Sunday Sermon: ‘As the Spirit Works Within Us’



As we continue in our pursuit of becoming Spiritually F.I.T. (Fully in Touch), we come today to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Consider how the affected the lives of our Lord’s disciples.

If you will study the actions of the disciples as recorded in the book of Acts versus their actions in the four gospels, you will notice a striking difference. The four gospels give us a group of men who were often fearful, full of doubt and self-seeking. But the book of Acts reveals a radical transformation. This same group of fearful and doubting men suddenly become men who were full of faith, courage and even willing to deny self. And to make it even more spectacular, it all happened in a very short period of time. What made such a huge difference in their lives? The answer can be found in the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

I. The Promise of the Spirit

Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

The Greek word for power is dunamis’, from which we get the English word dynamite. Literally it means: {strength, power, or ability.} When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Spirit comes to dwell within us, giving us His strength and power. Wherever the Spirit leads us and whatever He calls us to do, His presence can give us the ability to do God’s will and bring Him glory.

A. Who or What is the Holy Spirit?

The first question we need to answer is – ‘Who or what is the Holy Spirit?’ Sometimes in the King James Version of the Bible refers to Him as the Holy Ghost. Some try to say that the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost are different, but that’s incorrect. The Greek word for ‘spirit’ and ‘ghost’ are the same; it’s just a matter of the way the translators chose to translate it.

Who or what is the Holy Spirit? Let me say that He is a ‘Who’ and not a ‘what.’ The Holy Spirit is as much a personal being as God the Father and God the Son. Scripture teaches us that He thinks, has a will, has feelings and  expresses emotions. He is a part of the Triune Godhead and therefore He is as much God as the Father and the Son. He is all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present.

B. Why Do We Need the Holy Spirit Today in Our Lives?

When God created mankind He made us with three distinct parts: body, soul, and spirit. We all know what the body is, but what about the other two? The Greek word for ‘soul’ is psuche from which we get the English word – psyche. The psyche is the center for our thoughts, emotions and behavior. Some say that our soul is our: mind, emotions and will. We might say that the soul is the real you.

But there is also a third part to our being. It’s the spirit part of man. The Bible says that God exists in spirit form. (Jn 4:24) Scripture describes Him as the ‘invisible God’. (Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17) Therefore, in order of us to to have a relationship with Him, we must be spiritual people.

In the very beginning, Adam and Eve were spiritual people. They had an open and loving relationship with God. But then something happened that disrupted their ability to know God and to communicate with Him. They disobeyed God by eating of the forbidden fruit and the result of their disobedience was death: physical and spiritual.

Since that time, every person who has been born has lacked the ability to fully know God. The Bible says: “…people who are unspiritual don’t accept the things from God’s Spirit. They are foolishness to them and can’t be understood, because they can only be comprehended in a spiritual way.” (see 1 Cor 2:14) In order for us to be ‘fully in touch with God’, something significant must happen to the spirit part of our being. We must be ‘born-again’ by the Spirit as Jesus spoke of in John 3. The Spirit of God must bring new life to the spiritual part of our being. Actually the phrase ‘born-again’ could be translated as ‘born from above.’ We must be made alive by the power that comes from above. God must give us this new spiritual life.

There are two reasons why God is able to give us new spiritual life:

1.  Christ died on the cross
to pay the penalty for our sins

The Bible says that He, who knew no sin, became sin for us; so that we could be made right with God. (see 2 Cor 5:21)

2.  The Holy Spirit brings new spiritual life
to the person who receives Christ

This is not just a New Testament concept, but was clearly revealed in the Old Testament.

Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

This is the desire of God for all of mankind. Jesus said:

John 7: 37 …“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive… ESV

God not only wants to give us life, He wants it to flow within us like a mighty rushing river!

II.  The Presence of the Spirit            

I have several books in my library concerning the Holy Spirit. As I was studying through these books the other day, the titles of several of them caught my attention. Adrian Rogers entitled his book – ‘The Power of His Presence.’ David Jeremiah called his book – ‘God in You.’ It was Francis Chan’s title that really caught my attention – ‘Forgotten God.’ Many years ago I heard Vernon McGee say something that I will never forget: “The Holy Spirit could not show up in the average church on Sunday morning and no one would notice.” How tragic that would be when God desires to fill us with His power and presence. Jesus said:

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive , because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Notice first of all that Jesus spoke of Him as ‘another Comforter.’ The word ‘another’ means another of the same kind and quality as Christ Himself. Through the abiding Holy Spirit we are able to have intimate fellowship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit.

The disciples were trouble over Christ speaking of His departure. He had become everything to them. How could they go on if He left them? A little later that same evening Jesus said: “…it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” (Jn 16:7 ESV)

Note two important truths Christ reveals in these words:

A.  It is better for us to have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, than to have Christ living around us

How could that possibly be true? For one thing, because Christ took on human flesh, He could only be in one place at one time. The Holy Spirit however, because He is in spirit form, can be at many places at the same time. As a spirit He has no boundaries. He can be in believers who are in Brooklyn, New York and Beijing, China at the same time.

In addition, because the Spirit can be in all of us as the same time, He can also manifest Himself through us all at the same time. That’s one reason Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (Jn 14:12) Not greater in quality, but greater in quantity. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, the power of God can be manifested throughout the entire world – all at the same time.

B.  Christ described the Holy Spirit as our ‘Helper’

The King James Version calls Him the Comforter. That title leads us to believe that all the Spirit does it console us whenever we are down. It is true, God is the God of all comfort and much of His comfort comes through the indwelling Holy Spirit; but the title ‘Helper’ is probably more accurate in this case. Actually it means someone who has been called to be by our side. The Holy Spirit goes with us as we make our way through life. Whether it is during a time of sorrow or celebration, the Spirit of God is there to assist us to do God’s will and to bring Him glory.

God’s presence in the Old Testament is sometimes referred to as the ‘Shekinah Glory.’ The word ‘shekinah’ is not found in our English Bibles. It is derived from the Hebrew word for dwelling. The Bible says that when God came to dwell in the Temple, His glory so overwhelmed those present that they had to bow down with their faces to the ground and worship. (see 2 Chron 7:2-3) Consider that as you read Paul’s words to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

God’s glory does not dwell in a building somewhere. God’s glory dwells inside of the believer. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and it is in us and through us that God desires to be glorified.

III.  The Power of the Spirit

Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

What is the power that God promises? At first we might say –‘the Holy Spirit’ and that would be correct. But how does the Spirit seek to manifest His power in our lives?

Some might say that it’s speaking in tongues or performing mighty miracles. Others might say that it’s the ability to share the gospel with the lost. But is that all that there is to it? Again I call our attention to the dramatic effect the Spirit had upon the early disciples. What were they like before the Spirit came upon them? They were fearful, full of doubt and self-seeking. What were they life after the Spirit came upon them? They were full of faith, courage and self-denying. That’s a dramatic change. The Spirit’s presence completely transformed them into spiritually minded beings.

Here are just a few of the things the Spirit’s power can do in and through us:

  • Give us the courage to share our faith with others and invite them to church
  • Help us to be patient and even loving to those who oppose us
  • Help us understand the Bible and apply it to our lives
  • Guide us to pray in such a way that causes God to move
  • Give us peace even when our circumstances aren’t peaceful
  • Help us to resist temptation and give us strength in areas where we are normally weak
  • Help us to deny self and instead serve others
  • Help us to stay faithful to our mates and to raise children who know and love the Lord
  • Help us to be gentle in moments when we might otherwise be unkind
  • Help us become a reflection of our Savior


Christ instructed His first disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit. If Christ were here today and speaking to us, He would not say the same thing He said to them. He would not instruct us to wait for the coming of the Spirit, nor would He encourage us to pray for His presence. Christ sent His Spirit to the church on the Day of Pentecost and therefore He is already here and waiting to help us do God’s will. The Bible says that the Spirit earnestly desires to help us live for God. How can we experience the power of the Spirit in our lives?

1)  We must be born-again by the Spirit

The first step to experiencing the fulness of God’s Spirit is salvation. The Spirit must apply the blood of Christ to our account and make us right with God. As He does this, He comes to live within us in order to help us be transformed from the inside out. The Spirit wants to make us a new creation in Christ.

2)  We must yield our lives to the Spirit

Over the next several weeks we are going to examine this in greater detail. But for today let me list some of the ways the Spirit works in order to transform our lives:

a.  The Bible

As we prayerfully study the Bible, the Spirit reveals to us the ways of God. He encourages us to do what is right and He corrects us when we do wrong. The Bible is the Spirit’s road-map to a new you.

b.  Prayer

Prayer is a vital part of becoming spiritually fit. Prayer is our ability to share our lives with God. The Bible tells us to pray ‘in the Spirit.’ What does that mean? We’ll study that as well in the days ahead.

c.  Christian Service

The Spirit equips us to serve God. The way we serve God is by serving others. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, every believer receives the strength and ability to do things that will accomplish God’s will and bring Him glory. This manifestation of the Spirit is called ‘spiritual gifts.’ Every believer is given a spiritual gift whereby he or she may experience the power of the Spirit working through their lives.

d.  Daily Decisions

The Spirit’s work is not just for Sundays. It’s for every moment of every day of the week. The Spirit goes with us wherever we go and therefore He desires to be active in every moment of our lives. Every decision we make should be made under His guidance.

The secret to experiencing a transformed life is found in our relationship with the Holy Spirit.


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