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August 30, 2022 7:05 am
Evangelical Christians are notoriously cautious about the Holy Spirit, to our detriment. Many times we tiptoe around this relationship rather than boldly stepping into God's glorious presence today on Insight for living Chuck Swindoll will help us strip away some of our cautionary measures so we can enjoy what God intended from the beginning and unguarded friendship with him.
And if you're craving deeper intimacy with God can't figure out how to attain it.
Today's program is for you Chuck titled his message. Draw me nearer now. I want to begin with a candid confession.
Many of us must confess the same confession.
Maybe you don't want to be numbered among others of us. If that's true, nobody can force you to be. But I think this represents more than the than a few. I think this is the majority of us, but confession is there are times we desire more fulfilling expressions of our faith.
There are times we wish for more evidences of the dynamic of the spirit of God in our lives, but fear holds us back. I sincerely think we have pulled way too far back from what the Lord has for us so we need to re-learn, rediscover by closer examination what he is said Ephesians 5, we find here a stack of don'ts. One don't. After another you like to take notes here. They are verse three. Don't be immoral, impure or greedy 53. Do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
That's the first series of don'ts. Don't be immoral, impure, greedy for don't lose control of your tongue and there must be no filthiness and silly talk or course suggesting but but rather there to be the giving of thanks and so don't lose control of your tongue. Verse six. Don't don't be deceived. Let no one deceive you with empty words or because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Verse 11. Don't participate in evil deeds do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness but instead expose them. Verse 15 don't be unwise.
Be careful how you walk, not as unwise but as but as wise, 17 don't be foolish. These live in the list is his lengthy, don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is verse 18. Don't get drunk. It is disobedient to God.
But there's a positive command in verse 18 but be filled with the spirit. He doesn't say. Pray for the spirit have to do that you have the spirit spirit of God came as part of the package deal. If I may use those marketing terms as part of the package is salvation without you even knowing it. The spirit of God came and took up permanent residence within you, praise his name, and you got within you the full capacity of power, like building a vast reservoir awaiting the coming of rains and all. It is a vast chasm, and before long it becomes full, almost running over the capacity is there to hold it. That's what the spirit of God provides the full capacity of power and dynamic.
You got all of that at this moment of salvation. Now, in light of that, let him fill you.
That's the command let him take control of you. Instead of being filled with alcohol is being filled with drugs instead of being filled with guilt over deeds of darkness. Instead of being filled with wrong wrong statements and wrong acts be filled with the intimate spirit of God, like the wind would fill the sale and set it on its way and he did not simply say be people of knowledge be people of strong faith though those things are important to be reasonable and be logical and be spiritually intelligent and biblically aware there's nothing wrong with it does everything right about it. But that's not all. Here he says be filled with the person of God who lives within you. Are you have you been recently. Can you ever think of a time in your life when you really could say I remember being so filled with thoughts of God and the power of God that I felt invincible in the midst of this trial.
What we want what God wants for us, not turn from Ephesians 5 back to this great great historical book of acts chapter 6 acts six verse three. The apostles are the leaders in the early church, and there is a problem that arises because some of the people in the church don't have enough food and there was partiality shown to the Jews and the Hellenistic Jews were being overlooked. There was some prejudice there. The apostles who were those who are the leaders of the church that the original that is the original 11+1 that's stepped into the ranks of the apostles. These these man who are leading the church know of the need and they decide to deal with it. Somebody needs to help in the daily serving of food in this church. Verse three. Chapter 6 of acts averse to the 12, some in the congregation of the disciples to get this one of the earlier business meeting we would call it is one of the early Congregational meetings of the church. There may have been thousands of them together. Maybe there were hundreds, but they they were summoned together and that the site and and the apostles made an announcement. It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables but select from among you, brethren, seven men, please observe the qualifications seven men of good reputation, full of the spirit and full of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task there is in the loneliest account only three. Aside from the number 71 at seven they wanted 70 selected they were to be men of good reputation.
They were to meet demand full of the spirit and full of wisdom, but we verse four will stay with our priorities. We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word observe the order. Usually we get that reversed. We want to be men of prayer and we want to be men of the word.
Now back to the list of verse three man of good reputation man full of the spirit admin full of wisdom is not interesting and sleepy. A good reputation and obviously people with wisdom to work through the. The delicate issue of the of the church and the problem in the church, but we tend to pass too quickly by full of the spirit full of the spirit we just read from Ephesians be filled with the spirit in here there saying we want spirit filled man to do this and so they began their selection.
The statement found approval congregation voted in favor of that. They said that's great we are, we agree with that, whether they voted or not. That's a material point is, they approve the whole idea and so they chose Stephen please observe immediately. It says all man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit is again full of faith and also a man in whom the spirit was carrying out his dynamic we might paraphrase his sale was full of the of the blessed wind of the spirit.
He was, he was moving through life. Obviously with the hand of God upon him. There was something about Steven and these other six name for us in verse five they brought these men before the apostles and after praying they live. They laid their hands on them. God honored this Stephen, full of grace and full of power.
Verse eight tells us performing these remarkable things among the people, but verse nine, there's a sudden obstacle with that little particle, but but some man from what was called the synagogue of the Reed man, including both Cyrene and send Alexandria and some from Cilicia and Asia rose up and argued with Stephen so they argue the disagreement in the church led to argument from Psalm from without.
Please observe Stephen. Remember, full of faith, full of the spirit.
They these. These are critics verse 10 were unable to cope interesting comment. Unable to cope with the wisdom and the spirit with which he was speaking literally, they were unable to withstand. They continued unable with strength enough to take a stand against him know that's awkward but that's literally what it says they were unable to have strength enough to stand against him. 80. Robertson suggests these vivid words. Stephen was like a battery charged. And in action doesn't mean you ran over people. It means that under the dominant control of the spirit. He was on intimidated by and influenced by the critics bold as a lion confident in God under the control the full control of the spirit. He moved through the waters of resistance without getting off course and they were unable to hold him back the spirits filling is obvious now that they hated that the opposition party grew in in disagreement. Verse 11 down through verse 15. Let me read them for you. This is the beginning of what led to the stoning of Stephen's they are secretly induced man to say we have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God that was alive course but they got people to say that they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes and they came upon him, and dragged him away and brought him before the Sanhedrin. This was the Jewish Supreme Court. The Council and they and they put forward false witnesses who said this man incessantly speaks against this holy place any speaks against the law for we have heard them say that this Nazarene Jesus will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.
Notice how they're twisting the truth in their their their building a case against him based on this is the sinking sands of the above lies, false information, look at the 15 verse don't just run onto the next chapter 15 verse fixing their gaze on Stephen all who were sitting on the Council saw his face like the face of an angel sent me well.
Having never seen an angel. It's difficult.
I would suspect he glowed almost without exception when there are angelic appearances when there are elderly creatures when there are evidences of the presence of heaven upon earth. There is an aura. There is a glowing. There is a shining as a light and I believe in this case it was visible which is why they said he had the face of an angel like the face of an angel. I'm intrigued by the now not suggesting that you pray for a glowing relax. You just as nervous as you could be your one verse truck going with this.
This is the first step. First step toward heresy. I knew it was coming. It's a motorcycle. Next thing he does is go wild with this.I knew it was coming. Relax, ask if it's in the book, so you might as well come to terms with what's in the book. I didn't write it by written it. I wouldn't write it that that mysterious side side explaining that's why my writing is a lot duller than the writing of the Scriptures, and it makes you think. What is a face of an angel like and if that's what they saw and the spirit of God led me to write it. What did Stephen look like and why now it's all connected. I'm convinced with his being full of the spirit and on intimidated by them invincible in their presence because of the power of God. Nothing in Stephen but there's something about the spirits filling that set them apart and he delivers a sermon. Maybe the best of Everett acts chapter 7 in front of opposing people with their arms folded and their friends in the in their jaws set on murder there just waiting for him to get to a place where they can stoning never spoken to a hostile crowd maybe never this hostile.
I spoke of his free-speech platforms in the 60s it was exciting University of Oklahoma University of Berkeley, California, Berkeley. It it's on-site. The words of Churchill come back. Few things in life are more exhilarating than being shot at without result.
And when they throw things at you. And when they answer back either you you you step away and run are you are you have a sense of of on intimidated confidence this will Stephen had a lot more than I've experienced. And you've experienced, perhaps in standing there with a face like an angel.
He begins the history of the precise TV. Pretty he delivers it with precision precision timing and comes right to the point of their guilt in the death of Christ. They can't stand it.
You knew they couldn't. He knew his hours were numbered. I'm going to the end of chapter 7 verse 54 when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and they begin gnashing their teeth that it is like grinding your teeth the it's a way of saying they were living. They were livid and being full of the Holy Spirit. Why would Luke suddenly add that because that was the dynamic of this power. That was the dynamic of his invincibility. He was able to stand firm and I I'm I'm rather convinced that his voice didn't even tremble full of the spirit. He gazed intently into heaven, and he saw the glory of God that I know must've been light, he saw that ship kind of brilliant light that had flooded upon the tabernacle and it rested upon the temple and then this disobedience invaded the lives of the Jews had been lifted and moved away from the house of worship as they moved into captivity, but he saw the light of God, full of the spirit. He saw what no other eyes could see. I wonder if that's part of the filling.
Just wondering what happened to him.
Could this be part of the out of the body experience.
One goes through it.
Time of death. You stood by them as their dying and they tell you of this. This vision you cannot see in the room but they can see and describe it. He's near death. Not only did he see them the glory of God. He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God, by the way, remember when Christ was ascended. What we often say once he ascended, he was seated at the right hand of God. Jesus is now standing up maybe stands up for certain individuals at the time they die did for Stephen. Perhaps he was with nail scarred hands saying come on home.
Stephen enough of that.
He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God in and he said behold us the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.
He told them what he saw because they couldn't see it.
I wonder if those filled with the Spirit at certain moments of crisis in their lives see things no one else can see. Just wondering. And they cried with a loud voice that heard enough and they cover their ears and they rushed upon him with one ample, we cannot stand another word from this man and when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul that's that's later going to be Paul the apostle here he is unsaved, agreeing with their active violence is he hated Christians. They went on stoning Stephen, can you picture it. You've never seen a stoning. I've never seen a stoning, but can you hear the rocks as they hit him, if you seen a fistfight you know the sound of a bone hitting loan. It's a sickening sound. I saw it all through my years in the Marine Corps. You've seen it on street corners you seen it with gangs. Perhaps or maybe some of you the closest to God is a television news report, but it's a sickening sound but nothing like stones hitting bone and based on this young man Stephen and he said as they were stoning him, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. You say that when you're filled with the spirit being stoned I think so. Falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, Lord, do not hold this sin against having said this, he fell asleep. Very emotional sin. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. The spirit gave him supernatural ability to deliver a message against insuperable odds opposition that was that was obvious. The hands already holding stones or he could envision they would soon be holding stones and then at the time of the stoning.
He is able to see the very presence of the living God, and he says words of praise and words of forgiveness part of the filling, I think so. Is that the kind of walk with Christ you have is that the dynamic bits of characterizing your life these days.
That's what I'm getting. If not, why not. If that is possible. Why is why are we doing this task.
Those are convicting questions for all of us. Chuck Swindoll titled today's message draw me nearer, nearer, it's the six study in a 14 part series on the Holy Spirit called flying closer to the flame to learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us email@example.com were nearly halfway through this teaching series and as you're prepared to dig deeper into this topic on your own. I'll remind you that in addition to these daily programs.
Chuck is written a full-length book on this topic. It's perfectly suited for personal study or to make a great discussion tool for your small group.
His book is called embraced by the spirit. Let's face it, most of us are intrigued by the Holy Spirit, but we hold back because were afraid of getting this relationship wrong or of being misunderstood by family and friends. In fact, some of made the third person, a controversial member of the Trinity well in his book check steps away from the theological debate in order to help us enjoy the one that God sent is our companion to purchase a copy of embraced by the Spirit. Call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or visit insight.org/store and then did you realize that Chuck writes a daily devotional email. Thousands are already taking a manager.
This free resource if you're looking for a great way to start your day with inspirational reading from Chuck, we highly recommend signing up for his daily devotional for all the details, go to insight.org/devotional. This daily program relies on the generosity of supportive friends like you. So thanks so much for doing your part in helping others engage with the Bible, just as you did at the very first time you heard insightfully to give a donation today to speak with one of our friendly ministry reps on the phone. If your listing in the United States, call 800-772-8888 and for online giving, go to insight.org/don't travelers who want to take a tour to Israel have lots of choices, but if you measure up to the thoughtful journey prepared by Insight for living ministries with the proper mix of historical information and biblical context. We provide ample opportunities to pause and let the wonder in our goal is to create special moments when you deepen your love for the Bible and draw closer to your Lord experience an unforgettable 12 day tour to Israel with Chuck Swindoll and insight for living ministries March 5 through the 16th 2023. To help you grasp the significance of each slight you will be accompanied by handpicked Israeli guidance and we choose the best, along with seminary trained pastors and professors to enhance your spiritual journey. No organization.
I know offers this level of exceptional in depth instruction and personal care for holy land travel to learn more: one 447-0444. Just imagine walking along sacred sites watching the Bible: the life make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org/events insight for living ministries toward Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend my bill Meyer listen when Chuck Swindoll helps us understand how to cultivate an intimate friendship with God tomorrow on insight for living. The preceding message draw me nearer near was copyrighted in 1990 to 1993 and 2003 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2003 by Charles R. Swindoll. All rights are reserved worldwide.
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