Day 9 – Spirit of Adoption
The Holy Spirit is promised as God?s gift to those who ask. He comes to those who pray.
And again, when we see the context of Luke?s Gospel, chapter 11, we find that verse 13 is the climax, the great conclusion to Jesus? model prayer and to His prayer parable and the conclusion about His teaching on persistence we find that the Holy Spirit leads us into deeper and deeper prayer as well.
So this association between the coming of the Holy Spirit and prayer is stressed throughout the New Testament, but it is especially found in the writings of Luke, that is, Luke?s Gospel and the Book of Acts. Have a look at Luke 3:21-22. Here we have Jesus praying at His baptism, and it says,
When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ?You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.?
And again, in the Book of Acts, as the disciples prayed the Spirit came upon them ? Acts 1:14, ?These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.? And then in chapter 2, verses 1 to 4, we read of the result of that praying:
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Also, the Apostle Paul, after his Damascus experience, spent three days praying and fasting; then the Spirit filled him. Again, Acts chapter 10. In Cornelius? situation, it was when Cornelius prayed and because he prayed, because he offered God prayer that the Spirit ultimately was poured out upon him.
So the Holy Spirit comes to us through prayer, but He comes to us for a very special purpose. He comes to help us pray and to take us on into the fullness of the prayer life, such as we have been reading about in the Old Testament and all those people ? Moses and Ezra and Nehemiah and Daniel and Elijah and all those might men of prayer ? and in Jesus Himself in the New Testament, we are led by the Holy Spirit to pray like that. The same Spirit that was upon Elijah is upon us to lead us to pray like Elijah or the pray like Hannah prayed in 1 Samuel 1, as she continually poured out her heart to the Lord, that God would give her a son and that she should be ultimately the provider of a son for the Lord?s house in dedicating Samuel, who came in answer to prayer to the Lord.
The same Spirit that was upon Elijah is upon us to lead us to pray like Elijah
So the Holy Spirit helps us to pray.
Now remember the Old Testament word that we looked at in an earlier session for intercession called paga. Remember that word? It means ?to approach, to plead,? and I suggested that the Old Testament prophets could intercede because they had the anointing of the Spirit, which gave them the right to approach, to plead, the right of access to the Father?s face, and so the same with the Holy Spirit. He gives us access.
We already looked at Ephesians 2:18, where it says, ?Through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.? And so it is the Spirit that gives us access, and only the death of Jesus that provided for us the gift of the Spirit in order to make use of our access.
The Book of Hebrews speaks about having boldness to enter by the blood of Jesus, but it is the Spirit who empowers us to make use of that right of access. This glorious way of access is open to every believer. Every blood-bought believer has access to the very presence of God to be in the throne room of the universe, the highest throne of all time and eternity; it is the throne of God, the right hand of Jesus. We all have access there by the blood.
Every blood-bought believer has access to the very presence of God to be in the throne room of the universe, the highest throne of all time and eternity.
But how come so few believers make use of it? Ah, you see it is the Holy Spirit. We need Him to inspire us, to help us grasp the marvelous possibilities of access to Christ by the Holy Spirit. Now without Jesus it is impossible to draw near to the Father, but without the Spirit we are just like anybody else calling out to the creator from some great distance, with no guarantee that He understands our prayers and hears our prayer. But with the Holy Spirit, we can come like the prophets of old, close to God and commune with Him face-to-face like Moses did and even more intimate than that. So the Holy Spirit gives us access to the Father.
The Holy Spirit also gives us strength to speak. Micah 3:8 is a very significant verse, ?But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of justice and might.? What for? ?To declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.? Can you see the Holy Spirit gave Micah the strength to speak? He had such a strong word to bring, he needed strength.
Have you ever received a word or had a clue in your heart, some idea that something was wrong and needed addressing, and you thought, ?Oh my, how am I going to communicate that?? Not just boldness and courage to do it, for we are very good at leading with the jaw and going in where angels fear to tread. No, it?s not just the boldness to speak it, but it is the Spirit and the anointing in which to say it that counts.
The Holy Spirit also gives us strength to speak.
Time and time again as a preacher and pastor and leader I have a word to bring and I come to God and I say, ?Lord, I need your help. There is no way that I can communicate this message without Your anointing. Help me say it, help me say it in the right way.? Oh yes, the Holy Spirit answers that; He gives us strength to speak, and when we come into the presence of the Lord Jesus and we come to pray, we need that same ability to make big, bold requests of the Father. Not just out of our own audacity. Some Christians are very good at praying outrageous prayers, but there is no Spirit in it, there is no faith at all. Oh yes, ?O God, give me $16,000, please, so I can buy something.? No, no. We?re not talking about people just coming brashly; we?re talking about people coming with the Holy Spirit?s anointing, not presumptuously, not coming with our human presumption, but coming with Spirit anointing so that when we pray for that ?16,000 ? whatever it is ? we know that it is God?s will for the purpose for which He has revealed and we have faith. We can seek Him in that way.
So the Holy Spirit gives us power to speak. We know this straightaway from the Day of Pentecost. We read that in an earlier session. The Holy Spirit comes to equip us to speak. On the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:4, initially the speech was a new form of prophetic speech?tongues, spiritual languages as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance. And we are going to be spending a whole session later on on the gift of tongues, but let?s notice for the moment that the Holy Spirit empowers our speech initially when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit through the gift of tongues.
Now of course this aspect of the Spirit?s power and enabling is ultimately to make both our witnessing and our praying more effective. I mentioned earlier, in an earlier session, Romans 8. We?re coming to look at it right now, verses 26 and 27, a key, crucial passage when it comes to the way the Holy Spirit empowers us and helps us. Let?s read it. Romans 8:26-27,
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Now here this verse shows us that the Holy Spirit gives us strength and resilience to stand against the demonic temptations not to pray. We have a song which we sing, ?When I pray, the devil trembles.? That?s why the devil doesn?t want you to pray, and there are amazing demonic strategies to stop you from praying. You may not have heard from your friends for weeks, months, but the moment you get down to pray, the phone rings. They all want to speak to you.
You may have forgotten the sixteen things you should have done, but the moment you get on your knees, the devil gives you a memory jog. What about this? What about that? What about the other? Well, I have a solution to the first: pull the plug out of the phone. To the second, just dismiss it from your mind or have a notepad next to you, and when the devil reminds you of the things that you should be doing, just write the down and say, ?I?ll deal with them later,? and you can dismiss them that way.
There is a real sense in which we need Holy Spirit energy even to get down on our knees to start praying. With the discipline of prayer, as with so many other disciplines, it is the starting that is tough, you know, just to get down to it. And there are so many demonic distractions to prevent us, but the Holy Spirit will give us the strength and the energy to do that, but also He gives us the strength and power to persist in praying. He helps us with our infirmities.
There is a real sense in which we need Holy Spirit energy even to get down on our knees to start praying.
There is a weakness here, and we need to accept that. I find that very encouraging. I know there is a weakness in me, but for God to acknowledge it and to make allowances for it ? or to put it better, to make provision for it, that to me is amazing. So if you feel weak in your prayer life, lift your hands now. Everybody?s hands are going up. Now we know what to do about it. We know what God has done about it. He has given you the Holy Spirit to help you and to persist in praying.
The Holy Spirit also gives you words to say when you pray. Now there is again in Romans 8:26 and 27 it tells us there that at times we do not know how to pray as we should pray. It says, ?Likewise, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought.? We know that we lack wisdom. Oh, we can give God a shopping list, but He is not a superstore. God is the sovereign God of the universe, and if we come with our own requests, with our own ideas, it?s really tantamount to trying to counsel God. ?Well, Lord, if I were you, this is what I would be doing. I?ll give you some suggestions. Let me know what you feel about this, Lord.?
No, that?s not what prayer is. Prayer is aligning with the sovereign will of God. Prayer is lining up with the will of the Father and praying according to that will. But that?s the problem:
We don?t know what His will is. Oh yes, we have the Scriptures ? thank God for that ? but it is the Spirit who has revealed the Scriptures, so your prayer book is the Bible. That?s one of the ways the Holy Spirit helps, by giving you the Word of God to show you what God?s will is. But more than that, the Holy Spirit can take the Word, as we shall see, and make it live within you so that you pray a living word which is living and applicable, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And when you bring that to God in prayer, it is effective.
So the Holy Spirit will show us with certainty and clarity what we should pray. I?m not saying that happens instantly; it?s a process; but He does provide us with words to say. And this works the same way for all Spirit-inspired speech. It works in exactly the same way. We provide the mind, the lips, the vocal chords; He provides the words. All gifts of the Spirit, all prophesying, all evangelizing, all praying follows the same pattern. We come in weakness and in ignorance, but we allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us in strength and wisdom.
It?s not automatic. Sometimes the Holy Spirit has to dig from our memory and from our subconscious mind a song that we have sung, a word that we?ve heard, a Bible passage that we?ve read, or a prayer that we?ve heard, and it comes to us to use this in prayer. Has that happened to you and a scripture comes to you or a verse of a hymn or a theme? That?s the Holy Spirit using the knowledge you already have. That is why you must store up the wealth of knowledge and wisdom, and in this Sword of the Spirit series, as I said before, I am teaching you in an intensive way. I am taking these minutes that we spend together and pouring as much content into them as possible. I am packing it full of Bible teaching so that you can take this and digest it and you will be strong through the Word of God living on the inside of you.
At other times the Holy Spirit will urge us as we are using our natural thought processes. Something will occur to us in a natural way that seems to be a natural kind of way. Why did I think about that? Why did that person?s name come to my mind? You might be thinking about lots of people during the day and you think you?re just daydreaming. No, the Holy Spirit is knocking on the door, saying, ?Hello! Anybody home? I want you to pray. I want you to pray for Chris, for Charles, for Jeff, for Susan, Mary.?
The Holy Spirit is knocking on the door, saying, ?Hello! Anybody home? I want you to pray. I want you to pray for Chris, for Charles, for Jeff, for Susan, Mary.?
Occasionally the Holy Spirit moves us into a very deep form of prayer, which is what we are reading about in Romans chapter 8. It is praying without words, without words, with deep groans and travailing in order to bring something to birth which we personally cannot understand.
Now that?s a very significant truth and I want to pause and spend a moment on it. Back to Romans 8, verse 26 and 27. Have you seen the word there ?Likewise, the Holy Spirit also helps us?? Have you seen it? ?Likewise, the Holy Spirit also helps us.? Now why am I stressing that? What is the ?likewise? there for? What is happening? What is the Holy Spirit saying to us? We need to go back in the context to have a look at it. So have your Bibles open to Romans chapter 8.
He says in verse 18, ?I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.? Are you all familiar with this passage? We?ve moving into verse 19, ?For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.? Here the creation is eagerly waiting for the revealing of the sons of God.
Verse 20, ?For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.?
What is this passage talking about? It is talking about the birth of the new creation, and the new creation is already groaning as in birth pains. In other words, God is going to come and remake this world and all the suffering and the groaning and the hurting and the pain will be removed as we have a new heaven and a new earth. But guess what, people? We are part of the new creation now.
2 Corinthians 5:17, ?Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.? And we are a new creation because we have received the Spirit of the new creation. So get this picture: The new creation Spirit is within us. We are part of the new creation, and when our bodies are redeemed, then the rest of the creation, the spiritual world will catch up with our spiritual life, and our bodies will be transformed, our bodies will be redeemed. We will be just like Jesus. We will have a body just like Jesus. And that will be the new creation bodies. We have a new creation Spirit, but we are waiting for the new creation body, so we are living in between the two.
But the Spirit of the new creation is living within us, and the old creation is groaning and travailing, waiting for the coming of the new creation. That?s what the next verse goes on to say. Romans 8:22, ?For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but also have the first fruits of the Spirit.? That?s the first fruits of the new creation. The gift of the Spirit is Himself the first fruits of the new creation.
?Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of the body.?
Have you felt that experience? The Holy Spirit is witnessing to you that you belong to another world, and you are longing for that world, you?re longing to escape the fallen nature, you?re longing to escape the fallen creation behind you and looking for that new creation that?s coming, when you will be set free from even the very presence of sin ? no temptation anymore, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more dying, no more suffering. Aren?t you longing for that? In the meantime, we are living in this tension, but the Spirit groans within ourselves or teaches us to groan, eagerly awaiting the adoption, the redemption of the body.
Verse 24, ?For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?? If we have it, we don?t need to hope for it. Hope is to do with the confident expectation of the future. Verse 25, ?But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also.?
That is the connection. ?Likewise the Spirit also.? So the creation is groaning, we are groaning, and the Spirit is also groaning. Now when the Spirit groans, as in birth pangs, the great Creator spirit, it is because the Spirit is about to bring something forth. Do you remember when you were seeking Jesus for salvation? Was there not a groaning on the inside of you? That was the moving of the Holy Spirit on the inside of you, convicting you of your sin, convicting you of righteousness, convicting you of judgment, and you were groaning within yourself as you wanted Jesus to be you Savior and then out of the words given to you by the Holy Spirit you said, ?Jesus, come. I confess you. I repent of my sins.? That was the Holy Spirit bringing forth the new creation life into your spirit. But that same Spirit continues to groan that the new creation life may go into the physical realm, the new creation life may be manifested in your situation, the new creation life will be manifested in your circumstances, the new creation life be manifested in your body, the new creation life manifested in your family, the new creation life manifested in the physical world around you.
That is what this prayer life is all about, for when you pray, you are bringing down the kingdom of God and the kingdom of God is coming into your life, into your circumstances, into your body, into the people around you. That is why we pray, because we are saying, ?Lord, let your kingdom come, let your will be done on earth.? Now I know that we stopped short of the redemption of the body. That won?t happen until Jesus returns. We stop short of the full redemption that is going to come to the physical creation. That won?t happen until Jesus reveals us as to who we are and manifests us as the sons of God. That will happen at the return of Jesus Christ.
But in the meantime, we have the firstfruits of the Spirit. He gives us a foretaste of heaven on earth. He gives us the foretaste in healing. Do you know healing is a foretaste of resurrection? ?If the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwell in you, He shall quicken, He shall bring to life your mortal bodies.? How will He do that? Yes, it?s the resurrection day, but in the meantime, we have a touch from God. Every healing in our body is a demonstration that one day Jesus is going to quicken that body. Well and good. And it won?t get sick any more. That?s why we don?t need to be healed in heaven. There won?t even be sickness in heaven. Healing is a promise for this life on the earth.