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. The Holy Spirit Given

FAR ABOVE WHAT WE CAN THINK OR PRAY

*DAILY DEVOTIONS: Sunday Service  Day 248. (29 November 2020)*

 

Luke 11:5-13 (ESV) 5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I said quite a bit over the last two devotions on this text. So, let us march on today as we look at our Heavenly Father.

He is absolutely available, absolutely approachable, gracious, merciful, compassionate, kind, and you can go into His presence boldly and ask for whatever you want.  You can go into His presence any time and not interrupt Him.  In fact, He desires you to do that. We are not at the home of a friend now asking for bread. We are at our Father’s home, speaking to our Father, knowing He will give us what is right for us. My children certainly never hesitated to ask me for what they wanted.  Do yours?  And the expectation is that if it’s something they need and we know they need it, they’re going to receive it, because they understand the relationship that we have is one of love, and care, and responsibility, and affection.  And that is the point here.

 

Now in our last devotion we came to this angle in Luke 11:13 (ESV) 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father *give the Holy Spirit* to those who ask him!”

 

This was for the disciples on that day, but there's also a sense in which every time a sinner looks to Christ for Salvation, though they don't know it, though it's not in their mind, though they don't realize it. To ask for Salvation to look to Christ for Salvation, is to indeed ask that God would give Himself to you, in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit, in the person of the indwelling Christ. We must stop and realize what the Lord has done when he saved us, what the Lord has done when He saves anybody.

 

Salvation is not as we have said so many times just changing your status. You know some legal thing that happens on a piece of paper. You were on a roll going to hell, and now you are on a roll going to heaven.  No, Salvation is so much more than that. God changes you, you become a new creation but in addition every person who receives Christ and Salvation, receives Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit of God who actually comes to indwell the believer. There is no Christian listening right now who does not have the fulness of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 (ESV) 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”


So that when someone with an honest and sincere heart produced by the work of God cries out to the Son of God for Salvation, looking to Christ and Christ alone for a right standing with God, looking to his cross for the payment of your sins, looking to his righteousness for right standing with the Father. When you cry out to Christ for Salvation God answers, and he saves and he changes not just your legal position with Himself, but he changes you and He gives you His spirit. He gives you Himself. Christ in you! This is your home. So, in that sense we ask for the spirit when we ask for Salvation.

 

Look again at Luke 11:13 “how much more will the heavenly Father *give the Holy Spirit* to those who ask him!” Let me just make it simple.  It does not say you ask for the Holy Spirit necessarily.  It says: “Give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” When you go to ask God for whatever you ask God for, whatever it is, God gives you the Holy Spirit.  Let me show you what I mean.  You ask for comfort, He gave you the Comforter, right?  You ask for help, He gave you the Helper. You ask for truth, He gave you the Truth teacher.  You ask for power, He gave you the Spirit of power.  You ask for wisdom, He gave you the Spirit of wisdom.  You ask for guidance, He gave you the Guide.  You ask for love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, and He gave you the Spirit whose fruit were released in your life.

 

You see, this is the generosity of God.  You ask for the gift, He gives the GIVER. You ask for the effect, He gives the cause.  You ask for the product, He gives the source.  Is that generosity?  He gives you according to His riches, not out of His riches.  You ask God, as it were, going to the bank, you ask for some money, He gives you the bank.  That is the point.  I will just give you the Holy Spirit, then you have got it all because out of the Holy Spirit comes power. Remember my illustration about the magic wand.

 

Out of the Holy Spirit comes the anointing which teaches you all things.  Out of the Holy Spirit comes the giftedness, out of the Holy Spirit comes the fruit, out of the Holy Spirit comes the direction and the guidance. From the work of the Holy Spirit comes everything.  Out of the Holy Spirit comes intercession on your behalf so that all things work together for good.  I will just give you the Spirit.


Talk about generosity.  You might go to God and you might say, “Lord, I need comfort.  Lord, I need some power to get through the circumstance.  I am struggling here.  I need some wisdom.” It would be pretty brash to assume, let’s say if you were a disciple, or even for us if we can sort of put ourselves in that position to go to God and say, “God, I do not want grace for the moment.  I do not want comfort for the moment.  I do not want guidance for the moment. I do not want wisdom for the moment. Would you just come down and live in me?  Would you do that?”  That would be pretty bold, wouldn’t it? So, we rather ask for fish and for a egg, but God gives Himself.

 

I mean, that is asking a lot for a holy God to take up residence in this clay vessel, for a holy God to live in a fouled human.  That is pushing the envelope, wouldn’t you say that?  “Okay, here I am, God.  I do not want three flat loaves of bread for my friends.  I’m telling You, would You please come down and live in Me permanently?” That is presumption beyond description.

 

But that is exactly what happens.  That is exactly what happens.  How generous is God?  What else can He do?  This is not the narrowing His answer to our request.  He is widening it. He not only gives you the good gifts, but He plants in you permanently the source of every one of them.  You are, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “the temple of the Holy Spirit.”  You are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  So, it is only a matter of being strengthened by His Spirit in the inner man.

 

And then in Ephesians 3:20 it says, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all he can ask or think, according to the power that works - ” where? “- in us.”  God says, in effect, “They have so many needs, they need so much power, so much wisdom, so much guidance, so much help, I’ll just put My Spirit in them and then they have the Giver, and the Source, and the Cause.”

 

The generosity of this is absolutely staggering.  Giving us the Holy Spirit specifically is not something less than good gifts, it is something more than good gifts.  The Lord is taking it a step further.  He said, “I’ll give you that which is good” as He is a Good Father.  And now He says, “I’ll just give you the good One, the third member of the Trinity, God of very Gods, God the Spirit to come and live in your life.”

 

Now, the disciples and the Jews of that time knew about the Holy Spirit.  They read Genesis, and it was the Spirit of God who moved on the waters, right?  They knew the Spirit’s role in Salvation. Job 33:4 (ESV) 4 The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

But they also knew that when the Messiah came, He would bring a kingdom which would be dominated by the Holy Spirit.  How did they know that?  Because in Joel 2:28-29 it says, “The Spirit of God would come on all mankind.” There would be a release of the Holy Spirit, the likes of which had never been before.  That is going to happen in the future kingdom but there was a preview of it on the day of Pentecost.

 

They also knew that the Holy Spirit was going to come in fullness to believers who were a part of that kingdom.  How did they know that?  Ezekiel 36:24-27 (ESV) 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”


They also knew what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:6 (ESV) 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

 

So, Jesus knows what they know. Je knows this is in their heart, and so He says to them, “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more is your heavenly Father -” who is perfect and perfectly good going to give you what you want most, and what you want most is the Holy Spirit, because in having Him you have not just the supply, but you have the source, right?

 

So, I can go on giving you verse by verse of their understanding if the Holy Spirit and Christ’s teaching in that regard. John 14:16-17 (ESV) 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 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.”


John 7:37-39 (ESV) 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”


Do you understand that everything that has happened to you as a believer from your re-birth all the way through is a product of the work of the Holy Spirit?  Your virtues, your gifts and the fruit of the Spirit all comes from Him. You are sanctified by the Spirit.

 

So, we call out to Christ for life, but I think there is a sense in which we ask for the Holy Spirit even now. In what sense. When we look to God for those experiences that can only be known through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Listen we are not asking for the Holy Spirit in terms of receiving him as we did when we were saved. He is here now; he is not leaving. You do not receive him again and again and again. You receive Him once at conversion, and there are those signs that accompany that, by the way.

 

The evidence of the spirit of God being in you is not that you spoke in other languages. The spirit baptism is a reality, and that reality occurs at conversion. You say, in what sense are you speaking? Well how about this?

 

Do you ever ask the Lord for greater boldness? Lord I need boldness, I cannot stand being so timid when it comes to defending you, speaking about you, standing out for my faith. I need boldness. Acts 4:29 (ESV) “29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.”

Also, we need boldness to approach the throne of God. Hebrews 4:16 (KJV) “16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” It is not a throne of law, it is not a throne of justice, it is not a throne of judgment, it is a throne of grace?  “So, we draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The word “boldness,” the Greek is ‘parrsia’.  It means “freedom in speaking” basically.  It means “to say whatever you want to say.”  It means “to be bold in your speech.”  It means “to be open and frank.”  And as we would say, “to be up front and say it like it is.” Or as I said last Sunday. It is to ‘be real with God’.

 

Do you ever ask God for greater wisdom? Father I really need wisdom this situation. I have this big decision to make I do not know how to handle it. Would you grant me wisdom? James 1:5 (ESV) 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”


Anyone listening want greater knowledge of the scriptures?  Oh Lord that I would better understand your word, have a deeper understanding, a living understanding of your word.

 

Is there anyone who needs greater faith? You find yourself often like that man who said, Lord I believe but please help my unbelief. Grow my faith.

 

Anyone who needs greater patience. Am I alone in this struggle for patience? Lord grant me greater patience.

 

Anybody who needs greater faithfulness, greater usefulness, greater power for ministry. How does the Lord answer that prayer?  Whose activity explains greater boldness, whose activity explains greater wisdom, whose activity explains you are learning the scriptures, whose activity explains your faith growing, your patience growing, your faithfulness growing, your loyalty to God being there. Whose activity explains usefulness, power for ministry. It is all due to the Holy Spirit's activity, and in that sense, we ask for him.

 

So, Christ in the model prayer basically says here is the mindset. Here is the message, here is the manner but you know what, you need to be motivated, and the motivation is your father is willing to receive you and help you. You can ask, you can knock, you can seek, you can keep on doing it, because you will never inconvenience Him. you never have to wake him up. He's always ready and you should do this because he loves you, and he's all wise and he's ready not only to answer you, but to answer you with only those things which are good for you.

 

Those are the only kind of gifts He gives. He does not give serpents, when you ask for fish, he does not give scorpions when you ask for an egg. That is not God. Now how should that inform your prayer life Christian? Have you been asking God for something that has not happened yet and you wonder why? Seems reasonable to you, what you are asking for. It seems right to you or you would not be asking for it. It seems good to you, but it has not happened yet.

Based on all we have seen this morning, let me give you 2 things you can know for certain.

 

Firstly, your request if you are a believer. Your request not being granted cannot be explained by an unwillingness on God's part to hear you and help you. It is not because God is unwilling. It is not because he is unaware, it is not because he is deaf, it is not because he is slow to act or is unable to act.  You cannot explain it in any way shape or fashion, by an unwillingness or part of God.

 

So, there is a second explanation. It must be explained by God's love for you. It must be explained by his absolute commitment to only give you what is good for you. If there was something better for you child of God you would have it, if you do not have it right now it is not better for you right now. Let me quickly say it. That is not to say it will not be better for you a week from now, or a month from now or six months from now. Perhaps that which you are asking for is perfectly right and one day God will be granted it in his time. So, keep on asking seeking and knocking if you know what you are asking for is in accordance with his word and in accordance with His will. Then you persist in prayer but know this that where you are this day is exactly where you should be. If not, God would change it. You are asking for what Christ would please, but it has not been granted, then I say to you it is because of God's wisdom and God's love that you do not have it. That means you must learn to rest in Him. And to be thankful and to be content and to serve him well right there.

 

So, in summary. When the Lord gave you the Holy Spirit, He gave you everything, absolutely everything.  By His presence, by His power, by His grace we are permanently the possessors of everything we need and so much more that “He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can -” what? “- ask or think.”  You have more resource in the Holy Spirit than you can even imagine.

 

It is all over the top, the whole passage.  God gives you more in giving you the Holy Spirit, than you could ever possibly understand.  That is why the prayer also of Paul was that God would give us the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge that we would understand what we have.  And it is to those who ask.  You ask and He does not give you what is the Spirit’s, He gives you the Spirit.


Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: 29 November 2020