16 Jun 2014
For just a minute try to put yourself in the shoes of the disciples on that fateful evening when Jesus broke the news … I am going away. I am leaving you. But it is for your good that I am leaving you. No doubt each of us has experienced what seemed at the moment an event that was sure to be a tragedy, which in time turned out to be a blessing. But of course the blessing perspective comes into view only after our journey provides us a different place of observation.
Jesus gave to the disciples on that particular evening some more information. He told them why it was better that He would go away. In fact He told them that the ”better” was that He was going to send as a direct result of His personal departure the Holy Spirit to indwell their very bodies.
John 16:7 (YLT)
7 `But I tell you the truth; it is better for you that I go away, for if I may not go away, the Comforter will not come unto you, and if I go on, I will send Him unto you;
John 14:16-17 (NASB95)
16 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
The church was about to be born and Jesus was at the very center. He was the heart and soul, the leader and the lover that made this movement move. But yet He said He was going away and He thought that it would be better! Could Jesus be serious? How in the world could it be better for Him to leave those He was in the process of training to be His disciples?
From where we stand today it is clear that it was better for God the Son to leave this earth so He could provide His Spirit to indwell those who truly believe. But have we in our day become lackadaisical about Jesus’ amazing provision? For a another perspective let’s listen to the Apostle Paul as he instructs us concerning the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:17-18 (NASB95)
17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
Is it possible that some believers believe that being filled with the Holy Spirit is optional? Of course it is optional … just as telling the truth is optional or as eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an option. As believers we have been given a gift, the very power and presence of God to empower and guide and control us. But Paul tells us that it is up to us; it is our choice to be filled or not with the Holy Spirit.
Why should we choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Of course first we are instructed by the Word of God to do so. Beyond this instruction we see that we cannot live out any part of the life Jesus designed for us short of being filled with the Holy Spirit. We cannot bring any glory to God unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Satan tells us the lie that we are not too bad and that we can become acceptably righteous by simply trying to be good. Of course he knows that if he can keep us from relying upon the power of the Spirit he will have a distinct advantage. So we see if we do not choose to walk filled with the Spirit we will experience defeat by our own choice!
While God always gives us a choice; Jesus’ purpose for providing us the indwelling Spirit was not so we would ignore the Spirit and do our own thing! Whenever we choose to proceed in life without the filling of the Spirit we are simply wasting time. Not only is getting drunk with wine dissipation, but any activity apart from the active work of the Spirit is like getting drunk, it may provide some short term high but when it is accurately assessed will be found to be simply worthless or perhaps worse.
In this world we are in a battle with the powerful forces of Satan. But God has provided us the superior Spirit of Jesus Christ to indwell us.
1 John 4:4 (NASB95)
4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
While Satan is a formable foe, perhaps for most of us our flesh is the greatest deterrent to our obedience to God. The verse below is always true if we walk in the Spirit we will not carry out the desires of the flesh. But to walk in the Spirit we must be filled. To walk in the Spirit is to choose to be consistently filled and controlled by the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 (NASB95)
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
It is God’s desire that we walk in the Spirit. But God gives us a choice. We can choose to walk in the Flesh or in the Spirit but we must choose to walk in one or the other as these are opposed to each other and harmony between the two is impossible.
Galatians 5:17 (NASB95)
17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Recognizing there are differing views I believe that the key is to ask, ask to be filled and controlled by God’s Spirit. Jesus tells us in Luke that we should ask.
Luke 11:9-13 (NASB95)
9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
10 "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.
11 "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?
12 "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?
13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"
This presentation is not intended to define doctrine, but rather to encourage experience, the experience of the power, the guidance, the wisdom, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The filling of the Spirit will impact every aspect of our lives. It will provide for unconditional love. The very love of Jesus can be ours by the power of the Holy Spirit. Walking in the Spirit will provide God’s perspective for our praying, and loving boldness for our sharing.
Jesus said that it was better that He would go away, and we can see that it was and is true. By sending the Holy Spirit to indwell each of us who believe we have been given the potential to be the men and women God desires us to be on this earth. God has made it possible for you and for me to live a victorious Christian life, but only if we depend entirely on the work of the Holy Spirit in us and through us. How often do you believe you should ask God to fill you with His Spirit?