Service Video Message Video Message Audio The service video is unavailable at this time. The sermon video is unavailable at this time. The sermon audio is unavailable at this time. Scripture Verses 1 Peter 2:21, Romans 7:7-8, Romans 8:1-17, Galatians 5:16-25 Downloads & Resources Being Filled with God's Spirit Dr. Jon Morrissette - 7/17/2005 (Note to reader: The congregation was shown a video clip from the movie "Apollo 13"prior to the sermon.) As shown in that clip, NASA was faced with the seemingly impossible task of making a square cartridge fit into a round hole, using nothing but ordinary space materials. The future of the Apollo 13 crew depended on them coming up with an answer quickly. For them, failure was not an option. Overcoming the impossible was matter of life and death. Have you ever noticed that life is full of impossible challenges. There are challenges for which there seems to be no answer. How many times in a given week do you find yourself face to face with the impossible? At times, there seems to be only one certainty in life. That certainty is that we need something beyond ourselves and that we cannot accomplish the impossible alone. We need each other. We need God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and we need God’s Holy Spirit. It isn’t just Houston that has a problem. It is the whole world. The reason I chose to base this series of messages around the Apollo 13 mission is because every single choice we make is a choice for life or a choice for death. We may think that something as trivial as flipping a switch doesn’t matter. But in the divine economy of things, it has eternal ramifications. Take, for example, our choice for Jesus Christ or against Jesus Christ. There are a great number of people who think religion is a trivial matter. They believe that whether one accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is of little or no consequence. But as we saw last week, without Jesus Christ we find ourselves in a series of impossible and rather grave predicaments. Our need for Jesus Christ. Without Jesus Christ we cannot gain victory over our own mortality or over the power of sin and death. Apart from Jesus Christ, death is the destiny of every man. There is no hope beyond the grave without Jesus. We’ve no choice but to hold on to and find hope in this life. Without Jesus Christ we are fully accountable for every single choice of sin that we have ever made or will ever make. Apart from Jesus Christ we stand fully under the judgment of God. There is no sacrifice for sin to satisfy God’s wrath. There exists no righteousness, certainly not in us, sufficient to satisfy God’s justice. Apart from Christ we are guilty and under a death sentence. Without Jesus Christ, there can be no reconciliation or peace with God. On the cross, Jesus Christ demonstrated God’s forgiveness by absorbing in himself the due penalty for our sin. On the cross, Jesus Christ opened up a door for us to experience lasting peace with God the Father. This is a door that we slammed shut during our rebellion. Apart from Jesus Christ, we are left in the cold and darkness of life, without God. As if that weren’t enough, without Jesus Christ there can be no freedom from sin. We always think of sin as something we choose. But the truth is that apart from Jesus Christ sin is something we cannot help but choose. We are slaves to sin. We are held prisoner by our habits and old patterns of living. Sin reigns in us. And finally, without Jesus Christ there can be no healing and no sense of wholeness. Apart from Jesus Christ there is no lasting joy or happiness or contentment. There is only the empty pursuit of life’s dreams. So what seems like a trivial thing, choosing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, has enormous ramifications. The ramifications are not just for this life, but for the life to come. For the person growing in relationship with Jesus Christ, failure doesn’t have be an option. Jesus Christ gives us everything we need for life. He gives us victory over death. He declares us innocent in God’s sight. He reconciles us to God. He frees us from the power of sin. And he brings complete healing into our lives. He saves us from the five impossible challenges of death, our guilt, our rebellion, our sins, and our brokenness. Not a day goes by that I don’t find myself becoming more grateful for Jesus. And I pray that this would be true for every single one of us here. The struggle against sin. This morning, however, I want to key into one particular challenge which is common to all of us. Like putting a square peg into a round hole, this challenge is seemingly impossible. It dogs us. It frustrates us. It wears us out. It causes us to question our faith, our integrity, and at times, even our salvation. At other times it brings us to tears. What I am talking about is the prospect of making the kind of deep and lasting changes that cause us to become more like Jesus Christ. We're all experts at making deep changes for the worse. But how do we become expert at making deep changes for the better? Deep changes that result in God being glorified. I am not simply talking about becoming a better person. I am talking about becoming like Jesus Christ in every way; in heart, mind, body, and soul. 1 Peter 2:21 (NIV) says, "To this you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." I have been a Christian for most of my life. Before I pledged my life to Jesus Christ in the waters of baptism, I spent my younger years learning about Jesus Christ. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wrestled with the seeming impossibility of following after Christ’s example and of trying to match my steps to his footprints. I fail daily. I continually fall short of the glory of God and fall short of being like Christ. And yet Christ’s example remains that I, and that we all, should follow in his steps. Now don’t misunderstand. I know I am under God’s grace. I know that I am clothed with Christ’s righteousness. I know that Christ’s shed blood cleanses me of sin. I know that for those who are in Christ, there is now no condemnation. I am not struggling with my salvation. I am struggling with my sanctification. I am struggling with maximizing God’s work in my life so that I become more like Jesus Christ. So that Christ becomes greater in every way and I become less. How do I bring my thoughts, my attitudes, my appetites, my tongue, my hands and feet, my flesh, and my inner self in complete submission to the will of God? It is easy to grow weary in doing good. How do I sustain the energy to keep doing good? To keep pouring myself out? To keep loving? To keep giving? To never lose faith? This, my friends, is the essence of our Christian struggle. It is a struggle against sin. When is the last time you looked in the mirror, discouraged not by your appearance, but discouraged by the reality of sin at work in the members of your body? Discouraged at your inability to live for God with pure and holy passion? Being filled with the Holy Spirit. There is a passage of scripture that I want to talk through this morning. In Romans 7:7-8 we find the apostle Paul speaking candidly about his own struggle against sin. He acknowledges how after hearing a commandment from God’s law, his sinful nature would spring to life and a part of him would die. Romans 7:7-8 (NIV) says, "What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what it was to covet if the law had not said, 'Do not covet.' But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead." For example, when the law said, "Do not covet." Paul describes how sin produced within him, "every kind of covetous desire." It wasn’t that there was something wrong with God’s law. Rather, there was something tragically wrong deep inside Paul's heart. When I was in grade school we used to go over to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Typically we would go out in the front yard and play catch with a baseball or football. There was this neighbor guy who was obsessive and compulsive about his lawn, and when he would see us playing catch, he would warn us not to cross his lawn to get our ball. Until he said something, we had not even considered walking on his lawn. But since he mentioned it, we thought we’d let the ball fall into his yard just to see what he’d do. Seeing the man watching from his window, we tip-toed onto his lawn. Sure enough! The door flew up and he snapped at us for walking on his lawn. We had a lot of fun with him. Now why did we do that? It wasn’t just because we were young and obnoxious. We did it precisely because we were told not to do it. When Paul heard God’s commandment, this inner desire to sin sprung to life. Later on in Romans 7:14-25 (NIV) he describes his frustration over what is happening in his life. "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do— this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God— through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." Our Incurable Sin ProblemWhat is it about us that we often choose the very things God commands us not to do? And does that propensity to sin bother you? Does it keep you up at night? Does it sicken your stomach? Does it cause you to reach out for answers? When was the last time you did the very thing you had resolved not to do? This morning? One of the first lessons we learn as Christians is that we cannot cure our sin problem by ourselves. It would be nice if there were a pill we could ingest or a shot we could take in the arm, and we would forever be done with sin. The cure for sin does involve filling us with something, but it is not drugs or serum. In Romans 8 Paul describes how the Holy Spirit is the key to gaining victory over sin. The Holy Spirit produces the kind of deep changes that we can never produce in ourselves. The Holy Spirit transforms us from the inside-out, starting with our heart and evil desires. In Romans 8:1-17 (NIV), Paul says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you." "Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation— but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." The Holy Spirit Brings Victory Over Sin. Paul discovered that to choose the Holy Spirit was to choose life. The Holy Spirit enabled him to surrender to God in obedience in ways he could never do alone in the flesh. The flesh made him a slave and a prisoner while the Holy Spirit set him free. The flesh left him powerless and weak while the Holy Spirit gave him strength and power. The flesh brought him death while the Holy Spirit brought him life and peace. The flesh made him hostile to God and it made him displease God while the Holy Spirit caused him to submit to God’s law in obedience. The flesh led him into disobedience while the Holy Spirit led him deeper in sonship. Is it any surprise that the Bible instructs us to be filled with the Spirit? Galatians 5:16-25 (NIV) reads, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law." "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Your relationship to God’s Son is your salvation. He who has the Son has life. Your relationship with God’s Holy Spirit, when he is allowed to fill your life, is your sanctification.