Sermon Excerpt: Marks of Easter People: Spirit-filled

18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.[1] – 1 John 3:18 NLT

“It were well if we always remembered that practical godliness is the soul of godliness; that it is not talking religion, but walking religion which proves a man to be sincere; it is not having a religious tongue, but a religious heart; it is not a religious mouth, but a religious foot.”– Charles Spurgeon

When all is said and done…more is said than done.  A little less talk…a little more action.  You’re all talk.  His bark is worse than his bite.

Can I say it…many folks see this as the plight of the religious.  We talk and talk and end up doing very little at times.  Sometimes we do not act because we do not feel equipped or ready.  Other times is all about our aversion to the c-word…change!  And maybe we simply talk verses act because it is safer and much more comfortable.

The author of 1 John makes sure the people know that their life in Christ is not just an idea but a reality that has been sealed with the Holy Spirit.  There are touchable, aka tangible, benefits given to believers through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

When speaking of the Holy Spirit we need to begin not with “what” but “who” the Holy Spirit is.  The third person of the Trinity who, as Craig Keener states, “God’s Spirit transforms His people to share His moral character and empowers them to fulfill His purposes.” [1]  The third person of the Trinity is sent to do the will of the Father which is to accomplish the mission of the Son.  It is the Holy Spirit who brings about changes in a life through enabling us to emulate Christ,  change our thinking, find God’s favor, and develop a friendship with God.

All of these are signs, tangible results, of our faith in Christ, brought about through the working of the Spirit.

Therefore,  as Ephesians 4:30 [NIV] says “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”  If we can grieve, or move away from the Holy Spirit, it also must be that we can move toward.

After faith in Christ, we can begin to open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit as we practice the disciplines of the spiritual life.  These disciplines open cracks into our soul where the power of God seeps in.  These same cracks are the avenues in which our selfishness, laziness, and sinful desires are pushed out by God’s Spirit.  It is one of the most important things we can do then as to continue the life in the Spirit.

[1]– Keener, Craig.Holy Spirit.”Ed. John D. Barry et al. The Lexham Bible Dictionary2016 : n. pag. Print.

 

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