We celebrate happy resurrection every Sunday and especially what some call Easter Sunday. We celebrate resurrection at least one time a year and most churches also do the same. Pentecost Sunday may be very few in the body of Christ celebrated. Some talk about the Holy Spirit all the time, others almost zero. I think we want to at least talk about the Holy Spirit once a year.
And the Lord encouraged me also, why not talk about God the Father on Father’s Day. We should at least mention the Father at least once a year. Holy Spirit at least once a year. Jesus many times a year. I won’t be here this Father’s Day so maybe Brother Abraham or someone, Brother Matthew, will preach about the Father on Father’s Day which is June 18th.
Would someone like to share testimony, an encouragement, a prayer request? If it’s a little hard to come up here I will bring the microphone down there if you want to do it down there. If not, let me read scripture.
1 Corinthians 12, verse 27. I would like to welcome those who are joining online. The Fernandez family, they are camping somewhere. So three of them and others who may be joining online, welcome. Switch passages based on the praise time. Thank you Brother Matthew.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31, 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, and ministering in various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. (1 Corinthians 12:27-31) And I will show you a still more excellent way. Chapter 13.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have and if I deliver out my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. 6 It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things and believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away. As for tongues, they will cease. As for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully know.
13 So now faith, hope and love abide these three, but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
Father, we want to understand more of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. You promised Him to us, and so now we ask for Him. Holy Spirit, we pray that You would come. Jesus, we pray that You would be present among us, two or three are gathered in Your name. We pray that You would meet us and baptize us, immerse us, drench us in the Holy Spirit. Father, we trust that You will do so in Your time, in Your way. Lord, it’s not up to us how we experience the Holy Spirit. We just wait and we receive whatever You give. We avail ourselves to You in this time. Come Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. Amen.
Does anyone know what verse is in the front of the church here as you walked in? Anybody? Anybody pay attention? This front door? Yes, yes. Isaiah 55. 55, yes. So Jim, he is the only one among us who might be qualified to be a spy someday, because he is very perceptive, so you need that skill if you’re going to be a spy.
So Isaiah 55:1, it says, 1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1) So Isaiah 55:1, it says.
And in John 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman. He asks her for a drink, because she is by a well of water. She is surprised because Jewish people didn’t normally interact with Samaritans. They were looked down upon by the Jews. And then Jesus says, actually, you should be asking Me for a drink, because if you ask from Me, I will give you a different kind of water, because this water will make you thirst again. But if you ask of the water that I have, you shall never thirst. And it will become in you, John 4:14, 14 “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14) In you it will become a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
So what is the water that Jesus offers? The answer is given in John 7:37. 37 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)
So my first question is, how much of the Holy Spirit is enough? How much of the Holy Spirit is enough? Depending on your theology and which denomination you are a part of, your answers could be all over the spectrum. For some, a simple drizzling, sprinkling, a spray of the Spirit is enough. You received it, you received Him rather, at conversion. And as it says in Ephesians 1, Ephesians 4, 2 Corinthians 1, 2 Corinthians 5, the Holy Spirit was given as a seal in our hearts for the day of redemption, and it is a guarantee of our inheritance. It’s like Jesus giving the bride, His bride, the church, an engagement ring. It’s His promise, I will come back for you.
And for many people in the body of Christ, that little spray of the Spirit, the little breath of the Spirit, the little mist of the Spirit is sufficient, and they never ask for more. That’s all they need, they think. And it says in John 20:22, this is after the resurrection, but before Jesus ascended, and certainly before Pentecost, it says in John 20:22, 22 “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'” (John 20:22) Jesus gathering with the apostles, it says, He breathed on them and said to them, receive the Holy Spirit.
You cannot be saved without the seal of the Holy Spirit. You cannot be regenerate in your heart and have eyes to see Jesus for who He is, and to hear His voice for what He says without this gift of the Holy Spirit. We all have received it if we are in Christ. But the question is, is that enough? What we received at conversion, the initial deposit, is that enough?
In Matthew 3, John the Baptist, he is giving a baptism of repentance by dunking people in the water, and he says in verse 11, “11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11) And so if you are sprinkle baptized as a child, which they do in certain denominations, for them probably that is a picture of how much of the Holy Spirit they need. It’s just a drizzle, a mist, a spray, a little sprinkling, it’s all you need.
But if you look at the literal words of what is happening in this story, they’re in a river, people are going under the water, and they are coming out drenched with water. It is a baptism of repentance. And he says after me, you will get baptized again, you will get drenched again, you will get immersed again. And it’s not by water, physical water, it’s by the living water of the Holy Spirit.
So I think there’s much more of the Holy Spirit for us to receive. Acts 1, verse 4, it answers a question. How much of the Holy Spirit is enough? Acts 1, verse 4, “4 and being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which He said, ‘you have heard from Me, 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'” (Acts 1:4-5)
So these are the people who already received the Holy Spirit. They already were sprinkled, Jesus breathed upon them. They received it already. But He says, your baptism is coming. Your baptism is coming. You have received something, but you’re going to receive so much more. It’s about to come, just wait for it. God the Father promised it to you.
Now you’re going to receive it. So now who gets to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father? The answer is in Joel 2. The Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh. So every single person who believes upon the name of Jesus will receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
And when the Holy Spirit comes in this kind of a way, He comes regardless of age. It comes upon the oldest in the congregation in the church and the youngest in the congregation in the church. It comes upon both genders, men and women. It comes upon people with status in society, people with zero status in society. It is regardless of your societal position. Everybody who wants the Holy Spirit, who wants more of the Holy Spirit, it is for you that He wants to come and baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
So who is the Holy Spirit? And why should we ask for Him? The Holy Spirit, I think one of His greatest titles or nicknames that He is known for is the helper. And don’t you and I need a lot of help? He is our helper. He helps us in many, many areas of the Christian life, of life in general.
Romans 8, the Holy Spirit, it says, helps us in weakness and He intercedes for us when we don’t even know how to pray for ourselves. Verse 26, Romans 8. 26 Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weakness, for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning, which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
Don’t we find ourselves often weak and confused, and we sit down to pray and then we’re stuck. We don’t know even how to pray, and the only thing that comes out of our mouth is a groan. We’re lost. We’re confused. We want to pray. We don’t have the strength. Even if we have the strength, we don’t have the words. We can’t organize. We don’t know where we are and what God is doing in our lives. We don’t know what season we’re in, and we are just in a season of weakness and confusion.
And that is why our helper is there for us. He is there to help us in weakness. Those who are strong, those who have all the theology, those who have a large bank account, they never will ask for the Spirit because they are never in need. They’re never weak. We are not like that, brothers and sisters. We are supposed to find ourselves often in weakness, in confusion, not knowing how to pray.
But thank goodness for the Holy Spirit. He intercedes perfectly according to the will of God. And so we just ask the Holy Spirit if we don’t know how to pray, can you pray on my behalf? Can You intercede for me? Because I don’t know how to pray. And you just sit there and you receive. The groanings of the Holy Spirit is too deep for words. It’s like even if we have the words, maybe it’s not even coming from the heart. Maybe it’s not even landing on the target. But the Holy Spirit, when He prays for you and intercedes, He goes beneath the surface. He sees your heart. And He knows the heart of God. He prays perfectly for your needs according to the will of God.
Holy Spirit is there also for revelation and understanding. YouTube is not the same as the Holy Spirit. John Piper and your commentary and your textbooks and your Christian books are not the same as the Holy Spirit. Although there’s a lot of wisdom to be gained in those resources. Really, we want to train ourselves to just get alone with this book and trust the Holy Spirit. He will help us. He will reveal things that we need at just the right time. He will give revelation and understanding.
John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26) So if tomorrow Christianity was outlawed and we cannot gather here on a Sunday, because you have your Bible and because you have the Holy Spirit, He will teach you all things. Not just necessarily spiritual things. He will teach you all things. He will teach you what’s happening in current events. He will teach you which way to go, how to prepare. He will teach you things that are not even in the scripture because He will teach you all things. And He will bring to remembrance especially the things that Jesus has said in His word.
That’s why for me I have a Bible reading plan which goes from Genesis to Malachi, the Old Testament. I also go through Psalms and Proverbs. And I go through the Book of Acts to Revelation. But I make sure I highlight the Gospels. Because I want to sow a lot of the words, the red letters of what Jesus said, so that at the right time the Holy Spirit will bring to remembrance the very authoritative teaching of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit also gives power to be a witness for Jesus. Acts 1:6, “He said to them, ‘We all want to be a witness for Jesus. We all know we should evangelize. We all know we should do missions. But the problem is, we lack power. We could try to do it in our flesh, but we know after an hour, we’re going to get tired. We know after the first person spits in our face, we’re going to want to give up. There is a power that the Holy Spirit gives for us to preach Jesus. And to not give up. And to go where Jesus sends us. This requires power. And I take comfort in the fact that even the apostles who lived and breathed and slept next to Jesus for three and a half years, even these people when Jesus ascended, lacked this power. “(Acts 1:6) It would have been foolish for them to try to do church without this power. They were told explicitly, wait for the power. And I know for us, there will come a time when the power will come, and it will be time to go out and testify. Until then, we wait. We ask for the power of the Holy Spirit.
Mark 16 is Mark’s version of the Great Commission. It’s more than teaching and making disciples. Mark 16’s version of the Great Commission The Great Commission involves power to cast out demons, power to speak in new tongues, supernatural power and protection from serpents and poison, power to lay hands and heal the sick. This is what the Holy Spirit does when He comes upon us with power.
And then, these are some of the verses that I read. Actually, the verses prior to the ones that I read at the outset. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about the spiritual gifts, and it says that every gift is a manifestation of the Spirit. Things like wisdom. It’s the manifestation for that person, that member of the body of Christ. That person has supernatural wisdom that other people do not have. It’s a manifestation of the Spirit. That gift is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
So it’s not just tongues. Don’t let someone deceive you and say tongues is all there is. That is the sole proof that you have the Spirit or you don’t. No. There are many manifestations of the Holy Spirit. One here is wisdom. The other is a word of knowledge. They just know things they should not know. They could not have known unless the Lord told them. I know such people that they have this knowledge about a person or situation that they could not have known unless the Lord told them. It is a supernatural gift, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Faith. That is also a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Some people just have faith. They believe in Jesus. They trust in Jesus no matter what. It’s not as glamorous as word of knowledge, but it’s equally a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. This person just has faith, a rock-solid faith in Jesus no matter what. (Mark 16:15-18, 1 Corinthians 12:4-9)
I believe in Jesus. Gift of healings is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Working of miracles is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues. All nine, and I’m sure many more, are manifestations of the Holy Spirit. It says in verse 11, 11 but one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:11)
It’s not up to us. We might say, I want healing gift and ask for it. It’s not up to us. I want all the gifts. Hopefully we receive all the gifts in this place. It’s not up to us. We ask for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, and whatever we receive, we say thank you, Lord. And we thirst for more. We thirst for more.
And in Acts 2, Pentecost came. The power came. And rather than focusing on the tongues, let’s focus on the greater miracle, which is unity of the body of Christ, that we see in Acts 2. They spoke in foreign tongues, and the people watching them said, these are Galileans. They can’t know my language. I came from another country, and they’re speaking my native tongue. And it says, 8 “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” (Acts 2:8-11)
Unified, representing all the nations who will one day gather around a throne to give praise to God. And even now, in God’s church, scattered around the world, in every country, every city, every town, proclaiming the name of Jesus, the mighty works of God, because the Holy Spirit brings this kind of incredible unity in the body of Christ.
John 15, in the famous chapter about abiding in Christ and bearing the fruit of Jesus, it’s followed by a warning about the world’s hatred toward Christ followers. In the same way they hated Jesus, Jesus says, you too will be hated. And it says, 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)
I think we can read between the lines that we need the Holy Spirit’s help in this time of worldwide tribulation and persecution. We’re going to need help from the Holy Spirit because the testing will be so great. The temptation will be to withdraw from Jesus, to stay silent and not acknowledge the name of Jesus, to even recant and curse the name of Jesus publicly to save our physical flesh. All of this will be happening in the church as people’s hearts grow cold in the midst of this type of fiery trial.
But the Holy Spirit will be given. It says in Luke 12, 11 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12) And that is how the gospel is preached to the nations. It’s not because we’re so good at missions. That’s not why the gospel is preached to all the nations and then Jesus returns. It’s because we’ll be rounded up into synagogues, into churches, into public squares, before authorities, kings, governors and rulers, religious leaders, and we’ll be persecuted because of the name of Jesus.
And in that moment we’ll be tempted to be silent, tempted to throw faith away. But the Holy Spirit will empower us and give us the words to testify about Jesus in times of testing. John 16:8, “8 And when He has come, the Holy Spirit, He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment.”
If you are stuck in sin, if you’re stuck not even knowing, what are the sins I should be repenting of, Lord? Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you. He is here to convict the world. One day He will convict the world. And He will show the non-believing world how many chances they got. And yet they refuse to believe. The entire world, their lives will flash before them in great detail. Holy Spirit will show them, here is when I came, you had a chance to repent. Here is when I came, you had a chance to repent. You kept refusing over and over.
The Holy Spirit is coming to convict the world of their unbelief, their sin. He also comes to convict the world of righteousness. Jesus is the embodiment of righteousness. He is the total pleasing Son of the Father. And He will show the world all the ways in which they are unrighteous. And unlike Jesus. And the Spirit does the same for the church. He convicts us of our sin. He shows us the ways in which we fall short of pleasing the Father by being unrighteous still.
And the Holy Spirit is here to convict the world of judgment. There is judgment. There is hell. We don’t talk about it often. The Holy Spirit is here to tell us that Hell is not for you. Christian, Hell is not for you non-believer. The Hell is only for Satan and the fallen angels. Don’t go there. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to warn of the coming judgment. Romans 8:13, “13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die.” (Romans 8:13) But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Romans 8:13).
As far as I can tell from this scripture, it goes even for the believer. If you still live in your sin. If you still follow a pattern of sinning. If you still live unrighteously following your flesh. God’s rules cannot be broken even though you confess Jesus. It says here you will die. You will die. But if by the Spirit’s help and you go beneath the surface and the Spirit starts convicting you of your sins and my sins, the Spirit will help us to put all the deeds of the flesh to death. And then you and I will live.
Romans 8 also says in verse 15, “15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father'” (Romans 8:15). The Spirit is here to give us a sense that we are adopted sons and daughters of God. And we have direct access to Our Father and we have access to the Holy Spirit of Jesus. The veil has been torn. We have access to Heaven. And now our Heavenly Father is Abba, Father. He’s Daddy. We can draw that close to the Father. He is that welcoming for His Church, for His children.
Ephesians 5:18, “18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:18-21). And here is contrasting the effects of physical wine, the effects that leads to debauchery, dissipation, a wanton living, a wasting away of your life. It’s contrasting that with the effects of a different kind of a wine, a wine of the Spirit that breathes life, that gives strength, that gives revelation, that gives us a spirit of adoption, that gives us remembrance of the teachings of Jesus. It’s a different wine of the Spirit and it’s contrasting deliberately the old wine and the new.
And when we gather on a Sunday, we already did the first part when we sang praises to one another. We’re singing it to the Lord, but when you sing it from your heart, it affects the other people around you. That kind of a sincere praise that we did prior to the beginning of this service before I came up. When we’re singing like that to the Lord with a melody in our heart, we’re also singing a psalm, a hymn, a spiritual song to one another. It helps. It’s different. Like you can do this alone at home. But when we gather on a Sunday, we are singing to the Lord, of course. We’re also singing to be heard and to uplift one another. We’re singing to one another. So it matters how we sing. It matters the way in which we sing. Are we like half-hearted? Is it just lips moving, barely, barely saying it, or are we belting it out from the depth of our being? It makes a difference. It makes a difference. I want to be with the brothers and sisters next to you. Because you’re singing it to them as much as you’re singing it to the Lord.
When you’re a thankful person to God the Father, and you gather around thankful people, it uplifts you. It really uplifts me when I’m around thankful people. They don’t have to say much to me. Just their gratitude, their overflowing atmosphere, aroma, it just changes the mood. It goes a long way. If just one person in this place is thankful, we’re thankful to the Lord, we’re thankful to one another. And that is how we speak. That’s what comes out when we gather. It really builds up the body of Christ. It’s a sign of the Spirit that we are thankful for this place in our hearts.
And submitting to one another in fear of God. It is a mini miracle every time I come up here. It is not my personality. I’d rather be in the back where Andre is sitting on a Sunday. Because I ask to be filled Saturday night, Sunday morning, and I come up filled with the Spirit. And I do this out of obedience to Jesus Christ.
But it would be strange if I was filled with the Spirit and I created this tear, and I am up here, elevated above all of you. No one else can come up here. You’re not authorized to testify or to pray. And you should stay silent, woman. If we started doing that in this service, and only I could preach, because I have a license to preach, and I had this type of hierarchy, and I’m pastor, you’re not. I’m older, you’re younger, you should listen to me. I’m a male, you’re a female, you should listen to me. If I started doing this, then I’m not actually being filled with the Holy Spirit. Because out of being filled with the Holy Spirit, we can submit to one another. That means if I mess up, if I make a mistake, someone can call me out on it, and I should receive it humbly if there’s a filling of the Holy Spirit. Because we submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).
Because if Jesus was standing right here, would anyone be puffed up and say, I have things to say, everybody stay quiet, I’m going to lead, you just follow me. Would anybody in God’s church act that way if Jesus is standing right here because we believe He’s here? Out of reverence for Jesus, we would all be low. We would all be children of God. We’re all on the same level. There’s no hierarchies in the kingdom. We’re all children of God.
We would have this sense if Jesus is here. He is the senior pastor after all. We’re all members of the body of Christ. This is all demonstration of the Holy Spirit changing one another. And then of course Galatians 5:22-23, “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23).
So who do we ask to send the Holy Spirit? We ask the Father. The Father sends the Holy Spirit to send the Holy Spirit to send the Holy Spirit to send the Holy Spirit. We ask the Father. The Father sends, but Jesus is the one, if you want to be precise, Jesus is the one who breathed the Spirit and who baptizes us by that same Spirit.
Luke 11, we should be asking, seeking, knocking about many, many different requests. But there’s one request that the Church of God should be asking, seeking, knocking over and over and over again. And what is it? It is to ask for the Holy Spirit. And this is for believers. Believers, because a non-believer would never ask for the Holy Spirit. But a believer who has a Heavenly Father, what requests are we supposed to be persistent about? It’s Sunday, but every day, how often have we asked for the Spirit so far in 2023?
The Father delights it when He hears His Church ask for the Holy Spirit. Even to their children, how much more a good, perfect Heavenly Father wants to give a perfect gift for His Church. And that gift is the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26). So the Father is the one we ask, He promised it to send Him, and then He sends Him in Jesus’ name. And Jesus is the one who breathes and baptizes us in the Holy Spirit. With what heart should we ask for the Holy Spirit? With a heart to love others.
1 Corinthians 12, the body is one, but has many members, various body parts, eyes and hands and feet, some parts seemingly more presentable, other parts maybe staying hidden, less presentable, some honored, some less honorable. In a body maybe we have that kind of a sense, okay, we need to cover up, this is presentable, that’s not. But in God’s eyes, does He look at the Church that way? Why, we may look at each other that way. Like, oh, He’s presentable, oh, He should just stay hidden. He’s not as important.
But does God look at His body, which is actually one, does He look at people the way that we look at people? Or does He say, no, they’re all honorable, they’re all presentable, they’re all worthy in My sight, because they’re all part of My Son, Jesus’ body. Like, we think in terms of, okay, if there’s an apostle, okay, let’s honor the apostle. Oh, there’s a prophet, let’s give the prophet a chance to speak. Oh, there’s teachers, let’s give them teaching. But are we all apostles, as it says in Chapter 12? Are we all prophets, are we all teachers? Do we all speak in tongues, do we all do miracles, do we all have the gifts?
But then He says, let Me show you a more excellent way. Because God gives gifts, manifestations of the Spirit to God’s church, to His church. It’s so that we can use it to love one another better. We’re not receiving gifts to become more honorable by ourselves, or more presentable, or more famous, or more whatever. We’re not supposed to attract people and fame and adoration, reverence because of my spiritual gift and my title. That defeats the whole purpose of why the gifts are given.
And that’s why you cannot read Chapter 12 about the gifts without reading Chapter 13. He says, what’s the point if you have not love? You’re actually going to ruin yourself and everybody under you if you’re not a loving person. You’re just going to get puffed up, you’re going to divide the body of Christ, which is what happened at the Church of Corinth. There’s going to be factions and some are going to say, I’m going to follow my leader, you follow your leader, my leader’s better, your leader’s worse than mine, and we’re going to cause this friction and this division in the body of Christ based on gifting. And that is loveless.
If we had this end game in mind, God’s heart, God wants His church to be one, which means we should become loving. That’s why gifts are given so we can love each other better, more effectively. Because if somebody is hurting and physically ill in the body of Christ, we want to love them. What better way to love them than to somebody with a healing gift to lay hands and they leave this place totally healed. That is a loving act. But if that person says, wow, I’m the healer. Look at how great I am, and people should come to me, and I’m honorable and I’m presentable, and you don’t have a gift, you should be in the closet. You don’t even come into the sanctuary. Just babysit the youth. If we had that kind of view of the body of Christ, that is regarding people the same way we did before we knew Christ according to the flesh. Jesus says in 2 Corinthians 5:16, we no longer regard people as such.
So maybe before we get the gifts, maybe the more foundational fundamental thing is let’s become loving people. With the gifts we already have, with the people we already have, let’s just love them better. Let’s just become more loving. And 1 Corinthians 13 lists it all out. Love, verse 4, 4 Love suffers long and is kind, it does not envy, does not parade itself, is not puffed up, 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
What if we were that kind of a loving church to one another in this place right now? Wouldn’t God be so quick to pour out His gifts and pour fuel and fan into flame what is already a loving church? Because then that love will just extend and expand beyond this place. Galatians 6, verse 2, 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load. (Galatians 6:2-5)
With the Spirit’s help, we’re supposed to sow to the Spirit, become this kind of a loving person. That is what Galatians 5, Galatians 6 is talking about. But the one thing that interferes in our ability to love well is pride. When you and I think we are somebody or something, when we should see ourselves as nothing, why is there conflict? Why is there factions and friction? Why is there envy and provoking? It’s because of pride.
And two proud, prickly people are colliding upon each other. And there’s no love there because each person thinks they are somebody when they should think they are nothing. If you think you’re nothing, chances are you can be a, you will love well. You will not get provoked easily. You’re going to believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. That person may be a jerk. That person may be immature, unsanctified, but you will not be affected. You will just show love because you are nothing. There’s no flesh there to flare up. You’re just nothing. You see yourself as such. And the Holy Spirit helps us to get there and we start sowing to that same Spirit and not to the flesh. Galatians 6, verse 7, “7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10)
What if we became a people who loved and loved and loved and we gave and gave and gave and we gave with no strings attached and we’re not doing it for ourselves? We’re not doing it for any kind of reciprocity that they will love us or respect us or we want to receive anything from them. What if we as viewing ourselves as nothing, we just poured out ourselves in love to one another. Wouldn’t God be so pleased to pour out His Spirit and His gifts upon a church like this?
What blocks people from asking for the Holy Spirit? I think the main thing that blocks us from asking for the Holy Spirit is this. It’s our mind. It’s our mindset. You and I are the blockage. Theology is the blockage. There are many people who’ve been taught at church that they never have to ask for the Holy Spirit because they already have Him. They already received Him. And so the sprinkling is all they have and no wonder they struggle with the flesh and they are not sanctified because they’re doing everything out of human effort.
No wonder many sections of the body of Christ are stuck. It’s because of their theology. It’s how they’ve been taught. In Mark 2, it says in verse 22, “22 But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:22) And this is the Pharisee. They are representative of the religious mindset. In their eyes, they have it all figured out. They are heady people. They don’t have experience. Their heart is far from the Lord. They have a lot of words. They’re very intellectual.
But when God looks at them, they are like an old wineskin. They are brittle and dry. They are rigid and they are stuck. And they are set in their ways. That is the old wineskin. And with the Spirit’s help, we are supposed to become new wineskin. New wineskin. So that the new wine of the Holy Spirit can come in. And make us into new creation through and through.
In Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit did come and baptize and birth the Church of God, many people’s reaction was, “Oh, they’re drunk.” When we talk about the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, some people in the body of Christ say, “Oh, those people are drunk.” All those people are foolish. All those people are not in the spirit of God. All those people just want experiences. They look at us as if we’re drunk.
What must we do to recognize our blockage? Ephesians 5:18, actually, first. 18 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) So if you had a question, what is the new wine? There’s your answer. It is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
And what must we do if we recognize our blockage? Like, you might have heard all of this, and you might think to yourself, I don’t understand. I don’t know where to start. I heard all those verses, and I’ve read those verses, but I am still the same person I was years ago. And so I’m stuck on something is blocked. What can I do?
And the answer is in Ephesians 4:17-24, and I’ll close with this.
17 “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:17-24)
The thing that separates a spirit-filled Christian and someone who is chugging along, trying their best, but stuck, is a renewed mindset. So we should ask, often, for our mindset to be renewed. The spirit, our mindset has a spirit behind it. That spirit has to be renewed. The mind has to be renewed. Everything changes when your mindset is renewed. You’re stuck, even in a religious life, which is the most pitiful existence. If you’re darkened in your understanding, your thinking is futile, it says, and you live out of that futility of mindset. But if your mindset is renewed, the blindness of the heart is taken away. We feel and see and perceive and understand things. Before they were just words on a page, but now through the help of the Holy Spirit and this renewed mindset, He starts teaching us step by step how to live out this new creation.
Okay, let’s pray. I’m going to take some time to guide us in some prayer. Sorry, that was a lot of verses. We’ll post a transcript online if you need to go back and look through these verses.
The first portion of the prayer is a prayer of surrender and repentance. It’s when we abandon the old wineskin and we repent of our old ways, our ways of thinking, our ways of living, our ways of doing Christian life, our thoughts, our religious mindsets, our perspective.
Let’s ask the Spirit, ask for the Spirit of our mind to be renewed, that you and I would become new wineskins. So surrender, repent, abandon the old wineskin, and ask the Spirit of your mind, your mindset to be renewed, that you and I would become new wineskins so that we can receive a new wine (Ephesians 4:23).
Let’s pray. Amen.