Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Working in the Power of the Holy Spirit, Day 3

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth asks you to use your sanctified imagination.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Won't it be an amazing thing to get to heaven and to be able to present to Christ those that we have taught the Word of Christ and say, "Lord, I give them to You. They've been sanctified. They've been conformed to the image of Christ. They love You. They know You. They've borne fruit for Your glory. And, Lord, it's all for You."

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

When your car is low on gas, what do you do? You fill it up so you can go more miles. We understand why it's important for our cars to be filled up, yet when it comes to following God's calling on our lives, too many of us are trying to get somewhere on empty.

Last time, Nancy showed us how to do God's will through the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than our own strength. She made two points previously, which you can read on yesterday's transcript at ReviveOurHearts.com. Let's pick back up.

Nancy: We've looked at "Personal Preparation: The Importance of An Anointed Life," and now we're looking at "Powerful Presentation" as we communicate God's Word, believing Him for anointed lips.

And under that major heading, we talked about the importance of cultivating and communicating a sense of reverential awe for the Word of God.

And we talked about consciously seeking and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and crying out to God for fresh oil. I do that over and over and over again. I say, "Lord, I am weak, but You are strong. Come anoint me with the power of Your Holy Spirit."

And we showed a lot of Old Testament and New Testament biblical examples of the anointing with oil, what that symbolized. It symbolizes an inner work of the Spirit, empowering and enabling us to do what we could not do apart from Him.

So now I want to move to this third point of having anointed lips and powerful proclamation as we teach. And, again, you are teaching in different settings and in different contexts, but doing what God has called you to do in the context of your home, your local church, your community. These are some things that will contribute to that anointing for which we are believing God.

Number 3: Constantly point people to Christ and the cross. Point people to Jesus and to the cross.

The apostle Paul said it this way in 2 Corinthians 4:5: "What we proclaim is not ourselves."

Rather, what do we proclaim? Who do we proclaim? Jesus as Lord. We point people to Christ. Whatever you're teaching, wherever in the Word you're teaching, whatever biblical topic you're teaching, we've got to get people to Jesus. He is life.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:2, "I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified."

Now, that doesn't mean you don't teach about anything else, because we have the whole counsel of God that is so rich and so full.

One of my goals from the time I was a teenager was to be able, by the time I meet the Lord, to teach any book of the Bible in a way that would be honoring to the Lord. I'm not there. I'm still working on that. But whatever book you're teaching, the book of Leviticus, Haggai, whatever, we want to still be proclaiming Christ crucified as we see Him pictured throughout the Scripture.

There's a danger as we teach the Word of missing Jesus who is the Living Word. And Jesus addressed this with the religious leaders, the teachers of His day in the Gospel of John, chapter 5. He said, beginning in verse 37, to these religious leaders—imagine how this went over when Jesus said:

You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life" (vv. 37–40).

You see, knowledge about the Bible is useless if it doesn't point and draw people to Jesus. From beginning to end, all of Scripture points to Jesus. It's all about Him. The glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Jesus said in John 5, "If you believed Moses . . ." These people were experts in the law of Moses. If you really believed what you teach from the books of Moses, "you would believe me; for he wrote about me" (v. 46).

He was pointing to Jesus. All those Old Testament laws, all of those forms, all of those ceremonies, all of those rites, they were pointing to Christ.

Remember in Acts 8 when Philip was taken to meet the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading Isaiah's prophecy? Verse 35 tells us, "Then Philip opened his mouth and began with that very passage of Scripture [Isaiah 53] and told him the good news about Jesus."

Get to Christ. Get to the cross. The old hymn says it this way:

Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord.
My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word.

Point them to Christ, and point them to the cross of Christ, Christ crucified. Because our Bible study and our Bible teaching is not ultimately about doing more or knowing more or trying harder or doing better. It's not about being more moral, upright people. There are people who are "moral and upright" who are going to split hell wide open because they don't know Jesus.

So our teaching and our study is about realizing that we are abject, total, utter failures, that we cannot keep this law of God that brings such conviction to our hearts, that we need a Savior, and that we have a Savior. His name is Jesus. That's the good news. And if you're teaching anything else at the heart or at the core of your teaching, you're not teaching good news. You're just helping people to become more entrenched in their lostness, or their self-righteousness, or their religiosity. But you're not giving them the gospel of Christ.

Number 4: If you want to have an anointed ministry, anointed teaching, anointed lips, communicate with a sense of fervency, earnestness, and conviction.

Here's the thing, ladies: If we don't believe that what we're saying matters, then why should the people who are listening to us believe that it matters?

Now, when I'm talking about earnestness and fervency and conviction, I'm not talking about getting up on the platform and performing and say, "I'm going to be dramatic about this."

I'm talking about something that comes from within. We talked earlier about the fire burning in your belly, burning in your heart because you have been musing, you have been meditating, you have been soaking and marinating in the Word of God, and the Spirit of God has been making it come alive in you.

I've been saying . . . I can only say this to a room full of women . . . that when I get really close to a conference or a radio recording, I get to feeling like I'm nine months pregnant with this content, with this message, like, it has to be delivered, there's a compulsion, there's a . . . this has to come out. That's that earnestness, that fervency that God builds in my heart.

I start a lot of these studies not feeling any particular love for this book or this particular study that I'm doing, but as I get into it, it gets into me. That's been happening in my heart over the last few days just about this subject of the anointing. I've taught on this before, but God's birthing it fresh in my own heart, which is why what's inside comes out as I communicate it.

And I want that to be true every time I teach the Word of God, that there's a sense of the Spirit stirring in my heart with the importance, the necessity of this message.

You say, "Every message?" Yes!

This is holy. This matters. This is important. If God said it, as we quoted earlier, Augustine, "When the Bible speaks, God speaks." And that's where we ought to take our shoes off and say, "I'm on holy ground."

I think so many times we have a ho-hum attitude about this sacred content. And I want to ask God to birth in my heart and in yours a sense of fervency and earnestness, conviction, that this is critical for people to hear and believe what we're talking about.

Jesus ministered in this way. You read it in the Mark 1:22, where it says, "The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the teachers of the law."

Now, I don't know what those scribes and Pharisees, what their teaching was like, but there was something qualitatively different when Jesus got up to teach. And I don't think it's necessarily because He spoke more loudly, or He spoke faster. I don't think it was in the pitch or the tone. I think there was an inner conviction. The work of the Holy Spirit that communicated life and passion, it throbbed. It breathed. It was fire. It communicated to them that this is something you must believe or perish.

And somehow, the teachers of the law, they were scholars, they were experts, they were erudite, they were articulate. They had all that, but apparently they didn't have the authority and the power of the Holy Spirit because they didn't have life. They didn't have the life of Christ within them.

Peter says it this way in 1 Peter 4:11: "If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God."

Now, I don't know about you, but that causes me to shake. That causes me to tremble, to realize what an awesome responsibility it is to stand up here and hold this Book and speak and open and explain the words of God. But when we speak, that's how we ought to do it.

Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 5: "Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . . For the love of Christ compels us. We implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God" (vv. 11, 14, 20).

You see, there's teaching that just lays out information, but I don't think most Christians today need a whole lot more information. If we were just living half of what we know, we'd be in the throes of revival, likely.

We need people to minister the Word, who believe that what they are saying matters, who believe that it's true, and that our lives must be staked on it.

And so Paul says, "We implore you, we plead with you, be reconciled to God." Eternity is at stake here.

Now, that doesn't mean that every time you get up to teach . . . some of you are shy or you're more reticent, you have a different personality . . . that doesn't mean you have to talk the way I do or that I have to talk the way somebody else does. It doesn't mean every time you have a conversation that you get this intense, earnest conviction about what you're saying. But there ought to be an inner conviction that this really matters because this is the Word of the Lord.

The apostle Paul talked in Galatians 4 about being in labor and travail, the anguish of childbirth, as he ministered. That's an earnestness, a fervency.

Richard Baxter was a seventeenth century Puritan pastor-and many of the Puritans got this. Here's how he described this. He said:

Whatever you do, let the people see that you are in good earnest. You cannot break men's hearts by jesting with them or telling a smooth tale or pronouncing a gaudy oration. Men will not cast away their dearest pleasures upon a drowsy request of one that seemeth not to mean as he speaks or to care much whether his request be granted.

I wonder how much of what we're saying comes across as drowsy teaching? He's saying, "Who's going to believe that? Who's going to lay down their dearest earthly pleasures to pursue Christ, the pearl of great price, if we don't act like He is something really precious?"

Communicate with fervency, earnestness, and conviction.

Number 5: As you teach, as you communicate, consider the condition of the hearers. This is important. We could do a whole session on this, but let me just touch on it from a couple of different passages.

What I mean by this is take into consideration, as you prepare, as you pray, and as you speak, as you write, the different ways that God may be working in different people's hearts at any given time. The condition of their hearts will vary.

Within this room there are hearts with different conditions. And I'm mindful of that as I'm teaching. So there's sometimes I'm thinking about one condition of heart, sometimes I'm thinking about another.

You see this described by Jesus in the parable of the soils in Luke 8. "A sower went out to sow his seed," Jesus told. And then he explained the seed is, what? The Word of God.

Verse 5: "And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it."

Then the disciples asked Jesus, "What are you talking about?"

Jesus explained: "The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved" (v. 12).

This is hard soil. It's not receptive soil, and the devil is able to come and take the Word. These people in this context are not believers at all. Their hearing of the Word is not mixed with faith. But sometimes even as believers, our hearts can be not pliable and broken and tender and sensitive as we're listening to the Word. So know that some people come in to hear you teach, and they've got hard hearts.

Verse 6, there's a second kind of soil. "Some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture."

Jesus explained: "The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy" (v. 13).

They're like, "Wow! We're really getting this! We're enthusiastic about what you just taught!" But they have no root. So for a while they believe, but in times of testing, they fall away. So some who seem to be receiving the Word the most joyously don't have a root system, so when the going gets hard, they leave the conference, they leave your teaching, they go home and somebody criticizes them, and they fall away. They don't last.

Verse 7: "Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it."

And Jesus said: "They are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature" (v. 14).

Know that as you're teaching people—some I'm speaking to today, my own heart often—when we leave the hearing of the Word of God, we let cares and riches and pleasures of this world choke out the seed of God's Word, and it doesn't become fruitful.

And then Jesus said, "Some fell into good soil and it grew and it yielded a hundredfold. . . . They are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience" (vv. 8, 15).

I love to think that everyone who listens to us teach would be that good soil, but they're not. And we need to be aware that there are different soil conditions. Jesus knew the condition of men's hearts, and He addressed them accordingly.

So we see Him being gentle with the poor and the broken who knew that they were sinners and in need of a Savior. But when He came to the proud, unbroken, stuffed-up religious ones, He didn't mince any words. He got tough with them. Right?

With His own disciples, He was sensitive to what they were able to handle. He said in John 16, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" (v. 12). What's He saying? "I'm not going to dump on you a truckload of content that you're not ready to hear." Sensitivity.

The apostle Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 3, as does the writer to the Hebrews in chapter 5, about milk being for spiritual infants. There's no sin in being an infant if you're an infant. Now, if you've known Jesus for twenty years and you're still a spiritual infant who can only digest milk, there's a problem with that.

But you've got baby Christians, new Christians, young believers. They need the milk of the Word. So don't throw solid meat into a two-month-old baby's mouth. Right? Ask the Lord to give you wisdom about who you're speaking to and what their need is. Solid food, those passages tell us, is for those who are mature, who are ready to handle it.

A good doctor doesn't prescribe the same treatment for every patient. He diagnoses the individual's condition, and he determines the prescription accordingly. And that's true if we want to be good soul doctors, if we want to minister to people's spirits.

The apostle Paul addresses this in 1 Thessalonians 5. He says, "We urge you, brothers . . ." (v. 14). He's speaking here to the teaching leaders of the church. There are different kinds of people, he says, in your congregation, and you need to address them in different ways.

He says, "Admonish [or warn] those who are idle" (v. 14). Those who are unruly, disorderly, they need to be warned, admonished.

And then he says, "Encourage the fainthearted [or the discouraged], help [or support] the weak, be patient with them all" (v. 14).

So there are different needs. Ask God to help you discern the condition of people's hearts, and then, under the leadership of His Spirit, to minister the Word to different heart conditions.

Number 6: If you want to have anointed lips, concentrate on the goal—concentrate on the goal of your Bible teaching. The purpose of Bible study and Bible teaching is not just to dispense more information.

Now, we need information. There's a lot of information in this Book, and we have biblical illiteracy rampant today, even within the church. So we need the teaching. We need the information. But the goal isn't to stuff people's heads full of more information or to give them more notebooks to put on their already crowded shelves.

The goal is that they would know God, and that that knowledge of God would transform their lives from the inside out, that they would be conformed to the image of Christ, that they would become fruitful believers, not just pew sitters, not just people taking up space, tipping God in the offering. But they would become earnest, fervent disciples of Jesus, spiritual reproducers. That's the goal of our teaching.

Paul talks about this in Colossians 1—again, a text we could spend a whole session on.

But he says, "From the day we heard of your faith in Christ and your love for all the saints, we have not ceased to pray for you, and here's what we're praying: We ask that you may be, first, filled with the knowledge of His will" (v. 9, paraphrased).

That's knowledge about God.

And then he says, "In all spiritual wisdom and understanding—not just the facts, but understanding how that knowledge of God applies to your life and to your walk with God so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing to Him."

He says, "I want you to know about God, to understand the implications of that so that it changes your life, so that you walk differently. You're conformed to the image of God, and your life is transformed."

And that's not the end. He says, "Bearing fruit in every good work" (v. 10).

We're intended to be fruitful believers.

And then "increasing in the knowledge of God" (v. 10).

It started with the knowledge of His will. Where does that lead us? To knowing God. And the more you know God, the more you want to know about Him. So you go back to the knowledge of His will and all wisdom and spiritual understanding, walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God—which leads you back to wanting to know more about God.

There's this ever-going cycle, continuing cycle of knowing about God, getting wisdom and understanding, then walking in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, being fruitful, and knowing God. That's where you want your teaching to take people, and your study as well.

Paul says it this way at the end of Colossians 1: "Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, [why?] that we may present everyone mature in Christ" (v. 28).

And then he says, "For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me" (v. 29).

This is not ministry for the faint of heart. This is for those who are willing to persevere, to toil, to labor, to struggle so that Christ can be formed and birthed in those that we are teaching.

And I come back to Galatians 4:19: "My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!"

Won't it be an amazing thing to get to heaven and to be able to present to Christ those that we have taught the Word of Christ and say, "Lord, I give them to You. They've been sanctified. They've been conformed to the image of Christ. They love You. They know You. They've born fruit for Your glory. And, Lord, it's all for You."

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been helping you realize how big of an effect you could have for eternity in the lives of other women. And in order to do that kind of ministry, you have to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

At Revive Our Hearts we invest in women, looking forward to the day in eternity when we will see all the ways God used the ministry. And a lot of our listeners are investing in the ministry with that hope as well.

Even though we won't know all the ways that investment is paying off this side of eternity, we get some glimpses of it now. Here's Nancy with one example.

Nancy: Like a lot of new believers and busy young moms Jamie found herself trying to live the Christian life without an example to follow. She didn't really have anyone to turn to with questions about how to be a wife to her unsaved husband or a mom to their children.

Jamie: I did not have a specific older woman speaking into my life. I didn't really make the connection between being a Christian and being a godly wife and mom. And Revive Our Hearts has been my Titus 2 mentor specifically through the radio ministry.

I remember listening to this teaching that just was transforming my life as I was mopping my kitchen floor, cooking lunch for my children. God used Nancy's teaching of His Word to make that connection between being a Christian and being a godly wife and mom.

One of the teachings either from Nancy or a guest is really who introduced me to the woman of 1 Peter 3. When I began to study that, God really placed a burden on my heart to live as a godly wife, a submissive wife, one who honored and respected my husband.

That passage became a friend to me as I read through and studied how God can use the power of women submitting to Him first and then to their husbands—how God can really use that to transform.

And through that work of the Holy Spirit in my life, my husband came to know the Lord. And so that penetration came after that and just spilled over into our children. And so I'm very grateful for that.

My family has grown in physical ways and also in spiritual ways. My husband actually got baptized a few years after the Lord really began to work in our lives. And he's the deacon of our church. He serves our church.

We ended up having five children. So the Lord grew our family in numbers and our quiver is full and we are so blessed.

Nancy: When Jamie discovered her unique calling as a woman it changed her family for eternity. And she wanted to share what she had learned with other young women. So several years ago, she began serving her local church as a women's ministry leader.

Jamie: God has given me a passion for the local church, for the bride of Christ. And my role is to pour into and to disciple the younger women. Revive Our Hearts has ministered to me as a women's ministry leader in a variety of ways—whether it be the Bible studies, the videos online, just the powerful messages. I know I can trust Revive Our Hearts to give me the tools that I need to exhort the gospel in our ministry at my local church.

Nancy: By God's grace, we hear stories like Jamie's all the time at Revive Our Hearts. God uses the ministry to change one woman's heart and to impact her home. And then she wants to invest in other women. The need for women to have solid biblical teaching has never been greater.

There are a lot of women just like Jamie wondering what it means to be a woman in our day.

Would you help Revive Our Hearts continue calling women like Jamie to greater freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ?

Leslie: Women are coming from such challenging backgrounds. How could weak messengers like us ever help them? Nancy will talk about that tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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