Well, good morning and welcome, welcome to our Sunday service, if you are on Zoom, then you’re not watching this.
But chances are at the moment I’m getting ready for my own Zoom just to make a guest appearance to introduce the tribe to our baby girl. Molly and I have just had a little baby girl. Her name’s Lucy Elizabeth Owens, and just so blessed by God, grateful for the journey he’s taken us on. And we are currently on maternity leave. But in advance, I have prepared a lesson for you guys today about the Spirit, not just any Spirit, but the one Spirit that we have listed here in Ephesians, Chapter four.
In Ephesians four four. It reads, as is our theme for the year. “For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called, to one glorious hope for the future.”
So much about the Spirit is quite hard to talk about. Perhaps you might conjure up quite a few different thoughts when you think of the spirits or just the word Spirit, right?
It’s a it’s a word, at least in our culture, that tends to be scoffed at by naturalists, those that believe in science alone.
And it’s also a word that tends to only belong in October right in our culture. But we know that we’re not talking about just any spirit with a lowercase. No, we’re talking about the one Spirit.
And in the Spirit of him, who am I to speak about today? I want to I want to do the best I can. But at the same time, I feel that it’s a subject I tremble at because as much as I can study it and I hope you guys do too, I feel there’s so much more for me to learn about the Spirit. In fact, the Spirit is not a topic that we should really learn in a dry kind of way. And so this is a bit dangerous to talk and talk about the Spirit when you’ll be left with today, really just the charge to go walk in the Spirit or go find the Spirit, go ask God for it and live with the Spirit within you.
The Spirit is quite a mysterious concept in the Bible. It’s hard to pin down. It’s it’s more than a concept. But the Spirit is a character in the Bible. In fact, he’s one of the three in the Trinity. In the Godhead we have three persons making one being them being the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And it’s this great Holy Spirit that we’re talking about this morning. The One Spirit. He’s the eternal creator. He was there in the beginning.
He is behind the scenes in your life, even to this day. And he is the great actor that moves so many of the miraculous things that happen in acts all throughout that book and all throughout the rest of the Bible. In the letters, we’re just called to live by the Spirit. So if you keep your Bibles in Ephesians, I want you to flip over to Ephesians Chapter six.
You know, the Spirit as mysterious as he can be. He is definitely a personal Spirit. He doesn’t want to remain shrouded in cloaked in mystery, as if his hand is out there saying, back off, don’t get too close to me. In fact, he says, I want to live in you. I want to reside in you. And he does that for the Christian. He lives in us. He’s the seal of our salvation. He’s our counselor and he knows us intimately and can speak on our behalf better than we can speak for ourselves.
This is the kind of holy Spirit that we have.
He’s not a thing, he’s not a force, he’s not a chi, right? He is a character. He is someone to get to know. But it’s hard to relate to the Spirit quite a bit more than, let’s say, the father or even the son, right. Those physical relationships, familial relationships we have some context for. But Spirit, it’s a little harder to have that kind of context for. I think I was asked to do this lesson by those close to me kind of knowing my story and my story of coming to God actually involves quite a bit of context and contact with the Spiritual realm.
And for that, I’m so grateful. But I will say this, that one of my deepest and most experiential convictions is this, that the real battle in our world is a Spiritual battle. When I was 14, I made a decision to make Jesus Lord be baptized and thankfully get the gift of his Holy Spirit. In my life’s been so different since then, I don’t know that any of you would recognize me if you knew me. There are a few here that may have known me back then, but the man I was at that time, I was a plagued soul.
I had a normal life was raised by two awesome Christian parents, nothing too atypical about my life. But when I was about 14, things took a turn for the spiritual in my life. And up to that point, I have been trying to be a good guy, I was on track to become a Christian, I thought, yes, I want that in my future. I do want to be a Christian. But in the meantime, let me build my own tower and let me be good, you know, and let me read my Bible.
Even so, my life on all accounts looked pretty decent. But on the inside, I think my motivation was I want to be great. I want to be good. I want to be a I want to be good. And if I can do it without God, then all the better. Right. God’s my last resort and I’m working towards that. But let me scrub myself up. Let me be good.
I want to emphasize that I was living a shallow spirituality, almost as if spirituality was on my terms, on my account, and I was pretty good and God decided to set Satan loose on my life.
I think if you if you recall the story of job where Satan asks, hey, can I go after this man? Well, I’m sure that’s what happened in having Satan probably knocked on Gods door and said, look, you see Tyler down there, he’s a good guy. I’m going to go after him. Can you let me. And on all accounts that year from my life, the last year in middle school, but I started seeing things in a spiritual world. I started hearing things. I started losing a grip on who I was. I had thoughts that seized me and took over. And there is voices there were things that were on all accounts, spiritual, just plaguing my conscience, losing my identity. I’d watch the news and I attached myself anything that was sinful. My mind would become that. And and on all accounts, Satan had hijacked everything I thought was under control. And so if you read Mark five or even just the story of the demon possessed boy and his parents just saying, look, Lord, can you help my son?
I was right there throwing myself in the fire and I didn’t know how I would last another day. It got to that point.
But I will say that this has helped me and tempered my faith in a way that no other experience has. And it’s hard to put it into words. It’s hard to be relatable with that part of my story. It’s not generally the part that I tell a ton of people unless it helps. But man, do I have a firm conviction that the most real battle in my life and in your life is a spiritual one. And with that, let’s read Ephesians chapter six, verse ten.
It reads “A final word. Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm. Stand Your Ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness for shoes put on the peace that comes from the good news so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil put on salvation as your helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion, stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
Take note that in the last first verse 18, it actually says, pray in the Spirit at all times on every occasion. Concluding, putting on all the armor, pray in the Spirit, pray through the Spirit, the one Spirit that if we’re Christians, we have him in our lives.
And it was so I’ll wrap my story up here with this, the ending here, my stories, the day I decided to put on the armor of God and stop trusting in my own lowercase spirit. And I was adopted by God. And given his Holy Spirit, it was like a demon had been driven out of my heart and all the voices ceased, all the sightings ceased, all the all the things in my heart where I wasn’t sure who I was. I came to my senses and it was like day and night from that day forward just knowing, wow, I am God’s. He has marked me. He sealed me with his Spirit.
And I’m so grateful. And it’s almost like you look back and you’re like, did that just happen? And I remember for the first few years, just wondering, like, wow, what what did just happen? Is it going to happen again? And I’ll tell you that God’s Spirit continually renews me day by day.
It’s the force in my life. It grounds me. I’m so grateful that I have a spiritual gift for a spiritual battle. I don’t know if you know just how spiritual this world is. It’s true, this quote that says that one of the greatest lies from Satan is convincing the world that he does not exist.
He doesn’t want our battle to be engaged on a spiritual level because that’s the most effective that’s the Spirit of God’s home turf. If he can dupe us into thinking that life is just what we see. Well, he’ll win the battle because we won’t see him coming. We won’t see his schemes and we won’t expect the attack, you’ll see here it talks about the authorities, the powers of the unseen world.
Those are angels. Those are demons, right? Leagues of each. And I don’t know how they’re organized, but, man, if that’s the battlefield for our souls, I definitely would like a spiritual help. And that’s where the Spirit of God comes in.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t quite enjoy demonic movies personally. They strike a chord that’s hits home for me. But I think what it does sometimes is it reduces what’s real and what the Christian believes is the reality of spiritual things going on. It reduces it down to entertainment and we start to live in a dimension where the spiritual realm isn’t immediately apparent. We forget that it’s a spiritual world. But if you recall in Genesis Chapter one, there is the Spirit of God hovering on the water, right?
It started with God and the Spirit painted a physical world. It started Spiritual. Yet we can forget.
And Paul in Ephesians six is just reminding them, not with metaphor, as if this is some psalm of David. Like, take it poetically. No, take this literally. You are in a spiritual battle.
And man, sometimes the physical world even still even what with what I’ve gone through in my past, sometimes the physical world is so opaque I can’t see through it. It’s not transparent enough for me to to sense what’s going on spiritually as I’m tempted with anger or as I’m tempted with selfishness or wanting to just hurt my wife with a comment. There’s a Spiritual reality in that moment that I have to decide if I’m going to say what I impulsively want to say.
Right. For example, if there’s somebody, in my view that’s quite attractive in my heart, longs to lust, I need to realize that this is something spiritual.
This is not just about, you know, whether I’m going to confess or give in or hurt my marriage like all these superficial things. Right. This is more on a spiritual level than I ever realize. It’s a battle for my soul. Yet we forget and we forget and we forget. But if you could turn back the curtain, oh, you would see look what Elisha prays in second Kings Chapter six, verse 17, Elisha comforts a servant by saying, don’t be afraid. Elisha told him, for there are more on our side than on theirs. The enemies. Then Elisha prayed. Oh, Lord, open his eyes and let him see the Lord open the young man’s eyes. And when he looked up, he saw that the hillsides around Elisha was filled with horses and Chariots of Fire. He could see that there was a spiritual majority in their favor on God’s side.
It’s on the spiritual plane that that Jesus and the father and the Spirit, they’re all fighting, fighting demons for our soul, for our allegiance, for the affections of our hearts. And they can clearly see who’s uniform we’re wearing.
Some of us aren’t even on God’s side. We’re actually fighting on the devil’s side. And I wonder if we could turn off the, let’s say, the Photoshop layer of the physical world and we could see what you looked like spiritually. What uniform would you be wearing? Whose side are you fighting on if you aren’t fighting with the Spirit? You are not on God’s side. And so the spiritual realm is the home turf of the Holy Spirit, the one and only Holy Spirit.
So how do we survive spiritually in this realm?
Well. The one Spirit is the answer. He is the greatest gift. He is the gift here and acts chapter two, verse 38.
Peter replies to those wondering, what do we do? We are not right with God. They realize they’re not on the Lord’s side. So what do we do?
When Peter says an Acts 2:38 , he says “each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.This promise is for you. And your children in those of far away. All who have been called by the Lord, our God.”
You see, it’s not just that they’ll receive the Holy Spirit, they’ll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. God is gifting it to us. We have no right to it. He’s he’s the greatest gift we could ever receive. And John, verse 15, Jesus, he promises the Holy Spirit to his disciples.
He says, “if you love me, you’ll obey my commandments and then I’m going to ask the father and he’s going to give you another advocate who will never leave you.
He is the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you you know him because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
This great gift of the Holy Spirit. He lives in you. It’s a great gift. One more thought on it being a great gift comes from from Jesus’s words again in Matthew Chapter seven in his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew seven, verse nine through 11.
He compares how fathers want to give their children great gifts. I want so bad to give my new daughter great gifts in life and I can relate to that.
And he says, like, look, you know, if your kid asks or a fish, you’re going to give them a fish. You’re not going to give them a snake right now, and you’re wicked. And yet you know how to give good gifts to your kids and check out what he says. He says, how much more in verse 11? How much more will your heavenly father give good gifts to those who ask him?
What’s telling sometimes is if you look at the parallel passage, he says good gifts here, but in Luke, 11, 11 through 13, he actually doesn’t say good gifts. It’s the same exact story. Run through the snake, run through all that stuff, the egg. And he says in verse 13. So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?
Right, it’s it’s like both of these help you to understand that God’s giving us a good gift, right? And if you just read Matthew, you’d be like, cool, God can give me whatever. Let me ask and I’ll receive. Let me let me ask you this. What he’s talking about. Luke clarifies, he’s talking about the Spirit.
That’s the good gift. That is the the present, the Holy Spirit. That is the greatest gift. And it’s good news that the Spirit being the greatest gift we could ever have in a spiritual war. Right. Use it, don’t neglect it, don’t leave it on the table, it might be time for you to start walking in the Spirit. Maybe you know the truth. Maybe you started with the Spirit and left him behind, right?
Galatians talks about that. Backtrack, go back, find where God is, sit in his presence, sit still, be with him, you know, the great gift of the one and only Holy Spirit in our lives is our one and only hope in spiritual warfare. And we must not neglect him. He guides us. He wants to show us where to go when things are hazy, when things are not straightforward, we can always rely that God with his Spirit will make our path plane to follow. We must follow his promptings, right?
We have two choices. It’s very clear in the physical world it might be gray, right? We live in the in betweens. I’m convinced in God’s realm he sees it really clearly. It’s quite a lot more black and white in his world.
If you look in Galatians five 19, it spells out the two options quite clearly of following the Spirit or following the flesh, “when you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear. Sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissentions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, wild parties and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God”, but verse twenty two.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in your lives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their passions and desires of the sinful nature to the cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit leading in every part of our lives.”
And that’s the gift of the Spirit that he’s leading you at the present, he’s leading you here, he’s leading you today, you can leave with that hope that God will lead you by his Spirit.
Don’t ignore it. Don’t grieve the Spirit. Don’t disobey the Spirit. Don’t quench the Spirit. Let’s thank him for this gift. Because of this gift that the Spirit is living in us, we can have a true connection with Jesus and we have certainty that our eternal future will be with Jesus if the Spirit of God is living and active in our lives. It’s a gift. Like I said, it’s a gift. So as we think of the cross in every way, Jesus by way of the cross gifted us with the forgiveness of sins and with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We are a part of one body and we all have the same Spirit in us as we take communion. Consider that we are connected because the same Spirit lives within each of us. We don’t all have separate spirits. The Holy Spirit, the one and only somehow in his way knows how to live in all of us at the same time. And that is quite a glue. That is quite a reason to have communion with others and to have a common cup and a common bread as we eat of it.
Now, let’s think of Jesus and thank him for the gift of the Spirit in our lives and consider how we might follow that and what he’s prompting us to do today. I love you guys and look forward to introducing our new family soon until then let’s pray:
God so grateful for you, for your Spirit, for all you’re doing what your gift to us. It is an immense treasure. You want to come and take residence in our life. God, you want to live in our hearts and direct our lives to bring you more and more glory.
God help us to surrender to your transforming power as your Spirit works in our lives. God, you are. You are so generous. We don’t deserve the Spirit in any way. Please, God, help us to see things Spiritually, see things on your terms. Pray God to follow it this week.
In Jesus name we pray Amen.