Tuesday, May 22, 2018

God in Us

Part 1 of Jesus, Continued...

Text: John 14:16-17; 16:4-7




“I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you” (John 16:7). 


To Be Continued 

When I was kid, one of my favourite TV shows was The Dukes of Hazzard. Sometimes an episode would end with the words “To be continued.” [1] What would happen next?

In the opening of the book of Acts, Luke says that his previous book, the Gospel of Luke, had been about “all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). [2] In your Bible, at the end of Luke’s Gospel, you could write the words “To be continued.”

The book of Acts is part two of the story. If the Gospel of Luke is about what Jesus “began to do and teach,” the book of Acts is about what Jesus continued to do and teach.

But how did Jesus do and teach anything in the book of Acts? Where is he? He’s not on earth. He’s in heaven. So how did Jesus continue to do and teach things on earth? Through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of his followers. 

Shouldn’t the presence and power of the Holy Spirit make a difference in our lives? What would Christianity look like if everyone was as committed as you are?


The Holy Spirit? 

What does the Bible tell us about the Holy Spirit?

  1. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete. In John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit is called the “Helper.” The original Greek word is parakletos, which literally means “called to one’s side.” In other versions of the Bible, parakletos is translated “Comforter” (KJV), “Counselor” (NIV 1984), and “Advocate” (NIV 2011). [3]
  2. The Holy Spirit is a person. He’s not an impersonal force. Jesus says, “He [not “it”] dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). 
  3. The Holy Spirit is God. Jesus told the disciples to baptize people “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). He said “name,” not “names,” indicating that there is one God who exists as three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (i.e., the Trinity). 
  4. The Holy Spirit lives inside believers. Jesus tells the disciples, “[The Holy Spirit] will be in you” (John 16:17). The Apostle Paul writes, “Your body is a temple of Holy Spirit within you” (1 Cor. 6:19). Do you live with the awareness that God is living inside you? 
  5. The Holy Spirit wants Jesus to get the attention. Jesus says, “[The Holy Spirit] will glorify me” (John 16:14). What does the Holy Spirit want to accomplish in our lives? He wants us to believe in Jesus, act like Jesus, and talk about Jesus. 

What the Holy Spirit Can Do 

Jesus says, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you” (John 16:7). Is the Holy Spirit inside us better than Jesus beside us? We doubt that statement because we underestimate what the Holy Spirit can do in and through us.

Jesus gave his followers a huge task: take the gospel “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But he didn’t tell them, “Start right now.” He said, “Wait.” Wait for what? The sending of the Holy Spirit (“wait for the promise of the Father,” Acts 1:4).

This tells us that we are to rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to accomplish God’s will. We can either be content to do what we can do, or we can strive to do what the Holy Spirit can do in and through us. Francis Chan writes, “The church becomes irrelevant when it becomes purely a human creation. We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God.” [4]

If God lives inside us, why don’t we act more like Jesus and talk more about Jesus? Do you want people to be saved? Every Christian will say, “Yes, I’d like people to be saved.” But do you want that to happen to the point that you’ll do something about it? I can say, “It would be nice to have a burger right now.” But am I going to do something to get a burger (e.g., go to the kitchen and make on or drive to a restaurant and buy one)?

Do you really want the Holy Spirit to make a difference in your life?


What Happens Next?

To ask the Holy Spirit to work in and through us can be a scary thing? What will he do?

To be continued.

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[1] The title of this sermon series was taken from J. D. Greear’s book Jesus, Continued….
[2] Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version.
[3] Jesus called the Holy Spirit “another Helper” (John 14:16), indicating that Jesus is also our Paraclete (1 John 2:1).
[4] Francis Chan, Forgotten God, p. 18.