I missed you on Sunday and look forward to seeing you this upcoming Sunday. As a reminder, we do not have HOPE Wednesday this Wednesday but will continue on journey on prayer next Wednesday. I will have materials to pass out after church on Sunday. Please come by, get a book and a schedule. As I mentioned, I believe this may be one of our
most impactful studies. Again, I encourage you to come and invite someone to come with you.
As we look at studying and journeying through the Bible, as church family, as part of the universal church, one thing binds us together as Christians, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as evidence of our faith in God through Jesus the Christ.
People should basically be able to study you without necessarily having to read the Bible to know that you are a Christian and what it means to be one.
That does not absolve any of us from reading and studying the Bible so that we can continue to grow. For to show ourselves approved, we must study (2 Timothy 2:15); hence, your attendance at Sunday School and HOPE Wednesday is very important to the continuous growing of your faith.
And, when it comes to your faith, for many people, they will adopt a Missouri attitude. Missouri is called the "Show Me" state.
As a Christian, what are you showing people?
Can they see that you are walking in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit?
Now, before you get defensive with a quick "Yes', let us not forget that scripture also tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19). So, let your guard down and let us see how we might find evidence that we are truly walking in the Spirit.
In John 7:37-39, we find, "On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, 'Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water.' Now he said this about the Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
In this short passage, Jesus said so much.
First, one has to come to one's self, like the prodigal son, and acknowledge a continuous need for that which you cannot satisfy on your own or find in anyone else other than Jesus. He calls it being thirsty.
Are you thirsty?
If you are, then Jesus invites you to come to Him; BUT, that is not enough.
Some people come to church occasionally. Some people join the church randomly. Some people fall away sporadically. Some people come back timidly. And, some people never return and we see them in a final church service, a funeral, or in the funeral home as evidence that they chose to fall and never return to the church family.
It is sad; but, it is true.
BUT, if you can admit your thirst for someone and something greater and try Jesus as the solution, you may find that not only will your thirst be quenched; BUT, you will also find salvation which only occurs when you do not just find Jesus but also believe in Him.
Beloved, people can come to church, sing songs, lift their hands in praise, know when to rise and when to sit, and still act, outside of worship, as if they do not know Jesus at all.
Why? Because their relationship is more emotional and mental than it is spiritual.
They sip of God. They get a nip of Jesus. And, they get a whiff of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said believe in Him and drink. Drink of what? Or, better said drink of who? The Holy Spirit.
That is what true discipleship means. You receive Christ and you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, living and walking by His guidance rather than trusting in your own.
You do not learn of this by staying away. You only learn by coming and coming and coming and coming.
The Holy Spirit had not come at the time when Jesus spoke these words. They came after He ascended and fulfilled His promise to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to be with us until He returns.
Now, this has been a long message; but, I was not with you on Sunday. So, perhaps, I had few things stored up that I needed to share with this church family who I dearly love.
But, now, the punch line.
The evidence that you are walking in the Spirit is pretty obvious by what you say, what you do, and the impact of what you say and what you do. Basically, what is on the inside of you will be revealed on the outside of you.
Jesus said in that 38th verse, "Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water."
Based on your relationship with God, not your religion, not your denomination, not your habits, not your traditions, but your spiritual foundation revealing your surrender to God in Jesus Christ, your heart will have a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) to keep your mind calm in the midst of storms (Isaiah 26:3) such that you will be a role model for others to follow (1 Timothy 4:12) because you are walking in the Spirit.
Your life should inspire others to want to be like you and to desire a relationship with God through Jesus Christ as guided by the Holy Spirit. Your heart for God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - should be one that brings light and life as evidence of the relationship you have with God.
All rivers start with a source and end with a mouth. God is your source. Your walk with God and the impact of that walk is your mouth, your conduct, your life lived. Truly, life and death are in the power of the tongue, your mouth, your life in word and deed (Proverbs 18:21).
Are rivers of living water flowing from your heart?
Are you walking in the Spirit?
If so, keep it going and keep those waters flowing.
If not, decide today to do so. Somebody needs the water, the Holy Spirit, that was promised to you by Jesus. You are supposed to be helping others to become like Christ. Make sure the Christ they see in you is the one who can help that to occur.
Long message to write. You are worth it.
Long message to read. You are worth it.
Long message to share. Somebody else is worth it too.
Walk in the Spirit. Out of your heart, let the rivers of God's love flow.
Beloved, I strongly encourage you to become an active participant in our teaching ministries. It is how we learn and how we grow. As tithing and offering is more about relationship than money, so is your attendance at Sunday School and HOPE Wednesday. It is not about checking names on a roll. It is about helping to make sure that we know that our names are written in the Lamb's book of life and that we are preparing ourselves to help add more names for the cause of Christ.
You have many arbitrary, volunteer, social clubs and activities. Never let them supersede your relationship with God and your church family. The other relationships are temporal and ours is eternal.
I have to tell you the truth that will set you free (John 8:32).
Because I always want you to remember that God loves you and I love you too!