Walk in the Spirit
Next: Session 7 ... Works of faith »
Session 6 ... transcript
Guard your heart
On resurrrection day, the first disciples of Jesus came into salvation.
Jesus appeared and "... breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'." (John 20:22)
With His death, burial and resurrection, the New Covenant was established, and was now sealed with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit could dwell in the heart of anyone who is purified through faith in Jesus.
Before Jesus' sacrifice of Himself, people who were trusting in God could only have their sins covered. Under the Law of Moses, there were animal sacrifices to cover sin ... an innocent other substituted, to pay for transgressions. But "it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin." (Hebrews 10:4)
The animal sacrifices hinted at the sacrifice to come ... in Jesus. In Jesus, sin is not just covered, it is "put away" (Hebrews 9:26).
Place your faith in Jesus and you are saved. You are rescued out of the world. But, you have a race to run.
Just as Adam and Eve were enticed to eat fruit that God had told them not to eat, a believer may be seduced to set their heart, not on eternity, but on the pleasures of this life.
The apostle John wrote (1 John 2:15) "Don't love the world, nor the things in the world ..." What is in the world satisfies "... the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16)
The opposite is to "set the mind on the Spirit".
We have a race to run, and we need help. And help is what Jesus promised. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper ..." (John 14:16) ("... He will be in you. John 14:17) ("... the Helper, the Holy Spirit, will come in My name ..." John 14:26)
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will come as we call on His name ... on the name of Jesus.
So, when Jesus rose from the grave, He appeared to the first disciples and "He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:22)
They were saved. They certainly believed that Jesus had died on the cross, had been buried and was alive. They were saved, but they were still weak.
Jesus told them to "go into all the world and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15). He told them to "make disciples" (Matthew 28:19) Instead, they went fishing (John 21:3)
Later Jesus sent a message: "... stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49) (Acts 1:5 and 1:8)
Fifty days after Jesus' resurrrection, the disciples were together in Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit came like a rushing wind. "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit ..." (Acts 2:4) And they were changed. And empowered. Peter preached the gospel and 3,000 came to faith in Jesus.
It didn't end there. Some time later, as they were praying, they were all filled again with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31) and they were empowered to speak the Word of God with boldness.
We should not be surprised. Jesus, although He was the Son of God, spent 30 years (in His humanity) preparing for 3½ years of ministry. When His time came to announce the Kingdom of God, He was first baptized, by full immersion in water, and when He came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit came on Him (Matthew 3:16) And then He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1)
He went into the wilderness "full of the Holy Spirit" (Luke 4:1) and came out 40 days later "in the power of the Holy Spirit" (Luke 4:14)
In the life of Jesus, and in the story of the disciples in the book of Acts, we can see that power is available to believers through the Holy Spirit. It's not automatic.
We do receive the Holy Spirit when we come to faith in Jesus, but being baptised in the Holy Spirit and being filled again and again with the Holy Spirit, invoves waiting, and seeking, and expecting.
The Bible exhorts us to keep seeking things above ... to set our minds on things above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1-2) Set your mind on life in the Spirit (Romans 8:5-6)
God appeals to us to make a right choice. God wants us to learn to walk in in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit is the opposite of walking according to the flesh. It's an attitude of mind and heart where we give up our rights in order to please Him. Jesus describes it as "picking up our cross".
We choose to allow Him to crucify the flesh. We don't kill ourselves off. We can't.
Crucifixion is a slow, painful, suffocating death. It doesn't feel good. But, it's God's way.
Our part is to recognise the way of the Spirit, to choose to take that path, and to let the Holy Spirit have His way. We aren't passive. We aren't puppets-on-a-string. We can resist the Holy Spirit or we can yield to Him.
In the book of 2 Peter chapter 1, it says: "Make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control perseverance, and to perseverance godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, brethren, be eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall."
That's life in the Spirit ... co-operating with God to be transformed into the image of Jesus.
We are His workmanship. His power works in us. Our job is to set our hearts to please Him ... to do what God wants, not what we want.
Go now to the next session: "Doing works of faith"