Offered, Described, and Sustained
By Greg Wright
Preached at Grace Bible Fellowship on October 23, 2011
Good morning, and welcome to Grace Bible Fellowship. Pastor Mark Mann is away at a conference today, so we will take a brief break from his sermons in 2 Corinthians and take another look at the Gospel of John. Please turn to the seventh chapter. The last time I spoke before you we looked at John 7:1-24, in which we addressed the topic of unrighteous judgment. Jesus had been unfairly criticized for healing a paralyzed man on a Sabbath day. The occasion in that sermon was the Feast of Tabernacles, and the occasion today is the last day of that feast. We will focus on John 7:37-39 for our main points, but the verses around that passage, John 7:25-52 will be used as supporting texts. In this way, we will complete the seventh chapter, except for verse 53, which logically goes with the eighth chapter. That being said let us consider our main text. In John 7:37-39 we read:
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (All scripture citations are ESV unless otherwise noted)
Let us pray: Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for this opportunity to preach your word, for the truth your word conveys, and for the power that stands behind it. May you be pleased to use it not only to strengthen and encourage your people, but to call thirsty nonbelievers as well. Amen.
Before we examine the text, we need to discuss the festival during which it occurs. So I would like for us to consider:
· What the Feast of Tabernacles is in general.
· The main daily rites of the feast.
· The last day of the feast.
A. The feast itself.
The Feast of Tabernacles was the fourth annual festival. It was also called the feast of ingathering, the feast to the Lord, the feast of booths, or just the feast. In Hebrew it is Sukkot (sue-COAT).
The reason for the feast was given in Leviticus 23:42-43, “You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."
The time of the feast was September or October on our calendar. On the Jewish lunar calendar it occurred on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the month of Tishri.
The duration of the feast was seven days. There was an eighth day, a day of solemn reflection at the end, but that day was not properly considered to be part of the feast.
The sacrifices for the feast consisted of 70 bullocks, 14 rams, and 98 lambs. These were the burnt offerings. On the first day 13 bullocks were offered, and the number of bullocks decreased by one each day, while the number of rams and lambs offered each day was the same. Also, one goat kid was provided each day as a sin offering. In addition to these were the individual free-will offerings of the people.
The booths for the feast were made from the boughs of living trees. They were only for this festival, and the people lived in these booths during the feast.
The audience interaction during the feast included the waving and shaking of lulavs (LOO loves) and etrogs (EH-trogs). These were symbols of thanksgiving and praise to God. The lulav was made from myrtle, willow, and palm branches bound together. As soon as a child was old enough to hold one in his right hand, he could join in worship by shaking his lulav. In the left hand the worshippers held their etrogs. The etrog was a citron (see-TRAWN) or some lemon-like fruit.
B. The main daily rites of the feast.
Those were some of the elements of the feast. In addition there were daily rites that are worth noting. In searching for a concise description of this feast, I found an article by Fred Klett. He was the first PCA minister set apart to evangelize the Jewish people. His article Sukkot: A Promise of Living Water described three main daily rites of the feast as follows:
Just before dawn each day, they proceeded to the east gate out of the Temple area. As the sun appeared they turned away from it and faced to the west, toward the Temple. Then they announced: "Our fathers when they were in this place turned their faces toward the east, and they worshipped the sun toward the east; but as for us, our eyes are turned toward the LORD."
The second rite was performed at night. Four huge menorahs were set up to illuminate the entire Temple area. In actuality they were so large that each of the stems formed a torch. The wicks were made from the worn-out linen garments of the priests. As smaller torches were carried to light the procession, the people danced and played harps, lyres, cymbals and lutes. The Levites chanted the Psalms of Ascent (120-134); one psalm on each of the fifteen steps leading from the court of the Israelites to the court of the women. Imagine what a glorious scene it must have been, with the majesty of the procession and the golden stone walls of the Temple bathed in the glow of the torch-lit night!
The third daily ceremony was the rite of the water libation. On the first morning of Sukkot a procession of priests went down to the pool of Siloam to bring up to the Temple a golden container of water . . . . The water was brought up with great ceremony. The shofar was blown and the pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem for the feast waved their lulavs as the priests carried the water around the altar. The great [hah-LAYL] Hallel (Psalms 113-118) was recited. Then the priest on duty poured out the contents of two silver bowls: one held water and the other held wine. This was an act of prayer and an expression of dependence upon God to pour out his blessing of rain upon the earth.
On the last or "great" day of the feast, the water libation rite reached its climax. The priests circled the altar seven times and then poured out the water with great pomp and ceremony. This was Hoshana Rabbah, the great "HOSHIANA" (which translated is "save now").
C. The last day of the feast.
For the last day of the feast, we move from Rev. Klett, to the historian Alfred Edersheim. In his book The Temple: Its Ministry and Services he describes that last day of the feast as follows:
The festivities of the Week of Tabernacles were drawing to a close. 'It was the last day, that great day of the feast.' It obtained this name, although it was not one of 'holy convocation,' partly because it closed the feast, and partly from the circumstances which procured it in Rabbinical writings the designations of 'Day of the Great Hosannah,' on account of the sevenfold circuit of the altar with 'Hosannah'; and 'Day of Willows,' and 'Day of Beating the Branches,' because all the leaves were shaken off the willow boughs, and the palm branches beaten in pieces by the side of the altar. It was on that day, after the priest had returned from Siloam with his golden pitcher, and for the last time poured its contents to the base of the altar; after the 'Hallel' had been sung to the sound of the flute, the people responding and worshipping as the priests three times drew the threefold blasts from their silver trumpets— when the interest of the people had been raised to its highest pitch, that, from amidst the mass of worshippers, who were waving towards the altar quite a forest of leafy branches as the last words of Psalm 118 were chanted— voice was raised which resounded through the temple, startled the multitude, and carried fear and hatred to the hearts of their leaders. It was Jesus, who 'stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.'
This is the scene we are about to consider – that moment when the glory of pageantry and ceremony was interrupted by the glory of glories – that day when the typology associated with the Feast of Tabernacles began to be fulfilled. We will now consider what Jesus said that day, and we will consider it under three headings:
1. Living water offered, from verse 37.
2. Living water described, from verse 38.
3. Living water sustained, from verse 39.
II. Living water offered.
In John 7:37 Jesus offers living water when he says, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” Regarding verse 37 we note three things:
1. Those to whom living water is offered.
2. How the offer is to be received.
3. How the people actually responded to that offer.
A. Those to whom living water is offered.
The offer is made to those who are thirsty. In the Bible sometimes thirst is physical and sometimes it is spiritual. Spiritual thirst is what Jesus has in mind, which is the kind of thirst David had while wandering in the wilderness of Judah, as recorded in Psalm 63:1, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” We find a similar account of spiritual thirst in Psalm 42:1-2 where we read, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
To thirst for God is to thirst for Shalom. It is to thirst for wholeness, peace, and reconciliation with God. Enmity with God is a reason for dread and fear – no one thirsts for that. But wholeness, peace, and reconciliation with God are reasons for true joy and true happiness. Not everyone thirsts for that, but if you do, you are a blessed person, even as we read in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
B. How this offer is to be received.
As to how this offer of living water is received, John 6:35-36 provides clarification: “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.’”
We see three helpful things in this passage: first, that satisfaction for spiritual hunger and thirst is received by coming to Jesus, second, that the opposite of coming to Jesus is unbelief, and third, by implication, that coming to Jesus is by faith. This is consistent with the first part of John 7:38 which uses the phrase, “Whoever believes in me . . .”
C. How the people responded to that offer.
How did people respond? When it comes to Jesus, you either believe Him or you don’t. If you say He was a good teacher, a Godly man, or even the preeminent example of human piety, but you deny that he is the only channel to living water, then you really do not believe everything He said about Himself.
Those who did not believe Jesus had various reasons. In John 7:27 people said, “But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” They believed that while the Messiah would be born of flesh and blood, he would be totally unknown to the people until he began to act to redeem the Jews (Carson, 317).
Others were convinced that no prophet could arise from Galilee. In John 7:40-42 we read, “When they heard these words, some of the people said, ‘This really is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?’”
Also, in John 7:52-53, when Nicodemus wanted to give Jesus a fair hearing, the Pharisees responded saying, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Of course, we know Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and if the leaders had given Jesus the fair hearing Nicodemus requested, they would have known as well.
Unbelief towards God will always have its reasons, reasons rooted in spiritual blindness. However, by God’s grace, people also found many reasons for believing.
For example, Jesus responded to their comment about knowing where He came from, not by clarifying His place of birth, but by declaring that He was sent by the Father. In John 7:28-29, He said, “. . . You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” This explanation satisfied some people.
They also found reason for believing through the things He did. John 7:31 says, “Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, ‘When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?’”
They also found reason for believing through the way He ably and logically defended the integrity of His actions. An example is the way Jesus responded when criticized for healing a man on a Sabbath day. Using the lesser-to-greater argument in John 7:23, Jesus said, “If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the Law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well?”
They also found reason for believing through the way the leaders who wanted to kill Jesus were unable to stop Him, as we see in John 7:25-26, “Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, ‘Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?’”
The Pharisees certainly tried to get rid of Jesus. In John 7:32 we read, “The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him.”
And what did these malicious efforts from the Pharisees produce? In John 7:44-46 we read, “Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why did you not bring him?’ The officers answered, ‘No one ever spoke like this man!’”
Indeed, in John 7:40-41 many were convinced that Jesus was either the Prophet, mentioned in Deuteronomy 18, or He was the Messiah. Of course, we know Jesus is both the prophet and the Messiah, but many of the first century Jews expected the prophet and the Messiah to be two different people.
This is what happened regarding Jesus’ offer of living water. He offered it to those who were spiritually thirsty. People were to receive this living water by trusting in Him. Those who resisted Him questioned His origin. Those who were open to receiving Him, either as the prophet or the Messiah, were influenced by His integrity, His miracles, and the power behind His arguments and proclamations, even as the Holy Spirit worked in their hearts.
III. Living water described.
Having considered the offer of living water – that it is offered to those who are thirsty – we now observe how it is described. John 7:38 says, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
Here we find three descriptions of living water:
1. How living water was predicted.
2. Where living water resides.
3. What makes living water living.
A. How living water was predicted.
Verse 38 uses the phrase “as the Scripture has said.” Living water is described in the Old Testament in various ways. Sometimes we see allusions to it in references to the Holy Spirit where the Holy Spirit is said to be poured out. Here are several examples:
· Proverbs 1:23, “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.”
· Isaiah 44:3, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”
· Joel 2:28, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”
· Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
· Ezekiel 39:29, “And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”
Another way we see living water described in the Old Testament is when water is associated with salvation. We find this in Isaiah 12:2-3:
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Sometimes God describes Himself as the fountain of living waters.
· Jeremiah 2:12-13, “Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
· Jeremiah 17:13, “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.”
Sometimes living water is used in reference to God’s ultimate, yet to be completely fulfilled, blessing of his people and triumph over the earth. We find this in Zechariah 14:7-9:
And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.
Those are just some of the allusions to living water that we find in the Old Testament. I could name many more.
B. Where living water resides.
Meanwhile, verse 38 continues by saying that living water flows from the heart: “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
The word that is translated here as heart is not the more common Greek word for heart but, rather, a word that is more often translated as belly or womb. The idea is that living water flows from your innermost being.
C. What makes living water living?
But why use the term living water? What is meant by the term living? To answer this question consider Jeremiah 2:12-13, “Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
God is the fountain of living waters. Sometimes the word used for fountain is translated as spring or well. Consider these verses:
· John 4:14, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
· Revelation 7:17, “For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
· Revelation 21:6, “And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”
So why is it living water – it comes from a source that is constantly replenished, that source being either a fountain, a spring, or a well.
Another thing that makes it living water living comes by direct translation. The phrase u[datoj zw/ntoj means living water. The word for living is zw/ntoj, and it is the same word used in many of the phrases translated as living God. One example is Matthew 16:16 where “Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” The word used there for living is zw/ntoj.
So that is why living water is called living water: direct translation of the word zw/ntoj and allusion to a constantly replenished source.
We also sadly note what people have chosen in its place. From Jeremiah 2:13 we learn that:
· People have hewed out cisterns for themselves
· These are broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Under hewed out cisterns we might figuratively include not only the idol worship of Jeremiah’s time, but every form of man-made religion that has followed, including every form of contemporary so-called Christian practice that denies the deity of Christ, the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures, and the divine authority that lies behind those precious words. In the context of John seven I would add to this list the Oral Tradition of the Pharisees, which was given priority, even over the written word.
These cisterns mentioned in Jeremiah are not only man-made but they are broken. Consider how our own increasingly unbelieving culture has, although denying the foundation of its Christian heritage, nevertheless, retained its moral traditions for a season. But as one would expect with a broken cistern, the Godly heritage is leaking away and is being replaced with evil that would have been unthinkable just a few years earlier. Romans 1:21 says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
In Jeremiah 17:3 God had this to say about people who reject living water, “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.”
1. You have seen that the idea of living water originates in the Old Testament, where God is the fountain, and people have rejected that fountain.
2. You have seen that living water flows from the heart.
3. You have seen the reason for the term living water.
IV. Living water sustained.
We now press on to consider living water sustained. From John 7:39 we read, “Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Please notice that the verse says “about the Spirit.” Another translation could be “concerning the Spirit.” Living water is something the Holy Spirit brings about. It is only because you have the Holy Spirit inside of you that living water flows from your heart.
Please also note that when Jesus says the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, He means nothing less than the third person of the Trinity. In His deity, the Holy Spirit has every aspect of eternal being, character, and power that is shared by the Father and the Son. He has everything that makes God divine. Theologically, as Bruce Ware put it, “God’s whole and undivided essence is shared equally, simultaneously, and fully by all three persons of the Trinity.”
Nevertheless, each person of the Trinity has different roles, and one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to nourish your life and the lives of those around you with living water.
This is how living water is sustained. It is sustained, because it flows from the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in your heart.
A. Having the Holy Spirit in you causes you to obey God.
One of the effects of living water is it empowers previously rebellious sinners to live as obedient saints. This is consistent with what was predicted in Ezekiel 36:25-27, where we read:
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Verse 26 uses new heart in reference to the regeneration of your inner being – what John 3 calls being born again. This internal change is experienced by all true believers, Old Testament and New Testament, and it will be experienced in the future by Israel itself when its surviving remnant acknowledges Jesus to be the true Messiah.
But thanks be to God, in the New Testament this change is more than a heart change. In verse 27 God says “I will put my spirit within you.” How are you going to consistently walk in God’s statutes and carefully obey His rules? How? I’ll tell you how – it’s not just you anymore. It is the Holy Spirit living inside of you, renewing your mind, warning of sin, illuminating the Scriptures, encouraging your heart, and molding you into the very image of Christ.
B. Having the Holy Spirit with you and in you are different realities.
It is very important that Ezekiel 36:27 says, “I will put my Spirit within you,” because with you and in you are two different things. Jesus clarifies this in John 14:16-17 where He says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
Here we have both continuity and discontinuity with the Old Testament. In the Old Testament people were saved in the same way they are in the New Testament – by grace through faith, as the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit brought people to true faith and repentance.
However, something changes in the New Testament, because after Pentecost believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit. They were not the temple of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.
C. Having the Holy Spirit in you is better.
Today, since the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, all believers have the Holy Spirit in them. In fact, having the Holy Spirit in you is better, even, than having Jesus with you. Jesus, Himself, said this to His disciples in John 16:7, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
D. Having the Holy Spirit in you is necessary, because Jesus is in Heaven.
Of course, that verse is nine chapters away. Here in chapter seven, the disciples are not longing for the Holy Spirit, because Jesus is with them. Yet, it is here in chapter seven, in the context of the Pharisees sending the temple police to find Jesus and arrest Him, that Jesus makes it known that the day is coming when people will not be able to find Him. In John 7:32-36 we read:
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, "I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come." The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, 'You will seek me and you will not find me,' and, 'Where I am you cannot come'?
E. Having the Holy Spirit in you allows him to lead you on Christ’s behalf.
The disciples were very sad when it was finally clear to them that Jesus was going away. In chapter sixteen Jesus comforted them by telling them the Holy Spirit would lead them on His behalf. In John 16:13-15 we read, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
F. Having the Holy Spirit in you is how Christ is with you in this life.
We are all looking forward to the day when we will see Jesus face-to-face. Nevertheless, Jesus is spiritually with you, even now, because the Holy Spirit is in you. Although Jesus is physically in heaven, there is a sense in which the Holy Spirit makes Christ spiritually present. We see this through the various verses that refer to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ.
· Acts 16:7, “And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.”
· 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.”
· Galatians 4:6, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”
This is how Christ is with you, even now. He is with you through the Holy Spirit.
As we come to the end of this sermon, let us briefly review what we have discussed.
· To whom is living water offered? It is offered to those who are spiritually thirsty – those who know their spiritual poverty and who are willing to receive Jesus.
· How is living water described? It flows from a constantly refreshed supply in your heart.
· How is living water sustained? It is sustained by the Holy Spirit living in your heart.
· What is living water? In one sense we can say living water is the Holy Spirit. However, I think we can also say that the term living water describes the way the Holy Spirit nourishes, comforts, guides, and supports us. Therefore, living water is both the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit does.
When I became a Christian, it was many years after that before I learned how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers. I knew I was saved from Hell, but I thought it was up to me, on my own, to live the Christian life in my own strength. I knew I had the Holy Spirit living inside of me, but I did not know what to expect from His presence. Nor did I understand how to nourish my relationship with Him. No one told me to expect living water. Now I regret all the wasted time of empty, dry, barren living when I could have been drinking from the springs of living water. All I needed to do was seek the Lord. He would have provided the strength I needed and the deep, sweet communion I craved.
Jesus still cries out, “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.” That cry is not just to unbelievers. No, living water is for believers. Jesus says to thirsty believers, “Come to me and drink.”
What more motivation do we need to seek the Lord with all our hearts?
· No more mindless, ritualistic, distracted Bible reading – let us read to know the Lord through His word.
· No more half-hearted worship – let us worship the Lord in spirit and truth, noting the words we are singing, delighting in them, and affirming our faith through them.
· No more mechanical prayers – let us pray with the understanding that even as we pray, the Holy Spirit in our very hearts is praying for us.
· No more inattentiveness during sermons – let us listen with anticipation that God will minister to our hearts.
· No more ignoring God until we have a crisis – let us walk with the Lord in a constant attitude of prayer, awareness of His presence, and meditation upon His precepts.
· No more harboring unconfessed sin – let us be quick to deal with anything that might grieve the Holy Spirit.
· No more relying on worldly comforts to satisfy spiritual needs – let us trust God for the needs of our souls.
The Lord will draw near to us if we seek Him, but we have to seek Him. Even as believers we have to seek Him. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” The context for this verse is restoration from exile in a foreign land, but the principle: that God responds graciously to believers who seek Him, applies here.
Believers who seek the Lord with all their heart will not be disappointed. They will find the living water the Holy Spirit has for them. This living water will nourish them and equip them to nourish and encourage others.
Let us pray. Thank you Lord for not leaving us as orphans, for you have sent the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts. This life is hard sometimes. It would be much harder had you not sent the Holy Spirit to support us, sustain us, comfort us, and guide us. Help us to not neglect this precious gift. Indeed, help us to grow in our knowledge of what it means to draw near unto you. In Jesus name we pray, amen.