Forgotten God_ “I’ve got Jesus. Why do I need the Holy Spirit?”

Due to the fact that this study and most of it’s thoughts are from someone else, I would like to give credit where credit is due! Thank you Francis Chan for your work and leading in writing the book “Forgotten God.” It has been a truly convicting and learning experience. Also for the sake of copyright laws, the ideas, thoughts, illustrations, and research presented below are NOT original to me! I did not come up with this stuff!

Bibliography

Francis Chan, Forgotten God, David C. Cook Publishing, CO: Colorado Springs, 2009

Introduction

“We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone… [We] have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.”

-A.W. Tozer

We need the Holy Spirits guidance in our life. We need the Holy Spirits conviction in our life. We need the Holy Spirits power in our life.

Let me ask you just a few questions to start off.

  1. What do you know about the Holy Spirit?
  2. What does the Holy Spirit do?
  3. Have you ever experienced the Holy Spirits power?

If you said no to question number three, this is the very issue that we will be addressing tonight. I believe that most of us have absolutely no idea the power of the Holy Spirit for our lives. Take a look at these two verses:

John 6:63 says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all!”

Romans 8:9 says, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

It is the Spirit that gives life and anyone without the Spirit does not belong to Christ! Wow!

Do you believe this statement is true? Do you believe the Bible when it says this?

If so, why have you never experienced the power of the Holy Spirit?

You see, I don’t think that we really believe the Bible when it says things about the power of the Holy Spirits work in our lives. I don’t think we really believe that God can do great things with us. We may believe He can do great things through us, but no with us.

What do we actually believe?

Let’s look back at the A.W Tozer quote for a second.

“We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone… [We] have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.”

-A.W. Tozer

Tozer says that we have measured ourselves by ourselves until the desire to seek the higher power of the Spirit is gone. Let me explain this, Tozer is saying that we are measuring our power in this world by our own power, but if the Bible is correct, then we Christians should be measuring our power by the power of the Spirit. Tozer is saying that we have sought after too much of the world and have actually become like it. So much like the world,  we have actually started to produce cheap worldly fruit/power instead of Spiritual fruit/power.

Why do you think it is that we have done this? Let me share a short section of the book to you:

Most of us assume that what we believe is right but have never really studied for ourselves. We were simply told, “This is the way it is,” and didn’t question. The problem is much of what we believe is often based more on comfort or our culture’s tradition than on the Bible.

Francis Chan, Forgotten God, pg. 29

How many of you have ever truly read for you the beliefs you have from Scripture alone? How many of you derived some or most of what you believe about Christ, the Bible, God, The Holy Spirit, and the Church from your pastor, parents, or friends?

Let me share you a cool story from the book:

Two Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on my door and initiated a conversation. I had a lot to do, so I prepared to send them on their way. But as they began their spiel, I decided to take a few minutes and engage them. I gently told them that I found their teachings about Jesus offensive because they taught that Jesus was the same person as Michael the archangel. I told them that I believe He is God. My visitors replied, “No, Jesus/Michael is the only archangel. There are no other archangels.” So I asked them to open their Bibles to Daniel 10:13, which reads, “But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me.” I pointed out that this passage is clear: Michael is only “one of” the chief princes (or archangels).

This caught them off guard. They told me they’d never heard or read this before. Now that I had their attention, I said, “There’s no way you can look me in the eyes and tell me that you sat down one day seeking to find God, read the Bible, and came to the conclusion that Jesus is the same person as Michael the archangel. No one could come to that conclusion. You only believe it because that’s what you were told, and I don’t want to stand here and spoon-feed you something else.” With that, I challenged them to read the Bible for themselves, rather than simply accept what they’ve been told about it. They went away that day and said they would consider doing that.

Francis Chan, Forgotten God, pg. 28-29

To be completely honest, I think we are just as hypocritical as these two Jehovah’s witnesses. How can we say that we believe anything about Jesus or the Holy Spirit without actually checking it out for ourselves.

I think this is what A.W. Tozer meant when he said, “the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone…”

Imagine this…

Imagine for a second that you had never been to an American church before, in fact, imagine that you were alone on an island with nobody or anything but the Bible. If you or I had never been to church and had read only the Old and New Testaments, we would have significant expectations of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Think about it. Before Jesus’ death he told the disciples that “another Counselor” is coming. In John 16:7 Jesus goes as far to say that it is to their advantage that He leave so the Spirit could come!

Imagine that you just spent the past 3 years walking and learning with Jesus, then one day He just says it’s better that I leave you so that you can have the Spirit! It would leave you thinking that “Man, this Spirit thing must be really awesome!”

Then in Acts 1:4-5, after Jesus died and came back, he told the disciples to chill in Jerusalem and wait for the Spirit to come. Most historians believe they waited up to around 3 months!

Then in Acts 2 this promise of the Spirits coming was fulfilled and 2000 people came to believe in Christ in one day.

So if we were to have read and believed these accounts, outside of the church bubble, then we would have most definitely have a greater expectation of the Holy Spirit.

The Power of the Spirit

Romans 8:9 says, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.” In 2 Cor. 6:19-20 Paul says it again, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”

So by these two verses, if true, we have the Holy Spirit- Part of the Triune God- living inside of us. This Spirit living inside of us gives us a new power like never before. Not only are we no longer spiritually dead in our sins and forgiven of our sins, we are now gifted with the unique and awesome power of the Holy Creator God! How amazing of a thought is that!?!

So when it comes to our interactions with others, the power of the Holy Spirit should be present in a supernatural way, that is if He lives inside of us, that is if we are His. We ought to look completely different from those outside the church. Our actions, our lifestyles, our attitudes should look way different.

Let me stop here for a second. If the Spirit living inside of us gives us new actions, new lifestyles, and new attitudes then it is not by anything that we did, it is solely by the power of the Holy Spirit inside of us that fights off sin. Check out these verses about the Spirits purifying us:

2 Thess. 2:13 says, “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”

Rom 8:4 says, “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.”

Rom. 8:13 says, “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.”

So, it is the Spirit’s power inside of us that changes our actions, our hearts, and attitudes.

Illustration

Pretend for a second that I told you that I had an encounter with God where He entered by body and gave me a supernatural ability to play guitar that would just blow your mind, wouldn’t you expect to see an amazing improvement in my shredding skills?

So, if you saw no change in my ability, wouldn’t you question the validity of my “encounter?”

Chan says in his book:

Churchgoers all across the nation say the Holy Spirit has entered them. They claim that God has given them a supernatural ability to follow Christ, put sin to death, and serve the church. Christians talk about being born again and say that they were dead but now have come to life. We have become hardened to those words, but they are powerful words that have significant meaning. Yet when those outside the church see no difference in our lives, they begin to question our integrity, our sanity, or even worse, our God. And can you blame them?

Francis Chan, Forgotten God, pg. 33

We say that there is something radically different about us than the rest of the world, but if we were to step back and look at our lives could we honestly say that the power of the Holy Spirit is present causing this radical change? Or must we honestly admit that often lack the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, longsuffering,… when some of our non-believing friends may even exhibit these traits better than us?

Conclusion

So, when Jesus was preparing to leave this earth, He comforted the disciples in telling them to trust in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them that it was better for Him to leave and they have the Spirit than for Him to stay and they not have the Spirit.

Which are you desiring most- Jesus or Jesus through the Spirit?

And this question is one I just can’t get around: If it’s true that the Spirit of God dwells in us and that our bodies are the temple of the Spirit, then shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of them and the person who does not?

One more short illustration

For all its caterpillar life, it crawls around a small patch of dirt and up and down a few plants. Then one day it takes a long nap. A long nap. And then, what in the world must go through its head when it wakes up to discover it can fly? What happened to its dirty, plump little worm body? What does it think when it sees it tiny new body and gorgeous wings?

As believers, we ought to experience this same kind of astonishment when the Holy Spirit enters our bodies. We should be stunned in disbelief over becoming a “new creation” with the Spirit living in us. As the caterpillar finds its new ability to fly, we should be thrilled over our Spirit-empowered ability to live differently and faithfully.

Francis Chan, Forgotten God, pg. 37

I want to live so that I am truly submitted to the Spirit’s leading on a daily basis. I want to live like my God really exists! I want to live like Christ’ words about it being better for me that the Spirit came to be true. I want to live in a way that Bible critiques everything I say or do. Just like the caterpillar, I don’t want to keep crawling when I have the ability to fly.

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