May 5, 2024 | Brandon Cooper
Brandon Cooper preached about living in the power of the Holy Spirit for personal transformation and growth. The Spirit gives believers power to overcome sin and live according to the Spirit rather than the flesh. Cooper encouraged tapping into the Spirit’s power through prayer and Scripture for holiness, church unity, and evangelism. All Christians are called to rely on the Spirit’s gifts and presence as they witness to others about Christ.


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Good morning church, we’re gonna go ahead grab your Bibles, you can open up the Romans chapter eight, Romans chapter eight will be in verses five to 13 this morning, as you’re turning there, someone recently gifted my family a bouncy house, not a big one or anything like that. But you know, just a fun one, especially for the boys. And so, first sunny day, we kind of brought it out got it all set up, you know, it’s a big to do to pull it out of the bag unfold the thing I got to figure out where to tie everything off and whatnot. And, you know, get plugged into the boys are are standing there, you know, kind of mouths agape and heart racing and stuff like they just they can’t even believe what’s about to happen right now. And so, you know, drumroll kind of moment and flick the switch and nothing happened. So anticlimactic. So turns out, the ground fault had tripped. And so, yeah, we, you know, we got to fix it, it was going but you know, the problem at the moment, at least, was that there was no power going to the bouncy house. And how many of us feel that way? How many of us live that way, when it comes to the Christian life, like, we feel like we’re just missing power for what it is that we’ve been called to do. So that’s what we need is also what thank God the Spirit provides. And that’s what we’re looking at this morning. This is the second week in our short series on the Spirit. Because it is a short series, we’re kind of laser focused here on the basic ministry of the Holy Spirit in the new covenant, which is to mediate Christ’s presence to us. So the Spirit makes Christ presence felt to us so that three things happen. First, we talked about last week, and that’s personal fellowship with Jesus, Kyle talked a lot about that. And then second, is our personal transformation into Christ’s likeness. And that’s what we’re talking about this week, the power available for that, and the third, you get to come back next week. So I’m not gonna tell you, but if you and I are going to be more like Jesus, we are going to need a power outside of ourselves, like change isn’t happening without some external power, it would feel a little bit like I think how many of us approach the Christian life would be like me grabbing the little tube on the bouncy house and trying to blow the thing up like a balloon, like we just don’t have nearly enough of what we need. In order for this to happen. There will be no change without this power source, the Spirit of God, that’s exactly the point Paul makes in our passage this morning. So main idea I’m gonna give to you up front. It’s very simple. It’s basically just the title of the sermon, but it is this live in the Spirit’s power, or live in the Spirit’s power? That’s not new information. I did not just blow any minds, right there anything like that? The big question, of course, that many of you are asking even as you read that, as sure But how, and that’s hopefully we’re gonna get today, I’m going to steal a bunch of illustrations from JD Greer, just FYI, upfront, so no accusations of plagiarism later. Okay. So, from the book, Jesus continued, but he says the Spirit’s power, it’s a little bit like our pituitary gland, in the sense that, you know, maybe, you know, you know, you have a pituitary gland. And you know, that it’s necessary somehow for growth and life. But you don’t really get how, and you’re certainly not interacting with it regularly. And isn’t that how we approach the spirit. But that’s what we’re going to try and remedy this morning, not just to know that the spirit is necessary for our growth, but also to understand how to live in it, we’re going to proceed by steps, the steps that Paul takes us through in this passage, he gives us the bad news first, kind of what the problem is why we need power. He’ll then talk to us about the power itself, and then the practice of the power. What does it look like to live in that power? It also means you can kind of tell us in your notes outline there that we’re gonna spend the first half of the sermon kind of on exposition, what does the passage say? And then we’ll widen our gaze a bit at the end and look at some application, spend a bit of time there. So that’s where we’re headed. Start with the problem, though. So Romans eight let me read verses five to eight for us. Now. Paul writes, those who live according to the flesh have their mind set and what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their mind set on what the Spirit desires, the mind governed by the flesh is death, the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God, it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. So Paul here is quite clearly contrasting, living according to the flesh with living according to the Spirit. It’s almost got like a wisdoms literature proverbs kind of feel about it. Like there. There’s a fork in the road and you got the flesh path and you got the spirit path and you know, what does it look like? To go down the flesh path, you know, your mind set on what the flesh desires, it’s governed by the flesh and you are living life in the realm of the flesh and all that’s different from the Spirit path. Those contrasts are all there. halls especially looking at the different destinations to like you walk down the, the the spirit path and and the destination is life there’s this unbreakable bond between spirit and life hence the name of our series the spirit of life taken from Romans eight verse to the spirit of love Spirit who gives life. There’s also though this unbreakable bond between the flesh and death, that’s where that path leads. So he’s got this contrast these two paths, and he walks us down the bad path first he hits the negative first kind of flushes out if I can make that pun. And that’s what we get here in this section. Now, when we talk about these two paths, it’s important for us to note upfront that we are talking about the difference between believers and unbelievers, like those who have trusted in Christ, and those who have not, we’re not talking about different maturity levels here. Like, yeah, we’re all Christians, but you know, I’m kind of in the Spirit, and they’re kind of in the flesh. No, that’s not what’s being talked about here, at least. And so Paul’s point is that only those who walk in the Spirit can truly live. Why? A lot of this is because of how Paul’s using the word flesh. Here, we just talked a lot about flesh, we did a whole series on the body and nothing inherently wrong with physical being it was a good thing. But Paul often uses the word flesh with a strongly negative vibe. In fact, the NIV is a previous edition actually translated as sinful nature to kind of draw that out. We’re talking about life in rebellion to God. Well, of course, that’s not going to lead to life. Because we’re separating ourselves from the source of life, this would be like a branch of the vine saying, you know, I’m tired of you telling me what to do, like I’m going off on my own, that does not lead to life, that leads to very quickly withering and dying. This is what happens here, right? We will go down this path, we we set our minds on the flushes, desires, and your mind, meaning not just like cognition, but the whole mindset, the whole attitude of our lives, including our intention, motivation, even will me think if your motivation if your will, takes you away from life takes you away from God. It’s taking you toward death, physical and spiritual death, necessarily. It’s it’s like, you know, a child running away from a loving, but firm parent, but you know, towards a ravine or something like that, and running away saying, you know, you won’t let me live my life and you’re like, No, if you keep running this direction, that’s where life is gonna get really tricky, really quickly here. And that’s what we do when we rebel against God, and seek to please and gratify our flesh. We’re talking, by the way, when we talk about gratifying the flesh since the flesh, all that stuff, like in our minds, that can kind of sound like sexual immorality. Yeah, that’s part of it. But we’re talking about all sins here. Not even the ones that look like sins from the outside. living according to the flesh might mean that you’re an upstanding moral individual. Like, you could be a hard working small business owner, President of the Chamber of Commerce, who’s constantly volunteering with different, you know, charitable organizations around town, nothing inherently wrong with any of that, right. But the question is, why? What’s the mindset? What’s the motivation? Because you could do all of those fine things, and it still be an act of self centered rebellion against God. Maybe you’re building this business, not because you got a sense of vocation and wanting to love your neighbor, but because it’s the sin of Babel, right? You’re trying to make a name for yourself. You think if I’m President of the Chamber of Commerce and whatnot, you know, at some point, they’re gonna name a gazebo after me, and that’ll be it. I’ll have reached immortality, like I always wanted. And maybe this volunteering that you’re doing, like, maybe it’s because you love people, you want to serve them, but maybe it’s because you’re trying to make business connections. And so that’s why you’re having them whatever it may be. But you see the point, we can do good things, for bad reasons, or at the very least, mixed reasons. We all know that only to convince you of that. It’s like George and Lucille Bluth when they adopt their child, not out of the goodness of their own hearts, but because they’re being investigated by the SEC, and they thought this would make them look more sympathetic in the eyes of the jury. Like that’s what we’re talking about here that kind of doing the the good thing but for the bad reason. This all explains some of the hard sayings that we get this is a hard paragraph, isn’t it? There’s some stuff there you kind of like, oh, I don’t know about that. I mean to the life according to flesh, that that person is hostile to God sees God as an enemy. You will of course, because God threatens their autonomy so he is an enemy. And so they don’t submit to God’s law. Why would they? In God’s law, you know, we can sum up as in the word love, love the Word of God with all their heart, soul, mind, strength, love your neighbor as yourself. They reject love that outward focus for the sake of sin. elf instead. So they reject that, which means they can’t please God, if they’re in the realm of the flesh, we cannot please God before conversion. Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything good. Of course, we probably know people who are not Christians who are maybe even better people than you are. And you can certainly be more moral than a recent convert, you know, you think of the Lord saving somebody out of, you know, heroin addiction and sex work or something like that. Really, okay, this person might have some serious problems for a long time as they’re growing in grace compared to the person who had wonderful parents just grew up to be that nice, moral upstanding citizen that we talked about. But but the point is, the mindset is still self centered, is still fleshly, even in altruism. What Paul’s talking about here is what theologians refer to as total depravity, which doesn’t mean that we’re as bad as we can possibly be. But it means that sin that selfishness affects absolutely every part of who we are. So it’s not just sinful acts, but sinful motivation, sinful thoughts, and all the rest. Paul’s also talking about total inability, the other theological concept, which is just the idea that we are completely unable to move towards God on our own. And of course, we are I mean, look at this, right, we’re hostile to God in the flesh can’t possibly please Him, and we see him, you know, as an enemy. So why would we take any steps towards him? We wouldn’t. So he’s got to move towards us first, like, if I’m the problem, I can’t be the solution. Paul says it like this and Ephesians two, he says, But as for you, you were dead in your transgressions. And since the point I make often hear when you’re dead, you can’t make lifestyle choices. Like that’s not the time to go, I should eat better and exercise more, it’s too late. And Paul says it’s too late. We are already dead in our transgressions and sins. So what’s our only hope that well, it gives it to us a little bit later in Ephesians. Two, but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ. God has to act first. And then he goes on to say it is by grace than that you have been saved, not me. No, it’s not you. It’s a gift of God. This is not from your cells. So you can see we’ve got a problem. You got a problem. Life in the flesh corrupts us, keeps us from obeying and pleasing God. And so it raises the natural question, then, okay, how can we change? How can we overcome the flesh, our selfish rebellion against God, and that’s where he takes us next. So let’s look at the power than the power available to us verses nine to 11. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh, but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed, the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death, because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ in the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit, who lives in you. You can see there’s this this emphatic contrast here, right? You however, all that stuff we just talked about, that’s not true of you any longer because you’re not in the flesh, but in the spirit. If you have come to God through Christ, we have this decisive transfer to a new realm. It’s like Paul’s saying I was there at your citizenship ceremony. Right? Like when you gave up your old citizenship in the kingdom of darkness, and then you received new citizenship in the kingdom of light like you burned your old passport, you got your new passport, this has happened already. You now belong to the New Kingdom characterized by life and peace and the words of Jesus you have been born again you are a new creation in Christ. Now it doesn’t always feel that way though, does it? Really that’s what the rest of the chapter is about you keep reading in Romans eight and we’re going to see decay and death. We’re going to see that we’re susceptible to temptation and and oh, so prone to sin. But nevertheless, this is true of us. We have been made new, even if we don’t always live it out. It’s like you get an injury or something you mess up your your knee and so it hurts and so you limp all the time right walking gingerly you finally go to the doctor and whatever it is, you know they do surgery you do the rehab the PT the you know cortisone shot, whatever it is, and after a while your knee is actually better, but you still kind of limp because you’re just so used to walk in funny now you get to the stairs and you know you use all your hand strength arm strength to go up instead of actually pushing on your because you don’t trust it anymore. That’s us. Right? We we don’t always walk in the newness of life that we possess by grace through faith in Christ. We live, we live spiritually still. Now grace is the determining factor. We see that throughout these passages, right? This is true of us why? Verse 10. But if Christ is in you, verse nine, the Spirit lives in us. What does that mean? What would change that bring about I mean, verse 10, has it right? Even though the body is subject to death because of sin, like death is the punishment for sin. And because we are born in sin, our bodies still break down. And ultimately, we will die physically, we will shuffle off these mortal coils as Shakespeare says, But, but that’s not the whole story. Because yeah, the body is dead because of sin. But the Spirit gives a life because of righteousness. And so I mean, how does Paul even often talk about death for the believer, he doesn’t say we die, he says, we fall asleep, because it’s like one short sleep, and then we wake eternally, you might as well just call it a nap at that point, because that’s all it is. So we were dead because of sin. But now we are alive in the spirit because of righteousness. We got to talk about that, because that’s one of those theological terms, we don’t always understand what it means. So whose righteousness not ours? We’re not alive. Because we’ve started doing good things. We’ve already seen that that’s impossible. It’s Christ’s righteousness, which is given to us. So righteousness is basically just your performance record. It’s like turning in your transcript or something when you’re applying to colleges or handing in a resume when you’re applying for a job. And basically what happens as Christians is we get to lie on our resume. So we stand before God, and we hand in our resume, and God looks it over and he says, No, this says you lived a perfect life. And you go, yeah, yes, I did. And God says, Are you sure I remember, you lie. And you were a bit careless. And you know, in your words, and things like that, and Jesus is right there. And he goes, No, no, no, no, it’s true. He lived a perfect life that lie, though the care was whatever it was like that’s on me. That’s on me. Now. It’s his righteousness that is given to us and our sin is laid on him. Paul’s already talked about this in Romans. In fact, Romans chapter five, he compares what we get from Adam, with what we get from Jesus. So what it is we inherit in the flesh versus what we inherit in the Spirit. He says this Romans five or 17, For if, by the trespass of the one man death rain through that one man, Adam, how much more well, those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace, and have the gift of righteousness, there is the gift of righteousness, Christ’s righteousness handed to us as a gift. And what does he say it will rain in life through the one man Jesus Christ reign in life exactly what he’s describing for us here in Romans eight, because the Spirit of Life dwells within us as Christians, the inevitable result of his presence in our lives is life. He will bring life that’s what he does when he dwells in somebody, like he knows he’s dwelling in a fixer upper. Okay, so you gotta imagine, you know, fixer upper on your block, something like that. And let’s say a young power couple moves in, and he’s a general contractor, and she’s an interior designer. Do you think the House is going to look different in a few years? Probably, right. That’s what it is with the Spirit, except that it’s not a young power couple. Actually, notice who moves in the whole Trinity is present with us. We have the Spirit living in us in verse nine, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in verse 10, but if Christ is in you, and then in verse 11, and if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead who raised Jesus from the dead, that’s the Father. They’re all here, like there is so much power available to us. It’s like hooking up a rocket engine to your go kart. Do you think you’ve got enough to get down the street faster than your friends in the neighborhood? Probably right? That’s what we have more than enough power to do exactly what Paul says the end of verse 11 power to raise us not just from physical death, but power to overcome the cause of death in our lives, which is sin. But what is the key? Like, what is that power? It’s the Spirit, the Spirit who gives life it’s interesting. Paul uses the word spirit 22 times in Romans eight, and only 10 times and the rest of Romans 22 occurrences in this chapter, point six, six and all the other chapters in Romans, like you get the idea, don’t you? And yet, Romans eight is many people’s favorite chapter in the Bible, because of these precious promises that are given to us the unshakable hope that we have, I mean, you read that we sang some of these trees a moment ago, but verses 37 to 39 know when all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I’m convinced that neither death nor life neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Why? Because of the Spirit, because the Spirit lives within us. So what do we do with this power? You’re not going to hook up a rocket to your go kart? God’s not going to do that unless he intends to take us somewhere. So where are we going? Let’s look at the practice verses 12 and 13. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it is not to the flesh to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the Spirit you put to death and misty to the body, you will live. We are citizens of a new kingdom. We don’t need to limp spiritually any longer. That’s what Paul’s saying here when he says we’ve got an obligation, but it’s not to the flesh, we are no longer obliged to obey sins, lingering presence and influence in our lives. We don’t have to sin, we don’t have to give in to our fleshly desires any longer, he breaks the power of canceled sin. So what this looks like a little bit like, you know, imagine that we’re going to a company, you got your old boss, and he’s about to retire. And you got a new boss coming in, and they got that little transition period where the ones kind of training the other and whatnot. Which one do you listen to? One of them comes the old boss comes to you and says, Hey, I need you to be working on the Penske file this week. And then the other boss, new boss comes and says, I really want you to be working on the core belay file this week, you’re like, Okay, what do I do now. And that’s often how it feels. This is why we got that conflict between flesh and spirit. Now, that’s way too easy in analogy, because of course, the old boss that you have, has been arrested, not just for, you know, embezzlement, but for crimes against humanity, and he is already in handcuffs, and he’s shouting at you as he’s being whisked out the door. So it should be a little bit easier for us to know which one we should listen to, probably the new boss, the Spirit of God himself. But notice that they’re both asking us to do something, but the spirit is really asking us to do something. And we don’t want to miss that either. We spent a lot of time in the Indicative so far in this series, where Paul is just telling us truths about who we are, we are alive in the Spirit. But the Indicative leads to an imperative. Put sin to death, put to death, the misdeeds of the body. You can’t eliminate either, right, we need the Indicative and the imperative here we need both. Like there is a genuine warning in this passage. If you live according to the flesh, you will die. That’s a tough word, genuine warning. It’s like Paul saying, grace is the sufficient condition of our eternal life. If God has saved you by grace, you will be saved to the uttermost. Grace is the sufficient condition but he’s saying obedience is the necessary condition for eternal life. It follows necessarily from the grace we’ve experienced. Here’s the way commentator John Murray puts it he says the believers once for all death to the law of sin does not free him from the necessity of modifying killing sin in his members. It makes it necessary and possible for him to do so. The spirit is there to give us the power to overcome sins influence means that the proof of grace the ultimate proof of real Grace experience in a person’s life is perseverance to the end, perseverance until death and glory. And it doesn’t always look like we we can probably all point to people that we know or have heard of who fell from grace. Herman Bavinck, says this in his Reformed Dogmatics. He reminds us that God leaves and has told us in Jesus parables, especially that God will leave unregenerate people. That is people who are just playing church who are just lip synching Jesus will leave them in the church, so that we don’t get proud or lazy. When it comes to our personal holiness. We’ll see people fall from grace and go, Man, I don’t want that to be me. I don’t want that to be I’m going to redouble my efforts here. Because it is effort. Notice how careful Paul is though, in verse 13. if by the Spirit, you put to death, the misdeeds of the body, like who acts in this situation? Is it me or is it the spirit? As both? Of course that’s like asking which wing of the plane is the one that’s making us fly? Both the both seem really, really important here. And this saves us from twin dangers. On the one hand, Legalism, like I’m going to do this and I’m going to earn this white knuckle sin. It also keeps us from the danger of cheat keep Greece easy believe ism are a passive surrender that you’ll you’ll hear sometimes in a famous slogan, let go and let God which is an asinine saying, when it comes to our sanctification. Now if you’re talking about like anxiety, fine, by all means let go and let God if you’re talking about your holiness, no trust God and get moving as the way Packer says it that’s a much more biblical phrase we have to act to. It’s like the bouncy house, right? Gotta plug it in. You need the electricity, he can’t do it without the electricity, but also had to plug it in and flip the switch. And then all sorts of good things happen. So let’s tap into the power of the Spirit as we modify sin, it’d be killing sin, or it will be killing you live in the Spirit’s power. So how, what does that look like? Exactly. And here, we’re gonna widen our lens slightly, because I want to ask the question, how do we tap into the Spirits power for the self, the church and the world, the Spirits power is there for all three. And I know this passage is about personal holiness. But personal holiness is not individualistic holiness, not by any means. Our holiness is important for more than just ourselves. I mean, we’ve got Matthew chapter five we just did in the series on the Sermon on the Mount, you know, you’re supposed to be salt and light in this world, let your light shine, people are gonna see your good deeds, your personal holiness, they’re gonna glorify your Father in heaven. It’s important for the church as well, Robert Murray McShane said once and you’re speaking as a pastor, but every one of us in the church could say this, the greatest need of my people is my personal holiness. And that is true of each other. I mean, we also need each other for personal holiness, we say here a lot change as a community project. That’s why one of our core values is transformative community. Look at this, and Hebrews 1214, and 15, if you don’t believe me, read it in Hebrew says, Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy, really important, right? Because without holiness, no one will see the Lord. So it sounds like we’re just talking about ourselves as individuals. But then he says, See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God, no bitterroot grows up to cause trouble and to fail. And then he goes on to talk about some other sins, we need each other to grow in personal holiness. So with that in mind, let’s look at how do we tap into the Spirit’s power for the self, the church in the world, first, the self, talking about personal transformation into Christ’s likeness. The spirit is the agent of our holiness. And he is one who gives us the power to live rightly, he produces his fruit in us. That’s why it’s called the fruit of the Spirit. So by His power Christians change. What this looks like is not long after I started, here’s about nine years ago, we moved, we used to live in Naperville, we moved to Lombard so that the commute was a lot shorter for us. But that meant that when I went home, I had to remember that I lived somewhere else. So I would pull out on the St. Charles here and get to the light at York, and would think to myself don’t turn left, you have to go straight now. Okay. And it was tricky. And there were many times where I turn left. So I learned some sneaky back ways. Okay. That’s kind of what this looks like, right? Where you kind of get there and you go, I’m different. I live a year now I don’t live there any longer. But the problem was, it is always just a case of forgetting. Sometimes it’s a case of desire, isn’t it? Well, you think I’d actually like to turn left, because there’s this great taco joint in my old neighborhood. And I want to go back and enjoy some sin tacos. Okay, like, that’s how we think for sure. When that happens when we get to the light, and we’re like, No, I’m turning left, and you turn left and you turn left and turn left. And after a while, you just think like, why hasn’t he changed me as you ever asked that of God? Like, how can we even change me, Lord, is sometimes it’s a little bit like buy and this is I’m stealing this illustration from Francis Chan. Not JD Greer. It’s like buying a treadmill because you want to lose some weight. And after two months, you take the treadmill back to the store and you go this thing’s broken, right? I didn’t lose a single pound. I want my money back. And the cashier says it’s still in the box. It’s still wrapped in plastic. Like I think I found the problem here. That is kind of us when it comes to the spirit, isn’t it? Like it sounds silly, but change the details and all of a sudden it doesn’t sound as funny any longer. Like, I want to return this because, you know, still struggling with porn, or still, you know, speaking these careless words or can’t forgive the person who hurt me. And that Trinity is standing there behind the counter going have you unwrapped the spirit yet? Have you tapped into this power yet? So how do we do it? The Spirit does extraordinary works through ordinary means. This is not mystical. The Spirit works through things like Our engagement with the Bible, and prayer, which of course go together. And this is maybe some of it, it is possible to read the Bible in the flesh. It is. But if we’re coming to God desperate for his power that will change how we pray before we start reading the word Kyle talked about this a little bit last week, because we’re coming going forward, I need something from this today. Like, I need you to renew my mind. And to satisfy my heart with Your love this morning. I need you to guide my steps. But then we pray. And prayer is so important in all of this. I mean, think of Elijah, we heard a little bit of his story this morning, Erica read it for us. He’s got this contest with the prophets of Baal whose God is real. And he prays in confidence, and God sends fire from heaven, burns up the whole lot burns everything up, right. That’s the power. That’s the power that we have. And we want it like that, like just turn your fire from heaven and refine me, so I’m good. That’s not always how Elijah’s life went even. And Elijah was kind of a sweet dude, you know, right. Like he got better stories. And some of us like the Lord promises and there’s a drought allowed us to prophesy that then the Lord promises to end the drought and descend rain. And so he has a ledger pray for rain. You think What could be easier than this, he just told me to pray for rain, he’s gonna send rain Lord, you send rain, he sends a servant to look to see if there any clouds, no, bright sunny day in the desert still, he prays again and again and again, again and again. And on the seventh time, the servant comes back and he says, I saw a cloud about the size of a fist. anything great. Like that’s it. That’s what we’re we are there on our knees pleading with the Lord to change us until we see even a cloud the size of a fist coming. What is often lacking on in us is that persistence in prayer, like where you are at the intersection of York and St. Charles thinking, you’re going to turn left into sin, and you are pleading with God. I need your power now. Or I’m turning left and eating the sin tacos. And the people behind you are honking and you don’t care. Like because you are not moving until you have the power to drive straight to walk in the newness of life that Christ has one for you. And here’s the really good news as you’re praying and pleading with God, the spirit is praying within you. Paul tells us that in this chapter, even right 26 and 27. In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for. but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. and He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people, in accordance with the will of God, the spirit is praying as you’re praying, which means these prayers, it’s a little bit like a laser. I’m not a scientist. I’m gonna try really hard not to say anything wrong here. I’m an English Lit guy. That’s why I coded Shakespeare and done already today. All right. But if I understood correctly, a laser works by stacking light waves. And when you stack them, you get all the photons moving in one direction. I thought a photon was the gun in Star Trek. So like I learned a lot this week, okay. It gets them all moving in the same direction. If you don’t have the photons moving in the same direction, it’s a light bulb, and it lets off a nice soft glow. You get them all moving in the same direction. There’s enough power to cut through metal. We stack our prayers on the spirits prayers, and we have enough power to cut through the sin in our lives. Persistently pleading with God like knocking on the door we did Matthew seven not that long right knocking on the door asking, seeking knowing God is inside knowing He longs to help us thing I need you. I need your power. Now. Robert murmur Shane said once you know if you could hear Christ praying for you in the next room, would that change your confidence? And then he said, well, the distance doesn’t make any difference. Like we know that. Jesus is praying for us interceding for us in heaven. But now we know also, by the way, you there isn’t even any distance because the spirit is inside of you and praying for you. Or like if God were in the next room, how tempted to send you think you would be? I mean, somewhat because you look at the disciples of Jesus, but you know, probably less tempted at least again, God is right here we are the room and he is in us. That’s the power, the confidence that we have, of course, we pray like this pleading for that power, not just for ourselves, but for our family and for our friends and for the church. And so that’s the next part. How do we tap into this power for the church? The Spirit gifts us that is one of his primary activities he gives us and empowers our service so that we all transform into Christ likeness, says this first Corinthians 12 verse seven. Now to each one, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good, or for the common good and it goes on to catalog The different manifestations of the Spirit. Its teaching, its helps its leadership, its miracles and tongues. Then he says, all these are the work of one in the same spirit. They are the work of the Spirit, he works in our work, it’s his power and our activity. If you are in Christ, the spirit has gifted you and he has given you these gifts for the sake of the body. We need every part so he says in first Corinthians 12, like you don’t get to be proud here like the eyes all hottie because the you know better than the knee or something like that we will all the parts, we want the eye, the knee, and the pituitary gland all working together if we’re going to live well, if we’re going to grow in maturity. So what he says in Ephesians, 416, right from him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, that’s the leaders of the church, again, didn’t study anatomy, so I’m hoping I’m not gonna say something wrong here. But that’s like the connective tissue. So the leaders are the ones who kind of pull the people together so that the body can be the body to grow and build itself up in love as each part does its work. We need your gifts, we will not reach maturity, corporately and individually without the full range of the Spirits power active in us, we need each other. This is one of my primary problems with the live stream the live stream is a necessary evil for people cannot come either for a season or for a longer period of time. But the problem with the live stream is that we don’t have them. You on the live stream don’t have us like we need the gifts working together. This can look so ordinary. It could even look like something you could do in the flesh. Right? I mean, like there are teacher teaching a teaching kids out there leading music. Have you ever met a non Christian who’s good at music? Yeah, right. Course plenty of them. So it can look so orders serving behind the scenes and areas like facilities and finances, it can also look extraordinary, where you get miracles or words of knowledge, the prompting to pray for someone where you’re like, I don’t even know what just happened, but I know I need to pray for this person. Then the next day, they’re like, man, you would not believe what happened to me like I almost died or whatever. And you’re like, Okay, wow, I think God might be real. This is kind of crazy. Like we need it all. But you have to unwrap the gift. Like unwrapping the treadmill, somebody unwrap the gift use it so that the Spirit can grow us all up. You remember the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Father Christmas like on behalf of Aslan gives the gifts to the kids. Like can you imagine if Lucy just had that potion and her brother Edmonds dying on the battlefield right there. And she was like, I would love to help but it’s sunny. So I’m gonna play golf instead of go to church this morning. That’s what we do, sometimes, isn’t it? We need each other. Alright, so that’s how we tap into power for the church. Lastly, this power, it’s not just for Christians, like how do we tap into this power for the sake of the world to Kyle quoted x one eight for us last week, even uses that word power, right, you will receive power, when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria to the ends of the earth. What I find so interesting is that like in the same breath, the same paragraph, Jesus says, don’t leave Jerusalem. But Wait x one, four, don’t leave Jerusalem, but wait, and you’re like, well, then how can I you know, be a witness at the end of the earth? If I’m waiting in Jerusalem, but wait for the gift of my Father promised? You’ve heard me speak about right? How can we be are His witnesses without the Spirit’s power? That’s the question. We can’t, we need him to turn the world upside down. When we talk about what we’re supposed to do for the world, we think of the Great Commission right, go and make disciples of all nations. But the great commission is sandwiched between two precious precious promises. The first is all authority in heaven on earth has been given to me since Jesus speaking. And that’s the foundation of our hope, like he is sovereign. So he’s going to do what he’s trying to do in and through me with the other one. The other promise on the backside is an I am with you, to the very end of the age. And that’s the Holy Spirit. He is with us so that we can do what we were called to do that changes how we approach evangelism, knowing that he is with us to the end of the age. Like how many of you when it comes to evangelism, you think to yourself, I don’t have what it takes. I have that thought regularly. I am an introvert. I don’t think you I’m just glad to like you were like, Yes, that’s me. Somebody you can can participate in these services. I don’t have any things I’m clinical introvert. I don’t really like talking to people unless I have a mic and you’re all over there. I’m fine in this situation. But you put me like with people I don’t know and I I’m not a good evangelist by nature. So I get that I don’t have what it takes except Yes, you do. Because you have the spirit. What do you mean, you don’t have what it takes. You have God himself inside of you. You can do this, as Dr. Moody said, there is not a better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit, and He lives in you. Like how many of you if you are been here for a while, you’ll know this. If you’re new, I’m sorry, this one’s going over your head. How many of you would feel better evangelizing if Mark Meyers was with you? Exactly. Now, no offense, Mark, I would so much rather have the Spirit of God with me than Mark Meyers. Right. And we’ve got it. So like, we can do this ever think about the early church. I mean, here’s this, like, tiny group of people, very few resources, they don’t have staff, their websites terrible, it’s like, and they’re also in this incredibly hostile culture that just murdered their leader. And they turned the world upside down. Within 300 years, they toppled the Roman Empire, so that now it’s the Holy Roman Empire, which is, you know, its own thing. We’ll talk about that another time. So how, like, how did they do this is because they leaned on the spirit because they had to the book of Acts, the full name is the Acts of the Apostles. That is a terrible name for that book. The book should actually be called the acts of the Spirit through the apostles, because that’s what’s going on here. So like, what’s lacking today is that AW Tozer said, if the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95% of what we do would go on, and no one would know the difference. I feel that like, I feel that as a preacher, because think what I had at the early church didn’t have I have a master’s degree in how to preach good. I know Greek and Hebrew, they knew Greek and Hebrew, too, but like, I’ve got it. I’ve got 1500 books in my library. Like I couldn’t do this on my own. That’s a terrifying thought. So he goes on though. So this is Tozer. Still he says, if the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament, church, 95% of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference. And you read that, and you think, let’s be like in the New Testament Church, like the same power, the same spirit, because it’s in us, we have what they had, like, go back to X one, eight, and put your name in there. The Brandon will receive power. When the Holy Spirit comes on Brandon, and Brandon will be my witness to the very ends of the earth. Hold that power for the sake of the world. And we consider of the 40 miracles recorded in Acts 39 of them happen outside of church, like the the gathered body. I think this is one of the reason we don’t see the Spirit manifest so much like yeah, we spirit, hopefully, he’s here. So we can do that whole spiritual gifts for the common good and build each other up, so that we can then scatter. And let the Spirit do His work when we’re at soccer practice with the kids, or having coffee with one of our friends or neighbors. The Spirit of God lives in you if you belong to Christ, plug in, draw on his power, live in the power of the Spirit, to tap into that power for yourself, and for the church and for the world. Let him work in your work for His glory. We are not called to a lifeless, powerless Christianity. God has given us a helper Kyle talked about that last week, he has given us himself the relationship that we have with him. That should change everything. So JD Greer tells the story of his friend who was trapped in sexual addiction, and did what a lot of us do when it comes to sin struggles, which is try really hard and fall and try really hard and fall, like get better for a bit and then right back down. And the friend eventually checked himself into an intensive ministry for a period of months, actually. And eight months later, JD Greer saw him again. And it was this guy was noticeably different. And Greer said, what changed? Like, what did you learn? I said, I don’t learn anything. I already had the Bible. What I learned was how to lean on the spirit, like to live with that desperation. For the Spirit’s work in me, he learned to tap into the Spirit’s power. Now, you might not have an addiction like that, like you might just need peace in the midst of anxiety or guidance when it comes to a decision or the ability to forgive someone or like fearlessness and evangelism. But the power is for you. And all those cases still live in the Spirit’s power. Let’s pray. Lord, as you help us even now to plug in to tap into your power in the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead lives in us. That is a powerful truth for those of us who belong to Christ. Lord, would you display that power in our lives as you work in us as you empower us to work alongside you to see this transformation in our personal holiness, and our growth is the body of Christ and in our mission to the world. And we ask this in Christ’s name, amen.

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