Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] You cannot be a true Christian without the Spirit of God. A Christian is defined by one that is led by the Holy Spirit.
If you say “I’m a Christian” then there is a serious question you have to answer. In fact how you answer that question is absolutely critical.
Here’s the question: Am I led by the Holy Spirit? Now it seems pretty simple but why is that answer so important? As you think about that for a moment we’d better step back and first consider what exactly is the Holy Spirit?
It’s the very presence of God’s power working in us. Rather than being a distinct person what the Bible tells us it’s God’s divine power.
Paul talks about this in the book of Romans. In Romans 15:13 here is what he writes. He hopes that all Christians “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” and in fact Paul talks about God’s Spirit working in him in that very way. A couple of verses later in verse 19 Paul says that God worked through him “mighty signs & wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God” and so Paul draws us to this conclusion and the Bible clearly shows us that the Holy Spirit itself is a power from God. It’s the way that He works. It’s the way that He creates. It’s the way that He communicates and acts on and in this world that we live in.
In fact when you think about our Savior Jesus Christ much in the same way it’s recorded for us in the book of Acts. In Acts 10:38 we find this notation about Christ Himself. It records for us “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
So we see that the Holy Spirit is connected by the power with which God was with Christ and through that power Christ performed these amazing miracles. Now of course perhaps you noticed as we read those couple of passages there was something specific that we could take from that. Did you notice that the spirit was always presented as an attribute or a characteristic of God? It wasn’t mentioned as a separate being. In fact if we go all the way back to the beginning, go all the way back to Genesis 1 we find an interesting notation all the way back at creation. This is in verse 2 of chapter 1 of Genesis. It says “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” All the way back at creation the Holy Spirit is described as something well maybe perhaps greater than what we’ve been led to understand.
It’s the very essence of God. It’s how God works, it’s how God uses His power to accomplish His will. In fact not in just creating this world but how it works in people’s lives by those who have put their faith and their trust in Him. Those who have asked Him to help them every single day with the power of that very spirit. Because it’s by that Spirit it’s dwelling in us and it leads us and it enables us to be the children of God.
In fact in our Bible Study Aid “The Power of the Holy Spirit” it puts it this way: “The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God’s power actively working in His servants. God’s Holy Spirit is the catalyst in a transformed Christian life.” So you see it’s by the Holy Spirit we can gain spiritual understanding. If you’d like a deeper understanding call for our free Study Aid. Call the number on your screen or go online to beyondtoday.tv and download this free booklet.
It begins to show us how important and critical it really is. Some think, is it really that important because oftentimes people imagine well if I accept Jesus and he’s in my heart, isn’t that enough? Well it depends what you mean, to begin with because as we consider what the Bible really says about the importance of God’s Spirit. Notice what Acts 8 has to say about it. Verse 9 it tells us very clearly “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” Not too difficult to understand, is it? It’s pretty plain. Pretty plain if the Spirit isn’t in you, you don’t belong to God.
So how significant is it? Well without it, without God’s Holy Spirit in our lives you cannot have a relationship with God. In fact a few verses later we’re told the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
So you can’t take it lightly, you can’t downplay the significance of God’s presence in our life. Of course if you remember where we started, remember that question we began with? Am I led by the Holy Spirit? When we begin to answer that question, when you say I’m a Christian, we have to answer that question honestly. And when we answer that question we have to keep Romans 8:14 in mind and that’s where it tells us “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”
So how would you define a Christian? It tells us very plainly you cannot be a true Christian without the spirit of God. A Christian is defined as one who is led by the Holy Spirit. So we have to ask ourselves how does the Spirit work in my life. What exactly does it mean to be “led by the Spirit?” Is it just an emotion, is it a feeling that I have, or a sentiment that comes to mind?
Some can be confused by what it means to be led but we don’t have to be. We don’t have to be that way at all and in fact Jesus Christ said the Spirit will lead us and guide us into all truth.
So it’s essential that we realize that there are things the Spirit doesn’t do. The Spirit doesn’t drag us, it doesn’t force us, it doesn’t push us around, it doesn’t make us do anything. In fact the Bible tells us that it leads us. Only those led by the Spirit of God are His children. So the Spirit’s not going to stop us from sinning. It doesn’t automatically prevent us from violating God’s law. It doesn’t do that. In fact it won’t coerce us into doing what’s right.
So what does it do? You see God’s Spirit motivates us, it empowers us, and it leads us and guides us and it leads us in specific ways. In fact let’s consider a few specific ways that God’s Spirit leads us.
To begin with God’s Spirit inspires deeper understanding. We can understand spiritual truths because of God’s Spirit. Because when we have God’s Spirit that means we’re changing the way that we think. We’re changing the way then that we act and as we yield to God’s Spirit we think like God thinks. We want to please God. We want to obey God. God’s Spirit is working in our hearts and in our minds.
In fact the Apostle John wrote about this very thing. He tells us in 1 John 3:24, “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.” Then he goes on, “and by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”
You see if we allow God’s Spirit to lead us God can influence us for the good. It brings an entirely new perspective. We begin to want to obey, we want to follow Him. We want to do as He says. He said keep my commandments so we have to do those big 10. We have to honor God and love Him and we don’t want to steal and we don’t want to lie. We need to keep the Sabbath Day holy. We’re going to separate ourselves from the society around us, from this culture and this world and in fact our own human nature.
So Christ said that the Holy Spirit would bring that deeper understanding and convict us of sin. That’s what Christ said, it would convict the world of sin. So with God’s Spirit I should now be able to recognize what is sin anyway? God’s Spirit can lead me and that means I’d better pay attention. I’d better listen up because God is giving me a powerful pledge to guide me and walk with me and lead me but of course that also means I have a responsibility, there’s an obligation then that I have as God has given me that Spirit.
In Romans 8 it’s a wonderful reminder of exactly how that Spirit works in my life. When we see what it says in verse 13 of Romans 8, it says if I live according to the flesh, or if I live according to every day normal regular physical life, if I live that way what does it lead to? Well we’re told if you live that way you will die but on the other hand if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. So we have that duty we have that responsibility and if we allow God’s Spirit to inspire a deeper spiritual understanding do you have any idea what that’s taking us to? That’s not just a passive life. That’s not just something that I can sit back and just have a docile kind of existence and think that’s going to be spiritual. It’s the other hand, a life that’s led by God’s Spirit that’s a life of conflict. That’s being led by the Spirit and convicted of sin. That means I’m going to have to constantly combat the ways of this world. I’m going to be in a clash with wrong ways of thinking. I’ll battle with life’s constant temptations. In fact if you have God’s Spirit you’re going to have to fight to resist the desires that want to take us in and fool us and seduce us.
So instead God says a faithful disciple, the one that’s led by the Spirit, it’s not just a casual observer but “a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” So if we claim to be Christian if we claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ and if we’re not actively resisting evil and striving to do what’s right we really can’t claim that we’re being led by the Spirit.
In other words if we’re led by the Spirit it means I’m ridding my life of sin and I’m conforming to the character of Jesus Christ. In fact all that claim to be Christians have to obey God’s law because we’ve been put on a mission. We’ve been given this duty to put to death human nature by the power of God’s Spirit.
In fact in our Bible Study Aid “The Power of the Holy Spirit” it puts it this way. It tells us under the section “The Power to Live a Godly Life.” It says with God’s Spirit at work within us, God empowers us to develop holy righteous character and resist temptation and the pulls to sin.” You see there is so much to learn about God’s Spirit and how it inspires a deeper understanding. So be sure to get our free Bible Study Aid by calling the number on your screen or you can download it at beyondtoday.tv
Just imagine that Spirit working within you. The power of God, His essence in you makes all the difference in the world.
Now that brings us to point #2 in our discussion on “Am I Led by the Holy Spirit?”
The Holy Spirit makes overcoming possible. Aren’t you tired of the same old same old? With power of God working in you, when it’s in our life there’s nothing too difficult for us. When we fully commit our lives to God, when we put our life in His hands and we’re dedicating ourselves to follow Him we can be a different person we can be a better person we can be a spiritual creation.
In fact the book of Romans reminds us of that very thing. In Romans 12:2 we’re told “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” So we don’t need the same old same old. We can be different and not just slightly different but we can be transformed and that word for transformed in the original language that’s the same word we get metamorphosis from.
Now you all studied science back in grade school. Metamorphosis is what happens to that caterpillar when it changes into a butterfly. Now think about that spiritually. Spiritually speaking when we yield to God, when we allow Him to direct our thoughts we can be changed. Changed from the inside out. Kind of like that caterpillar and yet spiritually we can be a new creation and it’s God Spirit that leads us to choose that different life, to choose that life of overcoming.
You see we can’t just think that well God just takes me just as I am. Well okay He calls us just like we are but then He says you’re to be like Me. God’s called us to be like Him. Just as I am is just the starting point to an entirely transformed existence.
In fact in the book of Galatians we’re told very specifically how important this is. In Galatians 3:27 it tells us “for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
An important aspect mentioned here in the book of Galatians. I mean think about your life. Have you seen a change, have you seen growth in your life? Well perhaps you’re not baptized. Scripture says you should be. We’re told in Scripture to repent, be forgiven of our sins, believe and obey, be baptized and then a minister of Jesus Christ needs to lay hands on you in order to receive God’s Holy Spirit.
In fact in the book of Acts we’re told very plainly that they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. So if you have not received the Spirit of God by the laying on of hands you need to learn about it. You need to find out what the Bible actually teaches. It may be why you are having a difficult time with spiritual growth. We need the power. We need God’s Holy Spirit to be truly transformed. So take inventory, take stock of yourself. Look at your life. Is there evidence that God’s Spirit is in you?
We can think of it this way. Like a fruit tree. Fruit trees produce a specific kind of fruit. So an apple tree produces apples. What about God’s Spirit? What about the fruit of God’s Spirit? If we’re led by the Spirit it should be evident. In chapter 5 of Galatians this is what we’re told about the fruit that this spiritual tree produces.
In verse 22 of Galatians 5 it says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. In fact it even tells us there is no law against those. You see those are the traits should be should be evident in our life. When we recognize God’s Spirit is what makes it possible without it the fruit is not going to grow. It’s not going to be there. It’ll be stagnant but God says when we stay close to Him and by the power of His Holy Spirit we have a godly mind, we change our thinking and what does that do to us? It changes our actions, we change the way we think, change the way we act and so we can have a deeper understanding.
Now that brings us to point #3 in our discussion of “Am I Led by the Holy Spirit?
God’s Spirit comforts us and encourages us. Would anybody argue that we live in a pretty challenging world? There is terrorism and war and all these difficulties that our world is encumbered with everywhere we turn. We look at our personal lives. Our personal lives can be sometimes pretty chaotic and sometimes they can be confusing too.
Anyone experiencing any stress lately? A little anxiety? You see that seems to be the way of life today. The truth of the Bible tells us we can have help for today and hope for tomorrow. In fact it’s more than just a saying it’s a promise. Jesus Christ made an unbreakable promise. In the Gospel of John when we look to John 14 Christ Himself tells us very specifically “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever … the Spirit of truth.” It says “the world cannot receive it.” He says “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.” You see that’s a promise from Christ.
Our Bible Study Aid speaks a lot about this in depth. In fact it says in our booklet about this very thought, it says “We need not be unduly worried about what may happen to us…Yes, Christians can get discouraged, but it is through the Holy Spirit that we can begin to look at life differently…Jesus Christ promised to send His followers the Holy Spirit as a Helper or Comforter.” Who doesn’t need help? Who couldn’t use a little bit of comfort? Couldn’t we use a little bit of encouragement? You see our Study Guide can help you be encouraged by the power of God’s Spirit so call the number on your screen. Go to beyondtoday.tv, download this. If you can’t get through right away write down the number and call us back a little bit later.
When you think about God’s Spirit being that Comforter that Encourager that’s an interesting word in the Greek language that it’s taken from. It’s a word that’s used to describe a ship that comes alongside a dock. That’s the way they used that word back in ancient times. That was the comforter, the one that’s called to the side. It can mean coming near, and supporting even cheering on. So in other words, God’s spirit is sent as an encourager, a comforter, that comes along side us, to guide us, to support us, to help us, to encourage us. God’s Spirit gives us the assurance that whatever life brings, whatever the stress, whatever the anxiety, whatever the trial, God can turn it for good. In fact aren’t we told that very thing, if God is for us who can be against us?
Don’t you want a different outlook in life? Don’t you need a different perspective? You see God says we can depend on Him. We can depend on His Word in difficult times and through His Holy Spirit we can have a changed perspective and we can look at life differently. The Apostle Paul told the young minister Timothy that God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. He didn’t give us a spirit of timidness at all. Paul told him just the opposite that God has given us a spirit of power and love and of a sound mind. When we recognize that very fact we realize as we look through the book of Acts, Acts tells the story about the first century church and throughout the book of Acts the church is shown time after time after time to rely on God and His way and trust in Him and by the power of His Holy Spirit His will can be accomplished. And these weren’t just made up people. Oftentimes we read the Bible and think well yeah that’s somebody that’s totally unlike me. You see that’s not the case at all. These were real people and these were their real lives and they were people that weren’t so different from us. In fact when we read their stories they’re exactly like us. They hurt like us and they feel like us and they thought like us but what was it that made the difference? You see that was God’s Spirit. It was by the power of God’s Spirit that they had a different perspective. They had a totally different view on life and the great part of the story is we can too. We can too by turning to God. Looking to Him and repenting and changing, coming to baptism, having hands laid on us, and receiving God’s Spirit can make the total metamorphosis, make that total change in our life so that we see life differently, we can be a spiritual creation in Christ because when you really get down to it there really is only one way that your life can be what God intended for it to be. That’s turning to Him. Looking to Him. There’s only one way that we can be different. There’s only way one that we can change.
Get your Bible out. Read through the stories of the Bible. Get our free offers. The Holy Spirit will help you to help you understand the way that God is working. Look to Him. Look to His guidance. Look to His leadership. Obey Him. Part of receiving the Spirit of God is that we begin then to change our life and live by His standards and so live by the standards of God. Submit your life to His Holy Spirit because God wants to lead you by that very Spirit and it’s only by that Spirit that God will change your life by the dynamic, dramatic force of the Holy Spirit because God wants to help you discern the difference. He wants you to see what life can really be and ultimately eternal life in His kingdom. God wants to help you. He wants to help you discern between what’s true and what’s false. He wants to help you to recognize the difference between what’s wise and what’s foolish. He wants you to know and know that you know between what’s best, what’s spiritual, and what’s just getting by.
You see if you’re ready to make real progress in your life, if you’re ready to counteract the continual downward pull and the influence of this evil world, the time is now. Now’s the time, now’s the time to turn to God. Now is the time to look to Him. Now is the time to repent and believe and be baptized, have hands laid on you so that you may receive the power of God’s Holy Spirit and then you can say I am truly being led by the Spirit of God.
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[Steve Myers] Hi! I’m Steve Myers. We would love to have you come and worship with us. We’re committed to growing in our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ as well as fellowshipping with each other. We’ve found God’s way is the best way to live. We’re looking forward to meeting you soon. Come and join us!