How to Hear from the Holy Spirit

Learning How To Recognize The Holy Spirit's Prompting In Your Life

Dan Franklin
Jun 5, 2022    44m
If we walk by the Spirit, we experience freedom and newness. So how do we learn to recognize the Holy Spirit's promptings in our lives? This message shares four practical ways to invite the Holy Spirit to guide us. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] As I start off, I just want to acknowledge that for many of us in different ways, this last week was a heavy week. Maybe we weren't thinking about it all the time, but it was pretty inescapable for us not at some point to be thinking of what happened in Uvalde, Texas, with the shooting that took the lives of 19 kids, and two adults, and then others who experienced carnage in the wake of all of that. And again, it's hard, any time this happens there's probably a part of us, if you're like me at all, there's probably a part of you that almost becomes a little bit numb. And you're just like, no, I'm not going to get deeply upset every time something like this happens, and then there's another part that just can't escape the idea of just the heaviness of something like this. I remember just seeing articles pop up, and postings pop up, and I was like, I don't even want to read it, this is just going to bring me so far down because I don't even want to enter into the world of this grief and this sadness and the horror of what happened. I think we always try, as a country, we always try to kind of figure out what we do in the aftermath of something like this.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:34] And so in the last week, we've heard a lot about guns. Which, by the way, if you're somebody that you're a big advocate for the Second Amendment, I would just say, please don't blame people if they talk about guns at a time like this. It seems very, very reasonable for people to say, do we need to do something about guns in a time like this? And when we talk about guns, it seems like sort of the competing narrative to that is talking about mental health. Saying, all right, do we have a gun problem, do we have a mental health problem? And what I want to say when we talk about this, is that it's absolutely legitimate to talk about guns and talk about, we are sort of an outlier in the United States with, how much gun violence we have. And it's totally valid to talk about mental health and talk about what issues go into that. But the problem is, I think, that when we get focused on these two options for how we evaluate something like this, these are both ways for us to avoid something that's much scarier to talk about, and the thing that's much scarier to talk about is the reality of evil.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:41] Now, when talking about the reality of evil, here's what I don't want to do, what I don't want to say is that delegitimizes any kind of legislation regarding to guns. No, there can be both, and. This doesn't mean that this delegitimizes any conversation about mental health, again, it can be both, and. But if we come to a horror like this, and our conclusion at the end of it is if only we had stricter gun laws, this could have been prevented, or if we come to the end of this and say, if only a counselor would have gotten to him, that this could have been avoided, those are both ways that we can do an end-around and not deal with the idea of evil being a very present reality. And one of the strange things is that in an increasingly secular society like ours, where we're trying to make sense of life without bringing the divine, without bringing the supernatural into it, evil really isn't a word that works in that. It's more the idea that there's something broken in our mechanics, or there's something broken in society, as opposed to talking about a real evil, a real reality of evil, in our world.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:51] And I don't have any special insight into the shooter in this case at all, I don't have any special insight and I haven't formed any theories other than this, what I do know is that this young man didn't simply wake up one day and say, this seems like a good idea, this was a result of a whole bunch of things that happened that led to this horrific, evil action. And I presume there was probably evil perpetrated against him by others, and there certainly were incremental decisions along the way that led to him giving himself over more and more to evil, to the point that on that morning, at that moment, this seemed like the thing to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:38] Now, this is the fifth week of this series that we've called Walk By the Spirit, and I know that there's a real gravity to what we're talking about right now, but that that's on purpose. I want us to recognize that when we're talking about this, when we're talking about the real battle that the Apostle Paul lays out in this passage, and he talks about the idea that we can go with the flesh or that we can go with the Spirit, we're not just kind of tinkering around here. We're not just talking about are we going to live a good life or an even better life? Are we going to live a happy life or a really happy life? We are talking about death and life; we are talking about destruction and joy. We are talking about, as troy brought us through a couple of weeks ago, the acts of the flesh, which are all kinds of immorality and violence and dissension and destruction, or we're talking about the fruit of the Spirit and the liberating virtues that come when we give ourselves over to the life of the Spirit. We are talking about real things, we're playing with real stakes, and we're fighting with real bullets in all of this.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:43] And so when we get the gravity of the evil in the world, we need to take a step back and say that happened because of the result of incrementally walking by the flesh and eventually a horrific evil that most of us think I could never do that, is the result of that. But what I want you to know is this, you could do that, every one of us could do this. This kid who did this was not a different species than any one of us, that is the natural result, a horrific expression of the natural result, but that is a natural result of us giving ourselves over to the flesh, this craving, this part of ourselves that just wants instant gratification and doesn't care about the consequences.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:27] And if you look at the things listed in Galatians chapter 5 verses 19 through 21 and the, you know, the sexual immorality and the orgies and the dissensions and the factions and the violence and all that, and you look at that and you say, that could never be me, you're fooling yourself, that 100% could be you. In fact, I'll tell you this, that will be you if you give yourself over to walk by the flash.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:52] So we've been talking for five weeks now about what it looks like to walk by the Spirit, to walk in the power of and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. And this last week, I want to just say, I'm hoping for today to just be intensely practical. We're going to go through these three verses that you heard Bobby read a few minutes ago, but I want today to be intensely practical. You know, if you were here last week, it, for me, was a highlight Sunday, I loved last week. We carved out some time at the end of our service, after we talked through the fruit of the Spirit, and just invited people to come up for prayer. Which to some degree is something that we do every week, and we always have our elders and our prayer team up here. But we gave some extended time, and in both of our services we just had a rich time of people just coming up because they were saying, all right, there's a gap between where I am and this beautiful description of the fruit of the Spirit, and I want that gap closed. And so we had people coming up and saying, I want more joy by the power of the Holy Spirit. I want more forbearance. How many of you last week, be honest, we're forbearance people? As we're like patience, forbearance, whether you were in your seat, praying, whether you came up front, a lot of us were like, yeah, that sounds like that's the one for me. I want anger a long way off instead of right there at my trigger. And God, I want more peace, God, I want more faithfulness, I want more gentleness. We cried out, whether we sat in our seats or we came up front, we cried out in a special way saying, we want to see the Spirit work this in us as a people. And I'll say for some of you, you might have done that, and that might have been a really significant step, that maybe even coming forward was a step of courage, a step of bravery to say, no, I want to do this publicly. But there's a chance that you got done with that and you were like, that was really good, that was really meaningful, now what? Now do I just kind of sit here and wait for something to happen, for something to change? I asked God for it, do I just wait for this to happen?

Dan Franklin: [00:08:50] Part of what I want to do in this final week in this series, is I want us to zero in on that question about, what now? If we really buy what Paul has been saying in this extended passage, that if we walk by the flesh, destruction is our outcome, but if we walk by the Spirit, we experience freedom and newness. If we really believe that this is true, then we want to own this and we want to say what is next? How do we practically respond to this?

Dan Franklin: [00:09:18] And so in these last three verses, Paul is going to end this extended passage by giving us two reminders. He's going to give us two reminders that are going to guide us in what we do next, and I'll tell you what they are, and then we'll walk through them. The two reminders are these, he's going to give us a reminder about something that has happened in the past, and then he's going to give us a reminder about something that needs to happen. In other words, Paul is going to start by saying I want to remind you about something that is true, and then he's going to say, I need to remind you about what to do about that thing that's true.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:56] So we're going to be in Galatians 5 verses 24 through 26, if you have a Bible, get there, if you're using your Bible on your phone, get there. I'll also have the verses up here on the screen. But we start with the reminder about what has happened, and this is in verse 24, Paul writes, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." And just look at that, look at the verse in your Bible or up here on the screen, and notice he's talking about something that has happened. He's referring to a reality in the past, those who belong to Christ Jesus. And by the way, I love that expression. Do you like that? Belong to Christ Jesus. We talked about that at Easter time when a passage in First Corinthians 15 where Paul writes about the idea that Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection, he goes first and then after Him, those who belong to him. Just think about this, we have lots of different ways that we refer to ourselves as Christians. We might say, I'm a Christian, or I'm a believer, or I'm a Christ-follower, or I'm a child of God, or I'm a servant of God, and all those are good and all of those are true. I just want to invite you to add this one to your list of how you view yourself, you belong to Christ Jesus. He is yours and you are his, and nothing is going to change that.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:35] Now, just earlier this morning Andy talked about the idea that because of Christ, we get to boldly come before God. Think of just how audacious that is, that we're praying, and we expect that God is listening. Has anybody ever written a letter to your senator? Do you know how people are always like, write a letter to your senator? I'm not saying don't write a letter to your senator, but most of us, if we write a letter to our senator, in our heads we're thinking they're never going to see this. I mean, maybe some aide will, maybe you're more optimistic than I am, I'm sorry if I've ruined your illusions right there. But most of us are like, I don't have a hearing with those people. If you decide to pray to God, do you know who's listening? God is listening, because you belong to him, and he belongs to you. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

Dan Franklin: [00:12:31] Once again, in this entire passage, this entire extended part of Galatians Chapter 5, Paul's talked about the flesh and the Spirit. So the flesh is the part of ourselves, even if we do belong to Jesus, even if we've been made new through the Spirit, we still have this part of ourselves that craves instant gratification, regardless of the consequences. And he's saying, the flesh with its passions and desires. In other words, when you're saying yes to that part of yourself, that part of yourself has things that it wants and things that it craves, passions and desires, and Paul says, those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified that part of themselves, they crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. And this is not a new concept to Paul, in fact, he refers to this a couple of other times, even in the book of Galatians.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:21] In a famous verse, back in Galatians chapter 2 verse 20, Paul wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." In chapter 6, one of the last verses of this letter, in chapter 6 verse 14 of Galatians, Paul wrote, "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Paul seems to think that there's something that happened in the past, that made believers in Jesus crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:09] And there's something that Paul says in his letter to the Romans, in Romans chapter 6, that I want to put up here because it parallels what he says. Romans chapter 6 verses 6 through 7, he says, "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, a that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been set free from sin." And you can look at parallels in these two passages, both written by the same man. In Galatians, Paul says, "We crucified the flesh with his passions and desires." in Romans, he says, "Your old self was crucified." So this is the same image that he's bringing up here, your old self, that old broken self, the part that just wants what it wants, and wants it now, and doesn't care about God and doesn't care about anyone else. He says there was a point in time where you crucified that old self, it died with Christ, and it was buried with Christ. There was a point in time when you embraced Jesus, and the old self was dead and buried.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:22] And by the way, here's a really important thing that Paul wants to make sure we understand from all of this, he wants us to know our deepest identity. If you're a believer in Jesus, you belong to him, he belongs to you. And this is tricky, what I'm about to say, for some of you, it'll be a little bit hard to get, you are not now a sinner. Now some of you are like, yeah, I am. Like, really, I know you're trying to be nice, but I am. Now, here's the point of clarity, you still, as a believer in Jesus, you're still in this battle, and you still sin. But according to the Bible, your identity is not as a sinner, your identity is as a saint, that's who you really are. Sometimes we think, well, the person that I really am is this very selfish, self-involved, sinful person, and then every so often I do something good for God. The framework that Paul wants us to have is to say is your true self, your true identity is as a risen Spirit indwelt child of God, and sometimes you revert. But when you revert, that's not who you really are.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:40] Let me give you an illustration of this. Let's say you're getting ready, you're heading into college and you're trying to decide where you're going to go to college, and USC wants you, and UCLA wants you, and you're going back and forth and you're trying to decide, and you land on UCLA because you're a good person. All right, I wasn't half kidding. No, I'm just kidding, there is nothing wrong, I know there are lots of USC fans in here, you'll get yours in a minute don't worry about it. So you choose UCLA, and you're going to UCLA, and then at some point, while you're a student there, you go to a UCLA/ USC football game. And I root for UCLA, but UCLA people, let's be honest, the game is probably not going our way. And so you're watching it, USC is stomping UCLA in this game, and at some point, you feel maybe a little bit of embarrassment and you're looking at all the USC fans and it looks like they're having a great time. And so you just decided to sort of take off your UCLA sweatshirts, sneak over to their side, and you just join in, and you start having a great time rooting for a winning team over with USC. Now, here's the question, because of doing that, did you suddenly become a student at USC? No, you're still a student at UCLA, you were just acting like you were somebody else, but it didn't change who you are or where you belong. And when I say we're not sinners, don't misunderstand me, I don't have any illusions about myself, I know a lot of you and so I don't have any illusions about you either, I am not saying that we do not sin, we still do sin. What I'm saying is we need to reframe this, and we need to say, when I fall into sin, I am not acting like my real self, my real self is a blood-bought, Spirit-indwelled child of God who belongs to him. And that old self was crucified, it's dead, it's buried, but I keep digging it up, I keep wanting to go back to it. We are in the battle, but Paul wants us to know that there is a point in time where something happened. There was a point in time when we saw Jesus as so compelling, where we saw His sacrificial death for us as so convincing, and we saw His resurrection for us as so triumphant, that we bowed the knee, we embraced him by faith, and we crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:06] And what I want to do is, I want us all to pause right now, and I want you to recognize that however you're feeling right now, if you're a believer in Jesus, there was a point in time where you were convinced. God willing, you're still convinced today. But there's a point where you became convinced, you went from unconvinced to convinced, you went from walking in the flesh to crucifying the flesh. Standing at that crossroads and saying, I can go at the flesh, or I can go with Jesus, and I'm going with Jesus and I'm leaving all of this behind, there was a point where you became convinced. And maybe even today you're sitting in your seat and you're like, I'm not as convinced today, or I don't act like I'm convinced, I easily slip into sin, I easily slip into discouragement and hopelessness. Here's what I want to do before even going on, because we're going to talk about the action points in the second part of this sermon, I want us just to pause and I want us to try to get back to that place. I want you to ask yourself the question, what was it that convinced me? Let's try to get back to that moment, you were at that crossroads, and you just were so utterly convinced that you were saying, I don't care what it cost me, I want Jesus. I believe, I'm convinced that the flesh is destructive, I'm convinced that the Spirit is life, I'm convinced that Jesus is Lord, I'm convinced that He's coming back. What was it that convinced you?

Dan Franklin: [00:20:28] And I want us to pause, in fact, I want to invite you to bow your heads right now, and we're just going to take a pause moment right here in this message. Let's, right now, look to go back to that place and answer that question, what was it that convinced me? And then ask God to solidify that in my heart again so that I walk in that sense of being fully convinced.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:07] Father, we cry out to you now, we confess that we have an enemy who is convincing, and we want to walk in the newness of the Holy Spirit. I pray for my brothers and sisters right now, Father, I pray that you give them the joy of remembering what it was that convinced them that Jesus is Lord and that the Spirit is life, and I pray that you renew us and lead us to walk in that sense of being fully convinced as we continue to wage war against the flesh and its passions and desires. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:49] We talk about what happened, that there was a point in time that we became convinced that we put our faith in Jesus, and now we're going to talk about what needs to happen. Paul is going to get very practical; he's going to give us two commands, a negative command, and a positive command. And what I mean by that, is that the negative command is going to tell us something that we shouldn't do, the positive command is that he's going to tell us something that we should do. And you can see it there in verses 25 and 26, he says, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." that's the positive command, that's where we're going to focus most of our time. But first, let's look at verse 26 with the negative command, he says, "Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."

Dan Franklin: [00:22:35] Just before he closes it off, he gives us one last warning of, remember what happens if you give yourself over to the flash, so let's not do this, let's not become conceited. And I love this, in the Greek, the Greek word here that's translated as conceited, the literal translation would be empty glory. When we boast, when we brag, when we're conceited, we are practicing empty glory. Now it doesn't feel like empty glory, it feels like totally valid glory when we make things all about ourselves. But he says, let's not practice empty glory. There's only one that truly has glory, let's not practice empty glory. And he says, when we do practice empty glory, we end up envying each other and provoking each other, and we end up starting fights.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:25] One of the things, hopefully you've seen this over the course of this series, the main manifestation, or right at the core of the manifestation that shows us whether we're walking in the flesh or walking in the Spirit, is all tied up in how we treat other people. If you're a person of constant conflict and constant friction, especially in unnecessary ways, you're living out verse 26. And Paul just gives a reminder saying, no, we're not going to do that, we're not going to make it all about ourselves. But let's focus in on the positive command in verse 25, he says, Since we live by the Spirit, and here's what this means, what this means is our old self is dead and buried, and we came back to life in a new way because of the Spirit, we live by the Spirit. He says, since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. This is the great closing, positive command of this section, keep in step with the Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:25] And by the way, you might be looking at a Bible translation that's a little bit different, it might just still say, walk by the Spirit. This is actually a different word than was used earlier in the passage to tell us to walk by the Spirit, this word has the idea of lining up in line with someone else. In fact, in Romans chapter 4 verse 12, Paul uses this word in that verse to talk about the idea of following in somebody's footsteps, that's the image here. He says, we've been made alive through the Spirit, so let's keep in step, let's follow in the footsteps of the Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:02] When I was in college, I got to spend a semester studying in Israel, which was amazing. And we would go on all these different trips to different sites, and we had our professor, his name was Todd Bolin. He had us call him Todd, that's why I'm going to refer to him as Todd in this, even though it was weird because you're a professor, but he just said, call me Todd. So anyway, if you think I'm being disrespectful to my former professor, I'm not, that's what he said. I know you're not worried about that, but in my head I'm like, no, I don't want you to think that.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:30] So when we went on our first tour, we were all, there was like 30 of us all on the bus, the bus stopped, and we knew that we were to go and investigate this site. And so the bus stops, and we all start gathering our backpacks and getting things ready and grabbing our water bottles, and then we exit, and we get out of the bus and we start looking for Todd. And we realize Todd is way out there already, he got out of the bus, and he was at the front of the bus. And the moment he got out of the bus, he didn't turn around, he didn't look around, he just started walking toward the site we were going to go to. So immediately, the 30 of us college students were like we better go catch up. It happened again the second time we went on the tour, we gathered our backpacks, we got our water bottles, and we moseyed off of the bus, there is Todd way up there, we've got to catch up. The third time, what do you think we did? As soon as the bus stopped, we're scampering out trying to get out quickly, we needed to keep in step. And here's the deal, no analogy is perfect, but here's the deal, he was going somewhere, and we needed to make an intentional effort to keep up. What I want us all to recognize about the Holy Spirit is, that the Holy Spirit is going somewhere, the Holy Spirit is up to things, the Holy Spirit is not just your conscience kind of dwelling in you and looking to help you along the way, the Holy Spirit is living and active, and our calling is keep up. Be ready to keep in step with the Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:58] And what I want to spend the rest of the time doing, is just talking practically about, well, how do we do this? How do we keep in step? Which really, at the end of the day, is the same concept, as he said back in verse 16 of walking by the Spirit. It's the same concept that he talks about in Ephesians chapter 5 verse 18, when he says, "Be filled with the Spirit." Be filled with the Spirit, keep in step with the Spirit, walk with the Spirit, all the same things. So how do we do this? Well, first of all, Jesus, our Lord Jesus, gives us some insight into this in John chapter 3, in his conversation with Nicodemus. In John chapter 3 verse 8, Jesus says to Nicodemus, "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” And some of you may know, in both the Hebrew and the Greek, the word for Spirit is the same word that sometimes is translated as wind. So Jesus is drawing an analogy here, he's saying, you hear the wind, you see the effects of the wind, but you can't control the wind. We know the spirit is real, and we see the effects of the Holy Spirit, but we don't control the Spirit. So we don't respond to this and say, well, keep in step with the Spirit and think that that somehow means that I control what the Spirit does. No, you don't, you don't control the Holy Spirit. But a pastor that I used to work with in Oregon used to say this, and I think that it's very true, he used to say, I can't control the wind, but I can put up my sail. And that always stuck with me, we can't control the Holy Spirit, but we can put ourselves in a position where we're raising our sail so that wherever the Spirit moves, we're going to be taken along with him. And what I want to do for the rest of our time is talk about four ways that we put up our sail and make ourselves available.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:56] The first is this, we make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit by elevating the role of Scripture in our lives. Quick question, do you know who wrote the Bible? Yeah, because of what I'm talking about, maybe you figured it out, you're like, I know the answer here. The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Bible, so if we're sitting here saying, well, how can I be more in tune with the Holy Spirit? The Bible is a pretty good place to start, to say the Spirit inspired this word. If only there was something that we knew that the Spirit said, we've got it right here. And so when we're talking about reading and memorizing and reflecting and meditating on the word, we're talking about putting up our sail so that we're hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:44] A quick story about something, this was probably like 15 years ago that this happened. I got an email that made me really angry. By the way, between 15 years and now, that's happened more than once, but the time I'm thinking of was like 15 years ago. I got this email, it made me angry. Has anybody ever had that happen before? And I was trying to figure out how to respond, and I really did kind of feel perplexed. I was like, I don't know how to respond, I'm mad, I feel like I need to tell this guy that he's out of line and I was trying to figure it all out. And thankfully I did pause and just pray and say, God, I need you to help me, I'm not sure how to respond to this email that made me angry. And as I was praying about it, one verse suddenly flooded my mind, it was Ephesians chapter 4 verse 29, some of you may know it. It says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths." And I was like, all right, well, that's the starting point, so I'm not going to do that. And then he says, "But only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." But I just remember this incredible clarity where I was like, I've got my marching orders, I know what to do now. I know what I'm not going to do, and I know what to do as I respond to this email, I'm going to write an email that's taking into consideration the need of this person that's going to build him up according to the need of the moment.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:07] But here's the real point that I want to get you to know about. Do you know the reason why the Spirit was able to remind me of that verse in that moment? Because I'd read that verse before, because that verse was somewhere in there, and he was reminding me, he was bringing something to heart. I talk about this sometimes, you know, sometimes you're reading your Bible in the morning and you kind of get to the end of it and you're like, I don't know what that has to do with where I'm at right now. Like, I'm looking for answers and I just read this and I'm not quite sure how it connects. And here's what we need to understand, the Bible reading that you do today may be for two weeks from now, that that's going to be in your heart and in your mind and the Spirit is going to bring it to mind and guide you with it. This is life and death; we need the Scripture in our minds and in our hearts so the Spirit can bring that to remembrance.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:59] So yes, read and memorize and reflect, and by the way, if right now you're like I feel like I need to do this more, I feel like I need to be around more scripture. In a couple of weeks, in fact, nine days from right now, we start our summer Bible study. And we've already got 100 people signed up, it's going to be a great time, we're going to go through the book in the Bible, a book called Titus. If you are just saying, I need more Bible and I need to hear from the Spirit in his word, that's a great way to get going in the summer months. Especially if you're saying my life group is taking a break, I need more scripture, you can be part of the summer Bible study.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:34] If we want to put up the sail and have the Spirit lead us, we elevate the role of Scripture in our lives. And the second thing that we do, is we connect with God in prayer. Ephesians chapter 6 verse 18 says, "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." And sometimes we read a verse like that, and we're sort of like, well, gosh, like that sounds really kind of amazing and magical and mythical, pray in the Spirit. When Paul says, pray in the Spirit, he's not talking about some secret kind of prayer, what he's talking about is praying while we're in tune with the Holy Spirit. Which basically means, we're not treating God like a genie, but we are praying in light of what matters to God.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:29] Most of us don't feel awesome about our prayer lives, I have yet to meet the person that's like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be in my prayer life. But some of us, we look at the idea of prayer and we're like, well, I just sort of pray when things come up, and so I pray over meals, and sometimes when I'm driving, I pray, or when God brings something to my heart, I pray. And what I want to say is, yes, yes, and yes, keep doing that, keep praying before meals, keep praying when God brings things up, keep praying when you just find yourself in a position where you have some extended quiet time to be able to pray. But what we also need to do is this, we also need to carve out extended time to bring ourselves before the Lord and not only ask for stuff, but just quiet ourselves to be able to listen to how he's guiding us. Some of the richest times, I don't know what I would do without having regular times that I just go on a walk and pour out my heart to the Lord and just try to pause and listen and say, what are you saying to me? How are you guiding me? Where are you wanting to lead me at? And by the way, this might feel subjective to some of you, some of you are like, well, should we really ask how God is leading us in that subjective way?

Dan Franklin: [00:34:39] Quick thing, if you're like, well, this is how I think God is leading me, test it up against God's Word. I remember me and all my guy friends in high school, we always got annoyed because every time a girl would break up with one of us, she would say, I feel like God wants me to do this. We were always like, don't put that on God, that's just what you want to do. And you're just like, God, could you cosign this breakup that I'd like to do? Now, here's the deal, a lot of us are older than that now, but we still kind of do this. We're like, hey, I want to have this job, and you pray about it for like 4 seconds and you're like, yeah, yeah, I feel like God wants me to take that job, or take that promotion, or break up or stay together or whatever it is. Have some time to quiet yourself before the Lord and really look for his guidance. And if you come up with something that sounds a little strange, if you're like, yeah, I think I'm supposed to leave my spouse, that's you, that's not God. But connect with the Lord in prayer and don't just wait for it to happen along the way, carve out time for this.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:46] Put up your sail by elevating the role of God's Word in your life, by connecting with God in prayer, and number three put up the sail by surrounding yourself with God's people. First Corinthians chapter 3 verse 16 says this, he says, "Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?" Now, later on in Chapter 6 of First Corinthians, Paul gets very individual with this concept, and he says, "Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit." Each one of us, for each one of us, our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:23] But in chapter 3, Paul makes him more corporate, and he says, You, the church, the people of God, are God's temple and He dwells in your midst. If you are a Christian and you're alone in your house, the Holy Spirit is within you. But if you're gathered with the people of God, you're around a whole bunch of other people who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Do you think God might do some unique things when you're around a bunch of Spirit indwelt people? I can't even talk about how many times the clear guidance from the Spirit in my life has been based on what another Spirit indwelt person told me that they believe that God was leading me to do. This is why we do life groups; this is why we do even things like church picnics, this is why we gather together as people on Sundays. You know, during COVID, being at home and watching from home, that was better than nothing, but let me tell you, it is not better than being in person. There's something about us being together and experiencing life together, seeing one another, worshiping, and partnering, and praying with one another. Put yourself in a position where you're around God's people.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:37] In fact, we're referring again to last week, some of you may have taken a good step of faith last week and said, alright, I want to yield this area of my life to the Spirit. That was probably a first step, and what I want to say is the next step probably involves this, it probably involves number three. It probably involves talking to a person, a pastor, a Detour group leader, a life group leader, or one of the elders, maybe it means getting involved in life care, where you sit across from somebody for ten weeks and they just work through the ways that you're stuck with you. Maybe for some of you, it's going to involve getting involved in Celebrate Recovery, where you're dealing with your hurts and habits and hang-ups in an organized way. Your first step may have been last week saying, I just want to pray for God to bring newness in this area, your next step is probably getting around people and opening yourself up to them.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:27] We elevate the role of God's word in our lives. We connect with the Lord in prayer. We surround ourselves with believers in Jesus. And finally, number four, we listen to God in the small things. Quick question, how many of you want to hear from God in big things in your life? Man, sometimes we're just craving it and we're like, God, I want you to show me where I'm supposed to go to college; and God, I want you to show me if this is the person that I'm supposed to marry; God, I want you to show me if I should pursue this career or this career, and I want you to show me these big opportunities. Why would we expect that we're going to hear from God in the big things if we're not hearing from God in the little things?

Dan Franklin: [00:39:11] There are nudges of the Holy Spirit all throughout our days, and what I want to say is start with those. Start with the times that you're filling your life with noise, and every waking moment has noise in it, and the Spirit nudges you to say, turn off the music, turn off the podcast, turn off the audiobook, and just pray. The times where we're about to go into our fourth straight episode of Netflix, right at the point that it's like, are you still watching? And you're like, ah, you jerk, yes, I'm still watching. You haven't touched it in months, and right at that moment, the Spirit nudges you and says, turn it off and grab your Bible. There are times where the Spirit nudges you and says, go and apologize for what you said to that person, that was not appropriate. There are times that the Spirit nudges us just to send an encouraging note, or text message to somebody in order to build them up, the time that the Spirit leads you to say it's time to be more generous with our money, or it's time to volunteer and serve in that different way. Listen to the everyday nudges of the Holy Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:14] You know, Jesus when he told the Parable Of the Sower, and talked about the seeds being sown, it was all about hearing. And in Luke chapter 8 verse 18, the Lord Jesus said this, he said, "Consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.” In other words, here's what Jesus is saying, if you start listening in the little things, you're going to hear more. And you keep listening, you're going to hear more. And if you keep listening, you're going to hear more. But if you close your ears to God's voice in the little things, you're going to stop hearing. It's going to be like that car alarm that you just walk by, and you don't even notice it's going off. Listen in the small things, in the everyday nudges.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:02] Now, here's the deal, I know some of you might be looking at this right now and you're like, this is not the most original list, Dan. Like you've told us, read the Bible, pray, be involved in church, and then just sort of obey in the small things. You're like, that's not terribly revolutionary, I expected more in this big idea of walking by the Spirit. Well, here's the thing, in Galatians 6, in the same book, just a few verses later, Paul talks about walking with the Spirit in terms of sowing. He's saying, we all want to reap the harvest of the fruit of the Spirit, so sow to the Spirit. Do you know a word, a good word, to describe the idea of sowing seed? Let me give you a good word to describe what it's like to sow seed, boring. It is boring to sow seed, you're throwing stuff on the ground, and you're cultivating it, and nothing is happening. And sometimes in our lives and walking with Jesus, we're like, wow, the Holy Spirit, I'm expecting these big grand things, and these secret handshakes, and these words that I need to learn in order to figure out how to do this. When really what we get from Scripture is elevate God's word, connect with God in prayer, surround yourself with God's people, and listen to God in the small things. And it is like, that feels kind of like boring, that feels kind of like being in the trenches and just putting in time. Yeah, it's sowing. And if we want to reap the harvest as people, if we want to reap the harvest as a church, we're going to be people willing to sow. People willing to look at every day of our lives and saying, today is the day that I can sow to the flesh, or today is a day that I can sow to the Spirit. And over here I'm going to get destruction, but over here, I'm going to get life. Let's be people who sow to the Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:42:49] Let me pray for us, and then we're going to close with a word of benediction. Father, thank you so much that you have given us the Holy Spirit. Thank you for the gift of your spirit dwelling inside of us. Thank you that we belong to you, and that the Spirit shows us that we belong to you. We bring ourselves to you now, and we pray that you do a deep work in our hearts and in our church. We pray that we will reap the fruit of the Spirit, and we pray that you lead us to sow, to sow to the Spirit each day, and to anticipate what you're going to do. In Jesus name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:43:29] Let me just ask you to stand as I'm going to read a word of benediction. I alluded to these verses, but I'm going to read them for us now. It's Galatians chapter 6 verses 7, 8, and 9, and we'll close with this, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Amen? Amen. Have a blessed and wonderful rest of your Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848