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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - Formed and Filled

James Meehan - Formed and Filled

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    James Meehan - Formed and Filled
TOPICS: Culture Makers, Holy Spirit

Well, hello there. Hi. How are you? Welcome to Switch Uncut. My name is James Mehan and here with me is Caitlyn Kaffree. And today we are going to dive into some different passages of scripture and walk through what they mean, why they mean that, and how that impacts us as followers of Jesus living on our modern world. Because we know that the thing that we call the Bible is sort of a big deal, but in order for us to actually read it wisely, sometimes it takes a little bit of extra effort and learning because while the Bible is God's word for us, it wasn't originally written to us. And so when we can learn to put ourselves in the shoes of the original audience, these words come to life in ways that are so powerful. And so that's why we do this. To help you better understand the Bible and learn how to apply it to your life as we tackle the big questions of faith and following Jesus. Today, Caitlyn is gonna lead us through a series of truths that I think are gonna be really, really exciting and impactful.

Yeah, so on Wednesday...

Now to you, Caitlyn.

Thank you for that official handoff. On Wednesday, we talked about the Holy Spirit and who he is, how he's our advocate, how he's our guide. And today, what I kind of wanna do is kind of walk through the biblical story a little bit. And see how he's always been doing that. So we're gonna start at the very beginning in Genesis 1.

Genesis 1! This is my favorite.

This is his favorite chapter in the whole Bible.

Yeah, Caitlyn always makes fun of me because I wanna talk about Genesis 1 all the time.

Every time. But I'm here to do this right now today. So get excited.

So do I get to read?

Yes, please read it.

Are you ready for me?

Genesis 1, verse 2, in the "NLT".

In the "NLT".

The New Living Translation.

That's what that means.

"The earth was formless and empty and darkness covered the deep waters and the spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters".

Cool, so right off the bat, we see the spirit of God is hovering over the waters, but right before we get to part, that sentence, we read, I'm about to say some Hebrew words and totally butcher them.

Oh, come on! Very impressive.

Here we go. We read these words, formless and empty. And that Hebrew phrase is, it literally means formless and void, like without form it's empty, there's nothing filling it. And so what's so coo is that like, as we continue to move through Genesis 1, what we see the spirit of God doing is bringing form and then filling the whole world. So what happens is the first three days, he's bringing form, he's molding and shaping the universe. And then the next three days, he's filling it. He fills the sky with stars. He fills the sea with creatures. He fills the land with like plants and animals. And then something really special happens when it comes to us as human beings and that creation process. And what we've just witnessed in this creation story is him forming and filling the whole universe on a macro level. And then we get to the creation of human beings and we see him forming and filling us on a micro really intimate level.

Okay, so question for you.


It sounds like the Holy Spirit was kind of like me in my ninth grade ceramics class when I had to form a cup out of clay, and then I filled it with water to drink from it.

How did that go? I'm super curious.

I got a C.

So maybe it went a little bit better in Genesis, possibly.

So the Holy Spirit, better at forming and filling than I was in ninth grade. Feedback received. Are you ready for the next passage?

I'm ready for the next passage.

All right, this is Genesis 2:7. "Then the Lord, God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils and the man became a living person".

Yeah, so here we see God and the Holy Spirit, who is God, as part of the Trinity forming and then filling human beings with his very own breath. So from the very beginning, this is the setup for the whole biblical narrative. From the very beginning, the spirit of God has wanted to form us into the image of God and fill us with his presence.

Ooh, okay!

So, yep, and I think that we continue to see this pattern play out throughout the biblical narrative. We get this guy named Abram, who God chooses his family and forms them into this nation. And then we see it again, he rescues that family from slavery and he wants to form them into a kingdom of priests and fill them with his presence so that they can then go represent him to the rest of the world. And it's literally the creation mandate playing out over and over again, this idea that we are called to be fruitful and multiply. We're supposed to help or partner with God in forming and filling the world. And this is what has been going on over and over again with specifically the nation of Israel as we walk through the old Testament.

Okay, so pause.


'Cause this is blowing my mind a little bit. 'Cause I love Genesis 1, as we've stated. And I love to talk about the forming and the filling and the way the Holy Spirit does that in the beginning. But I've literally never thought about that with the nation of Israel and God forming the Hebrew people, and then filling the temple with his presence. That's awesome, so I'm gonna remember that. Hopefully you are learning something as well. One quick question for you.

Yeah? So we started out with that verse from Genesis 1:2. Then you introduced us to the Hebrew words. Question.


Why is it important to know Hebrew words? Do I need to know Hebrew words?

I mean, okay, here's the thing. You don't have to like become a Hebrew scholar or like.

What if I want to?

Then go for it please by all means.

That's for you.

You don't have to like know the nuances of every Hebrew phrase, but I think the beautiful thing about it is like, what we talked about in the beginning is understanding like the original audience and who it was written to. And Hebrew happens to be the original language they would've read this in. And so understanding some of those words and how they would've sounded and what they would've meant to the original audience can be super helpful for us as we unpack some of these biblical ideas.

That's so good. Reminds me of the first time I tried to read a book in Spanish. I definitely didn't get it right. Thought it was talking about something very different than what I was actually talking about.

I'm not gonna ask a follow up question to that.

Don't ask a follow up question. Would you like me to read the next scripture?

Yeah, let's read the next scripture.

So continuing on in the biblical narrative, we started in Genesis with the Holy Spirit forming and filling creation. Then we talked briefly about the Holy Spirit forming the nation of Israel and filling this nation with the presence of God in the temple. Now we're reading in Ezekiel chapter 36, verse 25-27. Where we're told this: "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away. You will no longer worship idols, and I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations". That's Ezekiel 36:25-27.

Yeah, I think this is so cool because so Ezekiel was a prophet and for the most part, what the prophets did was continually call out the nation of Israel for the ways that they were getting it wrong, for the ways that they were not representing God well to the rest of the world. But the hope of the prophets that they share is what we find in this verse. That God is promising to put his spirit into us and to help us follow him, to help us look like him to the rest of the world. And we actually, as followers of Jesus, have that same confident hope that Ezekiel is communicating to the Israelites. And yeah, can you read the next verse? 'Cause that's where it talks about it.

Yup, next verse is Philippians 2:13, "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him".

Right, so this is literally just another way of saying what we just read in Ezekiel. That it is God's spirit in us that helps us to follow his decrees and be careful to obey his regulations. And then here, in the new Testament, we read again an iteration of the same thing. It is God working in us to transform us, to give us the desire to actually do what he's asked us to do.

It's so good. Question.


So you described the prophets as people who call out the people of God when they're not doing the things they're supposed to be doing. So does that mean whenever I people out 'cause they're not doing what they're supposed to be doing, that I'm a prophet?

No, not necessarily.

Wait, why not?

That is not what that means.

What are you talking about? What about if it's on like Twitter?

What? Oh, especially not if it's on Twitter.



Huh, okay.


Maybe we need to do a future episode on the role of prophets.

That could be really helpful...

What if I just start calling myself prophet Mehan?

I think I might have to leave.

Okay, back to you, Caitlyn.

Anyways. No, that's actually a good question. I think that...

Thank you.

Yeah, I think the cool thing about prophets is that they were people who were like selected by God, and like given his spirit, given his word, to be able to communicate with the people on behalf of God in times where, again, it just wasn't going well. And so what they did was very similar to what the Holy Spirit actually us in us today, was help convict us of the wrong things that we are doing, the things that don't look like Jesus and also help remind us of the truth and the hope that we have because God loves us and he has not given up on us.

That's good.

Cool, so anyways, I think something that, what we're gonna go look at in the next passage is like how this plays out. So God's spirit working in us to transform us to look more like Jesus, this is how it plays out.

All right, so this is Galatians chapter 5, verses 23-25. Starting on verse 22: "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. There is no law against these things. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives".

Yeah, so this gets me excited for a couple of reasons. The very first line in that passage is "The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives". I think one of the ways that I personally have gotten tripped up in the past is when I have tried to do the job of the Holy Spirit for him. And I'm just like, "Oh, if I just try harder and work harder, I will be able to produce goodness, and faithfulness," and like patience is the one that gets me every single time. Like if I just like try harder, I will be more patient. But what this passage reminds me of is that it is literally not possible for me to produce that kind of fruit in my life, because that is not what naturally comes out of me. But the beautiful thing is, is that's what naturally comes out of the Holy Spirit.

It's so good.

And he is in me. And so what I get to do is I get to partner with him and let him produce that kind of fruit in my life.

That's so good.

So based on that, all these passages that we've just read, I hope what you're seeing is that from the very beginning and throughout the entire biblical story, the Holy Spirit has been at work to form and fill the people of God so that we can look more like him. Look more like the image of God. And so that's like a really cool idea, but what we want to get to now is like, how does that play out practically in our lives? Like how the heck do we actually allow the spirit of God to work in us, to transform us? So I'm gonna pitch that question to you. What has it looked like for the Holy Spirit to like work in your life?

Yeah, I mean, I think the thing that's so cool about this is the fact that when we begin a relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit fills us. And from that point on the Holy Spirit wants to form us. We, in Switch, talk about discipleship as this process of becoming like Jesus for the sake of others. And it's really cool that the Holy Spirit is the one that is like driving the engine of this vehicle we call discipleship. And so for me, a lot of what it comes back to is really what we've been talking about this entire series, this spiritual practice of silence and solitude, which is where we make space to experience the presence of God. Like when I first became a Christian, I knew it was really important to spend time with God, but it took a while to actually be able to appreciate how important it is to start to see this fruit being produced in my life. So when I first became a Christian, I was sort of a scumbag. Did a lot of things I shouldn't do, said a lot of things I shouldn't have said, and the Holy Spirit helped open my eyes to the harm I was causing other people. And ultimately to the harm that I was causing to me, the Holy Spirit convicted me of these sins, and showed me a better path forward. And it was through that eye opening awareness that came from the Holy Spirit that I began this process of repenting of those things, turning away from them and turning to God. And again, at the very beginning, it honestly looked a lot like being addicted to porn, being a jerk to everybody I meet, only trying to get girls to like me so that I would feel like I'm actually like important and lovable, instead of just being confident in who Jesus says I am. And it was just icky. Like I wasn't a great person. And over time, I've seen the Holy Spirit time and time again open my eyes to, "Ooh, that thing that I did doesn't line up with who Jesus says I am. So I wanna ask God to help me be free from that". And so when I become aware of what those things are, I just open myself up to God and say, "Hey God, I ask you to forgive me of the sin and to help me move forward". And what I found is that through just that simple awareness, acknowledgement, and asking God for help that the Holy Spirit has continued to make me more like him. I'd like to think that today, eight years into my journey of following Jesus, I'm a lot less of a jerk, that I say less things that I shouldn't say. I still say some things that I shouldn't say, that is very real.

It happens, still a process.

And I do a lot less things that I know I shouldn't do. Now, obviously it's still in process, like you said, because I'm not even close to perfect, but day in and day out, I've seen the Holy Spirit work in me and help me become more like Jesus, and it really has been being open to that prompting of, "Ooh, I shouldn't have done that thing". And instead of trying to justify it or explain it or make excuses, I just try to bring it to God. And when it's something that I do that harms somebody else, I wanna confess that to them, and apologize and ask for their forgiveness too. And that did not happen before I became Christian. It's only through the Holy Spirit prompting me, leading me, and guiding me into those types of conversations that I've actually been having them. And my goodness, the freedom and healing that comes on the other side is really, really cool.

That's so good. I think that that is like such cool evidence of the spirit of God working in us to give us the desires to do things that we normally wouldn't wanna do, right? Like it's a little bit humiliating to like confess to people and to like ask for their forgiveness. Like normally we don't naturally have the desire to do that. We have the desire, like you said, to justify ourselves, to like kind of hide, retreat, self protect, but the evidence of the Holy Spirit working in you and in your life, the evidence of this Holy Spirit working me in my life is that, I don't want to do that anymore. I don't wanna do this retreat, self protect, justify myself thing anymore. I actually want to bring it into the light and to ask for forgiveness. And so that's just like, that's just evidence of what it looks like for the Holy Spirit to work in you, to transform you, to have desires that are literally contrary to our natural human tendencies. The other thing that kind of sticks out to me is that, this is not, even though it's the Holy Spirit who works in us to produce these things in us, it's not like we just get to sit here and... Wait for him to do that. The end of the passage that we read in Galatians says, "Since we are living by the spirit, let us follow the spirits leading in every part of our lives". So it's not a passive thing. There's actually like an active thing that's happening when we follow somebody's lead, right? So what does that kinda look like? You mentioned like prompting from the Holy Spirit, what does that kind of mean in like really practical terms?

Yeah, I mean, I think the thing is, is like when we choose to follow Jesus and we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit we'll show us things that we wouldn't know in our own. And it's not always like this crazy, like vision that we're given or this loud voice that calls to us in the night. Sometimes it's literally this gentle nudging. This thought that comes into your brain that doesn't seem to come from you. And early on in my faith, it was really easy to just sort of ignore those and push those aside. But I've tried to learn how to listen to those and see where they lead, because I think for me, at least, that's oftentimes how the Holy Spirit speaks. Is through those little thoughts that don't seem to come from me and invite me to do things that I wouldn't necessarily want to do on my own. But as soon as I'm aware of it, it's like, "Oh, no, that that's definitely the right thing to do. That's the most loving thing to do. The most kind thing to do. The most humble thing to do. I should probably do that thing". And so it's like this awareness that comes and then this invitation to respond. Because like you just pointed out, I think that's so brilliant, since we're living by the spirit, let us follow the spirit's leading in every part of our lives. The thing that is so true about the way that God works is he invites us to respond. He doesn't force us to do X, Y, and Z. He invites us to respond. Jesus says come and follow me. And sometimes we say no.

Right, right?

But when we say, yes, that's when we see the Holy Spirit work in really powerful ways. And so when I think about what this might look like for you, I think it could be that thing where right now, as we're having this conversation and you're watching this video, there's this thought popping into your mind of something that's a part of your life that you know it shouldn't be. Maybe because it's hurting you, maybe it's because it's hurting somebody else, or maybe because it just makes you feel a little icky. And you don't want that feeling to be there anymore. That might be the Holy Spirit inviting you to let go of that thing. To confess to God, to confess to other people, and ask someone for help so that you can move past it. And the good thing is, is the someone that you ask for help can absolutely be God, because the Holy Spirit that is making you aware of this thing also wants to give you the strength to move past that thing. And it could also look like tomorrow when you're walking through your day at school and you see that person that just drives you nuts. Maybe because they're loud, obnoxious, rude, whatever. Maybe the Holy Spirit might prompt you to actually pray for them, to actually ask the question of, "I wonder why they act the way they do". Maybe it's because they feel a little bit insecure and they're just trying to get attention. Maybe it's because of something else entirely that's going on at home that we don't even know about. But I think sometimes a holy spirit invites us to see things in a totally different way, so that we can live more like Jesus.

That's so good. And yeah, as like a final piece of encouragement, when we read that passage in Ezekiel, it talks about how, "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you and you'll be clean. Your filth will be washed away".

Come on, Ezekiel.

And what John echoes in 1 John, is the idea that when we confess our sins to God, he is faithful and just, and he will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all of the icky unrighteous things that we do. And so if you are feeling that nudging and that prompting, what I want you to know is that you can be confident that God's response to you is that. Is to fulfill his promise to make you clean, to help wash away those icky things in those parts of you. Because from the very beginning of the story, he has wanted to form us and fill us so that we look more like Jesus.

Come on. With that, that's all we've got. Thank you for joining us for this week of Switch Uncut. If you've got questions, thoughts, anything, comment it down below, we'd to be able to continue to go on this journey with you of becoming like Jesus for the sake of others. If you haven't already, make sure you like the video, subscribe, and maybe share it with somebody who doesn't have any idea who the Holy Spirit is, or how that works.

It's really good.

This might be a really great introduction for them. With that being said, thanks for joining us, and we'll see you next week.

Bye guys.

See y'all.
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