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"We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19) How do you know Christ is your lover and your King? When your life is defined by obedience and relationship with God (the Father, the Son, and the Spirit). Now, we will surely fall and disobey, but do not let your heart be troubled! Sinners on their way to glorification can be strong through repentance and reconciliation as they rely on the person of the Holy Spirit and continue in the faith! Rely on the Helper to cultivate a new heart in you, that your life would honor the Father.
How to Live with Joy in the "Little While"
The Spirit's Coming as the Son Heads Home: Where He is Going and Who He is Sending.
Brace Yourself Lambs: Final Words on Their Final Walk
Love: Our Sign and its Source
It's All About Abiding
Living Proof He is the King of Peace
The Lifeless Lunacy of Love Without Labor
The Holy Spirit is With Those Who Believe
The Greater Works of Those Who Believe
Take Heart: The Difference Between Jesus' Trouble and Ours
I could not think of a more perfect place to be for such a time as this as in John 14, 15, 16, and 17. We are talking about a section of Scripture that Jesus is giving to his men and they are scared. They are losing heart. They are overwhelmed by the circumstances that he has told them are coming. They are about to be even more overwhelmed by the circumstances once they have come.
If you have lived this week and you have wondered how you can not let your heart be troubled in a world that is marked by terror, whether it is at the end of a marathon or maybe in your individual life, this is a beautiful place for us to be. I want to thank God that we are where we are.
I want to thank God that he has explained to those of us who know him and have been attentive to his Word that we can be prepared for such a time as this and live uniquely and powerfully in this day and age in a way that will make others look at us and be a marvel to them to where they would demand from us an explanation for the hope that is within us. You should be hearing, "How can you have such courage and hope in the midst of the world that I lived in this week?" I'm going to help you get ready. Let me pray.
Father, I thank you for the beauty, the perfection, and the power of your Word. I thank you that you knew all about terrorists living amongst the people. You wanted us to have hearts that were strong, on the alert, standing firm, that were able to in the midst of hate do everything in love. I thank you that you wanted to put us amongst people and have us live so divinely, so uniquely, so miraculously, so hope-filled, and so filled with the eyes of faith that they would long to know the source of our song.
So Lord, we have already said it. I want to say it again. We are here for you. Not here at 7540 LBJ Freeway, we are here on this third rock from the sun for you. We pray that you would use this morning to remind us the means that you have given us that we might live with hope in a way that others demand an explanation.
I pray we would tell them of Jesus and what you have done and that we would use the words of John 14, and they would be strengthened as they come into a relationship with the God who is life, who is peace, and who gives us security in the midst of the world that is anything but secure. We do pray, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus," but as you tarry, I pray you would find us at work, steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
May you remind us that our toil is not in vain. Lord, I pray for daddies whose 8-year-old sons could not sit on their laps this week, mothers and fathers in China who sent their daughter away to be educated and she is destroyed, little girls who will now walk with one leg, and men and women who will walk with none.
I pray for fathers and moms and grandmas who have lost their blessed joy in the form of a little girl living in Boston. We thank you, Father, for the story we are going to tell, for the truth that we're going to live in. I pray for those who are right here in good old Dallas, whose hearts are just as heavy. I pray that they would this morning find strength in Christ and his words, what he is doing, and what he has done. Help us to take heart, amen.
Well when I come across events like this week, I always go back to the same place: right here in history in John 14, 15, 16, and 17. You need to know we are hours away when these words were first spoken from the greatest tragedy in human history. We are also hours away from the greatest triumph in human history. Let me explain that to you.
This is the eve of the Crucifixion. Jesus is talking to his men and they are weak of heart. They are wilting and, frankly, they are going to be even more panicked in just a few hours when they see that what he had said will come has, in fact, come to pass. When I look at what happened, I would've been just like the disciples.
I'm like, "What do you mean you're going away? What do you mean you, whose life defines kindness, security, peace, power, deliverance, redemption, strength, truth, what do you mean you're going to give yourself to wicked men, and they are going to mock you, scourge you, and nail you to a cross? There is going to be a joint task force between Jew and Gentile, religious and political. They will mock you, they will laugh at us, and you will die. How in the world can that be good?"
Whenever I am faced with the kind of things I was faced with this week, I always go back to this moment, because if it is true that God can do exactly what I just said and I see that that greatest evil is in fact the means for my greatest good, it should forever silence me. I can go back and I can believe him when he says, "Todd, don't you see that moment when I came, the Rescuer, the Creator, the Redeemer, the one who gives grace and glory?
When I died, when I let wicked men win, that was the source of your victory. It made no sense to you. It was too wonderful. I told you what I was doing and you could not attain to it. So if you see in that moment what you thought I should never do, because I did it, it lead you what you thought you could never have, which is forgiveness, redemption, life, and an inheritance with the saints.
Shouldn't you just trust me more?" My answer is, "Yes, I should." I should believe him when he says, "…all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." I should cling to that knowing that, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"
So in moments like this, Jesus, God, the Spirit, is not bothered that we're troubled in the sense that we don't see the end, but it will bother him if we are defined by trouble and we don't live by faith. The righteous have always and should today live by faith. What I have to offer people in this world is God is sovereign, he is in the heavens, he does whatever he pleases, and it is good.
Don't ask me to explain how God is going to redeem this. I could hear stories of mass conversion and I would still go, "Really? Wasn't there a better way?" All I know is that God is good. He is sovereign. He is kind. One day, though I see now dimly, I will see fully and completely. He has also told us that he is not the author of evil, that the reason these things happen is because the world has spun away from him.
There are young men who believe that they're going to find meaning and even reconciliation with the Lord by bringing murder, mayhem, and terror to little boys, women, and foreign nations. That's where they go to find life because they are held captive to errors and lies, and they follow the Devil, whose spirit is not holy and is not true.
That is why they do what they do. God has told us to call them to redemption. That they should not, though offered forgiveness, experience consequence for what they have done, but that we should remind them before they face that consequence that there is a God in heaven and he does love them and he has made provision for their sin so they don't think that through some personal act of martyrdom they can somehow win favor with him.
Now in John 14, what you are going to find is the means through which you can do what I talked about last week. There were three things that happened last week. I don't know if you guys paid attention, but this is what I said last week. I said there are more miracles that have happened at Watermark in the last six to 12 months than have happened in all of the Gospels combined.
Did you hear me? That is crazy talk, all right? I said that there are more miracles that have happened here at Watermark in the last three to six months than have happened in all of the Gospels combined. By the way, just as a point of interest to you, do you know how many miracles happened in the Gospels if you add them all up?
Let's play over/under. How many think over 30? How many think under 30? How many of you are single and you're afraid that you're going to make the girl next to you think that you don't know your Bible so you're not going to participate? It might be over/under 30 depending how you fragment and segment them and say that that one is that miracle or that one is like that miracle but a different one.
The ones that are recorded? John says in John 21, "…if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." but his point is, "I've chosen seven." All of them combined have somewhere around 30. I'm going to tell you that over the last week and months, there have been more stories here.
By the way, what I'm telling you is that we, his church, have fulfilled his prophecy in John 14:12. What was his prophecy? His prophecy was this. "…he who believes in Me, the works that I do…greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." I'm telling you, we are a fulfillment of that prophecy. There were three kinds of people who were here last week when I said that.
There were people who were reminded that their laboring, their toiling, and their pouring themselves out, that their work is not in vain. That God is using them. That he is doing what he said he would do if you trusted in him and believed in him so that you are encouraged and you were encouraged this week to excel still more, to not grow weary in doing good because in due time you will know that you will reap because you're not going to grow weary. There was a big group of you who felt that way.
There was a second group of you, however, who sat out there and said, "Wait a minute! Todd went through and he said to me that if I'm going to cling to whoever believes sections of John, I'd better follow it all the way through. I can't just say, 'Whoever believes will have eternal life,' 'whoever believes will come out of darkness,' 'whoever believes will be called a child of God' if I'm not a part of the whoever believes who has never been a part of greater works than Jesus did." It really troubled you.
I want to remind those of you who were troubled last week that you should've been troubled. I want to remind you that the multitude who is around the great work is not the same people as the followers who are doing the great work. You ought to evaluate whether you are watching what Jesus is doing or whether you are following him and you love him and are participating with him. I'm glad you were troubled.
Then there was a third group. The third group is people who were here who don't know God, but they are wondering if there is hope and they are wondering if there is someone who they can put their hope in who would deliver them from their darkness and their bondage and their shame. You heard testimony after testimony that God is here, he is alive, he is working, and you should pay attention to him.
The longing of your souls and the hope of the world is Jesus, and he is manifesting himself through his people and through the transformed lives all around you that are no less miraculous than the Gerasene Demoniac, the lame man in Capernaum, or the woman at the well. I am telling you God is here and you should respond to him and pay attention to him. What I want to do is pick up from there because I'm going to tell you now very clearly how you can do this greater work and what it means.
I want to walk you back through history very quickly and just tell you this. God in his triune nature, one in essence, three in persons, submissive and subordinate in their function and in their revelation to the world… God has been revealing early on the glory of the Father and his redemptive work, his promise to and his execution of fulfilling his covenant intention of redeeming people out of the death that has come upon them because they have left him.
The work of the Father is venerated for ages. Then Jesus shows up. The work of the Son is the focus of the triune work of God in redemption history. If you miss who God was in the early days as he revealed himself through the Father, the promise, the prophets, the law, and his deliverance of Israel, it would've cost you dearly.
If you missed the work of the Son while he was here and rejected him and didn't believe that he was the expression of God and the visible image of God revealed in bodily form, it cost you dearly. I would tell you that since Jesus has been crucified, dead, buried, resurrected, and ascended to the right hand of the Father, there is another person who has been the focus of God's revelation in human history.
His name is the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of Christ. If you are not intimately acquainted with him, if you are not attentive to him, if you are not in love with him, abiding with him, following him, knowing him, yielding to him, it will cost you dearly. You do not know the Son or the Father.
You will not participate in the works that Jesus said you would in John 14:12 and your heart will be troubled. So I'm going to explain to you today about the Holy Spirit. What I want to do is just read with you from John, chapter 14. We'll start in 15 down through 21. That's where we're going to focus today. I'm going to teach you about the person of God revealed in the person of the Holy Spirit. John 14:15.
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."
"And in my disclosing myself to him, he will become an evangelist, he will become a pastor, he will become a prophet, he will become a teacher, he will become useful to God, and the works that I have done even more than these, greater not in kind but in effect, you will do. I am leaving you here in a world that is still filled with trouble, so don't be troubled. You are at war and you are here for a purpose."
Last week when I talked about this, I mentioned that we were going to go to our Facebook page, if you wanted to, and there was a little link there to #John1412. You could go and write a longer story. You could share about that story. Many of you did. I encourage you to still go back and share longer stories.
Then on Tuesday, we worked with our friends who gather at The Porch. What we did is we went to Twitter and we said, "Let's just take our 140 characters and let's take #mystory and let's talk about the redemptive work that God has done in us." Between #John1412 and #mystory, thousands of stories have been shared. Now over hundreds of pages of stories, thousands of individual "my stories" have happened.
I want you to see a few of them so you know that I'm not out of my mind when I say, "The prophecy of John 14:12 is happening right here." So that if you're a part of it, you would take heart and be encouraged and not grow weary. So that if you're not a part of it, you would realize, "I might just be part of the observing multitude and not the faithful followers." So that if you were here and you want to know if God can redeem your story, you might take heart. You might come to Jesus. Watch this.
"We asked you to share your story."
Todd Wagner :"Hey all my friends @WatermarkChurch @WatermarkFW share your story of grace #mystory and story of his greater work thru you #JOHN1412."
Josh Hickman :"Liar & Cheat, trying to numb my pain through alcohol. Christ turned me around. He gave up His life, to give me a new one. #mystory."
Jessica Richardson :"Atheist. Hated Christians. Over my head in sin. Wooed by Jesus. Overwhelmed by the evidence, faced the truth, surrendered to Christ. #mystory #saved"
Celeste Villarreal :"Put my hope in: anorexia, alcohol, men, popularity, success, and $, until only solution was death. God rescued me and now I'm free #mystory"
Charran James :"Bound by lies of never being beautiful, good enough or worthy. Overcome by grace & the love of a God who calls me his masterpiece. #mystory"
Case Hubbart :"A pastor addicted to porn, self absorbed, hiding, scared…Christ redeemed me and gave me life, hope, and healing. #mystory"
Sheetal Agrawal :"Worshipped Hindu gods thinking I had to work for God to love me. Then came Jesus. Now trusting in the work He did bc He loves me. #mystory"
Miranda Cole :"THEN: Suicidal, bipolar, adulteress, sexually molested as a child. NOW: full of life, pure, holy, redeemed, beautiful, strong. #mystory"
Wade Souza :"Hopeless. I'd look in the mirror, hit myself in the face cry & yell 'I hate you' at myself til I learned 'How He Loves' @theporch #mystory"
Liz Powell :"Tired of being the good girl so I explored all the world offers. Dying of guilt and shame, I ran to a Redeemer who calls me clean. #mystory"
Jonathan Pokluda :"A porn addict, alcoholic, narcissistic, materialistic, dead-man-walking who heard good news about a new life in Jesus. NOW I'M FREE! #mystory"
Brittany Bundren :"Addicted 2 the approval of man my whole life. Found freedom in Jesus. He showed me that His approval is the only 1 that matters. #mystory"
Tim Jones :"Alcoholic. Self-destructive. Lost in a world of depression. His grace abounds, pulling me from my own wreckage. Miracle in progress. #mystory"
Meera Snyder :"Suicide attempts. Abused rx drugs, alcohol, Dallas. God reached down n2 the pit & saved me. #mystory isn't finished yet. #HisStory @theporch"
Greg Crooks :"No clue about God. Lost. He came & found me. Eyes opened to His love 4 me & work on my behalf. Set free and living for His Kingdom. #mystory"
Glenn Gordon :"A church kid trying to be good enough to please God, until I realized I couldn't. Learning to live in the sufficiency of His grace. #mystory"
"Thank you for sharing your story."
[End of Video]
We thank you for sharing your story of being redeemed by Jesus and his Spirit and the Father so that others can have hope. I want to encourage you, if you have a Twitter account, jump on Twitter. Put on your little story of redemption. Put that hashtag #mystory down there and let it ripple across this country. It went way around the world this week as it started on Sunday and Tuesday. We only want to add to it.
Let me just show you a picture from Wednesday, a picture of the stories, one after another that have already come in from here and then from other believers connected here about what God has done. You want to encourage a brother or sister at lunch this week? Open up your little smartphone, go to Twitter, hit search for #mystory, and you just let them know about the work that God has done, is doing, and can do in them. Join me. Amen?
I'll tell you he will do that. Anybody who is serious about exalting the Son, that's who is going to do that. That means anybody who is filled with the Spirit, because that's what the Spirit always does. He exalts the Son. He doesn't focus on himself. He always focuses on the Son. He makes the Son more famous, more renowned, more known.
He brings joy to his sheep and his people. That's what we're called to do. Let me show you how you can jump in with me. You ready? Let's take a look at this. Let's break it down a little bit at a time. John 14:15. I hate this verse, all right? I'm just going to tell you. Watch this. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
I just go, "Okay, well that puts me in a really bad place. Because I know I'm a pastor and all, but let me just tell you something. I sometimes don't keep his commandments. So it makes me go, "Oh my goodness! Does that mean I don't love God? Does that mean that God doesn't love me?" No. I want you to write this down in your margin. I hope you have a red pen. I want you to write down right next to John 14:15 what it doesn't say.
It does not say (write this down) "God won't love me unless I keep his commandments." Do you see the difference? This is Jesus talking to them. What he is doing is he is going, "Boys, look. I have told you a story. I'm giving you truth, but we are not simply people of doctrinal assent. We are not people of propositional truth. You, I have called into relationship with me. I call you friend."
"Here is our King," we sang. "Here is our love." He says, "If you love me, you will walk with me." You can write this down. "If you love somebody, you always listen to them. You obey them. You submit to them. You surrender to their will in your life if they are loving and wise." Jesus is the loving and wise one.
He says, "If you love me and you know who I am and you have a clarity of understanding and I have revealed myself to you, you're going to want more of me and you're going to know you know me when you obey what I say because you're no longer going to run from me, you're no longer going to think you have to do things to be loved by me."
How do I know it is not true that the Bible doesn't want you to believe that he will love you if you obey his commandments? Let me answer with Scripture. Romans 5:8; "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners…" See also people who do not obey his commandments. "…Christ died for us." How about this one? First John 4:19, the same guy who wrote this text said this. "We love, because He first loved us."
What Jesus is saying in John, chapter 14, verse 15, is what John later said in 1 John 4:19. Jesus is saying, "Do you see how I love you? Do you see I'm going to go where you can't go, to a cross to die for your sins? Do you see how I'm going to wash your feet? Do you see how I'm the Great Servant? Do you see how I'm the Good Shepherd who gives his life for the sheep? Do you see how I love you?
If you see that, then you would love me. If you love me, you listen to what I'm saying because everything I say for you is good. By the way, Peter I know that you're full of bravado tonight, but three times before tomorrow morning you're going to deny me and I love you. Guys, all of you are going to run around like chickens with your heads cut off.
After that other rooster crows, when I get nailed to a cross, you're going to be scared to death and I love you. I'm going to die for you while you're not obeying me. There are going to be times ahead when you're not going to completely obey me because this world is going to overcome you, but don't be overcome by the world."
"Do not let your heart be troubled…" Listen to what Jesus says. "…believe in God, believe also in Me." Because I am your Lover and your King. How do you know you know that he is your Lover and your King? You obey him. You submit to him. You surrender to him, not perfectly, but it is the direction of your life.
"For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again…" When you fail him, you do what Peter did and you do what I do. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." And you start to follow him again. Are you with me?
John 14:15 can discourage you because you go, "I must not love him because sometimes I don't obey his commandments." Okay. When you do, do you come to your senses? Does the Spirit of God that is a person who you have a relationship with convict you and do you repent and do you make amends as best you can and you begin to follow him again? Perfect. That's exactly what sinners on their way to glorification do.
Now what Jesus is going to do is he is going to tell you how you can be strong and not let your heart be troubled. You can believe in God the Father and he said, "You can believe in me as the visible image of the Father." Guess what? The visible image is leaving you. I have not spent time with physical Jesus this week. He hasn't come to me in an apparition. In fact, I've never seen him, but I am intimately acquainted with him. God is here in this room.
God is still doing what he said he would do. This was John 14:1-11. Watch this. "I'm going to keep working even though I leave. I'm just going to use you. You're going to ask me to keep working. I will do it." So how is Jesus continuing to work and how is he going to do it when we ask him? The answer comes right here in John 14:16 and following.
His name, the answer, is the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, "I'm not going to leave you alone." If I asked you guys this… If I said to you, "You have an option. Todd is still going to be here, maybe, maybe not. Doesn't really matter because we just found out that Jesus is open to a pastorate. He is available and he is coming. He would like to be the physical shepherd of Watermark Community Church. Or you can have Todd and the Holy Spirit can indwell all who believe."
Think about that. What would you choose? I know what I would be prone to choose. I'm like, "I'd love to hear him teach, man. Wax eloquent. I'd love to watch him work. I think I could get my friend to come to church when I said, 'Hey, I'd love you to come and hear my pastor.' 'Really? What's his name?' 'Jesus of Nazareth.'" That wouldn't be a bad draw, would it? Here's the thing.
Jesus said, "There's a bigger draw that every one of my sheep, all of my body will be directed by the head and the power that Jesus of Nazareth revealed the love of God, manifested the glory of God, all of that power will indwell each of you. All of you together have a chance to love as Jesus loves, speaks as Jesus spoke, and do as Jesus did. Not in kind, but in measure."
Which one would you choose? I will tell you, he didn't ask us because he knows we're foolish enough to want the flesh. He says, "I'm going to give you the Spirit. Don't let your heart be troubled." I'm going to tell you some things about the Holy Spirit. Are you ready? Let's learn something, because we have to know the Holy Spirit.
If you reject the Holy Spirit, if you are not intimately acquainted with the Holy Spirit, it will cost you everything. It's eternal in its pivot point. It is necessary for you to be about the eternal work of God today. If you are not a part of #mystory or #John1412, it's because you don't understand the Holy Spirit. Let's fix that. John 14:16: "I will ask the Father, and He [the Father] will give you [people who believe in me] another Helper, that He may be with you forever…" Okay, are you ready?
The first truth of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit is a person. He is not a force. This is not Star Wars. We're not trying to channel an inner force. We're not trying to throw up some sail and catch a work of God. He is a person. People you have relationships with, you listen to them, you love them, and you seek not to grieve them. If they are good and wise, you obey them and submit to them.
Do you see what Jesus says about the Holy Spirit? Stop being scared because of the Apostles' Creed that talks about the Holy Ghost. Ghosts freak me out. I'm telling you, this is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of truth. If you are not intimately acquainted with him and relying upon him and walking with him, you will not be walking in power. You will not be his witnesses. You will not be defined by love, peace, truth, transformation, or kindness.
He is essential to everything. He is a helper. This is what Jesus says in John 14:16. He said, "I'm going to bring this Helper alongside of you." What I want you to understand is that a helper doesn't mean… I've heard so many people say this. "If God would just give me more power and help me more, I wouldn't sin." I'm going to go, "No, that's not at all what the Helper is."
A helper is somebody who comes and participates with you as you learn from them and you are able, with their assistance, to do what you could not do otherwise. Let me take you to a few places. One is Scripture. Psalm 127. "Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…"
In other words, if you try and do something without God, it's not going to work, but if you don't labor in vain to build it, it's not going to get done. Let's just say later today, I ask you to come over and you are kind enough to say, "Todd, you don't know how to edge. You don't know how to mow. You don't know how to rake. You don't know how to trim bushes. You don't know how to repair fences. You're not good at that. That's what I do. I'm a landscape architect. I love to work with my hands. I'm going to come over and help you with your lawn."
I go, "That is awesome!" You come over and you ring the doorbell and I have sunscreen on my nose, I have a little floaty around my waist, and I'm holding some iced tea. I don't have a pool, but if I did, I'd just walk in my backyard and I'd jump in my pool. I go, "All right, man! This is awesome! Thank you for coming over to help me with my lawn!"
I sit in the pool and I float around. I watch you edge my lawn, mow my lawn, and repair my fence. You would go, "Whoa! Time out. I didn't come over to do this for you. I came over to help you, to teach you, to rebuke you, to correct you, to train you in lawn care so that you might be adequate, equipped for every good work. But you have to work with me and help me."
Do you understand this? You have to abide with the Holy Spirit, pay attention to the Holy Spirit, and get busy with the Holy Spirit. But what you should do is just say, "Hey, at this moment Spirit of God, what would you have me do?" He would say, "This is what we should do." "I don't feel like doing that."
"Hey Todd, no one feels like edging the lawn. No one feels like raking leaves. What does this have to do with how you feel? Your life is going to be overridden with weeds. Your marriage is going to be infested with thorns if you don't do what you feel like not doing because you have a body of death. It's a sluggard's body. It's a lazy body. It's a selfish body. But if you'll listen to me, I will cultivate a wonderful world for you." Are you listening to him? The Holy Spirit is a he, and he is here to help you.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit is God. This is what Jesus says because they're like, "Hey, this is not good news. You are God in the flesh and you're leaving us. Tell me how I'm not supposed to freak out." Jesus says, "Great. Follow me. You ready? When I leave, I will send another helper. Okay?"
"I will send another." The word he uses there is allos. It's not hetero, like different. It is allos. "It is another distinct from me but of the same kind as me." I'll read it to you this way in John 14:16. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [person just like me who helped you just like I did] ." That word paraklētos…
The prefix para- means alongside. So like somebody who will come alongside and help you do something is where para… A parachute. It will come alongside of you and make sure you don't say, "Shoot!" when you come out of the airplane. All right? So a paraklētos.
A church is called-out ones. We're called ekklesia. The same root word there for the Holy Spirit is somebody who is called out to come alongside of you who will help you honor the Father and do greater works than Jesus did in scope, not in kind. So you just have to let him, but watch, he is God. He is just like me.
Jesus says, "Hey, God is leaving you in the person of the Son, but God is coming in the person of the Spirit. God is one in essence, three in person, individual and distinct in function, all for the glory of the God who is one, who always was and always will be. Every attribute of God that is revealed in the visible image of Jesus Christ is there and present in the Spirit.
He is here with you right now if you know him. The Holy Spirit is a person who is here to help you and he is God. Do you know him? Do you walk with him and talk with him? Yield to him? Listen to him? The Holy Spirit is only for believers. If so far you're going, "I don't know, Todd." I'm going to tell you maybe the reason is because you don't know him. That means you're not a believer.
This is starting to get really testy. This is very important. If you don't have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, you don't have a relationship with Jesus. You don't trust in the Holy Spirit separate and subsequent to trusting in Jesus. You don't ask the Holy Spirit into your life after you've asked Jesus into your life.
If you don't have the Holy Spirit, you don't have Jesus. If you have Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit. If you have the Holy Spirit, you have a relationship with the Father. You can't separate that which is one. If you are not a person indwelt by the Spirit of God, it is because you are not a believer in God. Your heart should be deeply troubled.
This is John 14:1. "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.""Unless you don't believe in God or believe in me, then you ought to be really freaked out. Because the least of your worries is lameness and terrorist attacks on this earth. Because you have me to deal with who has come to reconcile you to me." The Holy Spirit is only for believers. I'll just prove that fact to you. Watch.
In verse 15, he says, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." Verses 16 and 17 are where he really spells this out. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you [believers] another Helper, that He may be with you [believers] forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see [the Spirit of God] or know Him [God, me] so it won't know the Spirit , but you know Him because He abides with you [now in me] and will [later abide] in you [when I leave] ."
He will be in you. What's it mean for the Holy Spirit to be in us? Some of us think that is like God takes the moment of belief, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound form of the Spirit and just drops it in, and now the Holy Spirit is in me. That is bad thinking. Let me explain this to you. When it says that the Holy Spirit is in you, I want to just walk you through and ask you this question.
Where is God? If God is omnipresent, where is God? Everybody go, "Everywhere." Okay? God is everywhere. Is he in nonbelievers? Oh, well God is everywhere except in nonbelievers. When it says, "The Holy Spirit will be in you," what that's saying is simply this. The word in can represent presence, control, and influence. God is not a rapist. He will not make you give yourself to him. He is a lover and he woos you. He shows you his kindness. He shows you his favor. He shows you his tenderness.
He says, "Give yourself to me. Trust in me. Invite me into your life." "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." Then he will walk with me because he knows I'm good. He has invited me in. "Because I have done a work in your life for you to see who I am."
So then when you know who God is, he is operative in you and you no longer quench the Spirit, you no longer reject the Spirit, you no longer resist the Spirit, you say, "Spirit of God who is good, I want to be attentive to you in every which way. Direct my life." There is no leak. I'll talk a little bit about what happens when we sin and why we sin, but catch this.
The world doesn't have the Spirit of God. It rejects the Spirit of God who is good and true and righteous. We go, "No, no, no, there's no God! I reject that there is a God like that. I reject that there is truth. I reject that there is morality and ethic that I am to live in that will be a blessing to my life."
That's what Godless people do, but people who believe in God, they listen to him and say, "I want you, Father, to just… You give grace and glory. "No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly." I believe that. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"
Holy Spirit, direct my life. I want to obey you and submit to you and surrender to you because you are a good Father. When I ask for a rope, you're not going to give me a snake. When I ask for bread, you're not going to give me a rock. Father, what should I do?" Do you see that? But it's only for believers. The Holy Spirit is for every believer, and it is the evidence that we are believers. It is the evidence that we are in relationship with him.
This is very important. If you are not in relationship with the Holy Spirit, if the Holy Spirit is not in you and you welcome him, we welcome you to this place. We are here for you. Nonbelievers don't say that. We don't mean… Please listen to me. I almost came up here on stage after that song. I almost did. I almost just said, "Do you guys know when we sing, 'We are here for you,' we're not talking about church?"
We are the church, Father, everything we do we are here for you. It doesn't matter if we do it with our legs blown off, cancer in our bodies, or while our wives are being raped. We're not going to be troubled. We expect that in war. We expect that while there are people who are not at a place where they welcome the Spirit of light into them; therefore, they are filled with the Spirit of darkness; therefore, they blow up our 8-year-old sons.
Now, Father, would you come quickly because this is tearing my heart out, but not my will, your will be done. I believe you have left me here for a season and you have prepared a place for me that one day I will be home and I will have rest and you will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant," but right now I am here to "…comfort those…with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted…" It will be a great work.
Are you listening? I'm not telling you it's going to get easier when you trust Jesus. I'm telling you he is calling you to go to war with him. That your body will perfect what is lacking in Christ's sufferings, Colossians says. Are you down with that? That's the Scripture. You go, "I believe in Jesus! I go everywhere you go!" He goes, "Okay. You will drink of this cup, and you will never regret it because I am good."
Here's this Scripture if you don't like what I'm saying. In Romans 8:9 it says, "However, you are not in the flesh…" You don't do what fleshly people do. "…but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you." If he is operative and directive in your life because you invited him in and believe in him. Watch this. "But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him."
Let me explain to you what that verse means. It means if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. Does everybody understand that? What that verse means is you don't have to ask the Spirit of Christ into your life separate and subsequent to coming to Jesus. If the Spirit of God isn't in your life, you do not know Jesus. How about this? Romans 8:14. "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."
The ones who are not being led by the Spirit of God because the spirit of this age is in them, the spirit of flesh, the spirit of death, the way of the world. The reason you're being led by that spirit that is not holy is because you don't believe that God is good; therefore, you are a part of the multitude who watches the work but not followers who love the worker and have come into relationship with him. It is the believer's evidence. I'm going to just read one Scripture. I'm not going to try and teach it. Matthew 7:15-23.
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven…" That's who is going to come. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'""Didn't you use us?" "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'"
That is why it really concerns me whenever I see a church that says, "We're going to gather here in this little metropolitan area and we are going to be the church that says it's okay to do what the Holy Spirit has said is not holy. We're not going to listen. We're the church that it's okay to divorce. We're the church that it's okay to gossip. We're the church that it's okay to be materialistic. We're the church that it's okay to be obsessed with self. We're the church that it's okay to live in sexual immorality. Because we're a grace-filled church."
I want to go, "Anytime you start to say something contrary to the Spirit of truth, it would seem to indicate to me that you are not following the Spirit of truth and that the Spirit of God does not abide in you." It really concerns me when people say, "I love God, but I have really no interest in doing what he has clearly said I should do." Or who say, "I don't believe that's what the Scripture says I should do," which means to tell me that you have a spirit of deception in you, which would seem to suggest that the Spirit of truth is not in you. Work it out amongst yourselves.
The Holy Spirit is the means by which we do ministry. A guy said a long time ago that if the Holy Spirit left the church in America today, things would go on largely unhindered. That, my friends, is not a compliment and, frankly, I see that to be true in a lot of places. Watch, this is no small idea in Scripture.
Colossians 1:28 says, "We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me." What do you think his power is? I'll show you.
Acts 1:8: "…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Your story will go all over the place. See, without the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. That's John 15:5. "…apart from Me you can do nothing."
"I'm not going to leave you. I'm going to send another just like me who is the person of God to be with you everywhere. You'll receive power." There was an event in church history when the promise that Jesus told him about in John 14 came. From that moment, it came to all who believed at the moment that they believed. I'll talk more about that later. It's the means by which we do ministry.
It's the means by which we bear fruit. You will not bear fruit apart from him. This is Galatians 5:16 and following. Please pay attention and watch what he says. "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law." Listen, this is why you're not under law if you're a spiritual person. Let's just talk about why you are under law.
"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger…" Insert terrorism, bomb-throwing. "…disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
All we do is make laws against those things. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…" It's all of those things. When the Spirit of God… It doesn't say the fruits of the Spirit. It says when the Spirit of God is present, "…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…" are there.
I bit my lip when I heard our president this week when he stood up there and he said, "We in our country, we're filled with the Spirit of God." He didn't say those words, but he said, "God has not given his people a spirit of timidity, but he has given us a spirit of power and of love and of self-control."
It concerns me that we cannot stop from spending though we have no money. It concerns me that we're not willing to tell each other that we should not let our sexual compulsions define what we think is true. It concerns me that if we think a life is inconvenient, that we keep ripping them out of the womb. Nonetheless, the people of God have self-discipline.
Do you hear what I'm saying? I'm just telling you, you don't get to bifurcate the Spirit. The people of God… Listen, homosexuality is not my struggle. Heterosexual perversion, that's my struggle. I don't get to go, "I was born that way. As long as I can remember, I had this incredible infatuation with women. So I'm not going to stop just being with women."
It's not about me. We are here for you. I don't know what your propensity is. Your struggle might look different than mine, but guess what? His Spirit is the same for you as it is for me. Together as we encourage each other and love each other and pray for each other and spur each other on, we can raise up the glory of the Son.
Guess what? We've never made a law against love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. "Hey, we only let you love people 20 times a day here. That's the speed limit." "Hey, guess what? Here in this town you can only forgive each other 30 times a week. After that we prosecute you." There's never been that law made.
The law is here for lawlessness. That's why the law was given, to teach you, "You are lawless." Look at this. I would be way remiss if I didn't read this little section of Scripture in Ephesians, chapter 5, verses 17-21. What I'm just saying right here is the Spirit of God is the means by which we bear fruit. Okay? That's why we do ministry. It's how we bear fruit. "So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine…"
Again, I just say this so many times when I teach on the Holy Spirit here. What do we call places that sell alcohol? Liquor stores. Yes we do. We also call them spirit shops. Why do we call them spirit shops? Have you ever seen somebody imbibe alcohol and it's like they're possessed by somebody else? Say, "Yes."
They're either possessed by somebody really funny, somebody who is 10-feet tall and bulletproof, somebody who has no discernment, somebody who is stupid, somebody who cannot drive. Against these things we have laws. Don't be possessed by that which deludes you. Watch this. "…but be filled with the Spirit…"
Now this is such a confusing word because when something is being filled, you think it's because it's empty, but that's not really what we're even talking about in the context. Okay? You're not filling yourself up with alcohol from the edge of your big toe toenail up to the top little follicle of hair on your head. No.
It is saying, "Don't let something… Don't put yourself under the influence and control of alcohol. Instead, put yourself under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit." So when you hear the word filled, it could mean something empty needs something in it, but this is not the command of Paul in Ephesians 5.
It's why we don't have to ask God to fill us up in the sense that we're empty and call the Spirit down again and again. What we have to do is put ourselves under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. This is very important. This is where grammar matters. God has revealed his Word to us in words, in grammar. What you have here in Ephesians 5:18 is what is called an imperative plural perfect passive present-tense verb.
You're like, "Hey bro, I slept through that in English. I'm going to sleep through it now if you try and teach me that." No, you're not. Here's why. What's an imperative? It is a command. What's plural? It means it's to all of you. What's passive? It means the focus is on something other than the subject. We want you to be directed away from thinking it's about you. It's not about you. It's something done to you, not something you do.
It is present, which means it's happening now. It is perfect, which means the present perfect tense means this doesn't refer to a specific event. That's what the present perfect tense means. English teachers say, "Way to go, Todd Wagner!" All right. Here's what I'm telling you. This is what it means. You, all of you, be continually being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The question isn't if you're a believer, "Do you have enough of the Holy Spirit?" The question is, "Does the Holy Spirit have enough of you?" In other words, you don't need more of the Holy Spirit. If you're a believer, you have to yield to the Spirit of God that is there. He said, "Do it all the time. If you don't do it, you're going to be filled with something else: the spirit of this world, the spirit of this age, the spirit of your flesh, the spirit of Todd and not God."
When you do that, it's always going to be less than you intend. By the way in the English language is filled ever used another way besides something empty having something put in it? Say, "Yes." That dude right there, in the middle of his road rage, he was filled with anger. Nobody thinks he drank anger.
That dude right there when he raped those women was filled with lust. No one thinks he went and got lust and put more of it in him. What we're saying is in that moment, he gave himself over to and was controlled by, not a spirit that is holy but a spirit that was lustful, a spirit that was angry. Do you see that?
You, all of you, Wagner, you too, be continually be being filled with the Spirit. By the way, this is the same thing it says in Romans, chapter 12, verse 2. "…be transformed…" It doesn't say, "You go transform yourself. Do you love God? Then change!" That's not what it says. It says, "Do you love God? Then let him change you by his Word." "…be transformed by the renewing of your mind…" Are you learning something? Man, I hope so. I hope so. All right, here we go. Real quickly.
The Holy Spirit is not to be quenched, grieved, or ignored. Because he is a person, you can break his heart. He is there with you when you give yourself away. This is Ephesians 4:30. "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Don't make him sad. You're his boy.
There have been a few examples lately where my boy just broke my heart. I love him, but he's my boy. "I've raised you to be this to the world and in that moment, you didn't. You just jumped in with the world. I'm so sad for you and for them. I love you. Yes, you acknowledge it and let's restore you and build into you. Let's do it better next time. I love you, but yeah, man, I'm sad. I believe in you. You have what it takes. Will you yield to it now?" I like this.
First Thessalonians 5:14-19: "We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit…" And you'll do all those other things.
See, sometimes we think, "I have to march out of here and go to work for God." No, you don't. You have to walk out of here in the light with Jesus in relationship with him talking to the Spirit, reading the Word of the Spirit, asking other people who are filled with the Spirit to evaluate what you're doing. Guess what happens if you do that?
You will turn the world upside down. He'll show you more and more of his goodness. You'll be strengthened. You won't grow weary in doing good. The world will rush to see who is King of the city. His name is Jesus, and his Spirit indwells in us. The gates of hell won't stand against us. Miracles are going to keep happening. That is my story ,and I'm sticking to it. Amen?
Father, would you awaken this body? Would you awaken this body? I pray if there is anybody in this body whose life is not defined by truth, change, love, power, and discipline that they would repent and they would cry out for mercy and they would go, "I don't know you." Or "I am a person who does know you and all I do is grieve you because I have not been abiding with and responding to and giving myself to the Spirit.
I want to do it now, Father. I thank you for Jesus who died for me and I pray that you would just awaken my soul right now to the fullness of who you are. If I've trusted in Christ, begged for him to be my Savior because I'm a sinner, I don't need more of the Holy Spirit, I need to yield to the Holy Spirit who is in me.
Maybe I need to acknowledge, 'I have just believed in some propositional statement. I've never loved you. I've never known you. There's never been a relationship. Today I want there to be a relationship.'" I pray, Lord, that they would awaken and come into a real relationship and that we would be people who are awakened and we would abide with you. In this life which we now live in the flesh, we live by faith in the Son of God. Great things would happen because of that. Would you awaken us, your people?
Awake, O sleeper! Awake church! What is your story? Is the Spirit of God transforming you? Is there life, truth, and change? If not, you have not encountered Jesus. You just haven't encountered him. He always brings life, truth, and change. He loves us, not because we change, speak truth, and have life. Because he loves us, life, truth, and change are ours. Awake to that reality. Don't buy into the Jesus story and not walk with him.
This is what the Scripture says. "But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day." Have you ever sung a song that suggests that? Yes, you have. Have you ever had that truth in your life? If you don't, you're not his boy. You're not his girl. You can be. Come. Let us explain Jesus and this gospel and his provision for you. If you know him, will you worship him this week in all the glory he deserves? Greater works are still to be done in this city. You go get 'er done. Amen?
Have a great week of worship. We'll see you.