we refer to often. But this is one of those truths that often times slips right by us.
In Genesis chapter one, look if you will in verse two. We all know what verse one says, "In the beginning God created heavens and the earth". But notice verse two. "And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters". Verse twenty-six, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea over the birds of the sky over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'". When He says, "Let us make man in our image," who is us? God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that is brooding over the creation so that the Spirit of God was certainly a part of the creation.
Go back if you will on over to John chapter fourteen for a moment. And you'll recall in this fourteenth chapter of John, when Jesus is encouraging His disciples at a moment which He knows is a prelude to great discouragement. Here's what He says in verse sixteen of the fourteenth chapter. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He," not it, "He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you". Jesus called the Holy Spirit not an it, but He called Him a person. The Spirit of the living God is not a force. He's somebody. He is somebody extremely important to your daily life and mine.
If somebody says, Well look, tell me who is this Holy Spirit? What is the first thing you're gonna say? The Holy Spirit is a what? A person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is a person of the Trinity. Secondly, the Holy Spirit is a promise of the Father. Notice if you will back in this twenty-fourth chapter, what Jesus said, "Behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father," and He says, "You are to stay in the city until you be clothed with power from on high". The Spirit of the living God is not only, listen, He's not only a person of the Trinity, but He is a promise of the Father. Jesus promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit. He said He'll come, and He'll be a helper to you. He'll be a comforter to you. He says, I am sending Him. Therefore, He is a promise of the Father. And so, He had been saying to those disciples all along, There's gonna come a time when the Holy Spirit is gonna be in you, with you, and upon you. And at this moment when He was speaking the Holy Spirit had not come upon the church as He did a little later on at Pentecost.
And so when somebody says, Well, who is this Holy Spirit? He, listen, the Holy Spirit is a person of the Trinity. He is the promise of the Father. But thirdly, He is the gift to every single believer. Turn if you will to Acts chapter two for a moment and you'll recall that Peter has preached an awesome sermon at Pentecost and thousands of people are being saved and lives are being changed and what happens thereafter is certainly evidence of the fact that something awesome happened on that particular day. Listen to what happens. Now in verse thirty-seven, "When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'".
Now, so when somebody says to you, Who is the Holy Spirit? You're gonna say, The Holy Spirit is person of the Trinity, promise of the Father, gift to every single believer. Right. Now, why in the world did God send Him? Why did God, why did God send Him? Well, He says in this passage, now notice He says, He says, "You're to you are to sit down in the city of Jerusalem until you be endued with power from on high". Here's the first reason God sent Him. Now both of these are equally important, but I want to put this one first. God the Father sent the Holy Spirit, listen, to enable us to do the work God has called us to do. And so therefore Jesus said, "You're to wait until you be endued with power from on high". What is that power? Divine energy, listen, divine energy and divine authority that comes in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
So therefore, think about this. You can't ever say to God, when He calls you to do something, you can't ever tell Him, Well, I can't do that. You know why? When He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell you, listen, that eliminated all excuses forever in your life of saying to Him, I can't do it. First of all, would God, listen, would He call you to do something He wouldn't equip you to do? No, He would not. Will He require of you something that He Himself would not do through you? No, He would not. Therefore, whatever God calls you to do, listen, my friend, the only right thing for you to do is to say "yes" to him because you say, Well, I don't feel adequate. Who does feel adequate? Listen, the key to relying upon the Holy Spirit is feeling personal inadequacy that drives us to do what? First of all, to recognize our need of Him. Second, to rely upon Him. And thirdly, to trust Him to do and to be in us everything we need Him to be. So the first reason that God sent the Holy Spirit was number one, what? To enable us to do the work God has called us to do.
Now, does that leave out any, any believers? No, it does not. Every single believer. Now, the second reason, not in necessarily in this order. Second reason is to enable us to, listen, enable us to live the life He's called us to live. Do the work He's called us to do, enable us to live the life He's called us to live. But what kind of life is that? He's called us to live a holy life. Ahhhh, I can't do that. Well, let's wait a minute, let's just find out what a holy life is. Does He not say in First Peter, "He says we're to be holy even as He is holy"? Does that mean sinless? Well if that means sinless, I give up and quit and all the rest of us are gonna have to also. Living a holy life does not mean a sinless life. Why do I know that? Because God, listen, God knows how absolutely human every single one of us is.
Listen, none of His disciples lived a perfect life. None of His disciples lived a, a sinless life. If you don't believe that you look in Romans chapter seven. Paul says, "What I don't want to do, I find myself doing. What I want to do, I find myself not doing". Until he came to that eighth chapter and he talked about the victory that he discovered in his relationship to Christ and the Holy Spirit. Now, the holy life is not a sinless life. What is a holy life? A holy life is a life having trusted Jesus Christ as personal savior that is bent toward God with a devotion and desire for God and a hunger and thirst to live for Him. That does not mean we're not gonna make mistakes because we all came into this world with a sinful nature. Now you who are grandparents and you go to see your, your grandson or your granddaughter, and that sweet little thing and, and you say, well, and sometimes they'll say, Well, how in the world could, how in the world could somebody as sweet and as pretty as that act like that way? How could they act that way? Real simple. Sinful nature, just like the one we all came in the world with. And so, we all came into the world with one.
Now we either live by it and let it rule and dominate our life, all of our lives, and wreck and ruin our lives. Or, we have an experience with Jesus Christ by which we are saved, an experience with the Holy Spirit by which we live in the power of the Spirit of the Living God who is within us. Therefore, a person says, Well, you know, I've tried my best to live the Christian life and I've met people over the years, many people who've said, Well, you know what? I've tried it, doesn't work. Yes, it does work. Well I tried it and it didn't work. Don't tell me it works because it doesn't work. Yes it does! Well, what is it about it doesn't work. Well, I tried it. You know what the problem is? I tried and I tried and I tried and I tried. And in my own strength and my own energy.
Now I recognize lot of people, grow up in churches where when you get saved here's what they say, Now you must do the following things. You need to read the Ten Commandments, obey the Ten Commandments, read the Sermon on the Mount, obey the Sermon on the Mount. Need come to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, read your Bible, pray, tithe your income. And, by the time they get through that whole list you say, Whew! How can I do all of that? You know what? You can read your Bible and you can pray and you can give and you can go to church and backslide all over yourself. You know why? Because that'd be, I can do all that in my energy. But listen, walking in the Spirit, walking in obedience to God, I cannot do in the flesh. And the reason there's so much failure, I think, often times is most people are totally ignorant of the fact that the Spirit of God is an essential part of my life every single solitary day.
Now, how, the big question. How do I become full of the Holy Spirit? Having trusted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, by placing your trust in Him and what He did at the cross of Calvary, and receiving Him as your savior by faith, here's what you do. First of all, you've got to recognize you need, you've got to recognize your need of the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. If you don't, you'll never be full. You know what you'll do? You'll do it in your energy. You know, listen, you know one of the most probably the most difficult things for people to deal with in their life. If they're talented, skilled, gifted, or good looking or whatever it might be, all the things they put together, there are some people who've got, seemingly have it all together. You know what? All of that is a detriment. Why? They trust in their looks, they trust in their skill, they trust in their ability, they trust in their talents, they trust in everything else but God. You know what? They don't, they just say, Why do I need God?
If you're one of those persons who feels inadequate, thank God for it. If you're one of those persons who thinks, Oh, God, I feel so inadequate. Thank God for that. Let me tell you something friend. I'm inadequate every single day. I, now listen, I don't just feel that, I know that to be true. You say, Well, how could you be inadequate? I'll tell you why. Because I'm human just like everybody else. And you know what? We're all inadequate. Some of us are just smart enough to know we are and some of us are smart enough not to don't know it. First of all, recognize my absolute need of the Holy Spirit, for His fullness in my life. Secondly, I must desire to be filled. If you don't have a desire to be full of the Holy Spirit, it's not gonna happen.
Now I'm gonna explain in just a second what that means, but I want you to get these words down first. First of all, having been saved, recognize my need. Secondly, desire. And thirdly, I must be willing, listen, I must be willing to repent of sin. I must be willing to repent of sin in my life. Whatever God brings to my mind, I have to deal with it. The fourth thing, I have to surrender my life to the Holy Spirit. Now listen carefully. When somebody says, What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? Here's what it means. It means to walk, listen. It means to walk surrendered to the control, listen, surrendered to the control of the Holy Spirit in my life. What do You want me to do, Father? What would You have me to do?
Listen, willing to live under His control. Willing to submit to His control. If I'm not willing to submit to His control, then I don't, I'm not gonna be filled with the Holy Spirit because fullness of the Spirit speaks of the control of the Spirit. If I'm full of the Holy Spirit, that means I've surrendered my will to Him to say, Not my will but Yours be done. So, step number one, recognize my need. Step number two, have a desire. Step number three, deal with any sin that, that hinders me. Step number four, what's step number four? Surrender my life to Him which means, listen, walking in voluntary submission to the Holy Spirit in my life. Allowing Him to control. And what's the next one? Simply this: Believing Him. Just believe that He'll do what He promised to do. What did Paul say? He said, "Be ye being filled with the Holy Spirit".
Now listen carefully. God would not ask me, require me to do something if He wouldn't do it. Now here's where I had my biggest struggle. It took me years to get through this one. I kept thinking, Okay, repented, prayed, cried, begged, fasted, I mean, and kept expecting something to happen. It was one Friday afternoon, somewhere around four o'clock when for some reason, I don't know how it took me so long to get to this place. Write this scripture down. First John chapter five, verses fourteen and fifteen. What does it say? Listen to this. "This is the confidence that we have in Him, in God that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us".
Now to be filled with the Holy Spirit is certainly according to His will so He heard me. If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, we know we have that moment we have the petition that we desired of Him. Did you know, I'd struggled for years about how, how will I know, this, that, and the other. The moment I accepted that verse as real, from that moment for the first time in my life I knew what it meant to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Now what can you expect if you ask the Holy Spirit to fill you? Number one is joy. He says in that fifth chapter of Ephesians, when He's talking about the Holy Spirit and being filled. He said, "Do not be drunk with wine, wherein is excess". But He says, "You and I are to be filled with the Holy Spirit".
Listen to what He says. He says, "Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord;" you know what? You get full of the spirit and you're gonna have joy in your life. Does that mean everything around you is gonna straighten out? Not necessarily. It just means that you're gonna be able to have a peace in the midst of all that no matter what. First of all there's joy. Secondly, there's gonna be fruit. There's no such thing as a spirit-filled Christian who is a spectator. A spirit-filled Christian is involved in some fashion, in somebody or some people's lives or in some work of ministry somehow. Spirit-filled Christians are not those who are spectators.
The third thing is your faith is gonna become stronger and stronger continually. As you walk in the Spirit, walk in submission, you know why it's gonna become stronger? Here's why. Because God's gonna begin to do things in your life and through your life that's gonna amaze you. You gonna be standing back and saying, Didn't know that. Well, Lord, why has it taken me so long? Listen, there's gonna be joy, there's gonna be, there's gonna be fruitfulness in your life, there's gonna be a strength in your faith. Now somebody says, Now wait a minute now. I want to ask one last question. How long does that... does that last forever? Is that just a one-time thing that you get full of the Spirit? No. So, all right, what I want to know is how long can I walk in the Spirit? You listening, say amen.
This is how long you can walk in the Spirit. You can walk in the Spirit, that is, you can walk in the Spirit and in His power just as long as you are willing to submit to His control in your life. This decision, that decision, this decision, that decision, this decision. You say, Well, does that mean I can, I can walk in the Spirit a long time? Absolutely. You say, Okay, now, suppose I choose to take control. Suppose I decided, I know that's what God wants. Here's what I want. Suppose I just also, just down right sin against God. Then what? Listen carefully. Here's what. You confess it, you repent of it, you thank God for His, listen, His forgiveness.
Somebody says, "Now that's awful easy". Wait a minute. The crucifixion of Jesus was not easy. My friend, listen to me carefully. This is what grace of God's all about. The grace of God is His forgiveness purchased for you and me through, listen, the atoning death of His Son on the cross. The only reason you and I can confess and repent of sin and be instantaneously, listen, instantaneously experience forgiveness is because of the awesome, awful price Jesus paid on the cross when He died and took your sin-debt and mine in full almost two thousand years ago. That's the reason it appears to be simple, but it is not simple. What do you do? You confess it, you repent of it, you thank Him for your forgiveness and you move on.
Now here's what the devil's gonna do: Ah ha, see there, I knew you couldn't live it. So, what does he do? He gets you in one of these pity-parties. Well, you know, I just don't know what I'm gonna do. I tried, I did my best, I tried, God. I guess it's just not working for me and I guess I just can't walk in the Spirit. That is purely Satanic. Listen, pity-parties are not allowable in the child of God. Why? Because there's no reason for it. The Spirit of God doesn't leave you because you sin against Him. The Spirit of God convicts you. The Spirit of God doesn't say He's gonna convict me and then leave me if I don't straighten out. No, you know what He's gonna do? He's gonna turn up the heat. That's what He's gonna do. He doesn't leave us, He turns up the heat. Why does He turn up the heat? Because He loves us. The Spirit of God, listen, the Spirit of God has sealed us.
Listen to this now. The Spirit of God's already sealed you unto the day of redemption. Listen, you and I are His purchased possession. He's not leaving us, He's taking us all the way and some of us will probably go kicking and screaming but He's gonna get us there all the way no matter what. But you know what life at its best is like? Surrendering our life to Him and, and just watching to see what Almighty God can do in your life. Now, you got two choices. You can either keep living your life the way you live it, or you can make the most awesome discovery of finding out what God will do in your life, in every aspect of your life if you will recognize your need of the Holy Spirit. Having recognized that need, you have a strong desire for change in your life. You confess whatever sin God brings to your mind. You just lay down control and tell Him that you want Him to prevail in the control of your life. And then you just thank Him for filling you with the Holy Spirit. And you know what? Your life won't be the same. That's the other choice, the best choice, the wisest choice you could possibly make.