Living in the Fullness
February 16, 2020

The Holy Spirit
Living in the Fullness
Acts 8:9-25

{Audio File: https://mega.nz/#!uNV3mYBJ!DTRLyXnFAUV3jWt63L1z36VOd4P5Ekptdp3T8-giliM }

Does the fire of God’s glory burn within you, or has that fire begun to wane?

For the majority of us the answer would be more toward the fire of God’s glory isn’t where it ought to be. Now, this is not a condemnation, because the Bible states there is no more condemnation for those who are believers in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1).

We also need to understand what our maxim states, that we are mighty men or women of God, because we’re greater in the eyes of God than we are in our own eyes. And while our hearts may condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows what truly lies within. (See Judges 6:11-16; 1 John 3:20)

Here’s the point, when we come to church and hear a message that applies directly to our lives, we generally get all pumped up and excited; ready to put into practice the principles we’ve learned. But the truth is, by the time we get home and turn on the television the desire and fire are gone.

Does this describe any of us? We come to Sunday worship service and write the answers in the notes provided in the bulletin determined to put them into practice. But we soon find ourselves unable to. Maybe we’ve felt uncomfortable because we don’t want to stand out. Maybe we feel like we can’t, or maybe there’s just too much on our plate at the present time.

And in the end we find ourselves frustrated and disappointed in our Christian walk.

The reason may be because I haven’t done my job. You see, I may have given you all the right information, all the steps and principles you need to be successful in your Christian life. But I may have missed the mark by not getting you connected to the fullness of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Without the fullness of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives all of these steps and principles won’t work. What’s happening is that we are trying to put into practice spiritual principles by using natural techniques.

I find this a lot in people who have or are still are going through counseling. They know all the terminology, they can describe themselves to the tee, and they know most if not all the techniques used.

But none of it is working for them, and that’s because they’re trying to change themselves from the outside in. Transformation, however, doesn’t work that way, it is an inside out work. It begins with a living loving relationship with Jesus Christ, and then it’s being filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Let me ask you a question: Are you open to the spirit of enthusiasm? Now, I’m not talking about some emotional display or outburst. The word, enthusiasm comes from two Greek words, “En,” or “in,” and “Theos,” which is the word for God. And so enthusiasm means, “In God.”

Literally it means to be inspired and possessed by God. Someone who is enthusiastic is a person that is so filled with God that their behavior is dominated by God. They become excited and eager to be a part of all that the Holy Spirit is and open to be filled by Him.

It is such enthusiasm Paul was trying to encourage Timothy to covet and exhibit.

“That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the ember of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the (gracious) gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by the means of the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6 Amplified)

From our text this morning in Acts chapter 8, we are given the key to living in the fullness, and what it means to be open to the spirit of enthusiasm.

The story surrounds Phillip, one of the deacons of the first church. After Stephen was martyred for his faith, Phillip went into the land of Samaria to share the good news. And from His witness many come into the faith, including one Simon the Sorcerer.

The story is a vivid contrast between what is a true filling of the Holy Spirit, and from what is a false filling. It is a contrast between the spirit of true enthusiasm and of false enthusiasm. More literally it is a contrast between being filled with or possessed by the spirit of this world, or being filled with and possessed by the Holy Spirit.

So, let’s take a moment and look at this.

Read Acts 8:9-11

Simon was a man of great prominence in Samaria, and received his notoriety through the practice of sorcery. Now it’s important to realize that Satan has verifiable powers, but nothing compared to the power of God.

When God was sending His plagues upon Egypt in order to deliver the Jews from bondage, the sorcerers duplicated the first two, but by the third plague they had to admit that this was truly the finger of God. Further, they could do nothing to stop any of the plagues that came upon Egypt.

Simon the Sorcerer practiced these same arts and the people of Samaria were astounded thinking that God was working through him. Even Simon believed his own press claiming he was someone great.

Today, Simon would probably be promoting his own “Physic Friends Network.” He’d probably have a webpage selling forecasts and readings. He’d probably have his own line of occult merchandise with his picture on the front.

And he’d be raking in millions. The reason I say this is because there are people like him today who are swindling more money out of those who are lost and confused than Christians are giving to further God’s kingdom.

You might say that these people believe more in what is false than Christians believe what is true.

But our text reveals something that I’d like to share. Something that should strengthen our faith and give us the courage to share the good news to those around us, and that is, the power of God through the simple act of sharing our faith has more power than the greatest power Satan can muster. The gospel of Christ breaks into pieces the power of Satan when the two collide.

Read Acts 8:12-13

When Phillip preached the gospel message, all those who had believed the lie came to know the truth, even Simon. What we need to understand is that people are hungry for what is true and real, because all that the false religions and Satan provide doesn’t satisfy what human soul longs for.

The promise of God is that when we open our mouth to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, that He will fill it, that is, the Holy Spirit will give us the words we need, when and where we need them.

Jesus said, “Do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11b-12). That’s the blessing of living in the fullness, that is, the Holy Spirit will help us say what we need to say, and to do great and marvelous things through us for the Kingdom of God.

But while the people and Simon experience belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, they hadn’t yet experienced the fullness. This came when Peter and John showed up.

Read Acts 8:14-17

This is what is referred to as being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).

Like the disciples after the resurrection, the Samaritans came to belief in Jesus Christ, and when belief takes place the Holy Spirit enters and we become filled with the Holy Spirit, and our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). But there’s a special anointing, a special empowerment of the Holy Spirit that awaits and us available for those who do believe, which is what happened to the Samaritans.

The word, “baptism,” gives us this understanding. It is a special anointing. The word means to be completely immersed. It’s as if the Lord is saying, “I want to completely immerse you in the power of the Holy Spirit, flooding every compartment of your life.”

We see this same meaning in what Luke records for us when Jesus said, “I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). The word “endued” means to completely cover, to clothe oneself in, and so Jesus is saying that He wanted them to be clothed in Holy Spirit power.

The last part of our story concerning Simon has sparked some debate as to whether or not Simon was saved.

Read Acts 8:18-24

For me all I know is that it says that Simon believed, and while trying to buy the power of the Holy Spirit is really bad, I’ve known more mature believers who have done far worse. There was a pastor who actually tried to buy the ministry from me so they could take over.

The reality is that Simon really didn’t know anything different, because buying a power was a part of what he practiced as a sorcerer. That is how they use to do things.

There are those who see Simon as someone who professed belief, but was never a true believer. And this position has strong support from the text, and I’m not going to dispute it either. But when I looked at what Simon did I saw something I had passed by in the past: something that might explain his actions, and may very well explain the actions of many believers today.

Simon initially tried to fit his worldly understanding and practices into what he believed. It says, “When Simon saw.” He hadn’t yet experienced it. He hadn’t yet received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He hadn’t yet experienced the fullness, and hadn’t yet been empowered.

This is where many are in their faith today. They aren’t experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit because they haven’t received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And so, like Simon they add Jesus to the rest of their belief structure.

But what Jesus encourages every one of us to do is to wait and pray for this baptism, to be endued with and clothed by the Holy Spirit so that He can lead and guide us into the good and right ways of God as Jesus promised.

Now, concerning the fullness, Jesus said

“‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive.” (John 7:37-39a NKJV)

When a person comes to belief in Jesus Christ, they become the temple of the Holy Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit lives inside. And when the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes, the dam breaks loose and the flood gates of God’s divine power and blessings open up, and we then become open to the spirit of enthusiasm, that is the fullness of God is working in us and through us.

Jesus likened the Holy Spirit to living waters. Now, living water was water that is always moving. It’s always new and fresh, and never stale nor stagnate. The fullness of the Holy Spirit is a fresh flow of power in a believer’s life. It’s like seeing “fresh daily,” in the supermarket.

What then are the evidences of fullness of the Holy Spirit, of this fresh flow

1. Fresh Flow of Worship and Praise

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance … ‘We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God’” (Acts 2:4, 11b NKJV)

They were worshiping God. Now, it doesn’t say that they were singing songs of praise and worship, but we praise and worship God in many different and various forms. They were praising and worshiping God because as Acts described what they were saying is that they were proclaiming the wonderful works of God

2. Fresh Flow of Power

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NKJV)

The power that is being talked about is that of being a witness for Jesus Christ, a power to share the good news of salvation. We can see this power at work in Phillip as he preached the gospel, the good news, and he saw many come to salvation along with signs and miracles.

I once read what I consider to be a sad commentary of today’s church. It said that we are the first generation to seek the power of the Holy Spirit, but not to further the Kingdom of God, but to be, as it were, entertained. This is why many believers in Jesus Christ aren’t experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of the fresh flow of power is to further the Kingdom of God. Think about it, water that is still generates no power, only when water is moving is power generated.

It is only when the gospel is preached that the Living Water of God, the Holy Spirit, lights up the lives of all who hear it.

3. Fresh Flow of Communication with God

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26 NKJV)

“Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:27 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit being God knows the mind and will of the Father and Jesus towards us, and even though we don’t know what is being prayed for, it’s by faith we commune with God.

The whole idea is that through the Holy Spirit empowering of our lives we now seek the Lord to a greater extent that ever before.

4. Fresh Flow of Fruitfulness

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23a NKJV)

Most of us feel like we’re not even close to having all of these manifested in our lives, but what we need to understand is that we are still a work in progress and some of these come more naturally than others. But the Holy Spirit is working them in our lives.

Many of you know what I mean. We see evidences of this fruit more today than we did when we first came to know the Lord. And as we continually rely upon the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us along the way then this fruit of the Spirit will continue to ripen and our fruitfulness will continue to grow and mature.

Conclusion

In the rest of our story, Simon tried to buy the ability to lay hands on people and give them this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, and that’s because he was still operating in the world. We might say that he had more of the world than he had of the Spirit.

If we’re not experiencing these fresh flows, including the fresh flow of the Holy Spirit’s gifts, if the vibrancy of the Holy Spirit is missing, and if the fire has died down along with our relationship with the Lord, then there is a good chance that more of the world is forming inside of us.

Paul understood this and tells us in his letter to the Galatians Church that there is a war going on inside of us. A war where our fleshly desire is warring against the Holy Spirit. Now, one would think that there would be a no contest, but there is a truism that goes like this, “Whatever we feed the most will end up dominating the other.”

What’s happened is that many of us have been feeding our flesh by involving ourselves more in the pleasures of this world than we are feeding the Spirit through prayer and the reading and studying of God’s word.

In the end we really can’t be effective without the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Such a filling is a necessity if we are going to live effective godly lives in an ungodly world. It’s a necessity if we’re ever going to regain that fire and make a difference in the lives of our family and in the life of our community, which is part of our vision here at Living Waters, and that is making a difference in our community for Christ.

What’s the key to living in the fullness? It’s found in our passage when it says they “received the Holy Spirit.” Our living in the fullness rest solely upon our willingness to being open to the Holy Spirit, open to God pouring out His Spirit and filling us to overflowing.

Just as it was God’s desire to fill the disciples and then those of Samaria, so it’s God’s desire to fill us to overflowing today. Let’s receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit and begin living in that fullness, and making a positive difference in our families, workplace, in our community, and in the world.









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