Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How to say no, chapter 6

Continuing on with my notes from How To Say No to a Stubborn Habit by Erwin Lutzer:

Chapter 6, The Power of the Holy Spirit

John 7: 37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

I used to be confused by the statement that the Holy Spirit could not be given til Jesus was glorified: at first I though, if they are both omniscient, why can't they both be in the same place at the same time? But the issue was the order of things: Christ's glorification had to come first. Lutzer points out that "the basis of the gift of the Spirit was the glorification of Christ," just as the basis of our forgiveness is Christ's death on the cross. Both must be received by faith, not by agonizing or fasting.

Since the time of the book of Acts, very believer receives the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" but full control is not automatic.

Some people feel they are not "good enough" for the Holy Spirit to dwell in them and they should do more first, but that's like thinking you need to get better before taking medicine. Galatians 5:16 says, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh," not "quit walking in the flesh and then receive the Spirit."

Eph 5:18 says, ” And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” If someone is drunk, they are being controlled by the alcohol. If we’re filled with the Spirit, we’re yielding to His control.

How is one filled with the Spirit? First confess any known sin. Ask God to search you and show you any that you might be missing. Then just ask in faith to be filled with His Spirit, just like you asked in faith to be saved. Erwin Lutzer says on p.75:

How were you saved? By depending on the death of Christ. How do you receive Christ? By depending on the ascension of Christ. Both come by faith. That’s why Paul wrote, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Col. 2:6).

You receive the Spirit’s filling by faith, not by having a particular feeling. Some Christians wrongly believe that the filling of the Spirit is a sensation. They expect waves of love, or an overwhelming sense of peace, or speaking in strange languages. Theirs is a fleshly desire to walk by sight, not by faith. We find it difficult to take God at His Word…and we ask for a sign that we might believe.

God, however, delights when you believe in Him without demanding emotional crutches. Just as a new believer needs to receive God’s promises — apart from feelings — so you daily need to receive the power of the Holy Spirit — apart from feelings

"You will be greatly helped in accepting the Spirit's control if you learn the power of praise." Psalm 50:23: "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God." I Thessalonians 5:18: "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." "Thankfulness, like forgiveness, is not an emotion. Thankfulness is an intelligent response of gratitude to God, based on Hos Word. It is your determination to be obedient."

(Disclaimer: My purpose in jotting down these notes is not to post "the answer" so that people don't have to buy the book: on the contrary, I hope anyone struggling with persistent sin will buy the book. There is so much more there that is so rich. Rather, this is just an exercise for me to review what I have read and studied.)

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