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Passport Discussion Questions

Passport (Week 5)

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Kingdom Presence - the holy spirit

PASSPORT - WEEK 5

What has your experience been of the Holy Spirit? What questions or concerns do you have around the Holy Spirit or people claiming to have the Holy Spirit?

Let's recite our memory work.

Who is the Spirit?

R.A. Torrey

If you think of the Holy Spirit, as so many even among Christian people do today, as a mere influence or power, then your thought will constantly be, "How can I get hold of the Holy Spirit and use it?" But if you think of Him in the biblical way, as a person of divine majesty and glory, your thought will be, "How can the Holy Spirit get hold of me and use me?”

Do you need more of the Spirit? Does He need more of you?

Here's a good way of looking at why Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to His followers:

Randy Fisk in The Presence, Power and Heart of God, p. 26
 
Instead of one person, Jesus - speaking His powerful words and doing His awesome works - suddenly Jesus begins to act via the Holy Spirit through every believer. This initiates what has to be one of the devil’s worst nightmares: instead of one Jesus at work, there are now millions and millions of “Jesuses” walking around, doing what He did!

What's your reaction to this quote? What do you think about YOU being the cause of bad dreams for Satan? How is that possible?

In Day 2 we met Dwight Moody. He was an extremely successful evangelist in Chicago, but "he was carrying the work largely by his own human effort." When two older women noticed and told Moody they were praying for him to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, at first he was put off. But this started a deep thirst in Moody for more the the Spirit's power.

"I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York - oh, what a day! - I cannot describe it. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. the sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world." 
 
The sermons where not different; but the servant was! Before, it had been the earnest energy and tireless drive of the man; now it was the dynamic of the Holy Spirit.
 
Quoted in They Found the Secret by Raymond Edman

What do you think happened to Moody? What's the difference between the presence of the Holy Spirit in a Christian and the power of the Holy Spirit on a Christian? When does the presence of the Spirit come in Christians? When does the power of the Spirit come on Christians?

This is from the Vineyard Statement of Faith …

THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
 
We believe that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church at Pentecost in power, baptizing believers into the Body of Christ and releasing the gifts of the Spirit to them. The Spirit brings the permanent indwelling presence of God to us for spiritual worship, personal sanctification, building up the Church, gifting us for ministry, and driving back the kingdom of Satan by the evangelization of the world through proclaiming the word of Jesus and doing the works of Jesus.
 
We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is our abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. We believe in the filling or empowering of the Holy Spirit, often a conscious experience, for ministry today. We believe in the present ministry of the Spirit and in the exercise of all of the biblical gifts of the Spirit. We practice the laying on of hands for the empowering of the Spirit, for healing, and for recognition and empowering of those whom God has ordained to lead and serve the Church.

The Vineyard teaches that all believers receive the Holy Spirit at conversion. Either at conversion or subsequent to conversion, believers may experience and are encouraged to ask for the empowering or filling of the Holy Spirit for ministry. This empowering and filling is not meant to be a one time experience, but an ongoing relationship of dependency on the Spirit’s presence and power. The Vineyard encourages all believers to continually seek the Spirit’s filling and take risks of faith expecting the Spirit’s empowering.

How to be filled with the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 5:18
 
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

The verb "be filled" is in the present continual tense. So it could be translated "keep on being filled with the Spirit." The filling of the Holy Spirit isn't suppose to be just a onetime experience. It is to be an ongoing relationship of dependency on the Spirit. So how can you be continually filled with the Holy Spirit?

1. Believe in Jesus

A relationship with the Holy Spirit begins when our relationship with Jesus begins. As the Peter said ...

Acts 2:38
 
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So the first and indispensable step of receiving the filling of the Spirit is to believe in Jesus. That's how we receive the Spirit in the first place. Have you? 

2. Keep Giving Up Substitutes

Paul says, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." The point is we're going to full of something. We going to be "under the influence" of something or someone. The question is, What or whose influence are you under? The Holy Spirit's or something else's? God said through the prophet Jeremiah ... 

Jeremiah 2:13
 
My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

How stupid can we be? Here we have an artesian spring of pure, fresh water in the Spirit, yet we reach for polluted substitutes instead. How does the physical law of displacement apply spiritually? Can you be full of yourself or something else (like ________?) and be full of the Holy Spirit? What substitutes (broken cisterns and empty wells) are you reaching for that you need to give up?

3. Keep Thirsting for More

Nobody can drink water just once. Physical thirst is an ongoing drive because physical water is an ongoing need. The same is true of the spiritual water of the Spirit. Our need for His presence and power is ongoing. So our thirst for Him has to be ongoing too.

John Wimber sensed God saying to him ...
 
Since you can't do anything without me, how much help do you want?

In other words, John how thirsty are you for my help through my Spirit? How thirsty are YOU?

STAY THIRST, MY FRIENDS!

4. Keep Asking the Father

Luke 11:11-13
 
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!

Guess what? The verb "ask" once again is in the present continual tense. So it could be translated, "how much more will you Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking him!" If the Father already knows what we need, why does He wait for us to ask Him? Are you asking the Father for the continual filling of the Spirit? As you ask, keep this amazing promise in mind.

1 John 5:14
 
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

What could be more in tune with God's will than asking for the filling of the Holy Spirit? So ask with confidence!

5. Keep Stepping Out in Faith and Obedience

Galatians 5:25
 
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

The filling of the Spirit isn't just about dramatic experiences with the Spirit; it's about walking day by day, moment by moment with the Spirit. This is where the Spirit-filled life is practically lived out. We are to keep in step with the Spirit. In other words, we are to develop an ongoing relationship of dependence on and obedience to the Spirit's leading. As John Wimber liked to say, "Faith is spelled R-I-S-K."

Which of these 5 steps of being filled with the Holy Spirit is the most important for you right now? Why?

  1. Believe in Jesus
  2. Keep Giving Up Substitutes
  3. Keep Thirsting for More
  4. Keep Asking the Father
  5. Keep Stepping Out in Faith and Obedience

Have the group gather around each person, lay hands on them and pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Karl House