INTRODUCTION: Living the gospel means doing life together as faithful followers of Christ. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to encourage and support them in their new-found faith. He reminded them how they had believed the gospel despite much opposition. Yet they continued to demonstrate faith, hope and love. Paul reviewed how he had shared the gospel with them and that they gladly received the good news. Now their faith was widely known because they also shared the gospel with the right motives, manner and message. Paul had been separated from the new believers and he was concerned that they remain faithful to the good news. He sent Timothy to see how the Thessalonians were doing. Paul did not leave them to fend for themselves. New believers need encouragement, instruction, and prayer. Paul was careful to disciple these new believers.
NEW BELIEVERS REQUIRE SUPPORT & ENCOURAGEMENT.
*The evangelist has a passion to help new believers. “But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face” (2:17).
*Satan has a goal of hindering new believers and mentors. “We wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us” (2:18).
*New believers are our joy and reward at the Lord’s coming. “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy” (2:19-20).
NEW BELIEVERS NEED INSTRUCTION IN THEIR FAITH.
*Wise teachers can train new believers in morals, doctrine, and endurance. “Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions” (3:1-3).
*New believers will face affliction and temptation. Satan tries to undermine their faith. “For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that wewere to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain” (3:3-5).
*Believers stand firm when they practice faith, love and fellowship. “But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord” (3:6-8).
NEW BELIEVERS THRIVE IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF PRAYER.
*Prayer expresses our joy and thanksgiving in our relationships. “For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God” (3:9).
*Prayer seeks God’s wisdom and direction. “We pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith” (3:10).
*Prayer uplifts others and desires their growth in love and holiness. “Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father” (3:11-13).
*Prayer looks forward to the second coming of the Lord Jesus. May God “establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” (3:13).
New believers need encouragement, instruction, and prayer.
INTRODUCTION: Paul writes that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). People cannot become followers of Christ unless they hear and then believe the gospel of Christ. As Paul says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14). Sharing the gospel must take place before believing the gospel is possible. The person who shares the good news of Jesus is the key to someone becoming a Christian. Paul writes, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:15). A witness’ motives, character, and message are important when sharing the Good News.
A WITNESS MUST HAVE THE RIGHT MOTIVES.
*The preaching of the gospel was bold and effective at Thessalonica. “For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict” (2:1-2).
*Why was the sharing of the gospel fruitful? What were their motives?
Integrity. They were faithful to present a trustworthy gospel and refused impurity or deception. “For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel” (3-4).
God-pleasing. They aimed to please God and not people. “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (4).
Christ-honoring. They were not after greed or glory. They had self-control because of the watchful eye of Christ. “For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others” (5-6).
Servant Leadership – They were gentle instead of demanding. Did not expect privilege because of status as apostles. Cared like a nurse for her own child. “Nor did we seek glory from people,whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (6-7).
A WITNESS MUST HAVE THE RIGHT MANNER.
*A witness’ walk must match his or her talk. Our behavior and character must reflect the spirit and conduct of Jesus Christ. What character traits does a good witness have?
Compassionate and caring. Tender like a nursing mother feeding and caring for her own children. “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (7).
Affectionate and giving. “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (8).
Hard-working and authentic – “For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers” (9-10).
Encouraging and principled. “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (11-12).
A WITNESS MUST HAVE THE RIGHT MESSAGE.
*The message of the gospel is built on the Word of God. It is God’s message and it has power to change lives. “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (13).
*The gospel message leads to opposition but creates believers who stand up for the truth and who endure persecution. Christians are not alone in their suffering but those who oppose the gospel will one day be punished. For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! (14-16).
INTRODUCTION: On their second missionary journey, Paul, Silas and Timothy preached the good news at Thessalonica (Acts 17). The seaport city was the chief city of Macedonia and the seat of the Roman province. One of the main Roman highways passed by the city and the economy and population of the city flourished. Paul preached the gospel to the Jews on three sabbaths and had many converts. But a mob formed and attacked Paul and his newly formed church. Paul and his team had to flee the city. Paul later wrote this first epistle to a church from Corinth in A.D. 50 to the Thessalonian church encouraging them to remain faithful. The overall theme of 1 Thessalonians is that Christians always have hope no matter what the circumstances may be.
In Chapter 1, Paul describes what believing the gospel will do. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction (2-5).
THE GOSPEL GENERATES A FAITH THAT WORKS.
*Paul remembered their “work of faith” (3). What evidence of faith did Paul witness? What proof of faith is revealed in a believer?
The gospel was preached in the power of the Holy Spirit with conviction. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction (4-5).
The believers responded to the gospel with joy amid persecution.And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit (6).
The new converts began to share their faith and tell the good
news to others. You became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything (7-8).
They repented and turned from idols to follow God. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols (9).
THE GOSPEL DEMONSTRATESLOVE IN ACTION.
*Paul remembered their “labor of love” (3). The two greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbor. The Thessalonian believers revealed their love in service to God and others. The word for serve means “to serve as a slave.” In our terms it means to serve with complete and unreserved devotion. Their service had purpose because they served the living and true God. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God (9).
THE GOSPEL PRODUCESHOPE THAT ENDURES.
*Paul also remembered their “steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (3). Despite their circumstances and opposition, the new believers had hope.
*Believers can endure when we have hope. You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come (9-10).
We can have unwavering hope for the future because
Jesus will return one day from heaven
He is a living and risen Lord
He will save us from the judgment to come.
The three traits of a Christian: So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
INTRODUCTION: INTRODUCTION: In the Letter to the Galatians, Paul is trying to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is trying to save it from those who would return to the Mosaic system of righteousness. In Chapters 4-6, Paul shows that living the Christian life is not slavish obedience to rules and regulations but a life of freedom walking in the Spirit. The Spirit gives life and the power to please God. Paul very clearly says, “For freedom Christ has set us free…If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:1, 25). In other words, if you are a Christian then live like Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in you and his life should be seen in your everyday life-actions. Paul gives us three basic actions that show that we walk in the freedom of the Holy Spirit.
STAND IN THE FREEDOM OF CHRIST (1-12)
-Stand firm in faith. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (1).
-Do not submit to outward actions for righteousness. “For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (5-6).
LOVE ONE ANOTHER (13-15)
-Do not use your freedom to pursue your selfish desires. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh…But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” (13-15).
-Serve one another. “but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (13-14).
WALK BY THE SPIRIT (16-24)
-Let the Holy Spirit govern your life. Do not yield to the desires of the flesh. Nail your passions and wrong desires to the Cross. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law…And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (16-18, 24).
-Sinful actions: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (19-21).
-Spiritual actions:“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (22-23).
SELF – EVALUATION: Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being “I am consistently strong in this area” and 1 being “I am consistently weak in this area.”
______ I stand firm in the freedom in Christ and do not depend upon rules and regulations to please God and men.
______ I always put others above myself in my actions and seek to promote peace in my church.
______ I consciously seek to let the Spirit guide my life and show evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in my attitude and my actions.
______ How would you rate yourself as a follower of Christ? What will you do today to follow Jesus?
INTRODUCTION: Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). Love God. Love others. Love yourself. How do we do that? We can only love effectively by the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) and “if we live by the Spirit” we should “also keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). If we walk in the Spirit, we will bear fruit. Our life and character will reflect Christ and exude love. The Spirit yields fruit that expresses love for God, love for others, and love for ourselves. Paul lists the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.
THE SPIRIT YIELDS THE FRUIT OF LOVE FOR GOD.
*The works of the flesh (5:19-21) are contrasted with the fruit of the Spirit (5:22-23). The fruit of the Spirit are the virtues of Christ and the character of the Christian. The indwelling Holy Spirit shapes us to be like Jesus Christ.
*The first 3 characteristics express our relationship with God. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace” (5:22).
Love – love is the source of all the fruit. The Spirit produces love toward God. Love is the basis of all relationships
Joy – love toward God creates a joy that is greater than our circumstances.
Peace – the Spirit gives us assurance that we are in right relationship with God.
THE SPIRIT YIELDS THE FRUIT OF LOVE FOR OTHERS.
*The next three fruit reflect our conduct and interactions with other people. “But the fruit of the Spirit is…patience, kindness, goodness” (5:22).
Patience – It literally means “longsuffering.” The Spirit enables us to endure opposition without retaliation.
Kindness – a gentle spirit towards other people. A genuine care and concern for our neighbor.
Goodness – kindness expressed in action. The Spirit leads us to help someone in need.
THE SPIRIT YIELDS FRUIT OF LOVE FOR OURSELVES.
*The Holy Spirit wants us to be like Jesus. The Spirit changes our inner selves to have a character and disposition that is Christ-like. Our character is revealed by what we do and how we live. “But the fruit of the Spirit is…faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (5:22-23).
Faithfulness – fidelity or trustworthiness is a mark of Christian character.
Gentleness - “Meekness” is having a spirit that is submissive to God’s will, teachable, and under control.
Self-control – placing our desires, emotions, passions, and appetites under the discipline and restraint of the Holy Spirit.
*All the fruit of the Spirit will be present in the life of a Christian who is daily choosing to live for Jesus. The Holy Spirit will change us over time to reflect the character of Christ. “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (5:24-25).
INTRODUCTION: Today is Father’s Day. We honor our fathers for their sacrifices and their direction. We also recognize and honor godly men who lead Christ’s church whether they are fathers or not. Men have a unique role in representing Christ. They are challenged to love their wives, serve like Christ, and prepare their children for life. Godly men are to lead their homes and their church in the Spirit of Christ. How are we to walk in the Spirit? Paul gives guidelines in Ephesians 5 and 6 for men, women, children, and society. We will focus on men today and challenge all men to walk in the Spirit.
NURTURE THE SPIRITUAL SIDE OF YOUR LIFE (5:18-20).
*It takes spiritual power to live a life of grace and love. Let the Holy Spirit stimulate your life and actions. Avoid competing stimulants. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (5:18).
*A person of praise and joy encourages people to have hope. “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart (5:18-19).
*Thanksgiving is an attitude of gratitude that always looks for the good in others. “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:20).
COOPERATE WITH OTHERS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE (5:21).
*Respect and cooperation build bridges to strong relationships.
The practice of “mutualsubmission” leads to good relationships. “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (5:21).
*A marriage built on mutual love and respect endures. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (5:22-33).
SERVE JESUS AT HOME AND ON THE JOB (6:1-9).
*Followers of Jesus develop good relationships in their marriages, home lives, work demands, and daily contacts.
The responsibility of parents especially fathers: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (6:4).
The responsibility of workers: “obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free” (6:5-8).
The challenge today for all of us:
Be filled with the Spirit, treat others with love and respect, and serve Jesus with all your heart.
INTRODUCTION: This is Pentecost Sunday. Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem and receive power from on high. Then Jesus was taken up into heaven (Acts 1:1-10). Pentecost marks the outpouring of the Holy Spirit 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus. He has poured out his Holy Spirit on us to establish his church and live within us. The Holy Spirit wants to launch you and me on an adventure to become all God intended us to be. Therefore, the Holy Spirit empowers us for service (Acts 1:8) and distributes gifts to the church for ministry (1 Cor. 12). God uniquely gifts every Christian and every church for the mission he wants them to complete in the world. The Holy Spirit is the giver of those gifts. We discover this in 1 Corinthians 12:1-31.
THE HOLY SPIRIT DISTRIBUTES…
GOD – GIVEN GIFTS (1-7).
*Spiritual gifts are for believers. Now concerning spiritual gifts…no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit…For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…and all were made to drink of one Spirit (1-3, 13). You must be saved before you are gifted: And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
*These gifts are spiritual in nature. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (7).
*They are given by the Triune God. It is “the same Spirit…the same Lord…the same God who empowers them all in everyone” (4-6).
INDIVIDUAL GIFTS (7-11).
*The Spirit determines your gift. The Spirit “apportions to each one individually as he wills” (11). Note that verses 7-11 say “to one is given…to another.” You are responsible for your personal gift.
*The Spirit gives the gifts at the point of salvation: “all were made to drink of one Spirit” (13). Your gift is unique to you: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).
God saves you for service.
FUNCTIONAL GIFTS (12-18).
*Your individual gift belongs to the community of believers. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ (12). There are many gifts with different purposes (14-17).
*God decides which gifts you receive and what part you have in the body of Christ. God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose (18).
TEAM-ORIENTED GIFTS (19-27).
*You are part of a team. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body (19-20). The parts do not function alone (21-24).
*We need each other’s support. But God has so composed the body…that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another…Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it (24-27).
SERVING GIFTS (28-34).
*Spiritual gifts operate best through the church. Gifts are designed for service. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues (28).
*Gifts are used in a variety of ministries. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (29-30).
*All gifts are to be used in the spirit of love. But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way(31).
-Are you a believer? Do you know your spiritual gift? Are you using your gift in the power of the Spirit in a community of believers? -The Holy Spirit wants to launch you into ministry for the great adventure of discovering why God put you here in this world.
INTRODUCTION: This is Ascension Sunday. It marks the ascension of Jesus into heaven 40 days after his resurrection. Jesus had appeared to his disciples many times and proved he had risen from the dead. Jesus told his disciples that the gospel would be preached to all nations. They were to be his witnesses. They were to wait in Jerusalem and receive power from on high. Then Jesus was taken up into heaven (Acts 1:1-3). Ascension Day celebrates Jesus’ return to his Father. He intercedes for us there. But he did not leave us alone. He has poured out his Holy Spirit on us so that he is present with us wherever we may be.
JESUS ASCENDED SO WE COULD BE…
BAPTIZED WITH THE SPIRIT (ACTS 1:4-5).
*Jesus established his body (the Church) on the day of Pentecost by pouring out his Spirit on his followers. The immersion in or baptism of the Spirit is a one-time event for new believers that makes them part of the community of Christ. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (4-5).
*We are baptized in the Spirit at our new birth and the moment of salvation. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).
*Every time the gospel went to a new place there was evidence of a baptism of the Spirit to confirm that the new believers were part of the Body of Christ. Examples include Pentecost (Acts 2), Caesarea (Acts 10), and Ephesus (Acts 19).
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT (ACTS 1:6-8).
*Once the believer is baptized into the church by the Spirit, the believer is empowered by the Spirit to do the work of the church. Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (6-8).
*There is one baptism of the Spirit, but there are many infillings of the Spirit. We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
*The Holy Spirit fills us with power to do God’s will and work. Acts has many examples of fresh infillings of the Spirit. The Spirit gives boldness to speak the word (Peter in Acts 4:8 and the church in Acts 4:31). The Spirit filled the first deacons (Acts 6:3) and Stephen, the first martyr (Acts 7:55).
ON MISSION WITH THE SPIRIT (ACTS 1:8-9).
*The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to be witnesses. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight (8-9).
*The Holy Spirit moves the church into the world to proclaim Good News of salvation. The Acts of the Apostles is a record of how the Holy Spirit advanced the gospel message. Philip is a good example of how the Spirit moved. Phillip the Evangelist was Spirit-filled and served as a deacon in Jerusalem (Acts 6:3). He preached in Samaria (Acts 8:5-6) and then witnessed to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39). Philip evangelized up and down the coast of Judea and settled in Caesarea (Acts 8:40). Philip was on mission with the Spirit of God and the vision of Jesus.
Does the Holy Spirit empower your life?
*God’s Spirit is like breath.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us...” (1 John 1:9).
INTRODUCTION: We daily face the struggle to do right and not do wrong. We constantly face impulses and drives that pull us in the wrong direction. We also recognize the inner voice that keeps us moving forward and rejoices when we overcome our temptations. We are in a fight for our souls. We are part of a larger battle between good and evil. We are the ground troops in spiritual warfare. We daily battle forces that try to keep us from doing God’s will. We are in a struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil. Matthew 4:1-11, shows how Jesus faced the same struggle and how the Holy Spirit helped him to overcome temptation to sin. The Holy Spirit helps us in our spiritual battles as well. God gives us the grace to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Jesus faced the same struggles that we face (Hebrews 2:18).
Jesus was tested and tempted but never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus was tempted in the flesh (Matthew 4:1-4).
Jesus was tempted with the world (4:5-7).
Jesus was tempted to follow the devil (4:8-11).
You can love the world or love Jesus (Matthew 16:24-28).
The love of the world is defined as the illicit cravings of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the arrogant boasting about position and possessions (1 John 2:15-16).
Following the world is a deadend (1 John 2:17).
Following the world makes you an enemy of God (James 4:4).
We overcome the world through faith (1 John 5:1-5).
We overcome the world by placing our mind on the things of God (Romans 12:1-2).
The flesh in biblical terms is the innerbent to sin and to do the things that do not please God (Romans 7:15-25).
The flesh is not our skin or body but rather the inward part of me that rebels against God (Galatians 5:19-21).
How do we overcome the lust of the flesh?
-We depend upon the victory of Jesus Christ (Romans 7:25-8:4).
-Jesus destroyed sin’s power on the cross and set us free to live for God (1 Peter 2:24).
-Jesus gave us his Spirit so we can choose to say no to the flesh and yes to God (Romans 8:8-13).
-We have the moment by moment choice to follow sin or to follow God (Romans 6:11-14).
Jesus destroyed the devil and his power (Hebrews 2:14-18 and 1 John 3:8).
We are to renounce the world, confess our sins, and resist the devil (James 4:1-10).
We are to put on the armor of God and stand against the devil (Ephesians 6:10-18).
We are to trust God and be alert (1 Peter 5:6-11).
We are not to continue to sin but rather to do right and love one another (1 John 3:7-11).
GOD GIVES US THE GRACE TO OVERCOME THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL.
INTRODUCTION: We receive the Spirit through a spiritual birth. Jesus described the new birth by the Holy Spirit in John 3:1-8. The Holy Spirit regenerates and seals us at the moment of salvation. Paul describes this process in Ephesians 1:13-14: In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. What is the seal of the Holy Spirit? The seal of the Holy Spirit marks God’s ownership of us and guarantees our security in salvation.
THE HOLY SPIRIT COMPLETES MY SALVATION.
*When I believe Jesus is the Risen Lord and accept his forgiveness (Romans 10:9-10), the Holy Spirit enters my life and marks me as a newborn child of God. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13).
*The Holy Spirit is given to me as a foretaste of the life to come. He is my guarantee or down payment on a future inheritance. The word “arrabon” means “earnest, deposit, pledge.” You ‘were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:14).
*The seal of the Holy Spirit guarantees our salvation. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives guarantees our future hope. “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
The Holy Spirit is the down payment and seal of my final redemption.
THE HOLY SPIRIT CONFIRMS MY IDENTITY.
*The seal of the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on me. I am a child of God. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we arechildren of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ”(Romans 8:15-16).
*A seal authenticates and completes a contract. The seal of the Spirit marks the genuineness of my new birth. It is the proof of my identity. My salvation is a done deal. “And I bought the field at Anathoth from Hanamel my cousin, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions and the open copy. And I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch… in the presence of Hanamel my cousin, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase” (Jeremiah 32:9-12).
The presence of the Holy Spirit in my life proves I am a child of God.
THE HOLY SPIRIT CONSOLES MY INSECURITY.
*The Holy Spirit gives me assurance of my salvation. God knows me, loves me, and seals me with his inscription. I know who I am and I can rest in peace and contentment in Christ. “But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).
*The Holy Spirit gives me security in my relationship with God. God sealed us and no one can unseal us. No one can remove his seal. We may grieve the Spirit of God but our eternal salvation is secure. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
I am signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit.