SPIRIT GIVEN BLESSINGS

(Second of two addresses)

Reading: Romans 10:8-18

Text: verse 9

INTRODUCTION

DO WE EXPECT GOD TO DO AS HE PROMISES, AND ANSWER OUR PRAYERS?

[*] A very dignified pastor was visiting a lady in a nursing home who was confined to a wheel chair. As he stood to leave, the lady asked him to have a word of prayer.  He gently took her hand and prayed that God would be with her to bring her comfort, strength and healing.  When he finished praying her face began to glow. She said softly, “Pastor, would you help me to my feet?”  Not knowing what else to do, he helped her up.  At first, she took a few uncertain steps.  Then she began to jump up and down, then to dance and shout and cry with happiness until the whole nursing home was aroused.  After she was quieted, the solemn pastor hurried out to his car, closed the door, grabbed hold of the steering wheel and prayed a little prayer, “Lord, don’t you ever do that to me again!”   

(a) I don’t know how many times we say, that  the  Lord  does NOT expect us to witness in our own strength - but  yet  when the opportunity comes, we shy back in reluctance  -  “Oh  no!

Let someone else!”

(b)        Part of being a Christian, IS TO  BE  AT  GOD’S  DISPOSAL

WHEN HE NEEDS US.

 

 

(c) When Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His  followers  in Acts 1, He promised them the POWER TO WITNESS! He said,

“Ye shall receive POWER after that the Holy  Ghost  is  come

upon you:  and  ye  shall  be  witnesses  unto  me,  both  in

Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in  Samaria,  and  unto  the

uttermost part of the earth.”

(d)        To say we CANNOT DO IT, is nothing less than an INSULT TO GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT! For we are not asked to witness  in  our own power - God forbid! We are asked to witness in HIS  POWER and HIS, GOD GIVEN ABILITY!!

(e) In God’s eyes, THE WEAKER WE FEEL THE BETTER!!

BECAUSE HE, the Bible says, in 1 Corinthians 1:27,

“Hath chosen the weak things of the world  to  confound  the

things which are mighty!”

(f) In other words, when we do not know what to say, we TRUST HIM, God the Holy spirit for inspiration!!

 

SPIRIT GIVEN INSPIRATION

(a) When we are “Walking in the Spirit”, then He will  REVEAL to us OPPORTUNITIES for witnessing, which we would  otherwise fail to notice.

 

(*) I often used to drive up the new bypass road at  Portobello,  near Edinburgh, and  I noticed one day that it is called, “Sir Harry  Lauder  Road”, named of course after the great Scottish singer and comedian.

He was one day asked to be a guest at a  gathering  of  three hundred officers, during the second world war. They were  all very fond of the comedian, and said, “Harry, we want  you  to sing for us! Sing ‘Comin’ through the rye’.” Harry  turned  to them, and said, “I canna sing for you boys,  I  canna  sing.

John, my boy is dead out yonder in the field. I  cannot  sing  today, but if you’ll let me, I’ll preach a little to you.”

He then went on solemnly, “Men, when I found John dead,  the idol of my heart, John, on whom I had built, all my hopes,  I had the choice of three roads:  I  could  take  the  road  of grief, or I  could  take  the  road  of  despair  and  commit suicide, or I could take the road of Jesus, and  give  up  to Him, and that is what I have done.” 

(1060 in 1200 N.Q.& A.)

(b)        But to make effective use of our opportunities,  we  need the word for the occasion! In one of the verses which we read this morning in 1 John 2:20, it says, “Ye  have  an  unction from the Holy One.”

(c) All too often, we rely on what we’ve been  taught  parrot fashion - you know all the hackneyed clichés  we  have  grown accustomed to!

DARE WE SAY, SOME MAY BE WITHOUT FOUNDATION IN SCRIPTURE!

(*) In one corps where we introduced a conversational Bible Study, some people wouldn’t come, obviously because they were afraid they couldn’t speak intelligently about the Scriptures and what they believed - or were afraid of their cherished beliefs being challenged because they didn’t know the Scriptural foundation for them!

If someone’s experience is out of date, perhaps for the most part filled with clichés  which ceased to thrill their souls a long time ago - THEN PEOPLE RECOGNISE IT!!

(d)        THEY HAVE GOT TO SEE MORE THAN HISTORY IN A POETIC COAT!

THEY NEED TO SEE IN US, SOMETHING THAT IS AS VITAL  AS  LIFE ITSELF!

OUR WORDS AND OUR ENTHUSIASM HAVE GOT TO  FIT  IN  WITH  THAT PICTURE! THEY ONLY CAN, THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT’S INSPIRATION!

(e) He can also give us the INSPIRATION TO BE  QUIET  at  the appropriate time!

A man was once given the following advice by a secretary: “It’s better to remain silent and be thought stupid than to open your mouth and forever remove all doubt.”

Many are the occasions, I have sat with  people  experiencing difficulties and just held their hand, or sat in an  attitude

of prayer - and they have found it of enormous help!

(f) Had I felt the silence  suffocating  and  chattered  away about anything and everything, then those poor  people  would not have got what they needed at that moment!

(g) On other occasions I have been AT A TOTAL  LOSS  for  anything meaningful to say - AND SUDDENLY THE SPIRIT  HAS  GIVEN ME JUST THE WORD FOR THE OCCASION!

POINT 2  A SIMPLE MESSAGE

(a)    Billy  Graham  the  evangelist,  is now quite an elderly man, but his message has not changed either in it’s simplicity or it’s power. When he spoke to us by satellite in the School of Evangelism in Stirling University some years ago, it was an inspiration and blessing to the 500 of us who were there. The simplicity and directness of his message has not changed down through all these years. He couldn't be present with us, as his illness didn't allow him to travel.

 

(b)   I remember a few years ago being greatly blessed, as  I  listened to Dr. Graham being interviewed on television.

Some very tough and difficult  questions  were  asked  in  an effort to trip him up - yet his answers were calm,  and  very

obviously under the inspiration  and  guidance  of  the  Holy Spirit, as every answer did not glorify Billy Graham  or  his organisation, but rather, every answer glorified God!!

(c) So too will OUR answers be, if inspired by God! They will NOT GLORIFY OURSELVES OR OUR CORPS, OR THE ARMY, but THE LORD!

(d)        We should never feel self-satisfied with what we  do  for God! If we are TRULY FILLED WITH THE  SPIRIT,  then  we  will have an INSATIABLE DESIRE TO DO AND TO DARE FOR GOD! IT  WILL BE UNQUENCHABLE!!

(e) As I said, the  simplicity  of  Billy  Graham’s  message  has  never changed in all these years! He preaches  a  very  simple  and straight-forward message!

(f) The message of the Gospel which God  has  entrusted to us, is not at all complicated! It  is  often  man  who turns it into a theological argument!

(g) The Apostle Paul reminds us of the simplicity,  when  he says in  1 Corinthians 1:18,

“For the preaching of the  Cross  is  to  them  that  perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power  of God.”

Again in verse 23, he says, “We preach Christ crucified.”

(h) Some try to discount the Cross, saying they do not want a ‘BUTCHER’S RELIGION’, but dear  friends,  this  is  THE  VERY HEART OF THE GOSPEL - WITHOUT IT, THERE IS NO GOSPEL OR SALVATION!!!

 

(i)  There are many gospels being preached today, and if  they do not proclaim salvation through a Crucified Christ at the heart of their message, then they are NOT BRINGING PEOPLE TO SALVATION,  but RATHER DAMNING THEM IN HELL!!

(j) People sometimes wonder why I have little time for wishy-washy inter-church ‘do’s’! How can we have fellowship with those who are responsible for seeing souls damned, rather than saved??

POINT 3

(a) I think of well documented accounts of men  in  Communist prisons, locked in a cell with starving rats, simply  because they confessed to knowing Jesus as their Saviour!

(b)   Yet others were put into boxes, and nails hammered in  on every side, until they pricked the body - and then left  like that for prolonged periods!! ─YET EVEN AFTER ALL  THAT,  THEY STILL HAD THIS INSATIABLE DESIRE  TO  WORK  AND  WITNESS  FOR GOD!!