Monday, March 19, 2007

Drink of the Spirit - Quench that thirst!

This was a group Study I led off the back of a Sermon from a Sunday Meeting at church.

Water is a necessity for life.

  • We all need water to survive
  • 60% of our body is water and every major function involves water
  • We must have an intake of 2 to 2.5 litres of water a day in order to avoid dehydration.
  • Many people are dehydrated and don’t realise.
  • Eventually we will die from the effects of dehydration if we don’t drink.

There is another Life Giving water that we ignore at our peril. – The water of The Holy Spirit!

John 7 v37-39

37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Q: What do we thirst for?

There are 7 categories/things that people thirst for (not obviously exhaustive):

1. Purpose – Why am I here?
2. Identity – Who am I?
3. Significance – What part do I play in this world?
4. Relationship – Who can I share this life with?
5. Security – Is there a God who cares about me?
6. Contentment – how can I be at peace with God; with others; with myself? (Shalom)
7. Change – How can I make things better? People know there is something wrong in the world and desire to make things better.

These can be broadly broken down into three: Security, Significance and Self Worth. Only God can fully satisfy all of these needs/thirsts!

Do we know we need to drink daily and are doing so?

Q: What are some of the signs of Holy Spirit dehydration?

Jesus said “… come to me…”

This was spoken about in Isaiah 55 v1

1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Do we really believe that Jesus Christ alone can satisfy us or are we trying to meet those needs elsewhere?

An oft quoted passage fits nicely here, Jeremiah 2:13

"My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Q: Can you think of any areas in your own life where you seek satisfaction of those needs apart from God?

Before the fall Adam and Eve had full communion with God and all their needs met fully. They were Secure, felt significant and knew their inherent worth in God. After the fall these attributes became the needs/thirsts for Security, Significance and Self Worth.

We have established that we are thirsty and at our core thirsty for what God alone can provide and what we lost as a consequence of the fall. Thus we are entirely dependant on Him. However our sinful human nature resents this as it dislikes feeling helpless and thus prefers to bring about its own satisfaction as is highlighted in the Jeremiah passage.

Our Actions tell us much about what we really believe deep down. If we are not utterly convinced God can meet our needs we won’t come to him in prayer and drink of the spirit.

Some things to consider:
  • Do you look for approval from other people like friends, partners?
  • Do you get easily defensive or deeply hurt at the slightest criticism?
  • Do you use shopping, chocolate, service in church to feel good about yourself?
  • Do you get your sense of meaning/significance from your job?
  • Do you watch too much telly, drink, gamble, buy things, do you get obsessed about/with things?
  • Do you have anything that you would identify as an addiction? A habit you can’t seem to break?
  • What makes me feel alive?

“…and drink…”

Q: How do we drink? How do we live spirit filled lives?

a) We must ask Him to give us a drink! Luke 11:11-13

11"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[a] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If 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!"

b) We must Surrender our hearts, minds and lives. Let Jesus be Lord!

c) We must receive what He gives us. We will only receive if we believe that what is being given is good for us.

d) Recognise that we receive also through others, sometimes through the ‘laying on of Hands’. Acts 8:14-17

14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into[a] the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

e) We need to continually drink. Ephesians 5:18

"…be filled with the spirit"

It is an ongoing process, day by day taking a drink.

“…streams of living water…”

What could be some characteristics of these streams?

a) Fruit of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23:

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Do we show these things in our lives?

b) Utter Satisfaction to our deepest needs. Psalm 36:8:

'…you give them drink from your river of delights'

c) We have an impact on others:

i. We are attractive in the good to be around sense, drawn to the life of the spirit within us.
ii. Through us other are able to experience the life the spirit brings.


Don’t be discouraged by all this if you feel you are so far from where you should be.

Sanctification is an ongoing process, there are many things that God can do in an instant but as George Macdonald put it ‘It takes time to make a saint’.

God does not wait until we are perfect before He uses us!

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