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Jack Graham - Life In The Spirit


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    Jack Graham - Life In The Spirit
TOPICS: Essential Gospel

Take your Bibles and turn to Romans chapter 8. We are in a series called THE ESSENTIAL GOSPEL from the book of Romans, and Romans 8, of course, is a highlight passage in all of Scripture. It begins with the words: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus". I’m calling this message "Life in the Spirit". And then Romans 8, which is life in the Spirit. Twenty-one times the Spirit shows up in works. It's all about the Spirit, life in the Spirit. God has promised you and me in Christ a victorious life; a full and flourishing, forgiven life. To the degree that we are, according to Romans 8, "more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ". And it is our purpose and our passion in life, it is our purpose and our passion in life to glorify God in the name of the Lord Jesus by the power of His Spirit.

We are to walk in the Spirit. We're to be led by the Spirit. We're to love others in the Spirit. Our very life, our very breath is the Spirit of God alive in us. In fact, the New Testament word for Spirit pneuma, as well as the Old Testament word Ruach, it means breath, the breath of God, the life of God! His Spirit is in us. Verse 1, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, cannot do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh", Christ took our sins on the cross and enables us to live in fullness and forgiveness because of what He has done, "in order that the righteous requirement", verse 4, "of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but", underscore it, "according to the Spirit". We walk and live in the Spirit.

So this message is going to be an overview, a quick overview of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit... Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit simply put is God in you. The Holy Spirit is Christ in the Christian. So I'm going to take on this very difficult task of giving you for some an introduction to the work of the Holy Spirit, for some of you, a reminder of the work and the ministry of Holy Spirit in you. I'm going to do it under three headings: What is the meaning of the Holy Spirit, the next is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, very simple, and the third is the mission of the Holy Spirit. Life in the Spirit. When you hear the word Spirit or Holy Spirit, what do you think?

Some people, especially those who may be outside of Christ think that sounds weird, that sounds way out, and even some believers, because of excesses and extremes regarding the ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit, stand back and take a skeptical look of those scriptures and Christians who speak often of the Holy Spirit. And you might even think, "Holy who"? Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. And therefore, He is God, and He is a person. Not an it, not an influence, not an inanimate force, but the Person of God Himself. The Spirit of Christ in us. God’s Spirit in us.

When Jesus spoke in John 14 and verses 15 and 16 of the coming of the Holy Spirit, He said, "There's one coming after Me, another comforter who will be just like Me". The Holy Spirit has been called the other Jesus, because when Jesus described the coming of the Comforter, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and that's a beautiful name for the work of the Holy Spirit, He is the Comforter, He is the Encourager. And the Holy Spirit, He is the Helper who comes along side of us and meets us at the point of our need. But Jesus said another comforter will come. And the word another means one just as I am, one like Me. The Spirit of God is not human. This is not the human Spirit at work, but the Holy Spirit of God at work, at witness in us. And when you become a Christian, this is Christianity 101, and yet so many people don't know it.

And this is true: that when you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit indwells you. The Spirit of God now lives in the believer. His very presence is in us. "Christ in you, the hope of glory". "May the God of all hope fill you with joy and peace in believing". This is Romans 15:13, "that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope". Hope is alive because Christ is alive and His Spirit makes this real for us. We often say it: that God is for you. (He is; God is for you.) God is with you. (Yes, He is with you.) God is over you. (Overseeing your life; providentially directing your steps.) God is beside you. (He walks with us and we walk with Him). All of these are illustrative of God's love and grace in our lives. God over you, God with you, God for you, and God beside you! But ultimately it is this truth that transforms. That God is in you! Jesus is in you! His Spirit is in you! And because this is true, because this is reality, we have this now and forever, this great news that the Spirit is alive in us.

So you have the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 tells us that "As many as are led by the Spirit, these are the children of God". You are a child of God, and therefore, you possess the ministry of the Holy Spirit. So you have the Holy Spirit, but the question is: Does the Holy Spirit have you? So let's talk about the ministry of this of this Spirit, the Holy Spirit. There are many. Begins in Genesis 1 when Christ, the God of the cosmos, created the heavens and the earth and His Spirit, the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the earth. The Holy Spirit because He is God presence in creation. We’ve already said the Holy Spirit is present in the Christian. How so? Because we are born again by the Spirit. Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus and telling him "You must be born again". He said unless you are born of the Spirit you will never see the kingdom of God.

So it’s impossible for you to become a Christian without the work and the witness of Holy Spirit in your life. You are born again, not because you decided one day to become a Christian, but because the Holy Spirit was at work in your life, convicting you of your sin and convincing you that Jesus is Lord, so that you responded because the Holy Spirit moved in your life. So we’re born again by the Spirit. And the Spirit witnesses within us. There is this witness of the Spirit according to 1 John. The Spirit of God within me tells me He is present, that I am saved, that I am forgiven, that there’s life in Christ. I know that I know that I know that I know that I am saved because of the Word of God and the witness of the Holy Spirit in me. The Spirit of God tells me that I belong to Jesus, that I belong to God.

You say, "What does that look like? What does that feel like? What is this witness of the Spirit"? "Taste and see that the Lord is good". When you experience the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, you will know deep within. "Out of your innermost being". So we are born again by the Spirit; we are baptized by the Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit takes place when we are born into the family of God. We're baptized by one Spirit Romans 6:4. We are baptized by the Spirit in new life in Christ. We are all baptized. Baptism of the Spirit takes place when we come to faith in Jesus Christ. It is not something that takes place later, but when you are born again, you are then baptized, immersed into the body of Christ; you are now a Christian. And not only are we baptized by the Spirit, but we are blessed by the Spirit.

Ephesians 1:3 tells us that we’ve been, "blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places". People talk about the second blessing and when they talk about the second blessing, they often mean some kind of late arrival of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. No. We just said the Holy Spirit comes into your life when you become a believer, when you are born again, you are then baptized into the body of Christ. You say, "Well, what about the blessings that come"? Yes, I do believe in a second blessing and a third blessing and a fourth blessing, and a 10,000 blessing, and 100 million blessings! Because we're blessed with every spiritual blessing. And the second blessing, the third blessing, you know, the second blessing is really discovering what we've gained in the first blessing. And the third blessing is what we've discovered more in the second blessing. Because there is more and more, much more for all of us to experience in Christ by His Spirit.

We are sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption. According to the first chapter of Ephesians. We're taught by the Holy Spirit. John 14, verse 26 tells us, these are the words of Jesus introducing the Spirit to His disciples, He said, "They will speak of Me and testify of Me", that is He the Holy Spirit will testify of Me, "and teach you all things". The Holy Spirit is a revelator. He gives us the word of God. The word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is not a human book, this is the Holy Bible, poured out by the Holy Spirit. Using men to write, but His words, by His Spirit, breathed out by God. This book, therefore, is the inerrant, infallible word of the Living God, given to us by the Spirit of God. That's why when we preach the Bible, when we bring the message of hope that is in the Scriptures, when we're simple teaching the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is at work. The word and the Spirit. Jesus said, "They that worship Me shall worship Me in Spirit and in truth".

I want to focus for just a few moments on the filling of the Spirit. Turn in your Bibles to Ephesians 5:18. That was a fast teaching on what theologians call Pneumatology, the work and witness of the Holy Spirit, and I just touched the surface of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. But for you as a Christian, all of us are commanded in Ephesians 5:18 not to be drunk with wine which is debauchery, excessiveness. But to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is the permeation of the Holy Spirit. It is the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is the control of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And when it says "be filled with the Holy Spirit", it literally means you be, speaking of everyone.

A spirit-filled life is not for the super saves or the super stars of the Christian faith. A Spirit-filled life is for every one of us. In fact, if I'm not filled with the Spirit, I am not walking in the Spirit and therefore, I'm not right with God. We are to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. The language of Ephesians 5:18 literally means you keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit. It's a daily process, this filling. It is continual; it is inclusive of everyone. And the filling of the Holy Spirit is the birthright of every believer. The signal, the sign that you, we are filled with the Holy Spirit is not a feeling, but the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us. Some people seem to be more interested in the feeling of the Spirit rather than the filling of the Spirit. That the filling of the Spirit is some kind of an emotional esoteric, exotic experience.

Now there's certainly times in our lives and my life when I have just sensed the presence of God moving in a powerful way. That there is some fresh anointing or some power that comes over us in which we are moved deeply and emotionally and respond in that matter. But the filling of the Spirit may or may not include your emotions, in the sense that feelings are not at issue here. What is at issue is are you being controlled, are you being dominated, are you being influenced. And so in this sense the verse Ephesians 5:18, it is a comparison. Certainly, it is a contrast. "Don't be drunk with wine", that's excess, "but be filled with the Holy Spirit". But it's also illustrative of the fact that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are living under the influence of God. We are living under the influence and the Word of God and Spirit of God are intrinsically linked together.

Colossians 3:16 says that "Let the Word of God dwell in you richly". And as God's Word penetrates and permeates our lives, His word, His Spirit begins to control the way we think, our mindsets, our attitudes, our actions. We are now no longer controlled by self or selfish impulses or sinful indulgences but now we are engaged and enlivened and infused with spiritual power which produces the fruit of the Spirit. The promise of the Spirit is He is alive in you. The product of the Spirit is this: Galatians 5:23: "But the fruit of the Spirit". I say, you know, it's not the fruits of the Spirit, but the fruit of the Spirit with 9 delicious flavors. "The fruit of the Spirit is love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control; against such things there is no law".

So what happens when I’m walking in the Spirit and the Spirit of God filling me, influencing me, dominating my thoughts, my affects, my attitudes, my aptitude. The Holy Spirit is now in control of my life, and the result is this spiritual fruit: love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control. It’s all produced in us. And when you look at the fruit of the Spirit, you know what it is? It’s the character of Christ formed in us; the character of Jesus. God Himself who is love and joy and peace and all the rest, alive in us. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you right now filled with the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit revives His church, renews His people.

And, oh, how we desperately need the power and the presence of God’s Spirit in our churches today! We need spirit-filled, Jesus-loving Christians to be filled with the Spirit of God, and go in Jesus' name to the ends of the earth with this message of hope. And so in closing with this word, the mission of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be My witnesses. Beginning in Jerusalem (your own hometown, your old point of reference) and then Judea (the region) and to the uttermost parts of the world". So when we are filled with the Spirit, we get passionate, we prioritize the witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It happened in the book of Acts after the Holy Spirit came upon them in the day of Pentecost, they were emboldened like never before to share Christ.

Now in the power of the Holy Spirit they are preaching, and thousands upon thousands of people are coming to faith in Christ! Miracles are taking place at the hands of the Apostles! The entire city of Jerusalem is caught up in this Jesus movement by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the degree that the religious leaders who were incensed that this was taking place, they said to the Apostles, "You have filled this city with your doctrine of Jesus Christ"! They captured that very city with the message of Christ! And when they were beaten and when they were told never to speak again in the name of Jesus, they said, "We can't help but speak of this, of what we have seen and what we have heard".

And in Acts chapter 4:32, after the Apostles were set free and they went back to their gathering, they got back together with Christians, the Scriptures says, "In the place where they were was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit". And what did they do? Jump up and down and run around the house? No, they spoke the word of God with boldness! So the mission of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Christ and to share the Gospel of Christ. We're not going to get this done on my own, our own. In Zachariah 4:6, speaking of the Spirit and the work of the Spirit, it says, "'Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit.' Says the Lord".

We’re in desperate need and this is not a time for silence. This is not a time for Christians to sit down and shut up. So many Christians unfortunately are living defeated, joyless lives, never sharing Christ, never sharing their faith. But if you would be filled with the Holy Spirit by asking Him and yielding, and everyday asking Him to fill you and use you for His glory, you would see victory like you’ve never known before. Church today reminds me of that vision given in Ezekiel 37, when the prophet was told to go out to a valley and said, "What do you see"? And there were skeletal remains scattered all over this valley. The Israeli army had died in battle and it was visionary of the state of Israel and what had happened. And Israel was dead and lifeless.

And what did God say to Ezekiel? He said, "Preach to the bones"! And he did preach, and he declared the power of God and, you know this story. The leg bone connected to the ankle bone; the neck bone connected to the breast bone, and so on. These skeletons united and they were standing! It was a scary sight! A skeletal army! And then God said to the prophet, "Pour out the breath". And God poured out His breath, His Spirit upon that army, now resurrected, now alive, and ambassadors for Christ. The Spirit of God poured out His power and they became a mighty army. And I tell you that story in closing just to say in this valley when there is so much death today and the churches are dead, when we preach the Word of God and the Spirit of God moves and turns dead churches into mighty armies for the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you filled with the Spirit? Dethrone self and enthrone Christ in your life.
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