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James Merritt - Power Surge

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    James Merritt - Power Surge
TOPICS: Ephessians Bible Study, Hard times

I want you to stand to your feet right now. If you don't mind everybody stand up and I want you to say something. And before I ask you to repeat it with me, some of you don't believe it. Some of you do believe it, but you don't live like you believe it. But there are some of you that believe it and you live like it. My prayer is that the first two groups will be in the third group by the end of the day. There's something that I say every time I go to preach anywhere on the planet. You don't know it, but I'll say it under my breath. I say it every time I walk up to this platform. I say it when I get up every morning. I believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Now I want you to say that out loud with me, ready? I believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Let's say it one more time. I believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Okay, take a seat. I have several of these in my home, and I always have one next to the computer. It's called a surge protector. And if you don't know what one is, you better find out in a hurry cause I found out the hard way and I had some things fried in my home and I'll tell you, I learned my lesson and they're called surge protectors. Then their job is to protect your appliances from damage and that can... I even found out that without these, your home could burn down. They're so viable. Now, a power surge, if you don't know what it is, it's a brief burst of excess electrical power. It lasts lasted 1/1000 of a second. And yet it is so powerful. It could fry your refrigerator, air conditioner, computer, and yes, it literally can start a fire that can burn your house down. So you get one of these and what it does, it absorbs this excess energy and it sends it to a grounding wire where the power dissipates.

Now, physically and financially, I'm grateful for these. Couldn't do without them. Because they do protect you from what's dangerous and what's destructive. But I believe on the other hand, spiritually, what we desperately need in our church, what we desperately need in the church, what we definitely need in individual eyes of individual believers is a power surge. The problem is too many believers, in my opinion, without maybe even knowing it, you have a surge protector in your life. You want a little power, but not too much. You want a little bit of God, but not too much because you know that if you really have the power of God in your life, like you ought to have, your life would be different. Your priorities would be different. The way you manage your money would be different. The way you manage your time would be different. The way you speak would be different. There would be some changes coming. And I believe that a lot of us have surge protectors.

So when that power surge even begins to come back, we think it's about to come. We somehow, instead of absorbing, we kinda let it dissipate. And I'll tell you why I know that. There was a survey that was taken recently by the Reveal Research Project. They were looking for modern day Joshua's. And if you remember the story of Joshua, Joshua and Caleb, two great men of God, they were sent out to spy the promised land. They come back to the nation of Israel. They say, "We can take this. This is what God's promised. Let's go". But everybody else said, "Oh no, there are giants on the land. There are too many obstacles, too many problems. We can't do it". And they rebelled against God. Joshua was filled with the Holy Spirit. Caleb was filled with the Holy Spirit. They had a passion for God and a fire for God and a trust for God, but nobody else did.

So you remember the story. They had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years because they didn't believe God, they didn't trust God, they wouldn't obey God. And yes, Joshua and Caleb got punished for something they didn't do. They had to suffer the consequences for all these believers who rejected the leadership of the spirit of God. So this company surveyed a thousand church members looking for modern day Joshua's. They were looking for people who are so propelled by their faith, that they love God passionately, they obeyed God completely, that God dominated every part of their life. So they asked them this one question, "How many believe you're living your Christian life to the fullest"? Not did I want you to raise your hand, don't like to ask you that question right now, you claim to be a Christian. You claim to be a follower of Jesus. You claim to know Christ honestly.

So how many of you would say you're living your Christian life to the fullest. They interviewed a thousand Christians. Guess what percent said they were? You ready for this? 11%. 11% said, "Oh yeah, I'm living my Christian life to the fullest". So you think about that. Nine out of 10 believers basically said, "We're living below our means. We're wandering in the wilderness. We were not taking advantage of all the power that God has for us. We have a relationship with God, we know God, God is in all of us, but we're not all in for Him". I'll put that in perspective. There are 2.2 billion Christians in the world of people who claim they are Christians. If this is accurate, that means nine out of 10 Christians in the world are walking in the wilderness. They're not living the Spirit-filled life. That means 2 billion Christians are not with God, not for God, not all of God like thy ought to be. They're not exercising anywhere near the spiritual horsepower that's available to them.

So my question is what would happen in our church if every one of those who claim to be followers of Jesus every day had a power surge? What would happen inside the church and outside the church if all of a sudden 2 billion believers around the world had a power surge? Well, the good news is can happen. And I know that because of a passage we're gonna study today in a book called Ephesians. If you have your discipleship booklet with you, it's on page 34. You can look at the passage there. And we've been in a series of Ephesians. If you're a guest of ours a day, we've been calling unbelievable because the book of Ephesians is all about an unbelievable God who has done unbelievable things for us and wants to do unbelievable things in us.

And so we're here in this book of Ephesians. And what we're about to read today is this. We need a power surge of the Holy Spirit. We need a power surge in the church. We need a power surge in the home. We need a power surge in our families. We need a power surge in our marriages. We need a power surge. And here's why I think this is so important. After serving as a pastor for four decades, I am convinced and I've met a lot of them. The average Christian is so subnormal that if they ever got normal, people would think they're abnormal. I believe that the average Christian is so subnormal that if ever got normal, people would think they are abnormal. So I want you to get a thought in your heart right now, the Spirit-filled life is normal Christianity. That's exactly what it is. It is the will of God for every believer every day to be consciously, continuously, conspicuously filled with the Holy Spirit.

Now here's the good news. The Spirit-filled life is not for just superstar Christians. It's not just for professional pastors. It's not just for seminary graduates. It's not just for TV evangelist. It is for everyone who knows Jesus. And in this passage in Ephesians chapter five, Paul tells us three things that ought to be true about us and our relationship with the Holy Spirit. And if they are true, we can all live every day, a super charged Spirit-filled life. And let me just stop right here. If I've got already lit a fire in your heart, if I've not already given you this hunger, that I don't know what you're about to say, but whatever you're about to say, I'm all in. Whatever you're about to say, I wanna hear it. Cause I wanna tell you I'm tired of living below my means. There's got to be more to the Christian life than what I'm experiencing. Then you ought to be pumped and ready to go as we begin this message, three quick things.

Number one, I should expect the filling of the Holy Spirit. I should expect the filling of the Holy Spirit. Now Paul begins with these words. He says, "Do not get drunk on wine". Great advice. All right, I think that's good. "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery instead be filled with the spirit". Five short words, be filled with the spirit. Five words, taming with power, exploding with power. First of all, that verb be filled is an imperative. In other words, this is not a suggestion. It's not a request. It's not a good idea. This is a command. Paul says, "Be filled with the spirit". Now that means if you're not filled with the Holy Spirit, you're not just missing out. You're messing up. It's not a mistake. It's a sin. As a matter of fact, it means you're outside the will of God. You say, "How do you know that"? Because of the verse right before this verse, we talked about last week, Paul said this, "We are to know, understand and do the will of God". Then right after that, he says, "Be filled with the spirit".

Put those two things together. Here's what I know about you and me. It is the will of God every day that you and I be filled with the spirit. Now to understand, so you don't get confused. The Holy Spirit lives within every Christian. If you are a believer, you have the Holy Spirit. That's not what's at stake here. Here's the problem. The Holy Spirit is resident in every believer, but He's not precedent over every believer. In other words, He may be in your house, but it doesn't mean He runs your house. He may have a room in your house. It doesn't mean He reigns over your house. And if you're not, if He's not, you're living a disobedient life. He says, "Be filled with the spirit". Then the Bible's plural, is plural. He says, "All of you be filled". In other words, he says, "Look, if you're a believer, it doesn't matter how long you've been a believer, doesn't matter if you've been a believer for five seconds, five minutes, five hours, five days, five months, five weeks, five years, five decades. It doesn't matter. If you are a believer, you should be filled with the Holy Spirit". Then it's in the present tense.

Now, why is that important? In the Greek language, when something that's in the present tense means you do it on a continuous basis. So He doesn't say get filled. He says, be filled. In other words, this is not a one time event. It is a continuous process. So let me just stop right here in this message. And to those of you who claim to be a believer in Christ, you claim to be a follower of Christ. Let me just ask this question. Right now at this moment, are you filled with the Holy Spirit, right now? Now you might say, "Well, I was filled yesterday". Well, yesterday's filling, won't carry it today. And today's filling won't carry over until tomorrow. One of the things I get to do, I'm not much around the house. Teresa will tell you that I'm allergic to housework, I'm allergic to yard work, I'm allergic to a lot of work, okay? But, I'm just not much around the house, but there's one thing I get to do every morning. I get to make her coffee every single morning, I get to make her coffees. So one of the few things that I get to do.

Now let me do what I don't do. I don't make her coffee the night before, let it sit there overnight, take it to her cold. Right, I don't do that. I make it fresh. I want it hot. And that's exactly the way we're to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need a fresh fire every day, cause there's not an automatic reset button on your heart. Every day, you gotta seek the filling of the spirit. Every day, you've gotta surrender to the filling of the Holy Spirit. So here's where we are. You don't choose for the Holy Spirit to live in you. Once you get saved, He comes to live in you. You don't choose to live in you, but you do choose whether to be led by the Holy Spirit. And here's what you need to understand. The Holy Spirit doesn't share a seat, the Holy Spirit doesn't room with anybody. Now you can fill your heart up with anything you want to, but you cannot fill it with a Holy Spirit and something else.

So if you're not filled with the Holy Spirit, let me just tell you this right now. If your heart is not filled completely with the Holy Spirit, whatever else is filling your heart will be unfulfilling. So I put it this way. The only way to be fulfilled as a Christian is to be filled full of the Holy Spirit. Can I get a witness? And I worked on that five weeks. Show me some love here. Okay, the only way to be fulfilled as a Christian is to be filled full of the Holy Spirit. So Paul says, "Be filled with the Holy Spirit". So let me tell you what that means. That means whether you're a pastor or a truck driver, whether you're a missionary or a mechanic, doesn't matter every single day as a believer, you should expect to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Now Paul says something else. If that is true, if I should expect to be filled with the Holy Spirit, then I can experience the filling of the Holy Spirit. If I should expect it, then I can experience it.

Now again, I wanna make sure every believer understands something. Whether or not you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have the Holy Spirit. And I will make sure you hear that. He never leaves you empty. As a matter of fact, He never leaves you at all. The problem is this. When you're not filled with the Holy Spirit, you don't lose His presence, but you do lose His power. You don't lose His presence, He's with you, but you do lose His power. You don't ever have to say, "Holy Spirit, would you be in my life today"? He's in your life today. "Holy Spirit would you be with me"? He is with you. He's always in you. He's always with you. He's always for you. However, what we have to do is consciously and continuously submit to His power. Now Paul does something that I faced. I still think that this is kinda strange, I understand it. But it makes it... it's really kinda strange.

If I'd gone to Paul 2000 years ago, and I would say, "Paul, you talked about Spirit-filled life. I wanna be filled with Holy Spirit. Can you kinda give me a simile? Can you give me an analogy? What is the Holy Spirit? What is that? What does the Spirit-filled life like"? I would have never dreamed He had gone to liquor and alcohol. I just would have never thought that. I mean, it was kinda shocking, but here's what Paul says. He says, "Do not get drunk, but be filled with the spirit". Now, Paul is making a comparison between being drunk and being filled with the spirit. But when you think about it, it's a great analogy. Now I've got a lot of biases. One of them is I've never been drunk. Cause I have never had a drink. One thing I've learned, you have to drink to get drunk. I've never had a drink, so I've never been drunk, but I'm sure there's some of you today that have had that blessing to experience for being drunk. Or you have seen someone or know someone has been drunk. We've all seen somebody that's drunk.

Now, you don't want to see what's true. When you're under the influence of alcohol, you are literally under the control of alcohol. So when you get drunk, whatever alcohol tells you to do, that's what you do. And you do things when you're drunk you'd never do when you're sober and whatever the alcohol tells you to say, you say what the alcohol tells you to say. And you say things when you're drunk, you will never say when you're sober and the way you behave, you behave the way the alcohol tells you to behave. Whatever the alcohol tells you to make that's why you make and you behave in a way drunk you had never behaved sober. Why? Cause you're under the control of alcohol. And so here's the problem. When you start consuming alcohol, if you consume too much, it starts consuming you.

So think about this. Now this is an easy question, all right? How does a person get drunk? So like tell me. Yeah, you drink. It's not hard to stay with me. Work with here, alright? You drink, okay? That's how you get drunk. Well, how do you stay drunk? You keep drinking, right? You just keep drinking. So what's Paul saying? Paul is saying, "Look, you've got to continuously submit to being filled with the Holy Spirit and to do that you've gotta have as much thirst for the spirit of God as a drunk has for alcohol". Do you have that kind of thirst being honest? By the way that turned to be filled, is a nautical term, if you like to sail, you'll love this, it's a nautical term. He referred to the filling of a ship sails by the wind. So the ship would go wherever the wind blows it. Jesus was talking to a man named Nicodemus one time. He said, "You know what the Holy Spirit is like? He's like a wind that blows wherever He wishes".

Here's what Paul was saying. Every day, when you get out of bed, you gotta think about your life like it's a sailboat and you hoist those sails up. And then you turn those sales to the wind of the Holy Spirit. So you allow the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow you wherever He wants you to go. So here's the way it works. When you submit to the Holy Spirit, when you say, "Holy Spirit, from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, I want you to fill me with yourself". Here's what you will find yourself saying: "Holy Spirit, I want you to take me today, wherever you want me to go. And wherever you want me to go, that's where I'll go. Holy Spirit, I want you to lead me to do whatever you want me to do today. And whatever you lead me to do, that's what I'm going to do. Holy Spirit, I want you to make me to be today, whatever you want me to be and whatever you want me to be, that's what I'm going to be".

So let me just get real practical. About three, four weeks ago, I shared with you that the next year or first part of next year, I'm going to Panama to the country of Panama. They have given us an unbelievable opportunity. We took a group there last year. We had such a great time. All this has never happened in their history. All of the Baptist churches in Panama, all of them from one end of the country to the other, they've asked me at our church, they've asked us to come back to Panama. They wanna do a nationwide evangelistic emphasis. They wanna get just not Baptist churches, but every evangelical church they can. They wanna get every church together. They wanna do a solid week of evangelism. And then on Sunday night, they want me to preach in a big stadium in Panama city and they wanna see God do something that's never been done in that country ever before. It's an unbelievable opportunity. We've got 30 openings.

Right now, we've got 15 people signed up. There's still 15 people that we need to go on this trip. We need you to go. There's some of you out there right now, you've never gone on a mission trip. You've never thought about going on a mission trip. Let me just say this to you. I'm gonna pray, right... and you just close your eyes and I'm gonna pray right now. Holy Spirit of God, I want you in this building right here at our Mill Creek Campus to call out 15 people. How will you put a fire in the hearts of 15 people? I won't right now. Holy Spirit of God for you to say, I want you to go to Panama.

Now, let me just share this with you very quickly. If you've ever been on a mission trip, just pretend you're going to Hawaii, but it's a mission trip. That'll help you, okay? Panama is a healthy country. You can drink the water. It's not bad. Nobody's gonna kill you. Nobody's going to shoot you. I promise if they do, I'll do the funeral for free. Not a problem, but listen, there is no place in the world, some of you maybe know this. There's no place in the world where you can experience the Holy Spirit like you can on a mission trip. They're wide open to the gospel. We were in a university. They ask us to go into a secular university, walk into classrooms and share the gospel. So I'm gonna ask at least 15 more of you to say, "You know what, pastor? I'll go with you". It's going to be a fantastic week. Why? Because I don't want you to not only to experience the filling of the Holy Spirit, I want you to see what it's like when you go to a country like that and you can do it here by the way. But I want you to see what it's like to go filled with the Holy Spirit and see how God can use you to transform lives.

So Paul says, number one, "I can expect to be filled with the spirit". He says, number two, "I should experience the Holy Spirit". Well, those two things are true that this will be true. He says, "I will express the filling of the Holy Spirit". I mean, that makes sense. If I can expect the feeling, if I can experience the feeling, then I will express the feeling. See, here's what I want you to understand. When the Holy Spirit is in complete control of all that is inside of you, you can't help, but let it come out of you. You can't. I'll say about this the other day. And I'm gonna talk about this in just a moment. I've met some people that I knew the moment I met them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. I have and I hope you have too, because you don't wanna hit me the other day. I've never met a Spirit-filled Christian that had to tell me he was Spirit-filled. I've never met that person. You don't have to.

When the Holy Spirit... when you're full of the Holy Spirit, you have to let Him out. So you may be asking the $20,000 question right now, "Hey pastor, okay. But how do I know that I'm filled with the Holy Spirit"? It's a great question. What are the marks of the Spirit-filled life. I mean, look, you know this, if somebody's drunk, they don't have to tell you, right? You just kinda know it, right? You just know they're drunk. When someone's filled with the Holy Spirit, they don't tell you either. We've all met people. At least I hope you have cause I have. And the moment you're in the present, you just know, "Man, this person is filled with Holy Spirit".

You may, some people, you just know, man, they gotta walk with God, that's a cut above just the average believer. I think I've told you this story before. Probably the most Spirit-filled believer, the most own fire Christian I have ever met in my life was Pistol Pete Maravich. I've never to this day, met anybody. When I met pistol Pete, I was in Mississippi pastoring a church. We were doing a Starlight crusade in a football stadium. And I was preaching. I was bringing all these celebrities in to draw the crowd. And so Pete was one of the guests that we brought in. Pete drove it for Louisiana, called me when he got to the hotel, I went out to the hotel and I met him. I never will forget it. He was so funny. Cause the moment, I mean, he was like heroes. He's love, you've heard of Pistol Pete Maravich. He was a hero to me, right?

And I couldn't believe it when I met Pistol Pete Mavavich, had all these questions I want to ask Pistol Pete. "Hey, what was it like to play for the Boston Celtics? What was it like to play with Larry Bird? What was it like to score 44 points a game? What was it like to score 65 points in Athens against my Bulldogs? What was that like"? And I get there and you don't even want to talk about Jesus. I'm a carnal guy in the group. I'm the pastor. "Oh, we will," I say, "Hey, what was it like to play Larry Bird"? He said, "It wasn't a big deal". But let me tell you about Jesus. I've just never met anybody. I just so filled with the spirit. He was so filled with a power of God and a love for God and the zeal for God. And you know what happened? It was contagious cause you don't want after five minutes with him, how would he go preach? I'm ready to go, man, let's go. Let's go charge hell with a water Pistol. He was a pistols empty. Let's do it anyway. I mean, man, I could see he was filled.

Now, so here's what Paul does. He says, "You know what? Let me show you what a Spirit-filled life looks like. Let me show you some ways you can know you are filled with the Holy Spirit". Now what he says may surprise you. But listen to what he says. He says, "First of all, a Spirit-filled life is worshipful. A Spirit-filled life is worshipful". He says, "Be filled with the spirit". Then he says this, "Speaking to one another with Psalms, hymns and songs from the spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord". Our mission statements to point people to Jesus and His Father and live cross shaped life. And we have a strategy to do that. We wanna grow people in four areas; worship, disciple, serve and sing, it's not coincidental that the first one we put on that list is worship because one mark of a Spirit-filled life, is you've got a heart soul full of God, you want to worship the Lord joyfully and enthusiastically.

So since I'm in the neighborhood, let me just go ahead and say something right now. If you're truly field with the Holy Spirit, buckle up. You don't wanna just wander in here in time for the sermon. You wanna get here in time for the singing and y'all would get an amen to that, that's okay. If you're truly filled the Holy Spirit, you don't just get here in time for the message, you wanna get here in time for the music. And let me tell you why? Somehow we've gotten this idea where the only part of the worship refers that really matters is when this guy gets up and teaches the word of God. And obviously that's a big part of the service, but let me just kind of correct one thing about that. Do you know why it's so important that we get here early? You know why it's so important we get in here and we worship the Lord and we sing together? Cause let me tell you what we're doing.

Here's what he said, "My part of worship is when I stand up here and I teach you the word of God, our part of worship is we come and we sing together and we praise together and we worship together. Cause we're actually doing it to each other". because let me tell you how this works. I had a guy come out to me at 9:15. He said, "You know, I just never been into worship". And that's what number one worship is all about you, it's about him. He said, "Well, number two, I can't sing". I now said, "I know I've heard you". But this was a game where you misunderstand something. When everybody... when we sing here's what we listened to. We listened to this. But when we worship God, He doesn't listen to this. He listens to this. And by the way, you may say, "I'm just not into that worship". You better start getting into it cause when you read the book of Revelation, that's about what we're gonna be doing. So y'all do it right now. Y'all to get her enough to kinda get... this is a dress rehearsal, okay?

So I'm just being honest. I'm just telling you, this is not what I said. This is what he said. He said, if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you wanna be here for the worship. See, before I speak to you out of the Bible, here's what you're doing. You don't even realize it. I see, I listened to people seeing behind me. I'll pick on Jack all the time. Jack's my gator buddy, okay? Jack you can't sing. I'm just being honest. You're a prisoner. So you're behind a few bars, can't find the right key. You just can't sing. But I'll love to hear Jack sing. I do. You know what Jack, when you say it encourages me. It reminds me, I'm not in the battle by myself. We got an army out here. I'm not the only guy who's gonna walk out into my car today and love Jesus. I got an army of people here that love Jesus. And when we sing and we worship the Lord and we raise our hands and we clap, it reminds me, man, we're in it together. God says, "I've got many people in this city. Don't be discouraged".

And let me tell you this, by the way, while I'm in the neighborhood, there's nothing that will reach people outside the church then when they walk inside a church and they see us in here worshiping like we believe what we're worshiping and excited about the God that we worship and passionate about the God that loves us so much. He sent his son to die for our sins. When they see a fire in our heart and they say, "I don't know what you got, but whatever you got, that's what I walked". Spirit-filled Christian is worship. Oh, it gets better. He says, "if your spirit field you'll be grateful". Listen to this. He says always giving thanks to God, our Father, for everything in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The spirit for believer is a fateful believer. Listen, let me just say a word to some of us in this room. I've learned and I'm learning the hard way. You don't have a choice in getting older. You don't. You don't have a choice. Let me tell you the good news and the bad news about living a long time. The good news is if you live a long time, you experience a lot of things. The bad news is if you live a long time, you're going to be old.

Let me tell you something I'm learning. And I'll say this a lot to the Lord. Lord, I can't keep from growing old, but God don't ever let me act old. There is nothing that gets on my nerves like a crabby old person. I'm just being honest. Be grateful. Be thankful. You may not even think you have a lot to be thankful for. I was going the day, there's a 95 year old woman in a prayer meeting. They have testimonies. And the pastor said, "I'm out of here, got anything to be thankful for". She hit her feet. 95 years old. She's a preacher. Only have two teeth, but thank God they meet. I mean, you can always find something to be thankful for, right? Be grateful. Be thankful. We're about to come up here in about four weeks. We're coming up on Thanksgiving day.

Can I tell you something? If you're a child of God filled with the Holy Spirit every day is Thanksgiving day. Every day is Thanksgiving day. I don't know if anybody would be more grateful to be where they are right now than us. Don't you think about this. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you're more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week. If you've never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pains of starvation, you're better off than 500 million people in the world right now. By the very fact that you're in church today, without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you're more blessed than 3 million people in the world. If you found food in the refrigerator, clothes on your bag, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you're richer than 75% of this world.

If you got money in the bank or in your wallet or spare change in a dish, you rank among the top 8% of the world's wealthy. If you can read one sentence in one book, you're more blessed than over 2 million people in the world who cannot read at all. A Spirit-filled Christian doesn't waste his life griping about what he doesn't have. He's pinched his life grateful for what he does have. Your Spirit-filled will be worshipful. Your Spirit-filled, be thankful. And then he says, "If your Spirit-filled you'll be thought". You'll be thoughtful. So what do you mean? Keep reading. He said submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Here's a good one. See if this wouldn't change the world, a Spirit-filled believer is never interested in being in first place. A spirit-filled believer wants to be in second place. A Spirit-filled believer doesn't say, "Let me tell you how you can serve me". A spirit believer says, "Tell me how I can serve you".

They submit to one another. They're always willing to find someone or fight on, or when they do find someone and they realize, "You know what? You really shouldn't have authority in this area. I already do". They submit to you in this area, you have been married for 43 years. I'm happier. I have a deliriously happy marriage. I'm just being honest. We've got a typical marriage like everybody else. I'll tell people all the time. We haven't had an argument in 43 years and we've had discussions you could hear three miles away. We've never had an argument, okay? We've been married 43 years. I love her more today than I've ever loved her in my life. We just had a little bit of getaway last week. We're just best friends. I am just, I'm a happy husband. I leave a happy home. I come back to a happy home, but you know what? I wish I could take credit so I figured it out. We kind of fell into it. You don't want to lose one. We have such a great marriage. We've learned the art of mutual submission.

Let me tell you what I mean. I figured out early on that there are some areas where Teresa has more wisdom and more ability than I do. She's a lot better money manager than I am. She just is. So she managed, she's always managed the money in our marriage. She's got a lot more common sense than I do. She didn't have enough not to marry me, but she has a lot of common sense that I don't have. So she runs the household. She makes the major purchases for the home and I'm glad to let her do it. I gladly submit to her wisdom and her counsel and her leadership. Now on the other hand, I've got to step up and I've got to give leadership, right? So there are about maybe seven or eight Saturdays a year. I'm gonna be gone all day. Cause I'm going to see Georgia play football. And she submits to my leadership in that area of our marriage. Okay, so we have a great marriage. It's kind of a mutual submission thing. But the point I'm making is this. The point is whenever and wherever you need to submit, you're willing to submit if you're filled with the Holy Spirit.

So as we kinda wrap all this up, here's the question of the day. It is the question of the moment, it's the question of every moment of every day for every believer. Here's the question. Am I filled with a Holy Spirit right now? Am I filled with the Holy Spirit right now? Now the only three possible answers. Yes, no, I don't know. They're three, Yes I am. No, I'm not. I don't know if I am or not. So I wanna help you answer the question. If you're not a believer, if you're not a follower of Jesus, you're not only not filled with the Holy Spirit, you don't have the Holy Spirit. You're out here on an Island by yourself. You're getting it done on your own. And by the way, it's not gonna work out well for you. You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but to do that, you've got to come to Jesus cause they go together. You cannot have one without the other. You come to Jesus, you get the spirit, you don't come to Jesus, never get it.

Now you say, "Okay, well I'm a believer, all right". Let's stop right there. Is there sin in your life? This unconfessed, unrepentant of sin? Are there things in your life right now that you know you're doing you ought to stop? Are there things in your life you're not doing that you know you ought to start? Then if that's true, then you're not filled with the Holy Spirit. Now you can be, and you should be, if you choose to be. And the reason why some of you don't want to be is cause you know what that means. I will have to change the way I handle my money. Yes, I will have to change the way I speak and talk. Yeah, I will have to change the level of my involvement in God's church. Okay, I get it. But at least be honest enough to say, "You know, I'm really not".

So let's just close with this. I wasn't gonna tell this. I told it the first stories. I better tell you the second one, it wouldn't be fair. Actually had a closing illustration, which is, I think a great one that I just didn't fill it to use it. So I'm gonna kind of do this. This is a transparent thing with me. I mentor eight guys a year. They've done it for about six years now. There are so many in this room. So I found out the other day that one of the guys that I mentor who is very opinionated, which is all right, very outspoken, which is fine. But I found out that he doesn't give one dime to our church. And this was a guy I mentored for a year. Poured my life into him. One of the areas that we talk about in my mentoring is this whole area of stewardship and money, because one of the most important areas of your life, that reveal where you really are with God, whether you like it or not, is your checkbook. So we deal with that.

When I found that out, I was crushed. I was sitting on my back porch and I'm thinking I poured a year of my life into this guy, a year. I get the average person, okay, fit yourself, the church doesn't give any money to the church. That's okay. I'm not fussing to anybody. Just true. I mentored this guy, a year. I'm sitting there. I'm just, I'm going, "Where did I go wrong? Where did I fail? Where did I miss it"? And in the spirit of God spoke to me and He said this, "You're not the problem. He isn't filled with my spirit. You can talk to him til you're blue in the face. You know, you can go and I may still do it, haven't yet. I haven't so warm on day". But he said, what's your problem? I'll do just pray that the spirit of God would convict him. And the spirit of God would move him and trust me to work at him because anything you talk him into, somebody else would talk him out of it. But anything the spirit of God talks him into, nobody will talk him out of.

So I just closed a practical illustration. Let me just tell you why. I'm gonna believe her since I was nine years old. And I've lived my Christian life at times when I wasn't filled with the Holy Spirit. I did live in the flesh. I did play pick and cheese. Yeah, I got all a little bit you here, but I'm not doing this. Yeah I'll go here, but I'm not going there. Yeah, I'll give this, but I'm not giving that. I've been there. I've been right where you are. But for the most part of my life, I can say with a clear conscious before God not to brag, I've done all I know to do to live a Spirit-filled life. Cause I wanna live my Christian life to the fullest. Life is too short to live in underneath where you could be. Life is too short to leave all the spiritual horsepower on the table. It's too short. And who doesn't want everything God has for us in this life? Everything. So, what's the conclusion of the message? For once be filled with the spirit.
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