TRANSCRIPTION | Sunday, December 20, 2020  | How? The Holy Spirit

 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I've already shared with you our anchor text for this series that we've been in. And this morning, I'm not going to reread Matthew, chapter one, verse 21 and 23. But I am going to take you to Luke chapter one, and I want you to look with me at verse 26, in the vein of, we call him Savior, as we call upon the name Jesus, and we get to experience that he is God with us. So look with me, Luke 1:26, “Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And having come in the angel said to her, rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. And then the angel said to her, do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and you will call his name, Jesus, and he will be great, and he will be called the son of the highest, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom, there will be no end.” I read those verses just for the emphasis of the Christmas element. But I want you now to see verse 34 and 35, they will be very important to where we're going this morning, what I believe God wants to say to us. “Then Mary said to the angel, how can this be, since I do not know a man?? How can this be, since I do not know a man? How? Verse 35, “And the angel answered and said to her, the Holy Spirit will come up on you, and the power of the highest will overshadow you.” She asked how, and the angel said, the Holy Spirit is going to come on you with power and overshadow your life. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Father, I ask you this morning help me to preach, help me to teach, move people forward into an experience with you. That God maybe is beyond what they have known up to this moment, provoke us to our next step in you Lord, whatever that might be, let it be done in the name of Jesus and this Church said, amen and amen. A few years ago, I was in a time of just kind of journaling down some thoughts, and I found myself in a moment where I really felt like that I should just invite the Lord to speak to me further about some specific values for my life, some things that I should live by, and maybe even better stated, a vision that became more clearly focused something that I was believing God for. And this is what I wrote down. I want to live in such a way that I have to be radically dependent upon the power of God. I want to live in such a way that I have to be radically dependent upon the power of God. You know, I believe that God wants to have that kind of a relationship with every single one of us to where that our engagement with him, our experience of his presence in our lives, is something beyond just Sunday morning, something beyond even just Easter or Christmas, but that we literally begin to live our lives in such a way that we are radically dependent upon him showing up with his empowerment in order to bring those things to pass and to make them successful. Sometimes it might just simply be that you feel led to go and pray for someone. Another time, it might be that you feel an unction that you should go and share your witness or your testimony with someone. Other moments, it might be that you feel like that you're supposed to give above and beyond or be generous to help meet a need in somebody's life, but to live in such a way that you are radically dependent upon the power of God. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

When I think about Simon Peter, that moment when he was in the boat, and he began to walk on the water towards Jesus, that story didn't end real well. But he was the only dude that got out of the boat. And I kind of want to reach a point in my life where that I would rather be a wet water walker than a dry boat talker, reach that place where that we are radically dependent upon the power of God. And when I think in that vein, I begin to realize that one of the greatest challenges for me, or any one of us, to live that way is this tension with the American dream, because the American dream teaches us that our greatest asset is our ability. And so there's so much emphasis on what we can do with our mind, and with our hands, and with our willpower. And if we'll just work hard, we can make it happen. And thank God for people who work hard. In fact, the Bible says that if you will not work, you should not eat. That's Bible. Thank God for a work ethic. Thank God for people who are willing to get up and do what it takes with the intestinal fortitude to say, I'm going to make this happen. But if we're not careful, we can get so focused on our work ethic and in our own ability, that we miss the fact that what God considers our greatest ability is not our intellect, it's not our creativity, it's not even our work ethic. What God considers our greatest ability is availability. God is just looking for someone somewhere who will become available to his purposes being fulfilled in the earth. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

When you pick up a Bible, and you start to read it from the book of Genesis all the way to Revelation, you're going to discover over and over again, that the plan of God is to give unlikely people his power, so it is clear who deserves the glory when success happens. You look at Moses, there's 1000 reasons that you would disqualify him. You look at Elijah, multiple reasons you would disqualify him. Esther, or even Deborah, even Marry, multiple reasons that we could disqualify them. Even when Jesus was picking disciples, it became literally the league of the least likely. Why does God do that? Why does God choose people that don't seem to have all the i's dotted and all the t's crossed? I believe it is because he is just looking for somebody who will be available, and that when they become available, when he starts unleashing his power, and his glory is made manifest, there's no doubt about where the success come from, because he will use the weak things to confound the mighty, and he will use the foolish things to confound the wise. And so if you're being used by God, you may not feel like that you have all of the qualifications. But if I might borrow the old cliche, God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the call. You can find a man like Peter and John who say, I feel like I am ignorant and unlearned. But everybody else looks at him and says, ignorant and unlearned, they might be but they have been with Jesus. And because God is with them, that changes and reshapes the whole thing. Live your life in such a way that you are radically dependent upon the power of God. When is the last time that you really found yourself in a place where you were all in? Where you really found yourself in a place where man if God doesn't show up? Is it possible that we've been missing some next steps? If it really is true that the plan of God is to give unlikely people his power, so that it's clear who deserves the glory when success happens? 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, I've learned in the kingdom of God, God's way of thinking, we are not recognized for what we are, we are recognized for whose we are. And that is fulfilled in Matthew 1:21-23. You call him Jesus, he saves you, you belong to him. They, they call him Emmanuel, because they realize God is with you. Now, it's not about what you are, it's about whose you are. And you might have come from the wrong side of the tracks, you may not feel like you don't have the right last name, and you may feel like your 401k is never going to live up to what you thought it would be. But when you know whose you are, it doesn't matter what you are. Call him Jesus and experience God with you. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

What I see in this story with Mary is a lady who's getting a download from Heaven. In fact, there is an angel in front of her. She is having a conversation with an angelic being. And God is telling her I'm going to do some incredible things in your life and it's because favor has come upon you. And as she starts to get this download. She starts to hear all these things that God intends to do. She starts to have a recognition of, I'm not capable of this. I don't have the ability to make this happen. One of the main things I haven't been with a man, She still is a virgin womb, but God is telling her that she's going to have a child. And so finally, she just looks at the angel, and she says, how? How? 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Have you ever had a moment where you really felt like God was dealing with you? You didn't hear the audible voice of God, maybe no one was prophesying to you, but you just felt this unction on the inside of you, I know that I'm supposed to do this. I know that this is something that God wants me to be a part of. And yet, when you were trying to like break it all down with mental reasoning, you just could not figure it out. Your pencil, and your calculator, and your analytics, none of it was coming together, and you found yourself just saying, okay, God, I sense what you want from me, I sense what you're saying you're gonna do in me, I sense what you're saying you're gonna do through me, but God, how? Like, when I look in the mirror, I don't see how. Listen, if there's ever a moment in your life, when you believe that God is dealing with you, and you are responding to Heaven with the question, how can this be, God will always have the same answer, the Holy Spirit. Over and over again, when you don't know how, God has an answer for you, the Holy Spirit. Zachariah put it this way, it will not be by might, it will not be by power, but it will be by my spirit sayeth the Lord, the Holy Spirit. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

When you think about the Holy Spirit, the way that Mary is told that the Holy Spirit will engage with her life, she's told, the Holy Spirit is going to come up on you, and he's going to overshadow you. He's going to do something that literally overshadows you. He's going to do something coincidence can't take the credit for. He's going to do something that no one can steal the glory for. He's going to do something that’s literally going to overshadow your name, it's going to overshadow everything about you. it's going to overshadow you. The Holy Spirit's going to come upon you, he’s going over shadow you. But what we learn as we read Scripture, is there some specific things you need to know about the Holy Spirit when he starts working in your life. You see, the Heavenly Father, he is God for us. Jesus, he is God with us. But the Holy Spirit, he is God in us. And it's one thing for God to be for you, and it's a whole nother level for God to be with you, but we've done went to an entirely different dimension when we begin to talk about God being in us. Because when God gets in you, that literally changes everything. God for us, God with us, God in us. And what Mary realizes is that the Holy Spirit is going to come up on her. And as he comes up on her, he's going to begin to do something in her. On her, so that he can do something in her. Do you understand that the Holy Spirit wants to come on you so that he can do something in you. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The Book of Romans, 8:9 says that this way, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the spirit. In fact, the Spirit of God dwells in you.” So when you experience Jesus as your Savior, it's something beyond just getting to know that God is with you. There is the potential to experience God doing something in you. And that's important to know because the Apostle Paul said that God will do exceedingly, abundantly above all you could ask or think according to the power that he deposits in you. And so if you want to go to that exceedingly abundantly experience with God, you got to begin to realize I need to let him do something in me, not just something for me, and not just something with me, but something in me. He wants to do something from the inside out. And the way that Mary is informed is that it's going to be powerful. There's going to be power associated with it. When the Holy Spirit comes on her, and the Holy Spirit begins to do something in her, like it literally, the angel says this is going to be something that has power associated with it. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

When you experience the Holy Spirit, when you let him come on you and you let him begin to work in you, you will receive power. Acts 1:8 puts it this way, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come up on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and the ends of the earth. Many people in 2020, I would say a lot of you under the sound of my voice this morning, you find yourself in a place where this year has sucked the life out of you. You have been in a season where you feel fatigued. You've been in a season where you feel like that you're struggling in a way probably unlike you've ever struggled before. And I might not be talking to everybody, but I know I'm talking to somebody. Some of you, it extends beyond 2020. You've been in literal seasons of your life that seemed to be perpetually back to back to back where it's like, I don't know how much more I can take. I am discouraged. I am depressed. Some of you are even starting to wrestle with suicidal thoughts. You're not even for sure if you want to try to make the relationships work anymore. You're not for sure. But what happens when you begin to experience power being deposited on the inside of you? It has a divine energy kind of effect. It has a joy that's an unspeakable kind of effect. It has a fire that begins to be relit on the inside of you, something is revived, and something is renewed, and you begin to look towards the day as not something that you dread, but as something that God allowed me to have breath in my lungs. And when my feet hit the ground, I'm about to put the enemy on notice that I am still alive and kicking because of what God is doing in me. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

When's the last time you threw your hands in the air and said, God, I need some power. Think about your phone, constantly, constantly going dead on you, and right when you need the thing. And then if you get the update, then you're really going to struggle to keep it charged. Can I get a witness from somebody in here? COVID has had some updates hadn’t it? You ever got that text message? You ever got that doctor's report? You ever got that update that just sucked all the power out? There's the ability for you to plug in and be recharged with a power that is not of this world. One of the things that you have to do you have to believe that it is available, that there's something that God wants to do inside of you. That is beyond anything that natural reasoning would be able to comprehend or figure out. But not only when the Holy Spirit comes on you and begins to work in you does he want to give you power but he also wants you to receive love. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Receive love. Look at this verse. Romans 5:5, “And hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. That, yes, the Holy Spirit wants to give you power. And I guess I should say, I take for granted that you already know this, that one of the main reasons God wants you to have power is so that you'll be bold about your witness, that you'll never be weak kneed about the fact that Jesus is your Savior and Jesus as your Lord. And that you'd be willing to stand in front of roaring lions and declare that if need be. That’s the number one reason God wants to give you power, but he also wants to give you love. And some of us are struggling to love. We're offended. We're hurt. We're mad. We're angry. We're judgmental. They ought to know better. Who do they think they are? I'm sick and tired of this. Sound familiar? Man I'm telling you, y'all get really holy on a Sunday morning, because I just stepped into somebody's vehicle in somebody else's living room, and somebody else's text messages right there. And if you didn't say it, some of y'all were thinking it. We need love. And it doesn't just need to be a love that is of this world but it needs to be a love that is heavenly imparted to us, that we would let God pour out his love inside of us so that even when we are meeting the needs of our community that we don't look at that like some kind of box that we get to check so that we feel more self-sufficient and more religiously in tune with God but rather that we really do care about the people that we are serving. And we want to see them have an encounter first and foremost with the love of God to where that they realize I don't care what your past is, I don't care where you come from, I'm not even concerned about what it is you did last night. Right now, I want you to experience the love of God in a way that will come on you, overtake you and overshadow your entire life. Some of us desperately need the love of God to overshadow us. In Matthew chapter six, one of the things that we're told is that if you are going to help the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Why? Because God wants to glory. He wants his love to overshadow everything you're doing, even when you're meeting needs. Some of you are gonna be headed into family scenarios this Christmas, where you're gonna have to see the relative that you can't stand. You're gonna hang out with the mother-in-law that's done nothing but demean you for years. You're gonna see the brother-in-law that's a jerk. You're gonna deal with the cashier, that's rude. Somebody is gonna take the last PlayStation five that you intended to buy for your kid. And you're gonna need the love of God. And it goes beyond just those little practical happenings in life. It is a spiritual thing that needs to be in us from the top of our head to the soles of our feet, that we don't just love on Sunday, but that we love every day of the week, and that we love our neighbor as yourself, and that it's poured out on the inside of us and that where you would have sent that really nasty comment, or you would have made that really rude statement. Instead, the love of God was poured over in your heart, and you found something coming out of you, what you didn't even know was in you, simply because you got the love of God on the inside of you. You want to see revival breakout in America, you let Christians start acting, talking, and behaving like Christ, and the love of God flow out of us. And it will transform America, from sea to shining sea. The thing we are desperate for is love. Yes, truth, but spoken in love. Desperate for love. Just look at somebody, some love somebody. Start with your spouse. I can't stand him. I got an idea why it's not going well. Let God pour out love in your heart.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

The Holy Spirit wants to come on you, wants to work in you. And when he does, you will receive help. I'm talking about a help like maybe you have never truly known in your life.

John 14:26, “But the helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things. And he will bring all things to remembrance that I have said to you.” If you're afraid to share your witness for Jesus, because you don't know if you're going to say the right thing, I need to ask you, have you invited the Holy Spirit to help you? How? The Holy Spirit. You say I'll read Scripture and I can't get anything out of it. It doesn't make any sense to me. I just don't feel like that I really gain anything when I spend time. Have you invited the Holy Spirit to teach you? Have you really had a moment where it's like Holy Spirit, I want you to help me understand what you're trying to say to my life through this passage of text. Because when you got saved, that's exactly what happened. Oh, a man, he might have been preaching declaring the Word of God, but it was the Holy Spirit that was teaching you you needed what was being presented. And you were convicted by the Holy Spirit and convinced by the Holy Spirit that you needed to let old things pass away and everything become new again. That's what happens. But beyond that, if the Father is God for us, and Jesus is God with us, the Holy Spirit is God in us, it brings brand new meaning to this passage, John 16:7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away.” This is Jesus speaking to your advantage that I go away, “for if I do not go away, the helper will not come. But if I go, I'll send him to you.” How could there be anything better than Jesus with me? How could there be anything better than Jesus incarnate, in the flesh, standing right beside me? How could anything top that? Looks to me like, that'd be the best it can be. But Jesus said, it is to your advantage if I'm not physically with you, so that the Holy Spirit can come in you and help you from the inside out, help you with power from the inside out, help you with love from the inside out, help you from the inside out. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Have you invited the helper to step in and rearrange some things? Have you invited the helper to like really get loose in your life? Have you invited the helper to baptize you with fire? Light something in you Hell can't put out? Have you invited the helper? Because Jesus said, this is such good help, it's to your advantage if I go. Here's the thing. When the Holy Spirit comes on you and begins to work in you, it transpires because you receive a gift. Look at this passage. Acts 1:4, “On one occasion, while Jesus was eating with them, he gave the command. Don't go to Jerusalem but wait for the gift my father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” He goes on to say the gift is the Holy Spirit. Now, isn't it amazing? You can celebrate Christmas all you want. You can go and buy the gifts. You can even have gifts bought for you. But if at some point, someone doesn't go over, pick up the gift and unwrap it, no one’s ever gonna know what's inside. So is it possible that the reason we don't have the power that we should be operating in is because we have not with intentionality opened the gift? Is it possible that one of the reasons that we don't love the way Jesus loves is because we have not with intentionality opened the gift? Is it possible that the reason we feel like we don't have the help we need is because we've never looked at the Holy Spirit like a gift that's not just with us that wants to be in us. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I think that there are those of us that we kind of looked at God like this thing we do come Sunday. Or this thing we do come Easter or Christmas, and thank God that you are intentional about Sundays. Thank God you are intentional about Easter and Christmas. But what if the Lord has something else for you? Like what if he wants to take you to that next level of where you really are accomplishing things in the earth that are making the kingdom of Heaven manifest in this world. All because you finally decided God I want the gift. I want the gift of the Holy Spirit. And what he says is that when you unlock that gift, when you open that gift, when you welcome that gift, then you start getting more gifts inside of you. List after list of gifts to the point that Scripture says it'll be like rivers of living water that begin to flow out of your belly, you even get to speak the gift. Your prayer possesses the potential to take on heavenly dialect simply because you have welcomed the Holy Spirit into your life. And I watched so many people go through life powerless, and loveless, and helpless. And I just want to say have you unwrapped the gift? Because if you will let the Holy Spirit have his way, I promise you you will not live powerless, you will not live loveless, and you will not live helpless. But you will find that help that is from Heaven to earth and a power that is unspeakable. It'll be like a dynamite going off in your life, and it'll be a love that saturates in ways that words will never be able to fully comprehend. Anybody want the gift? 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

How about you just bow your heads and close your eyes and start with calling Jesus Savior. That's where it starts. Make sure you got God with you. Because he's already for you. They're going to come, they're going to play some music softly. As they begin to just create an atmosphere of worship, think about the fact that God was for me so much that he let me have Jesus as my Savior, the Son of God dying for my sins, the blood, washing out all the old stuff and making me new again. And maybe you need to call on Jesus as Savior. Maybe you need a born-again experience. Maybe right now there's sin in your life that you're just convicted of, and you realize, man, I need to deal with this right now. I need to let God have his way. I need a born again experience. But on the other side of that born again experience, you get to know a God that is with you because he is in you. It's a gift. A gift. Don't go through life and miss the gift. Don't try to have this experience with God without the gift. There's a group of people in the book of Acts, they were worshiping God, they'd been baptized in repentance, they were following what they knew to follow. And some of the Apostles of Jesus showed up and started talking to him about this gift. And they said, We don't know anything about the Holy Spirit. They said, let us teach you about the gift. And the next thing you know that that whole congregation experienced the fire of God in their lives. The Bible leads us to believe that when Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and he lived 40 days after that moment on Earth, he's getting ready to ascend to the right hand of the Father, he looks at about 500 people and he tells them, there's a gift for you. There's something beyond what you've experienced being on earth here with me, even seeing me in resurrected form, there's something beyond me. And I want you to go to Jerusalem, and I want you to wait for the moment where you can have the gift. So he probably says that to about 500 people. By the time you get to Acts chapter two, and the gift is readily available, there's only 120 left. They lost almost 400 people. They're down to one in five, that got the gift. Someday, I'll show you church stats, and I'll show you how you can track analytically, that about one in five really go all in with time, talent and treasure. Ain't nothing changed in 2000 years. But it could if somebody would just decide I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines. I'm tired of wondering what's under the tree. Because the Christmas tree of Jesus, honey it ain't ever green and wrapped in tinsel. It's a cross called Calvary. And the present is on it. And the blood drips to the ground so that you and I can go and bow at that tree and pick up the gift of the Holy Spirit and say God, get on the inside of me and release power

and love and give me help. Give me help. Give me help. Give me help.  It may only be a minority that decide they want more than be a part of the one in five or say I want more. Give me the gift God, the Holy Spirit, baptize me with fire. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Father, baptize us with fire. There were 500 people that knew you had come to live a sinless life, you had died, you had been buried, and you resurrected. That's all we need to be saved. 500 people knew that. Then you tell them there's something more, and 400 of them walked away without unwrapping the gift. God I think there's people into the sound of my voice that are saying I want something more in God than just knowing I'm saved. And that by itself is more than enough to celebrate for an eternity, but I want to be a force for God on the earth. I want to impact my loved ones. I want to impact my community. I want to be used by you God. Let your Holy Spirit have your way in us. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I’m going to ask Pastor Curt to come and in just a moment, he's going to lead us in a moment of the lighting of the candles and just believe in God for that fire to be lit in our life. Acts chapter two says they were an upper room and fire sat down upon each one of them individually. I believe God wants you to be just a flame in the earth. I called my son over the other day and I said, son your name is Dawson. And he's like, I'm aware father. I said your middle name is Chandler. And I said there's a reason behind them. I said Chandler means kindler of the burning flame. And I said when you were just a baby, we were believing God that someday the Lord was going to raise you up. Dawson means Son of David. My name aint David all right, and Mandy has nothing to tell me. Here's the thing, we named him that just believing that someday the son of David, Jesus, that he would be used of God to light a fire for Jesus in the earth. And we weren't trying to be spooky, or eccentric, or weird, we were just believing that over his life. And I told him sitting at the table I said, son, I want you to start praying at 13 years old. That wherever you go, you're gonna light a fire for God and people's lives. You're gonna set people ablaze because of what he's doing in you and what he wants to do through you. And so when you go to bed at night, and once you start praying out loud. I want you to sit up in the bed. I want you to pray out loud, and I want you to pray, God baptize me with fire, that I can light other people's fire. This church was started with a motto that literally said, bringing the fire of God to the hearts of men. And that's what we believe for, that you would have something beyond just a casual experience with God.

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