Home   Complete Index    2009-2010 Sermons   2004-2008 Sermons      2002-2003 Sermons      2000-2001 Sermons     1998-1999 Sermons 

Series    Topical     Short Articles




565  Sermons Available


Surrender To the Spirit

James R. Davis


Well-known words about the Holy Spirit are found:

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit . . .

One text is a narrative; it tells us what actually happened. The other is a command; it tells us what we should be. In case there is any doubt about it actually being a command, we find it linked to another command: "Be not drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit."

If I asked you, do you try to obey the command "to not be drunk with wine"? You would answer immediately, "Of course, as a believer, I obey that command." But how about the other -- "Be filled with the Spirit," have you obeyed that command? Is that the life you are living? If not, the question comes at once, Why not? And then the next question, Are you willing to take up that command and say, "By God's help I am going to obey. I will not rest until I have obeyed that command, until I am filled with the Spirit"?

I. Disciples filled with Spirit vs. a command to be filled with the Spirit.

Let us put away our varying notions and conceptions about the filling of the Holy Spirit. Let us look at the message of the text and figure out how we are going to fulfill the command to be filled with the Spirit. When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit it was not magic.

Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

There is a distinct difference between the use of the phrase "filled with the Spirit" in the book of Acts and its use in the book of Ephesians. The Holy Spirit came to dwell in those we find in Acts.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

The Holy Spirit initiated the filling. The recipient was always taken by surprise to some extent. It just happened. The filling seemed to be permanent. But what about when Paul commanded the Ephesian believers to be filled with the Spirit?

How do I do that?

To be drunk is to be under the control of alcohol, to surrender one's body, mind and spirit to its influence. To be filled with the Spirit in this particular case -- is to voluntarily put oneself under the influence of the Holy Spirit. A person filled with the Spirit will be dominated and controlled by the Holy Spirit even as a drunkard is dominated and controlled by intoxicating drink.

Paul was not commanding us to sit around passively and wait for something to be poured into us. Not a state of high excitement, or of absolute perfection or a state in which there will be no growth. Being filled with the Spirit is simply this -- having my whole personality yielded to His power. Then we walk in the power of the Spirit.

1 Cor 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Paul's point in Ephesians 5:18 is to surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

To be filled with emotion is to allow our emotions to take control of all our thoughts and feelings to such an extent that all other thoughts are pushed into the background.

God is trying to bring us to a place where we are totally dependent and totally surrendered upon his leading. It has to do with a Spirit controlled life. Most people live independently of the Holy Spirit every day. They never give it a second thought. We need to realize that we have no one else to turn to.

Dependence and surrender go hand in hand. We can't fully surrender our will until we are convinced we are in a hopeless situation. As long as we see a way out, we will generally opt for it.

Can't help a drowning man until he stops trying to help himself. He will pull you under and both of you will drown.

Walking in the Spirit.

2 Pet 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

2 John 1:4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

2 Cor 4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

II. What is needed in order to be filled with the Spirit?

Have you ever found yourself begging, bargaining, and pleading with God for some spiritual change in your life?

Remember that those men who first followed Christ and received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit had forsaken all to follow Jesus.

"Forsake your net" to another, "Leave that place in the receipt of custom, and come and follow me."

Later they said, "Lord, we have forsaken all and followed thee" their homes, their families, their good name. Men mocked and laughed at them, men called them the disciples of Jesus, and when He was despised and hated they were hated too.

They identified themselves with Him; they utterly yielded themselves to do His bidding.

This is the first step; we must forsake all to follow Christ.

Many believers think that they receive Jesus as someone who can save them and help them, yet all but deny Him as Master. They think they have a right to have their own will in a thousand things.

They talk about what they want, what they like, they use their property and possessions as they desire; they are their own masters and have never dreamed of saying: "Jesus, I forsake all to follow you."

And yet this is the command of Christ. Christ must be Lord of all. Until we make him Lord of all, unless we have yielded everything, our hearts cannot be filled with Him.

Jesus says, "Forsake all and follow me."


Gen 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Caleb & Joshua

Numbers 32:12 " . . . not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the LORD wholeheartedly.'


1 Kings 19:19-21 19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. 20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? 21 And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.


Psa 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.


Isa 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.


Acts 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Surrender is a crucial factor in spiritual growth.

Jesus modeled spiritual surrender as he

1) Was born as a helpless baby.

2) Accepted a poor and humble lifestyle.

3) "Grew in grace" instead of learning from the world.

4) Disciplined himself spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Matt 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

5) Modeled and taught love in action;

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

6) Paid the ultimate price for surrender.

Phil 2:1-8 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Then he rose victorious over evil. His example is one of emptying oneself of normal human tendencies, and creating openness to God's grace. This is a lifelong process. It begins with a conscious experience, of envisioning ourselves as yielded to God, and making a commitment of our wills. The development of surrender must take place in experience as well as theory and mental assent.

Every day Christians voice a variety of prayers, most of them self-serving pleas for help or protection, but God loves to hear us pray dangerously--prayers that open us up to Him and cause us to grow spiritually. Bill Hybels suggest the following steps for surrender and growth:

Search me:

Almost every Christian has times of feeling indignant toward people who rebel against God. David expressed that emotion in Psalm 139, but immediately he stopped and asked God to examine him. In the same way, we must not forget to ask God to point out rebellion in our own spirits.

Psa 139:1-3 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Psa 51:9-10 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Break me:

You cannot grow as a Christian until you learn to ask for brokenness.

Regardless of your level of spiritual maturity, there will always be areas of your life God needs to work in.

Whatever it may be, new Christ-like ways cannot replace the old, until we let God smash the former patterns to bits.

Stretch me:

This is the kind of prayer to pray when you want to grow up spiritually.

Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

When the first-century believers prayed for greater boldness instead of asking God to take away persecution, they were praying "stretch me" prayers.

If you know someone whose depth of love is humbling, whose perseverance is inspiring, whose spiritual strength is amazing, that person has probably asked God to stretch them through life's challenges.

Lead me:

Asking God to take your life and do whatever He wants with it is risky. If you are comfortable in your home, have a growing family, and enjoy your job, it is especially scary to let God take control, but that's what faith is all about.

Ps 25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Ps 31:3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.

Ps 43:3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

We've got to believe that His plans for us are better than our own.

Use me:

Acts 4:29-31 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

It's exciting to make yourself available to God so that He can touch someone else through you. Such prayer creates adventures.

Praying in these ways lets God know you are serious about living for Him. When He moves you out of your comfort zone, your Christian life is radically changed. " (Via InfoSearch Database "Five dangerous prayers and why you should pray them" by Bill Hybels. Today's Christian Woman, Jul/Aug 1992. Pages 41-43.)

Spirit filled life

A fellow and a girl were walking along one day discussing a mutual acquaintance. One of them said, "Mary has what I call a radiant personality." "That's right," agreed the other, "but how do you account for it?"

Just then they rounded a bend in the road and a rippling river came into view. Pointing to the opposite bank, the fellow said, "See that impressive old castle over there? Well, when I was a small boy, I loved to sit right here in the evening and look at it. I knew what was going on inside by the number of lights that were burning. If only a few people were home, just a faint glimmer filtered through the windows. But when friends came, many lamps were lit and the place became a thing of beauty. One time when a member of the royal family visited there, the entire castle was illuminated! I have never seen such brilliance!"

Then, turning to his companion, he said, "I think that's the only way I am able to explain Mary's shining personality. She is entertaining a Royal Guest!" Commenting on this story, Wilbur Nelson says, "As temples of God, the presence of the Savior within should have a similar effect upon us--adding joy and a warm glow to our lives."

"Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God; it whets our appetite." --Eugene Peterson (quoted in Leadership, Winter 1995 via InfoSearch Database)


Surrender comes through five steps of forgiveness:

1. Hearing the Word (that we are all sinners)

Psa 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Rom 10:17

2. Believing.

3. Repenting

4. Confession

5. Accepting forgiveness from God as you surrender your life in baptism.

Such surrender gives a different view of the world and of success. It involves allowing God to teach and guide. It provides courage and motivation, by union with higher forces than our own.


Home   Complete Index    2009 Sermons 2004-2008 Sermons      2002-2003 Sermons      2000-2001 Sermons     1998-1999 Sermons 

Series    Topical     Short Articles