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In the Christmas series, "Breaking News," Pastor Philip De Courcy examines the profound news delivered on the first Christmas - the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord. This event marked the dawn of a rescue mission of unparalleled magnitude as God became man to bring salvation to humanity.
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This morning I invite you to take your Bible and turn to John, chapter 14. Want to read from the upper room discourse? I want to speak this morning on the subject, God is no longer with us. I want you to think beyond Christmas. God is no longer with us, and you’ll catch the significance of that title as we progress through this sermon this morning. Let’s read from chapter 14 and verse 15. “If you love me”, Jesus says, “Keep my commandments and I will pray the Father and he will give you another helper that he may abide with you forever, the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.”
Let’s go over to chapter 16 and break in at verse five, “But now I go away to him who sent me and none of you asks me where are you going? But because I’ve said these things, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you, but if I depart, I will send him to you.” So reads God’s word.
The marvel and the miracle of Christmas, according to the Christian faith is that God almighty, maker of heaven and earth became our neighbor. That’s staggering. That’s stunning. John, in his gospel, tells us that the word who was God, who was with God from the very beginning became flesh and dwelt among us, John one, verse 14. Matthew in his gospel tells us that the one born of the virgin and to the virgin was to be called Emmanuel, which is translated, God with us. Matthew one, verse 23, the staggering reality and the staggering implication of Christmas is that in Jesus Christ, we got to see him who is invisible.
Isn’t that how Moses described God? In Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 27, we read that Moses seen him who was invisible, rejected the riches of Egypt and bore the reproach of God’s people. That’s a marvelous truth that at Christmas in Jesus Christ, we got to see him who is invisible. The word became flesh, the highest being became a lowly creature. The source of life became a dying man. The ultimate fact, God himself became a commonplace feature. Listen folks, in the Garden of Eden, God had been with man. In the Old Testament, God had appeared to man in a series of theophanies and the appearing of the angel of the Lord and so forth. In the tabernacle, God had dwelt among man. His Shekinah glory hung over the tabernacle and the temple signifying that that was God’s residence on earth. In the history of Israel, God had spoken to and through man, but in the gospels, God was visible as man. That’s the marvel and the miracle of Christmas.
Without doubt, Christmas was a special time and the days that followed, epic, because God was visible as man, we see him who is invisible, but here’s what I want to remind you of this morning. Those days have come to an end. God is no longer with us. Those days have come to an end in the death and burial and resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. God incarnate has left the building, so to speak. Now, as I’ve reflected on that, I don’t know if you’ve thought this way, but when I reflect on that, there’s times I feel we missed out. Feel a little cheated. There were those who got to live during an epic time, during those days when the invisible God was visible, that the fountain of life had become a dying man. But listen, that’s not a proper perspective.
God is no longer with us, but here’s what I want to say about that. That’s all right. That’s okay because at Pentecost, God became available to dwell in man. God became a man that he might die for man and he died for man that he might live in man and he lives in man that someday they might live with him. That’s why Jesus says here in John 16, verse seven, ring this verse in your Bible where he says to his disciples who are shaken by the news that he’s leaving them, that he’s going away, that God’s no longer going to be with them in physical incarnated form. What does he say? He says, it’s to your advantage that I go away. Guys, dry those eyes. Pull yourself together. It’s to your advantage that I go away for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you, but if I depart, I will send him to you and here’s the significance we read here in those verses I read earlier from John 14 and verse 17, the spirit of truth will come to this world. The world cannot receive him because they neither see him or know him, but you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
That’s the news that follows Christmas, that the God who was with us is no longer with us, but that’s all right because he’s now in us and I want to spend a little bit of time thinking that through with you because the upper room discourse has a signature that runs through it. Jesus seeks to comfort his disciples who have been stunned at the news that he’s leaving them. In chapter 14 verse one, he says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” In verse 27 of the chapter, he says this, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you not as the world gives to you, gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
In chapter 16 and verse 20, he says, “Moses, surely I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy.” Jesus wants to comfort his disciples who are stunned and shaken by the news that he’s leaving them, but he wants to bolster their flagging spirits. He wants to heal their anxious hearts and he wants them to know that his leaving is no loss. His leaving is no loss because the God who was among men in the tabernacle, the God who spoke to men throughout the Old Testament, the God who was visible as man in the person of Jesus Christ is now in them or will be in them at the advent of the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants to comfort his disciples through the promise of two comings. One is future and one is present. One is heavenward, one is earthward, one is visible and one is invisible.
The future coming relates to his second coming. He basically says, guys, I’m going away but I will come again and I’ll receive you unto myself. In fact, I’m going to go away and build you a dwelling within my father’s house. And so he points to the second coming and he says, look, you’re not going to see me any longer. The heavens are going to receive me, but someday you will see me again. In fact, every eye will see me someday. That’s a future coming that’s meant to comfort them, but there’s a present coming that’s intended to comfort them also, and that’s the promise coming of the spirit of God at Pentecost. What does Jesus say here in chapters 14 and verse 18? Says to disciples, I am leaving you but I’m not going to leave you orphans.
Look at these words. I will come to you through the Holy Spirit. The God who was with them among them and for them would shortly be in them. There would be a real and lasting and dwelling of the believer by God in a new way, in a greater dimension compared to times past. We don’t have time to develop this, but I hope you know the fact that in the Old Testament, under the old covenant, the Lord would often work through his spirit on someone from the outside in. He would often come upon that person. One of the verbs that’s used in the Old Testament is he would clothe them with power. He did that with Gideon and that’s why David will pray in Psalm 51 in verse 11, a prayer that you and I really cannot pray under the new covenant. Lord, don’t take your spirit from me.
That’s an impossibility under the new covenant because we are sealed with the spirit of God until the day of redemption, Ephesians 1, verse 13, 14. The redemptive plan of God has moved forward. A new epic has taken place in the promise of the coming of the Spirit of God. The God who dwells in the heavens. The God, the heavens cannot contain, will make a home in the lives of men and women or as Warren Wiersbe so memorably put it, “In the Old Testament God had a temple for his people, but in the New Testament, he has a people for his temple.” Listen, the Spirit of God personalizes the presence of God. The person of God or the person of the Holy Spirit personalizes the presence of God. He mediates and maximizes Christ to us. I like what Calvin Miller says in his book on the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit lives to bring God vast as he is within the narrow circumference of our lives. In my life I have learned to think of him, I like this phrase, as the near side of the Trinity. God, the Father pervades the universe yet remains a holy distance from my need. God the Father is all around me, omnipresent, the theologians say, yet for all his splendor, he rides the world in inaccessible thunderclouds. Jesus, the son remains in heaven awaiting the grand moment of his return, but the Holy Spirit lives and walks in my small world calling like a pleading lover to summons me to greet us.
It’s powerful to think that through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, God comes to live within the confined circumferences of our life. That’s the promise here. Let me try and maybe illustrate that. A number of years ago, Gen and I and the girls made our way to Arizona. We went to the Grand Canyon. While we were there, we scooted down to the Hoover Dam to take in that awesome site where we see this vast hydroelectric power plant and high voltage wires crisscrossing the landscape out from it, spidering across the different states. Now, I want you to think if your house was directly to tap into that power source, you would blow the roof off your home, okay. That’s more power than you’re able to contain. That’s why we have transformers within the system that reduces that power to domestic consumption and maybe there’s an illustration here to a degree that the Holy Spirit makes available to us in reducible form, God’s presence and power in our lives.
That’s a great thought. God is no longer with us, but that’s okay. God is in us. Now, if that’s the case, I want to look at this text, the upper room discourse, and I want to see with you a number of implications, really glorious implications about this fact that God is no longer with us, but that’s okay, he’s in us. Does that make a difference? Absolutely. Hold onto your seat. Here’s three things that are implied by this. First of all, in the coming of the Holy Spirit, we have a new immediacy, a new immediacy, one of the great and clear benefits of the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Father and the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father is a new level of immediacy to God’s presence with the believer. The amazing fact is that God through the Holy Spirit is more available to us than Jesus was to his disciples.
We really haven’t been cheated, and I think we get it all wrong when we think it must’ve been powerful to be living during those days and in some sense that’s right. God in human form. I mean that’s an eye-opening, mind-boggling thing, but friends listen, Jesus got it right. He’s the truth. It’s to your advantage that I go away because if I go away, the spirit’s going to come. The spirit who has been with you, will be in you and you’ll be sealed by him. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. There’s a new immediacy to God’s presence in your life.
In fact, he would remain with them forever. Did you notice those words? In verse 16 of chapter 14, “I will pray the Father and he will give you another helper that he may abide with you forever. The one who’s been with you will be in you.” Now, that’s not to say that the Holy Spirit was superior to Jesus, only that the incarnate word was physically limited and located. The spirit faces no such confinement, no such constraint. Let me help you grasp this. You can get close to a person outside of you. Anybody in this room sitting around you, you can have a friendship with them. You can connect with them at different levels and a certain intimacy can be enjoyed. You have immediate access to that person, but think about how much closer you can get to a person if they were inside you, 24/7, wherever you were at whatever time of the day you find yourself in.
You see that the disciples, have you thought about this? The disciples could step outside the presence of Jesus. He could leave them for an hour or two hours or they could leave him for a day or two days. They could go to one place and he would be found in another. They could leave him behind much like Mary and Joseph left them behind in Luke, chapter two. Remember that story? Or they’re traveling home and they go, “Hey, where’s Jesus?” “Well, I thought he was with you.” “No, I thought he was with you.” And they have to track back to the temple and they find him sitting among the wise men, so bear that in mind.
That’s not true of the Holy Spirit. He will never leave us and we can never leave him. He’s in us forever, sealed until the day of redemption. Friends, surely that’s a powerful life altering reality. There’s no qualitative difference to knowing Jesus today in California than if you would’ve been alive during those historic times in Israel. That’s the implication of this. You see tourists go to Israel today often to find a place where they can realistically say, “I stood exactly where Jesus stood.” I’ve been to Israel twice this year and we’ve gone to the different sites and the different places where Jesus ministered or healed, and certainly there’s a blessing to be in there, to think that we’re standing on the very ground or at least approximately in the very region where the son of God once walked, but I don’t want to overplay that. If you never get to Israel, don’t worry about it because qualitatively, you’re as well off today as the disciples were. In fact, you’re better off today than the disciples were. Jesus tells us that our access to God, our connection with God is better post Pentecost than prior to Pentecost. We must be absorbed by that reality.
In fact, suppose that Jesus was still with us today in incarnated form. He’s in Jerusalem today and you can get on a plane and go and see them, or you could get onto a boat and go and see them, but then there would be millions of people on those boats and millions of people on those planes trying to get to that little sliver of a country called Israel and you dock at the harbor or you get off at the airport and you join the line of pilgrims that are trying to see this one man who is God, tabernacle among us. There’s a fat chance you’re going to see the Lord Jesus. Now you go to see him, but he’ll never see you.
That’s what it was like. In fact, that’s what it was like in Jesus’ day where it says the crowds pressed in on him. Zacchaeus had to climb a tree just to get a wink at the Lord Jesus. Don’t be thinking it was better then. Don’t be thinking, you know what? We’ve been cheated. We live in a era where Jesus isn’t on earth. Jesus wants you to know that with his leaving and the spirits coming, there is a new immediacy. We all know where we were when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon and told us that was, “One small step for man, but a giant leap for mankind,” but that peels into insignificance compared to the incarnation. The greatest moment in history wasn’t man walking on the moon. The greatest moment in history was God walking on earth, and yet Jesus tells us that the day of Pentecost was a gigantic milestone in the annals of redemptive history alongside and beyond the incarnation. It’s staggering words. I go away, but guys, it’s to your advantage. This is what you really want to happen because according to John 7:39, the spirit couldn’t come until Jesus had gone and been glorified. As Jesus ascends, the spirit descends. Jesus was with us and Jesus God was with us, but in the Holy Spirit, God is in us forever. Somebody say Amen.
Okay, I’m feeling lonely up here.
We have two girls at college and they’re not that far away, but sometimes they get sick or they’ve got an emotional issue going on or some issue they’re dealing with, and sometimes I’ll hear June say on the phone, I wish I could be there for you, but you see in physical form, a mother can only be in one place at one time, but you know what? Wherever we are, God’s there for us. God’s in us, with us. I love the story of George Phillips of Meridian, Mississippi. He’s in bed with his wife and his wife says, “I think you left the backyard light on.” They could see some light coming through the curtains in their bedroom, and so George gets up and he goes down into the kitchen. He’s about to switch the light on, but he sees out in his backyard around his shed a number of figures and he realizes he’s being robbed.
Thieves are breaking into his shed and stealing some of his stuff, his tools and everything else, and so he ducks down. He gets on the phone, calls the police, he says, “You know what? I’ve got three intruders on my property. You need to send a patrol car over here right away.” The dispatcher says, “Tell me this, George, are they in the house?” He says, “No, they’re outside.” He says, “Well, make sure your doors are locked. Don’t go outside. Our patrol cars are all pretty busy at the minute we will get someone over there as soon as possible.” He can’t believe it. They’re asking him to just sit still while he gets robbed. After about 30 seconds, he calls the dispatcher back. He says, “Look, forget about it.” He says, “I shot them. There’s no need. There’s no rush.”
According to the story that I read, and I believe this is a true story, within five minutes there were four police cars. There was a helicopter, there was a whole bunch of police officers, and there was a couple of paramedics. As they arrive on the scene, they actually arrest the three intruders because George hadn’t shot them. One of the SWAT officers goes up to George and said, he said, “I thought you said you shot them.” To which he replied, “I thought you said you were all busy.” Don’t try that by the way.
Psalm 46, Psalm 46, the first one, I love it, and how much more true is it in the new covenant in the age of the Spirit post Pentecost, God is our refuge. Listen and the ever present help in time of trouble. If that was true in the Old Testament, how much more true in the New Testament that God who was with us, is now in us forever?
There’s a new immediacy. Secondly, there’s a new intimacy. With someone on the inside there’s not only a greater immediacy to that person’s presence, but a greater intimacy with that person. Whatever the disciples had experienced of God through the incarnate Son of God pitching his tent among us, Jesus in the upper room discourse is promising them that he will come to them again through the Holy Spirit in a new and glorious inwardness. There would be a new level of intimacy. His leaving would not bring a distance. His leaving would close the gap. “I’m not going to leave you orphans,” he says, “I’m going to come to you through the spirit of God,” another helper of the same kind. We see the intimacy within the Trinity, the Holy Spirit was God, so there was no loss of God in the coming of the Spirit of God, in the behalf of Christ and the spirit of God along with Christ that we’re so intimately involved and the work of redemption that to have one was to have the other.
Jesus is saying, “Look, this isn’t going to create distance. This is going to bring about an even greater closeness.” It’s beautiful. God had become eminent at Pentecost. At Bethlehem, God dwelling among us, at Calvary, God, working on our behalf at Pentecost, God living in us. Then let me develop this thought for a moment with you. Prior to this point, prior to even the incarnation, God had manifest himself to his people in different ways, through theophanies, through supernatural manifestations such as the pillar of fire and such like. God had come closest to his people in the Old Testament during the time of the tabernacle and the temple. We made mention of the fact that God’s Shekinah glory hung over the temple announcing the fact that this was God’s address on earth. This was where God had taken up residence. This was where God was closest to his people, God dwelt among them in a fashion unlike any other nation.
Yet the amazing thing was although God was to be found at the temple and that the tabernacle, there was a whole series of no entry signs and the Gentiles were put out even of the outer court. No women were to be found in the next courtyard, and then when it came to the inner court, only priests, not the normal Israelite, and then even within the inner court where the priest and the Levites function, there was a holy of holies and only one man got in there. He went behind the curtain and according to Alfred Edersheim, he had a rope tied around his ankle and some bells on his clothes just in case he messed up and God Almighty struck him down dead in the holy of holies and they could draw them out through the curtain.
Well, God was near his people, but there was still a distance. There were no entry signs posted all over the place. But you know what? When Jesus Christ came, God tabernacle among us in a new way, and then when Jesus died on the cross to remove the offense of our sin, the debt of our lawlessness and the guilt that comes and condemnation that comes from that, as Jesus did that in the darkness of those three Rs that Friday afternoon, what happened in the temple? Somebody tell me what was torn? The curtain, something was being announced. All the new entry signs were pulled down, and as the Hebrew writer says, “We have now boldness to enter into the holiest through the blood of Jesus Christ, Hebrews chapter 10.
Oh, my friend, God is no longer with us, but that’s okay. Jesus Christ became a man that he might die as a man for man so that in dying for men, he might live in man and we have become the tabernacle. We have become the temple of God and through the indwelling, overwhelming presence of the spirit of God, there’s a new immediacy and a new intimacy. Love it.
New Testament wants us to know that we are the temple of the living God, and that’s staggering. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m an Irish Protestant. I hope it’s because I’m a biblical Christian. I don’t get that excited about holy sights because if my theology is, right, and the Protestant reformation taught us right, we are all now priests in Christ. We’re all now temples of the living God, therefore where we stand is holy ground. Your kitchen is as holy and sacred a place should you visit the shores of Galilee where Jesus walked. Don’t spend the money because redemption and its plan has moved on.
It’s a powerful thought. You and I are the temple of the living God. In fact, let me show you those verses. If you go to First Corinthians, chapter three. Paul here speaks in the plural, so he’s addressing the wider body of believers, the church at Corinth, but I want you to notice how he describes them. “Do you not know that you,” plural “Collectively as a body of believers are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you?” I hope you’ve moved beyond Christmas. He says, God’s no longer with us, but that’s okay. He’s in us and if anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. I want to tell you something friends never do anything to harm the church of Jesus Christ. Never. Don’t inflict wounds privately or publicly upon the body of believers. It’s a dangerous thing to do because the church is the temple of the living God, don’t be vandalizing the temple. That’s a crime that will meet with swift judgment.
But then he speaks of our bodies being the temple of the living God. For that, go to First Corinthians, chapter six, first Corinthians chapter six. Paul here is speaking about the temptation to the Corinthians to sexual sin, and he wants Sam to know, Hey, verse 18, flee sexual immorality. Every sin that this man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have from God and you are not your own, for you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are Gods.” Our bodies of the temple of the Holy Spirit. Notice the priestly language of the New Testament. Everything we do is worship. Everywhere we go is holy ground.
That’s challenging. That blows away this dichotomy between the secular and the sacred. Let me bring that down to earth a little bit, especially as it relates to the context of first Corinthians, chapter 6. In the context of Corinthians, chapter 6, Paul is arguing that while fornication, sexual immorality in all its forms outside of marriage and prior to marriage characterized the temple of Aphrodite, it had no place in the temple of the Holy Spirit. If you were to look at the skyline of Corinth, one thing stood out, the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of sexuality and some of the Corinthians had that in their background, and now they realized those days were done. They were new creatures in Christ. The old things were passed away. All things have become you. They were committed to purity, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have a battle to fight.
Old memories would stir up their conscience walking the streets of that city, they’d find themselves tempted, maybe looking at temple prostitutes or some other event that would remind them of the battle they’re fighting, and so Paul says, Hey, here’s something that will help you. Remember, you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. What goes on in that temple must never go on in this temple. It’s powerful, isn’t it? So radical is the teaching of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that Paul is saying this, that sexual immorality is akin to having sex on the front pew of a church. You couldn’t imagine that, right? But Paul is saying, you are the church. You are the temple. I mean, just when we think our country has reached its lowest point, we get surprised, don’t we? Remember a couple of years ago, a couple in New York went from place to place committing sexual acts and was broadcast live on one of the radio stations in New York.
One of the places they went to and had sex was St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. The shame of it, the sacrilege of it, the sin of it, they were arrested and prosecuted and we stand back in horror. Can you imagine that? Has our culture got no conscience? Has it left all vestiges of decency behind where you have people celebrating the fact that they had sacks in a cathedral? Listen, you’re a cathedral, you’re a temple, you’re a church and whatever you do, morning, noon or afternoon or night is done in the very presence of God beneath the eyes of our thrice holy God, who then dwells you. Let that be a challenge. We’ve got a new immediacy. We’ve got a new intimacy. Finally, we’ve got a new intensity. I like this. The Holy Spirit not only comes to dwell within the believer, but he comes to invigorate.
He is that ever present help. He is a friend. He is an ally. I want you to notice how the Lord Jesus describes the Holy Spirit. He calls them the helper. You see this in verse 16 of chapter 14, and “I will pray the Father and he will give you another helper that he might abide with you forever and he who dwells with you,” according to verse 17 “… will be in you.” We’ve got the same title given to the Holy Spirit in verse 26, “But the helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to you remembrance, all the things that I’ve said.” In verse 26 of chapter 15. Again, we’re told and “When the helper comes whom I send to you from the Father, the spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify of me.”
Again, chapter 16 verse seven. “It’s to your advantage that I go away for if I do not go away, the helper.” Now, this has been versely translated. In the RSV it was translated counselor in the King James, comforter. In the Moffitt translation, helper and the Weymouth translation, advocate. In the Knox translation, to befriend you. And all of those translations are legitimate because the thought of encouragement and support and assistance and care are all bound up in this Greek term. In fact, it’s a compound term. It’s made up of two Greek words, para, kletos. Para, meaning coming alongside, kletos coming from the word, to call. The helper is someone who’s called to come alongside you and me. Isn’t that beautiful? You’ll find that word in Colossians 4, verse seven to eight where Paul tells us that the Colossians had sent Tychicus to come to Paul to comfort him.
That’s our Greek word, comfort, parakletos. Tychicus had come to Paul, come alongside him, lifted his spirit, showed support, identified with him in his moment of need. What’s the picture here? It’s a beautiful picture. It’s a picture that was often portrayed in those old westerns where the settlers are surrounded by the Indians and they’re down to their last bullet and the women are holding their children and curtains seem to be coming down on them, and all of a sudden you hear the sound of the bugle and you see the seventh cavalry charging over the hill and riding the Indians and saving the day. That’s the picture.
Maybe a more homely picture is that of a father running alongside his kid on a bicycle who’s just got the stabilizers removed and as the kid wobbles and thinks they are on the edge of disaster, they cry out for help and daddy runs alongside and puts his hand under the saddle and helps the bike stay erect. It’s the picture and Jesus has said, Hey, I’m going, but it’s no loss to you. One is coming who’s my equal, another comforter of the same kind. He’s going to come alongside you and help from within. It’s powerful. It’s wonderful.
Maybe it’s best illustrated in the life of Peter. At the end of the gospels, we find him like a whipped dog hiding indoors along with the other disciples, but then we meet him on the dead Pentecost, bold as a lion telling people to repent, put their faith in Jesus Christ not far from the very Prius where he denied the Lord Jesus, the coward. Now, he stands before thousands and witnesses without fear. Can’t be the same man, but it is. Well, it’s not. It’s the man now in dwelt by the Holy Spirit. The wind of the mighty parakletos has blown, filling the seals of his spirit. Got him moving again and a wonderful change has come over Peter, a heaven sent change as the parakletos indwells him, comes alongside him. The point here is simply that within the believer resides one who is a never ending spring of refreshment, a never ending spring of resource, a never ending spring of resolve.
I quoted the passage earlier, John 7, verses 39, where we’re told that the spread had not come because Jesus hadn’t yet ascended and was glorified, but I want you to read the verses just before that. On the last day, John 7:37, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, “If anyone thirsts, let them come to me and drink. He who believes in me as the scripture has said out of his heart will flow rivers of living water,” but this he spoke concerning the spirit. The spirit is presented there as an artesian well, as an ever flowing spring. What we have in the spirit is a fountain that gushes grace upon grace. Philippines 4, verse 13. We can do all things. Let me qualify that. That’s the things God wants us to do by the way, that doesn’t mean jump off buildings and you can fly. Doesn’t mean you can do what you believe is your agenda that’s doing all the things he wants us to do. We can do all things through Christ who pours his strength into us.
It’s a great word for the end of the year. It’s a great word for the beginning of the year, we’re all set. We’re well taken care of. We’ve got all the resources necessary for life and godliness. There’s power available to us. There’s grace made ready for us. We have the indwelling, invigorating presence of the spirit of God, and we can go from strength to strength, Psalm 84, verse 7. One more verse here, Romans 8, verse 11 offers a profound statement. Listen to it. “If the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal body by his spirit who dwells in you.” There we meet this phrase again, he dwells in you, but with it there’s this other phrase. He quickens your mortal body. What does that mean? Philip translates it. He will bring to your whole being on you strength and a new vitality. Maybe you’re out of puff this morning, so to speak. You’re tired, feel like just sitting it out for a while. Life’s piled in. Temptations are strong. This is a wicked world and you wish you didn’t live in it because your righteous soul is being vaxxed by a lot, day by day. Oh my friend, get back up on your feet and let God invigorate your mortal body by the power of his indwelling, overwhelming spirit.
AB Simpson, one of the early leaders of the Christian Missionary Alliance movement was out walking one day in a rural area and he noticed a man from a distance pumping water furiously by the side of a house. As he watched this guy, he never let up. It was quite a feat. This guy was going hammer and tongs, pumping the water, but as he got closer, he realized that it was a painted wooden figure of a man that was attached to a pump that was activated by an artesian well. He came to see that the man wasn’t pumping the water. The water was pumping the man, and when people come to truly discover who we are and why we stand up and hold up in the face of bereavement and life’s challenges and we don’t fall down in the face of life’s trials and troubles, they find out someone else is pumping us.
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Christians have got to stop looking like they’ve gone 16 rounds with Mike Tyson and had the stuffing knocked out of them. My friend, we have the indwelling presence of the spirit of God and greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world. Amen.
God is no longer with us, but that’s okay, that’s all right because God now is in us.
Lord, we thank you for this lesson this morning. We thank you for the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Lord, help us to be truly charismatic in our Christian experience. We may not see the signs and wonders that once marked the former generation, but we thank you that we are in dwell. We are sealed by the blessed Holy Spirit. Lord, he is the forgotten God. He is the displaced person within the Godhead. Lord, if the world’s sin is to reject the Son of God, the church’s sin is to ignore the spirit of God. Therefore, help us to wake up to this reality that God is no longer with us because God is now in us. Christ had to go away, but that was to our advantage and everybody said amen.