ESH-32 - God Designed The Most Amazing Operating System In The Universe - How Well Is It Working In Your Life?

Biblical Exercises for Spiritual Health & Fitness in 2014 Series

Truth-3: Spirit-Filled

God Designed The Most

Astounding Operating System

Romans

 

What are the Benefits of a Spirit-Filled Life?

 

How Can We Avoid Grieving the Holy Spirit?

We can choose to keep God’s commandments and to lead a disciplined life. There are so many verses, let me just show you a couple. Turn to Romans 8—this is probably the best part of the Bible to mine out truth about the Holy Spirit.  And this is what I want on your heart as we commune at the Lord’s Supper this morning. When we grieve and quench the Holy Spirit it immediately impacts the key areas of our Spiritual life. Romans 8:2 says this:  When we sin, we must confess the sin immediately and repent of it, changing our minds and our behavior to conform to God’s statutes.

As we ask the Holy Spirit to lead us and help us on a daily basis, we have His help in our Christian walk. He keeps our footing sure. He gives us the courage to withstand temptation.

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT IS QUENCHED

When we grieve (Ephesians 4.30) and quench (1st Thessalonians 5.19) the Holy Spirit there is an immediate impact upon THESE 7 KEY AREAS OF our lives:

Spirit-empowered Victory

Romans 8:2 for the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 

We immediately lose our power to say no to sin. It is kind of like--- you get out of your home area and your cell phone doesn’t work. You can have it on but it doesn’t work. Look at verse 12, here’s another thing that happens in Romans 8.

Spirit-empowered Confidence

Romans 8:12,14 therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 14 for as many as are led by the spirit of God, these are sons of God.

We have spiritual confidence when we walk in the holy spirit. But when we grieve and quench him, as the bible says, the righteous are as bold as a lion but the unrighteous run when no one is even chasing them. The scriptures say we instantly feel a lack of spiritual boldness in our lives. If you are afraid to speak up for christ, to witness, to testify, to share your hope in christ with someone, the valve has been shut by you. You have either not listened, not followed or intentionally repeatedly sinned and shut that valve off because it takes away our confidence. It takes away our victorious life in Christ. Look at verse 16, here is another one--

Spirit-empowered Assurance

Romans 8:16 the spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of god,

we start feeling like we aren’t even saved. Was there a time when you were confidently assured and you were walking in christ and you loved him and now you don’t even feel like you are a christian? Does it mean you have lost your salvation? No- if you ever had it, you still have it. It means that by ignoring him or by sinning against him and grieving and quenching the holy spirit that that valve of his water of life flowing through has been constricted to the point you don’t even feel it anymore. Our assurance goes away. Here is the last one in verse 26—our prayerfulness also ends---

Spirit-empowered Prayerfulness

romans 8:26 likewise the spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. When we grieve and quench him we lose our connection and feel our calls to heaven are‘breaking up’ like bad reception on a cell phone, because the holy spirit is our carrier of our call signals. You know why people don’t like to pray when they are not full of the holy spirit? Because they have pushed the antenna down, in fact they have unscrewed it and taken it off. There is no way to commune when we grieve and quench. He is the carrier of our signals. He is the one who impels us to intercede.

Spirit-empowered Yieldedness

romans 12:1 I beseech (parakaleo one of the names of the holy spirit “paraklete) you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of god, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to god, which is your reasonable service. We stop the life of consecration and daily sacrificing for Christ’s sake.

Spirit-empowered Fruitfulness

Galatians 5:22 but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, the production of attitude and action fruit through the power of god ceases.

Spirit-empowered Joyfulness

1 Thessalonians 1:6 and you became followers of us and of the lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the holy spirit,

the springs of the joy of the lord which is our strength – dries up!

So how about it? Are you engaged in the discipline of Spirit Filled Living? Life the way God wanted it to be? Does there flow out of your life a mighty river of water? Are you refreshed; Are you victorious, are you rejoicing, are you serving joyfully? The Holy Spirit wants to flow through our new lives like the rivers of water that flowed in that new house of ours. That is the life of a believer as God intended it to be.

Discipline yourself for the purpose of staying filled with the Holy Spirit ! So that you don’t lose victoriousness, so that you don’t lose confidence and assurance and prayerfulness. Say no to sin and say yes to the Holy Spirit.

In REGENERATION: God transforms my Heart

Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.  

good & Faithful Servants seek god’s Control

We have two simple choices:

Surrender our daily life to God’s control, or Neglect to surrender to His control.

Jesus said that we each can really only have one Master! (Mt. 6:24 & Lk. 16:13)

How do we Stay Controlled by God?

We stay focused on being God’s servants, when we:  stay “filled with” & “not grieve” the Spirit of God

Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

Ephesians 4:30 (NKJV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

We Need the Spirit’s Power so We Can Glorify God

Look back with me at 1 Corinthians 6. There are about 5 or 6 New Testament passages that can help us to ponder whether or not we are disciplining our self for Spirit fullness.

In other words if the Holy is cascading out of your life or whether you are reduced to just standing under the shower head and hoping to get something from God as the flow of the Spirit in your life has just been constricted to almost nothing.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (this is His headquarters, His abode, His ministry center, His home, His holy place, this is where He comes and abides) who is in you, whom you have from God (He is a gift from God), and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify... 

(aorist active imperative this is not an option. Whenever you bump into these imperatives and there are 562 of them in the New Testament and they are a great study as you are reading through the Bible—you ought to find them and underline them—but as you go through these are not the options, these are the commands, these are what God wants)

…therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

What He is saying is because the Holy Spirit is making headquarters in you, do everything necessary to keep Him from being grieved and quenched.

living the spirit filled life of new beginnings

What is grieving & quenching the Holy Spirit?

What are the Signs & Consequences of grieving the Holy Spirit?

How does one heal their relationship with the Spirit?

Diagnostictools

How can we detect that any un-confessed and un-forsaken sins, are present in our life?

What are the signs of God’s Spirit quenched & grieved in our lives?

 

What are the Signs & Consequences of the life not full of the Holy Spirit?

 

When we are not “filled” by the Holy Spirit:

1.           John 7:38-39 says we dry up inside;

2.           Rom 8:1-13 says we get bound again by sin;

3.           Rom. 8:14-17 says we get distant from God;

4.           1 Cor. 6:19-20 says the fire goes out on the altar of our heart;

5.           2 Cor. 1:20-22 says we begin to feel lost;

6.           2 Cor. 3:5-6 says our words begin to kill;

7.           Gal. 5:18 says we start to wander;

8.           Gal. 5:22says we get fruitless;

9.           Eph. 6:17 says we get fearful & defeated;  

10.       1 Jn. 2:27 says the Word makes no   sense.

11.        Gal. 5:22says we get fruitless;

12.       Eph. 6:17 says we get fearful & defeated;  

13.       1 Jn. 2:27 says the Word makes no   sense.

 

How do we get back on track?

First, we respond to God (2 Cor. 7:1-10) by repenting of whatever derailed us. 

Second, we remember that no matter how many steps away from God we take, its always just one step back.

 

How does one heal their relationship with the Spirit?

 

As Mt. 6:33 says we surrender to His rule again. 

Then, as Eph. 5:18 says we ask to be refilled.

Finally, we restart going through life again singing “Spirit of the Living God” fall fresh on me.

 

The Biblical Portrait of the Holy Spirit

The Spirit is revealed in many ways. Mentioned perhaps eighty times in the Old Testament, at least fifty times in the gospels, nearly sixty in Acts, and more than one hundred times in the rest of the New Testament. 

The Holy Spirit attends the birth of Jesus, causing His very conception in Mary (Matthew 1:1820), and empowers John the Baptist from childhood (Luke 1:15). 

He leads Jesus into His desert sojourn (Mark 1:12). 

He is the agent by whom Jesus baptizes believers into His church (Matthew 3:111 Corinthians 12:13) and by whom He casts out evil spirits (Matthew 12:28). 

God’s Spirit is the possession of all who are in Christ (Romans 8:9), the down payment of our ultimate redemption (Ephesians 1:13). 

Scripture also reveals that the Spirit can be lied to and tested (Acts 5:39), resisted (Acts 7:51), grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

WHAT DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT PRODUCE

IN LIVES YIELDED TO HIM?

HE IS THE WITNESSING SPIRIT OF GOD

Book of Acts

ROMANS 1:3-4

HE IS THE LIBERATING SPIRIT OF GOD

Clingen POWs

ROMANS 8:1-4

HE IS THE TRANSFORMING & MORTIFYING SPIRIT OF GOD

C. T. Studd

ROMANS. 8:5-8, 12-13 

HE IS THE QUICKENING SPIRIT OF GOD 

Eye on Sparrow

ROMANS 8:9-11

HE IS THE GUIDING SPIRIT OF GOD

Phillip Acts 8:4

ROMANS 8:14

HE IS THE ENCOURAGING SPIRIT OF GOD          

Barnabus Acts 4:36

ROMANS 8:15

HE IS THE ASSURING SPIRIT OF GOD

Peter 2 P 1:16-21

ROMANS 8:16-17

HE IS THE HOPING SPIRIT OF GOD

John Rev. 1:10

ROMANS 8:18-25

HE IS THE INTERCEDING SPIRIT OF GOD           

Epaphras Col. 4:12

ROMANS 8:26-30

HE IS THE SACRIFICNG SPIRIT OF GOD

Paul II Tim. 4:6

ROMANS 12:1-2

HE IS THE GLADDENING SPIRIT OF GOD 

Apostles Acts 5:41

ROMANS 14:17; 15:13

HE IS THE OUTREACHING SPIRIT OF GOD

Church Acts 8:4

ROMANS 15:16

Some amazing changes occur when God gets a hold of us.

The Witnessing Spirit Of God

ROMANS. 1:3-4 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

There are 31 different Greek words used in the book of Acts to describe the 160 different times of Christians verbally communicating the Good News about Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who energized them into action. This book is not the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES but of the HOLY SPIRIT! When we are walking in the Spirit we will be talking in everyday terms to everyday people about the most extroardinary event of all time. Jesus is to be a part of life.   

the Liberating Spirit of God

in Romans 8. Has Jesus marched into your life and liberated you? Is there a vivid recollection that you can’t stop sharing? THE LIBERATING SPIRIT of god

Romans 8:1-4 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.2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 

The third element of the Holy Spirit of God’s miraculous working. Do you remember the darkness of Africa in 1910 when CT Studd arrived? Remember the total transformation of those former demon worshiping cannibals? Sounds totallyimpossible doesn’t it? It is apart from the work of God.

THE transforming spirit of god

Romans 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Remember there are six practical action items to begin the MORTIFICATION process in your life. That word means, to throttle sin and crush it in our lives, sapping it of It's strength, rooting it out, and depriving it of It's influence. ...Mortification involves the cultivation of new habits of godliness, combined with the elimination of old sinful habits from our behavior.Each of these Biblical mortification commands are for us as Christians to obey. They are not something we pray for and wait. They are for us to actively grab a hold of and obey.

The Quickening Spirit Of God

Romans 8:9-11 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Life giving Psalm 71 Eye on the Sparrow

The Guiding Spirit Of God

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Phillip best illustrates the guiding spirit of god in Acts 8:4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. The seven walks of Ephesians. This is the Spirit of Sonship. The use of Abba in the New Testament John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (KJV)

The Encouraging Spirit Of God 

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 

Barnabus best illustrates the encouraging spirit of god in Acts 4:36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,

THE assuring spirit of god 

Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.   

Peter best illustrates the assuring spirit of god in 2 Peter 1:16-21 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

 

the hoping spirit of god 

Romans 8:18-25 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.   

John on Patmos best illustrates the hoping spirit of god in Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,  Hope because we have `endless life'Heb.7;  Expectancy because `our citizenship is' Phil.1:2

THE interceeding spirit of god

Romans 8:26-30 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Epaphras best illustrates the interceding spirit of god in Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Hebrews 4:15-16  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (KJV)

The sacrificing spirit of god 

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Paul best illustrates the sacrificing spirit of god in 2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.  it is He who comes alongside of us calling for all. The standard is total life consuming sacrifice

 

the gladdening spirit of god  

Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Apostles best illustrates the gladdening spirit of god in Acts 5:41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

The witnessing spirit of god

Romans 15:16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

ROMANS. 15:16Paul was a minister (leitourgos-public religious servant) He was ministering (hierourgeo-perform sacrifice as priest)   His ministry was presenting gentiles as an offering to God They were sanctified (higiasmene=set apart for divine service) Persecuted saints best illustrates the witnessing spirit of god in Acts 8:4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

So the lives of the 1st Century Saints were stained by the irresistible beauty of the Holy Spirit. How did they get that way? Please stand with me and listen as Paul again explains the Walk in the Spirit inRomans 8:14-17

what does The Holy Spirit produce in lives yielded to him?

HE IS THE WITNESSING SPIRIT OF GOD

Book of Acts

ROMANS 1:3-4

HE IS THE LIBERATING SPIRIT OF GOD

Clingen POWs

ROMANS 8:1-4

HE IS THE TRANSFORMING & MORTIFYING SPIRIT OF GOD

C. T. Studd

ROMANS. 8:5-8, 12-13 

HE IS THE QUICKENING SPIRIT OF GOD 

Eye on Sparrow

ROMANS 8:9-11

HE IS THE GUIDING SPIRIT OF GOD

Phillip Acts 8:4

ROMANS 8:14

HE IS THE ENCOURAGING SPIRIT OF GOD         

Barnabus Acts 4:36

ROMANS 8:15

HE IS THE ASSURING SPIRIT OF GOD

Peter 2 P 1:16-21

ROMANS 8:16-17

HE IS THE HOPING SPIRIT OF GOD

John Rev. 1:10

ROMANS 8:18-25

HE IS THE INTERCEDING SPIRIT OF GOD           

Epaphras Col. 4:12

ROMANS 8:26-30

HE IS THE SACRIFICNG SPIRIT OF GOD

Paul II Tim. 4:6

ROMANS 12:1-2

HE IS THE GLADDENING SPIRIT OF GOD 

Apostles Acts 5:41

ROMANS 14:17; 15:13

HE IS THE OUTREACHING SPIRIT OF GOD

Church Acts 8:4

ROMANS 15:16

Following Jesus

As we open to John 10, we are looking at one of the most foundational truths of being born again Christians. Jesus made salvation eternal life and assurance of eternal security so SIMPLE. He sums EVERYTHING up with these words in v. 27:

John 10:27 (NKJV) My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Salvation is so personal: we are His sheep; we can hear His voice; and-the way we know we are His comes from following His voice.

Think of a shepherd who speaks, and of sheep that turn their heads, listen and then start walking towards him. That is true Christianity!

Following Christ's voice in His Word and thus following Him: that is assurance, that is salvation, and that is all reduced to FOLLOWING Him!

Jesus said that eternal life is all about following Him; and He summarized His entire plan for the disciples in just two words: "Follow Me" (Matthew 4:19). Those two words were what He spoke to Peter, Andrew, James and John as they fished and to Matthew as he sat at the tax office (Luke 5:27); and those two words are what He still calls for, as He walks through this world.

Jesus called Himself the "Way"; and described salvation as the beginning of a life-long journey of following Him (John 14:6). This call to a life of following needs to at times be renewed as Jesus demonstrated after His resurrection, when Peter was restored to ministry as Jesus again said: "follow" Me (John 21:19).

So Christ's plan was to have close, personal "followers" who were also learners and doers of His Way. They listened and followed Him as they learned from Him how to do what He did. The book of Acts repeatedly describes the early believers as those who were "followers" of Christ Jesus, the Way. Open to Acts 9:

Acts 9:2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who wereof the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. NKJV

Acts 18:25-26 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. NKJV

Acts 19:923 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 23 And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way. NKJV

Acts 22:4 "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, NKJV

Acts 24:1422 "But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 22 But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case." NKJV

The Church at the beginning was simple, everyone was following Jesus, acting so much like Him they were described by unbelievers as little-Christ-imitators or "CHRIST-ians". As the church gathered, they were taught that every facet of their lives were to be reflective of what they learned while following Jesus personally. Christian nurture is:

Learning to Follow By Example

This "learning and doing by example" model was the key to Titus 2 discipleship; Paul described a plan for having each person in Christ's Church actually involved in a life-long learning process of following Jesus Christ. In fact, believers are called little imitations or "mimics" of Jesus Christ. The Greek word in the Epistles that describes those who "follow" and are "followers" is mimetes (literally "mimics").

Listen to the clear call we have all been given by Christ's Apostles to follow or "mimic" Christ:

1 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. NKJV

1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. NKJV [That is the clearest description of what Titus 2 discipleship is all about!]

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. NKJV

1 Thessalonians 1:6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, NKJV

1 Thessalonians 2:14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, NKJV

2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. NKJV

Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. NKJV

Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. NKJV

3 John 11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God. NKJV

Today, God is looking for those who will not merely hear God's Word, study God's Word, memorize God's Word, master the content of God's Word-He wants those men and women, and boys and girls, who will follow Christ.

How do we start? After establishing that the person is saved, the very next truth for them to learn is the:

 1. Following Christ is the Vital Connection Between Salvation & the Rest of Life  

This connection was taught by Paul in Colossians 2:6. Note with them what Paul said:

Colossians 2:6 (NKJV) As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

The same way God saved us is how we are to follow Christ through life. We hear the Gospel from God's Word, we believe the truth and respond in faith, and God transforms us. That is the pathway of salvation, and the pathway of each day of our life as believers. Taking God at His Word and seeing Him at work in us. That is simple, clear, and easily explained in Scripture.

 

 2. Following Christ is Completely tied to God's Word

Turn to the Romans Road, one of the simplest explanations of salvation, and look at the final stop inRomans 10:13 (see also v. 5,8,11).

Romans 10:13,17 (NKJV) For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

We are saved by hearing, and responding to the truth of the Word of God. The Gospel flows only from God's Word, and no where else. Only by believing the Gospel contained in God's Word the Bible can a person be saved.

Only by believing the Gospel contained in God's Word the Bible can a person be saved. That means:

3. Following Christ is God Implanting His Word Inside Us

Move onward to James 1:21, from what may be the earliest book of the New Testament written by James who was the Pastor of the First Church of Jerusalem. Here is how he explained salvation to his congregation while Paul was still being trained.

James 1:21 (NKJV) Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Again we see that receiving God's Word, believing God's Word, and acting upon God's Word are all tied to our salvation.

We hear truth from God.

We believe that truth from God.

We respond to that truth from God

God transforms us.

One of the greatest confirmations of our salvation is seeing this happen each day. That is exactly what we see the Apostles teaching as they planted and established churches in the First Century.

Now move onward to 1 Peter 1:22 to 2:3 and see how Peter describes this exact same process when he explains the relationship between salvation and our daily walk in Christ. Peter reminds us that both are tied to God's Word.

4. Following Christ Starts a Life of Believing & Obeying God's Word

Peter is near the end of his life, and after walking with Jesus, serving as an Apostle for over 30 years this is his summary of salvation for all the rest of the ages of Christ's Church.

1 Peter 1:22-2:3 (NKJV) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spiritin sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but through the word of God which lives and abides forever24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 2:1-3 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.                              

Note how simply and clearly Peter also links God’s work of salvation in us, to His Word.

Salvation is regeneration by the Holy Spirit using God's Word: (v. 22 purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit).

Salvation is the new birth of coming alive through the power of God's Word (v. 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God).

Salvation is eternal because the Gospel in God's Word is eternal: (v. 25 the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you).

Then Peter gives the essence of our new life in Christ.

5. The Life of Following Christ is Fed by God's Word

Born again believers are only fed with God's Word: (v. 2a as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word).

Born again believers can only grow by God's Word: (v. 2b that you may grow thereby).

Born again believers can taste God’s grace in God's Word: (v. 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious).

So Paul, James & Peter all agree about the connection of God's Word to salvation, and the vital role that God's Word has to our continued new walk. The final link comes from the greatest authority of them all:  our Jesus Christ. Please turn with me to Matthew 4:4.

Matthew 4:4 (NKJV) But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus actually quotes these words in Matthew 4:4 from Deuteronomy 8:3; and lays out the vital need for our spiritual lives to be fed as consistently as our physical bodies. In Deuteronomy 8 where Jesus quotes this verse from the context is about manna, the food God sent to feed Israel’s 603,000 families each day so they survived the 40 years of wandering in the Wilderness of Sinai.

Jesus says God's Word is necessary for spiritual life as vitally as bread was for their survival. So we could apply Mt. 4:4 by saying that:

 

6. Following Christ is Hungering After God's Word

Jesus compared God's Word to food (“man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word of God”). Jesus said we are not really living if we only feed our physical bodies and not our spiritual dimension. Jesus said we need to eat every day; and our spiritual lives are to be as consistent a part of our daily plans as eating.

Jesus goes on to compare salvation to food. Those who eat of Him are saved. Look onward at John 6.  Jesus said He was the bread of God (Jn. 6:35), those who ate Him live forever. 

Jesus says salvation is eating and drinking Him by faith through receiving His Word.

John 6:35 (NKJV) And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Then He said that what we eat are His words. Look at this amazing passage.

John 6:63-68 (NKJV) It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Now turn onward to John 8:31,37,43,51 (NKJV):

v. 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [Three elements: believers are those who abide/remain in Christ's words; believers know/experience the truth of Christ's words; believers are set free through believing/acting upon the truth of Christ's words.]

v. 37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. [Three elements: Christ's word remains in true believers; true believers desire to hear Christ's words; true believers stand on the truth of Christ's words within them.]

v. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if Itell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” 51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” [Three elements: believers know Christ's words are true; believers hear/respond to Christ's words; believers are eternally saved by clinging to Christ as truth.]

That is why the early church taught that hearing & believing God's Word leads us to salvation, and to partaking of Christ. As only physical food enters our body and nourishes it, to sustain our lives: so our souls are only fed by God’s Word entering into our minds.

How did we believe on Christ? Through His Word.

How did we receive Christ? Through His Word.

How do we obey Christ? Through His Word.

How do we follow Christ? Through His Word.

How do we please Christ? Through His Word.

How do we know Christ better and better? Through His Word.

7. Following Christ is the Best Life Possible

That is the simple truth.

The place of God's Word in your mind today dictates your spiritual health.

Everything is contained in God's Word: our food and drink, our map for life, the light to guide us, the sword to protect us, the exercises to strengthen us, and the revelation of God’s character to grow us.

John 7:37-38 we go through life overflowing with a life that is not our own, it is Christ's life through His Spirit overflowing us and splashing onto all the events and people of our life.

One of the most afflicted Old Testament saints was Jeremiah. He was called the weeping prophet for a purpose. Jeremiah’s testimony of how he made it through a lifetime of pain, sorrow, loneliness, and discouragement is our closing thought.

Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV) Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.