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What Are You Afraid Of
Scripture: Luke 11:9-13; Acts 2:38-40; 1 Thessaloni...
Track 0 of in the series
Running time: 1 hour, 04 minutes, 19 seconds.
I find it interesting how different churches can be when it comes to their beliefs in the Holy Spirit. Some churches act as though the Holy Spirit doesnt exist by how the Christians there act or respond when the name Holy Spirit is brought up. This might be hard to believe but many Christians dont actually believe that the Holy Spirit exists.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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What Are You Afraid Of?

Has anyone ever experienced rejection? It could have come in any form. When it happened, what did the rejection make you feel like? Did it have any long term affects?

On a scale from 1-5, how important is it how other people feel about you? How much of what you do and how you act result from how you think others think about you? Why is that?

If how others feel about you is not a problem you deal with, what does cause you to lay awake at night; what are you actually afraid of? Does the Holy Spirit scare you? Are you afraid of the Holy Spirit?

Tertullian wrote an interesting description about what a Christian is:

The Lord challenges us to suffer persecutions and to confess him. He wants those who belong to him to be brave and fearless. He himself shows how weakness of the flesh is overcome by courage of the Spirit. This is the testimony of the apostles and in particular of the representative, administrating Spirit. A Christian is fearless.

I find it interesting how different churches can be when it comes to their beliefs in the Holy Spirit. Some churches act as though the Holy Spirit doesn’t exist by how the Christians there act or respond when the name “Holy Spirit” is brought up. This might be hard to believe but many Christians don’t actually believe that the Holy Spirit exists.

The Barna Group is a group that spends a lot of time surveying and studying religion and the beliefs of religious organizations. They conducted a survey asking the question on how they felt about Jesus, Satan and the Holy Spirit. It is interesting what their finds were. The survey explored beliefs about spiritual beings, the influence of faith on their life, views of the Bible, and reactions to faiths other than their own.

• All 1,871 self-described Christians were asked about their perception of God. 78%) said he is the “all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe who rules the world today.”
• Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real.
• 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat (58%) that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Only 34% of the Christians surveyed believed that the Holy Spirit is an actual person interacting in their lives daily.

This fact alone causes me to think that the reason why the church seems so weak and influential is that the power of God is not looked upon or called into action on behalf of the Church like in the first century. They very force that makes a Christian fearless is considered by many as non-existent.

What causes this? What could be the factors that would cause Christians to not depend on the Holy Spirit or to embrace the truth that He is real? Could fear be one of the reasons? If so, why and fear from what?

Last week I raised a question for you to consider. I raised it in the form of a True or False question:

SLIDE 4: True or False: Much of what we believe is often based more on comfort or our culture’s tradition than on the Bible.

What culture or tradition has influenced your belief in God? How do you know if what you believe is true according to the Bible or something you believe because you were told what to believe? Has that influence also set your belief in the Holy Spirit and his personality?

I have to admit, there was a time I was not comfortable to be around certain Christians. My theological framework prevented me from approaching them with an open mind. I always believed that the Holy Spirit is God and lives in me. I always believed in the person of the Holy Spirit but I have to admit that my theological framework was formed and developed by MPCC, not the Catholic Church. It was here at MPCC that I learned to be cautious when dealing with “those kind” of people…the “Charismatic’s”.

Fear has an interesting way of channeling our thought process. Fear of stepping outside of a certain theological framework causes us to be biased in our interpretations. We find ourselves working hard to prove that our presuppositions were correct rather than to simply and honestly pursue truth. Trust me, I discovered that letting ones hard fought ideas go is not easy and is very scary. The way the Holy Spirit moved me to understand the truth was by introducing me to various people who believed differently than me.

There is a fear that many express about the Holy Spirit, am I really dealing with the “Big Guy”?

I find that when the Holy Spirit is brought up in a conversation; the topics of the gifts and signs of the Spirit are usually discussed or debated over. But seldom do we ever mention the Holy Spirit when we need to change our behavior, quit sinning. We are promised that when the Holy Spirit enters into our hearts, we will change and become more like him. The fear often times is, what happens if it doesn’t work? We are promised this indwelling.

Luke 11:9-13 (NIV)
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

What is the promise found in this passage? What are the conditions? Evaluate yourself, are you meeting the conditions? How do you think this affects your attitude, actions or fears?

Yes or No: Does God really give the Holy Spirit to those who ask or was Jesus lying?

Acts 2:38-40 (NIV)
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 the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

So God promised to give his Holy Spirit if we ask, we repent and are baptized, and it comes down to whether we believe Him and act upon that promise. But many will say I have asked for the Holy Spirit and nothing has changed. I am no different than I was before and the same issues are still there. I have prayed in faith for many things and the answer seems to go unheard or the answer is always no.

True or False: It is the un-promised request that answers with a “no”.

What do I mean by this? I feel the big question is this, do we pray for things that are promised to us by God or for things that are not promised? There is a huge difference between what God has promised and praying for them versus praying for the things you want to be true. We need to pray confidently for the things God promised us and don’t put our hope in the other promises or what we’ve been told we will get as Christians if we are good enough. We need to place our faith in God alone.

How does this become realty if we don’t spend hours in our daily reading and study in the scriptures? Is there another way?

Here comes the next big question. Do I even want this relationship with the Holy Spirit?

True or False: My fear isn’t that the Holy Spirit won’t show up, what happens if he does?

What happens when the Holy Spirit comes running by for you and says come follow me? What happens if he calls you to go somewhere or do something that is uncomfortable? For many Christians, this is their biggest fear.

True or False: Honestly, I don’t want to know ALL that God wants me to do.

What would happen if one day God revealed everything he had planned for you; the ones already past and you missed; but also all the ones yet to come? Would that freak you out or would that cause you to get on your knees and pray for the strength to meet the challenge?

What would have to change in your life in order to be available for Him? Ask yourself, are you really willing to lay it all out there and totally put yourself on God’s will for you?

Here is the honest truth we see from the scriptures: The Holy Spirit is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something you wouldn’t normally want to do or choose to do. The Spirit will lead you the way of the Cross just like He led Jesus to the Cross and that is not a safe or pretty or comfortable place to be.

From what we see in scripture to those who chose to live that kind of life, it was often incredibly painful. It was a tough process of stripping away the selfishness, pride and fear we have. The sin we take on becomes such a part of us that it hurts tremendously when we try to shed it. It is almost like a tearing away from our skin. I truly believe that for most Christians, that pain is too much for them to change so they stay away from the Spirit and replace Him with a synthetic version made in their own image thus the reason why most Churches are dead and unfruitful.

Thessalonians 5:12-22 (NIV)
Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

What are the things we can do to help each other work out our faith? How do we encourage each other to open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit’s calling and to follow him where he wants each of us to go?