Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The Bible tells believers to walk in the Spirit and then enjoy the love, joy, and peace the Spirit brings. So what does it look like when the Spirit has free reign in our lives?
Today we'll find out. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, does walking in the Spirit mean we have to display gifts such as speaking in tongues? Well Dave, as you know, there are many sincere believers who make that connection between the filling of the Spirit and speaking in tongues, but biblically that cannot be substantiated.
What we must do is to understand that the gift of tongues was something special on the day of Pentecost when various language groups were present, but today we can experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit simply through yieldedness, through cleansing, and through faith. I want to encourage the many of you who listen to Running to Win, would you consider becoming an endurance partner? You ask, what is an endurance partner? Good question. I'm going to be answering that at the end of this broadcast. For now, I simply want you to listen as we speak about the blessed Holy Spirit. This past week, Rebecca and I were with some pastors and one of them shared about a wife of a prominent preacher actually, if I might say that, though he has gone to heaven, who never even had within her the milk of human kindness, and she taught the Bible.
So what do you do with that? A couple of things. First of all, despite all that, she may never have believed on Christ. Secondly, though she was mean, you have no idea of how much more mean she would have been if she had not been a Christian. But third, and most importantly, just because you have the Spirit does not mean that you are meeting any of the conditions to allow the Holy Spirit of God to break out of your life. That's why we're going to talk about that in the next few moments.
It isn't automatic. There are mean, judgmental, angry Christians, and they make Jesus look bad. May their number decrease. So that's love. What about joy? Oh, the world can have joy.
Really? They can have happiness. They can't have joy, though. You can't have joy. That's the fruit of the Spirit, this kind of joy at least. Oh, they can have joy. You win the lottery, you have happiness.
Got a lot of friends you didn't know about who are going to be knocking on your door. You don't really have joy. One of the differences you really notice is when you go to a Christian funeral versus non-Christian. I mean, I've been at both.
The difference is just so different. There's no joy in a non-Christian context. Well, I should take that back a little bit. Perhaps there have been times I can't help but think of the woman who weeks after her husband's funeral said, you know, I'm having such a hard time settling my husband's estate that sometimes I wish he wouldn't have died. Apparently, actually, that's a lot funnier than many of you perhaps realized. Biblical joy can be had in the midst of struggle, sacrifice, pain, betrayal. I think of Jonathan Edwards who had many enemies. They ran him out of his church. But his biographer said is this, his happiness in God was beyond the reach of his enemies. There is a joy in God that is beyond circumstances and that is biblical joy. And there are many people who seek that joy, many people who are not joyful Christians and therefore they are not good witnesses to the gospel. Many Christians, if you're talking about a cup full of joy, they are like a half cup trying desperately to spill over.
But they can't spill over because their souls are shriveled and they have no joy. Well now the question is how do we walk in the Spirit? How do we begin to get the benefits of the Spirit?
And you may be here today as a teenager, college student. You need the Holy Spirit because you are a struggling Christian just like the rest of us. We're all struggling Christians on this side of the grave. First of all, I want you to know this, that the Holy Spirit is not hesitant to fill you so that you can walk in the Spirit. It's not as if he says, I don't want to break out of this person's life and transform him into the character of Jesus.
I'm just not in the mood. No, my friend, the Holy Spirit is resident that he might be president. That's the whole point of the Spirit. I can say this, that the Trinity who lives within all believers is eager to show his fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is. You let the Spirit loosen.
That's what you get. Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Why then all of this deadness?
Why this powerlessness? Where is the Spirit? Let me give you a clue and then we're going to talk specifically about how we can receive the Spirit in his fullness. Now, he exists within us if you're a believer, but that he can begin to break out of your life into Christ-likeness, which is what he wants.
I hope you do too. And that is simply this, that what we must realize is that it says in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 28, verse 30, it says this, grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby you are sealed until the day of redemption. The grief of the Spirit. What grieves the Spirit?
Well, right in its context, we won't take time to read it, but it's the end of chapter 4, right in its context it's talking about anger, gossip, spirit of unforgiveness. That'll quench the Spirit. Spirit isn't going to continue to work.
He'll continue to work, but it's not as if he's going to be seen by others, by your friends, by your family, in your workplace. There's no way because you are so full of anger you are being controlled by anger, unforgiveness, and all those sins. And I'm not going to list any more sins that grieve the Spirit because they all grieve the Spirit. So the fact is that what we need to do as believers is there is a point of confession.
I'm going to give you three words. And by the way, I went over it quickly, but do you notice that I emphasize the indwelling of the Spirit, which represents the companionship of Christ? We talked about the sealing of the Spirit that indicates the ownership of Christ. We talked about the baptism of the Spirit, the partnership of Christ.
And now we talk about the filling of the Spirit, the discipleship of Christ. You say, well, why didn't you give us those four ships and write them down in our bulletin? There's a good reason. I didn't think of them until this morning.
I had a busy week too. So what do we do? The first word, and I'm giving you three words. The first word is confession. Sin grieves the Spirit. You are living in perpetual sin. Grieves the Holy Spirit.
He's not going to show Himself in your life. People are going to really look hard and say of your life, you know, I'm looking for Jesus in your attitude here, but I'm not finding Him anywhere. Confession. Confession means that we get rid of all of the guilt because you can't have joy as long as you have guilt.
It's another reason why the world can't have joy. As long as your conscience is troubling you and there's that low-grade guilt, it means that you thoroughly confess as a Christian and lay it all out for God to forgive you and cleanse you so that your heart is clear, your conscience is clear, and now the Holy Spirit says, now I can begin to do my work. Confession. Related to that, we also have submission.
You're writing it down. Submission. Present your bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. James chapter 4, I think it is, dearly beloved, submit yourselves to God.
Let me ask you something. Why is it that you and I struggle with submission when we know right well that God knows best? What makes us think that our way is better than God's? That if we submit, it isn't going to be for our benefit, because it is. It's for His glory and for our benefit. It is pride that keeps us bound, saying my way or the highway. God, you're here to help me on my agenda.
I don't want to submit to your agenda. It breathes the Spirit. So you have submission. And then in order that it might rhyme, I add another word, and that is anticipation.
What do I mean by anticipation? Faith. Faith. You can't walk in the fullness of the Spirit.
If you're going to look at your emotions, ayayay, you can't. You wake up in the morning and you're overwhelmed by your anxiety, you're overwhelmed with issues, and you've got all kinds of things, and you say, boy, I sure don't feel filled with the Spirit today. No, you don't.
And guess what? You don't have to if you have faith. As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. You go to a bookstore and you buy a two-volume set, and you come home and you only have one volume. You don't have to go back and pay for the other again.
No. You go get it because it's part of the deal. You receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. You receive redemption. You receive righteousness, which was the message last time.
And guess what? The other volume is the fullness of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, who has baptized us, sealed us, and now desires to lead us, control us, and guide us. That's it. And the Holy Spirit has done all that work, and you and I are fiddling around wondering, how in the world does this work? So what we do is we do it in faith.
Now, this isn't all as if to say, well, you know, here's another three-step program, confession, submission, anticipation. I realize that that isn't just as if that's the formula because, for example, the washing of water through the Word, reading our plan that we talked about today, getting the Word of God in our hearts. Now you're clean through the Word, which I have spoken unto you, Jesus said, and all that. That becomes a part of discipleship that we're talking about here, following Christ. So there are the disciplines that kick in here, and it's coming to church with other believers and connecting together. And we can't enter into the fullness of the love of Christ, the Bible says, unless our hearts are knit together in love.
So all that becomes part of it, but basically that's a part of confession and submission and faith. So what do you do when you really don't feel filled with the Spirit? You say, Father, as I have done hundreds of times, I may say, Lord, I do not really feel filled with the Spirit today. I'm distracted.
This isn't really my day. I've got issues. But by faith, I receive the Spirit in His fullness. I come to drink at the fountain. I don't have to agonize that the Spirit would control me. He wants to do that, get that settled. I am going to receive His fullness by faith today. I'm going to trust Him to guide me. I'm going to trust Him to lead me. I'm going to trust Him to be all that I need today. Of Him ye are in Christ Jesus, who of God has made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
I'm accepting the whole package today for myself. And lo and behold, as a response to faith, God begins to do His work. You can't do it without faith. You know, in Egypt, can you imagine this, those pyramids? When archaeologists dug down into the pyramid and they found those mummies, they also found that buried with the dead, oftentimes there was grain. They took that grain and they planted it, gave it sunshine and water and it grew.
Amazing. For 4000 years, there was life in that grain that was held, but it needed water and sunshine to grow. There are believers filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with God Himself. We will make our abode with Him, said Jesus. There are believers and you look at their lives, you're looking for Jesus and you can't find Him. Because Jesus said, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone.
But if it dies, it brings forth fruit. It begins through confession. You say, well, what if I failed God a hundred times a day? You confess a hundred times a day. You say, well, surely God has something better for me.
Yes, He does. But if you're at that stage, that's what you do. You're going through a time, you submit to God and then you do it again and again. Ownership of your own life begins to pop up and you say, no, this is God's situation. This is God's predicament. I give it to you in faith, God.
That's what submission is. And I anticipate that in me and through me, you will do the miracles that you need to do for your glory and for your honor. Now, here's what we're going to do today.
It's a little different than usual. I'm going to pray a prayer and I want everyone here to pray it. It is going to begin with thanking Jesus for redemption and His forgiveness. And if you've never trusted Christ as savior, you can pray this prayer along with us. I invite you to receive Jesus today. You say, well, pastor, I have already received Jesus.
Fine. Pray this prayer as an affirmation of your faith. And then what we're going to do is we're going to go through confession. Unfortunately, we have to do that quickly in a service because what some of you really need is an hour alone with God to finally let it all get out. I'm hearing a little twittering through the congregation.
Could it be because you're agreeing with me? I hope that you are. And then what we have to do is to yield and then by faith, trust the Holy Spirit to begin to lead us. And we do this as often as necessary every single day until walking in the Spirit becomes a habit.
You know, D.L. Moody, who founded this church, said, the reason I have to be filled with the Holy Spirit so often is because I leak and I leak. So we come again and again, but we come to drink of the fountain that Jesus promised all those who believed on him. Now what we're going to do, we're going to pray out loud.
I'm going to give it phrase by phrase. Of course, you don't have to pray if you don't want to pray this, but I'm saying most of you are going to want to. And no matter what level of struggle you're at, you are invited to pray. The only Christians that God has is ones that struggle. The others, yeah, they're in heaven.
Their struggle is over. I'm going to pray a brief prayer and then I'll tell you when you join me. Father, I ask in Jesus' name that for many people this message may be transforming. I pray today that throughout, whether it's the radio or the internet or those watching or those who will listen to this sermon in some way, may they be changed forever because of your blessed Holy Spirit.
And now let us pray together. Oh Father, thank you for saving me from my sin. Thank you for saving me from my sin. I thank you that Jesus died in my place as my substitute. I thank you that Jesus died in my place as my substitute. I receive him as my personal savior.
I receive him as my personal savior. And now as best I know how, I confess my sins. And now as best I know how, I confess my sins. Bring to mind all the issues that have grieved your spirit.
Bring to mind all the issues that have grieved your spirit. Help me to confess those sins and forsake them. Help me to confess those sins and forsake them. I cannot do it, Lord. You must help me. I cannot do it, Lord.
You must help me. And so, Father, now I yield myself to you. I give myself to you, body, soul, and spirit. Every closet of my life is open to you.
Show me what you see. And grant me the grace to turn it all over to you. I submit to you as my Lord.
Every square inch of who I am, I submit. And now, Father, in faith I receive the filling of the spirit. I thank you that the Holy Spirit dwells within me.
I thank you that he baptized me into the body. I thank you, Father, that he sealed me until the day of redemption. And now, Father, in faith I receive his fullness for my Christian walk. I thank you in faith that tomorrow is going to be different than today. I'm going to trust your spirit to lead me. I'm going to trust your spirit to reproduce in me the life of Christ. And Father, as best I know how, I intend to walk with you until the day of my redemption. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Well, this is Pastor Lutzer. Did you pray that prayer? Always remember that if we are cleansed before God, if in faith we receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, it is the gift of God for us so that we might be able to endure so that his life might be reproduced in us.
Perhaps you already understand that we are all indwelt with the Holy Spirit if we are believers in Christ, but the fullness of the Spirit, that's something that we can receive daily, the power of the Spirit to help us live the Christian life. I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone who says, thank you, Pastor Lutzer, for your preaching, your caring approach. You hit hard topics on target focused on Christ. I take that as a tremendous encouragement because that is our desire to speak on topics focused on Christ. Would you help us get these messages to even more people? Even now, we thank God that running to win continues to expand, but we need your help. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner?
That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. And, of course, the amount that you give is entirely your decision. I know you need more info, so I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy. Here's what you can do. Go to RTWOffer.com, RTWOffer, of course, is all one word, RTWOffer.com, or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. By the way, when you go to RTWOffer.com, when you're there, click on the endurance partner button.
Or, as I mentioned, call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Believers have been adopted as sons and daughters of God. This is made clear in Ephesians chapter 1. Next time on Running to Win, another gift God gives to all who put their faith in Christ. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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