Fill, Full and Overflow
WHEN GOD CALLS WE MUST BE READY BY HAVING THE BASICS DOWN
Gideon’s answer in 6:13 is very telling.
The people of God had not been successful in passing along their faith. Their children did not have a personal relationship with God. To them God was a far off entity. Some being that helped their parents get out of slavery, but obviously not interested in helping them. We are partners with God to raise our children so that they become the people who carry the torch strongly and firmly into the next generation. Live your faith in such a convincing way that your kids have no doubt that God is God and will do great things in their lives.
WHEN GOD CALLS DON’T MAKE EXCUSES, JUST DO IT.
But God I’m too young.
My past is too bad.
Too many times we waste valuable time making excuses as if God has not thought through the details. Somehow He does not know about certain areas of your life or else He would not be asking those things of you. We see only our limitations and weaknesses and not see how powerfully God can work thorough us if we would only be willing and obedient.
WHEN GOD CALLS HE REQUIRES THAT WE CLEAN HOUSE
We hear God speak to us about the great plans He has for us and we are amazed and overwhelmed by it but it is not the starting point. The starting point is right in your own home. God says, “Before you can go out and conquer the world, get your house in order.”
WHEN GOD CALLS HE EXPANDS OUR ABILITIES TO FUFILL THE CALL
This insignificant boy, being obedient to the call of God, finds himself empowered by the spirit and begins to fulfill the title of mighty warrior.
- But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
WHEN GOD CALLS LITTLE BECOMES MUCH BECAUSE HE IS IN IT
From 32000 men to 300 and a mighty victory!
I am grateful that God not only calls us, believes in us and entrusts us with His mission; I am also grateful that He expands our abilities to fulfill His calling and little becomes much when He is in it. We may be small but we are filled with the power of God to go into all the world and be salt and light; to be influencers and world-changers.
God has called us to it so lets get going!
God who has saved me from my sin and has adopted me into His family. He declared me righteous and has included me in His family inheritance. There is no way I deserve this gift of grace but I am certainly thankful that God has given it to me.
For my wife of 24 years who has taught me in a tangible way what the grace of God looks like. She is my fan, my critic, my friend, and my companion in this journey of life. She has challenged me to become more like Christ and encouraged me as a leader.
For my two children who have brought joy to me by the way they live. They continue to make good and godly choices. They are defenders of the defenseless, they are servants in God's mission, they are leaders in the crowd, they are honoring to their parents and those in authority and they are passionate pursuers of God.
The pain and hardships of my life. Over the years I have seen in hindsight that God was in all of it and that He was orchestrating His plans and purposes and He chose me to be an active participant in that plan. Thank you God for allowing me to be part of your great plan.
For the Desert Streams Church family. I have been a part of this family for 24 years and this family has been there for me in the good and the bad times. They have grown with me, laughed with me, cried with me, prayed together, worshipped together, done life together. I could not imagine walking this journey of life without this great church family. I love you all and I am so grateful that GOd has seen it fit for me to be a part of this family.
I am blessed! Thank you God for your amazing blessings.
Tag you're it. Share what you are thankful for.
- Ephesians 5:15-18 (NLT) 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,
The understanding of emptying ourselves in order to be filled up is important in the Christian life. The importance can be seen in the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea in the Holy Land. The two bodies of water are connected by the Jordan River in a direct north-south line along the Great Rift Valley. Clear, sweet water from underground springs flows into the Sea of Galilee. And the Sea of Galilee flows south into the Jordan. Galilee is a gorgeous, active lake, full of life that has sustained fishermen in the region for millennia. The Dead Sea, by contrast, is a shallow, selfish basin with no outlet. It hoards the water that flows into it. Some water evaporates, leaving behind brackish, clouded water so dense that swimmers bob like corks. The whole sea is dead.
When we hoard the gifts of the Holy Spirit we become stagnant. We are no longer life-giving just life-taking. Our lives no longer possess the sweet aroma of the Spirit and we miss out on the joy of being used by God to be part of His grand plan unfolding.
Are you being attractive, life giving and fruitful, or are you being a stagnant pond?
- 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (MSG) 1 What I want to talk about now is the various ways God's Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often misunderstood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. 2 Remember how you were when you didn't know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It's different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can. 3 For instance, by using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never prompt anyone to say "Jesus be damned!" Nor would anyone be inclined to say "Jesus is Master!" without the insight of the Holy Spirit. 4 God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. 5 God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. 6 God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. 7 Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! 8 The variety is wonderful: wise counsel clear understanding 9 simple trust healing the sick 10 miraculous acts proclamation distinguishing between spirits tongues interpretation of tongues. 11 All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.
What a great journey in looking at the person and work of the Holy Spirit over the last few weeks. We have discovered that the Holy Spirit is God who lives in us and works through us.
He is one who leads us, directs us, gives us wisdom, convicts us of sin.
He comforts us and is always at work making us in the image and likeness of God.
When we allow the Holy Spirit control of our lives we find that there is a transformation that takes place in us - a metamorphosis. When we submit to His work in our lives we find that we are transformed into the image of God - we begin to look and act like children of God. It is an inward work that shows itself in outward actions. After a while we naturally show characteristics such as a love for everyone and a desire to see the best for them; a joy in the middle of any kind of circumstances because of the quiet confidence that God is in control; a patience for others and for what God is doing in us; self-control that puts the spiritual desires above the physical desires. These and others are what we have come to call the fruit of the Spirit; the outward manifestation of His inner work.
But as we read today the Holy Spirit's role is not just in transforming us but He also empowers us for serving God's mission. It is a mission to connect with God's people and to share God's love with those who are not yet part of the family of God. (Do you see that He is at work in helping us Reach UP, IN and OUT.)
The Holy Spirit empowers us for serving in God's family and in going and making disciples of all nations, by giving us His gifts. He is orchestrating the unfolding of the grand plan of God, of which you and I are participants, (think actors in a play) and empowers us at the moments we are called upon to serve by giving us what we need in that moment to further the mission.
If that is to give someone a word of encouragement He gives it to us in that moment.
If it is to pray for healing for someone He gives it to us in that moment.
His gifts are not for our enjoyment they are for the furthering of God's mission. (Not that we dont experience extreme joy when we are used by Him, it is just that this is not the primary reason for the gifts.)
In the moments when we find ourselves cued up for our part in God's unfolding plan we are confident then that we have been given everything we need to succeed and so our responsibility is to respond to our cue and act in obedience.
We have all we need to fulfill our role in God's plan so no excuses let the evidence of our lives point to people who are Spirit-filled and Spirit-controlled.
The fruit of the Spirit is the outward indicator that someone has been saved and now has been made a part of God's family. As we have been saying regarding this, this evidence is not simply outward actions but it is as a result of the inward work of the Holy Spirit that causes us to begin to produce this outward sign. If we are truly children of God then we have been given the Holy Spirit who is now at work in us producing fruit that we cant help but manifest on the outside.
In other words...any true believer and Christ-follower will have outward evidence of the inward working of the Holy Spirit. This evidence Paul calls fruit. It seems interesting to me that he labels it singularly. It is not the fruits of the Spirit but the fruit of the Spirit. It seems to suggest that all of the words he used are simply multiple characteristics of one fruit - the work of the Holy Spirit. They are inextricably tied to each other.
I also believe that the authentic Christ-follower will produce fruit in varying quantities. We can have little fruit, some fruit or much fruit. God desires that we bear "much fruit" and in order to do that we must be open to the Holy Spirit in our lives. How do we do that? We must be listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit as He speaks through the Word of God and through the trusted and tried spiritual leaders in our lives. Not only are we to listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks but we must be receptive to His direction and then choose to obey no matter how difficult the course. As we do this we give the Holy Spirit the latitude to work in us and this produces fruit from the inside out.
Is there outward evidence of the inward work of the Holy Spirit?
Is there increasing abundance of fruit?
- Ephesians 5:15-20 (NLT) 15So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“be filled with the Holy Spirit”
The tense of this sentence is the present continuous. In other words Paul says that we are to be continually filled up with the Holy Spirit. Be continually controlled by Him. It is not a one-time event but an ongoing way of living. Ever open to the Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding.
The other thing to observe is that it is in the passive voice. We cannot fill ourselves up with the Holy Spirit but we are to be filled by the Holy Spirit. To “be filled” means that the filling of the Spirit is a work of God, not man. He’s not saying “fill yourself” but rather “be filled.”
This command is in the plural, as if Paul were saying, “Let each and every one of you be filled with the Spirit.” On one hand, that means the command is for every Christian. God intends—and desires—that all his children be filled with the Holy Spirit.
But there is a sense in which this is also a corporate command. The church as a church is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is, the filling of the Spirit is not something for my own personal improvement. God’s Spirit imparts life-giving power that transforms the church from a social club or a religious gathering into a living body of Christ.
I am to be filled with the Spirit—but I am not to be filled alone. When the Holy Spirit fills us one by one, Desert Streams will be transformed.
How are you living out a spirit-filled life in the context of the church family?
- Ephesians 5:15-20 (NLT) 15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As disciples of Christ we are exhorted to live wisely. To make the most of every opportunity to live for Christ in this day and age. In order to live wisely Paul tells us that we should be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and direction so that we can live wisely. Paul goes on to admonish us that wise living requires that we do no get drunk because that does not help us to live wisely but it ruins our lives…it keeps us from living the way God would have us live.
He also informs us that those who are filled with the Holy Spirit find themselves singing. The Spirit-filled life produces music because the Holy Spirit produces joy within us that bubbles out in our singing our praise to God. It does not matter if you can carry a tune or not, a spirit-filled believer is a singing believer. Throughout the Bible we are exhorted to sing and make music to the Lord, this is a vital part of worship to God. Music was created by Him and it helps us connect with Him and gives voice to our praise. Singing is a part of the spirit-filled life, yet today so many believers skip the “worship” because it is not their thing. We are missing an important element of being full of the Spirit if we don’t take time to sing together.
Come join us on Sundays and next week Wednesday evening as we engage in a vital part of the spirit-filled life…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among ourselves.
- Romans 8:1-17 (NIV) 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. 5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I want to start by saying that this passage is descriptive, first and foremost, and not prescriptive. Paul is describing a person who is in Christ Jesus and being controlled by the Holy Spirit. He also describes what it looks like for someone who is not in Christ Jesus or not being controlled by the Holy Spirit.
If I am filled with the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to form the nature and character of Christ in me I will find that from the inside out will flow the nature and character of Christ. I don’t have to conjure up those things, they begin to flow out of me.
Again it is important to understand that the Holy Spirit’s work is to change me, I don’t do the changing and I am not changed if it is simply an outward action with no corresponding inward change. But we have a role to play in this amazing transformation of the Spirit. Throughout the passage we get the picture of a cooperation - there are things that we must do as well.
We must submit to the Spirit’s work in our lives allowing Him control us. It is that understanding of surrender (willingly giving Him the right to tell you what to do).
We must believe the Holy Spirit when He tells us that we are now new creations, made in God’s image and we must now live and act as children of God.
We have an obligation to to actively put to death the old nature - to say no to the old ways when they pop up.
So are you filled with the Holy Spirit and submitting yourself to His work in your life? You must cooperate with Him.
Remember…being filled with the Spirit doesn’t mean I have more of Him, it means He has more of me!