The following is the transcript from the May 1, 2016 service at Little Brown Church, Nashua, Iowa.
Robert Louis Stevenson was one of the greatest authors of his age. He wrote numerous short stories and poems but he’s best known for his novels (Treasure Island; Kidnapped; Strange case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde). Many of writings are still required reading.
But most people are not aware of the depth and strength of the faith he had in God.
As a child, he was raised in Scotland in a very strict Calvinist home. But once he left home and began attending college, he rebelled against the teachings of the church. He called Christianity "the deadliest gag and wet blanket that can be laid on a man," and adopted a thoroughly worldly lifestyle. He called himself a "youthful atheist."
But, as he grew older, he began to have (as he described it) "doubts about his doubts." He came to see that for its claim to wisdom, the world had no satisfying answers to the deepest questions of life.
And thus, because the world couldn’t satisfy the thirst in his life… he returned to God.
Now notice, there was a thirst in Robert Louis Stevenson’s life that the world could not satisfy.
But then, God could have told him that.
It’s interesting that God would use water to symbolize His Spirit. In the beginning (when God created the Heaven’s and the earth) water was about all there was. It wasn’t until the 3rd day of creation God caused “dry ground” to appear (Genesis 1:9).
God tells us, that without His Spirit, all of us would have that thirst. And just like water, God’s Spirit has been given to us so that our thirst can be satisfied.
In John 4:13-14, when Jesus talked with the woman at the well, He said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
In John 6:35 Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
In our text this morning Jesus stood in the Temple courts and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” John 7:37.
And at the very end of our Bibles, Revelation 22:17 declares:
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
So, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit is given – in part – to satisfy our thirst. But, what am I thirsty for. What kind of thirst does God’s Spirit satisfy?
1. The Spirit gives me assurance of my salvation.
Eph 1:13b-14 tells us:
“Having believed, you were marked IN HIM with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession— to the praise of his glory.”Because of this scripture, I have no doubt that God loves me. He’s sealed me. He’s given me a guarantee. He’s coming back for me.
AND I am comforted by the fact that I don’t have to jump thru hoops to get God’s Spirit as my seal of salvation. When the crowd asked Peter what they needed to do be saved, he replied:
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive (what???) the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
I receive the Spirit –
NOT because of who I know
Or how righteous I am
Or what preacher I listen to
Or what church I attend.
I am assured by God, that if I believe in Jesus, repent of my sins, confess Him as my Lord and Savior, and am baptized for the forgiveness of sins…that’s all I need to do to receive His Spirit in my life.
2. The Spirit connects me to God
1 Corinthians 2:11 & 16 tells me
“… who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. AND “… we have the mind of Christ.”I have fellowship with God - because I’m tapped into God.
His Spirit inside me - means I’m accepted by God
It implies that I have a purpose in life.
The richest and most famous people in the world don’t have what you have.
You are you connected to God. Thus, you have value, and purpose and reason to exist.
And that is something that (unless they are Christians too) no one else can touch.
3. The Spirit of God is there to comfort me.
In John 14:16 Jesus promised
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter (the Holy Spirit), that he may abide with you for ever” KJVOne of the ways that He comforts me is in prayer life, remember Romans 8:26 tells me that
“… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”Even when I can’t find the words to express my emotions God’s Spirit steps in and “intercedes” for me; He understands my sorrows and difficulties and communicates those directly to God.
The Spirit of God supplies me with things that you couldn’t BUY with money
You can’t obtain these blessings by being famous or well-connected.
The high, the mighty, the rich, the powerful in this world - they have nothing on us.
Because the Spirit of God satisfies our thirst and fills us to overflowing with the blessings of God.
Now - if that’s all true - then why don’t more Christians have those blessings in their lives?
I mean, have you ever met a Christian who was unhappy and discontented?
Why don’t they reflect the blessings of God’s Spirit in their lives?
Well, here’s the deal.
4. God’s Spirit has the ministry of making me righteous.
2 Corinthians 3:9 tells me that the Holy Spirit has a
“…ministry that brings righteousness!”His objective is to make me righteous. And Galatians 5 tells me that if I walk in the Spirit, I will gain that righteousness by bearing the fruit of the Spirit: “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness…” and so on
The Spirit’s ministry is to make me righteous.
His job is to change me - To tinker with my mind - To work on soul - To soften my heart… so that I become more and more like God.
Each individual who earnestly and actively seeks after the things of God will be filled according to their appetite. And appetites change as each person matures spiritually. Whether it is a brand new Christian who wants to learn about what it means to be saved, or a seasoned believer who wants to understand the Father heart of God, all can be satisfied according to the need. The key is to seek.
To hunger and thirst for righteousness indicates a constant desire to search out something that the believer knows is good for them. A newborn baby intrinsically knows that food will satisfy their hunger. They do not think twice about the validity of their physical need, nor do they neglect their need to eat. They simply cry out for what they know is good.
The same is true for a believer. There should be no question of the necessity of spiritual food. Nor should we neglect their need for fulfillment. Instead, God desires for us to cry to Him and allow Him to generously provide for our need, just as He promised.
It is never too late to change your diet. Do you plan to eat tomorrow? Then why not plan to eat righteousness? Do you plan to drink tomorrow? Then why not plan to drink righteousness?
Could it be that one of the reasons the grass is greener everywhere you look is that your life is not devoted to the central pursuit of righteousness, but to the pursuit of other things? Let us consider with what regularity and perseverance and strong urges we pursue food and drink day after day. And let us make it our prayer that we will hunger and thirst in that same way to establish righteousness—in our own souls and in all our relationships and in our land and in the world.