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)


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)


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)


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.


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)