Sunday, June 25, 2017


18 June 2017

I.  Introduction
            -- turn in Bibles to Revelation 3:14-22

    14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
      The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

      15‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

            -- I just finished reading John Bevere’s book, Drawing Near, and as I was reflecting on the overall purpose of this text -- to help Christians to draw near to God again -- to honestly seek a better relationship with Jesus -- I couldn’t help but think of the trip we took a couple of years ago out west to Arizona

            -- if you remember, we stopped in San Antonio to look around, and I made a point of carrying Kim and Brooke to see the Alamo -- we had come all the way to San Antonio, and I couldn’t let them leave without seeing it -- I felt it was something that everyone should see because it’s part of our history and an important part of the history of Texas -- and there’s a lot that you can learn about life and courage and faith from visiting the site
            -- to be honest, though, the first time I saw the Alamo myself, I was disappointed -- I had gone to San Antonio for a work trip, and one of the first things I wanted to do was to go see the Alamo -- I grabbed a brochure and a walking map from the motel lobby -- and right there on the cover was a picture of the Alamo that was just like it looked in the John Wayne movie -- so I headed out, following the map to find it
            -- I walked and walked and walked, but I could nothing that looked like the pictures from the movie -- nothing that looked like the picture on the brochure
            -- after a couple of hours of searching, I finally found it -- the Alamo is about the size of this building and is surrounded by modern, high-rise office buildings -- you can't even see it unless you are standing right in front of it -- the only thing left on the site is the mission building, tucked into a small alcove near a busy main street in downtown San Antonio -- it looked nothing like the movie -- it looked nothing like what I remembered from watching John Wayne fight those Mexicans years ago
            -- after my disappointing visit to the Alamo, I did some internet research -- it turns out, the movie wasn't actually shot in San Antonio at the site of the Alamo -- it was shot at Alamo Village, which is about two hours outside of town
            -- I also found out the whole town is fake -- it is nothing but a movie set -- if you go there, it looks like an abandoned wild west town -- you can see a street lined with store fronts and you can see the Alamo, looking just like I remembered it from the movie, but it's all fake -- there's no real buildings here -- there's only the fronts of the buildings
            -- if you walk through the entrances of the buildings -- in just two or three steps -- you'll find yourself standing outside again -- there's not building there -- it may look like the real thing on the outside, but there's nothing on the inside -- it's fake -- it's all a facade

II.  Scripture Lesson -- Revelation 3:14-22
            -- that remembrance came to my mind as I was reading Bevere’s thoughts on this passage from Revelation -- just to remind you of the context of this passage, the Apostle John was on the island of Patmos on the Lord’s Day when the heavens were opened and he was given a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ -- Jesus came to him with messages for the seven churches of Asia Minor, in what is now modern-day Turkey -- here in this passage, Jesus gives John the message for the church at Laodicea

            -- look at verse 14 again

    14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
      The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

      15‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.

            -- the church at Laodicea had problems -- Jesus said it was a lukewarm church -- it was neither hot nor cold, and it left a bad taste in His mouth -- He says here that He was about to spit them out of His mouth -- in other words, Jesus was ready to just give up on these people -- He was fed up with them and their indifference to Jesus and His commands
            -- Jesus said that He wished they were either hot or cold -- one or the other -- because then they might know who they were -- as it was, the church was fooling itself into believing it was something it was not -- the church was nothing more than a facade -- a church in name only -- as Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:5, a people having a form of godliness, but denying its power -- they acted religious, but were not living in the power or presence of God

            -- if the church at Laodicea had been a “hot” church, then their faith and their reliance on Jesus would have been obvious to all -- they would have been alive -- full of good works -- basing their actions and their deeds on true doctrine -- the presence of Jesus would have been felt by all who came near -- it’s the presence of Jesus that makes a church hot
            -- I have a Christian friend who worked at the University of Georgia -- and every day at lunch, he would meet with a couple more Christians -- they would read the Bible together and share about their faith and their walk with Jesus -- they didn’t advertise what they were doing -- they didn’t put out a sign that said, “church meeting”
            -- one day, they were in the room where they met for lunch, and someone knocked on the door -- when they opened it, the guy said, “Look, I don’t know what you are doing in here for lunch every day, but it’s obvious there’s something different about you -- and I want it in my life, too” -- that’s what a hot church looks like -- without even saying a word, others can sense the presence of Jesus in such a tangible way that it draws them in

            -- and I think we all know what a “cold” church looks like -- you may have visited one of those in the past -- lifeless -- dead -- no works -- it’s just there in name only -- and there’s no power, no presence, no passion
            -- the reason Jesus told the Laodiceans that He could even wish they were a cold church was because it would have been easy for them to see how far they had fallen if they had just looked with honest and open eyes -- people know when Jesus is not there -- they know when they’re just going through the motions -- and if the Laodiceans had been cold, it would have been easy for Jesus to reach them

            -- but they were lukewarm -- not hot -- but not cold -- just a spark of life to them -- just enough warmth to keep them alive, but not enough to warm anyone or to spread out into a raging fire -- kind of like those old gas heaters we used to have in the house -- they’d keep the house warm -- they’d keep the chill off -- but they wouldn’t make it hot, no matter how high you turned it up -- the only way you could get truly warm was to stand right in front of them -- and people on the other side of the room didn’t really benefit
            -- that’s what this church was like -- it was lukewarm -- it wasn’t cold enough that everyone knew there was a problem -- and it wasn’t hot enough so that others were drawn to the presence of Jesus -- it just kind of existed in a self-serving fashion, with the church living mostly on their own power and in their own presence

            -- so Jesus tells them they need to open their eyes -- they need to see what is going on, because they are in very real danger of their fire totally burning out -- He tells them they need to quit depending on themselves and to stop thinking they had everything they needed, because they were missing the one thing they desperately required -- His presence

            -- verse 19

19‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

            -- here’s where God spoke to me about Koinonia and our church this week -- we all know Revelation 3:20 -- “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
            -- we’ve all heard that verse before -- we’ve heard it preached -- we’ve heard it taught -- I’ve even preached on it myself -- and, more often than not, the focus of the message around that verse is evangelistic -- we make that verse about salvation, and we tell unbelievers, “Jesus is right there, knocking at the door to your heart -- and all you have to do is believe in Him and ask Him to forgive you and He will come into your heart and you’ll have a relationship with Him” -- am I right?
            -- but remember who Jesus is talking to here -- it’s not unbelievers -- it’s the church -- it’s His people this verse is spoken for
            -- look at verse 19 again -- Jesus doesn’t call unbelievers to salvation -- no, He’s calling believers to be earnest -- to be passionate -- to be real in their faith -- to repent of their self-sufficiency -- to repent of just doing church and not being the church -- to turn back from who they are and what they are doing -- turn back to what? -- turn back to Who? -- yeah, turn back to Jesus
            -- somewhere along the way, this church lost its focus -- it stopped focusing on Jesus and started looking inward -- it stopped relying on Jesus and started relying on itself -- there was merely a form of godliness, but no power or presence
            -- and so Jesus speaks to this church and tells them, “I love you -- I want you back -- be earnest and repent -- I am here knocking -- hear my knock -- hear my call -- open the door, and let me back in -- put me on the throne of your heart again”

III.  Closing
            -- God spoke to me through this passage this week -- you know we’ve been struggling over what to do with Koinonia -- over the direction we should go -- and what’s the one thing we’ve said over and over? -- we need to get more people in here -- we need to go out and invite people to come -- we need to have events to tell people about our church
            -- so let me ask you this -- What are we seeking when we pray for Koinonia? -- what are we saying when we say that we need more people? -- are we seeking Jesus or are we seeking people? -- where is our focus?
            -- every church and every pastor wants their church to grow -- we certainly want to have more people join us -- but why? -- Why do we want Koinonia to grow? -- Is it for us or for God?
            -- if I’m honest -- and God showed me that this week -- I’ve been wanting Koinonia to grow for selfish reasons -- I’ve been wanting it to grow out of pride -- to be able to point to how many people are coming -- to justify myself and this church
            -- Kyle Idlemann, who wrote the book, “Not a Fan,” said recently in Outreach Magazine, “When I know myself better, I realize even the good I do is oftentimes motivated by my selfishness, my pride, and my desire to impress other people.”
            -- I’m afraid I’ve been there, too -- I’m afraid we’ve all been there

            -- so God showed me in this passage the true purpose of a church -- a church doesn’t exist for itself -- a church doesn’t exist to draw people in and grow larger -- a church exists for the sole purpose of seeking and glorifying Christ
            -- any growth that follows is a result of the presence of Christ and nothing more -- any growth that follows is the grace of God drawing seeking hearts to Him
            -- churches are defined by the presence of Christ and not by the number of people on the church roll or the amount of money in the bank

            -- the church at Laodicea was a large church -- a rich church -- a famous and well-known church in the community -- it had a lot of people -- a lot of power -- but it had ceased to be a real church -- and Jesus was going to spit them out of His mouth unless they repented and turned back to Him

            -- the message God gave me this week was that if His presence is there, others will come -- it is His presence that should draw people to gather as a church -- not a fancy building or prestige in the community -- not even good works -- God’s grace is the catalyst for growth
            -- God told me that we need to seek Him and not people -- we need to turn back to the One who gives our lives meaning and purpose
            -- that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reach out to others -- that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t invite others to come and join us -- that’s what the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 is all about
            -- but we need to make sure we are inviting others out of the right motives, not out of selfish desires -- we need to make sure we are inviting others to join us because we want them to experience the presence of God and not just because we want more people

            -- I want to leave you with the story of a woman who was given a beautiful plant for a birthday gift from the local florist -- she loved plants and the house was filled with them, and the one she received this day was just beautiful -- it was so green and vibrant -- it was a “Bird of Paradise” plant with gorgeous flowers already in bloom.
            -- She took that plant, and placed in just the right spot so that it would get the right amount of light -- she watered it with care, and kept it fertilized with just the right amount, keeping watch over it like a mother hen
            -- but there was a little problem -- it never seemed to get any bigger, no matter how much she tried -- it was only after fretting over that plant for several weeks that she realized it was made of silk -- it was mighty pretty, but it wasn’t real -- she became so frustrated and angry at living a lie that she cast the plant into the wastebasket and never looked back.

            -- unless a church is built on Christ and Christ alone, it will never be alive -- it will never be real -- it will never be hot -- it may persist, but it will persist as a lukewarm congregation -- a church in name only
            -- let’s commit this week to refocusing our efforts on seeking God and on drawing near to Him with our lives and our hearts and our whole being
            -- let’s pray

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


11 June 2017
[Modified from 18 August 2002]

I.  Introduction
            -- turn in Bibles to Acts 2:1-4

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

            -- An old sailor repeatedly got lost at sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next time he went out in his boat, he followed their advice and took the compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was unable to find land -- finally he was rescued by his friends
            -- Disgusted and impatient with him, they asked, "Why didn't you use that compass we gave you?  You could have saved us a lot of trouble
            -- The sailor responded, "I didn't dare to! I wanted to go north, but as hard as I tried to make the needle aim in that direction, it kept pointing southeast
            -- That old sailor was so certain he knew which was was north that he stubbornly tried to force his own personal persuasion on his compass. Unable to do so, he tossed it aside as worthless and failed to benefit from the guidance it offered
            -- we do the same thing in our lives, as well -- we have a compass in our lives -- the Holy Spirit -- but sometimes we think we know better than Him so we head off in the wrong direction and end up outside of God's will

            -- this evening, we’re going to talk about the Holy Spirit -- the one thing you really need to know about the Holy Spirit is that once we are saved -- once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and repented of our sins -- immediately -- the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us -- 1 Cor 6:19 says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" -- the Holy Spirit lives within us -- He is God's living presence inside of us -- and He works in us and through us to accomplish God's will in our lives and in the lives of all those we meet along the way -- whether they are in Uganda or they are sitting next to you in the pew
            -- so let’s talk about what the Holy Spirit does in our lives and what He wants to do through us

II.  Purposes of the Spirit
            -- when you look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, you see Him moving in five main ways -- just like we have the means of the grace -- the ordinary means or ways that God graces our lives -- we have five means of the Spirit -- five ways He works in the world and in our lives today
            -- these five are salvation, sanctification, strengthening, enlightening, and empowering -- that doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit doesn't work in different ways -- these are just the usual ways that we recognize His works in and through us

            A.  Salvation and Evangelism
--  let's start with the first one -- salvation -- turn over to John 16:8-11

8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

            -- now when we think of salvation, our first thoughts, of course, turn to Jesus and His work on the cross -- and rightly it should, because it was on the cross of Calvary that Jesus won for us our salvation by dying in our place for our sins
            -- so how does the Holy Spirit figure in to the Salvation equation? -- the Holy Spirit points us to the cross that Jesus died on and pushes us in that direction -- this verse says that He convicts the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement -- it is the Spirit that makes us aware that we are sinners in need of salvation -- it is the Spirit that reveals the truth of the gospel and it is the Spirit that takes us to the foot of the cross where we can repent of our sins
            -- you've heard people say that God only listens to the prayers of Christians -- that He only works in the lives of Christians -- well, if that was true, then none of us would be here, because we were all once sinners in need of salvation -- but thanks be to God that He sent the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin and lead us to the cross where Jesus died
            -- you know what this is called -- we’ve talked about it before many times -- the theological term that we use for this is prevenient grace -- the grace that goes before -- the grace that leads sinners to salvation -- the grace that causes that neighbor who doesn't know Christ to ask you about God
            -- another aspect of this work of the Spirit is that He puts in us the desire to reach out to others -- the desire to evangelize and to spread the good news of Christ to all we come in contact with -- I am going to read now from Acts 1:8 -- in this verse, the risen Christ is speaking to His disciples before the ascension -- "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
            -- when we have been saved and have the very Spirit of God living within us, we just can't help but talk about it -- that is what Jesus is saying in this verse -- because of the Spirit in us, we will tell others about Him -- in the next chapter of Acts, when Pentecost came and the Holy Spirit filled all the disciples, the entire focus of the Spirit's work was evangelistic -- He spoke through Peter as He preached to the crowd, and 3000 people were saved

            B.  Sanctification
            -- the next major area of emphasis by the Spirit is sanctification -- I am going to read from 2 Thes 2:13 -- this verse reads, "But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you  to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth."
-- to sanctify means to set apart -- to make holy -- so the Spirit works in us to set us apart for God -- to make us holy as God is holy
-- I think one of the clearest definitions of sanctification is in Ephesians 4:22-24

22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

-- sanctification then is putting behind us the old corrupted self -- being renewed in our mind and in our spirit -- and putting on our new self -- becoming more and more like God in righteousness and holiness
-- this is the never-ending story in our life -- the Holy Spirit works in us and helps us to grow in Christ -- to become more and more mature -- to become more and more Holy and righteous and Just as we let Him shape us and make us more like Him
-- do you know those times when you're sitting there listening to a sermon or reading the Bible or listening to a song and all of a sudden you're hit right between the eyes and you know that that sermon or that verse is for you -- that is the Holy Spirit working in you -- helping you clean out your life so you can be sanctified -- so you can be more like Jesus
            C.  Strengthening
            -- as part of sanctification, the Spirit strengthens us in our spiritual walk -- this is the third major means of the Spirit in our lives
            -- when we are first saved, we are weak -- the Bible says we are "babes in Christ" -- we can't seem to get this Christian thing down -- even after we have been saved 5 - 10 - 20 years, there are still areas in our lives where we are weak -- areas that we don't walk with the Lord
            -- the Spirit works in us through these areas -- when we are weak -- when we reach those times that we just can't go on, the Spirit intercedes for us -- as John 14:26 says, the Holy Spirit serves as our advocate -- as our counselor -- as our comforter -- He stands up for us when we can't stand on our own
            -- look over at Romans 8:26-27

    26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

-- when we can't pray for ourselves, the Holy Spirit prays for us -- He is always interceding on our behalf -- advocating for us -- holding us up to the Father
            -- 2 Peter 1:21 says that men were carried along by the Holy Spirit -- when they couldn't help themselves, He helped them
            -- when we are troubled by pain or doubt -- when we are weak in our spirits -- the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit fills us with assurance -- Romans 8:15-16 says that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God -- there have been times in my life, when this assurance was the only thing that kept me going

            D. Enlightenment
            -- the next means of the Spirit we will be talking about is enlightenment -- John 14:26 -- “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
            -- in this verse, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit -- our Counselor -- will teach us all things and remind us of everything Jesus has told us -- He will enlighten us -- He will illumine our minds with the things of God
            -- there's a couple more passages I want to look at about enlightenment -- flip on over to John 16:13 -- once again, this is Jesus talking to His disciples -- “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
            -- once again, Jesus tells us that the Spirit will speak to us and tell us what He has heard from Jesus and from the Father 

            -- one more passage on this subject -- 1 Corinthians 2:9-10

9 but just as it is written,


10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God

            -- Paul is telling us the same thing in this passage -- he says that God has revealed to us the truth by the Holy Spirit -- the Spirit living within us speaks to us the truth and helps us to understand the spiritual side of things
            -- this passage also answers another question you may have had -- how do I know the will of God? -- how can I possibly understand what God is doing in my life or in this situation? -- you understand what God has prepared for us because God reveals it to us through His Spirit -- we are enlightened by the Spirit within us

            -- verse 11-12

11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God

            -- verse 11 points out that we have a mortal mind -- we do not know the ways of God -- on our own, we cannot understand God -- that's why God says in Isaiah 55:8-9, ""For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." -- mortal man cannot understand the ways or thoughts of God
            -- but, this verse goes on to say that the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God the Father, and as we have learned, He reveals them to us -- so that we may understand what God has freely given us

            -- verse 13

13which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

-- Paul goes on to say that what he is teaching the Corinthians, then, comes from the Father through the Holy Spirit -- they are spiritual truth taught in spiritual words that the Spirit has expressed through Paul

            -- verse 14

14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

-- here we see the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian when it comes to understanding spiritual things -- do you remember what it was like before you were saved when you tried to understand the Bible -- do you remember how hard you thought the Bible was? -- I know I did -- I just couldn't understand it -- I'd read it and re-read it -- but it just didn't click -- I couldn't understand what they were talking about
            -- but then, after I was saved, it started to come together -- I started to understand the different passages -- I began to understand the beauty of the Psalms, the wisdom of the Proverbs, and the life-changing lessons of the gospels -- when the Bible said the veil was torn from top to bottom on Good Friday, I know knew -- not just in my head but in my heart -- what it meant
            -- what made the difference? -- the Holy Spirit -- the Spirit of God inside of me enlightening my soul and explaining to me the spiritual truths and the spiritual words
            -- and the thing about the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit is that it continues throughout life -- I am constantly learning new things about the Bible -- I am constantly learning new things about God
-- here's an important principle -- as you mature in Christ, you will understand more and more of the truth -- as we mature in our faith, the Holy Spirit will reveal more and more of the truth to us -- just like when we were kids -- when we were in the first grade, they didn't teach us algebra -- we had to mature in math -- we had to learn how to do the basics before the teachers could reveal to us the higher mathematics -- it is the same concept with the Holy Spirit
-- I think the key to understanding the Spirit's work in enlightenment is in the next two verses -- verse 15-16
15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

-- we have the mind of Christ because of the Holy Spirit living within us, enlightening and illumining our understanding of spiritual things

            E.  Empowerment
            -- the final area of emphasis by the Holy Spirit I want to touch on is empowerment -- this is probably the one area that you knew the Holy Spirit really worked in before we started this series
            -- when you think about the Holy Spirit, what is the primary thing that comes to mind? -- the spiritual gifts -- do you remember the passage in Acts 2 about Pentecost that we read last week? -- it said that when the Spirit came upon the believers they were filled with the Spirit and spoke in different languages -- different tongues -- as the Spirit enabled them
            -- we have been over these spiritual gifts before, so I’m not going to read these passages tonight -- just jot them down and look at them on your own later this week -- we’ll just talk about them generally right now
            -- 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 28-31
            -- there are additional Spiritual Gifts mentioned in Romans 12:6-8
            -- and finally, in Ephesians 4:11, we learn that God gifted some people to be apostles, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers
            -- these three passages -- 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4:11 -- are the passages we find the gifts of the Spirit

            -- but turn back to 1 Corinthians 12:7 and you will see the key verse about spiritual gifts -- “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

            -- here we see two main things -- first, these characteristics -- prophecy, speaking in tongues, evangelism, administration, faith, intercessory prayer, etc. -- these are called "gifts" -- but in actuality, they are merely the manifestation of the Spirit in our lives
            -- in other words, this isn't some special power that God has given us -- it is actually the Spirit working through us -- if you have the gift of prophecy, it isn't you who is given the ability to tell the future -- it is the Spirit speaking the future through you
            -- if you have the gift of speaking in tongues -- it isn't some magical ability you have just gotten -- it is the Holy Spirit -- the creator of all languages -- speaking through you
            -- basically, when you become filled with the Holy Spirit you become a glove -- He puts you on and works through you in these different areas and in these different ways to accomplish God's purposes on earth
            -- the second thing we see in this verse is that these manifestations -- the working of the Spirit through us -- are solely given for the common good -- they are given to us for others -- these gifts aren't ours -- they are to be shared and used as the Spirit works through us -- as He empowers us to do God's ministry on earth
            -- finally, let me just remind you of the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5 -- Jesus said that the world would know us by our fruits -- this is what He was talking about -- how does the world know we are saved -- how can I look at you and know that some of you are saved, sanctified, and strengthened saints -- because I see the fruits of the Spirit in your life -- these fruits of the Spirit and the gifts -- the manifestation of the Spirit -- are the ways in which the Spirit empowers us in the world today

III.  Closing
            -- so, to sum up -- the Holy Spirit is here with us -- He indwells every believer with His presence -- and He works within us in five distinct ways: salvation, sanctification, strengthening, enlightening, and empowering
            -- we need to become more aware and more open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives -- for too long, the church has ignored the presence and the purpose of God’s Holy Spirit -- that’s why Francis Chan wrote a book called, “Forgotten God”
            -- as we close, let’s commit to making a concerted effort to remember the Holy Spirit -- to allow Him to work in us and through us to make a difference in this world today -- remember, God is always with you in the presence of the Holy Spirit, and we need to be open to His presence if we are to grow in Christ
            -- let us pray