The Power of the Holy Spirit
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[Darris] The United States President Franklin Roosevelt said in his first inaugural address, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." He spoke to a generation of people who genuinely feared for their immediate future. They feared they would lose their property, jobs and the ability to actually feed their families. My parents were part of the audience to which President Roosevelt spoke. I know because I heard echoes of his words come back to me time and again as I grew up.
Today it hasn't changed much. We find ourselves still fearing loss of jobs, our homes and feeding our families. What's your fears? What worries you today? How can you finally face your fears and change your life?
On Beyond Today our goal is to help you live a productive life - free of crippling fear. If fear is a daily part of your life, this program is for you. Join us as we discuss the ultimate source of courage and faith - the solution to fear - "The Power of the Holy Spirit."
[Announcer] Join our host, Darris McNeely, on Beyond Today !
[Darris] Have you ever wished you could win the lottery? With the millions of dollars you would win you could live your dreams. You could be happy for the rest of your life and never have to worry or fear for anything. Your problems would be over. Your life would be secure. Sure, you have thought about this! We have all dreamed and fantasized what it would be like to win the big one.
But you know what? Most people who win millions of dollars of lottery prizes, they only exchange one set of worries for another. Lots of money suddenly dropped into our bank account can present its own set of challenges.
Let me ask you a question. If given a choice between these two, which would you choose?
Winning the lottery, or receiving the divine gift of the Holy Spirit.
You see, we look to money for the answers for our daily worries. But God has offered us a gift that will secure us more than we can imagine.
If you would pick winning the lottery over receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, you'd have made a foolish and possibly a fatal mistake.
Let's find out why. Let's look at two examples of people who won the lottery.
Meet Billie Harrell…
Billie had financial concerns in life - just like me and you. Hopping from one low-paying job to the next never provided the support that his wife and three children really needed. In June of 1997, Billy won the Texas Lotto Jackpot of $31 million. Suddenly, he wasn't in need and he was now in a position to give. He took his wife on a vacation, bought cars for his family and friends, gave tens of thousands of dollars to his church.
But this type of charity also attracts people who were seeking a hand-out. Billie had to change his phone number multiple times to escape the endless demands for a donation. Billie also found himself at the end of a bad deal - trading his annual winning checks for a lump sum. After being separated from his wife just a year after the jackpot, he took his own life concluding that, "Winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me." It's easy to assume that money is a strength, a power and an answer to our problems. But it's not. Poor Billie's 47-year-old life was ended short because of what riches alone can't provide - godly wisdom, peace, and understanding.
You think this only happens to people who are poor and don't know how to handle their money?
Well, meet Jack Whittaker…
In 2002, Jack hit the biggest single ticket jackpot of the time; an astounding $315 million. Even more amazing, He was already a millionaire 17 times over! He gave 10 percent to Christian charities. He donated $14 million to his own Jack Whitaker foundation. Jack even bought a home, a truck and gave $50 thousand in cash to the woman who sold him the winning ticket. It wasn't long until his own personal demons shaped his life. He started drinking heavily, frequenting strip clubs and gambling. His car was broken into twice and thieves made off with suitcases of money. His family also fell into the trap of an indulgent lifestyle. His granddaughter's boyfriend was found dead in his home from an overdose of a toxic combination of illegal drugs. Three months later his granddaughter also died of an overdose. Jack eventually was sued by an Atlantic City Casino for bouncing $1.5 million checks for gambling losses. In 2009 after his daughter's death, he told reporters "I wish I'd torn that ticket up."
The lesson here is money doesn't change some fundamental facts of our life. It can't buy love, it can't buy courage and it can't buy peace of mind. Money is only a tool meant to be used wisely in pursuit of life's greatest goal - eternal life. And that is the problem with seeking riches as an answer to our fears.
These real life lessons from Billie and Jack show we really need something more than money to live successful and happy lives. We need something more to provide a peace of mind. We need the Holy Spirit of God.
There is a reason Jesus Christ used money as a means to explain spiritual qualities like faith, the Kingdom of God and righteous conduct. How we use money reflects our character.
We should choose to develop the spiritual side of life, the character side - first. Then, with sound character, we can handle money and wealth, and all the physical things of life that are really important to us.
That is where God and His Spirit comes into the picture.
In 2 Timothy:1:7, the apostle Paul says this: "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
In this passage, the apostle Paul is speaking about what the Bible calls the Holy Spirit.
What is the Holy Spirit? Simply, it is the essence of God. The essence of God the Father and Jesus Christ. You see, God is a Spirit.
And the Bible shows us the Holy Spirit is a power from God and the way in which He creates, communicates and acts upon and within this world.
In Genesis:1:2, as God as creating, it says, "The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."
Here we see the Holy Spirit of God is described as something far more than perhaps we have been led to understand. It is the power of God. It is the power that He uses to work His will, not only in this world, but the lives of those who have put faith in Him and asked for Him to help to live each day with that help, that power.
The Holy Spirit of God is the missing dimension in a transformed life beyond anything that you can imagine. You can learn more about this and you can learn what God's Word, the Holy Bible, says is the way to receive this power and you can begin to live a new life.
Do you need help to overcome sin? Do you need faith to conquer fear and to demonstrate courage when faced with life's trials? The honest answer is yes. What you need is the power of God's Spirit in your life. So, let me tell you about a special Bible study aid that you can use as a tool for personal Bible study and growth.
On each Beyond Today program we offer a free aid to help you better comprehend the Bible's precious teachings. This week, we'd like to send you something brand new. It's titled, The Power of the Holy Spirit .
We have never offered this study aid before, and we only have a limited number. Once we run out, this booklet, The Power of the Holy Spirit, will be available only as an electronic download . But you can have this limited edition booklet in print if you request it today. You really need to have this material to better understand God's Holy Spirit.
So, here's how to order your free copy. Go online at BeyondToday.tv , or request a free printed copy to be sent to your mailbox by calling: 1-888-886-8632. 1-888-886-8632. And be sure to jot down that number so you can order your free copy of The Power of the Holy Spirit . I will repeat that number again later in the program.
Have you ever sat by a fire and watched it die down to where there's only some glowing embers left? In time those embers will fade, and the heat and the fire become very low. To rekindle the fire, you have to get in there and stir up the coals together so that oxygen can breathe life back into the fire and the flames. Then, you can add more wood or fuel on and watch the fire grow into a nice warm blaze again.
This example shows us something about power - especially the power of the Holy Spirit. You see the Holy Spirit is a power, and it is a very potent power, like fire. And it has to be nurtured and "stirred up" to be an effective tool that God uses to impart qualities we need for a successful life.
Notice what is said by the apostle Paul to a young man named, Timothy who had this gift.
He said, "Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy:1:6-7).
Notice these elements of the Holy Spirit: power, love, a sound mind. They are the opposite of fear.
Fear is what President Roosevelt was trying to combat when he encouraged the nation that there was nothing to fear, but "fear itself." Yet, all these years later the same fears are on the table for many of us:
Economic fear like the loss of a job or income. Fear of an uncertain future for this world. Fear of a devastating illness that can bankrupt us. Or fear that we are not just good enough to find the right person to spend the rest of our life with.
But God does not want us to live this way. He offers a better way of life. We can't look to the false security of riches that so many dream of for the answer to their fears. We need to align ourselves with our Creator and His way of life for the answer.
Think about what God offers. First, He offers power. To understand, we have to take a different approach to power than what we might ordinarily think. This power that Paul speaks of in the Bible gives a person confidence about life. And when you begin to understand that your life has purpose, it brings a contentment that is a very real power. It is a different way of thinking about power. Knowing why you were born is really the starting point for power and mastery over yourself and not others. This is the power that Paul is talking about in this verse. Not power over other people, but power over yourself.
You see a critical need for every human is self-control. To say no to anger, greed, lust and envy. To hold in check our emotions that keep us from maturing fully as adults - it's often a challenge. And to have the courage to make the wise decisions - that is a very desirable skill. When God says we can have power, this is what He means - power to have a grounded successful life. God can help us have this kind of life, but we must first take a step in His direction.
The apostle Paul next describes the Holy Spirit as a spirit of love. Love is a concept much misunderstood today. Love is too often understood only in a romantic context, and while that is part of the meaning, it is not the entire meaning. To understand love we must look to how God defines it.
On one occasion, the Pharisees gathered around Jesus and one of them, a lawyer, tested Him with a question saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Christ's reply must have surprised all of them. "Jesus said to them, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and [the] great commandment. And the second is like it. 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew:22:34-40).
God's Holy Spirit gives us the ability to love God and our neighbor with the kind of deep and abiding love that goes beyond the physical sexual expression that we most commonly think of. To love God and man according to the great law of God requires something from God we do not have all by ourselves. It is a love supplied by the Spirit of God. It is poured out into our hearts by God. We need this power from the Holy Spirit to transform us into people capable of a deep godly love. This is what the power of the Holy Spirit can do.
Lastly, Paul writes that God gives a spirit of a sound mind. Other translations call this a sensible self-disciplined mind. Able to bring our thoughts under control and subject to the life-giving direction of Jesus Christ is critical.
Paul wrote of this in another letter. He said, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ..." (1 Corinthians:10:3-5).
Could you be one who has "arguments" against God? Do you think God is not fair? God does not hear. He doesn't hear you when you call out to Him? Perhaps you are disappointed He has not answered your heartfelt prayers.
Walking with God in spirit and truth requires us to stop arguing with our concept of God. It means we get rid of the vain knowledge that we bring to the discussion. Paul challenged his audience to tear down any contrary thought about God and His sovereignty over all life. To bring every thought into captivity to Christ requires the self-disciplined mind that is molded by the Holy Spirit.
During today's program, I have explained several key features about the power of God's Holy Spirit. But there is much more you need to know - and you can learn about it in a brand new, free Bible study aid that we have prepared for you. It's titled: The Power of the Holy Spirit . And I encourage you to obtain this free copy of this vital publication.
But please remember, we're offering this special Bible study aid in print for a limited time. After that, it will only be available online. To order your own printed copy of The Power of the Holy Spirit , please call us today - toll free at: 1-888-886-8632. Again, that's 1-888-886-8632.
And when you order this essential Bible study aid, we'll also send you a free subscription to The Good News magazine . Each bi-monthly issue of The Good News is packed with practical articles that can really help you spiritually and help you better understand today's world and what's ahead.
Be sure to call now, toll free at: 1-888-886-8632. Or, write to us at the address that is shown on your screen. You can also read The Power of the Holy Spirit and The Good News magazine online at BeyondToday.tv [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
So how can you receive the Holy Spirit, and what do you do with it? The teaching on this subject is at the heart of the New Testament writings of a man who understood the impact of the answer.
The apostle Paul was a man who had resisted God until one day God confronted him in the most dramatic conversion imaginable. While traveling, he was struck down and blinded. God questioned him in a manner that got his attention to the point where he changed. Paul was baptized and he received the gift of the Holy Spirit. And from that moment forward, his life had a true, godly focus.
Paul later wrote about the process of transformation that he went through. He wrote it so that others, including you, could understand the incredible power that's available to us. You have to come to a point when you realize that you need divine help. Many will push those feelings away assuming that they have an innate strength to overcome, but look at what Paul wrote.
In Romans 8, Paul explains how the incredible power of the Holy Spirit works in our lives. He says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans:8:1-2).
Until Paul had been baptized, he had struggled with his own inherited view of God. He not only condemned others who were not like him, he felt condemned even as he thought he was a good man perfectly performing God's will. When he began to walk by the Spirit, he experienced a completely new approach to life.
Paul is saying you cannot keep God's law without "the Spirit of life in Christ." When that is present in us the "righteous requirement of the law" can then be fulfilled. Until then we struggle by trying to obey and please God by living according to our strictly physical terms.
This may sound surprising to you but what Paul says in this passage is, "I thought I was a good person, pleasing God, then I realized I was just another man like everyone else, nothing special, struggling with life within my own works. But my mind was not completely right with God. I learned that my normal physical mind was not compatible with God, something was lacking and until I took the necessary step toward God life was pretty futile. As long as I was trying to do it all alone I could not please God" (paraphrase of Romans:8:5-8).
Could you be at this point? Thinking you are "OK" with God but deep down knowing something is missing? You have too many questions and too many missing pieces in your life? Too many unfulfilled hopes and dreams? Maybe, you don't feel "OK." Perhaps you feel the failure of not overcoming your own personal shortcomings.
There's good news, my friend!
Paul tells us we don't have to be controlled by our sinful nature - and that's the key. We don't have to be controlled by sin. We can make the choice to resist sin and with God's divine help through the Holy Spirit we can actually overcome sin. This is what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit. Paul concluded through the transformed life he lived that the difference was the Spirit of God.
Notice how he explains it. "You," he said, "...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" (Romans:8:9).
This may be a challenging thought for you. Unless we have the Spirit of Christ we are not His - we don't belong to Him. To be a Christian, we must have more than a profession of belief or faith. We must have the Holy Spirit. To receive this gift we must repent, a hard word which means obeying God the Creator. And that obedience goes deep into our life - so deep it's hard for most people. The life of a committed Christian requires us to go beyond surface requirements to allow the righteous requirement of the law to be found within us.
When Christ spoke of lusting in our heart as adultery and hating our brother in our heart as being murder, He described the spiritual dimension of the law. And this goes deep into the inner life and it takes more than just good intentions on our part.
This may be "hard" but with God it is possible. That is what Paul goes on to say.
"If Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you" (Romans:8:9-11).
The power by which Jesus was raised from the dead is available to us when we submit to God in a heartfelt change - a godly repentance. Here is the key to living a transformed life - a life of power, love and a sound mind. To receive this power is the key to living a fulfilled life - a successful life.
Paul understood, through his own life, how to rise above himself and his past, how to change and grow into a different person - a person even he could live with. He is inspired to teach us here how to resolve to overcome a habit, an attitude, a frame of mind and be a better person before God and those around him.
Is this what you want for your life? I think it's what we all want. Let's read on to see how Paul describes this liberating understanding.
He writes, "Therefore...we have an obligation...to live according to it. 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. Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are [the] sons of God. 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'. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans:8:12-16).
The Holy Spirit, called here the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, frees us from fear and enables a transforming relationship with God. When we are led by the mind of Christ we live a settled, confident, joyful and successful life. We have the love of God in our mind and in our heart. We have a life framed by sound character that leads us to make wise choices with all the details of our life. How much is a life like this worth? What value could we place on this quality of life?
Earlier in the program I asked, if given a choice, which would you choose: winning the lottery, or receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit?
For the sake of your eternal life, I hope you would choose to receive this Holy Spirit of God. And, maybe you feel you have already done so. You've gone through a religious experience and you've accepted Christ.
But, God outlines the requirements to receive the Holy Spirit very specifically for all of us. Have you repented of your sins? Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? Have you followed the example of Jesus by being baptized? Have you had hands laid on you by a minister of Jesus Christ?
Unless you have followed the biblical steps of repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands you may not have God's Spirit. It doesn't mean you're not sincere and not a good, well-meaning person. But the gift of the Holy Spirit that God gives to those who obey Him, is a major once-in-a-lifetime process between man and God.
Remember: No amount of money can "buy" what the Bible describes here. No money can buy "power, love and a sound mind." These are the qualities of character that you would need if you did win the lottery. These qualities are possible when we yield our lives to God, and when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and allow God to lead us by the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ.
This is the most revolutionary key to turning your life around. For those who have struggled to change and to be a better person, this is the key that I encourage you to seek. Consider what is missing in your life is the presence of Jesus Christ, your Savior and the only hope of eternal life. You can know the true God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Once again, please be sure to order our Bible study aid: The Power of the Holy Spirit before the printed copies run out. And, get your free subscription to The Good News magazine. Call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or, you can read both online at BeyondToday.tv .
Remember, all of our publications are absolutely free of charge and offered as an educational service. So, please call or write to us right now. We're looking forward to hearing from you!
And, the United Church of God has hundreds of congregations across the United States and around the world , with caring pastors who can help you in your Christian journey as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Go to BeyondToday.tv - click on the "Contact" tab to find a congregation near you . And call one of our pastors and share your story with them. Find out how the Holy Spirit can fill your life.
The fears that gripped society during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency still echo in our modern world. The fact is, times of trial and difficulty have been and always will come up for you and for me. We can't escape circumstances of life. What we can escape is the fear that comes from not having a sound confidence and love from our Creator.
We must not fall into the trap of seeking physical answers, such as wealth, to fix our spiritual needs. To make it through this world successfully we need the transforming power - God's Holy Spirit. The implications of receiving God's Spirit go far beyond this life today. Paul stated clearly for our understanding, "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Romans:8:9). We need the Holy Spirit to belong to Jesus. It is a matter of salvation. I hope you'll take this message to heart.
Thanks for joining us today. Please tell your family and friends about our program. And I hope that you'll join us again next week as we examine life from a biblical perspective. Also, please join us and continue to be praying, "Thy Kingdom come."
For Beyond Today , I'm Darris McNeely. Thanks for watching.
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