CAUTION When we petition the Lord, we need to be very careful about how we are using the Lord’s name. One of the most elusive ways we can use the Lord’s name in vain is in our prayer life. We are praying for things that are not of God’s desire or His will. We need to be cautious of how we pray in the name of the Lord. John 14:12-26.
Whether you are looking for satisfaction in possessions, pleasure, prestige, or power–you will never be satisfied. All those pursuits are like the liquid water Jesus spoke about: You can drink it and feel refreshed momentarily but you will still get thirsty again. But He offers something so radical and powerful that once you experience it, you will find absolute and total satisfaction.
The Pharisees not only had to keep the laws of the Torah, but also obey all the laws written to explain the laws of the Torah. For instance, it was determined that tying a knot on the Sabbath constituted work. But there was an exception. A woman could tie a sash around her waist to remain modest. So this exception led to a loophole. If a man needed to get water from the well on a Sabbath and the bucket wasn’t tied to the rope, he couldn’t tie the rope; that was work. But he could tie one end of a woman’s sash to the rope and the other end to the bucket. That’s a loophole.
What is the unforgivable sin? Let me tell you what it is NOT. It is not murder. Moses was a murderer and he’ll be in heaven. It is not adultery. King David committed adultery and God forgave him. It is not divorce. The woman at the well had multiple divorces and she was forgiven. It is not suicide. Although the Catholic Church teaches suicide is an unforgivable sin, you don’t find it in the Bible. Suicide is self-murder and it is no different from homicide—both are forgivable. If you think a person who commits suicide can’t repent of that sin because they’re dead and that’s your attitude, then you don’t understand salvation. Once you are a Christian, you don’t have to confess every single sin you commit in order to go to heaven. We confess our sins to stay in fellowship with God, but when you surrender your life to Christ, every past sin you’ve committed and every future sin you will ever commit is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.
When you meet the living Christ, you won’t have to TRY to be a witness; you’ll naturally BE a witness. That’s what happens when you know Jesus. You won’t be ashamed to tell the whole world how much He means to you. That’s what the disciples did, and because of that, it wasn’t the end, it was just the beginning!”
That phrase “in the Holy Spirit” covers all three of those, righteousness in the Holy Spirit, peace in the Holy Spirit, and joy in the Holy Spirit. When you understand that, anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God (vertical relationship) and is approved by men. That’s your horizontal relationship. That is the condensed essence of the gospel of the kingdom of God.
Where is the Lord Jesus right now? He is actually here in the person of the Spirit. But did you know Jesus Christ was crucified, he was buried, he was resurrected, and he ascended into heaven and the Bible says right now he is seated at the right hand of God, the Father, and do you know what he is doing? He is interceding for me. He is interceding for you. The Bible says there is one mediator between God and man. It is the man, Jesus Christ! Isn’t it good to know Jesus is praying for you?
Paul said, “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” I call this frustration without faith. Surveys tell us most people in America believes in God. Most people in America really want to try and please God. But if they don’t have faith it is just a constant frustrating experience, because most people think the way you please God is by ceasing to do “wrong things,” stopping the sinful faults we all have, cleaning up our acts, or getting it all together. And the thing we learn in the book of Romans is we don’t have the power to do that!
Romans 8 is all about how to live in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. You start out with no condemnation in Romans 8–you end up with no separation–and in between you have all things working together for good for them that love the Lord. So I want to talk to you about how as spirit-filled Christians we can make four wonderful affirmations.
The filling of the Holy Spirit is God receiving more of your surrender, not you receiving more of the Spirit. When you come to Jesus Christ, you receive all of God that you will ever receive. He doesn’t give the Holy Spirit like a down payment here and then an installment here and there. All you ever receive of God you receive at the point of salvation. You may grow into more surrender.
Today we are looking at the Holy Spirit. The first thing to notice is a sinner’s path to salvation. How can a sinner like you and like me enjoy or experience true salvation? There’s not much for us to do, because God has already done it all. Before the foundation of the world, God chose you. He selected you and said, “You are going to be one of mine.” In other words, before the world was even created, you were in God’s mind and heart.