Are You Completely Dependent on the Holy Spirit?

 

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I would like to begin this week by saying, if I have learned anything in the past thirty-four years as a Christian, and the last twenty-six years of being a full-time pastor, it is that I am utterly dependent upon the work of God the Holy Spirit for my faith and practice. Indeed, it is through Him alone that I am able to see any lasting fruitful and substantial spiritual progress, in both my personal life and in the lives of those to whom I minister.

Simply put, I am conscious of the fact that I am to be continually dependent upon the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9).  I must ask Him daily for illumination (Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law”) and filling to cause me to walk according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”; Ephesians 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”; Romans 8:4, “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit”). 

Additionally, no matter how effectively I pray and preach (Acts 6:4; Ephesians 4:11-12), men will not turn to Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation, nor grow in sanctification, unless the Holy Spirit powerfully does His work in them (Zechariah 4:6, “’Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts”). Now, this is a very humbling piece of reality. We see this truth no better portrayed for us in Scripture than by our Lord Himself while He walked among men. During that brief time, He set us the supreme example of what it means to be totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” and Luke 4:1, “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, …was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…”). Elsewhere in Scripture, we read the following (Romans 8:13-14, “...but if by the Spirit...being led by the Spirit of God...” See also Galatians 5:18, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law”).

 So, when you are led by the Spirit you yearn for more of His holy presence in power. However, some Christians in our day presume that a believer is not to ask God for any further visitations of the Spirit – whether it is: personally, ecclesiastically (for their church), regionally, nationally, or even globally. If their reasoning has to do with the conviction that all believers have received the fullness of the Spirit at conversion (our position), we have no controversy here. But, does this mean that we should never ask God for visitations or effusions of the Holy Spirit subsequent to our conversion (our practice)? Are we so ignorant of or have we so soon forgotten the Holy Spirit’s work at: Pentecost, the Reformation, and in “the” Great Awakening, and in the numerous other outpourings of God’s Spirit in history? 

Beloved, the Bible teaches us that we must habitually ask God for additional outpourings of His Spirit upon our lives, our families, our ministries, our churches, our nation, and yes, our world! We are in continual need of an “extraordinary” visitation of the Holy Spirit upon our application of the “ordinary” means of grace (Bible study, Prayer, Worship, Service, and Stewardship)! 

Oh Brethren, pray for a visitation of the Holy Spirit! May we live by the Spirit while asking God for such blessed showers (Zechariah 12:10; Luke 11:13, “...give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”)! Let’s ask God now for the wind of His Spirit for His Church -- “O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).

 

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