Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: There can be no change without the Holy Spirit. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If I didn’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to make all things new, I’d probably look for a different line of work because people are so messed up, and we’re all messed up. Our lives are hopeless. They are formless; they are dark, and they are void apart from what God’s Spirit does in our lives.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, November 19. During our current series called Seeking Him, we’ve covered a lot of topics: forgiveness, purity, a clear conscience and more. This week we’re going to discover the power that allows these qualities to be developed in your life. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: How many of you have ever been to Niagara Falls? Several in the room. It’s really spectacular, isn’t it? It’s the second largest falls in the world. There’s a Canadian side and a U.S. side of the Falls—actually two different falls. On the U.S. side, 150,000 gallons of water per second fall down a 176-foot drop. On the Canadian side, the Horseshoe Falls, 600,000 gallons per second fall over the Falls.

Until the late 1800s the Falls were just a beautiful tourist attraction, but then scientists began to discover that there was power available in all that water. That was just the beginning. Today the Niagara River is one of the world’s greatest sources of hydroelectric power. If you put all the power plants together, if you combine them together, they generate almost 4½ million kilowatts of electricity. That’s enough to power 44 million 100-watt light bulbs. That’s a lot of power.

The power was there all along, but it had to be harnessed and utilized before it could be effective. I want to tell you today that as powerful as Niagara Falls is, there is another source of energy that is far more powerful. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet much like Niagara Falls just over a hundred years ago, the power of the Holy Spirit in most of our lives today remains largely untapped.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is one of the most vital truths in all of God’s Word, and every child of God needs to understand what is this power source and how can it be harnessed and utilized in our lives.

Satan has a way, through the history of the church, of getting people to go to one of two extremes when it comes to the Holy Spirit.

  • One is to neglect the Holy Spirit. Millions of Christians today are not even aware of the ministry of the Holy Spirit—ignorant of what the Holy Spirit came to do and what He intends to do and can do in our lives as believers. So there’s neglect of the Holy Spirit. Satan loves it if we just ignore the Holy Spirit, pretend like He’s not there. Then we will never release that power in our lives.
  • The other extreme we might call abuse. That is using the power of the Holy Spirit in ways other than what God intended. When we do that, it can even be dangerous, much as misusing or abusing hydroelectric power could be.

As we consider the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit, we need to remember that the Holy Spirit is not an it. The Holy Spirit is a real, live, honest-to-goodness Person. He is the third member of the Trinity. He is co-equal with God. He is God. The Holy Spirit has been active and involved in this world from creation. In fact, I love that passage in Genesis chapter 1, verse 2, the second verse of the Bible that talks to us about the role of the Holy Spirit in creation.

Listen to what that verse says: “The earth was without form and void.” One of your translations may say it was empty. The earth was formless and empty or void. “And darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:2-3).

As I read that verse, I often think about what a picture it is of the condition of our lives until God moves in and begins to create life. Our lives are formless and empty and dark apart from Christ. If you are a child of God, it is because at some point the Spirit of God began to draw you to Christ. The Spirit of God was hovering in that dark, formless void condition of your life.

Into that darkness God spoke, and He said, “Let there be light.” God turned on the light in your heart. He showed you Christ. You showed your sin. He showed you His solution for your sin. He gave you faith. He gave you repentance.

It’s part of the ministry of the Spirit to take that dark, formless, and void world and create life there, fill up the empty places, and turn on the light in the darkness. That’s what the Holy Spirit of God does—not just in our lives, but in our homes and in our churches.

If I didn’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to make all things new, I’d probably look for a different line of work because people are so messed up, and we’re all messed up. Our lives are hopeless. They are formless; they are dark, and they are void apart from what God’s Spirit does in our lives.

  • The Holy Spirit specializes in taking messes and transforming them.
  • He brings order to that which is chaotic.
  • He brings fullness to that which is empty.
  • He brings light to that which is dark.
  • He’s hovering.
  • He is active.
  • He is alive.
  • He is at work.
  • You cannot see Him.

You do not know what He is doing, but the Spirit of God is active and alive and hovering over the face of the deep of your life—over your marriage, your husband, your children, your church. In His way and in His time, He is able to transform the most hopeless, desperate situation.

You see this concept all through the Scripture. There’s a passage in Isaiah 32, for example, that talks about a dark, formless, and void time among the people of God. It says, “The palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted” (verse 14). It’s a picture of despair—formless, empty, void. “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field” (verse 15).

The Holy Spirit can turn a wilderness into a fruitful field. He can transform a forsaken, deserted life or home or church or community or country. When He is poured out on high, He can transform them into something of beauty and value and worth.

The Holy Spirit takes that which is natural and he turns it into something supernatural. All the programs and plans and efforts in the world apart from the Holy Spirit cannot do what the Holy Spirit can do in a moment of time.

You are dependent on the Holy Spirit to transform your life, to transform the lives of the people that you love. Whether you realize it or not, you and I as children of God are absolutely dependent on the Holy Spirit of God for every single aspect of our Christian lives.

Whether you realize it or not, if you are a child of God—now listen to this—if you are a child of God, you have inside of you the greatest source of power in all the universe—the Holy Spirit. Limitless power. What He can do in and through you is what we want to explore this week.

As we are burdened not only to know God ourselves, but burdened for God to send revival to our churches, to our nation, to our world, and to our homes, let’s remember that we are depending on the Holy Spirit of God to move. He can. He is able. As we pray for revival, we are praying for the Holy Spirit to be poured upon us from on high.

The Holy Spirit has already been given to the church, but there is a sense in the reviving of God’s people when God in a fresh sense pours out His manifest presence on His people.

One theologian, Wayne Grudem, says it this way, “The work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest the active presence of God in the world and especially in the church.” That’s what the Holy Spirit of God does. He manifests the active presence of God in the world and especially in the church.

Would you agree with me that we need a fresh outpouring of God’s presence in our world today? Would you agree with me that we need that in the church? In our homes? Maybe you need it in your home. Would you acknowledge, as I do, that we all need continual, fresh outpourings of God’s presence in our own lives?

How does that happen? It’s the Holy Spirit who makes God real to us. It’s the Holy Spirit who is the active presence of God in our world and especially in the church. So it’s the Holy Spirit who renews, who restores, and revives. Isaiah chapter 44, verse 3, “I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit,” God says, “on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring” (NKJV).

Where the Holy Spirit is poured out there is blessing. Where there is thirsty ground that is dry, when the Holy Spirit is poured out, that land is refreshed and renewed and becomes fruitful once again.

That’s why Jesus said in John chapter 7, one of the greatest promises I think in all of God’s Word, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart [innermost being] will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said of the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive” (verses 38-39).

When Jesus was getting ready to go to the cross and then knowing that shortly thereafter he would leave his disciples and go back to heaven, he knew that they were very sad about what they would do in His absence, how they would manage. They had grown to depend on Him. He had become everything to them.

He comforted their hearts by saying, “When I go to heaven, I will send from the Father another One just like me, another Helper who will be with you always” (John 14:16, paraphrased).

That word translated helper from the Greek language is the word parakletos. Some of your translations may translate it "a comforter, a counselor, a helper, an advocate." Do you know why there’s so many different translations? Because it’s a hard word to translate. Because,

  • He’s an all-encompassing helper.
  • He’s a strengthener.
  • It means someone who is called to one’s side to give them aid.
  • The Holy Spirit, our helper.

I want to just real quickly tick off for you about a dozen or fourteen things that the Holy Spirit does in the life of a believer because I want you to get familiar with the ministry of the Holy Spirit and just to rejoice in what it is that the Holy Spirit does in and for us.

First of all, even before we become Christians the Holy Spirit is involved in our lives. He’s the one who gives life to start with—not just spiritual life, but physical life. Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Do you know you couldn’t breathe if it weren’t for the Spirit of God giving you breath?

Then in the process of coming to conversion and regeneration, the Holy Spirit is actively involved in giving us spiritual life. For example, we know from John chapter 16 that He convicts those who are without Christ of their sin. He convicts them that they’re lost and that they need a Savior. Before you could come to faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit had to convict you that you needed a Savior.

So Jesus told His disciples, “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” It’s the Holy Spirit who gives new birth. Jesus said in John chapter 3, verse 5, to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life.” Here I believe He’s talking about spiritual life, eternal life. When we become a Christian, the Holy Spirit is the One who baptizes us into the body of Christ. He makes us a part of the body of Christ.

Then the Scripture says that He seals us. We’re sealed with the Holy Spirit. Paul said to the Ephesians that seal is a guarantee of God’s ownership. It means we’re marked as belonging to God. It’s also kind of like an engagement ring. The Holy Spirit is an evidence, a down payment, a promise of what is yet to come.

Then we know according to the book of Romans that the Holy Spirit indwells every child of God. He lives in you if you’re a Christian. You know what? He’ll never leave you. If you’re a child of God, the Holy Spirit permanently lives in you.

Paul said in Romans 8:9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” So if the Spirit of Christ is in you, that’s an evidence that you’re a child of God. If you’re a child of God, you have the Spirit of Christ in you.

It’s the Holy Spirit who gives us assurance that we are children of God. You doubt your salvation? It’s the Holy Spirit who will assure you either that you’re a child of God or will convict you that you’re not. That’s His role. Romans chapter 8, verse 16, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” He gives assurance.

Then in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, we learn that the Holy Spirit gives us gifts to enable us to serve God. It says He gives one or more gifts to each believer according as the Holy Spirit deems best. These gifts are a supernatural gift from God that enable us to please God and to serve Him. They’re not just natural talents or abilities. They’re a supernatural enabling that God gives us to serve Him.

Did you know that all through your Christian life—not just once you become a Christian when you’re filled, indwelt, baptized into the body of Christ, sealed, given spiritual gifts. That all happened at the point of conversion. But from that point until you get to heaven, the Holy Spirit is actively involved in every single detail of your life.

Let me share with you what some of those are. He guides us. He leads us into the will of God. Romans chapter 8, verse 14, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Remember after Jesus was baptized and then He went into the wilderness? How did He get there? It says the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted.

You say, “I don’t know how I got into this wilderness. I don’t know how I got into this tough situation I’m in.” It may be that you were walking according to the will of God, and the Holy Spirit led you there because He has a purpose that He wants to accomplish in your life even in the wilderness.

He guides us. He leads us. The apostle Paul throughout His ministry continually looked to the Holy Spirit to direct him as to where he should go, where he should minister, where he should serve, and what he should do.

I depend on the ministry of the Holy Spirit to guide me as to what I should teach on Revive Our Hearts. He doesn’t tell me out loud. I don’t get any things written in the sky or any great mystical revelations. But I trust that as I am tuned and sensitive and listening and surrendered to the Spirit of God in my life that He’s directing my thoughts. He’s putting things on my heart.

It’s amazing how often I’ll be studying something and then the Holy Spirit will confirm it by bringing conversations or magazine articles or something across my path just to confirm that I am walking under the leadership, following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit helps us pray. You know those times when you’re so burdened for your mate or a child or for your church and you go to cry out to God and you don’t know what to say. Maybe it’s a situation you’ve been in for a long time. It’s a relationship that’s broken. You don’t know what to do or how to deal with it.

You say, “Lord, I don’t even know how to pray about this. What’s on Your heart? What are you trying to do in this situation? What would please You? What would bring glory to You?”

The apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 8, verse 26, that the Spirit helps us in our weakness, “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” It goes on to say, “The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God so He prays for the saints according to the will of God.” He takes our requests, feeble as they are, and He translates them to the Father. He intercedes for us.

Then the Holy Spirit teaches us. He takes this word and illuminates it to our understanding. Do you know this Book, precious as it is, is really just ink on paper to the person who doesn’t have the Spirit of God? Spiritual truths cannot be understood by the natural man who doesn’t have the Spirit.

But once you become a child of God, you have a teacher inside of you. It’s just amazing to me how the Holy Spirit, when I open this Book, takes it and shines a light on it and gives me understanding and then applies it to my heart. He says, “This is you.”

The Holy Spirit teaches us. That’s what Jesus said He would do in John 14. He said, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and he will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Then the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s presence known and real to us. He makes Jesus real to us. Jesus said to His disciples, who were mourning the fact that He was leaving, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever. . . . I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16, 18).

Jesus said to His disciples, “I’ve been with you these three and a half years. I’ve been your companion. I’ve been your friend. I’ve been your leader. I’m leaving, but you’re not going to be orphans. You’re not going to be fatherless. You’re not going to be shepherdless. I’m sending someone who will be with you forever. He will be in you.” It’s the Holy Spirit who makes Christ and His presence real to us.

Then it’s the Holy Spirit who produces within us the life of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit—His love, joy, peace, patience. Anybody here born with all those things? We wish, right? How do we develop those qualities of the life of Christ? By struggling, striving, trying? No, it’s by the Holy Spirit who lives within us, who produces the fruit of Christ-likeness within us.

It’s the Holy Spirit who is transforming us into the likeness of Christ. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

That job of sanctification is not something we’ve been left on our own to do. Struggle, strive, try hard to be a better Christian. It’s the Holy Spirit within us who purifies and sanctifies and transforms us into the image of Christ.

There are things we could add to that list of what the Holy Spirit does in our lives and for us and through us, but just based on the ones I’ve just listed, would you agree that we need to get to know the Holy Spirit? He is really, really important in the life of every believer whether we realize it or not.

Would you agree also that we should be really thankful for the gift of the Spirit? What an incredible gift He is! We have a Helper. Capital H. 24/7. Every day from now until the moment you see Jesus. Whatever condition you’re in, whatever state you’re in, whatever circumstance you’re in, whatever pressure you’re in, you have there in you the Holy Spirit who lives to do and be all of this and far more in and through your life.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss helping us to understand the work of the Holy Spirit. She’s written more about this topic in a workbook called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. It can help you learn to walk in forgiveness, honesty, purity, and obedience. The Holy Spirit gives you the power to do all these things.

Ask for a copy of the 12-week study, Seeking Him, when you call with a donation to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. The toll-free number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Seeking Him isn’t just the name of Nancy’s workbook. It’s also the name of a 60-second feature that you can hear online every day. A lot of radio stations carry the feature as well. We also have listeners who’ve asked us to forward the transcript every day by email.

One listener named Annie reads these daily devotionals, and she said, “I truly enjoy all the tidbits of wisdom from your devotions. I’ve been able to share these joys with fellow sisters in Christ that come out to a Bible study every Wednesday evening. I also feel that I not only have a mentor—you—but an accountability partner. Thanks.” Sign up to receive the Seeking Him transcript.

God isn’t limited by your personality. He can work through you to do things you never dreamed of. We’ll hear more about that tomorrow. I hope you can be with us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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