Holy Spirit II Sermon Ocean View Methodist May 3, 2013 • What happens when you try to be something you

are not? • When I was in university I was really learning what it meant to be a Christian and I so looked up to the worship leaders. I have always loved music, and the people who led worship were like my idols. • So for a short season I even decided I wanted to be a worship leader. I bought a guitar and I sang worship once at our university worship service and my friend Richard and I even recorded a few songs in a studio. • Wow, I must have been talented, right? WRONG • My friend Richard just wanted to be my boyfriend so he kept telling me I was good at worship and one day I realized I was HORRIBLE. Yeah, the one problem with me being a worship leader is that I am not one. God didn’t give me a good voice. It’s okay. But it’s not a worship leader. It’s not who I am. • Then there was the time that Casey tried to be a marathon runner. Looking at Casey, there are many things you can see him being. An athlete obviously, maybe a basketball player because he is tall, certainly a soccer player because he has NICE calves • But no, a few years ago, Casey decided he wanted to run a marathon. He ran a few half marathons and then trained and trained for the marathon. • And I will tell you proudly that he did COMPLETE a marathon, but in no way did that make him a marathon runner. He had to drag this huge, muscular body 26.2 kilometers around our town of Raleigh, and pretty much the entire way on the course when I would see him to cheer him on he looked like DEATH. I think death would have been preferable to him at many points. Casey is many things, but a marathon runner is not one of them. He completed a marathon race, but he is by no means a runner. • This is the problem with our world sometimes. We want to be something we are not. And we can’t. We can pretend. We can learn the moves, or train really hard, or try to get all the words right, but when it comes down to it; we can’t be something we are not. • At some point you can't keep the game up. Whatever you are trying to be or do, if it's not truly who you are, then at some point your will and focus and determination are going to run out. • Last week we spoke about druggies and babies. The two groups in the world I struggle with the most. Drug addicts I struggle with because

 

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they are stuck in the grip of addiction and they can’t let go of this thing that is killing them and destroying everyone they love. It feels hopeless. And babies I struggle with, Keller mainly, because he use to be perfect and then one day lately he just decided to start sinning. He is stubborn, he throws tantrums, he chooses badly. I mean if wonderful Keller is so sinful, what hope is there for you or me? Then there is the apostle Peter, and who was the best and brightest of Jesus’ followers and he had the most ultimate fail of saying he didn’t even KNOW Jesus. And Jesus predicted it. Sometimes we want to be things we know we aren’t like runners or rockstars. But SOMETIMES, we want to be something God has told us we are supposed to be. We are supposed to be children of God, but we, JUST LIKE PETER, over and over again choose sin. In this life we are SUPPOSED to be Christians, and time and time again we choose sin, we give into temptation, we judge, we gossip, we smoke, we lie, whatever your sin is, we choose it instead of God. We are created by God, by the breath of God, with the handprints of God. We are supposed to be LIKE God but instead we are nothing like him.

• So God intervened in ALL our stories. God rescues us from this cycle of sin, where we can’t even choose to be who we KNOW we are supposed to be. HOW – through the Holy Spirit. • I will read the account to you again of the Holy Spirit coming upon God’s people. • “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” –Acts 2:1-4 • The Holy Spirit came upon them that day, just like Jesus promised, and everything changed. Forever. • The world didn’t change, the people changed. • These people who were supposed to be followers of Jesus, but could never get it together for the life of themselves, finally had boldness and power and ministry like they had always imagined. • So this week I want to talk about the signs, the markers, and the affects of the Holy Spirit. It seems easy to spot those who are helpless like the druggies and babies and even ME. We are helpless and hopeless without the Holy Spirit, but what does it look like to those who have received the

 

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spirit? What are the signs or the FRUITS of the Holy Spirit? But I don’t just want to look at what the fruits are like from the familiar NT passage, but what were the signs on these ragtag followers who were completely changed from one thing to another. But before that, I want to encourage you in finding the Holy Spirit. As we spoke about last week, the Holy Spirit is found by those who know they are desperate. The Holy Spirit is found by those who know they are nothing on their own power. If you are religious, or prideful, or GOOD, or ‘together,’ or fine on your own, then this message isn’t for you. The Holy Spirit is found by those so thirsty for it they cannot survive without the living water. But when you know that you need it, it’s really easy to find. Now it’s not always as obvious as it was on that afternoon. It doesn’t always come in an outward mighty rushing wind. It doesn’t always look like literal tongues of fire, and it doesn’t always feel like a literal burning in your soul. Sometimes it does. So if you see and feel those things, and it’s not just heartburn from a boierie roll, then that is the Holy Spirit. But sometimes it’s harder to know how to find the Spirit. And the simple and difficult way to find the Holy Spirit is to be STILL. You must wait. You must rest. You must clear out space and make room. You must turn off the noises and the lists and the tasks and listen and look for God. Even if for a moment. God will hardly ever come in the rushing wind, but most often come in a whisper that we can only hear when we are completely still.

• So those are you who are still with me, I am going to give you THREE MARKERS on the church when it is filled with the Holy Spirit. They are UNITY, GENEROSITY, GIFTING. • We see these gifts come to life at the end of Acts 2 and how the church began to live and be. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t an act of will. The church just WAS. They were filled with the spirit and they just WERE. • 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. • When we are filled with the holy spirit we don’t have to pretend to be something we are not, we can finally have to power to be who we really
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were made to be. • First sign of a church filled with the Holy Spirit is UNITY. • Acts records that they had everything in common. They met together, they ate together, they worked together, they lived together. • Unity means not just that we literally all end up here on a Sunday morning. We can all be here on a Sunday morning, and keep showing up, and be completely disunified in spirit. • True spiritual unity is in our hearts; it’s in our souls. It’s not that we agree with one another on everything, but we respect each other. It’s not that we live the same lives, but we KNOW about one another’s lives. It’s not that we see God in the same way but we love God together and love how the OTHER loves God. • Unity means we come together to this place really believing that if any are left behind, if any don’t come along, if any choose to separate, God will not bring us His full blessing. That day Jesus told ALL the disciples to be there waiting together and that unity was blessed. Our unity is blessed still today and God will not give us the fullness of our gifting, blessing, and favor until we are unified. • This starts in simple ways. We have to start believing in each other. Morne is taking over the worship ministry and I actually believe that He is going to do a great job. I don’t secretly wait for him to fail, I believe in Him. I tell him I believe in him. I even tell OTHERS I believe in him. I believe, • Unity means we stop talking about each other behind our backs. STOP IT. It is a sin, it is from the ENEMY when you gossip and share and talk about what is going on in others lives. If you think there is a sin in someone’s life then bring it to God. If God tells you to do something about it, then tell THAT PERSON. The Bible is actually completely clear on how to handle this, and it’s not gossiping. If someone has hurt you then tell God, tell them and then be quiet about it. • It is NOT unity when someone hurts you and then you hold bitterness. If Freddy has hurt me and I say, ‘No just leave it.’ (HOW MANY TIMES DO WE SAY THAT!?!), but still am hurt by it then I am sinning. I can’t love Freddy if I am hurt by him! Either I need to address it or really let it go. But I need to love everyone. Just the ones who deserve it? No! None of us do! • Unity is loving one another even though we don’t deserve it. Having each other’s backs even when we aren’t perfect. Believing in each other and rather than gossiping, talking GOOD things about one another behind each other’s back. • Did you hear about Jody and Natalie? They are starting to hang out with the youth! Yeah! They are really growing and will be such a good
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example. Can you believe it?? • Unity needs to be palpable. It needs to be real. Some of you need to let go of things you have held on for a long time. Forgive as you were forgiven! Don’t wait for them to give YOU the perfect forgive me speech. If Jesus waited for you to do that to Him he would have never gone to the cross. So forgive. Love. Help. Believe. UNIFY. • “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” -Psalm 133:1, 3 • Second sign generosity. When the disciples were overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit they were overcome with a generosity that they couldn’t contain. • Everything they had was given to the church and they shared with all those who were in need. • Can you imagine if we actually lived this way? • I know I can’t! But that proves that I am not completely filled with the Holy Spirit! • Maybe it doesn’t have to look this way exactly, but the mark of the church, the mark of your life should be such an embarrassing generosity that it humbles people to their core. • I have seen this in two ways in my life. First is my father. It’s pretty crazy. Before my dad became a Christian he was pretty frugal with his money. He made a lot of money, and saved most of it for retirement, if our family ever needed it, but he really didn’t spend too much. Then once he became a Christian he just started to give it all away. God gave him such a beautiful contentment in his heart then suddenly began to believe that God only gave him money so he could give it to others. My dad has a RADICAL generosity. It is embarrassing. He gives so much to Casey and I that I have no way to repay him. • And then there is Hillsong. The generosity they have shown our church is humiliating! They send taxis and buses. They feed us and they love us and they celebrate us and they come to see us. They give and they give to us. Asking nothing in return. There is nothing we could possibly do to repay all they have done for us. • Reminds me of Jesus! What Jesus has done for us no one could ever repay. But when the HOLY SPIRIT fills you, your own heart is filled with a radical generosity that actually embarrasses and humbles people. It’s not normal! It’s not natural! It’s just God. • And I honestly don’t think you can produce this without God. So many people look at people in the world like Taylor Swift and Bill Gates and champion them for their giving. Whatever. Their giving is a drop in the

 

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bucket of their wealth. • Christians who are truly filled with the Holy Spirit give and share in a way that they don’t know how they will take care of themselves and it humbles others. • So for us. We need to pray that the Holy Spirit would open our hearts to be generous. Maybe you need to be generous with your money. No let me take that back, you DEFINITELY need to be generous with your money. Even the poor widow had a cent to bring to worship. You have something. Don’t buy a cigarette today or a bag of chips and instead give that money to God. Be generous with money. Be generous with time. Be generous with your home. Feed people. Invite them in and make coffee. Have huge parties and allow everyone to have a great time (that’s what I like to do). Be generous with your life not knowing how God will make it up but trusting He will do something beautiful. Radical generosity. • The third and final mark of the church filled with the Holy Spirit is a church living in their gifting • .Does anyone else get annoyed when they go to a Hillsong or another big church like that and they have like 20 musicians, and writers, and preachers, and prayer warriors. It’s like GEEZ, why do they have to hog all the great people?? • Have you ever thought that maybe those places aren’t hogging the great people, but that it’s the mark of a church FILLED with the Holy Spirit and within that SETTING, those people are filled with the spirit and then find depth and excellence in their gifting. • Like maybe before they got into that environment filled with the spirit they were normal like me and you, but suddenly in that environment their gifting came alive. • Peter is a PERFECT example of this. He was just a normal dude, but with the spirit he was suddenly this incredible and bold preacher. Like boom. He wasn’t saving his notes until that moment. He wasn’t studying preaching all those years and suddenly ready on that day. No, when filled with the spirit his gifts came to the light, came to the surface and could truly be used in his life. • Ephesians 4: 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity

 

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in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. When Christians are together and filled with the Holy Spirit, our gifts are then fully given to us and come alive in a way they never can. Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I get to sit around and never practice preaching, or that Steven never has to practice worship or prepare. WE must still hone and perfect our gifts, but they will never be in their fullness apart from the spirit. Before I was a Christian I was a shy, scared, and insecure little girl. When I became a Christian, that next weekend I went on a Christian retreat with my church and in that environment I literally became a different person. It was the holy spirit within me and my gifting was being crazy! I was singing and dancing and sharing JOY. God changed me in a way only he could have. I always wanted to be different. I studied others, copied others, tried my hardest, but only in God could I fully live in my gifts. This is very practical. You need to pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal your gifts, and in this environment, together, they should be worked out and come alive. In this place, with these people, you should become the best and most gifted version of yourself. Kind of scary, but also exciting. Because we believe in you. We are praying with you. We want to see you succeed. And when you do, we’ll cheer for you. We need to be the church that everyone else is annoyed with because we have the best and brightest people in one place. It’s already true, let’s just start living it out in the Holy Spirit’s power

• What the Holy Spirit does is something we miss out on all the time, and we are missing our best life. We are missing heaven alive all around us. We are missing our best selves. Our best you, our best me. • As Christians, we are not trying to be something we aren’t supposed to be. We are posing or pretending. God wants us to be little Jesus’s. And with the power of the Holy Spirit on us, it can actually happen. We can actually be something we could never be alone. • Together as a church we can be unified, we can be radically generous, and we can be the most annoyingly gifted and talented group of people this community has ever seen. • Or we could be normal. Or we could just be here. I don’t want to waste any more time. I want the Holy Spirit to fill this church and it to be a light to the world. We are supposed to be that. We can be that. We will be that. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
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