So far in this series we have learned that in order to grow as a Christian we must have a daily time of Bible Reading and a daily time of Prayer. These two elements are absolutely necessary if a Christian desires to live a life of spiritual progress. We can think of Bible reading and Prayer as tools for spiritual victory, God has given these things to us to help us become more and more like Jesus Christ. Today we are going to learn that God has not only given us the tools for victory but he has also given us the power to successfully utilize these tools!
Like a vehicle without gasoline, so is the Christian life without the working of the Holy Spirit. It is His Spirit within us that gives us the necessary power to use his tools. Our Bible reading and Prayer time, in fact, all of our Christian life, is vain if it is not done by the power of the Holy Spirit.
• Acts 1:8. Q. What were the disciples to receive?___________________.
Q. What did this power follow after? ______________________________.
You can push a car that has no fuel in it. You may even reach your destination. But you are not using your vehicle in the way in which it was meant to be used and you will be pretty wore out when you get there! The Christian who tries to please God by his own efforts, and does not live a life entirely surrendered to the power of the Holy Spirit, is like that man who is pushing his car instead of riding in it. To this man the Christian life seems difficult, monotonous, and exhausting. He becomes ”wore out” in the service to God quickly, and will quit the moment he reaches a big hill! This is not how Jesus intended the Christian life to be.
• Matt 11:29,30. Q. What did Jesus say we would find if we took his yoke upon us? _______________________________.
Jesus said that his yoke is ______________ and his burden is ___________.
If the Christian life to you is burdensome and difficult then you have not really begun to live the Christian life! You have attempted to please God and to live for him in your own strength.
• John 15:5. Q. What did Jesus say we could do without him?
In order to experience spiritual success we must live the Christian life in the power of the Holy Spirit. This requires a complete surrender of our wills to His will. This is what Paul meant in Gal 2:20.
• Write Gal 2:20.
This is a key verse. It explains how the Christian life works. We die to ourselves and then offer our lives as a sacrifice to God. Our lives then exist for the purpose of performing His will and not our own. This important truth is repeated in Romans 12:1:
• Rom 12:1. Q. How are we to present our bodies to God?
Q. Giving our lives entirely to God as a sacrifice is our R_______________ S_________________.
All Christian success and spiritual victory rests on the foundation of the surrendered life. Jesus accepted no less than a complete surrender to him and a denial of self in order to be his disciple.
• Luke 14:26. Q. What did Jesus say we could not be if we did not “hate” our own life?
What do you think Jesus meant by “hating” your own life?
• Luke 9:23. Q. What did Jesus say one must do in order to follow him?
Q. How often?
When we make this absolute surrender of our wills and our lives to God, then His Holy Spirit (which came to dwell in us at salvation), can begin to work freely in our hearts and minds. He teaches us the things of God (John14:26), helps us to pray (Rom 8:26), gives us boldness and power to witness to others (Acts 1:8), comforts us in the midst of trials (John 16:33) and gives us peace (Php 4:7).
Opposition to the Spirit
The average Christian in today’s society does not experience the benefits of the Spirit listed above. Why not? Because the Holy Spirit faces much opposition in our lives. There are many things in our world around us which draw us away and cause us to live self-centered lives instead of Christ-centered lives.
• Gal 5:17 Q. What are the flesh and the Spirit toward one another?
Q. Because the flesh and Spirit are contrary to each other, what does it prevent us from doing?
When we got saved, the Holy Spirit came to dwell within us. As a result he made us spiritually alive. He made it possible for our relationship with God to be reconciled. Because of his presence in our lives, we can have fellowship with and pray to our Heavenly Father. This relationship however is often hindered by the fact that we still possess fleshly bodies and a soul (mind, will and emotions) which are susceptible to the corrupt things of this world. For this reason, we are often exhorted in the word of God to avoid developing affections for this world.
• 1 John 2:15 ___________________________ neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
• Gal 5:24. Q. What have those who are Christ’s done?
In order to live the Christian life the way God intended it to be lived, we must make a decision between self and Christ, between this world and the world to come, between the temporary and the eternal. When we make this whole-hearted, life-changing decision than we will begin to realize what the Christian life is all about. His Holy Spirit will begin to work abundantly within us and we can accomplish much for God.
Objective of the Spirit
• John 16:13,14. Q. v14. What did Jesus say the Holy Spirit would do?
The objective or purpose of the Holy Spirit on earth is to glorify Jesus. He does this by working in the lives of Christians. First he does this by working in us.
• Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be ____________________________________________…
• Gal 4:19. Q. What did Paul desire would be formed in the Christians at Galatia?
The Spirit glorifies Christ by making us more and more like Christ. In a certain sense, all of the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5, is simply the character qualities of Christ which are to be formed in us. The evidence (or fruit) of the Spirit’s working in us is that our lives reflect the life of Christ. This process of making us like Christ began when we got saved and will continue until we enter Heaven (Php 1:6). The extent to which our lives and character reflect that of Jesus is entirely dependent on the measure of obedience that we give to Him.
Next, the Holy Spirit not only glorifies Christ by working in us, but by working through us. We glorify Jesus when we tell others about Him and testify of what he has done for us. He is glorified when we are motivated by Christ-like character to love others the way that he would love them. These are outward affects of the Holy Spirit’s inward work.
Obedience to the Spirit
How do we practically apply these truths to our lives? Well, if you desire the Holy Spirit to work in your life, and to lead you into a victorious Christian life then you must ensure that you have a change of heart.
Matt 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
We turn from our sin and accept Christ in order to gain salvation, but we must also come out of the world and obey Christ in order to enjoy salvation. We must love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. This whole-hearted obedience is the foundation on which the rest of our Christian life rests. The blessings of Bible reading and Prayer only come when we have surrendered to His will and the Holy Spirit works freely within us.
In Ephesians chapter 4 we see a list of sins such as lying, anger, stealing, worthless conversations, bitterness and slander. This chapter encourages us to “put away” these things. Then in the midst of the chapter, in verse 30, we read this verse:
Eph 4:30 And ___________________ not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Trying to live the Christian life while still indulging in sin, selfishness and worldliness grieves the Holy Spirit and stunts our spiritual growth. Our hearts must be given entirely to the Lord. Next, in order to obey the Spirit we must also have a change in habit.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also _______________________.
Living with the Spirit means obeying the Spirit in our daily lives. Perhaps that means stopping bad habits that weaken our spiritual desires. Perhaps that means developing good habits that promote spiritual desires. These are the things we do to avoid grieving the Spirit, and to actively feed the Spirit.
Part of walking in newness of life is recognizing the role of the Spirit in our lives. He is here to come along side of us and to make us like Christ. He does not force us, but meets our desire with his power. Have you given your life wholly to the purposes of God? Nothing short of this will see the full potential of the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life.