Mark Batterson - The X Factor
Welcome to National Community Church. All seven of our campuses, shout out to our extended family listening via podcast. Thanks for being a part of National Community Church. At all seven campuses, can I get a drum roll, can I get a drum roll. I love it, awesome. Hey, good news. Third party inspector checked every box this past week. Yep, and so that means that, check this out. We got a conditional certificate of occupancy. And a let our leadership summit happen at our new campus. And that means that we are on track, June 23rd, mark your calendar, we are going to do an all church consecration, get some worship in the walls. Pen some prayers, maybe on the walls. And excited about that moment for us as a church, all of our campuses gathering in that context.
And then that means we're also going to lock and load June 30 as a first service at that new campus, and so. Can we just praise God for some good news this last week. Well, a number of years ago, I was hiking the Inca Trail the Machu Picchu, one of the hardest hikes I've done, about four days. And there's a part of the hike where you go through something cald Dead Woman's Pass. And as we get up past 13,000 feet elevation, I start getting this throbbing headache, and you know why. Oxygen deprivation. And so fortunately, we had a guide who pulled out a can of pure oxygen. And I inhaled. Is it okay, over the next few weeks, if we open up a can of the Holy Spirit? Ah! And take a deep breath.
In fact, right now, would you just take a deep breath, and then let it back out. It has this amazing physiological effect, doesn't it? Listen, that's what happens when we begin to breathe in the Holy Spirit. Excited about where God is gonna take us over these next three weeks, a series called Breath. And if you have a Bible, you can open it. But I can't really tell you where to turn, 'cause we are gonna be all over the map. In fact, if you want, just head all the way back to Genesis, and we'll get there in just a moment. One of the mysteries of quantum mechanics is the fact that atoms are 99.99% empty space.
Now I don't understand that, but I'm fascinated by it. The size of an atom, dictated by how far its electrons orbit, and the outer orbit, which is called the electron shell, or atomic shell, is on average, 100,000 times larger than its nucleus, which is where it gets its mass. Now let me try to put that in perspective. When I go to a Nats game, I usually get some salted peanuts on the way into the game from one of those street vendors, 'cause it seems like a sin of omission not to. And so if that peanut, just a single peanut, was the nucleus of an atom, then the electron shell would be the size of that baseball stadium. As simply put, the atoms in your body are almost entirely empty space.
Now I want you to poke the person next to you, not too hard, poke the person next to you. It feels like you're touching them. Just like it feels like your butt is sitting in your seat. The quantum reality, well, you're not actually sitting in your seat. You're hovering over it ever so slightly. What you feel on the backside is some electric magnetic force of your electrons bumping into and pushing away from the electrons in the person next to you, or the electrons in the seat you're sitting on.
Now the reason you don't poke through that person, the reason you don't sit through that seat, is something called the poly exclusion principle but that's another mystery for another day. Now even more mysterious than these atoms that are almost entirely empty space, are these subatomic particles called quarks that are held together by massless particles called gluons. Again, don't get it, fascinated by it. Now let me get where this is going. There's an evolving theory within quantum mechanics that almost all the mass in our bodies comes from the kinetic energy of quarks and the binding energy of gluons.
Now I want you to hold that thought, and I'm gonna throw some scriptures at this, okay? For many, many years, I've been fascinated by a little phrase. You'll read right past it. It's Ephesians 1:23, and it describes God as him who fills all things in all ways. Think about it. If the atoms in your body are 99.99% empty space, that is a lot of real estate for God to work with. Oh, and the universe, yeah moving distance of about 93 billion light years. Lot of room for God to fill all things in all ways. The transcendence of God. He is bigger than big, the imminence of God. He is closer than close.
A W. Tozer said it this way, "God is above, but he's not pushed up. He's beneath, but he's not pressed down. He's outside, but he's not excluded. He's inside, but he's not confined. God is above all things, presiding. Beneath all things, sustaining. Outside all things embracing and inside all things, filling". Him who feels all things in all ways. Colossians 1:17 describes Christ as him who hold all things together. Think about that. This is where quantum mechanics meets quantum theology. God, is the gluon with a capital G. One more verse Acts 17:28. In Him we live and move and have our being. According to one estimate about 376 trillion chemical reactions is happening in your body right now but who's counting?
Listen, you've got... Your digesting food, you're processing sound. You're regenerating cells. You're purifying toxins. You're catalyzing enzymes, you're producing hormones and you're converting stored energy from body fat into blood sugar and that is the thinnest slice of what's happening right now. The word move in Acts 17:28 Greek word, kineo. It's where we get the word kinetic as in kinetic energy it means to set in motion. The Holy Spirit is the opposite of inertia. It means to stir up is the opposite of indifference. And this is kind of fun means to wag. I just think the Holy Spirit is the tail that wags the dog. Yes. And I rather like that. I think what I'm getting at is this.
If you walked in this weekend and you feel a little empty. Oh, that's where God does his best work. He creates ex nihilo out of nothing. So I want to do something a little different this weekend, often will choose a verse of scripture and then we'll zoom in and kind of unpack it. What I want to do this weekend is zoom out and a little bit of a crash course we'll call it nickel new mythology, okay, fancy word for a theology of the Holy Spirit. What I want to do is a little bit of a flyover because I want to make sure we have an awareness of the way that the Spirit of God is moving and working. And so here we go buckle your seat belt, keep your hands inside the ride at all times. Here we go. Second verse of Genesis gives us our first glimpse of the Holy Spirit.
I want you to notice what he's doing. Says in the beginning, God createted the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Now, isn't it fun that in the Gospels, the Holy Spirit identified as a dove, oh, but right here hovering, like a hummingbird, right? He's still hovering. You know what he hovers over, chaos and he wants to bring order out of the chaos in your life. Then God says, let there be light. Those four words still creating galaxies at the outer edge of the universe.
If God can do that with four words, what are we worried about? But God doesn't just speak the universe into existence with his words. He animates the dust with his breath. Genesis 2:7, then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being. For what it's worth. Quantum mechanics again would say, that if all the emptiness was extracted from your body, you would be a speck of dust.
Do you know what Job said? Job 34:14, if God were to withdraw his breath, we would return to dust. And so we're two chapters into scripture and the Holy Spirit is hovering and the Holy Spirit is breathing. And then the Holy Spirit goes off the grid for a bit. Read appears in Exodus 31. Where it says, I have chosen Bezalel and I have filled him with the Spirit of God with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts to make artistic designs and gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Isn't this beautiful? God is building his tabernacle. How is he doing it? Manifesting his Spirit through creative giftings. The spirit is now gifting beyond ability, is now revealing beyond knowledge. Another name for that is the anointing.
Now, I'm gonna get ahead of myself right here. McCann just say, "the anointing not just meant for pastors as they preach". For anybody doing anything. I have prayed God's anointing on surgeons and politicians and entrepreneurs, professional athletes, I prayed that God would anoint them to do what they do. The anointing enables us to do what we do better than we're able to do it. That's what the Holy Spirit does. Now, first, John 2:27 says you have received the Holy Spirit and he lives within you. So you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. The Holy Spirit is this lie detector test, if you will, helps us discern what's right and what's wrong.
And then it says his anointing teaches you about all things, what things? All things, and all encompassing anointing that the Holy Spirit on below average. You don't have to amen that too much. It's okay. With the help of the Holy Spirit, come on, all things are possible. It was the Holy Spirit who anointed Joshua to lead Israel. It was the Holy Spirit who anointed up the Othniel gave him the wisdom to judge. It was the Holy Spirit who gave Samson supernatural strength. And it was the Holy Spirit who gave Gideon a holy confidence. And so we go from the judges to the kings and now it's the Holy Spirit who turned Saul into a prophet.
And listen, all these people made a lot of mistakes. And they messed up some of that anointing that was on their life, doesn't change the fact what the Spirit of God is capable of doing then this spirit downloads the plans, the blueprints for the temple into David's right brain imagination. And then gives Daniel the ability to interpret dreams stirs the spirit. I just feel like churning the butter right now. I don't even know where that came from. Stirs the spirit of the Zerubbabel to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. And that's the Old Testament. In the New Testament 90 times, let me just focus on Jesus. It's the Spirit of God that can see the Christ child within Mary.
So let's start there. And then it's the Spirit of God that leads him into the wilderness. Spirit of God who descends at the baptism and then Jesus says that "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom, recovery of sight, set the captives free". Yes, Jesus is the one who did those things healed people, raised the dead, but how did they do it? Just the same way we do with the help of the Holy Spirit. And when His earthly ministry was said and done, He said, it's to your advantage that I go away. Unless I go away. The advocate will not come. What!
Now, let me stop right here. Advocate depends on your translation, comforter, counselor, helper but it's such a beautiful word in the Greek language, its parakletos. Is this idea, it's a Roman military formation where two soldiers would get back to back with their shields in front of them. It's this idea that the spirit of God's got your back. Ah, come on, interceding for you with groaning that cannot be uttered. And he's got your back. Unbelievable. And so, Jesus ascends to heaven to the right hand of the Father. And the Holy Spirit descends on the day of Pentecost. There's this changing of the guard and the church is birth and the Holy Spirit doesn't just descend, in dwells in fills sets up shop within us, at Bethlehem he is God with us at Calvary. He is God for us, but it gets even more at Pentecost. He is God in us.
The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. Now, Holy Spirit drops the mic. In a rather unique way Jewish pilgrims from all over the ancient world. It's one of three pilgrimage feasts. And so they're in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. And the Holy Spirit goes Google Translate, and gives them the ability to speak in languages they have never learned. So that these pilgrims from all around the ancient world hear the gospel in their native tongue. They believe the Gospel and they end up being the first wave of missionaries commission to share the good news of the Gospel.
Then the Holy Spirit goes Google Maps and directs Philip on this crazy wild goose chase and sets up this the divine appointment with this Ethiopian eunuch and that changes the history of a of a country and then Church of Antioch it's the Holy Spirit who set a part Paul and Barnabas send them on their first missionary journey. Oh, it was the Holy Spirit who settled this bitter dispute that was happening in the early church at something called the Council of Jerusalem. And they come to a wonderful conclusion. I love the way it says it in Acts 15:28 it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. Oh man, what a place to be in a spot where it feels good. Seems good to the Holy Spirit, seems good to us.
Now first Corinthians 2:10 Holy Spirit goes Google search. The spirit searches all things including the deep things of God. And I can't get too deep dive on this but I think it's the Holy Spirit that has a way of surfacing some of these old memories right when we need them, right? In fact, Jesus said this in John 14 Holy Spirit will remind you of everything I have said, but doesn't just resurface what we need, when we need, also gives us new ideas. I like to call them God ideas. And I'd rather have one god idea than 1,000 good ideas. It's words of wisdom, it's words of knowledge, it's operating in a way that again, is better than the best you can do. Because now it's the Holy Spirit doing something in you and through you.
And so, all of that to say this, the Holy Spirit still doing it. Still hovering, still breathing, still healing and gifting and guiding and convicting and comforting and his healing and surfacing and anointing. And so my question this weekend on a Pentecost weekend is this. Do we need the Holy Spirit any less than the early church? I think not. And I know I need the Spirit of God more today than I did yesterday. Romans 8:26 the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. Listen, the power of the Spirit is manifested through his gifts and the character of God is manifested through his fruit.
Acts 1:8, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. But isn't this beautiful not just in tear you'll energy source. Not something that we just plug into and charge the battery. Knows you, better than you know, you. How beautiful is that, is closer to you than you are to you. I don't get that, any more than I get 99.99% empty space. Here's what I know for sure. Holy Spirit can fill you if you're full of yourself.
Now I'm gonna share with you what comes as close as I can get to what I would call a theory of everything and it's this, the answer to every prayer, it's more of the Holy Spirit. Oh, no, no, I need love. Well, Romans 5, I think it says this, that God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. I need joy. I think that's the second fruit, peace third fruit, right? You want me to keep going, I need some self control. No, you need more of the Holy Spirit because that's the last fruit of the Spirit. Listen, Spirit of God is our six cents...., the X factor the eight factor. And so I say come, Holy Spirit.
A W. Tozer, said this. Now 50 years ago, "if the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today 95% of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament Church 95% of what they did would stop and everybody would know the difference". Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we are ordinary in every way. We're flesh and blood. The good news. He wants to fill you, in a fresh way. Let me give you a little formula and I hesitate doing this because there are no formula it's like God be original with others as he was with you and so part of me hesitates, but I want us to have an understanding 'cause I think when I talk about being filled with the Holy Spirit. Well, wait, what is that? What's that?
So let me give you a little equation okay. I think awareness of plus submission to equals filled by. What we've been doing for the last 10,12 minutes? Awareness of, we need to know how this Holy Spirit operates just like you would grow in a relationship with someone and kind of get to know their gifts and abilities and what they're good at and how they like to manifest their personality, in much the same way we need in awareness 'cause I'll tell you this Holy Spirit is present and accounted for. All that's absent is our awareness and a simple invitation. And then I would say submission to, now this is tricky. That word submit means to yield. And it's often in the context of a marriage relationship where the Bible says submit to one another, out of reverence for Christ. It's so beautiful.
If you learn to submit to your spouse's strengths and gifts, all then it's this beautiful, complimentary relationship where you can celebrate each other, I think in much the same way I want to make sure that the Holy Spirit has veto power in my life. And not just the last word, the first word. I was reading this, this week and it really profoundly impacted me. You might not know the name John Wimber was a founder of the Vineyard Movement, way back when, but really used by God to impact millions of people. And he would point to a defining moment in 1977 that was pretty simple, but pretty profound. He said, there was this moment where he felt like God said to him, I've seen your ministry.
Now, let me show you mine. In other words, you've been doing a lot in your own strength and wisdom. Let's see what can happen if you get out of the way and let my Spirit work in you and through you. Ephesians 5:18, do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is a present passive imperative, which indicates continual action. In other words, keep on being filled with the spirit. Why? 'Cause we leak. And so there isn't a day that I don't need his sustaining power in my life, that I don't need that in filling power in my life. Now is it okay if I just push the envelope a little bit right here. The Latin word for alcohol is spiritess And I find that interesting, because I think listen to me, I'm loving on your right now.
I think some of us cheat the system and we want alcohol to do for us what the Holy Spirit wants to do in us. I think sometimes that we want boldness, right? I want that the right way. And I want to lose a little bit of my inhibitions. I think self consciousness is a byproduct of the curse. Listen before original sin that just ran around naked, no issue. Right? And then became self conscious. See, as the Spirit of God fills us now God is sanctified us. So you know what? In fact can I just say this I don't think you can really care for people until you don't care what they think of you. In other words Some of us are so concerned about people's opinions of us. And we pull punches and instead of loving them with grace and truth, we don't really allow the Spirit of God to work in us and through us. And so I guess what I'm saying is Holy Spirit come and fill me, again.
Let me close with the testimony. Last weekend talked about prophesied your praise. Now you can prophesied fear. You prophesied doubt, you can prophesied pain, you can prophesied praise. It's not just praising God for what he's already done. It's declaring the promises of God, is declaring the character of God and it's praising God by faith for what he will do and can do. I talk some about that song that I put on repeat remember that, when my intestines rupture, I'm trading my sickness, I'm trading my pain. I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord. During different seasons in my life. They're often worship songs that are become kind of the soundtrack of my life in that season. Does that makes sense?
Now, July 2nd 2016, you know, this part, prayed a brave prayer, said God, would you heal my asthma? Or about three weeks from me celebrating three years of God healing me. I want to tell you what happened the week after I'm at our Barracks Row campus, Pastor Chris is leading a song by All Sons and Daughters. Great Are You Lord. And at this moment, I haven't taken an inhaler in a week. You've got to understand in 40 years that hadn't happened. So in my spirit, I'm just God. Did you heal me, did you do something? But listen, I second guessed too. I'm like Peter, I get out of the boat. I'm walking on water and then I look at the wind and the waves, it gets a little scary and then I wonder I didn't really happen.
And so I'm kind of in this place of like, I don't know. And then we get to this chorus, in fact I'm gonna put it up on the screen at all of our campuses and then we're gonna sing it in just a minute. Because, man, these words just. It's your breath in our lungs. So we pour out our praise. We pour out our praise. It's your breath in our lungs. So we pour out our praise to You only. And it dropped me to my knees. I lose a little bit of emotional control because it's a moment where I feel like the Holy Spirit sealed a miracle within me. Two weeks ago, a pastor from England was visiting National Community Church. And he was kind enough to then share it testimony.
I had no idea this happened but here's what he said. "A couple of years ago, you were our keynote speaker at a conference in the UK and at the end of your message, you had a prayer line and the worship team started to play". Great Are You Lord. He says I had sung that song many times. But I had a revelation in that moment. If God's breath truly courses through us as we breathe, then His healing breath was rubbing up against my asthmatic lungs. I've been asthmatic all my life at the time I was 43 while I started singing the chorus so loud, I thought it must be disturbing the people around me. He was prophesying his praise. I was belting it out like crazy rocker. I had never sung so loud in my life.
I just knew something was going on and then as I continue drawing deep lungfuls of air I heard from the Lord who said I am healing you right now. A minute later, he said, you retook the stage. And you said this song is sacred to me. And you told the story of how you had been healed of asthma. And I nearly fell over. Said the timing was incredible. I knew God had just confirmed His healing, walking back to the hotel, I felt different. My lungs felt clear next day, no inhaler needed, next day the same and so on. That was May 2017, I am healed.
Let me tell you why I'm sharing that because we overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony. So I'm run out of time, here's the deal. Pentecost weekend, we're gonna begin a season of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting at ncc.re/21days. You follow us on social media you can track with us. Listen, would you just figure out what God wants to do in you over the next 21 days. I'm just thinking to myself, you cannot plan Pentecost. But you go and pray and and upper room for 10 days Pentecost is bound to happen.
There is an urgency that can only come at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. They knew how much they needed the Spirit of God. And so for 10 days, they prayed. Listen for 21 day, we're just gonna pray and fast. We're not gonna tell God how to do what God does. Listen, you do not have to tell God how to do his job. You want to be filled with the Spirit you have to say him die five times fast. You just need to say come, Holy Spirit. Come, come. Do what you do, him who feels all things in all ways.
Now I'm really gonna close with this okay. Few years ago, visited the home of a former NFL MVP. He showed me a trophy room pretty impressive. But what I found interesting was right outside that room was a hyperbaric chamber that he would climb into almost like a tanning bed except different. And, if you're in a hyperbaric chamber, you are breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized tube the air pressure multiplied times three. So just is oxygen deprivation kills cells. In the same way, more oxygen, pure oxygen, it expedites the healing process in our lives. Listen, I think that without the Holy Spirit, we're in big trouble. But we just say come Holy Spirit. You do what you do. He's hovering, he's breathing. He's gifting, he's fruiting. He's convicting and he's healing. So whatever you need this weekend, come Holy Spirit, in Jesus name. Amen.