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Needed: Spirit Led Leaders

 

John 7:37-39

 

Jim Davis

 

ďHave you seen the television commercials where some pro athlete is playing some sport and is all sweaty and hot and then he lifts up a bottle of some particular drink and instantly all his carbohydrates are restored, his electrolytes level off and he is ready for more action. He is empowered by this mystical liquid concoction that is a miracle drink with all the nutrients needed to make you into a super man or woman of physical prowess. And it taste good too! Weíre expected to believe that this drink has the power to quench a personís thirst, restore their strength and give them power to go on.


ĒWouldnít we all love a thirst quencher that had the power to make us into super men and women? Able to be empowered to do whatever needed to be done--especially in the spiritual realm.


ĒWhat would you say if I told you there really is a thirst quencher that can empower us in our walk for God?Ē (Neil Olcott, Spewing Forth Living Water, via Sermoncentral.com.)

 

John 7:37-39

37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 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. NIV

 

On one occasion of the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus stood up and promised believers living waters would flow from them. The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated as a memorial to how the Jews lived in the wilderness while God sustained them. The feast was held in autumn, and it was also a time when they celebrated the blessings of harvest.

 

On the seventh day of the feast there was a solemn ceremony of the pouring of water. The Jewish people would come to the temple with a lulab in their hands. A lulab is a bunch of branches consisting of three myrtle branches, each representing Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It also consisted of two willow branches which represented Moses and Aaron. I was reading from modern Judaism where it is said the entire lulab represented Joseph. You may recall Joseph was the one man who saved all of Godís people during the seven years of famine in Egypt. He was the savior of Abrahamís descendants as he went to Egypt rising to a position of power. He saved his family when the seven years of famine came.

 

They came to the temple in procession surrounding the altar of burnt offerings waving the lulab branches in their hands singing Psalms 118:

 

Psalms 118:25-27

25 O LORD, save us;

O LORD, grant us success.

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.

From the house of the LORD we bless you.  

27 The LORD is God,

and he has made his light shine upon us.

With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession

up to the horns of the altar. NIV

 

While they were singing the priests filled a golden picture with water as they repeated the words of Isaiah 12:3: ďWith joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.Ē The pouring out of the water was a symbol of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon his people. This naturally drew their attention to the Messianic age when God would pour out his blessings upon all the earth.

 

Isaiah 44:3

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on

your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

 

Just as Moses split the rock causing water to flow from it, so the Messiah would cause water to flow from the house of the Lord. Joel writes, ď. . . a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the LordĒ (Joel 3:8).

 

As this ceremony was taking place Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 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 glorifiedĒ (John 7:37-39 NIV).

 

Moses provides water to sustain life in the wilderness. Christ provides living water that wells up inside us and streams forth from us in channels of living water. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at Jacobís well saying, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:13-14 NIV).

 

Leaders must Become Channels of Living Water

 

If you wish to lead Godís people you must desire living water before you can become a channel of living water for others. Leaders without the influence of the Holy Spirit become blind guides who lead others to stumble. The only way we can become a channel through which life giving water flows is through the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can make you a channel of living water to bless others.

 

Some want the discussion of the Holy Spirit to revolve around the mechanics how he works in our lives today. Let me just say that his work is supernatural. The growth of a seed is supernatural. I canít explain how it grows. It just grows by Godís power. Sometimes it a single seed can split a brick wall. It can grow up through a crack in concrete as it destroys a patio. I canít tell you how seed grows, but I do know the ground needs to be cultivated, planted and watered, but we depend upon God to make it grow.

 

God doesnít explain how a lot of things work. He doesnít tell us the intricate details of his plan. He just asks us to following him by faith. You donít have to know how the Spirit works, you are asked to believe in order to receive. In the same way the Holy Spirit grows within the Christian. I canít explain it in intricate detail, but I can tell you the things you must do to allow him to grow within your heart.

 

The Holy Spirit speaks to us through the Scriptures, but it is not the only way he is working in our lives. There is no way to follow God without a study of the Scripture. If you want the Holy Spirit to speak to you open your Bible and read the Spiritís message. The Bible is the Spiritís message given to us from the mind of God (2 Corinthians 2:1ff)

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

 

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. KJV

 

The Spirit desires to give us correct doctrine. He desires to reprove and rebuked what is wrong with our world and us. He desires to correct what is wrong as he instructs us in the right way. When the Word begins its rebuke, it is easy to close our Bibles. We may do it because of guilt, fear, or out of frustration because we donít know how to go beyond the intellectual levelówe donít know how to make application because we lack wisdom. In doing so we put out the Spiritís fireóquench the fire.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. NIV

 

1 Thessalonians 5:19

19 Quench not the Spirit. KJV

 

Godís Spirit comes into our lives to rebuke us, but he doesnít come to find fault. He comes to give us wisdom so we can know how to live righteous lives.

 

The Spirit not only speaks us through the word of God. He actively works in our hearts and minds to direct our lives toward God.

 

James 1:5

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. NIV

 

The Spirit searches our minds and hearts as he intercedes to God for us so that Godís purposes will be wrought in our lives.

 

Romans 8:22-29

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

 

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

 

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. NIV

 

Going beyond the intellectual requires depending upon the Spirit to give you spiritual discernment and wisdom. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom as he searches our hearts and intercedes to God for him to work his will in our lives. During frustrating times we must rely upon the Holy Spiritís help. He searches our mind, and heart and communicates the message to God. He works with God to accomplish Godís will in our lives as God seeks to work all things out for good.

 

Without the ongoing active work of Christ and his Spirit in our lives we are going to do absolutely nothing.

 

John 15:5

5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. NIV

 

Prerequisites for Spirit Led Leaders

 

If I want to be a leader I must first hunger and thirst for the Holy Spiritís guidance. Jesus says, ďBlessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filledĒ (Matthew 5:6 NIV). Do you know what happens when we hunger and thirst for Godís righteousnessówe are filled with the reality of Godís Holy Spirit. Those who are filled, naturally become channels of blessing for others.

 

Have you noticed how hungry and thirsty we are today? We seem to be looking for something greater, something newer, something more pleasurable, something more tasteful, or something more inspirational, something more substantial. We are like the Athenians on Mars Hill who were looking for a new philosophy of life. Isnít it strange how we allow the superficial desires blind us to what is realóto our deepest need?

 

The hunger is real, but we are blinded to what we need to fill it because we listen to the flesh. The flesh blinds us to the Spiritís presence as it misdirects our lives away from the call of the Spirit. The flesh seeks to lead us to adapt therapeutic approach as it leads men to Circuit City, and women to the shopping mall for a temporary fix. We return with our pockets and heart emptied.

 

There is only one way the Holy Spirit can become our guide---we must want him as our guide.  We are always as full of Godís Spirit as we want to be, for God gives his Holy Spirit to those who ask. Our desire to receive the Holy Spirit must go beyond baptism. We receive the Holy Spirit at baptism (Acts 2:38), but thatís not enough. We are admonished to be filled with Godís Spirit. We must desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must ask God to give us his Holy Spirit.

 

Luke 11:9-13

9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

 

11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" NIV

 

A man named Jones had a dream that he died and upon entering heaven Peter took him on a heavenly tour. As he traveled through heaven he realized it was more beautiful than anything he could have ever imagined. However, there was a strange magnificent white marble building sitting in the midst of the heavenly Jerusalem. It didnít have any windows; the building only had a beautiful porch with large columns with a single door to enter. He inquired of Peter about the nature of the building. Peter simply told him, ďYou donít want to know what that building is all about.Ē His curiosity got best of him, so he kept inquiring of Peter. Peter continued to give him the same answer. The manís curiosity finally overwhelmed him to the point he insisted on seeing the building. Peter finally agreed. 

 

They went up and opened the door of the building. It was one huge room over a mile long. The only things in the room were shelves filled with over tenís of millions little white boxes. The man begins to inquire about what was in the boxes. Again Peter said, ďYou really donít want to know what is in those boxes.Ē The manís curiosity rose even more the moment he realized that a name was on each box. He inquired of Peter about the boxes with names on them. Peter gave him the same answer, ďYou really donít want to know what is in those boxes.Ē

 

He finally inquired of Peter if there was a box with his name on it. Peter assured him there was a box in the room with his name on it. The man couldnít stand it any longer, so he pressured Peter to allow him to look in his box. Peter agreed.

 

He went through the rows of shelves until he came to the ďJĒ section. He finally found the boxes with ďJonesĒ on them. He finally found the right ďJonesĒ with his name on the box. He brought the box out and opened it. But he didnít understand what he saw in the box. It was full of things he felt he deeply needed while he was alive. He inquired of Peter about all the things he saw in the box. Peter simply said, ďAll those wonderful things you see inside that box, are all the blessings God intended to give you, but you never asked for any of them.Ē

 

The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, and he wonít come in where he is not wanted. There is no doubt that we want to be filled today. We want to be filled with self-confidence, self-love, and some want to be filled with self-righteousness. Many want their lives to be filled with winning as we compete against others. The Christians at Corinth learned competition signaled the influence of a carnal mind. Most of what this world is peddling to fill our lives leaves us emptier than we have ever been. Paul says, ďBut the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she livesĒ (1 Timothy 5:6-7 NIV)

 

Our bodies are Godís vessels designed to be poured full of the Holy Spirit. Paul admonishes us to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2). Our bodies were designed to be Godís vessel. He canít pour his Holy Spirit into our vessels if they are not empty.

 

Nothing hides Godís possible blessings from our lives worse than disobedience. Disobedience is one major reason we donít ask. The Holy Spirit want come into our lives tolerating disobedience. He has given us the inspired Word, and he wonít come into our lives if we refuse to live by the Word he has given us. As long as we refuse to live up to his word, we will never be able to see the blessings God desires to give.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. NIV

 

Nothing hides Godís possible blessings from our lives worse than disobedience. Disobedience is one major reason we donít ask. As long as we refuse to live up to his word, we will never be able to see the blessings God desires to give.

 

Conclusion:

 

God wants each of us to experience the full measure of his Spirit, but it is up to us.

 

You can choose to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through baptism (Acts 2:38). Then you must decide to allow him to fill your heart with his presence.

 

The only prerequisite is that you hunger to be filled with his presence to lead you. Come to God obeying the Spiritís message. Live for him as you study his message and pray for the Spirit to give you wisdom to live out the message.

 

We are assured of the Holy Spiritís presence in our lives when the Holy Spirit is able to produce the fruits of the Spirit in our hearts.

 

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. NIV

 

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