From the Gateway Austin website:
“We talk about Him like he’s not here, like He’s an ‘it.’ He’s the often misunderstood third party of the Trinity. He’s the one who brings the party – the love, the joy, the peace and everything else we long for and were made to experience. Join us as we explore the mystery of the Holy Spirit.”
Rick Shurtz shared at the McNeil Campus, and I shared at the South Campus.
You can watch or listen to Rick’s message at www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast or you can listen to my message here:
Here are the notes from what we shared:
Have you ever stopped to consider how many things in life are incomplete without some sort of compliment?
- An empty glass is nothing without something poured into it.
- A match is only useful if it has some sort of connection to something to ignite it. Left to itself, it’s just a stick.
- A light bulb is just glass with a little bit of metal unless it is in the socket of a lamp that is plugged into a power source.
When we share our stories, we often share about decisions we regret – decisions based on a desire to fill ourselves up but in ways that do not work in the long haul.
Much of life is made up of pieces that compliment each other.
With that thought in mind, consider these statement from Scripture:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?”- 1 Corinthians 16:19
“…be filled with the Spirit.” – Ephesians 5:18
You, your body, your life, your personhood, was made to be filled with the Spirit of God.
If I’m effectively incomplete without something, then I want to know and understand what that something is. If I was created to be filled with a Spirit, then I want to know who that Spirit is, and how this happens.
We may feel resistance because of two different extremes. On the one hand, there are those that seem to use the Spirit as an excuse to do whatever it is they want to do, and on the other hand, there’s my own experience of feeling like talk of the Spirit over-promised and under-delivered.
So there’s a particular scene toward the end of Jesus’ life I want you to imagine with me. Jesus gathers his closest followers for a meal. They’ve walked together, been friends, for several years now.
What they don’t know, and what Jesus does know, is that this would be the last time they would eat together, as a group, before he would die on the cross. It was their last meal. So he has this meal with them, to give them his parting words.
These final words of Christ, they’re recorded for us in John 14 through 17. Being that we are 4 weeks away from Easter, where we commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ, we thought it wise to listen in on these four chapters, and to listen in on what Jesus had to say in his parting words.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God; trust also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14:1-3
Jesus tells them, “I’m leaving.”
Those disciples, they were having the time of their lives with Jesus! They were going from town to town. They were experiencing the power of God. They were seeing tremendous things happen in their lives.
They didn’t want Jesus to go away!
- They’d walked with him for about 3 years now.
- They’d seen him turn water to wine.
- They’d seen him heal the blind.
- They’d seen him take a few loaves of bread and feed thousands with it.
- Now he’s going to leave?!
They’re hearing this, and no doubt they’re thinking:
“Am I just supposed to go back to being a fisherman now? Is that how this story ends? We followed you around for three years, experienced amazing things, but now it’s just back to normal life?”
And Jesus is crystal clear.
“I’m leaving, but this isn’t the end of the story. I’m going to prepare a place for you. In time, I’ll come back and get you to bring you to where I am.”
The disciples probably wondered: “So what happens in between now and when you return?!”
Jesus seems to know this is on their minds. Hear carefully what He says:
“I tell you, whoever trusts in me will do the works I have been doing….” -John 14:12
This line says more about the Holy Spirit tells us the most essential thing we need to know about the Holy Spirit even though Jesus hasn’t mentioned the Holy Spirit, and they don’t know he’s getting ready to mention the Holy Spirit.
To explain how a light bulb works, the simplest explanation is to flip the switch. The more complicated answer involves a conversation about electricity and the power company. Both explanations are correct. Both explanations have their place.
Jesus essentially gives two explanations to their fear of their lives going back to normal by Jesus going away.
Jesus first gives a simple answer.
“There’s a very simple switch you must make,” he tells them. “If you want to keep this party going, if you want to live profound and powerful lives, if you want to light up this world, then you need to switch from trusting in something else, to trusting in me.”
Some of them were tax collectors. They had trusted in money.
He’s telling them: “You want to lead powerful and profound lives, you need to change your verse…”
Your verse previously read:
“I tell you, whoever trusts in money will do the works I have been doing…” – $$$ 14:12
You need to make the switch from trusting in money to trusting in me.
Some of them were hard working fishermen. They trusted in their strength, their independence, their ability to get out there and work. They, too, needed to change their verse.
Their verse previously read:
“I tell you, whoever trusts in their work ethic will do the works I have been doing…” – Work 14:12
That won’t do it, Jesus was saying. You might get some things done and even carve out a decent life for yourself, but it won’t be profound. It won’t be filled as it could be with the Spirit of God.
In what do you trust besides Jesus?
“I tell you, whoever trusts in _____________ will do the works I have been doing…” – You 14:12
- We have to honestly ask ourselves, what do we trust in for a profound and powerful life?
- What do we look toward to fill our cups, to light up the world, to burn brightly?
- What are we counting on?
Here’s my hope. My hope is that this discussion of God makes you nervous. My suspicion is that it doesn’t. I say that, because my experience is that most of us, when we hear, “all I have to do is trust,” we hear that, and we think: “That’s easy…I just have to trust.”
I think that’s terribly misleading about the nature of trust, though. It’s simple to understand, but trust, it’s not easy.
When we’re called to trust Christ, and to trust God, it’s a call to entrust our entire being to Him.
What’s the in depth explanation?
Jesus gives the simple explanation: they need to trust him.
For those who trust me, He says:
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth…I will not leave you as orphans. – John 14:16-18
When you put your trust in me, He’s telling us, when you’re willing to abandon your own efforts to play it safe on top of that cliff, I will come through for you. I will go to the Father, and I will ask him to send you His Spirit.
The Spirit of God will inhabit you.
This little switch, it engages a power I cannot begin to fully explain.
And this switch from trusting in ourselves to trusting in Christ, it engages a powerful Spirit, that here as well, I can’t begin to fully explain.
Interesting comment about the Spirit of God later in Scripture…
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. – Ephesians 4:30
It’s an important line from Scripture because it informs us a bit of the nature of this Spirit. This Spirit is not some impersonal force. The Spirit we are referencing here is the Spirit of a personal God, and this Spirit can be grieved.
An impersonal force is not grieved.
A person, with thought and personality and emotion, can be grieved.
What grieves the Holy Spirit?
Just because we have knowledge of the Spirit, this does not mean that we have transferred our trust from ourselves or our possessions or our own strength to the strength of God that is ignited when that switch of faith is made.
A true experience of the Holy Spirit begins with humility.
We hear this in Jesus next words on the Holy Spirit when He says:
These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. – John 14:25
This Holy Spirit is our teacher.
If we’re going to learn from him, and experience life with him, we must have a humility associated with trust, that says, “Teach me. I want to know. I want to experience.”
If, instead, we cling to our own agenda, and our own ideas, and our own thoughts, we sit like an electrical engineer in the dark, too proud to reach over and turn on the switch.
Jesus basically says: “If you want to experience the power of the Spirit, you need to trust me….”
The more we respond to the leading of the Spirit, the clearer His voice becomes in our life.
We were created not to exist as unto ourselves, but to exist as a temple that God’s Spirit will fill.
We can go through life if we want, and be like a light bulb that is never plugged in.
Or, we can entrust ourselves to God, and when we do, He says, we will experience a power and a presence we will only begin to be able to explain.