With This Spirit, We Come Alive!
Listen to this week’s powerful sermon. Too often we live our lives in mere comfort and mediocrity, instead of allowing the Spirit to unleash the fullness of life within us. No matter our circumstances, being in the Spirit is a true part of the Journey to Fullness. Please listen and be blessed in your own life!
Let the Spirit come upon you, or let the spirit within you come alive, and may the Spirit truly make your existence come alive.
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”
Confort and Convenience
It was the Spirit who brought him this vision and he was taken down in the middle of the valley and then he saw a pile of dry bones. It is kind of horrific scene. A valley full of dry bones. It is a vision. And then you realize that that dry bones represented the condition of the Israelites. When you see Ezekiel, he was taken into captivity by the Babylonian. Israel was destroyed by Babylon. And then they took all the people into captivity. Ezekiel was part of the group that was taken. So they lost the country, the laws, the religion, they lost their God they lost their temple, and they lost their worship. Among that, they lost hope. The people lived in Babylon without much hope. But today Ezekiel is telling us, I saw dry bones, but in the whole process, Ezekiel found hope in the Spirit of God. Only in the Spirit of God, Ezekiel found hope. This is what Ezekiel said at the end of the vision. I’ll put my Spirit within you and you will come alive. You shall live. He saw the dry bones, but when the Spirit came upon the dry bones, somehow the dry bones came alive. That’s what the Spirit does. The Spirit makes our lives come alive. Spirit is Ruach in Hebrew. It is wind, breath, and life. So when the Spirit comes to us, it makes our soul, Spirit in our whole existence, our whole self, come alive.
You know the modern life is great. Life has become so easy and so convenient. I can’t believe that in this small device called a cell phone, there are more than a 100 books. Can you believe there are more than 100 books in this small device? I carry it everywhere. If I had to carry 100 books with me, that will be pretty tough. And I do most of my reading on the phone. I can’t read a book anymore, the words are too small and you can’t read if it’s dark. With a phone, that’s not the problem. So most of my reading I do on my phone, most of my studying I do it, and sometimes I even write sermons on my phone. It is very modern. Life is comfortable and convenient, but even though my life has become so comfortable and convenient, I can not say necessarily that made our life more fulfilling. Are we more fulfilling than those people will live 50 years ago? I can confidently say that our life is very different from the people who lived 50 years ago. But the fulfillment of life, in better terms, the sense of fulfillment with your life, I’m not quite sure on that. But still, the modern life is obsessed with convenience, not much interested in the enrichment of life. Even though we have so many things that make our lives very comfortable and convenient, we are looking for more comfort and more convenience,
Are we Satisfied?
But we are not much interested in the deep enrichment of life. Modern life provides us with fun and pleasure, but we become more and more estranged from ourselves, separated from ourselves. We do not know what our heart’s desire is. We do not know who we are. And sometimes we don’t even care who we are. We do not know our own emptiness and hollowness. Modern life constantly has many distractions. It has a lot of things so we don’t even think about our own emptiness and hollowness. We have deep empty space, but we don’t look at it. We don’t have time to look at it. We just made ourselves distracted so that, we don’t need to look at our own hollowness, emptiness because it’s scary to see how empty we have become. We learned not to say it. We learned to forget about it. We live just doing what we’re supposed to do. There is no such thing as self discovery. And I wonder to myself, how can you truly enjoy your life when you don’t know yourself. How can you truly enjoy your life when you don’t see what’s going on in your heart?
How can anybody be fully satisfied when you don’t feel about yourself? Sometimes when I look at people, including myself, we have become numb. We have become desensitized. We do a lot of things, but nothing makes us come alive. “Yes, I’m living. I’m alive. We don’t know. Yeah. Another day I just do this and that. Yeah. Yeah. I have to make living another day.” There’s no such thing as, “yes! Good life!” Even though we did not lose our country, we’re losing ourselves. Even though we were not taken into captivity, we have become a prisoner of ourselves. We have become like dry bones. My friends, I think we need to find our own spirituality. I need to find my own spirituality. Real spirituality, no religiosity. I’m not much interested in religiosity. It is good, but I think that’s very different from spirituality. I think we need to really find our own spirituality and cultivate it. We need to find the Spirit that makes us alive.
A lot of people don’t do much to cultivate their spirituality. Even though we know that spirituality is important, that we say that is important, we don’t do anything about cultivating our spirituality. Then it becomes just habit just living like that. Not much sense of fulfillment or enrichment. Oh my goodness, I don’t have many years to live on 57. The rest of my life. I’m not going to just do lots of things and just let it pass. I want to live a fulfilling life, every moment of my life. I want to really experience fulfillment.
Today’s the day of Pentecost. As a Christian, you are celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit. My friends, without the Holy Spirit, Christianity can never break through persecutions and hardships they went through. You know, when Jesus taught them, they didn’t understand until the end, until they received the Holy Spirit. Only then they experienced the power and courage. And with that power and courage, they were able to, to break through hardships, persecutions, and difficulties. Christianity did not just come about. If Holy Spirit did not come, I don’t think there would be Christianity. For these mundane, weak, and vulnerable disciples, the Holy Spirit came down upon them and they, all of a sudden, they were strengthened. And then they persevered, and they broke through the hardships, persecutions, and difficulties. That’s why we have Christianity now. The Spirit was with them and the Spirit strengthened them and the Spirit gave them the life force to go forth through the storm.
I do believe that the same Spirit will strengthen you, and give you courage so that you can break through the storm. we can be strong people with the help of the Spirit. This is what Saint Paul said. “Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words and God who searches the heart knows what is the mind of this period because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good, for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
The Spirit helps us. The Spirit intercedes us. Interceding meaning pray. When you’re vulnerable, when you’re not able to do anything, it is the Spirit who prays for you, who is with you, who intercedes for you. God gave us the Spirit. We are not an orphan and we are not alone. You don’t serve God alone. If you serve God alone, you’ll be tired. You’ll be exhausted. There’s only so much you can do as a human being, but when you are filled with Spirit, then you can do so much more. Christianity is not about what I do. Christianity is about what the Spirit does within me.
This is what our Lord Jesus said, “and I’ll ask the father and I will ask the father and he will give you another advocate to be with you forever. The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him because he abides with you and he’ll be in here. I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming to you.” This is a promise. As he left the earth, he left the Spirit with us. We don’t see the Spirit. The world cannot receive the Spirit, but we the believers of Jesus Christ, we received the spirit. The Spirit abides with us and within us. Now the Spirit is given to not just a few individuals who has spiritual experiences, the spirit is given to all of us who believe. And with that Spirit, you can do amazing things with that Spirit. More than what Jesus did. All his life Jesus did everything with the help of the Spirit. He didn’t do it by himself. It’s not that Jesus was a special person and he could do all these things, Jesus completely depended on the Spirit and the Spirit, helped him do all those things, and that same Spirit is given to us and we’ll be able to do what Jesus did and even more.
This is what Jesus said, “very truly, I you the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and in fact, we’ll do great greater works than these.” Think about it. You will do greater things than what Jesus did. There is this nagging voice within me that says we are not doing as well as you’re supposed to. We could do much better, but somehow we are saddled with mediocrity. We’re just settling with mediocrity because they’re so used to mediocrity and instead of going all the way they are content with the mediocrity. In other words, we ourselves are the stumbling block. Jesus said, we can do more than what he did.
You have a great potential. You have great gifts and talents, but somehow you’re paralyzed. You’re limited. Your thinking is limited. When you’re thinking is limited, your life becomes limited. Whether with your work or with your life, with your performance, everything, you’re just limited. What the Spirit does is opens up, expands you, brings you out so that you can live out your full potential. That’s what the Spirit does. Cultivating the spirituality is very simple. Be always in the Spirit. When you listen to the sermon, listen in Spirit. Otherwise, you won’t understand. When I preached this sermon, I preach in Spirit. I’m aware of Spirit right here with me. Take time to be in the Spirit. Discipline yourself to be always conscious of the Spirit in you. Everyday take even 10 minutes, 15 minutes, to be conscious in the Spirit. Just sit there and enjoy the presence of the Spirit. When you’ve read, read in Spirit. When you work, work in Spirit. When you think, think in Spirit. All of a sudden your life will come alive. Your life will be expended. The Spirit will open your eyes and lead you into the truth. And the Spirit will awaken your soul and the Spirit or give you the courage that defeats your fear. Fear is one of the biggest stumbling block we all have, but the Spirit will fight off that fear that paralyzes you and gives you the courage. The Spirit will enliven your soul and your feel deeply satisfied and experienced the full richness of your life.
By ourselves, we have no choice but to become lonely, empty and hollow, but with the Spirit, we’ll feel enriched. Everything comes alive. Black and white becomes colour. I forgot that commercial. Black and white becomes with a Spirit or drink or whatever. It’s like this with the Spirit. Our life comes alive. When the Spirit touches our lives, everything comes alive. I realized that the Spirit doesn’t necessarily changes your circumstances but the Spirit changes you, so that your attitude, the way you see your circumstances, become very different. The early disciples, when they received the Spirit, their life was not necessarily easier. The same persecution was there, but they were able to change because the way they look at their circumstances and the way they look at their persecution changed. They had courage, had the strength to persevere. And they persevered through. This year’s theme is Journey to Fullness. You can never have a journey to fullness on your own. You can only have a journey to fullness with the Spirit. So my friends give it a try. Give yourself fully in the power of the Spirit. Let the Spirit do the amazing work through yourself and through your life and see how big you can become. Stretch your boundary. Don’t limit yourself with the boundary that you set up, break it, stretch it, and see how far you can go. See how deep you can get. If you’re a writer, stretch yourself. Be a creative writer. If you’re a magician, stretch yourself. A businessman, stretch yourself. A teacher, stretch yourself, be creative with your teaching. Whatever you do, what God wants from you, is for you to live out the full potential that God has in store for you.