Day Five: “Christianity is Hopeless Without the Spirit”

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…” (Acts 1:8)

“[The early church] was made up of simple men and women. The leaders were former fishermen and tax collectors who fled in fear… they lacked faith and courage. They were the least likely to be put in charge of any Christian enterprise. Yet after the events in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit is poured out, those same nobodies were suddenly transformed. With courage and faith, they turned their community, and eventually the world, upside down. That wasn’t due to their seminary training; they didn’t have any training. They couldn’t hand out copies of the New Testament, because it hadn’t been written yet. It wasn’t because they were wealthy and had the greatest sound system and light show at their church. They were poor people without a church building. In fact, the Christian church didn’t get its first public building for about three hundred years. To the existing Jewish religious establishment, those early Christians were mocked as unlearned and ignorant people with few resources. To the Roman Empire they seemed fanatical and strange. But one thing they did possess was the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them to rely on the Spirit for everything, including impromptu speech. To paraphrase, he said, ‘Don’t even prepare what you’ll say when you’re in high-pressure situations, because when you open your mouth, it will be given to you. The Father will give it to you through the Holy Spirit. You’ll just know what to say’ (Mark 13:11). The early believers knew all too well that Christianity was hopeless without the Holy Spirit.”  (J. Cymbala, Spirit Rising, Kindle Locations 334-339)



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Day Four: “Your Fate Has Been Sealed”

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” (Romans 8:9)

“All of God’s children have God’s seal on them. In a word: all who have saving faith are sealed with the Holy Spirit. ‘God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his”‘ (2 Tim. 2:19). First, He authenticates us. We have been given authority to become sons of God (John 1:12). Second, He owns us. We are not our own; we are bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20). Indeed, God ’set his seal of ownership on us’ (2 Cor. 1:22). Third, the seal of God on us guarantees our safety. ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways’ (Ps. 91:11). Fourth, there is nothing greater than having the approval of one whose power, authority, and integrity matters. Timothy had Paul’s approval. ‘I have no one else like him’ …he ‘proved himself’ (Phil. 2:20, 22). Finally, our eternal destiny is sealed. Paul said, ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption’ (Eph. 4:30).

… As for those who have not experienced this [assurance of salvation]-but eagerly want it-Dr. Lloyd-Jones had this to say (quoting Thomas Goodwin)… Don’t give up. Hold God to His own Word. One should remind God of His own promise: Don’t give up ‘until you know you have the life of God in your soul…’”  (R.T. Kendall, Holy Fire, Kindle Locations 1078-1079)

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Day Three: “Why the Holy Spirit Wants to Live in You!”

“…[God] has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.” (2 Corinthians 1:22)

“…H.A. Ironside was preaching on a busy street corner…when a well-dressed man walked up and began to ridicule and jeer. Ironside recognized the heckler as a university professor and a well-known and vocal atheist… He criticized the Bible and labeled Christians as ignorant fools… Finally, the man shouted, ‘I challenge you to a debate! Are you afraid to debate me?’

…’I accept your challenge sir… but on one condition! When you come to the debate…bring with you ten men and women whose lives have been changed for the better by the message of atheism! …And when I come, I will gladly bring with me two hundred men and women…whose lives have been transformed…by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ!’

As the professor heard Ironside’s challenge, he stopped his jeering, turned and walked away…

In my church today, I can point out person after person who has been hopeless, rebellious and immoral …alcoholics and drug addicts; women who have had abortions; [people who were] enslaved by pornography…ensnared in witchcraft and the occult…so full of despair… Yet as you look at these people today, they are godly, responsible individuals …and every one of them will tell you that what changed their lives was a relationship with Jesus Christ… And He does it through the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus living in the hearts of His people, sent to give them new hope, new love, new peace, new joy and new direction.” (R. Heidler, Experiencing the Spirit, pp. 45 ff)



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Day Two: “I Have Done for You More Than They”

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

“[The Holy Spirit] doesn’t add anything to what Jesus has already said and instituted, but he makes all that Jesus has said and done alive, today. This is who the Holy Spirit is meant to be. The one who accomplishes, who realizes, who re-enacts the work of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a relationship, a person… There can’t be a more rewarding experience than to experience the Holy Spirit.” (R. Cantalamessa, Alpha Film Series)

“The fire of Christ’s love on the cross has not burnt out. It is not something of the past, of two thousand years ago, of which only the memory lives on. It exists now; it is alive… Jesus has run out of signs for his love. There is nothing more he can do to show his love, for there is no greater sign than to give one’s life. But he has run out of signs for his love, not of love itself. Now his love is entrusted to a special sign, a different one, a sign that is real, a Person: the Holy Spirit. ‘God’s love’-the love we now know-’has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 5.5). It is therefore a living and real love, just as the Holy Spirit is living and real.” (R. Cantalamessa, The Fire of Christ’s Love, p. 34)

Ask for a greater experience of God’s love. Pray, sing and worship as God pours out his love into your hearts through the Holy Spirit.

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Day One: “I’ve Got Jesus. Why Do I Need the Spirit?”

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever-the Spirit of truth…” (John 14:16-17a)

“Have you ever thought about the significance of having ‘another’ Counselor who is ‘just like’ Christ [cf. John 14.16]? Right now, imagine what it would be like to have Christ standing beside you in the flesh, functioning as your personal Counselor… That sounds amazing, and none of us could deny the benefit of having Jesus here physically, guiding and enabling us every step of the way. Yet why do we assume that this would be any better than the literal presence of the Holy Spirit? …When the disciples heard that two thousand years ago, I’m sure it was hard for them to grasp. How could it be better to trade a human Jesus…for a Spirit they couldn’t physically see? …But what do we do with the fact that Jesus says it is better for His followers to have the Holy Spirit? Do we believe Him?

“Take a moment and ask yourself… When was the last time I undeniably saw the Spirit at work in or around me? If it was recently… Thank God for His active presence in your life… If you are having trouble recounting a time when the Spirit was at work in or around you, perhaps that is because you have been ignoring the Spirit. Perhaps it is because you have a lot of head knowledge about the Spirit, but not much of a relationship with Him.” (F. Chan, Forgotten God, Kindle Location 293 ff)



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Day Five: Participation Counts

“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”(Galatians 5:25)

“If the Spirit is a person, how do we relate to Him? …a relationship between any two people involves mutual interaction. They communicate with each other. They experience each other… The Bible is our instruction manual for the Christian life, written to teach us how to live in relationship with God. The people given in the Bible as examples of how to walk with God were people who actually experienced God. They didn’t just know about God; they interacted with Him… Their lives involved constant two-way communication with the Spirit of God. In fact, the only model the Bible gives us for walking with God is an experiential model. Much of the Bible is a record of experiences with God…” (R. Heidler, Experiencing the Spirit, pp. 40 ff)

People in the Bible came alive to God through the Spirit (Gal 3.3)

They walked through life by the Spirit (Gal 5.25)

They experienced the Holy Spirit’s power (1 Cor 5.4)

They recognized His healings and miracles (Acts 2 ff.)

They heard His voice and directions (Acts 13.2)

They were taught by the Spirit (John 16.13)

They were encouraged by the Spirit (Rom 9.1)

They were compelled by the Spirit (Acts 20.22)

They were warned by the Spirit (Acts 20.23)

They were led by the Spirit (Acts 16.7)

They exercised the Spirit’s gifts (1 Cor 12.7)

They matured because of the Spirit (Gal 5.22-23)

They were transformed by the Spirit (2 Cor 3.18)

(Adapted from R. Heidler , Experiencing the Spirit)

Pray to, listen to, experience and interact with the Spirit today!



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Day Four: Deep End

“…these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor 2:10-11)

“The Spirit is most frequently spoken of in terms of agency-that is, the Spirit is the agent of God’s activity… the Spirit is not thought of as ‘it,’ but as ‘person.’” (G.D. Fee, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, p.26)

The Spirit reveals God’s deep thoughts and wisdom (1 Cor 2:10)

He knows the mind of God (1 Cor 2:11)

He teaches the content of the gospel to believers (1 Cor 2:13)

He dwells within and among believers (Rom 8.11; 1 Cor 3:16)

He executes God’s plans (1 Cor 12:11)

He gives life to those who believe (2 Cor 3:6)

He cries out from within our hearts (Gal 4:6)

He leads us in the ways of God (Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18)

He bears witness with our own spirits (Rom 8:16)

He has desires that oppose our selfishness (Gal 5:17)

He helps us in our weakness (Rom 8:26)

He intercedes on our behalf (Rom 8:26-27)

He works all things together for our ultimate good (Rom 8:28)

He strengthens believers with power (Eph 3:16)

He is grieved by our lack of love for one another (Eph 4:30)

(Adapted from G.D. Fee, Paul, the Spirit and the People of God, p.27)

Pray and ask the Spirit to take you deeper into God’s truth and love.



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Day Three: Making Moves

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16.7)

“The Christian church was born through the power of the Spirit. As we read…the book of Acts and the epistles of the New Testament, we see a picture of the early church the way God intended it to be. ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer’ (2:42). Here was a community of believers who freely loved the Word of God and were devoted to the apostles’ teaching…

“They shared with one another the deep love the Spirit had put in their hearts. They also became bold witnesses for Christ, filled with wisdom beyond their training. Their hearts were full of the Holy Spirit, and they experienced surprises as God did things that no one could anticipate. Not only had the Holy Spirit been sent to earth, but he was also moving. He acted in and through his people-he demonstrated his power to glorify Christ. The early church experienced him moving in their hearts and in their lives…

“Is the Holy Spirit moving like that in our lives? And in our churches? Many people find it easy to relate to God the Father and Jesus the Son, but when it comes to the role of the Spirit in their lives, they don’t have a clear picture of who he is or what he does. Do you ever feel that way? What about your life and your church?” (J. Cymbala, Spirit Rising, Kindle Locations 307-311)



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Day Two: Relationship Goals

“But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said.” (John 16.13-14 MSG)

“The Holy Spirit, like the Father and the Son, is not just a doctrine, an idea, or an experience to be tagged on to the other doctrines and experiences of our Christian life. He is the God who has invaded our lives with his transforming presence…

“Christians today…recognize that the Spirit is God, just as the Father and the Son are God. Although the Father, Son, and Spirit each focus on some different aspects of our salvation, we can learn about the Spirit’s ways by looking at Jesus the Son, because the Bible reveals God’s character most clearly in Jesus.

“…Greek philosophy might seek to define what God is; the Bible, by contrast, shows God to us in how he related to people throughout history… Some people suppose that learning theology means learning about God only in an abstract, rational sense, and feel this has little influence on their personal relationship with him. But when the Bible talks about knowing God, it speaks of a relationship characterized by intimacy and obedience, not by merely intellectual knowledge.” (C. Keener, Gift and Giver, pp. 18-20)

Do you want to truly know God? Ask for the Spirit to draw you into an intimate relationship with God and to transform you to live according to God’s ways.

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Day One: Real Real

“But I will send you the Advocate-the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.” (John 15.26)

“What makes people want to turn to Jesus? The Holy Spirit. What makes Jesus real? The Holy Spirit. What makes what He did for us-dying on the cross and being raised from the dead-real? The Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus said, ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him’ (John 6.44). We are all born ‘dead’ – ’dead in your transgressions and sins’ (Eph 2.1). Can a dead man speak? Can a dead man hear? Can a dead man move? Can a dead man make a choice? …’The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing… This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them’ (vv. 63, 65)… The Holy Spirit directs people to Jesus… It is the Spirit who makes people see why Jesus died and rose again. Remember that the eleven [disciples minus Judas] did not know why Jesus died or rose from the dead even after they saw His resurrected body. It was not until the Holy Spirit fell on them on the Day of Pentecost that it all came together for them.” (R.T. Kendall, Holy Fire, Kindle Locations 910-922)

Is Jesus real to you? Is Jesus real to your friends? Pray and ask for the Spirit of truth to come and testify all about Jesus!

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