Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be under his control.  When someone is under the influence of alcohol he/she loses control of the motor skills and subsequently does things he later regrets.  Such a person is under the control of alcohol.  This is an excellent illustration for us to better understand the filling of the Spirit.

Being filled with the Spirit takes on certain characteristics.  Some may wonder whether being filled with the Spirit consists of a lifetime mountaintop experience.  Maybe it means we more or less float above every situation and never feel pain, ever.  Maybe it means we’re never happy but always dutifully doing what we are supposed to do.  Eph. 5:19-21 tell us that the Spirit filled believer is one who is full of praise and thanksgiving.  He speaks about the Lord to the brothers and sisters, he speaks to the Lord with thanksgiving and praise.  It is as if he has a river of living water flowing out of his inner man.  This river consists of praise and thanksgiving.

There are obstacles to being filled with the Spirit.  Someone might believe it is only for the superstars, the ones with the magnetic personality.  Some might believe it is too intense for the average Christian.  Others might not want the discomfort of being controlled by the Spirit.  These reasons all fall short of God’s best.  Surely we do not want to be controlled by fear and our own appetites.  We must repent of all false imaginations that keep us from communion with God.

How do I get filled with the Spirit?  It is actually quite simple.  Give up control!  It is what you did at salvation.  However, living in the age of the Spirit means we give up control all the time.  Being filled with the Spirit is not for the professionals, it is for the Christian.  And, it isn’t complicated, it is very simple.  Give up control!  Then live in the contentment of yielding to the Holy Spirit and letting him run your life.

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The Holy Spirit- His Work to Us

The Holy Spirit works!  He doesn’t merely reside, he works.  We want to press into what he does specifically, in the life of a believer.

You may not remember when you were a little child.  However, others do.  Others changed you, fed you, clothed you, and provided shelter and you didn’t even know it.  Similarly, the Holy Spirit lovingly worked for you when you were converted and you didn’t even know it!

Here is what he did.  He regenerated you.  That means he made you become alive.  Now you can talk to God, think spiritually, exercise faith, and glorify God!  Before you were made alive spiritually you could not do any of these things.

He indwells you.  The very person of God indwells the believer.  He comforts you, teaches you, and guides you into all truth.  This mighty advocate of ours is our primary resource for life.  Talk to him!  Ask him questions about life, where you are to go.  We do not believe in fatalism.  The Spirit has specific counsel for you so listen to him.

You were baptized in him.  This happened upon salvation.  The Spirit now empowers you to overcome unbelief, habitual sin, and every imagination that raises itself against you.  This baptism results in spiritual power but it also accomplishes sanctification.  We are holy by position!  Therefore, act like you are.

Finally, he seals you.  His presence is the sweet promise of greater things to come.  Now we enjoy him.  However, then we will have all of God.  To us, the Spirit is a down payment of more to come.  May we rejoice at the riches we possess right now but also at the riches to come.  May this truth result in joyous and rich living.

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The Holy Spirit Introduced

Why consider the Holy Spirit?  First, the times require it more than ever.  A supernatural response to evil is illogical and but also irrefutable.  Second, the Spirit applies the redemption of Christ.  Knowing more about his work helps us cooperate better with him.  Lastly, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is by nature that of a behind the scenes helper.  For that reason he is often not recognized as much as the Son or the Father.

Moving on, we affirm that the Holy Spirit is both divine and a person.  These two bedrock foundational truths which will launch us into his activity in the world and with the believer in weeks to come.

By way of application, we do not disregard persons.  Trees, inanimate objects, and such are means to our ends.  They serve us.  However, with persons it is entirely different.  Persons demand respect, interaction, and love.  The Holy Spirit is not some vague ambiguous power force.  He is real.  He has feelings, a will, and intelligence.  As such we need to listen to him.

Because the Holy Spirit is God our response to him is all the more critical.  As a divine person, the Holy Spirit’s promptings and urgings can be trusted.  He is safe, he is wise, and he is God.  Therefore, we ought to take heed to his voice and not disregard him, just because we can.

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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Confusion, bewilderment, unbelief, and all manner of speculation fade away in the light of Jesus’ presence. We track the story God has left for us in John 20 and watch God move things along. Here Mary tries to make sense of the odd facts presented to her: the stone rolled away, no body, and linens left neatly in the tomb. Not knowing how to deal with it, she runs and reports her findings to the apostles. They too observe the same facts. John believes but doesn’t comprehend it fully.

Mary continues to weep in anguish. She interacts with angels and even Jesus without knowing their identity, so great is her grief. Jesus breaks through the hysteria and reveals himself to her. At this point she is overcome with joy! He calls her off and dispatches her to the brothers with a message of greeting and affirmation.

This story, then, is the foundation of the doctrine of the resurrection. What does it matter? First, while not seeing Jesus personally, we believe the report given to us. We do not believe it on intellectual grounds primarily, though. We believe it because we have encountered him personally! Those who believe on him do so due to his personal drawing and visitation. Just as joy and confidence characterized Mary, so it does us.

Second, this doctrine furnishes hope for us of things to come. Since Jesus is resurrected, so we too will be resurrected. In this Jesus guards us against hopelessness and fear of death. Death does not hold dread for us because we know we will rise to a new life in a glorified state.

Third, the doctrine of the resurrection stabilizes us. Things were as bad as they could be for the disciples. What could be worse? Yet, God worked apart from their contribution and turned things around. He did it decisively and with finality. May we rest in God’s power to turn things around. Yes, the culture is disintegrating in front of us. Yes, things are moving fast, way fast. They were moving fast during the passion week too. Rest, relax, God will work when he is ready. He will surely once again shake the nations and restore his glory. We serve a God who turns things around and vindicates himself (primarily) and his people (secondarily).

John 20:1-18

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Living and Speaking with Conviction

We will do a very simple exposition of those basic passages which speak to our mission.  Our mission is to take the gospel out to the ends of the world.  We are witnesses with a divine mandate.  We tell our story to others.  Just as we were in darkness so now we are in light.  We speak of this transition to others and fill them in on all the teachings of Jesus.  We do it here, the next county over, and in Mongolia.

By way of application, we will speak pointedly to our identity as witnesses of the one true God.  Understanding our identity facilitates correct and confident behavior.  When we are deceived into thinking we are less than God’s ambassadors then our behavior follows.  When we come under God’s identity for us then we are liberated to walk in the paths he has set for us; speaking for him.

Secondly, we will speak to the practice of talking about the Lord to the brothers and sisters.  Ironically enough, when believers get together there can often be a conspicuous lack of discussion about the Lord!  How natural then that we should feel awkward or ill equipped to boast of the Lord to others.

Lastly, let’s ask ourselves what God is doing in our lives today that is worth talking about.  If God isn’t active in our lives today, affirming and vindicating his ways, small wonder that our testimony seems so weak and devoid of conviction.  If we are not convinced of God’s activity in our lives today then let us remain quiet until we do.  Let’s be convinced of God, his ways in our lives, and then speak about it.

Matt. 28:16-20, Acts 1:6-8, 1 Pet. 2:9



Loving Words to a Servant of God

The call of Jeremiah is a loving one.  God tells Jeremiah he knew him before he was conceived.  He consecrated him before he was born.  It was God’s plan to appoint Jeremiah as a prophet.  God’s love and plans for Jeremiah existed before Jeremiah did.

Jeremiah, however, did not receive God’s call.  He referenced youth and inability to speak as causes for not being a prophet.

God kindly overruled the young prophet.  God pointed out fear as the basis for Jeremiah’s resistance.  Then he reminds Jeremiah of his sovereignty and enabled him to accomplish his task.

There are several things here for the believer.  God calls us not we ourselves.  This simply means that God does the heavy lifting, not us.  When we believe this then we close the door to fear.  Fear can only enter in when we doubt God’s ability to manage a situation.  When we slip this way we inadvertently take control of the situation and rightly begin to fear.  God is sovereign.  We needn’t fall prey to paying too much attention to secondary matters.  When we do we lose our way.  Lastly, God enables his people to do the work he assigns.  This is true of the man at work, the woman at home, and the young person growing up at home.  May we rest in God’s sovereignty and save ourselves from fear and anxiety.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Living Simply

The early church lived simply.  They celebrated the apostle’s doctrine, enjoyed fellowship, ate together, and prayed together.  The apostle’s doctrine can be drawn in simplified form from Peter’s sermon in the earlier part of the chapter.  It consists in four points:  the Spirit is poured out now; God raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus now rules over all, and everyone should repent of their sins and receive forgiveness.  The confession of Jesus’ lordship carries the core of that doctrine.

Believing these things produces different living.  Jesus is all that matters!  He matters so much that one’s own possessions do not.  The early church shared their belongings as was needed.  They had things in common because they cared about one another.  They were in each other’s homes, daily sharing their meals together.  Whenever they got together they prayed.  That is it.

For us, we need not immediately rush to explaining why such a lifestyle doesn’t fit today.  What we do is meditate on the values they embraced and the community they enjoyed.  Perhaps we do need to make some changes.  May we all study our own lives and weed out those things that block joy, fellowship, and behavioral affirmation of Jesus’ Lordship.

Passage:  Acts 2:42-47

Preached:  March 10, 2012

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Reclaiming Authority at Home

Faith Community Church Franklin TN Sermon PodcastWe are facing some disturbing signs in the church today. Many of our young people are leaving the faith. Some who stay have a diluted view of sound doctrine and display anemic faith. What is going on?

God set a paradigm in Deut. 6. He explained very clearly how parents are to pass on the faith to their children. They are to diligently teach their children the story of redemption. Judges 2 records the sad story of Israel deviating from this model. Could it be that we are facing a similar scenario today? The answer is yes.

In short, it is the father’s responsibility to teach his children about the Lord. We see this clearly in Eph. 6:4. The church supplements, the Christian school or co-op might help, but the responsibility to teach children about the Lord falls squarely on the father’s shoulders.

We will then discuss some practical ways in which men can teach their children the faith. First, do family worship. This takes many forms but essentially the father takes his bible, opens it, and teaches its sacred precepts to his wife and children. Second, disciple your children. This is done indirectly through family life and church life being modeled but the father needs to personally teach his children about the Lord one-on-one. While we rejoice that others disciple our young people we cannot outsource the primary responsibility we have. Third, we talk to our children all the time about the faith. From sports to politics to current events to school, everything is discussed with our children. What we are introducing to them is the truth that God has something to say about everything! We teach them a Christian world view through our off hand conversation as we go about life.

We will also address some critical aspects about the father’s faith. First, he must believe his faith personally. If he is nonchalant or indifferent about faith in God then any method will fail. The secret lies not in a method but in God who is there through faith. Second, visible, authentic actual leadership is the paradigm God has given to the father. It is the template prepared for us. As we walk in his ways by faith the corridors of fatherhood will unfold before us. Being the priest to our family is the perfect fit. We are uniquely designed for it so let us press into it with joy and strength. May God receive glory as we sanctify him in the home.

Sermon Tagline:

Men must lead by sanctifying God in the home.

Sermon Text: Deut. 6:4-9, 20-25, Judges 2:6-10

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