Have you ever been disappointed?
Perhaps you’ve received a gift, full of expectation you open the box to find that your expectations haven’t been met. Perhaps, ladies, the necklace you were expecting turned out to be a new Vacuum cleaner. Our expectations dictate an awful lot of who we are, what we do, and how we respond.
We all have expectations – expectations of experiences, people, events, future hopes and dreams. Do we have an expectation of what God wants to do for us?
Have you been disappointed in your walk with God? Have you come to God and thought “Is this it?”.
This morning I want to look at three things:
What gets in the way of getting more;
How do you get more;
What to expect when you have more.
So, what gets in the way of getting more of God – experiencing a fulfilling relationship with God and his Holy Spirit?
1a) Unrecognised riches
Sometimes we do not believe that God has anymore in store for us. We are not aware that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit, or that there is an immediacy of the presence of God.
Your own experience of God will never be greater than your expectation. If that expectation falls below the biblical norm then your experience will fall below the biblical norm.
People will say that what happened in biblical times is not for now – I challenge that. Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see people healed, raised from the dead, numerous miracles. But, many of us don’t expect that today.
What a bizarre thought. We even sing “yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same”! Why don’t we believe that? Why do we restrict what God can do?
God is a giving God – turn to Matthew 7:9-11:
God wants to give us whatever is required to build his kingdom – we simply need to seek and ask.
1b) Unconfessed sin
The Spirit cannot abide sin. While David was sinning he pleaded with the Lord not to take His spirit from him. He knew the Spirit cannot abide sin, and whilst we are in a state of unconfessed sin we are stifling the work of the Spirit in our lives. We are preventing the Holy Spirit to magnify its work in and through us.
Christianity is unique in that it is not by works we are saved. Not by living a right life, or following rules, but by the grace of God. We must come to the foot of the cross. We must not get in the circle of Sin, confess, sin, confess – the Spirit is grieved and we are unable to receive more.
STORY – David Duplissu – South African Evangelist who become powerfully used by God to bring revival to the established denominations. As a young teenager he heard that there was more of God’s spirit. He told his school teacher “I’m not going to come to school tomorrow as I’m asking God for more of the Spirit”. He took the day off and spent the day in his father’s barn pressing in for more of the Spirit. He prayed all day – for an outpouring of the spirit. Nothing. Elders from the church came and prayed with him – nothing. Then in the afternoon one of the girls from school turned up. She said “I heard that you were pressing in and asking for more of the Spirit. God told me that if you confess that sin then you’ll get it.”
A couple weeks before he had done something wrong and hadn’t dealt with it. In fact, his brother had got the blame. He went to his parents and told them – confessed – and then went back to praying. Immediately – he said it was like the roof blew off. He was filled with the spirit. He stood up as a man of God. And God powerfully used him throughout the established denominations. In fact the Pope met him and called him “Mr Pentecost”.
There was a repentance and a confession of Sin to allow the Spirit to work.
Some of us prevent the Spirit from moving as we continue in perpetual sin. We need to come to the foot of the cross and be made clean.
1c) Unyielded Heart
Simply, you cannot ask for more of the Holy Spirit on your terms. The Holy Spirit is far bigger.
“I want to be filled with the Spirit but I don’t want the gift of healing”. Or “I want to be filled with the Spirit but I don’t want to be called to ministry”.
Throughout scripture we read of God the father – it is not for children to tell the father what to do.
We need to yield our hearts completely to God. Unyielded hearts do not open God’s hand. We need to come to him without precondition and say “here I am – freely available”.
If you want to gain more it’s about him being Lord or our hearts. The secret of a spirit filled life is abandonment.
Perhaps we don’t believe that God would want to give anything. God is for us, he delights in us.
Some of us have such shadows on our hearts we don’t really believe God is good to us. He may be good to Israel, but not to me. He may bless your neighbour but not me.
The thing is, God is a giving God. He prepares a banquet for us. But some of us don’t believe it.
He’ll bless them and them and them, but not me. He doesn’t know what I did or think. Well he does!
Romans 8:32 – “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?”
We are made worthy to receive through his grace.
1e) an undiscerned enemy.
Who has the most to gain from us gaining the least? The Enemy – he hates you. He wants to steal from you.
What would your response be to a robber in your home? You would probably want to chase them out, call the police and ensure they are taken out from your home.
Why do we allow the enemy to continue to take hold of us?
The Spirit trains our hand with weapons for war. We can advance in the kingdom of God and press more for him. The enemy stops us getting those weapons.
Many struggle with sin, but we are privileged to be able to fight sin with the support of the holy spirit. But without tackling all the influence of the enemy we are separating ourselves from God and the work of the holy spirit.
2 How do you get more? How do you, in Paul’s words, “Take hold of that for which Christ has taken hold of me”?
Do we desire to have more of God. Do we want more? Many people don’t have a desire to experience more of God. Are you happy with what you have from God? Or are you disappointed since you began your walk with God. Perhaps you are happy despite not experiencing a full relationship with God.
Do you want more? If not, do you want to want more?
How do you get that desire? Immerse yourself in God’s word. Many people across the church are biblically illiterate. The bible is our tangible link to Christ. Through fervent study and investment we gain an insight into the person of Christ.
The more we search for God through his word the more we long for it.
Is your daily reading a chore? Do you struggle when picking through the scriptures? Through working through the tough times God will reveal himself in a very real way to you.
Perhaps we fear – fear where God will take us on his journey. As such we hold back from giving ourselves fully to God. But only when we surrender fully to His will can we experience God in all his Glory.
2b) We need to experience death. When we press into God to receive more some things unravel. Some things in life fall apart.
We look at Jesus’ ministry – before he was released he spent time in the desert – from his perspective probably away from God. We know the devil visited him and tempted him, but it was only after this time of suffering, where he was separated from God, that he was released to begin his earthly ministry.
God allows these things to happen – we experience situations where we need to be totally reliant on God.
Any gardeners? Well, to get proper growth on plants they need to be pruned. We need to be broken to allow growth.
I think of the song “Spirit of the Living God”. The line “break me, melt me, mould me, fill me”. Do we really mean that when we sing it. Are we willing to be broken before God to allow him to build us up in the image he has for us?
This thought isn’t popular; it wouldn’t sell lots of books. But throughout experience and the scriptures we see that there is a time of trial prior to being commissioned to perform God’s work.
Are we prepared to trust God through these times to experience more of him?
3. Let’s move on. What should we expect when we receive more of God?
3a) Firstly, intimacy. Being filled with the Spirit, and allowing him to magnify his influence over us facilitates intimacy with God.
When we accept Christ we are filled with the Holy Spirit, but we need to allow him to magnify himself through us. By getting out of the way – confessing our sin, recognizing that God has many riches for us, yielding our hearts to Him, we allow the Spirit to create the intimacy with God the father.
We need to know we are loved. We need to experience that we are loved. Many people have unconvincing testimonies as their lives do not reflect the love that Christ bestows on us.
Have you experienced God’s love?
Your testimony of your life is far greater than any spoken testimony you can give. Through experiencing more of God, you in turn become a beacon of God’s love in a dark world.
3b) Finally, with intimacy comes power.
Power is the ability to effect change. Are you able to change the world and your surroundings for the good of the Kingdom? If we look at 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the Kingdom of God is not about talk, but Power.”
The spirit comes as fully God – with all the power that that entails. Once we have more of God we are commissioned with the Power that comes with the Spirit to participate in the Lord’s work where he has placed us.
When we are filled with the spirit we can be the people we are called to be and do the things we are called to do.
The Lord is ready to give to those of us who ask, we simply need to remove the obstacles.
Do you want more of God? Do you want to want more of God? You have the opportunity to come before God and ask to have more of God. Experience more of the Holy Spirit.