Pastor Dan’s sermon question today was: “What are You Full of?” Good question, right? Typically, when we hear someone say, “You are full of ______.”, it is not a compliment. Naturally, in our sin nature, I am full of myself; I am naturally selfish, and what I am full of will eventually come out. So as a Christian with the Holy Spirit residing within, I can allow Him to fill me tossing out the selfish me. Like Stephen, who spoke the truth of the gospel to those who were “cut to the quick” by his every word, driven by their fear and selfishness to shed their outer garments at the feet of the man, who would be the Apostle Paul , pick up rocks and stone him to death. The Word of God offends to change us, but rejected can lead to unspeakable acts against our fellowmen.
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55-56 NIV)
The Lord let Stephen, “full of the Holy Spirit” see into his future where Jesus stood with him at the right hand of God ready to receive his spirit.
One way we get plugged into God, recharged, is in corporate worship. But that is not enough. We are in some ways no different than our electronic devices, like a cell phone, we need regular Bible study, prayer, interaction with Christians so that “self” does not claim more of the Holy Spirit’s space within. Regular recharging is necessary.
Being filled with the Spirit does not make any Christian perfect, but He does alert you to what needs correction and offers to fill, empower, encourage righteousness. He will pull us closer not point out or blame.
We need to cut each other some slack also. As we are filled more and more with God, He helps us because He is “The Helper” among other character traits. Pastor Dan pulled a greeting card from his pocket that illustrated how this works: “Sometimes I wonder why I put up with you, oh yeah, its because you put up with me”
Jesus promised believers the Holy Spirit. God has promised even before Jesus that He would be with us.
Now this is what the LORD says. He created you, people of Jacob; he formed you, people of Israel. He says, “Don’t be afraid, because I have saved you. I have called you by name, and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you cross rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flames hurt you. (Isaiah 43:1-2 NCV)
There is so much in these two verses: 1) Fear not 2) Saved 3) God knows individual names 4) we are His and even that will not prevent Life with all its hazards, upsets, tragedies, holes in the pavement from happening, BUT He will go through it with us. And that’s how we know that the “Giant Slayer in us is greater than any GIANT we encounter….if I never meet a Giant, how on earth would I know that?
Pastor Dan told a story about riding one of his daughter’s bikes in the dark when the front wheel hit a hole and flipped him over. Based on that story I have composed this little jingle:
Life is like a bicycle ride when your front tire finds a hole
No time to change direction as over the bars you go
No time to cry or act as you fly to land with a smack
On life’s hard tarmac, lying there on your back, you know.. Where do you Go?
Without the holes, without the blindspots, without the betrayals, without the GIANTS, we would never KNOW that “Greater is He Who is in me, than he who is in the world.”
Sometimes we are doing everything we can and still we hit the obstacles, the obstructions, the holes, THE Holy Spirit within is there for those times.
WHAT ARE YOU FULL OF? MY CHOICE every day to PLUG in and FILL UP or run on selfishness.
Do not be drunk with wine, which will ruin you, but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18 NCV)