ASKING FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT
Text: LUKE 11:1-13
- Our text is one of the greatest passages on prayer in the New Testament. My two favorites are this passage and Luke 18:1-8.
- Both these passages emphasize importunity in prayer (11:8; 18:5).
- This morning I want to give special attention to our Lord's words in Luke 11:13 -- "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
- Some Christians have been perplexed by this statement because I Thessalonians 4:8 says God "hath also given unto us his holy Spirit."
- So if God has already given us His Holy Spirit, why should we "ask"?
- First Corinthians 12:13 says, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body..."
- Romans 8:9 teaches that the Spirit of God dwells in us, and "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
- There are many other Scriptures, which teach that each and every true Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and is sealed by the Holy Spirit. This takes place at conversion when we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
- Titus 3:5 refers to by "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
- Our Lord told Nicodemus a person needs to be "born of the Spirit" in order to get into heaven (John 3:8).
- So what does our Lord mean in Luke 11:13?
- Luke 11:13 refers to the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
I. OUR LORD'S PROMISE (11:13)
- Our Lord frequently referred to this promise (cf. John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:7-11).
- Galatians 3:14 says that "we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
- Before He ascended into heaven, our Lord said, "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).
- All Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but not all Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit.
- If all Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit there would be no need for the apostle Paul to say, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18).
- Nowhere in the Bible is there a command for Christians to be sealed with the Holy Spirit, because all Christians are automatically sealed with the Holy Spirit the moment they get saved.
- Ephesians 1:13 says after "ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise."
- Ephesians 4:30 says, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
- Second Corinthians 1:22 say God has "sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."
- Nowhere in the Bible is there a command for Christians to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, because all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit the moment they get saved.
- Romans 8:11 says the Spirit of God that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in us.
- First Corinthians 3:16 says, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
- In John 14:17, our Lord said to His disciples that the Holy Spirit "dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
- Nowhere in the Bible is there a command to be indwelt or sealed with the Holy Spirit, but we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit.
- Being filled is based on surrender and obedience. Acts 5:32 says, "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."
II. THE INFILLING
- We are never commanded to be indwelt or sealed, but we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).
- In John 7:38, our Lord refers to flowing "rivers of living water."
- This signifies an overflow of much water, both abundant and diffuse, pouring out in different directions.
- It should be emphasized that this filling to overflowing is what our Lord expects of every believer. He said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink” (John 7:37).
- The question this morning is: "Are you thirsty?"
- James Earls has preached here a couple of times. I remember o0ne time he referred to his background before he was saved. He had been associated with the Black Panthers, a radical group back in the 1960's.
- The FBI called them "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country." But praise God, Bro. Earls got saved, and God called him to preach.
- Bro. Earls said he was still a "black panter" and he quoted Psalm 42:1, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."
- Our Lord said in John 7:38, “As the Scripture hath said.” He was referring to Old Testament passages such as Psalm 42:1.
- And Isaiah 44:3, "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring."
- And our Lord was prophesying of the day when the temple in Jerusalem shall have living waters issuing from beneath it for the blessing of many peoples.
- In chapter 47, the prophet Ezekiel describes waters issuing out from under the threshold of the temple. Soon the waters were up to the ankles.
- Then the waters were to the knees; soon the waters were to the loins. Then in Ezekiel 47:5, we read that "it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over."
- Today in this dispensation, we are the Lord's temple. First Corinthians 3:16 says, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
- Indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we are His temple. And the Lord looks to every believer to fulfill these promises by letting the living waters of the Holy Spirit come to such fullness that they cannot be contained but must overflow and issue forth by virtue of their own superabundance.
- The Holy Spirit’s indwelling takes place when we believe. He comes in, as Jesus promised, to stay, to remain, to abide. By His indwelling we are united to Christ and are rendered capable of living the Christian life.
- Many Christians feel they are incapable of living the Christian life.
- Many Christians are uncertain about being filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Many have been confused by false teachings.
- Just what do we mean by being filled with the Spirit? The command in Ephesians 5:18 is clear, but how does the Spirit bring it to pass?
- Norman B. Harrison says, "Take the familiar flashlight. Everything that makes for the light is within. Nothing is to be added or drawn upon from without. Yet the bulb remains dark and lifeless until it is enabled to lay hold of the resources so well within its grasp. When, however, we form the connection—and it is so simply done—the light leaps up into the bulb. It itself is filled, and forthwith it outflows in a radiant flood of light. How was it filled? By an Infilling—a filling from within. And its out-flowing in blessing naturally and necessarily followed the Infilling. The Spirit, already indwelling us, awaits the touch that brings Him to the fullness that overflows" (His Indwelling Presence).
- If you are saved, you are already indwelt by the Holy Spirit. If you are not filled, you simply need a touch from God this morning!
III. THE OVERFLOWING (JOHN 7:37-39)
- The Bible has much to say about this overflowing.
- First Corinthians 15:58 says, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
- The Greek word translated "abounding" means "overflowing."
- Why are some Christians "always abounding in the work of the Lord"? Because they are filled with the Spirit.
- The same word is translated "abundance" in II Corinthians 8:2, where it refers to "the abundance of their joy" in the churches of Macedonia.
- In that passage of Scripture the apostle Paul commends them for "their liberality," that is, their generous giving. The word "abound" means to "overflow" (II Cor. 8:2, 7).
- Paul is describing an experience of being filled so full that the Christians in Macedonia could not but overflow in blessing to others.
- We will not only abound in giving, but in working (II Corinthians 9:8). The context in II Corinthians 8 and 9 is on giving, but giving and working always go together.
- As stewards, we will have to give an account to God for how we spend our time as well as how we spend our money. Our Lord said in John 7:38, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
- Giving and working for the Lord are two of the channels of the overflowing power of the Holy Spirit.
- Our Lord said in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
- This word means “exceeding" and “over and above.” That is, over and above the measure of our capacity to contain. These "rivers" that our Lord spoke of in John 7:38 flow over, beyond and around, to the blessing of others.
- When a believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, he will overflow in praise and thanksgiving (cf. Ephesians 5:18-20).
- Here being filled with the Holy Spirit is contrasted with being drunk which overflows in shameful, degrading unrestraint.
- First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (cf. Ephesians 5:20).
- We will not only overflow in praise and thanksgiving, we will also overflow in love. Romans 5:5 says, "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
- Galatians 5:22 and 23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
- Furthermore, we will overflow in joy. Our Lord said in John 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
- When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, our joy becomes full. And it abounds. Acts 13:52 says, "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."
- This joy exceeds what might naturally be expected, unrepressed by circumstances because its source is in the Holy Spirit who is not restrained by circumstances.
- When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will overflow in fruitfulness.
- Our Lord said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
- We will overflow in praise and thanksgiving. We will overflow in love. We will overflow in joy. And we will overflow in power.
- Our Lord said in Luke 24:49, "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
- The "promise of my Father" is the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord said, "Until ye be endued with power from on high."
- Our Lord said in Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
- Ephesians 3:20 says God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
- These words, "exceeding abundantly above" signify an overflowing of the power of the Holy Spirit.
- David wrote, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore" (Psalm 133:1-3).
- This precious ointment was not only poured upon Aaron's head, but it ran down in rich profusion upon his body and upon his priestly garments.
- This is a beautiful picture of the anointing and the fulness of the Holy Spirit.
- And notice it speaks of unity -- "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1).
- Acts 2:1 says that when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, "they were all with one accord in one place."
Pastor James J. Barker
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