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Sweet Sweet Spirit

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SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT

 

OPEN:

SESAME STREET HAS BEEN A POPULAR CHILDREN’S SHOW FOR MANY YEARS.

AND WITH THE EXCEPTION OF A FEW “HUMAN” ACTORS,

THE SHOW REVOLVED AROUND LEARNING EXPERIENCES

TAUGHT BY HAND PUPPETS CALLED “MUPPETS”.


KERMIT THE FROG, THE COOKIE MONSTER

AND BERT AND ERNIE

HAVE ALL BEEN FAVORITE CHARACTERS ON THE SHOW.

AND EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE BASICALLY HAND PUPPETS,

THE CHILDREN ON THE SET WOULD IGNORE THE MAN HOLDING THE “MUPPET” AND INTERACT DIRECTLY WITH THE HAND PUPPET JUST AS IF IT WERE REAL.

THE MAJORITY OF THE CHARACTERS WERE HAND PUPPETS,

BUT ONE WAS NOT.

DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT THIS BIG YELLOW CHARACTER’S NAME WAS?

THAT’S RIGHT, “BIG BIRD” –

A BIG YELLOW FEATHERED BIRD WITH A MAN INSIDE.


ONE DAY, ONE OF THE CHILDREN ON THE SET

WAS STUNNED WHEN HE SAW THE ACTOR

CLIMBING OUT OF THE BIG BIRD COSTUME.

"MOM," THE TODDLER YELLED,

 "DO YOU THINK BIG BIRD KNOWS

HE HAS A MAN INSIDE OF HIM?"

APPLY:

IT HAD NEVER OCCURRED TO THIS LITTLE BOY

THAT THERE MIGHT BE SOMEBODY INSIDE THE COSTUME.


HE JUST THOUGHT THAT BIG BIRD DID WHAT HE DID – BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT BIG BIRDS DO.

BUT HE WAS WRONG.
BIG BIRD NEEDED TO HAVE SOMEONE INSIDE HIM

SO THAT HE COULD BE BIG BIRD.
HE NEEDED SOMEONE INSIDE HIM

SO THAT HIS CHARACTER COULD REALLY LIVE.

THE BIBLE TEACHES US THE SAME THING;

WE ALSO NEED SOMEONE INSIDE OF US SO THAT WE CAN TRULY LIVE.


TITUS 1:1-9 (NIV)

PAUL, A SERVANT OF GOD AND AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE FAITH OF GOD’S ELECT AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH THAT LEADS TO GODLINESS— 2 A FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE RESTING ON THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE, WHICH GOD, WHO DOES NOT LIE, PROMISED BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF TIME, 3 AND AT HIS APPOINTED SEASON HE BROUGHT HIS WORD TO LIGHT THROUGH THE PREACHING ENTRUSTED TO ME BY THE COMMAND OF GOD OUR SAVIOR,

4 TO TITUS, MY TRUE SON IN OUR COMMON FAITH:

GRACE AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND CHRIST JESUS OUR SAVIOR.

TITUS’ TASK ON CRETE

5 THE REASON I LEFT YOU IN CRETE WAS THAT YOU MIGHT STRAIGHTEN OUT WHAT WAS LEFT UNFINISHED AND APPOINTA ELDERS IN EVERY TOWN, AS I DIRECTED YOU. 6 AN ELDER MUST BE BLAMELESS, THE HUSBAND OF BUT ONE WIFE, A MAN WHOSE CHILDREN BELIEVE AND ARE NOT OPEN TO THE CHARGE OF BEING WILD AND DISOBEDIENT. 7 SINCE AN OVERSEERB IS ENTRUSTED WITH GOD’S WORK, HE MUST BE BLAMELESS—NOT OVERBEARING, NOT QUICK-TEMPERED, NOT GIVEN TO DRUNKENNESS, NOT VIOLENT, NOT PURSUING DISHONEST GAIN. 8 RATHER HE MUST BE HOSPITABLE, ONE WHO LOVES WHAT IS GOOD, WHO IS SELF-CONTROLLED, UPRIGHT, HOLY AND DISCIPLINED. 9 HE MUST HOLD FIRMLY TO THE TRUSTWORTHY MESSAGE AS IT HAS BEEN TAUGHT, SO THAT HE CAN ENCOURAGE OTHERS BY SOUND DOCTRINE AND REFUTE THOSE WHO OPPOSE IT.

[1]

IN TITUS CHAPTER 3, TITUS IS TOLD TO TEACH THE CHRISTIANS ON CRETE

3 THINGS
1. THERE IS A CERTAIN BEHAVIOR THAT’S EXPECTED OF CHRISTIANS (VERSE 1-2)
2. WE DIDN’T USED TO BE THAT WAY. AT ONE TIME WE LIVED AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT KIND OF LIFE (VS.3)
3. BUT THAT CHANGED ONCE WE BECAME CHRISTIANS (VERSES 4-7)

NOW, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO IT.
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT WE CAN LIVE GODLY LIVES SIMPLY BECAUSE WE MADE A DECISION TO BE CHRISTIANS. THUS (THEY BELIEVE) WE DO WHAT CHRISTIANS DO BECAUSE WE GO TO CHURCH, SUNDAY SCHOOL AND BIBLE STUDIES. WE DO WHAT WE DO BECAUSE WE HAVE THE RIGHT THEOLOGY AND WE ATTEND THE RIGHT CONGREGATION.

JUST LIKE THAT LITTLE BOY WHO THOUGHT BIG BIRD DID WHAT HE DID BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT BIG BIRDS DID, SO ALSO, THERE ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT CHRISTIAN DO WHAT CHRISTIANS DO BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT CHRISTIANS DO.

THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS.
REAL CHRISTIANS DO WHAT CHRISTIANS DO… BECAUSE THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE OF US.

NOTICE WHAT TITUS 3:5-6 SAYS. “HE SAVED US, NOT BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUS THINGS WE HAD DONE, BUT BECAUSE OF HIS MERCY. HE SAVED US THROUGH THE WASHING OF REBIRTH AND RENEWAL BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM HE POURED OUT ON US GENEROUSLY THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOR”

WHEN WE WERE SAVED, GOD PUT SOMEONE INSIDE OF US.
HE GENEROUSLY POURED OUT ON US HIS HOLY SPIRIT.

AND GOD PUT THAT SOMEONE – THAT HOLY SPIRIT – INSIDE US TO HELP US CONTROL OUR LIVES.

IN THE BOOK OF ROMANS, PAUL TELLS US THAT WHEN GOD’S SPIRIT LIVES INSIDE US, HE “CONTROLS” US.
“YOU, HOWEVER, ARE CONTROLLED NOT BY THE SINFUL NATURE BUT BY THE SPIRIT, IF THE SPIRIT OF GOD LIVES IN YOU. AND IF ANYONE DOES NOT HAVE THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE DOES NOT BELONG TO CHRIST.” ROM. 8:9

HOW DOES GOD’S SPIRIT CONTROL US?
DOE HE DOMINATE OUR LIVES AND MANIPULATE US LIKE SOME KIND OF HAND PUPPET OR MARIONETTE? NO, IT’S MORE OF A VOLUNTARY THING. GOD’S SPIRIT DOESN’T FORCE US TO DO ANYTHING AGAINST OUR WILL.

GALATIANS CHAPTER 5 (FOR EXAMPLE) TALKS ABOUT US NEEDING TO BE “LED BY THE SPIRIT” AND “WALKING IN THE SPIRIT”. THE IMPLICATION IS – WE GET TO CHOOSE WHETHER WE WALK IN GOD’S SPIRIT AND ALLOW HIM TO LEAD US IN OUR DECISIONS.
IN OTHER WORDS, IF WE DECIDE TO LET GOD’S SPIRIT RULE IN OUR LIVES - IF WE DECIDE TO DELIBERATELY LET GOD’S SPIRIT LEAD US IN OUR LIVES - THEN WE CHANGE.
AND THAT CHANGE YIELDS A CERTAIN RESULT.

YOU CAN TELL WHEN SOMEONE IS “LED” BY GOD’S SPIRIT BY HOW THEY BEHAVE – BY WHAT FRUIT THEY BEAR. GALATIANS 5:22-23 TELLS US THAT “…THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF-CONTROL….”

WHEN GOD’S SPIRIT LEADS ME IN MY LIFE, THEN I’M GOING TO BEHAVE IN A CERTAIN WAY.

BUT CAN’T NON-CHRISTIANS HAVE THOSE QUALITIES?
OF COURSE THEY CAN!
WE ALL KNOW OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE SHOWN THE ABILITY TO LOVE, TO HAVE PEACE, TO BE KIND, AND SO ON. BUT APPARENTLY THEIR GOOD DEEDS ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE THE SAME APPEAL TO GOD.

THAT’S BECAUSE GOOD DEEDS, IN AND OF THEMSELVES, DON’T REALLY IMPRESS GOD ALL THAT MUCH. ISAIAH 64:6 TELLS US THAT “…ALL OUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS ARE LIKE FILTHY RAGS…”

IN SHORT, OUR GOOD DEEDS – WITHOUT GOD’S SPIRIT INSIDE HELPING US - AREN’T NEARLY AS PLEASING TO GOD AS THEY WOULD BE OTHERWISE.

ILLUS: HOW MANY OF YOU LIKE TOMATOES?
RIPE, GARDEN FRESH TOMATOES - I’M TOLD THEY’RE ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL. BUT HAVE YOU EVER BOUGHT TOMATOES FROM THE SUPERMARKET THAT DIDN’T MEASURE UP?
THEY’D BEEN PICKED GREEN ALLOWED TO RIPEN ON THE SHELF… AND THE TASTE JUST ISN’T THERE.
NOW, THAT TOMATO LOOKS JUST AS ATTRACTIVE AS THE GARDEN GROWN VARIETY BUT SOMETHING’S MISSING ON THE INSIDE THAT MAKES IT DISTASTEFUL TO YOU. WHAT’S MISSING WAS THAT IT WAS REMOVED FROM THE VINE TOO EARLY AND THUS LOST OUT ON THE BENEFITS OF BEING CONNECTED.

LIKEWISE, WITHOUT US BEING CONNECTED TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD ANY FRUIT WE PRODUCE IS GOING TO TASTE “FUNNY” TO GOD. OUR FRUIT MAY “LOOK” LIKE THE REAL THING, BUT IT WON’T REALLY TASTE THE SAME TO GOD.

NOW, PART OF THE REASON THIS OUR FRUIT (WITHOUT THE SPIRIT) WILL BE TASTELESS IS BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN DAMAGED GOODS. TITUS 3:3 SAYS “AT ONE TIME WE TOO WERE FOOLISH, DISOBEDIENT, DECEIVED AND ENSLAVED BY ALL KINDS OF PASSIONS AND PLEASURES. WE LIVED IN MALICE AND ENVY, BEING HATED AND HATING ONE ANOTHER.”

IT’S HARD FOR US TO GROW GOOD CROPS IN SOIL THAT’S BEEN DAMAGED.

ILLUS: MY DAD WAS A FARMER, AND HE ONCE TOLD ME THAT IT’S POSSIBLE TO HURT THE SOIL. IF A FARMER GROWS NOTHING BUT CORN IN A FIELD, YEAR AFTER YEAR, EVENTUALLY, THE GROUND IS DEPLETED OF ITS NECESSARY NUTRIENTS AND CROPS WON’T GROW AS TALL/PLENTIFUL.
THOSE NUTRIENTS HAVE TO BE REPLACED SOMEHOW OR THE GROUND WON’T PRODUCE THE ABUNDANT CROP THE FARMER NEEDS.

PEOPLE (WHO AREN’T CHRISTIANS) - HAVE BEEN DAMAGED BY SIN.
THEY’VE GROWN TOO MUCH OF THE WRONG KIND OF FRUIT IN THEIR LIVES. AND THE SOIL OF THEIR SOUL HAS BECOME DEPLETED OF THE NECESSARY NUTRIENTS.

TITUS SAYS THAT ONCE WE’RE SAVED WE RECEIVE RENEWAL BY THE HOLY SPIRIT (TITUS 3:5). THAT WHICH WAS MISSING IN OUR LIVES HAS BEEN REPLACED BY THE SPIRIT. HE STEPS INTO OUR LIVES AND CHANGES US ON THE INSIDE SO THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY DO THINGS THAT TASTE GOOD TO GOD.

NOW, WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
WHY SHOULD IT MATTER THAT GOD’S SPIRIT IS WITHIN YOU AND ME RENEWING US, AND HELPING US TO DO GOOD?

THIS MONTH’S SERMON SERIES REVOLVES AROUND THE QUESTION: “WHAT MAKES A CHURCH SUCCESSFUL?”
AND WE’VE BEEN LOOKING THRU TITUS TO DETERMINE GOD’S ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION “WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE SURE OUR CHURCH IS SUCCESSFUL FOR JESUS?”

AS WE’VE LOOKED THRU THE BOOK OF TITUS, WE’VE SEEN THAT THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION INVOLVES
1. HAVING STRONG, DEDICATED, CONSCIENTIOUS ELDERS
2. OUR CHURCH STANDING FIRM AGAINST PAGANISM AND DECEPTIVE TEACHINGS
3. AND IT INVOLVES OUR PERSONALLY LIVING GODLY CHRISTIAN LIVES/DEDICATED TO HOLINESS

BUT A LOT OF CHURCHES STOP THERE.
THEY ARE VERY DILIGENT ABOUT DOING THINGS PROPERLY.
(ELDERS/ DEACONS/ S.SCHOOL TEACHERS).
THEY ARE STRINGENT IN THEIR DOCTRINE.
(THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY BELIEVE AND WHY).
AND THEY STRESS HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS LIFESTYLES.

THEY DO ALL OF THOSE THINGS PROPERLY… BUT AS A CHURCH THEY’RE EMPTY AND LIFELESS. OFTEN, THEY’RE RIGID AND SELF-RIGHTEOUS.

WHY? HOW COULD THAT HAPPEN?
WELL, IT COULD VERY WELL BE THAT THEY’VE FOCUSED SO MUCH ON WHAT THEY COULD DO THAT THEY FORGOT TO ALLOW GOD’S SPIRIT TO WORK IN THEIR CONGREGATION.

JUST LIKE A CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO BE RENEWED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD… SO DOES A CHURCH.

JESUS SAID: “…TRUE WORSHIPERS WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH, FOR THEY ARE THE KIND OF WORSHIPERS THE FATHER SEEKS. GOD IS SPIRIT, AND HIS WORSHIPERS MUST WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH." JOHN 4:23-24

THERE NEEDS TO BE A BALANCE IN THE CHURCH IN ORDER FOR A CONGREGATION TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
WE NEED TO BE FOCUSED ON TRUTH.

THERE ARE CHURCHES WHO PUT LITTLE OR NO EMPHASIS ON GOOD DOCTRINE. THEY’RE ONLY CONCERN IS THAT THEY HAVE THE RIGHT FEELINGS AND EXPERIENCES IN CHURCH. AND AS A RESULT, THE ONLY DOCTRINE THEY HAVE IS THAT WHICH IS BASED ON THEIR EXPERIENCES AND FEELINGS. GOD INSISTS THAT WE CENTER OURSELVES ON THE TRUTH OF HIS WORD.

BUT WE ALSO NEED TO FOCUS ON GOD’S SPIRIT, BECAUSE – WITHOUT GOD’S SPIRIT WORKING WITHIN OUR CONGREGATION - WE'RE REDUCED TO BEING A SOCIAL ORGANIZATION (KIND OF LIKE ROTARY OR THE OPTIMISTS).

NOW, LET ME CLEAR ON SOMETHING HERE.
THERE ARE CHURCHES THAT EMPHASIZE THAT HAVING THE “SPIRIT” IN THEIR CHURCH MEANS THAT THEY HAVE TO SPEAK IN TONGUES AND HAVE UNUSUAL PHYSICAL EXPERIENCES IN WORSHIP. THE BIBLE DOESN’T TEACH THAT… AND NEITHER AM I.

IF A CHURCH IS DOMINATED AND LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD IT DOESN’T HAVE TO HAVE THOSE KINDS OF MANIFESTATIONS, BUT IT MUST BEAR THE “FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT”. IT WILL BE A CONGREGATION KNOWN FOR ITS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, ETC.

AND IT WILL ALSO HAVE A KIND OF POWER THAT GOES BEYOND WHAT MANY PEOPLE ARE USED TO SEEING.

ILLUS: BACK IN ACTS 4, WE’RE TOLD ABOUT PETER AND JOHN BEING ARRESTED FOR PREACHING ABOUT JESUS.
THEY WERE CONFRONTED BY THE JEWISH COUNCIL (THE SANHEDRIN) AND ULTIMATELY THEY WERE BEATEN, COMMANDED NOT TO PREACH PUBLICLY – ANYMORE - ABOUT THE CHRIST. AND THEN THEY WERE LET GO.

NOW, IF THAT WERE DONE TODAY MANY CHURCHES WOULD DO ONE OF A NUMBER OF THINGS.
· THEY MIGHT CALL A BOARD MEETING WHERE THEY WOULD DISCUSS THEIR OPTIONS.
· THEY MIGHT CALL A LAWYER TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS BEING TRAMPLED.
· THEY MIGHT SIMPLY HEED THE DEMANDS OF THE SANHEDRIN AND KEEP TO THEMSELVES.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM DID?
THEY CALLED A CHURCH-WIDE PRAYER MEETING!

ACTS 4:31 TELLS US THAT “AFTER THEY PRAYED, THE PLACE WHERE THEY WERE MEETING WAS SHAKEN. AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SPOKE THE WORD OF GOD BOLDLY.”

ILLUS: YEARS AGO – WHEN I WAS JUST OUT OF BIBLE COLLEGE AND HADN’T BEEN CALLED TO FILL A PULPIT – I DECIDED TO SUBMIT ARTICLES TO THE PREACHER’S COLUMN IN OUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER. AT FIRST THEY LET ME DO THAT… BUT THEN ONE OF MY ARTICLES CAUSED A STIR AND THEY PASSED A RULE THAT ONLY ORDAINED PREACHERS WERE ALLOWED TO SUBMIT FOR THE COLUMN.
I WAS OFFENDED. HOW DARE THEY SHUT ME OUT LIKE THAT.
DIANA AND I TALKED IT OVER AND WE DECIDED TO USE OUR TITHE TO BUY ARTICLE SPACE IN THE PAPER.
I’D SHOW THEM THEY COULDN’T STOP ME.
AFTER A FEW ARTICLES IT BECAME APPARENT THAT I WASN’T ACCOMPLISHING ANYTHING OF ANY VALUE FOR GOD, AND I GAVE UP.

NOW, WHAT I DID THERE WAS WRONG ON A NUMBER OF LEVELS.
FOR EXAMPLE, I SHOULDN’T HAVE USED GOD’S TITHE FOR MY PERSONAL AGENDA.

BUT I ALSO FAILED TO DO THE MOST BASIC OF THINGS.
YOU SEE - I WAS TRYING TO SERVE GOD BY SPEAKING TRUTH TO MY COMMUNITY, BUT I FORGOT THAT THOSE WHO WORSHIP GOD MUST WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH. I SHOULD HAVE DEDICATED A HUGE AMOUNT OF TIME TO PRAYING WITH OTHERS IN THE CHURCH FOR GOD TO LEAD – RATHER THAN BULL HEADEDLY GOING AHEAD WITH MY OWN IDEAS AND PLANS.
THAT’S WHY I FAILED.

AND THAT’S WHY MANY CHURCHES FAIL… FAIL TO DO VERY MUCH FOR GOD. THEY DO THEIR THING – WITHOUT EVER BOTHERING TO CONSULT GOD TO BEGIN WITH. AND, AS A RESULT, THE SPIRIT ISN’T ALLOWED TO LEAD… IN THE PEW, THE PULPIT OR THE BOARD ROOM.

HOW DO WE – AS A CHURCH - GUARD AGAINST THAT TEMPTATION? WELL FIRST WE NEED TO REMEMBER WHO WE USED TO BE BEFORE WE WERE IN THE CHURCH.

TITUS 3:3 SAYS “AT ONE TIME WE TOO WERE FOOLISH, DISOBEDIENT, DECEIVED AND ENSLAVED BY ALL KINDS OF PASSIONS AND PLEASURES. WE LIVED IN MALICE AND ENVY, BEING HATED AND HATING ONE ANOTHER.”

IF YOU WERE TO ASK MANY PEOPLE WHAT’S WRONG WITH CHURCH, ONE POPULAR RESPONSE WOULD BE: “CHURCH WOULD BE GREAT IF IT WEREN’T FOR ALL THE PEOPLE.”

CHURCHES ARE MADE UP OF PEOPLE WHO WERE ONCE DAMAGED GOODS AND THEY OFTEN BRING THE DAMAGE OF THE PAST INTO THE CHURCH THEY NOW ATTEND. AND THEY STAY DAMAGED BECAUSE THEY TEND TO THINK OF THEMSELVES AS A BLESSING TO GOD – RATHER THAN THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

THUS WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT – ONCE WE BECAME CHRISTIANS – A PART OF HIS CHURCH THEN “… THE KINDNESS AND LOVE OF GOD OUR SAVIOR APPEARED, HE SAVED US, NOT BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUS THINGS WE HAD DONE, BUT BECAUSE OF HIS MERCY. HE SAVED US THROUGH THE WASHING OF REBIRTH AND RENEWAL BY THE HOLY SPIRIT” TITUS 3:4-5

WE’VE BECOME PART OF THE CHURCH – NOT BECAUSE WE WERE SO RIGHTEOUS GOD COULDN’T DO WITHOUT US, BUT BECAUSE HE WAS MERCIFUL TO US. HE GAVE US THIS CHURCH AND HE WANTS TO WORK THROUGH US BOTH AS INDIVIDUALS/ AND AS A BODY OF BELIEVERS.
AND THE WAY HE’LL WORK THRU US IS BY THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT.

BUT HOW DOES THAT SPIRIT GET INTO THE CHURCH TO BEGIN WITH? WELL THE SPIRIT GETS INTO THE CHURCH, BECAUSE IT GOT INTO US WHEN WE WERE SAVED.

THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WORKS WITHIN THE CHURCH AS WE ALLOW IT TO WORK WITHIN US AND WITHIN THE SPHERE OF INFLUENCE WE HAVE IN THE CHURCH.

TITUS 3 SPEAKS ABOUT OUR INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCE OF SALVATION BY SAYING “… WHEN THE KINDNESS AND LOVE OF GOD OUR SAVIOR APPEARED, HE SAVED US, NOT BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUS THINGS WE HAD DONE, BUT BECAUSE OF HIS MERCY. HE SAVED US THROUGH THE WASHING OF REBIRTH AND RENEWAL BY THE HOLY SPIRIT” TITUS 3:4-5

WASHING OF REBIRTH?… THAT SOUNDS A LOT LIKE BAPTISM.
WHEN WE’RE BAPTIZED, OUR OLD LIFE IS BURIED AND WE COME UP OUT OF THE WATER REBORN
A NEW CREATION.
A NEW CHILD OF GOD.

AND WHEN WE’RE BAPTIZED, THEN WE’RE INHABITED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.
IN ACTS 2:38 PETER TOLD THE CROWD THAT THEY NEEDED TO “…REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.”

YOU SEE BEING BAPTIZED IN WATER WAS OUR PART OF THE CONTRACT.
GIVING US HIS SPIRIT WAS GOD’S PART.

HE PUT HIS SPIRIT INSIDE US AS A MARK OF HIS OWNERSHIP.
AS EPHESIANS 1:13-14 TELLS US “… HAVING BELIEVED, YOU WERE MARKED IN HIM WITH A SEAL, THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT...”

IN BAPTISM, WE ENACT SOMETHING PHYSICALLY THAT IS PLAYED OUT SPIRITUALLY.
WE’RE REBORN AND RENEWED ALL AT THE SAME TIME
AND THIS ISN’T BECAUSE WE WERE RIGHTEOUS, OR BECAUSE THERE’S ANYTHING MAGICAL THAT WE SPRINKLED ON THE WATER.

THIS ALL HAPPENS BECAUSE GOD WANTS US TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE’RE SAVED.
WE GO DOWN INTO THE WATER ONE KIND OF PERSON, AND RISE UP AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ONE.
AND THE REASON WE’RE DIFFERENT NOW, IS BECAUSE OUR PAST HAS BEEN WASHED AWAY IN GOD’S EYES
AND BECAUSE OUR SOULS HAVE BECOME INHABITED BY SOMEBODY.

JUST LIKE BIG BIRD WAS GIVEN LIFE BY THE ACTOR WHO MOVED INSIDE THE COSTUME
SO, ALSO, WE – AS CHRISTIANS ARE GIVEN LIFE BY THE SPIRIT THAT NOW MOVES INSIDE OUR SOULS.


----

[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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