The Holy Spirit

August 25, 2008     Time: 00:45:26


Craig: "Being disciples of Christ isn't a just a matter of what we do - it's a matter of who we are. And the key to that is the fullness of the Holy Spirit in each of our lives..."

Last week during our Q&A time in response to a question we talked a little bit about what the purpose of this class is. I said that the purpose of this class is discipleship, and that discipleship isn’t just about training a bunch of people to be intellectual eggheads where they got all the answers to all the questions. Discipleship is about a transformed life. Part of that will be doctrinal maturity. That is an area where I, as a teacher, can help to build disciples – by helping to bring them to doctrinal maturity. But it is obviously not all there is. Therefore, as we are in between sections now in the class, I wanted to just take a break today to give a more pastoral sort of lesson because I think it is very important that we understand that being disciples of Christ isn’t just a matter of what we do; it is a matter of who we are. The key to that is going to be the fullness of the Holy Spirit in each of our lives. If you have your Bible, I would like to invite you to get it out because we will be looking up some passages today as I talk with you about the subject of how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

In John 7:37-39, Jesus stands up on the last day of the feast and proclaims,

“If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The normal Christian life which Jesus describes here is a life which is characterized by an overflowing abundance of life. It is a life which is coursing with power and vitality, just like a rushing mountain stream or a spring welling up with fresh water.

Bill Bright, the President and Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ emphasized throughout his ministry until he died two years ago the absolute centrality of the filling of the Holy Spirit for living this sort of vibrant abundant Christian life. Before he died two years ago, at the U.S. staff conference they honored people who had been on staff for many, many decades. One of them, a man named Gordon Klenck, had been on staff with Campus Crusade for fifty years – since 1952 when Campus Crusade was founded. Gordon came to the front of the stage, he was honored, and spoke a few words. He said in retrospect that the most important lesson that he learned from Bill Bright in all those fifty years of ministry was the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit. It is central to the triumphant and vibrant Christian life. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to have problems and trials in life. But it does mean you will have a source of strength to deal with those problems and to live victoriously over them.

As I say, this is supposed to be the normal Christian life, not the exceptional Christian. It is the normal Christian life that Jesus came to give – this life overflowing with this abundant power. Yet, as you look around the church today, how many Christians seem to live lives of this sort? It seems like, as you look around, many Christians are living lives that are not victorious in this way. For example, statistics show that divorce rates among Christian couples are just as high as among secular couples. In fact, atheists actually have a lower divorce rate than evangelical Christians do, despite the fact that Jesus said, What God has joined together let no man put asunder. I’m told that statistics show that Internet pornography use among Christians is rampant today, even though Jesus said that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.[1] Materialism is rife among the Christian church, even though Jesus said, Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust consume and thieves break in and steal. Instead lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. There seems to be a lack of love among many Christians, even though Jesus has taught us the Parable of the Good Samaritan – that all people are neighbors and that we are to be good neighbors to others. Many Christians have a fear of sharing the Gospel. They are terrified of ever sharing the Gospel. They’ve never led anyone to Christ, even though Jesus said to his disciples, You are the light of the world and a city set on a hill cannot be hid. You are the salt of the earth. Many Christians seem to have a worldly focus. They are concerned with home and clothes and a good job and furniture and things of that sort, even though Jesus taught us, Seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness. Many Christians, it seems today, live lives which are defeated and impotent lives.

I think, by the way, that is why you can’t look around at other people as your guide to your behavior and what the normal Christian life ought to be. Because the church as a whole is filled with people who are either non-Christians or Christians who are living defeated lives. Therefore we cannot look to one another as guides for the kind of life we ought to be living. On the contrary, what I want to say is that this type of life that I’ve just described is abnormal by Christian standards. It may be common, but it is not the normal Christian life as Jesus intended it to be. The normal Christian life should be a life of overflowing power and abundance rather than a life of defeat and impotence.

I think the problem is that many Christians today don’t understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They don’t understand how to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a command that we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We have it from Paul in Ephesians 5:18. Paul says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit,” All Christians are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. We all have the Holy Spirit living within us if we are a born again Christian. But that doesn’t mean all Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit. What does Paul mean when he talks about being filled with the Holy Spirit? I think the contrast with being drunk provides a clue. The person who is drunk with alcohol is under the control of that alcohol. His faculties are under the control of that substance, and it determines how he behaves. Paul says, Don’t be like that. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is to say, controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Just as we speak of a person being filled with rage or filled with jealousy (as being controlled and empowered by that emotion), so as Christians we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit; that is, controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

This is to be a sort of continual lifestyle; not something that is just a one-time experience. It is a way of living. So, for example, in Galatians 5:25 Paul says this, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Paul says that the life of the Christian is to be a life of walking in the Spirit, logging time in the Spirit as you are controlled and directed by the Holy Spirit over a period of time. You walk in the Spirit. This is meant to be a steady enduring state, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, year-to-year, as we log time in the Spirit. Not just a sort of one time emotional experience.

If this is the command of Scripture (for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to therefore exhibit the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus describes surging up within us like a spring), how can we be filled with the Holy Spirit?[2] We can get at this question by answering five subquestions. Let me just go through these five questions with you.

1. Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is not a force. He is not an “it” or a power. We should not speak of “it” with regard to the Holy Spirit. Rather, the Holy Spirit is a person. He is the third person of the Trinity, co-equal with the Father and the Son. For example, we have several Trinitarian formulas found in Scripture where all three of the persons are mentioned together. For example, 2 Corinthians 13:14 – the final verse of 2 Corinthians – says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God [that is, the Father] and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Here we have the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit all mentioned together. Or another example is Matthew 28:19 which is the Great Commission that Jesus gave to the disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” So you have the three persons of the Trinity mentioned there. Finally, in John 14 we have John’s great discourse on the coming of the Holy Spirit which mentions all three of the persons. John 14:16-17, 26, Jesus said,

And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. . . . But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Here Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will come from the Father in the name of the Son. All three persons of the Trinity are involved there. The Holy Spirit is God. He is the third person of the Trinity, co-equal with the Father and the Son.

2. Why did the Holy Spirit come? The Holy Spirit came to stand in for Jesus Christ after Jesus’ departure with his ascension to go back to the Father. In Jesus’ absence on this planet or in this universe the Holy Spirit comes and stands in the role of Christ and takes over for him. John describes this in John 14:16-18, the verses I just read, where he says, “I will send you another Counselor to be with you forever. In my absence he is going to come and he will be in you.” Over in John 16:7, 13-15. Jesus says,

Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. . . . When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

So Jesus sees the Counselor, or the Holy Spirit, as the person who will stand in for Jesus after Jesus’ departure back to the Father. He says it is actually better for us that this happens because the Holy Spirit will actually be in us, living within us, and enabling us to live the Christian life.[3]

If you look over in Romans 8 this was the experience of the early church. Romans 8:9-11. Paul writes,

But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.

Notice the progression in that paragraph. It moves from the Spirit of God to Spirit of Christ to simply Christ. The Holy Spirit is so closely identified with Christ’s ministry that the presence of the Holy Spirit within us can be spoken of as Christ being within us. Christ lives in me. How? Through his Holy Spirit who now stands in his place and carries out his ministry to the church.

Therefore the role of the Holy Spirit is absolutely vital to the Christian life from beginning to end. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are born again to new life. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are indwelt by Christ, by God, for living the Christian life. It is the Holy Spirit who endows each one of us with a peculiar spiritual gift for use in the local body of Christ – for building up the body of Christ to which we belong. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us as we are conformed to the image of Christ and made more Christ-like in our character. It is the Holy Spirit who will guide us through life as we make important decisions. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to witness to share the Gospel successfully and lead people to Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who will give us assurance of salvation, of knowing that we are children of God and therefore joint heirs with Christ. From start to finish the role and the ministry of the Holy Spirit is absolutely central to the successful Christian life.

3. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Every Christian is indwelt with the Holy Spirit. In virtue of being born again the Holy Spirit has come to live within you. You are now a temple of the Holy Spirit, the Bible says, in virtue of his presence in your life. But that doesn’t mean that everyone who is indwelt with the Holy Spirit is therefore controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We can grieve the Holy Spirit through sin. The Scripture says we can quench the Holy Spirit by disobedience or not following his guidance. Therefore the Scripture describes actually three types of persons. It is not just the non-Christian and the regenerate Christian. Rather, there really are three types of people that are described in the Scripture. I invite you to look with me at 1 Corinthians 2:12-3:3 to see Paul’s description of these three types of men. He says,

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.

The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?

Here Paul describes three types of people.[4] First the unspiritual man or the “natural” man. The natural man is the non-Christian, the unregenerate person. He is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is spiritually dead in his sins and has no relationship with God. Paul says spiritual things are foolishness to this unregenerate man. The unregenerate man lives under the domination of the flesh. The flesh, as Paul describes it, doesn’t just mean the body, though certainly the flesh can be focused in the physical body. But the flesh is also described as the source of things like jealousy and strife and anger and dissension and so forth. These are attitudinal sins; sins of the mind and not of the physical body.

So when Paul talks about the flesh, he means that sinful human principal that is within us. That fallen human nature, if you will, that includes the body but is more than just the body. It would include sins of the mind as well as sins of the body. The unregenerate man, the unspiritual man, the man who does not have the Spirit of God, lives under the domination of the flesh, under the domination of this fallen, sinful, human nature.

In contrast to that, he says, is the spiritual man. The spiritual man is the person who lives life under the domination of the Holy Spirit. Just as the natural man is dominated by the flesh, the spiritual man is controlled, empowered, and dominated by the Holy Spirit and therefore is a person who is living the normal Christian life.

But the Corinthians, Paul says, could not be addressed as spiritual men even though they were born again Christians. He says Rather, I addressed you as men of the flesh. Fleshly men. Carnal men. Carnal Christians. They were regenerate Christians who were still living life under the domination of the flesh. They were not unregenerate. The Holy Spirit indwelt them, but they weren’t living under the domination of the Holy Spirit. Rather, like the natural man, they were living life under the domination of the flesh.

You will notice that in Corinthians the sign of the spiritual man is not the charismatic gifts. The Corinthian church was the most carnal church in the New Testament. There were people living in adultery. They were getting drunk at the communion table. There were factions and dissensions in this church. Yet this was also the church that exhibited the greatest display of charismatic gifts – speaking in tongues, healing, miracle working, and so forth. The sign of the Spirit’s fullness was not the manifestation of these showy charismatic gifts, rather as Paul explains elsewhere, the manifestation of the Spirit-filled life is what he called the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He contrasts these to the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:16-25. Let’s read that passage together.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do 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 prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication [that is sexual activity outside of marriage whether premarital intercourse or extramarital sexual behavior], impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity [hatred[5]], strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit [factionalism], envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

This is the mark of the spiritual Christian. The person who is walking in the fullness of the Spirit will not exhibit the works of the flesh but with increasing fruitfulness will increasingly manifest the fruit of the Spirit in his life. That doesn’t imply some kind of perfectionism. Obviously we are all fallen people. We will never live perfect lives. We will always struggle with sin. But it does mean there will be a progressive victory of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives over the works of the flesh. The one should increase, the other diminish with time as we walk in the Spirit.

4. The fourth question is: Why are so many Christians not filled with the Holy Spirit? As I reflected on this question, I think perhaps different answers could be given but I want to mention two.

I think the first reason is a lack of total commitment. I think that many Christians are really not sold out. They are reserving some portion of their lives for their own self-control. They are not completely yielded to God. There are areas of their life that they are still keeping under their control rather than yielding this in submission totally to Christ’s lordship. Look at the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4. This is one of the most interesting parables that I think Jesus gave. It is a very thought-provoking parable, especially so since Jesus gives the interpretation of the parable. The Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:3-9:

Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil; and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Then he gives the interpretation of this parable in Mark 4:14-20. I want to focus particularly upon his interpretation of the seed that is sown among thorns in verse 18. He says, “And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” It seems to me that that is a very poignant description of the circumstances of the carnal Christian who isn’t bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit that the normal Christian should bear. Notice the three things that make this person unfruitful – the cares of the world (his mind is occupied with worldly things; the anxieties and cares of this world), the delight in riches (over and over again Jesus warns us that materialism and the desire for things, for having money, is antithetical to the victorious Christian life), and then finally just the desire for other things (he just wants other things in life, whatever it might be like a job or his family or some hobby or some activity that he enjoys more than spiritual things – the desire for other things is just greater than his desire to know God).[6] So this person proves unfruitful.

I think that is the first reason that many Christians don’t experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit – they are not really totally yielded to him. They are holding on to control and therefore it cannot be under the control of the Holy Spirit. They are not really completely sold out to Christ. They are not totally committed.

Secondly, I think the other reason is reliance on self-effort. It is the reliance on self-effort to lead the Christian life that frustrates the work of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians are sold out. They are deeply committed, but they are still trying to live the Christian life on their own power. For them, the Christian life has become a way of doing something rather than a way of being someone. So they are constantly trying to grunt it out and to do all the right things to be a good Christian. I have to tell you, according to the Scripture, this is impossible. The Christian life is impossible to live on your own strength and power. Look at what Jesus says in the Parable of the Vine in John 15:5. Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit . . .” It is the life of the vine coursing through the branches that produces the fruit – the grapes – on the vine. He says, “. . . for apart from me you can do nothing.” You cut the branch off from the vine and the life is lost, and the vine can bear no fruit; it becomes unfruitful. Therefore the life of a Christian is impossible to live in one’s own strength.

That is why when Jesus left he told the disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high (remember in the book of Acts). He said, When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, then you will receive power to become my witnesses. Paul, in Galatians 2:20, describes the Christian life as Christ living in me. He says, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Without the filling of the Holy Spirit, the Christian life will be reduced to legalism and grinding self-effort which will ultimately be self-defeating.

This was brought home to me a couple of years ago when I received a letter from a former seminary student of mine who had now lost his faith and left Christ, even though he was once a Christian minister after graduating seminary. When I began to teach philosophy, I realized the dangers of the subject that I teach. One of the things that most burdened my heart was that no student of mine would come to lose his faith through studying philosophy. So when I got this letter from John I was deeply disturbed that one of my former student had now lost his faith. But as I read his account of what happened to him it became very clear to me that it wasn’t because of intellectual problems primarily that John had left Christ. Rather, John had been seduced in the course of his ministry by a woman and committed adultery. He eventually divorced his wife. He was in a church that was filled with factionalism and bitterness where people were not living the Christian life. Then came this in the letter that I want to read to you that I thought was very revealing. He said,

Since I am passionate about the things I am interested in, I tried as best I could to be a faithful Christian and a good minister. [Listen to the self-effort in these words.] I accepted God’s grace and it radically changed my life when I was a teenager. After being saved I wanted to show God how grateful I was for his gift of salvation by committing my life over to him with all that I had. Even though I knew it was by grace that I had been saved, I almost always felt guilty that I wasn’t doing enough in response to God’s love whether it was spending time in prayer, evangelizing, reading the Bible, tithing, forgiving someone who had done me wrong, or whether it was struggling with the temptations of lust and pride and selfishness or laziness.[7] I almost always felt guilty. I could never understand how Christian people could come to church every Sunday but never get involved much in the church’s programs because to me that is what believers would want to do as I did. Today I am pretty much guilt-free in the sense that I have no guilt in regards to the Christian duties mentioned above. In fact, I can’t remember when I’ve ever been happier than I am today. I am living life to the hilt, pretty much guilt-free primarily because my ethical standards aren’t as high. In fact, I believe the Christian ethical standards are simply impossible for anyone to measure up to. Think about it. According to Jesus I should feel guilty for not just what I do but for what I think about – lusting, hating, coveting, etc. I’d like every person to experience the freedom I have found.

I think there you have the testimony of a carnal Christian trying to live the Christian life in the power of the flesh, and it is impossible. That is why I think John is quite right. The carnal Christian is more miserable than the non-Christian because the carnal Christian is guilt-ridden because he can’t measure up to God’s standards. Therefore he would be better off (or at least happier, I should say) if he were an unbeliever. It seems to me that many Christians have not tapped into the power of the Holy Spirit, but even if they are committed are just living life under their own power and are therefore frustrated and unfruitful.

5. That leads to the fifth and final question: How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit? As I think about this, it seems to me that it is basically through doing the two things that Jesus said when he first began to preach the Kingdom of God. Remember what he said? He said, Repent and believe. That is to say, number one, repent – you confess every known sin to God. Everything in your life that is displeasing to him, you confess to God claiming the promise of John 1:9 – if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So the first step is to turn, to repent, to honestly acknowledge that you have been living the Christian life in your own self-effort, under your own power, or there has been a lack of total commitment, you’ve been holding back. You are going to repent of that now and turn from those sins, confessing them to God knowing he will forgive and cleanse you.

The positive aspect of it then is to turn toward God in belief in faith. That is to say, to now yield yourselves to God as a living sacrifice. This is what Paul talks about in Romans 12:1-2. Paul says,

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Here, what Paul says is that we need to present ourselves to God body and soul as a living sacrifice on God’s altar, totally committed to him. Notice that this is not dependent upon feelings. We are not talking about having an emotional experience. We are talking about having a yieldedness of one’s life to God – a surrender if you will. It is a surrender of one’s life completely to God and inviting him, through his Holy Spirit, to take control of our lives and to guide and empower us. After that, to walk day-by-day in the fullness of the Spirit. What that means is that when you immediately sense that you have sinned, don’t feel guilty about it and recriminate yourself. Go to God immediately in confession and say God, I know I’ve blown it again. Forgive me. I turned from this. Then claim his promise that you are a forgiven person and ask him to fill you again, to take control of your life again, and resurrender the throne of your life to God. This will be an ongoing process in your life. With time, as he conforms you to his image and as you are sanctified with Christ, you will find victory more and more over those sins of the flesh and more and more fruit of the Holy Spirit.[8]

We all know the problem with a living sacrifice, right? The problem with a living sacrifice (as opposed to a dead one) is that it tends to crawl off the altar! So this needs to be a continual recommittment. Every day when you get up in the morning before your feet hit the floor say to the Lord, Lord, today is your day. I can’t live it on my own strength. I yield my life to you today and invite you to fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me to be guided by you and controlled by you as I live throughout this day. Then as in the course of day you experience problems and failures and stumbles immediately confess and resurrender and ask him to fill you again.

Jan likes to give an illustration of this that she has often used with our children of holding an umbrella as you walk along the sidewalk in the storm. As long as you stay under the umbrella you will be safe from the rain. But when you leave the umbrella, when you walk away and stray off the sidewalk, then you get drenched in the downpour. The Holy Spirit is like God’s umbrella under whose protection you need to walk as he guides and directs you through life. That doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit won’t direct you into hardship and even failure. He will! There are things to be taught to you through failure and hardship that you need to learn. But it does mean that as you go through these in the power of God’s strength you will be right where God wants you to be and therefore you need not have any fear of total surrender to God. Look what Paul describes the will of God as in Romans 12:2. He says, “you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” It is good for you; it is good for what God wants to do. It is acceptable. If you understood it, you would embrace it willingly. And it is perfect. That means that all of your efforts to try to improve upon God’s will for your life can only hinder it. It is perfect. Therefore we can willingly and joyously submit ourselves without fear to him in total surrender.

I hope this has been helpful. I want to close with a word of prayer to give anyone an opportunity who feels that the Holy Spirit has been convicting you today to make that decision of full surrender to him and to invite the Holy Spirit to take control of your life this morning. I’d like us to just close by bowing our heads in prayer. I am going to pray aloud. If you sense the Lord has spoken to you then you pray silently in your heart with me.

Father, I thank you for your love for me, your child. Thank you for setting me apart before I was born, and for calling me by your grace to be your child. Thank you that you have a wonderful plan for my life that will include eternal life with you in glory, full of joy and blessedness. Father, I acknowledge that I have not yielded my life totally to you but I have been holding back, been in control. Lord you know those areas of my life that I am ashamed of and need to confess. I do confess them now. I acknowledge them as sin and is displeasing to you. I turn my back upon these now and ask your forgiveness. Father, I now yield the throne of my life to you, to your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit take control of the throne of my life. Fill my life. Control and guide me. Produce your fruit in me as I walk with you. So I yield in surrender to you all of my life and all of its aspects right now. Father, I know as sure as the day is long that as I go forth from this place – perhaps even before tonight – I will have stumbled in some way, displeased you. But Lord I know your love is unfailing. You sent Christ to die for me and that in him I am pure and clean and righteous before you. Just give me the strength, Father, to turn to you again and say, “Lord, forgive me and cleanse” and I know that you will. Help us, Father, corporately in this Defenders class to be an incendiary fellowship filled with the Holy Spirit, a veritable temple of the Holy Spirit in this room through whom your power to change lives can work in a tremendous and marvelous way. We give ourselves to you Father corporately as well, rejoicing and trusting in you to do great and mighty things through us just as you have promised. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.[9]

[1] 5:10

[2] 10:12

[3] 15:03

[4] 20:24

[5] 24:56

[6] 30:11

[7] 35:07

[8] 40:11

[9] Total Running Time: 45:26 (Copyright © 2008 William Lane Craig)