Something More than 5 Hour Energy
Not By Our Power - Empowered
Romans 8: 9-13
We are fascinated with super human accomplishments. As kids we would pour over the Superman comic books and watch the exploits of Superman on black and white TV. He was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound; he was more powerful than a locomotive and faster than a speeding bullet. He has superhuman strength, speed, stamina, invulnerability, freezing breath, super hearing, multiple extrasensory and vision powers, longevity, flight, and intelligence. In fact there is a remake movie coming out this June. The games that are played on play station and the internet are of people who beat all the odds. We are fascinated with speed and power.
There was a survey done recently asking adults what superpower they would like most. Here are the top superpowers that a USA Time poll found:
Superpower Fantasies The top single superpower adults would most like to have:
- To read minds: 28 percent
- To fly: 15 percent
- To be invisible: 11 percent
- To possess super strength: 9 percent
- To walk through walls: 1 percent
Mary Cadden and Suzy Parker, "Snapshots," USA Today (7-18-06), 1A
- My answer would be the energy to not fall asleep after sitting down in the recliner.
It is interesting what these adults answered –they wanted to be able to know what another person is thinking and feeling. What were they going to do with that? If you could read minds that puts more responsibility on you.
- 15% want to fly – does that mean as a pilot or does that to fly like a bird. To fly like a bird means that you got to work flapping your wings – to have super strength you have put it to use.
- These are same adults that can’t sit in front of the TV evening news or in a worship service without falling asleep. These are the same adults who when polled said they were exhausted.
- Do you feel exhausted? Do you feel overwhelmed? Would you like something more than 5 hr. energy?
- Energy drinks won’t help
- More sleep is not going to help
- As Christians we have the same feelings of exhaustion as anyone else. The power for the Christian life is not going to come from you. The power for the Christian life is found in the Holy Spirit.
- Listen as Carl reads from Romans 8
Romans 8:9-13 (NIV)
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
The exhausting Christian life – if we expect to live out the Christian life on our own power we are fooling ourselves. To be a Christian is exhausting work.
Romans 7 talks about our Christian walk as a major struggle with our fleshly desires. Listen to the last part of Romans 7.
Romans 7:17-25 (NLT)
17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
- Let’s be honest with ourselves we are in a battle for our spiritual lives.
There is a battle waging in our lives. I want to do what is right but I can’t because of my sinful nature. Paul says that the power that makes me a slave to sin is still battle within us.
Paul says that it is inevitable that even when we try to do what is good evil somehow wins out.
- If we are truly engaging in this war and we are desiring to do what is right but don’t have the power or energy to carry it out we are missing Holy Spirit.
- This can be exhausting—wanting to do the right thing but not being able to carry it out. This is typical for most Christians.
- Let me give you a simple example – we had a Chevy Cavalier that we really liked and we really kept it to long we should have traded it in before we had to. What caught my attention was it didn’t have the power that it should. I had a mechanic take a look and the problem - it was only running on 3 cylinders instead of 4. It wasn’t performing well because it didn’t have what it needed. If we are trying to live our Christian life on our own power we are only running on a few cylinders. We aren’t going perform well.
We are to exchange our efforts to manufacture a righteous spiritual life for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We can’t live a spiritual Christian life on our own effort we will fail for the lack of energy and power. We don’t have enough power. The exhaustion we fill as Christians is an exhaustion that comes from us trying to be good and righteous on our own.
The power for the Christian life is Christ in you and Christ in me. It’s Jesus Christ raised from the dead by his Holy Spirit living his life through us.
Now let me show it to you in Romans 7. Paul is at a place of desperation. Can you hear it in him?
- Have you ever wondered, “What’s it going to take for me, God to be a true disciple?”
- What’s going to turn the corner for me, God?
- Verse 25 Paul says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” The real provision is through “Jesus Christ our Lord!” That’s the Christian life in four words.
- Jesus Christ is alive this moment, and He’s here right now. And it was never His attempt to stand off to the side and watch you live for Him.
- Paul speaks about Christ living in us in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” That’s the Christian life – Christ who lives in us.
One of the heroes I have in life is a woman by the name of joni Eareckson Tada. Joni's Life-changing Prayer: 'Show Me How to Live'
- After living as a quadriplegic for 45 years, Joni Eareckson Tada reflected on the diving accident that changed her life. As a 14-year-old, Joni had embraced Jesus as her savior, but in her words she had "confused the abundant Christian life with the great American dream." Joni said:
- I was a Christian and would lose weight, get good grades, get voted captain of the hockey team, go to college, marry a wonderful man who made $250,000 a year, and we'd have 2.5 children. It was me focused: What can God do for me? I almost thought that I had done God a great big favor by accepting Jesus …. [And my boyfriend and I] were doing some things together that were wrong.
- In April 1967, I came home from a sordid Friday night date … and cried, "Oh God … I'm staining your reputation by saying I'm a Christian, yet doing one thing Friday night and another Sunday morning. I'm a hypocrite …. I want you to change my life … Please do something in my life that will jerk it right side up because I'm making a mess of the Christian faith in my life and I don't want that. I want to glorify you." Then I had the diving accident about three months later.
- Immediately after the accident, Joni told God, "You'll never be trusted with another of my prayers." But after struggling with anguish and anger Joni said, "I prayed one short prayer that changed my life: 'Oh God, if I can't die, show me how to live.' That was probably the most powerful prayer I had ever prayed."
(Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky; source: Marvin Olasky, "Loving Life," World (1-12-13)
- We actually only have to do one thing—at every moment we need to resign our minds, emotions, and will to Jesus Christ. We need to exchange our efforts for the Holy Spirit’s efforts.
- What are our chances of us pleasing God out of our own strength? Not very good. I’ve been a Christian for a long time, but my efforts on my own are not very productive.
- The Spirit-filled Christian life – Our energy drink is not found in a cooler or on shelf at a convenience store. Our energy source is the Holy Spirit. Paul says “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery (wickedness / sin). Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18 NIV)
- Here is how being filled works:
- We must admit that we can’t live without the outside energy source that comes from God.
- We need to trust the energy source that is from God – the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is ours for the asking.
- Before asking to be filled we need to confess our sins and clean ourselves up
- Then ask to be filled – we don’t have because we don’t ask.
- “Be filled with the Spirit” is a command. So the asking to be filled must be done. Something you won’t see in English is that to “Be filled” is plural. It’s for every believer.
- And it is in the present tense. It’s not a once-for-all action – it is an ongoing action. You need to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
Lessons from Apple Trees about Waiting on God
We had an old apple tree in our back yard: we lost to the wind this past year. Though the apple tree produced apples there was one year that it produced more apples – when I started to investigate apple harvests I found something very interesting. There are years with big harvests and then there are years that have little production. Here is what I discovered:
- When there is a frost in the late spring the buds freeze – some survive but not many. When that happens the apple tree does a miraculous thing: it stores up its energy in thousands of small bumps or nodules, called scions (pronounced "see-ons"). All that energy pulsates through that network of scions until the spring of the following year, and then, BAM! You have an exploding riot of buds, as an apple tree unleashes all that stored up energy.
- That description is very similar to our lives in many ways sometimes we go through some harsh frosts in our lives – we are exhausted and not producing much.
- But at the core of the Christian faith we also live with an incredible promise: in and through Christ, there will be an abundant harvest in our lives. God's power is pulsating under the gnarly bark of this world and even our bodies.
- In Christ, we are being formed into a small nodule of living hope. Confess our sins and ask God to fill you with His Spirit.
Glove doesn’t do anything without being filled
We are not going to do much without being filled.