Pentecost, Walking In the Spirit
A young boy was at Disneyland enjoying Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and the rides and the popcorn and the fanfare and didn’t notice that he had become separated from his parents. He was enjoying the hustle and bustle of Disney life until he looked up and discovered that his parents were not there.
Once this boy discovered he was not in fellowship with his parents anymore, Disneyland turned into a Disney disaster. All the sudden, the cotton candy wasn’t sweet, the rides were not fun, and Mickey Mouse was no longer cute, because Mom and Dad were nowhere to be found.
THAT’S THE GREAT TRAGEDY OF OUR WORLD: people so busy enjoying the rides and the thrills and the bright lights that they haven’t even noticed they are not in fellowship with God. They are so busy eating their cotton candy of life, riding the Ferris wheel of entertainment, and going up and down the roller coaster of pleasure that they haven’t even noticed God is not in the vicinity anymore.
That young boy at Disneyland needed to come face to face with two realities before he could get help. First, he needed to discover he was lost. And second, he needed somebody to lead him back to his parents.
The Bible declares that, apart from God, all people are eternally lost. They are forever separated from the life of God. They need to know they are lost, and they need to know the way back home.
This is where the Holy Spirit enters. He is the Champion of the lost and found. His unique task is to bring men and women front and center before Jesus Christ; to bring the lost into a saving relationship with Christ and to keep the saved in constant fellowship with Christ.
To begin we are going to focus on the purpose the Holy Spirit was given to us. I want us to know there is no way for me to cover all that could be included in this subject in one sermon, or even in 100 sermons. So I am going to give you two main ideas that are connected to the purpose of the Holy Spirit.
First, the Holy Spirit is the Great Convictor. Verse 8 When he comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment; The key word is convict. This conviction is synonymous with the word convincing. The job of the Holy Spirit is to make absolutely clear the spiritual issues of life and to call for a decision. Are you praying for a lost loved one or friend? We should be, and we need to pray that the Holy Spirit would go and perform what He has been given to us to do, to bring conviction in the lives of our loved ones and friends.
I can promise you the Holy Spirit will be faithful.
The reason you’re here today... the reason you’re a Christian today is because the Holy Spirit did His job, He was faithful, He convicted you and allowed you to see your need to be saved.
The truth is, unsaved people walk around in a spiritual fog, not really understanding what God expects from them. You hear it every time you talk to an unbeliever. Just ask the unbeliever, “Are you going to Heaven?” “Well, I sure hope so. I think so.” When you ask him/her what they are pinning their hopes for heaven on, they may tell you, “I try to keep the 10 commandments. I go to church, sometimes. I’m doing the best that I can.” It becomes very clear that they are in a spiritual fog.
The Holy Spirit’s job is to make the issue clear and to jar people loose of their misconceptions about the good news of the gospel. But in order to do this, He must get their attention; he has to break through that fog that blinds the unsaved. The Word teaches us that He will convict in three important areas; in the area of Sin, in the area of Righteousness, and in the area of Judgment. We understand how He convicts us of sin. We under-stand that we are in need of forgiveness because of the conviction that the Holy Spirit brings.
In the area of Righteousness, It’s the Holy Spirit’s Job to convince people that Jesus Christ is the only perfect Righteous One who has ever lived, the only One who has perfectly measured up to God’s Holy Standard. This sets Jesus apart from all other so-called Messiahs. You can go anywhere and find a self-appointed messiah, so the Question is what makes Jesus the real Messiah?
What makes Him the Righteous One? What sets Him apart? Jesus answered that Himself when He said, (10) “in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;” You see, it’s the resurrection and ascension of Christ that puts Jesus Christ in a class by Himself.
The reason that I’m a Christian today is because the tomb is empty. Jesus Christ has beaten death and can lay claim to being the Righteous Standard of God. The Holy Spirit convicts us that Jesus Christ is the Righteous One, so in turn we need to heed what Jesus has said, and still says to us today.
I want to share one more aspect of the Holy Spirit’s purpose. One of the Holy Spirit’s Purposes is to help us Experience the Spirit’s Power. Yesterday, all it would have taken was about a two hour electrical power failure and we all would have realized how much we benefit from an invisible resource called electricity. We can see visibly what this invisible power resource does for us. It cools and cooks our food. It can freeze water and make bread pop out of a toaster. When it’s dark the lights come on, all because we have available to us an invisible power.
But the invisible, available power we have in our homes is nothing compared to the power that all of us who know Jesus Christ have in our lives in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is the invisible presence and power of God. He is God. The Spirit is deposited in the life of every believer at the moment of salvation. So as Christians we have Royalty living within us, the indwelling Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 tells us about the Power of the Holy Spirit and how it will enable us to carry out God’s Mission.
Listen, (8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." The clear teaching here is that the disciples would not have power until the Spirit came. This power is not simply a concept for you to understand, but it is a reality that you need to experience. We cannot talk about spiritual power without talking about the Holy Spirit who is the source of that power.
The Holy Spirit provides the Christian with a Powerful Presence. In Acts 1:4 Jesus commanded the disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, and then in verse five Jesus repeated the promise of the Holy Spirit’s coming saying, “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
In other words, there’s no way for you to accomplish the Kingdom work that I’ve created for you to do without the infilling power of the Holy Spirit.
Remember what Jesus said in John 14:18, He promised, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Jesus said He will come. Jesus comes to us through the Holy Spirit, what we are talking about is having the very Spirit of Christ living in us. That should excite us!
See, if you have the Holy Spirit living in you, you have as much of Jesus as those first disciples had. He is with us right now in the Person of the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing as wishing Jesus were here, He is. If you want to be close to Christ, you must walk step by step, day by day, minute by minute with His Holy Spirit.
God has called us to be a Powerful People, being led by His Powerful Presence, His Holy Spirit. The disciples were a weak group of men. Peter denied Jesus. The other disciples left Him because they feared the Jews. They ran until the Spirit came.
They received the Holy Ghost power, and it made the Holy Spirit difference in their lives. If you have been with Jesus, somebody else is going to know it. If you have been with Jesus, it’s going to be evident that something powerful is at work in you. The Bible says when the Spirit took over the apostles, there was a personality change.
All of a sudden these spaghetti kneed men stood up with their shoulders squared and spoke up for Christ.
Many Christians are not engaging the Power in their life, and they’re wondering why their Christian experience is so dull or dead; it’s not because the Spirit is lacking anything, it’s because we are not allowing the Holy Spirit total control of our lives and living in communion with Him. God has given us His Spirit but have we given His Spirit our life?
If we are going to experience the benefits of the Holy Spirit’s power, He must have more of us. You don’t need more of Him, He’s already enough.
Now I want to talk about what the Holy Spirit wants to provide to us in this relationship that we all can experience as Christians with Him.
GAL 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith-fullness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
How many of you have ever picked fruit off of a fruit tree? Do you remember when you were kids, finding that fruit tree and climbing up the tree and picking a ripe fruit to eat?
How many times did you look up into that peach tree and notice that the peach tree was producing Oranges? Anybody? It just doesn’t happen. We can know a tree by what kind of fruit it produces.
So I want to talk about the Fruit of the Spirit that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives as a growing Christian, and how we can know each other by what is being produced in our lives. Not everyone who calls themselves Christian is producing Fruit of the Spirit. It’s available to every Christian, but I hope you have learned by now that there’s nothing automatic about the Spirit’s ministry. Every believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, and every believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling presence, but neither of these guarantees that we will experience all the Spirit’s benefits.
So let’s talk about those qualities of the Spiritual life that the Holy Spirit will produce in us if we submit to His filling and control, notice the word Submit is key.
The Apostle Paul lists the Fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5:22-23. It would be great just to turn to these two verses and let the juice of the Spirit run down our arms, so to speak, as we dig into their goodness and all that God has for us. But if we look at verses 16-21 in Gal. 5, what we’ll be doing is whetting our appetite for the juicy, sweet, and satisfying fruit of the Spirit by giving us a taste of the dry, rotten, and unsatisfying deeds of the flesh.
Sometimes we don’t develop a real hunger for the good stuff until we’ve gotten our fill of the bad stuff. If you’ve ever tried to live the Christian life on your own power, without the power of the Holy Spirit, then you will know what I’m talking about, it’s utterly bitter.
In fact, the believers in Galatian were trying to live the life of the Holy Spirit in the energy of the flesh, on their own power, and Paul was astounded, listen to what he says in Gal. 3:1,3 “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
Why was Paul so upset? The Galatians were being tempted to substitute rules for a dynamic relationship with the Holy Spirit. This idea is still with us today. We have all met Christians who have a list of rules for us to follow. The Christian life does include rules. There are definite do’s and don’ts. But the power for victorious Christian living is not in the rules, It’s in the Spirit. Paul clarifies how it works in this classic passage in Gal. 5: 16-18, What he does is give us a good taste of the rotten fruit of the flesh so we will sincerely desire the fruit of the Spirit. Listen to what he says....v. 16-18 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Paul is telling us that we live in a War Zone. This zone consists of two opposing realities; our flesh, the old man, and the indwelling Holy Spirit. When we came to Christ, the Spirit of God came to take up residence in our life and gave us a new nature.
He placed our new nature in the old house of your flesh—and our old self and our old house doesn’t take kindly to the Holy Spirit moving in, He wants to make too many changes to the old house. One thing we realize about our Old Flesh, it kind of likes keeping things the same as they’ve always been, it’s more comfortable.
Folks, I want us to understand the battle that takes place, this War Zone needs to be won, the question is will we DIE to the Old way of life and allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control? Listen, God through the Death and Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ has given us through the Holy Spirit the Power to Live a Holy Life, a Spirit led life, a life not ruled by Rules and Regulations, but a life Ruled by a Relationship with the One who makes us an overcomer.
When we are living our Christian Life in tune with the Holy Spirit, when we are in Obedience with the Holy Spirit, something awesome takes place. The Holy Spirit begins to produce Fruit in our lives. Just as the deeds of the flesh are evident, so are the fruit of the Spirit. There are three things I want you to know about the Spirit’s Fruit.
1. Fruit is Visible. Watch out for that tree in your backyard that is giving you invisible fruit. So don’t tell me that you are walking in the Spirit in your heart, or that you are full of the Spirit in your heart. If you are walking in the Spirit, others will know it.
2. Fruit is Recognizable. Fruit always reflects the character of the tree or vine that is bearing it. “Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles.” Apple trees produce apples, orange trees produce oranges, and so on. The Fruit that comes from a life controlled by the Holy Spirit will reflect the character of Jesus Christ.
3. Fruit is for Others, fruit is always borne for the benefit of others. The seed in a fruit is designed for reproduction. So as you bear the fruit of the Spirit, others not only enjoy the “taste” of your life, but also the seeds of spiritual growth are planted in their lives.
Fruit is always meant for someone else’s enjoyment. You never see fruit chewing on itself. In fact, fruit that only exists for itself rots. The Holy Spirit wants to control us so that our families and friends can be around us and take a bite out of our lives and say, “UMM, that’s good.”
Folks, there’s so much more the Spirit Provides for us. I challenge you to grow closer and more intimate in your relationship with the Holy Spirit, and He will teach you so much better than I can preach it. He wants you to know Him and learn more about Who He is.
The key to this Relationship is “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” To walk with the Spirit means that we are actually going somewhere, there’s going to be growth. Walking also assumes continuous movement, you just keep going, if you fall down, you get up and keep walking. Walking also means dependence, putting your weight down on your legs one leg at a time. Walking in the Spirit means you are depending on the Holy Spirit to hold you up, much of this walking starts with our Prayer life. So let’s get walking with the Spirit, let’s stay in step, and we do this through prayer, worship and obedience. We need a church full of Spirit-Filled, Fruit producing, Holy Living people that will influence and impact the people around us. Will you be one of these people?
United Methodist Church
218 College Street
P. O. Box 327
Ducktown, Tennessee 37317
Sunday School: 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship: 11:00 a.m.
Rev. "T" Reamsnyder, Preaching