Excel Through The Holy Spirit
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Genesis 17:6, John 14:16-17
Sunday 11th January 2015
We began the series titled ‘Beyond the Boundaries of Limitations’ last week. From our foundation scriptures in Genesis 17:6, we understood that God has already blessed us, we are fruitful and we have been made kings. We rule over circumstances and situations, because we have the dominion and authority. As this is our year to excel, it is vital that each of us find out what excelling means to us. From 1 Chronicles 12:32, we were instructed, like the sons of Issachar, to work on understanding these times and find out what should be done during this season of excelling, as definitive actions are required at the appointed time of an event. ‘To excel’ would require going beyond our current limitations and strength, which we can only achieve by abiding in God. In rounding up last week, we were encouraged, just like Moses did in Exodus 3, to give our full attention to God this year.
Our foundation scriptures in John 14:16-17 is a portion of Jesus’ promise to his disciples: ‘And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever - the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him, but you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you’ (Amplified). How many times have we unconsciously treated the Holy Spirit as a foreigner, when indeed He is always with us? He is your constant companion to counsel and convict you in righteousness, on occasions when you are about to deviate from the truth. In order to excel, the Holy Spirit’s helping advantage is critical to achieve this.
As Jesus rounded up his ministry here on earth, He began to turn the attention of the disciples to the Holy Spirit as the other Comforter to continue the work, after His exit. Conversely, each of us has not been designed to excel in our own strength, and as such, we need the help of the Holy Spirit - our qualifications and experiences notwithstanding. It is interesting to note that the Holy Spirit is with us and in us; isn’t it inaccurate then, to sing ‘Come, Holy Spirit I need you’, when He is already with you? To paraphrase the roles of the Holy Spirit in us as listed in John 14:16, He is everything we need, and will remain with us forever. Unfortunately, only few Christians actually take advantage of the help of the Holy Spirit, and it is not surprising that the church is full of ‘hit and miss’ Christians, just as we have in our secular world today. Without a shadow of doubt, our success, relevance, significance and achievements as believers are all rooted in an intimacy with the Holy Spirit.
It is not God’s will that we live our lives as Christians by self-effort, but when we ignore the help of the Holy Spirit, then it becomes inevitable that we become self-dependent, synonymous to, as we’ve found in scriptures, ‘living by works’, or keeping the law. Here is Jesus’ rendition of the difference between the Spirit and ‘works’, as recorded in John 6:63: ‘It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life’ (Amplified).
Human wisdom and abilities profits nothing. It is the Holy Spirit that makes the difference. Trying to excel in your own strength, with human principles profits nothing – We need the Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke about the two men that built their homes – one on the rock, the other on sand. Soon the floods came, the winds blew, and sure enough, the only house left standing after the storm was the one built on the rock. Similarly, ours is a world full of storms; if we are going to build our lives to last, then we must build with storms in mind, with the help of the Holy Spirit. As good as principles are, we must ensure that these principles are rooted and grounded in God’s word. We’ve not been called by God to struggle through life, hence the reason He has made available the friendship and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Here is another statement of Jesus regarding the help of the Holy Spirit as recorded in the Amplified Version of John 16:13: ‘But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]’. Can I encourage you to ask for the Holy Spirit’s help as you go forward in this year? Ask Him to show you what He has in mind for your future. You can be rest assured that God will never fail you - verses 14 and 15 talks about the Spirit’s willingness to reveal God and Christ’s words to you, so that you can head with confidence towards His destiny for you. The Spirit desires to guide you, truthfully on all matters regarding your health, finances, marriage, family and ministry. As against your feelings that the flesh works with, the Spirit points your attention to, and reminds you constantly of God’s word, where His will is revealed.
Apostle Paul picks up on this truth, and reiterates it in Romans 7:6, which read: ‘But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]’ (Amplified). We must beware and be careful not to place too much emphasis on ‘self-help’ materials as some of these could be off-shoots of legalism and self-ism. Remember, that we’ve been called to live for God and not for self. We are no longer under the law, but now we can live liberated lives being guided by the promptings of the Spirit.
As I round up, let’s take a look at Galatians 4:22-30: ‘For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar — for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labour! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”
Here is an analysis of this scripture: Abraham had two sons – Ishmael from Hagar, referred to as the bondwoman and a child produced by human effort, and Isaac born to Sarah, as promised by the God. The two women and their respective sons represent two different covenants. Hagar represents the covenant from Sinai – producing according to the law and the flesh, while Sarah represents the Heavenly Jerusalem above, and producing the life according to the Spirit, including all those who have been born again in Christ.
Interesting, just like Ishmael (born according to human effort) jeered at Isaac, similarly Christians are being still persecuted today. The flesh is still and will always be at war with the Spirit, and this is the contention that we will have to face repeatedly. The solution to the flesh/Spirit battle within us is to get rid of the flesh, and those tendencies towards self-effort and self-dependence. It is only through the Spirit that you can excel.
Further on this scripture in referring to Sarah, who could not go through the process of child bearing, amplified the words of Isaiah 54 by declaring: “Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labour! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.” Beyond the natural process of childbearing, she had the supernatural promise and ability to produce children.
Likewise, as children of the heavenly covenant, we too can bypass the natural occurrence of things and begin to produce and enjoy the blessings of the supernatural. So this year, your excelling will not be defined based on the natural sequence of events, but rather supernaturally.
In order to obtain the blessings/promises of this heavenly covenant, we must receive by faith. This is what Romans 4:16 refers to, speaking of Abraham and the faith he exhibited in receiving God’s promise for him: ‘So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe’ (NLT). So must we, if we intend to obtain the promise of excelling this year. It must be received by faith with the corresponding work of faith as directed by the Spirit. Since ‘Excelling’ is a promise from God, it can only then be approached and accessed by the Spirit, by faith. Hence, living in and walking by the Spirit is vital to obtaining this Promise, definitely not by the flesh or self-effort.
So as you depend and trust God this year, jettison every trace of fleshly ideas and submit to the leading of the spirit. Ask for the grace to be sensitive to the Spirit, and trust God to govern your actions, lead you and tell you where to go and what to do. The more you rely on the Spirit, the more you depend on the grace of God, and in turn the more the Spirit can lead you, as you excel this year.
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