Title: Make the Most Of Your Oxygen
Summary: The Christian life is not only about salvation, but also about the transformation of our mind and actions, which can only come about through living in submission to and harmony with the Spirit, whom God grants to all those who become Christians
Scripture Reading: Titus 3:1-5
1. You may wonder about the title to the sermon, it will become clear
2. Titus 3:5 - 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,
a. Washing of Rebirth - We see the reference to baptism - born again
b. Also - Renewal by the Holy Spirit
i. Sin not only separated from God, it twisted minds and weakened our will
ii. What is needed is a renewal of the heart
iii. God sent the Spirit to do this
3. This is a lesson about the Spirit
a. Greek - pnuema - means air, wind, breath, or spirit (pneumatic)
b. His Spirit is source of life, strength, and guidance for his people
c. Jesus promised to send the Spirit after he leaves
d. The Spirit is our life, breath, oxygen
4. We need to make the most of God's oxygen, his Spirit. Why?
I. God's Spirit is Indispensable
A. By that I mean it is essential, necessary, imperative
B. His Spirit is not optional
1. John 3:3-5 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.
a. You cannot enter God's kingdom unless you are born of water and the Spirit
b. Without the Spirit, the eternal Kingdom of God is out of reach
2. Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
a. If you do not have the Spirit, you do not belong to Christ
b. The word "Christian" is from "Christiano" in Greek, and it means "Belonging to Christ"
c. If not have the Spirit, you cannot be a "Christiano"
3. Fits with the scripture reading - Saved us by the washing of rebirth AND renewal by the Spirit - You need both
C. ILL: Trying to Live the Christian life without the Spirit is like trying to drive a car on the moon
1. Question: What if you tried to drive your car on the moon. How far can you go?
2. Can't go anywhere because it will not start!
3. Engine needs 3 things to run: 1-Air compression, 2-Spark, 3-Fuel
4. What does the moon not have? Air!
D. So, we need the Spirit, and need to make the most of it
II. God's Spirit is His Method of Transforming Us
A. In order to live the Christian life, we need transformation
B. So, God decided to give his Spirit to do the job
1. God promised to give the Spirit to us generously
a. John 3:34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[i] gives the Spirit without limit.
b. John 7:37-39 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[c] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
c. Without limit - Like a river, or rivers of living water
2. The Spirit helps us to do what we cannot do on our own
a. John 14:16-17 (NASB) I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [b]Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
i Notice the Spirit is called a helper (Grk: paraclete)
ii Greek word means to come alongside, to encourage, to help, to comfort
b. Romans 8:7-8 (NASB) because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
i See what sin does to you - Flesh is corrupted by sin
ii Because of this, we are not able to please God
c. Romans 8:12-13 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
i See the difference? Can put to death the misdeeds of the flesh by the Spirit
ii Cannot do this on our own
d. Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
3. The Spirit is necessary if we are to be transformed
a. Titus 3:5 - Saved by the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Spirit
b. It is by the Spirit, we cannot do it on our own
C. ILL: Imagine running a race
1. Been running for miles, you can't keep going, cramping up
2. Suppose someone offers you to breathe from his oxygen tank
a. Cramps would go away, would get your second wind
b. It would be like a shot of energy, can finish the race
3. I am not sure if it is legal to use oxygen during a race
a. At one point, there was debate whether it was a performance enhancing drug
b. If so, you would be disqualified for using it
4. Problem - You cannot run the Christian race without God's oxygen
a. Sin has limited our will and our strength
b. Without God's help, we simply cannot finish the race
D. So we need to breathe God's oxygen
1. Without the Spirit, you are helpless to run the race and please God
2. It is indispensable, we need to breathe his oxygen
3. But how do we do this? Get past the analogy, rubber meets the road. . .
III. God's Spirit Works in us When we Work
A. We need to cooperate with the Spirit, it does not act against our will
B. God's Spirit does not act independently of ourselves
1. Eph 6:17 Take up… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
a. 2 Pet 1:21 Scripture came from men who were moved by the Spirit, and gave us the words of God
b. 2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is God breathed
c. Your Bible is God's oxygen - You need to breathe regularly
2. Gal 5:16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
a. What does it mean to walk by the Spirit? Keep reading:
b. Gal 5:17-21 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [i]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [j]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
i To walk by the Spirit means to stop doing these
ii This is a list - Make a list and evaluate yourself
iii Which do you have trouble with?
iv If any of these are prominent, you are not walking by the Spirit
c. Gal 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who [k]belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also [l]walk by the Spirit.
i To walk by the Spirit means to do these things
ii This is another list. Make a list and evaluate yourself
iii Are any of these missing from your life?
iv We have life by the Spirit, we need to walk by the Spirit
d. Here is the encouraging thing - When you try to walk by the Spirit, the Spirit of God, your helper, helps you!
3. Jude 20 - Pray in the Holy Spirit -- What does this mean?
a. Does not mean pray while in some sort of Holy Spirit trance, nor does it mean to pray in tongues
b. It is similar to saying, "walk in the Spirit," which means live in harmony with the Spirit with your thoughts & actions
c. Pray in the spirit means to pray in harmony with the Spirt
C. ILL: This reminds me of what my mom always asks when I am angry, embittered, or resentful of someone - "Have you prayed for them?"
1. Little Johnny's Dad took this to heart
2. Little Johnny had gotten into trouble in school that day, like he so often did - Talking in class, drawing, arguing or fighting, etc.
a. Dad came home, talked about what happened
b. After the talk, Dad paused, "Let's pray"
c. Johnny dreaded this - Prayer about how bad Johnny needs to be good, a lecture prayer
3. Dad prayed something like this - "Dear Father, I thank you so much for Johnny. He is my son, and I love him. He is the joy of my life and is such a blessing. Help me to be a good father to him, to be patient and gentle with him. I am so very proud of him, and I know he is going to grow up to be a good, faithful man of God.
a. Johnny was completely shocked
b. Johnny hugged his Dad, they said, "I love you"
4. I think that this has something to do with praying in the Spirit
a. Fruit of Spirit is love, joy, patience, gentleness, etc.
b. Then praying means to pray with those qualities, or to pray for those qualities
c. If I pray in love, then 1 Cor 13 is my attitude - Patience, kindness, not proud, not self-seeking, not take into account wrong suffered, etc.
d. If I see work of the flesh coming out - immorality, anger, selfishness, etc., then pray in the Spirit
5. (Eph 4:30-5:2) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly beloved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ love us"
a. Do not grieve Spirit. How? Engaging in works of the flesh
b. It lists some of them, including anger - anger does not achieve the righteousness of God
c. Instead, be kind and loving - This is fruit of Spirit
D. So consider our part in making the most of the Spirit god gives to us
1. Live in the word - It is the sword of the Spirit - It is what guides, instructs, encourages us
2. Walk by the Spirit - We need cooperate with the Spirit, and work toward displaying the fruit of the Spirit, qualities of Christ
3. Pray in the Spirit - We need to submit to God, give up the works of the flesh, and submit to the Spirit
4. Get this to where the rubber meets the road
a. Will I walk in the Spirit and pray in the Spirit?
b. With my husband/wife, children, parents, brethren
i Am I patient, or angry?
ii Am I forgiving, or take into account a wrong suffered?
iii Do I rejoice in my spouse, children, parents, brethren, or am embittered against them?
iv Am I kind, or am I mean?
c. It starts at home - husband/wife, kids, parents, brethren
1. Make the most of your oxygen - The Spirit of God
2. How and when do you receive the Spirit?
a. Acts 2:38 - Repent and be baptized each of your for the forgiveness of your sin, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
b. God grants redemption through his blood when you are baptized
c. God grants reformation of your heart through the Spirit when baptized
d. He saved us by washing of rebirth and renewal by the Spirit (inv)
3. If you have already obeyed the Gospel, then make the most of oxygen
a. It is indispensable, cannot please God without it
b. Need to live in the word, walk by the Spirit, pray in the Spirit