Robert Jeffress - What The Holy Spirit Can Do For You
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". When someone accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior, they instantly gain access to a vast source of power for conquering life's everyday struggles. But few Christians ever realize how to tap into the power of God's Holy Spirit. Well, to be filled with the spirit means to be controlled by the spirit. And today I'm going to explain four benefits that come when you surrender to the Holy Spirit's direction in your life. My message is titled "What the Holy Spirit can do for you" on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".
The Psalmist said, "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree". Isn't that a picturesque description? "Shall flourish like a palm tree". What does it mean to flourish as a Christian? One writer said it this way: "God made you to flourish to receive life from outside yourself, creating vitality within yourself, and producing blessing beyond yourself. When you flourish, you become more like you. You don't just become holier, you become you-ier. God wants to redeem you, not exchange you". Isn't that a great thought? God wants you to flourish, not to become like someone else, but so that you can become the person God created you to be. Flourishing, life from the outside flowing inside of us, creating that vitality that allows us to be a blessing beyond ourself.
Flourishing is just another word for being filled with the Holy Spirit of God. And that's what we're talking about in this series, "Unleashed," how we can experience that power of the Holy Spirit in our everyday life. We've seen already that every Christian has the presence of the Holy Spirit. That happens the moment we're saved. We are baptized with the Holy Spirit of God. But although every Christian has the presence of the Holy Spirit, very few Christians enjoy the power of the Holy Spirit. And that's what we're talking about in this series. The Bible says flourishing is another way of saying being filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
Well, today, we're going to talk about what the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit of God is. Today, I want to share with you four things the Holy Spirit wants to do for you. When you choose to surrender your life to the control, the filling of the Holy Spirit, God does some marvelous things for you. Specifically, there are four things the Holy Spirit wants to provide for you. First of all, he gives you power in times of temptation. Power in times of temptation. Turn to Romans 6, the passage we just read just a few moments ago.
Dwight Edwards in his great book, "Revolution within," says that most Christians think of their salvation experience as they do going through a car-wash. The idea is you go into the car wash a dirty clunker and you come out cleansed clunker, but you're still a clunker. And that's how most people view salvation. Before I'm a Christian, I am a dirty sinner whose life is controlled by sin. But then when I get saved, my sins are washed away, but I'm still basically a sinner. But Dwight Edwards says, no, what most Christians don't realize is that somewhere between the power wash and the power rinse cycle it's as if God drops a brand new engine inside of us when we're saved. And now, the old engine is still there, but God gives us a brand new engine, a brand new set of desires. And when we come out of our salvation experience, we have that new power, that new set of desires.
Now, we can still ourselves to operate with the old engine, but only a fool would make such a choice. God has given us a brand new power, and that power is the Holy Spirit of God. But you know, most Christians don't understand that truth. Most Christians think that when they get saved, yes, get forgiven by God, but still their lives are basically characterized by sin. They think sin still has reign over their lives. In fact, Christians have created a whole category to describe people, Christians, who are still under the power of sin. We call them carnal Christians. Haven't you heard that phrase before? Oh, well, he's just a carnal Christian. As if somehow, although not ideal, that's acceptable, to say that somebody who's a believer can spend 5, 10, 15, 30 years living apart from God under the influence of sin. No, the Bible says when you become a Christian, God gives you a whole brand new power.
Look at verses two to four of Roman 6. He says, "How shall we then who died to sin still live in it"? That was unthinkable to Paul. "Or do we not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death"? Now, remember, that word baptize there, that's a dry baptism, not a wet baptism. It's not talking about what you do when you jump in that Baptistery up there. That's just a sign, a symbol. He's talking about what happens to you when you're saved, you are baptized, you are immersed with the Holy Spirit of God. You've been called to a new way of living. Now look at verses three and four. "Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of God the Father, so we might also be raised to a newness of life".
Now I'm going to say something that's going to shake some of you up here. I used to preach this, and I was wrong. I used to even say it in the Baptistery when I baptized people, and I was wrong. I've always used to believe that baptism was a picture of our future resurrection with Jesus. Just as Jesus died and was buried and was raised again, so one day our physical bodies will die and be buried and be raised again. But listen to me, baptism is not a picture of our future resurrection so much as it is the resurrection that occurs the moment we're saved. Listen to me this morning. If you are a Christian, God does not want the rest of your life to be characterized by defeat and by sin. The fact that we have this new engine, this new power inside of us, means that our life can be characterized by victory and by holiness. The Holy Spirit of God gives us power in times of temptation.
Now notice what we have to do to experience that power. Paul says in Romans 6, first of all, if you want God's power, that new engine to take control of your life, you first of all have to know the condition of your old engine. Know the condition of your old engine. By that, I'm talking about your old nature, that set of desires that are opposed to the things of God. That set of desires we are all born with. Know the condition of your old engine. I have found that Christians tend to go to one of two extremes when it comes to this old nature, this old engine. Some Christians actually deny that they have a sin nature once they become a Christian. And we're on dangerous ground when we forget that there is a set of desires still within us that are opposed of the things of God.
Paul describes it this way in Galatians 5:16-18, he says there's a civil war going in the heart of every true believer between the old engine and the new engine, which is going to control our life. In Galatians 5:16-18, Paul says, "But I say, walk by the spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh," it's not come back of your human flesh. He's talking about that old set of desires. "The flesh sets its desire against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: for these are in opposition to one another". Don't you feel that all the time, something pulling you to do the right thing, another pull to do the wrong thing? That's the civil war that Paul was talking about. "They are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law".
Paul says we do have that old nature. Some Christian is deny it, but on the other hand, other Christians go to the opposite extreme. They exalt their old nature. That is, they put it in a place of prominence it should not have, and they actually believe that they are still living under the control of that old nature. Look at what Paul says about the condition of our old nature once we trust in Christ, verses six to seven. He said, "Knowing this, that our old self," that is, our old engine, "Was crucified with him, that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we should no longer be slaves to sin, for he who has died is free from sin".
When you trust in Christ as your Savior, you know what happens to that old set of desires? Paul says that set of desires is crucified. Not just wounded, crucified. Paul is saying those old set of desires that were the ruler of your life before you were saved, it has no hold over your life. It has no more power over your life than you choose to allow it to have. And yet there are a lot of Christians running around today because they believe they are under the reign of their old nature, they act as if they were under the reign of their old nature. He says, forget it, that old nature has been crucified. Secondly, he says, not only that, we need to consider the power of our new engine, that new set of desires. Understand fully that new set of desires and the power it has in your life.
Look at verse 11. "Even so," Paul says, "Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus". And I want you to circle that word, consider. It's an interesting word in the Greek text. It's actually an accounting term. It means to make an accurate financial calculation. The Bible says don't just go around pretending that you're free from sin, do an accurate calculation and understand where you are spiritually. The fact is you really are free from sin. Therefore we need to act accordingly. That's what Paul is saying here. "Even so, consider," calculate, "That you are dead to sin," then it goes on to say, "But alive to God in Christ Jesus".
Remember, 1 Peter 3:18 says, "The Holy Spirit of God has made us alive in Christ Jesus". Understand the power that God has given you when you were saved. Now listen to this, the same power of God that reached down and lifted Jesus Christ up out of that grave, that very same power of God is working in your life right now to free you from the power of sin. And that's why the Bible says if we are going to be free and be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, we have to, first of all, understand our old nature has no power over us. Secondly, we have this new power that allows us to say yes to God, but there is a third understanding, a third truth we need to have, and that is, we need to present our bodies to God. That is, once we understand what happened to our old nature, once we understand the new power we have, there are some things we need to do every day.
Look at verses 12 and 13. Paul says, "Therefore," that is, anytime you see that word, therefore, ask yourself, what is that therefore there for? It always relates to the previous verse. He says in light of what happened to your old nature, what's true about your new nature, "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body". That word, reign, circle it, it literally means umpire. You know what an umpire does. He's the one who has the final say in the game. His word goes. And what Paul is saying here is, don't let sin have the final say in your life, "That you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body," the parts of your body, "To sin as instruments of unrighteousness: but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God".
Considering this new power you have in Christ, start acting in a way consistent with that truth. Again, the Bible says this resurrection to a new way of life isn't something we have to wait for once we die. It's a new way of life you can start experiencing right now by being filled with, controlled by, the Holy Spirit of God. Secondly, being filled with the spirit, being controlled by the spirit, offers us direction in times of confusion. Direction in times of confusion I have some great news for you this morning. God says, "I will not leave you as orphans in the world". Jesus said, "I will give you the direction that you need". Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow after me".
Some of you here today, some of you watching on television, you're facing a monumental decision in your life. Do I take this job or not? Do I move to this city or not? What am I going to do about this child, and so forth? All of us are facing decisions. Jesus says, "I'll give you guidance. I'll give you my voice". But here's the $64.000 question, how does Jesus speak to us? How does he reveal his will when we're trying to make a decision? You know, sometimes God speaks through his word, the Bible. Sometimes he speaks to us through prayer. Sometimes he speaks to us through wise counsel from other people. But one way God leads us and speaks to us is through his Holy Spirit's leading.
Turn over to John 14:16-18. Many Christians overlook this simple truth, that the Holy Spirit is the one who gives us direction in life. Verse 14, Jesus was getting ready to leave his disciples to die, be resurrected, and ascended into heaven, and he says, "And I will ask the father, and he will give you another helper, that he may be with you forever". Who is that helper? Jesus said, "He is the spirit of truth," the Holy Spirit, "Whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see him or know him: but you know him because he abides with you and will be in you". And here's a great promise. "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you". Romans 8:14 says, "Those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are truly the sons of God".
Have you ever had a prompting to make a telephone call to somebody? Just this urging that you needed to call somebody and call them now? An urge to send an email to somebody. Have you ever had an inclination that a trip you had planned maybe you had better not go on that trip? Or maybe the prompting that you oughta change your route to work one morning. All of these things that we sometimes call intuition or the sixth sense, many times they are the promptings, the leading of the Holy Spirit of God. One of the benefits of being full of the spirit is he will direct us in the way we should go. Third being filled with the spirit offers us courage in times of opportunity. Courage in times of opportunity.
We see that courage illustrated in the life of the first Christian martyr, a man named Stephen. If you have your Bibles, turn to acts 7 where we see this instance of the first time someone died for his Christian faith. Remember, Stephen was one of the first deacons, and in acts 6, it says he was filled with, he was controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. And it was that Holy Spirit of God that gave Stephen the courage to preach the message of Christ to a most unreceptive audience, the Jewish leaders, the Sanhedrin, and they told him, "You better stop preaching or we're going to take your life". They hauled him in before the ruling council, the Sanhedrin, and notice how he responded to their threats to stop preaching in verse 51 of acts 7. He said to these men, "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit: you are doing just as your fathers did".
Now think about it. Here is Stephen talking to the men who had the power to take his life. How does he refer to them? He says, you are stiff-necked. You're no better than your fathers. You are resisting the Holy Spirit of God. Let me tell you, that's not the best way to win friends and acquittals, okay? But he wasn't interested in being popular. He was interested in faithfully teaching and preaching the message of Jesus Christ. How did they respond to his message?
Look at verse 54. "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit," see that? Being controlled by the Holy Spirit, "He gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God: and he said, 'behold, I see the heavens opened up and the son of man standing at the right hand of God'. And they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and they rushed upon him with one impulse. They began stoning him". And notice verse 60, "He fell down on his knees and he cried out in a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them'. And having said this, he fell asleep". That is, he died.
How do you explain that courage to use adversity as an opportunity to spread the Gospel? The courage to stand up against those who were going to kill him, and yet the courage also to forgive those who were stoning him to death. All of that is the result of being filled with, full of the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit will give you courage in times of opportunity if you'll allow him to do so. Forth, being filled with the Holy Spirit allows us to experience comfort in times of stress. Comfort in times of stress. I remember going to see a couple years ago who had received some very bad news. The husband had never been sick before a day in his life, but several months earlier he had been diagnosed with colon cancer. And he had undergone chemotherapy to shrink the size of the tumor. It was ineffective. And now he had lost his sight in his right eye. And that was a sign that the cancer had metastasized into his brain.
You know, I never know what to say in situations like that. I used to know. When I was younger in the ministry, I would just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. But the older I've gotten, the more I realized how hollow and trite words are in moments like that. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just be quiet. So I went to visit with this couple and thinking about still what I might say, fortunately that evening I didn't have to say anything. They wanted to talk. The couple talked about, yes, they were disappointed in the report from the doctor, but they said they knew God was still in control, that he had a purpose he was working out. And what they wanted to talk about that evening was the husband's funeral service. The husband said, I wanted to make sure that my service is one that exalts the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is it that gives somebody that kind of courage? It's the by-product of being controlled by, by being filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Now, listen to me this morning, when that telephone call comes in the middle of the night telling you there's been an accident, when that doctor tells you that the report is not good, when that employer tells you your services are no longer needed, when that mate tells you he or she no longer loves you, you have a choice as a Christian. You can either be filled with anger or with fear, or you can allow the peace of God that passes all human comprehension to take control of your life.
Power in times of temptation, direction in times of confusion, courage in times of opportunity, comfort in times of stress, these are just some of the benefits of being controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. But remember what I said at the beginning? It is a command not a promise. Be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. That means there's something you and I must do to experience the filling of the Holy Spirit. And we're going to discover what that something is next time.