By Larry Liu
21 Aug 2011 Sunday
Worship song: There Is A Higher Throne
|Verse 1||There is a higher throne
Than all this world has known,
Where faithful ones from every tongue
Will one day come.
Before the Son we'll stand,
Made faultless through the Lamb;
Believing hearts find
Promised grace-Salvation comes
|Verse 2||And there we'll find our home,
Our life before the throne;
We'll honor Him in perfect song
Where we belong.
He'll wipe each tear-stained eye
As thirst and hunger die.
The Lamb becomes Our Shepherd King;
We'll reign with Him
|Chorus||Hear heaven's voices sing;
Their thunderous anthem rings
Through emerald courts and sapphire skies.
Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom, power,
Strength, thanks, and honor are
To God our King,
Who reigns on high Forevermore.
Scripture Reading: John 16:7-8,13
16:7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the counselor will come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
16:8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.
16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
Good morning! A couple of weeks ago, I asked a group of Christians a question, what does come to your mind first when you hear the Holy Spirit? In other words, what will you think first when you hear the Holy Spirit? Counselor, that’s good. So if that question I ask you, what else you will think: helper, that is right, power, ok, peace, wisdom, ok.
When I ask that question, some people said tongue, some people said power, impersonal force, and some people said Charismatics, some people said gift. I think there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit. Many times we ignore the work of the Holy Spirit, and some people are even scared to talk about the Holy Spirit. Let me share a little bit by my journey of Christian life. You know after becoming a Christian, first of all I got to know more about Jesus first. He lived without sin, he died on the cross for us and he rose again and conquered death; he’s sent into the Heaven and he will come back to judge the living and the dead. And move on I got to know more about God, father in heaven He loves us, cares about us, hears and answers our prayers, but the third member of trinity the Holy Spirit, is the one I am a little bit slower to come to understand. I always believe He is the God, but I just don’t know how to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. I would have had easier time saying I love the Lord Jesus, but it would have been harder for me to say I love the Holy Spirit. In more recent time God helps me to understand more about Holy Spirit. He openes my eyes to see the value of the Holy Spirit, that is the area that I am still maturing and growing and I also want that for you. My desire is to honor God and may His name be glorified. The purpose of today’s message is to clear up some misunderstandings of the Holy Spirit and hopefully you can invite the Holy Spirit, you can come to understand, embrace and walk with Holy Spirit. I hope today’s message also can remind you that it’s not about you; it’s about the spirit God sent to you, because of that you are an amazing and powerful person, let us pray.
Heavenly Father you are awesome God and I just want to praise you. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to us helping us and guiding us, Lord I ask you to help us to understand more about the Holy Spirit, I lift up this message into your hand, please guide me speak through me. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
First of all, I want to talk about who is the Holy Spirit? You know we’ve been studying the Gospel of John, chapter by chapter. In John it records many important Jesus’ teaching, parables and also miracles Jesus did. Through the Gospel of John we get to know about Jesus; He is the Christ and came to save us, by believing in Him we can have eternal life. In chapter 13, Jesus predict His death and He told his disciples he’s leaving; he is going away to die. Think about it, he told his disciples who had been around with him over three years on the earth, when they heard that, their hearts filled with grieve. In chapter 14 Jesus comforted them and said:
John14:1-4 Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me… I am going there to prepare place for you.. I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
After that Thomas one of his disciples asked :
John14: 5-6 …Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way? Jesus answered “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Here the disciple asked where you are going and how we can know the way and Jesus told them “I am the way”. In fact I am the only way; no one comes to the Father except through me. After that Jesus continued to encourage them, comfort them and told them the Counselor the Holy Spirit will come after his leaving.
That is a little bit background for today’s message and I hope that will help you to understand. Today’s reading Scripture is
John16:7 …It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you.
1. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor.
We all want the physical presence of Jesus; we want to see Jesus and every time when we have questions we can come to him, but Jesus here said “I am going away for your good, I am going away and let the Holy Spirit come”. You know if Jesus is here in human flesh and blood, he cannot be with all of us at all time. Paul in 1 Corinthian 6 said the Holy Spirit lives in the children of God and our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. That means the Holy Spirit lives inside of our body among the Christians. Isn’t that amazing that the Holy Spirit lives inside of us! No matter where we go, he is with us and we are not alone. He’ll come to help us, we are not alone.
2. The Holy Spirit is God.
John14:16-18 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because they neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
The God Father will give us another Counselor to be with you forever! The word “another” means equality. When Jesus was saying here, he asked Father to send the Counselor , the one who comes will be just like me. Let me tell you what the Holy Spirit is not. The Holy Spirit is not emotional or warm feeling or some forces. The Holy Spirit is the third member of trinity, the God Father, the God Son and the God Holy Spirit.
3. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth
John16:13 says, when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
And John14:26 says, the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will sent in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I said to you.
So the Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth, he guides us, knows all things and teaches us all things. I think the truth does not just stop here, not just knowing the right things, not just… OK, I know that answer, the truth cannot stop there. We need to live it out with action and fruits. So Holy Spirit comes to guide us, to help us to know the truth, and gives us power to live it out. So we can know from here (mind), and live it out from here (heart).
So we talk about that the Holy Spirit is our counselor. He is the God. He is the Spirit of truth. After that when we talk about what Holy Spirit does, I mean the work of Holy Spirit. When I study the passage, I realize there are so many and so many passages talking about the Holy Spirit from the first book of the Bible to talk about the Holy Spirit. If we can list all of them, here, there probably will be 48 hours’ sermon. But I know you probably didn’t prepare for that. So I want to keep it short, keep it a short summary and help you to understand some of the work of Holy Spirit.
3.1 Helping, guiding and teaching.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, we talk about that, and he is the one who guides us, teaches us all things. You know, the Bible was written by men, led or inspired by the Holy Spirit. You know every time when we open the Bible, when we study or read the Bible, there are always something we couldn’t understand. I don’t know about you, I will immediately go find the Bible commentary or go to internet to search what does that mean, what is it trying to tell me, what is the meaning, what it says. But I learn that, the Bible was written by men led by the Holy Spirit, so I need to ask him to tell me instead of going to Bible commentary first. I will ask Holy Spirit. You are the Spirit of truth, please help me understand what it says, what are you trying to tell me, and how can I apply into my daily life. And we can always pray that, and let him to speak to us instead of going to the Bible commentary first.
Luke 12:11 says… don’t worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.
I remember when I share the gospel with my family or my friends; they ask all kinds of questions. I felt, ho, no way I can answer that question. It’s so hard I never thought about those questions. But you know what, when they ask question, I pray quietly in my heart, Holy Spirit, please work in their hearts, also give me the words to say. And how can I answer to help them to know you more, to guide them to know you. So we can always ask Holy Spirit, if we don’t know how to say, you can ask Holy Spirit.
Roman 8:26 says… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Have you ever felt so weak sometimes? And don’t know how to pray, what to pray. I know I have. Sometimes so much pressure, get too stressed, even some of the ministry work. I don’t know how to share, I don’t know how to lead, I don’t know Lord, I just don’t know, no way I can do this, so often and I realize, I rely on my own strength not God’s power, not rely on him. God he is the one in control, and he sends the Holy Spirit come to help us, pray for us and helps us. And I believe the Holy Spirit not just helps us for big things, but also believe he helps us in small things, little things.
Let me share a story with you. I remember I shared my mom’s testimony before. My mom became a Christian two years ago. And last month, she visited us and she shared a story with me. I was so encouraged and touched. And she said you know I always have problem with my memory. My mom said, “I put something in my house but I couldn’t find it, I just search the whole house but couldn’t find the things I want. Every time after that I pray God please help me. Please help me to find that. After the prayer,” There already a few times she shared with me. And just some thought comes to her mind and tells her where exactly she put up things and then she can go there and find it.
I believe God help us not just in big things. If you want to come to him and ask him for help, he wants to help you.
The Holy Spirit convicts things.
John 16:8 says when he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment…
You know when we share the gospel with our family or friends, we always try to convince them, and always try to tell them what is right and what is wrong. After that we find that there is no way to convince that person. No way. And so many times we feel disappointed, you know what. It’s our job to go and tell and share the gospel. The Holy Spirit is the one to work in people’s heart, convict their sin, helping them to realize their needs for righteousness.
And I believe Holy Spirit helps us realize our sin before we are Christians but also after we become Christians. Let me give you an illustration and help you understand. You know sometimes the sins we take on just become a part of us. And our life is like a house with many rooms one by one. Holy spirit goes in, turn on the light. So we have the choice here. Whether we want to respond to him let him to show what he wants or we try to turn off the light.
I remember the day I was baptized. And after baptism a pastor gave me a verse.
Roman 8:15 for you didn’t receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fare, but you received the Spirit of Sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Being a son or a daughter of God, the Creator of universe, that is the highest privilege we can ever have. Son or daughter of the creator of the universe, that is amazing! The term Abba is the enduring way to address the Farther. It means Daddy in today’s language and we can come to Father and the Holy Spirit helps us to realize God loves us so deeply. He cares about us; He wants to give the very best to us. Brothers and sisters, the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. So by Him, we cry out “Abba! Father! ”
3.3 Gifting. When we come to the point of Spiritual gift, Holy Spirit works in many ways. In 1Corinthians, it takes about all kinds of gifts and mentions there are speaking gifts like tongue, interpretation and prophecy and there are also serving gifts like administration, healing and also giving. God gives us different gifts and I believe God wants us to build our church, build up each other, we need to think about we use gifts to build church to build up brothers and sisters and people around us.
1Corinthians12:4-6 There are different kind of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Here we need to be cautious, and we can’t seek the gift higher than seeking the relationship with God. If we only seek the gift or power, instead of seeking God Himself, we end up only focusing on ourselves. We don’t want to live up particular person or gift, we want to live up God, and I heard too many times church is split by this issue that God is not glorified. I believe that if truly Spirit let, and God unify us, join us close. Another thing is we can have all kinds of gifts but the most important is love. Like Paul said in 1Corinthians without love, speaking tongues and understanding all mysteries and knowledge means nothing.
Galatians 5:22-23…but the fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…
I believe these are not just concepts. God want us to bear fruits. We can ask Holy Spirit to give us power to live it out to work through us to bless people around us.
3.4. Transforming. Life changes through the Holy Spirit, like Christians, we can share so many stories about how God changes our life, so many things that life has been changed, I believe just rely on our own power we can’t do it. Holy Spirit is like our personal trainer, encouraging us and also reminding us and disciplining us and helping us to get on the track. Most of time, you know, I realize I expect Him to change things, all things, all aspects of life and wants, but you know, most of time, He doesn’t work that way. He changes things slowly and helps us and teaches us to trust in Him. We talk about that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor, the Holy Spirit is God, the Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth, coming to teach us, help us and guide us and convict our sins, and also give us gift and transform our life. So we have a choice whether we want to invite Him and welcome Him and walk with Him. I believe there are a few barriers to walk with Holy Spirit.
1. Doubt. Can the Holy Spirit really help me and guide me? That’s our doubt.
Luke 11:9-10 …Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives…
Maybe some people maybe not me, who seeks will find, knocks and the door will be open. Here, it says for everyone who asks receives, not just for a particular person.
2. Fear. If I ask the Holy Spirit whether there are some terrible things to me? Or something I don’t want to do? That’s our fear. Sometimes, our enemies lie to us, you are not qualified. That’s the enemies’ lie, and we always fear to pray or to come to the Holy Spirit.
3. Noise. I believe living in this city, everyone is so busy with life, job or study. There are so many things distracting our mind and our attention: television, radio, internet, micro-blog, mobile-phone, clothing, iPad. All kinds of things distract our mind and attention and we find our life become so busy and so noisy that we have not sat down along with God for a long time. I’m not telling you what God would have you do with life but the most important thing is I don’t want you to miss the point of God’s plan for you. Spending time alone with God, if that’s the case, you may sit aside to spend some time with God quietly. Speak to Him, listen to Him, read His words and ask Him to guide you.
Holy Spirit, I love you and welcome you, please teach me, guide me, and give me the power. I want to live more and more like you, Lord Jesus, more like Jesus, please help me bear more fruits. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
Who is the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is our counselor
The Holy Spirit is God
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth
The work of the Holy Spirit
Helping, guiding and teaching
Barriers to Walking with the Holy Spirit
With strength and love in Jesus, summarized by Lois, Sunshine and Stefanie
|Sermon: The Work of The Holy Spirit||video||audio||doc|
|Worship song: You Are My All In All||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: God of This City||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: There Is A Higher Throne||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Majesty||video||audio||lyric|