12 Jan 2020
The Misunderstood Spirit The person and work of the Holy Spirit are often misunderstood. Some attribute to the Holy Spirit unbiblical excesses like "holy laughter or barking or rolling!" Others ignore the person and work of the Holy Spirit and do not speak much about it. But the Acts church was a church genuinely empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit. You could say that the book of Acts is actually about the acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles. So how can we as a people live in that power? The Exchanged Life It begins with surrender. Surrendering the control of our lives to the Holy Spirit. That's what it means when Paul said in Eph 5:18 "be filled with the Spirit. " It means that we yield to the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit. We exchange our "self" for the Spirit in the throne of our hearts. Notice too that this is a command, for it is imperative in the Greek text. Our flesh profits nothing, and power belongs unto God. God's people must be filled or controlled by the Spirit. Not to be filled with the Spirit is like the sin of being drunk with wine. In Step with the Spirit But how do we be filled? Is it through some mystical "zap" from above or some esoteric transcendental experience? No. Comparing with Col 3:16, we see that the filling of the Spirit, or the yielding to the control of the Spirit, is when we obey the word of Christ in our lives. So, instead of living our own lives, we "march" to the rhythm and direction of the Holy Spirit in His word. We keep in step with Him (Gal 5:25) when we do His will inspired in the Bible. When we yield ourselves to the Spirit, we live sober and godly lives. We will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. We will see victory over sin and an increasing likeness to Jesus. We will be a praiseful, thankful and respectful people. O how we need the Holy Spirit in our lives to manifest His power! May we ask for His power as we aim to be witnesses for Jesus in this world!
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We began last week, it's the first sermon of the year last week, and I introduced to you the idea that we are looking at Vision 2020. That is to say, we want to see clearly, in this year and for the years to come, where God is taking us, what is God's will for the church?
I, I believe that the church is not defined by the building, we, we are not saying that God's will is for us to have a nice building, or indeed even to have a lot of people, or indeed to have a lot of programs. I don't think that's the goal.
I think the goal of every family, of every school is to produce a certain kind of people. And I believe the church is called to disciple and to teach the people of God that we might become a certain kind of people. And that is to become a church, like the church in the book of Acts, that's the fifth book in the New Testament. It describes the early church in its beginning, and I believe, to look forward to where God wants us to lead us to lead us we look back at the church, in the book of Acts. The direction we're heading towards, is to become a certain kind of people, the people like that in the days of Acts.
The days of Acts, reveal a church that was dynamic. They were world changing, they turned their world upside down, and that's the kind of church we hope to be. We're not, we're not there, we are far from it, but that's what we aim for.
There are seven characteristics that we must emulate and we must pray that God will form in us. Last week we saw that the church in the book of Acts was a church centered on the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was their passion, Christ was their power, Christ was who they proclaimed. And I think there's nothing more important for us to start the year than to be reminded, we need our lives and this church to be centered on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we go to the second value, the second characteristic and that is, the church in the book of Acts was clearly a church that was filled with the Spirit. You can't miss this. You say, who is the Spirit? Well, the Spirit is the third person of the Godhead and the Bible reveals to us, one God, with three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And they were a church that was moved and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
This is very clear when you read the book of Acts. In fact, some people say, we call the book of Acts, the “acts of the apostles”, the messengers, the, the disciples of Jesus. But there are others who say maybe the title should not be the acts of the apostles only, but it should be the acts of the Holy Spirit through the apostles because the major player in this book of Acts is really the Holy Spirit from the beginning to the end.
I, I take you on a little jet tour, it's sometimes good to go deep, sometimes it's good to have a big overview. So let me take you on a jet tour through the book of Acts about the work of the Holy Spirit. Now Jesus after He died and rose again, He said to the disciples, don't depart from Jerusalem, don't go preaching the Gospel. Don't go tell people what you have seen yet. You can't go because you have to wait for the promise of the Father [Acts 1:4-5].
God has promised something, you say, what's the promise? That you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now [Acts 1:4-5]. So don't go but wait till the Holy Spirit come upon you. And when He comes upon you, you will receive the power to be His witnesses. It's going to be difficult for you, it's impossible for you to witness for Jesus unless you have the Holy Spirit and His power upon your life.
And then we read in Acts Chapter 2, the early church they gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem, they were praying and, and then God came down in mighty power. They were filled with the Holy Ghost and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance [Acts 2:4], there was a miraculous supernatural phenomenon that took place they spoke in other languages. In other dialects, they began to speak in Elamite, Medes, part- Parthians, and so on.
It's almost like, I've never learned Hakka, and I suddenly speak Hakka, I could not speak Portuguese and I speak Portuguese. They were given the ability to speak to the people of different dialects, that's the power of the Holy Spirit upon them. Peter preached that sermon and 3,000 souls got saved that day.
Peter was then called before the religious leaders, threatening him, don't speak about Jesus anymore, but he was filled with the Holy Spirit [Acts 4:8] and he went on still to preach with boldness. Not just Peter, but the early church, the disciples were equally filled with the Spirit and spoke the Word of God with boldness [Acts 4:31].
The church then had some problems because there were widows, neglected. Many of them came to faith, they were put outside of the normal Jewish community and support and they were struggling, they were not having enough food. So the church leaders decided they needed men to look after these widows. So they selected people, what kind of people did they choose? Acts 6 tells us that they looked for people, seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom [Acts 6:3]. They were looking for people who evidently had the power of the Spirit upon their lives.
We then read, of the first martyr in the early church, the first man who will die for his faith, his name is Stephen. He, however, was able to withstand the threats and persecutions of those who wanted his life because the Bible tells us he was full of the Holy Spirit [Acts 7:55]. God, by His Spirit has been given him boldness and courage and strength to withstand all that.
Then we read how the Holy Spirit directed, His people, said to Philip, go and join this chariot [Acts 8:29] and you know the story. He met the Ethiopian eunuch, shared with him about Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch got saved! And after he was saved, the Spirit then took Philip away [Acts 8:39]. The Holy Spirit is like the director of missions, in the book of Acts.
We read in Acts 9 and verse 31, the church grew in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We read in Acts 10 and verse 19, that the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter, we wrote, we read in Acts 10:44, the Holy Spirit fell upon those who heard the Good News and believed upon God, in the house of Cornelius, the Gentile. We read about how Barnabas was a man full of the Holy Spirit [Acts 11:24]. We read about how the Holy Spirit said, separate for Me these two men for the work that I will call them to [Acts 13:2], the director of missions. We read in Acts 13 and verse 52, the disciples filled with joy and Holy Spirit.
I said jet tour, really jet tour alright, Acts 16 we see the Holy Spirit, directing and forbidding people to go to certain places. Verse seven is the same, they were not allowed to go to Bithynia. And then we read in Acts 19, the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples, having the same supernatural phenomenon [Acts 19:6], and we see the church in the book of Acts being directed or constrained [Acts 20:22-23]. And we see also lastly, the elders, the overseers being installed in the church as the Spirit directs [Acts 20:28].
So right through the book of Acts, we see the major role the Holy Spirit plays, I think it will not be wrong for us to say the book of Acts, is the record of the acts of the Holy Spirit, through the apostles. Now, we need to be a church who experiences and enters into this life in the Spirit.
Some time ago, I think it was about a year or two ago, I got a call from someone. Someone told me that he or she was told not to come to Gospel Light because this is a church who does not believe in the Holy Spirit. I said, that's strange, I, I, I didn't think that we are a church who does not believe in the Holy Spirit. We understand it as the second fundamental core value of this church. So we, I tried to find out what does that person really mean when he says this church doesn't believe in the Holy Spirit?
The person actually said, Oh, they don't believe in the Holy Spirit because they don't believe in tongues and in healing and in prophecy, the supernatural stuff, you know that many churches today claim to be doing. Then I understand, I explained to that person, no, no, we absolutely believe in the person and work of the Holy Spirit, and we need all the more to depend upon the Holy Spirit. But it is true that we do not believe in the unbiblical excesses that are wrongly attributed to the Holy Spirit.
You know, the book that we have just produced about Gospel Light's history? My son Shawn was flipping through the pages last week and he saw this chapter and he found these words and say, “Ha? How come, got holy laughter, holy barking and holy rolling?” Have you read that before? About 20 years ago, in Singapore, there are people who have come and said, that when you are filled with the Spirit, you will laugh uncontrollably, you will moo like a cow, you will bark like a dog and you will roll on the floor. Even a 12-year-old boy knows that that is ridiculous.
But you see, that's what Christianity struggles with: a confusion about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. And of course, we deny these unbiblical claims about the Holy Spirit. I think that's close to blasphemy, to attribute to Him what He does not do.
But on the other hand, the church today can avoid these excesses to an extreme, where we run to the other end and say, oh, we don't believe in the Holy Spirit. If you have the book and I encourage you to get the book, you can look at chapter six or seven, and the chapter is called “GLCC's CEO”. Who is GLCC's CEO?
The title is given by Pastor Paul ah, the founding pastor. Who is GLCC’s CEO? Who? Holy Spirit! So I’m very scared when some of you call me boss. It's like, wow, this is terrible! This is blasphemy! Oh anyway, according to Pastor Paul, he says that GLCC’s CEO is the Holy Spirit and in that chapter, he wrote about how he was one who went to the extreme, because he saw and he was, he was disgusted with the unbiblical excesses attributed to the Spirit. In his life, he went to the other extreme and did not teach about the person and work of the Holy Spirit in effect.
He actually said that Gospel Light in the past, we, you know, we worship the tribune God, right? But he said in practice in Gospel Light, we worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Bible. Salah (meaning: wrong), right? We're supposed to worship the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but in practice, because he so averts that danger, he does not talk about the Spirit and therefore, even in a book he writes about how there was a time he realized his mistake, he knelt before the church, apologized in tears and said, “we have neglected the CEO of the church for too long.”
So today we need to come to a biblical balance. We need, desperately, to live life in the Spirit, but be clear about excesses that we are to avoid. So all that preamble, what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? It's going to take some time, it's going to be quite intense, for those who are new, sorry, I hope you'll come back still next week. But I hope this will be helpful for all our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
The first thing I want to say is when we think about filled with the Spirit, we almost think of something like this, and I tell you please don't think of it like this, alright? We think about filled the Spirit as if this is like a story from Star Wars.
We, we think about filled with the Spirit as if someone who has wah, power that comes from his hands. We, we think about “may the force be with you”. Now, George Lucas has a rich imagination, he thinks that they are Jedis, we have Jedi powers, but that's not what the Bible teaches.
To be filled with the Spirit is not that we command the Spirit, or that we demand the Spirit, or that when the pastor raises his hand, you fall down. Actually, I just spoke to someone from our church who said, I used to come to, come from a church where the pastor was trying to do this but I cannot fall down and he keep telling me to fall down, but I cannot fall down. I say “The force not strong enough lah!” That's not the work of the Holy Spirit.
Now, but worse still, we think we can manipulate, control as if you like, tai chi (a Chinese martial art that involves flowing motions) or what? Nope. The Holy Spirit is not a force you demand or command, the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead, we surrender and submit to.
So we're going to look at this text. Ephesians 5:18, to get to the heart of what it means. The Bible says, “Do not be drunk with wine for that is the debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” I want you to know that this is so important, because this is not an option, this is a command.
The Bible gives it as a command, the Greek, you know that the New Testament, a lot of it is written in the Greek and the Greek grammar and language is putting this as an imperative, as a command. Actually, it is obvious, to be drunk with wine is wrong, not to be filled with the Spirit is also wrong, both are sinful.
If I come up stage to this drunk and I preach to you say, Pastor, please come down lah, you're sinning. You're right, but it will be equally wrong for us not to be filled with the Spirit as it is for you to get drunk.
The early church had to realize the absolute necessity, to be filled with the Spirit, to be empowered by the Spirit. I mean, I said to you, Jesus told them, don't depart, don't go [Acts 1:4-5]. Now, the disciples had, actually every human reason to go. They were disciples of Jesus for three years, they followed Jesus, they saw everything, heard everything He said. They were then given a crash course on theology for 40 days. I mean, they witnessed the resurrection of Christ, they heard the teachings of Christ, so they should be the ones who should go out all over the world to tell people about Jesus. But God says, no, you wait. You wait for the promise of the Father, you wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon you.
Whenever I look at Acts 1, verses 4 and 5, I think about a famous Chinese story, I'm sorry if you're not Chinese. I'll try to explain it in a way that you can. But there's a famous Chinese story called, Romance…? I'm glad you say Romance of the Three Kingdoms, not Romance of the hong lou meng or whatever alright? But Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Actually, I do not know why they call romance lah, it's not very romantic. It's actually a story about a battle for ancient China. There are three kingdoms, three warlords, you know who they are.
Cao Cao, Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang? Mr. Zhuge actually serve Liu Bei, alright? Sun Quan, very good. Sun Quan is always the forgotten one alright, so you have Cao Cao, Liu Bei, Sun Quan. And the three are fighting for supremacy in China.
And there is this story that had a defining battle between all three of them. It's the battle at the Red Cliff. Now that became a popular movie called Chi Bi, right? Red Cliff. Part one, part two. So, at the Red Cliff, they are going to come together in an epic battle, but this is a special battle in that it is not a battle fought on the plains, but it is a battle fought on waters, on a river.
Now Cao Cao had a huge army, he had advantage numerically. So Liu Bei and Sun Quan combined, they allied together to form a, a combined force to try to resist this powerful Cao Cao. But Cao Cao though big in his size of army, the problem is that they are not very good at water warfare, naval warfare. They are, their soldiers are not used to it and they get seasick quite easily.
So the confederacy of Liu Bei and Sun Quan, someone there came up with a brilliant plan. “They are more than us, but we can defeat them. The way to defeat them is to use fire, to eliminate them by fire we need two things, number one we need to plant a mole. We need to plant a spy there, a spy who works for us but who is in his courts, who would suggest to Cao Cao, ‘eh, Cao Zai Xiang (a way of addressing superiors in ancient China), your, your soldiers are many, but they are not good in water background. So you need to give them stability, tie all your boats and rafts together, then they are more stable, you will win.’” Cao Cao a bit blur, believed this guy and says “yah, yah, yah, let's tie all our ships our boats, our rafts together.”
The second thing that was needed was that they needed to send ships that are on fire, so that it will burn all their ships at the same time. But to send that from a mile away, Cao Cao would know. So they had to disguise their ships as if they are tribute ships, bringing gold, silver, precious stones to pretend that they are surrendering to the mighty Cao Cao. But actually, all the ships are loaded with explosives. Everything was made ready. Cao Cao is going to get into trouble.
But the Confederacy did not go, they did not send these ships out. You say why? Because of one thing. And therefore, we learn of 16 classic words in san guo yan yi or Romance of the Three Kingdoms and these 16 words are 欲破曹公,宜用火攻, 万事具备,只欠东风. Wah you say ong ong ong si mi? That's the beauty of the Chinese language, there's, there's rhyme, there's, it's so concise, and yet it tells the whole story right? So it's: “to defeat Cao Cao, use the fire attack. All is ready we just need the eastern wind.” Why? Because the wind direction is all wrong at that time! If you send the boats blazing with fire, the wind will blow them back to us and we will self destroy! But if the wind, Eastern wind is to come, then Cao Gong will be destroyed.
So when you think about the early church in the book of Acts, actually, it's pretty much like this! 万事具备, everything is ready, except? What dong feng (Chinese for “eastern wind”)? All is ready except? Sheng lin de feng (wind of the Spirit)! We don't need the eastern wind, you need the wind of the Spirit, alright?
So they were all ready to go, but Jesus said, you can't go, you'll just destroy yourself. You need the wind of the Holy Spirit. So only then will they have the power to be witnesses in Jerusalem [Acts 1:8] and so on and so forth. And that's what we read in the book of Acts, what a exciting adventure of being empowered and led by the Holy Spirit for worldwide missions.
So today, we recognize that in ourselves, there is no power. Men today like to exhort in how capable we, we are, but in the Bible, we realize we are nothing apart from God's enabling. So do not get drunk with wine for that as debauchery, but be filled [Ephesians 5:18]. This is so important, it's like getting drunk, if you do not get filled with the Spirit. It's as sinful as that, and we need the power of God.
So I've told you about the priority, the importance. But what does it really mean to be filled? What's that process like? What does it feel like, sound like, I have no idea! Well, let's take away the mystery. I want you to know to be filled with the Spirit is first of all, different from the indwelling of the Spirit.
Now, I know I'm speaking to, to a mixed crowd here. Some of you are not Christian, some of you are. So it's a bit difficult but in essence, when a man is born again by God, when a man repents and believes in Jesus Christ, to be saved, something amazing takes place. Now his look doesn't change, he still looks the same, with pimples and everything else. But something changes in him in that, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within him.
The Bible says that God's people are the temple of the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit. What do you mean by temple? I don't have incense or things coming out of my body! Well, a temple simply means the dwelling place. So when a man comes to faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives within him. That is an automatic process you know that? You don't have to apply you don't have to pray anything. If you believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit lives in you.
But that is not the same as being filled! Being filled is something you need to make a decision for, it's a command, it's a choice. So the indwelling is not the same as filling. Filling, I suggest to you is to be controlled by the Spirit. I like you to say it with me alright, “to be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit”. That's the essence of this word. We read in Acts 5 and verse 3, the Bible uses the Word this way. Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart, why has Satan so influenced your heart, why has Satan so controlled your heart that you will lie to the Holy Spirit? Now, in Ananias' case, it's the demonic spirit who has influenced Ananias.
In Ephesians 5:18, we are saying we are allowing, we're surrendering ourselves to the Holy Spirit's influence and control. So to be filled with the Spirit is not the same as indwelling, because to be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit. Remember, it's not we control the Spirit like Yoda, but it's the Spirit given control over my life.
You could actually get it from the text itself, do not be drunk with wine [Ephesians 5:18]. If you today drink and drive, you are charged as driving under influence. Don't be drunk with wine, don't be controlled by wine, don't be influenced by wine, the alcoholic spirit, but be controlled by the Holy Spirit, that's what this means. So to be filled, is to be controlled, to surrender the lordship of your life over to his Spirit.
I hope this diagram helps you. This is a picture of each and every one of us born into this world. There's a throne in your life and you sit on that throne. You choose what you want to do, you think you determine whatever you want, you desire. That's a picture of all of us born into this world, I am lord of my life, right? Where is God? Where is Jesus? Where is the Holy Spirit? Sounds like your life!
And therefore this is a picture of someone who does not know Christ, he's not a Christian, he's not born again, God does not live in him. But when a man sees his sin, sees his own helplessness and turns to Jesus who died for him to be saved, when he believes in Jesus, something amazing happens, the Spirit of Christ comes to live in him.
I can see hor? The picture obvious? God lives in him. However, he does not always sadly, even though God lives in him, Christ by His Spirit lives in me, I don't always listen to Him, I don't always obey Him. I don't always do what He tells me to do, I, I sometimes and many times still choose to do what I in my sinful self, want to do. So in that case, I am still sitting on the throne and not surrendering control of my life over to Him. And when we live like that we are a worldly Christian, we love the things of the flesh.
Now, what's a Spirit filled Christian? A Spirit filled Christian is someone who does not only have the indwelling, but he surrenders the control over to the Spirit. In other words, the Spirit of Christ now sits on the throne and I surrender to His control, that is what it means to be a Spirit filled Christian. Now this is not difficult, right?
I'm sure your PSLE aim, your maths is harder than this. But let's make it even clearer if I can, let's take away not a Christian. So we're talking about Christians here, followers of Jesus. What's the difference in this two picture? In a sense, it tells me that a worldly Christian is one where the Spirit of Christ lives in us, indwelling. But for the Spirit filled Christian it's where the Holy Spirit is, Lord in us, very big difference! Someone can live in your house, but not be Lord in your house.
But if another person comes and becomes Lord in your house, your house will be very different, you know that? Because the things you eat, the cleanliness standard, the routines of life will be dramatically changed because a new Lord has come.
A Spirit filled Christian is one where a new Lord reigns. Now there's a very big difference. Or if another way we would put it, is that a worldly Christian is one where the Holy Spirit is simply resident in us but a Spirit filled Christian is where the Spirit is like a president over us, He rules over us.
So in your life, you can choose, you're commanded to yield your life to the Spirit, but oftentimes we toggle between this, my will or the Spirit's will? My way, or the Spirit's way? To be filled with the Spirit is to obey that command to surrender the throne of my life over to the Spirit.
So far, alright? Following me? Now we go on to the next question. If being filled in the Spirit is so important, and it's about surrendering control to the Spirit, how do I surrender? How? To many Christians and to many churches, you know what is filled the Spirit? It means sit at home and do this, oom.... and wait for power to zap them.
Wah I'm zapped! Wah, I'm filled! Wah, I'm like, Jedi! It’s totally wrong ideas, but that's the problem with Christianity today, it's so confused in this subject. It's strange, isn't it? However, I think being filled with the Spirit does not need to be a mystical weird out of the world process. The Bible gives us a reasonably simple, very simple explanation or pathway into being filled with the Spirit.
The key text for you to understand is Colossians 3:16. It says, “:let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” You say, Jason, what the world is this? You say this is the key to knowing how it is to be filled with the Spirit but I don't see a single spirit here?
Well, let me work this through a little with you. The phrase we are most particularly interested in is this, “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly”. And this is the key to understanding what it means to be filled or controlled by the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “…do not get drunk with wine for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”. And Paul, the author goes on to say, “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, giving thanks always and for everything, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” [Ephesians 5:18-22].
What Paul is saying is that when a man or woman is filled with the Spirit, he lives this kind of a life. This is the outcome, this is the consequence, this is the fruit. He is filled with praise and joy in his heart that bubbles over in singing of worship songs, psalms, hymns unto the Lord. He will be a man or woman who is thankful, he will be a man or a woman who is respectful, including respecting and submitting to a very difficult husband! And all that flows and it's impossible, apart from someone who surrenders control of his life or her life over to the Spirit.
And then in Colossians, chapter 3, we read, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly”. Paul being the author of both Ephesians and Colossians, goes on to say, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, thankfulness, in your heart, whatever you do, do everything in the Name of the Lord giving thanks, wives, submit to your husbands. Do you see something? Isn't it obvious?
Both passages speak about praise. Both passages speak about thankfulness. Both passages teach about submission, and both flow inevitably, from a man filled with the Spirit or a man who has the Word of Christ, dwell in him richly. I want you to know, I believe dwelling, the Word of God dwelling in him richly does not just mean he memorizes or understands or knows, but I think he lives it, he obeys the Word.
So, what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? The summary of what we have spoken is really right here. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit, and that is possible only when we are obedient to the Word of the Spirit.
Now we all understand the Bible teaches us, that the Bible you have, is not given by man but is given by inspiration of God. It's literally breathed out by God, it is the Holy Spirit who has given us the Scriptures. To be controlled by the Spirit, therefore is to do what He has told us expressly in His Word.
It is not a mystical process where you go to some high mountain and wait for an emotional experience, it's right here in your office, in your home, in your church, in your family, where you say, “I'm not going to do what I want to do in my selfish flesh but I'll do what the Spirit wants as revealed in His inspired Word.”
It's not complicated. To live life in the Spirit is not to be zapped, or to be naturally imbued with this ability to control forces like Yoda and say, “the force awakens!” Nope, but to realize it is not “may the force be with you, but that I need to be with the Spirit. I need to obey the Spirit, I need to submit to the spirit. I need to yield myself to the Spirit's control”, it's a total opposite.
So when you understand that then a passage like Galatians 5 makes sense. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Now the, the phrase here, keep in step, in the Greek is one word, alright, it means to march. To march in rhythm to march in time with the Spirit.
For those of you who have been to National Service, for those of you who watch NDP, you would know, marching is tap, tap, tap (marching sound), there's a certain rhythm right? Left, right, left, right, left, right. You follow your sergeant major's command.
You cannot hear your sergeant major say left, right, left, right and you go taptap, taptap (wrong, unsynchronized marching) , your sergeant major look at you, “What are you doing? March in step!” and when the sergeant says, kekanan pusing (drill command for turning to the right), you don't go kekiri pusing (drill command for turning to the left) please, or kebelakang pusing (drill command for turning around), you don't do that! You march in step, you follow his express commands! To be filled with the Spirit is to keep in step with the Spirit, not ask the Spirit to keep in step with me, totally different.
It is obey Him, and it is not obey Him in some visions and dreams and hopefully that's the way I lead my life. No, we lead our lives primarily through the infallible final authority of the Spirit's will, the Word of God.
So we don't want to be influenced by the alcoholic spirit, we want to obey the Holy Spirit. Not some weird, mystical, transcendental experience but the Bible itself, obeying Him, day to day, moment by moment. I want you to know that this in the Greek is in a continuous tense, be continuously filled. It's not I was filled last year or in church camp. But this is something I need to surrender to God in every day and every moment. I need to obey Him at all times. That's the idea.
Time is running by, I just want to end by saying what's the effect of being filled with the Spirit? What's the power? Well, if you are yielded to the alcoholic spirit, you will live a life of debauchery. That's a bad word for lasciviousness, all kinds of sexual sins, all kinds of bad stuff, and we all know that right? What's the Chinese saying?
酒会乱性 (jiǔ huì luàn xìng) or something like that, correct? Okay, just struck me. So if you are drunk with wine, you get into all kinds of sinful behaviors, you lose control, you, you lose self control. But when you're filled with the Spirit, it's the opposite. You live a life that is holy and godly and controlled! And we need to be filled therefore, it leads you to an opposite kind of life.
As you could see in Galatians, for example, the works of the flesh are 12345678910, you can read all that, that, that's what you do, when self is king over your own life. You go to pornography, you go to bitterness. You have arguments with your colleagues, your friends, because that's the carnal life. That's the fleshly life. The works of the flesh are evident, very clear! Actually, you can know every day and every moment of your life, are you living life in the Spirit or not? Because it's clear.
Why are there church splits? Why are there people who live in sexual sins, the flesh? But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, so on and so forth. When you see a man demonstrate this, I tell you, it's because God's Spirit is working in him. Now, especially when there's a big change in his life, you can tell that the work of God in Him. And the Bible says, “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” [Galatians 5:16]. So when we live life in the Spirit, when you are surrendered to His control, there will be a clear change in your life, and that's what we desperately need, isn't it? To fight sin, we can't do it on our own. It's the Spirit of Christ who sets us free from the law of sin and death [Romans 8:2].
The reason why you're always slipping into sin, lust and anger and unforgiveness and loving the things of this world, it's not because of the willpower, but we fail to realize that will power alone cannot fight sin. We need God's power, we need to depend upon the Holy Spirit.
So it's not fought by gritting your teeth, but it's fought when you bend your knees and ask the Spirit of God to live out the life of Christ in you. It is the Spirit of Christ who changes you. I can't change myself. I can, I can change myself for a short while, but I cannot really change myself permanently, nor from the inside out. It's only the Spirit who can change me.
So we need to yield ourselves to the Spirit, be filled with the Spirit and be led away from debauchery and sin. And let me say this when you are living life in the Spirit, as we have read, you will be a praiseful person, you will be a thankful person, you will be a respectful person.
You know, the favorite pastime of Singaporeans is complaining. We murmur about everything, we complain about weather, we complain about food, we complain about government, we complain about parents. We complain about everything and it's not because the world around us is bad, it's because the world inside us is ruled by the flesh.
What's going to change? How is it going to change? Only when we surrender ourselves to the Spirit's control, then, even if life is hard, you give thanks. Even when things are difficult, you are praising God because you're controlled by the Spirit. Even when your husband is super difficult, you will still submit to your husband.
The key is not to change the environment around you, the key is to let Christ’s Spirit rule in you. All that flows from being filled with the Spirit. You'll be praiseful, thankful and respectful.
What does Gospel Light need? Some of you say we need more money, yah maybe, true. We struggled a bit last year right? Some of you eh aircon need to be bigger, stronger. Some of you say, more food please, more people please, let me tell you what this church needs is not all these things. I believe what this church need is more power.
You say power? Power from the Holy Spirit, power to change our lives. Power to live the Christ-like life, power to have boldness, power to be led of the Spirit, to be witnesses for Jesus, we will never impact Punggol, we will never be a blessing to people, if we just look to our natural talents, abilities and intelligence. “Apart from Me, you can do nothing” [John 15:5] Jesus said, and He gives us his Spirit that we may learn to rest in the power of the Spirit.
So today more than anything, Gospel Light needs to understand what it means to surrender our lives to the Spirit's control. Not that we command Him as a power, but He worked through us in great power to bless the community all around.
Today, maybe we can end with this prayer that we can ask God to give the Holy Spirit to us who ask Him [Luke 11:3]. The logic in Luke 11 is this, Jesus said, if you evil fathers, He says evil in the sense that we all human fathers, we are flawed, we are sinful, but even evil fathers, flawed fathers, not perfect fathers, know how to give good gifts to our children, we know how to do that. How much more will the Holy, or will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?
So, I pray today as a church we will pray intentionally that we will be a church filled with the Spirit. Yes, we need to pray for our family, we need pray for our children, we need to pray for PSLE, we need to pray for jobs.
We need to pray for a lot of things, but I'm not saying you can't pray for these things, but beyond these things, more important, if I may say, than your PSLE, will you pray for your life and for your family and for your church, to be centered on the Savior, to have a passion, a power and proclamation of Christ? Would you pray for your church to be filled with the Spirit, that it will be the Spirit of God who moves in and through us? If we could do that, I think we will have a truly blessed New Year.
Let's bow for word of prayer together. I hope with the large amount of information dispensed today, you will not just pat yourself on the back and say hey, that's a lot to learn and I've learned a lot because I think we would end up the same way. But right now I'd like you to seek the Lord right where you are, and repent, perhaps, like what Pastor Paul did some years ago that may be in our lives, we have neglected the third Person of the Holy Spirit. We have lived life based on our own abilities, talents and resources.
But today, let's humble ourselves. Let's come back to God and say, thank you, Lord Jesus for dying and rising and then pouring out the gift of the Holy Spirit upon Your Church. I did not realize that but the Spirit of Christ lives in me. Give me grace, moment by moment, day by day to yield myself to the Spirit's control. I want to be filled with the Spirit, I want to be used by the Spirit and today, I pray for the Holy Spirit to be King of my life.
Would you do that in your heart, and ask God to give you grace, moment by moment to be always yielding yourself to the Spirit's control? I believe that as you do that, you will be a different man by the end of this year, you'll be a different woman by the end of this year.
Your family will be blessed not because they changed, but you changed. This church will be different, we will be seeing more people brought to Jesus. Why? Because now there is power in your witness. It's not just about your eloquence or your knowledge, but that we need the Spirit of God to bring conviction and convincement and there is no power apart from the Spirit.
Can you imagine what this church will look like if we have the power of the Holy Spirit coursing through this church? We will impact this town, we will impact our nation unto the uttermost parts of the world. What a day that will be and maybe it all begins right here this morning.
To all friends and guests, thank you so much for joining us today. I know this is a sermon that probably flies over your head because, wow, so many things that and they don't quite apply. But maybe I want to say this to you. Maybe God, by His Spirit has always been reaching out to you because He has sent your friend, your colleague, your family, to tell you about Jesus.
Maybe your friends, your colleagues, your family and myself, we are all like, merely the messengers of God, the mouthpiece, but God is the One who wants to reach you, who wants to tell you that you are a rebel, you are a sinner running away from God but you don't have to because He loves you, and He gave His Son to pay for your sins, so that you may be forgiven, so that you may be washed.
And so He's calling you to stop running, to stop rebelling, to turn, to repent, to come back to God? How can I come back to a Holy God? Let me tell you, God has given you a Savior, His Name is Jesus. He's born into this world, Jesus, the second Person of the Godhead, was born into this world, that He might go to the cross, die and pay for your sins, and He did not just die, He rose again, declaring your debt of sin is fully paid. And this is the promise of the Bible, whosoever believes in Him, in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life. Would you surrender yourself to the Spirit's voice? Would you come to Christ today?
Father, thank You today for Your Word. Bless everyone gathered here. We pray for a church, that would surrender more of ourselves to Your Spirit's control and we pray for souls today to be saved. Bless each one, even though the voice of men will cease, Lord, may Your voice, continue to call us to Yourself.
Thank You, we pray all this in Jesus Name, Amen.
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