(Please note that the following are only some of my notes of the sermon)
First Mennonite Church
July 28, 2019
Life in the Spirit
Text: Ephesians 4:29-32
Today, I would like for us to look at two important aspects about our relationship with the Holy Spirit: the danger of grieving the Spirit and our being sealed with the Spirit of God.
Ephesians chapter four is often called the chapter about church unity. But a closer look of what Paul calls for in this chapter will show that he is speaking about our becoming into the likeness of Jesus Christ. With that in mind, chapter four begins with an urgent exhortation “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (4:1). Becoming into the likeness of Christ, happens by both: renouncing every sin and by avoiding to grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
In Romans eight, Paul says that those who live by the flesh will perish, but those who live by the Spirit will live. The Christian life is the life of the Spirit, which means, we draw our strength from the Holy Spirit to enable us to obey Christ and we receive guidance from the Spirit in order to live a life that pleases God. The Spirit of God is our permanent companion, which means, He with us. And we are the temple of the Spirit of God, which also means, He is in us. This is the promise Jesus gave his disciples: The Advocate will be with you and in you. But Paul speaks about something we should be very cautious about: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.”
RT Kendal tell the story about a Christian couple who were sent to Jerusalem.
- The dove story.
- The spiritual lesson.
- Grieving the Holy Spirit.
- Why bitterness heads the list.
- Joanna Weaver, writes: “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die”
- Bitterness is never satiated. And even if revenge were possible, the bitter person would prefer steaming in every expression of bitterness: anger, rage, slander, and malice.
- Bitterness is contagious.
- 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
- Bitterness not only hurts the person who carries it, emotionally with depression, anxiety, and constant anger, but it also prevents the person from living the joy of God’s presence in him or her.
- Bitterness never goes away. It is like a beast crouched ready to pounce on its victim. With only hearing the name of the person who he or she believes has hurt him or her, anger begins to boil inside. Bitterness drips or explodes, hurting those around, even when they are not the direct targets of the bitterness.
Bitterness can only be uprooted through forgiveness. And Paul gives the antidote for bitterness. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Let us always be ready to forgive when we feel we have been offended. Let us not allow any offense go unforgiven. Bitterness is what grows from the seed of unforgiveness.
Paul says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Being sealed means, we are given a sign of authentication by God. In John 1:12, 13: Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Paul writes: God knows those who are his (2Tim. 2:19).
A seal also means something belongs to someone.
In 2Corintians 1: 21: Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Let us live mindful that the Spirit of God dwells in us. His presence is sensitive to the way we live, speak, relate to others, and the thoughts that we entertain. Bitterness in all its expressions grieves the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness frees us from the grip of bitterness.
God has also sealed us with his Spirit. The Spirit is with us always until we enter the very presence of Christ. The Spirit has been given to us as God’s guarantee that we are his. Let us be grateful for the blessedness of being God’s property, secure until the very day of our complete redemption. Amen!