All Is Vain, Unless The Spirit...

Bible Book: Selected Passages 
Subject: Holy Spirit; Spirit, Power of; Spirit, Need of

I have a book in my study by William L. Stidger called “Preaching Out Of The Overflow.” And that is what’s in my heart to do this morning.

As I have prepared this week, I’ve gone about it a little differently than I usually do. I’ve meditated more, and I’ve tried to pray more, and I’ve tried to prepare my heart to a greater degree.

I’ve come this morning with a song on my mind, a song written by George Atkins in 1819, a song that says…

"Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God;

Will you pray with all your power, while we try to preach the Word?

All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down;

Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Brethren, see poor sinners round you slumbering on the brink of woe;

Death is coming, hell is moving, can you bear to let them go?

See our fathers and our mothers, and our children sinking down;

Brethren, pray and holy manna will be showered all around.

Sisters, will you join and help us? Moses’ sister aided him;

Will you help the trembling mourners who are struggling hard with sin?

Tell them all about the Savior, tell them that He will be found;

Sisters, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Is there here a trembling jailer, seeking grace, and filled with tears?

Is there here a weeping Mary, pouring forth a flood of tears?

Brethren, join your cries to help them; sisters, let your prayers abound;

Pray, Oh pray that holy manna may be scattered all around.

Let us love our God supremely, let us love each other, too;

Let us love and pray for sinners, till our God makes all things new.

Then He’ll call us home to Heaven, at His table we’ll sit down;

Christ will gird Himself and serve us with sweet manna all around."

Annie Hawks wrote:

One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks. Suddenly, I became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without Him, either in joy or pain, these words … were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me.

After writing the lyrics, Hawks gave them to her pastor, Robert Lowry, who added the tune and refrain. The hymn was first published in November 1872. Some years later, after the death of her husband, Hawks wrote:

I did not understand at first why this hymn had touched the great throbbing heart of humanity. It was not until long after, when the shadow fell over my way, the shadow of a great loss, that I understood something of the comforting power in the words which I had been permitted to give out to others in my hour of sweet serenity and peace.

Here are the words that Annie wrote…

"I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;

No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee, O I need Thee;

Every hour I need Thee;

O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee."

I. We Have A Problem That Needs To Be Fixed – The Impact Of Sin

(Genesis 3:1–13)

A. Sin Produced The Feeling Of Fear

(Genesis 3:7-10) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. {8} And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. {9} And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? {10} And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

1. The Voice Made Them Afraid

voice – Hebrew 6963. qowl, kole; or qol, kole; from an unused root mean. to call aloud; a voice or sound:-- + aloud, bleating, crackling, cry (+ out), fame, lightness, lowing, noise, + hold peace, [pro-] claim, proclamation, + sing, sound, + spark, thunder (-ing), voice, + yell.

It was the Word of God that made them afraid.

2. The Vulnerability Made Them Afraid

(Genesis 3:10) And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

naked – Hebrew 5903. 'eyrom, ay-rome'; or 'erom, ay-rome'; from H6191; nudity:--naked (-ness).

6191. 'aram, aw-ram'; a prim. root; prop. to be (or make) bare; but used only in the der. sense (through the idea perh. of smoothness) to be cunning (usually in a bad sense):-- X very, beware, take crafty [counsel], be prudent, deal subtilly.

Cf. (Hebrews 4:13) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

opened – Greek 5136. trachelizo, trakh-ay-lid'-zo; from G5137; to seize by the throat or neck, i.e. to expose the gullet of a victim for killing (gen. to lay bare):--opened.

Cf. (2 Timothy 1:7) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

In Luke 5:5-11, we see one of the earliest occasions of Jesus speaking these words, “Fear Not.”

(1 John 4:18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

B. Sin Produced The Finding Of Fault

(Genesis 3:12-13) And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. {13} And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

1. There Was A Blaming And Complaining

The first words out of Adam’s mouth were “The woman.” The first words out of Eve’s mouth were “The serpent.”

2. There Was A Burden Of Consequence

Genesis 3:14-19

II. We Have A Power That Needs To Be Found – The Influence Of The Spirit

(Ephesians 5:18–25)

There is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit that occurs in every one who is saved by God’s grace…

(Romans 8:9-11) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. {10} And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. {11} But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

(1 Corinthians 3:16) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

(1 Corinthians 6:19) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

(Ephesians 2:21-22) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: {22} In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

See also Acts 1:8

But the Bible tells us that there is a “filling” of the Spirit that can and should take place regularly. The Holy Ghost came and filled the believers at Pentecost in Acts 2:4, but in Acts 4:31 we see that they were “filled with the Holy Ghost” after a time of prayer.

filled – Greek 4130. pletho, play'-tho; a prol. form of a prim. pleo, pleh'-o (which appears only as an alt. in certain tenses and in the redupl. form pimplemi); to "fill" (lit. or fig. [imbue, influence, supply]); spec. to fulfil (time):--accomplish, full (. . . come), furnish.

Further, Paul said in our text to “be filled with the Spirit.”

(Ephesians 5:18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

filled – Greek 4137. pleroo, play-ro'-o; from G4134; to make replete, i.e. (lit.) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (fig.) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.:--accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.

A. The Holy Spirit’s Influence Is Seen In The Heart

(Ephesians 5:19-21) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; {20} Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; {21} Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

1. There Is A Magnificent Response That Takes Place

John MacArthur said…

Speaking comes from laleō, a word that originated from chatter or babble, probably of little children first learning to talk, saying sounds such as “la, la, la.” It was also used of the chirp of birds or the grunts and other noises of animals. In its most basic sense, the term simply meant to make a sound.
… Speaking here includes any sound offered to God from a Spirit-filled heart. … The sound that pleases Him is the sound that comes as a result of a heart submissive to His Spirit and that sings or plays to His glory.

Psalms refers primarily to the Old Testament psalms put to music, but the term was also used of vocal music of any sort, such as solos and anthems. The early church did most of its singing directly from the psaltery, using various tunes familiar to the congregation—a pattern followed for hundreds of years by many European and American churches, and still used in some congregations today. The psalms primarily speak about the nature and work of God, especially in the lives of believers. Above everything else, they magnify and glorify God.

Hymns refers primarily to songs of praise, which in the early church were probably distinguished from the psalms, which exalted God, in that they specifically praised the Lord Jesus Christ. Many biblical scholars believe that various New Testament passages (such as Colossians 1:12-16) were used as hymns in the early church.

Spiritual songs were probably songs of testimony that covered a broad category that included any music expressing spiritual truth.

The intent of the writer here, however, is simply to give latitude for all kinds of musical expression to exalt the Lord.
Singing is from adō, which simply means to sing with the voice. But in the New Testament it is always used in relation to praising God (see also Col. 3:16; Rev. 5:9; 14:3; 15:3).

… Psallō (making melody) is related to the term from which we get psalm and literally means to pluck on a stringed instrument, particularly a harp, with the fingers. The word, however, came to represent the making of any instrumental music. The Spirit-filled heart expresses itself in any sort of vocal or instrumental music, in both singing and making melody.

“In your heart” may suggest the idea that the singing is coming from the heart, or that it is taking place in conjunction with the heart, or that in fact it is internal and taking place in the heart.

The response involves singing, but it also involves gratitude.

giving thanks – Greek 2168. eucharisteo, yoo-khar-is-teh'-o; from G2170; to be grateful, i.e. (act.) to express gratitude (towards); spec. to say grace at a meal:--(give) thank (-ful, -s).

2. There Is A Mutual Respect That Takes Place

(Ephesians 5:21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

submitting – Greek 5293. hupotasso, hoop-ot-as'-so; from G5259 and G5021; to subordinate; reflex. to obey:--be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto.

fear – Greek 5401. phobos, fob'-os; from a prim. phebomai (to be put in fear); alarm or fright:--be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror.

MacArthur said…

The filling and control of the Holy Spirit will lead us to a spirit of humility, to the spirit that gives us the desire to seek the welfare of others before our own and to be mutually submissive.

B. The Holy Spirit’s Influence Is Seen In The Home

(Ephesians 5:22-25) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. {23} For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. {24} Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. {25} Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

1. For The Spirit-Filled Wife, Authority Is A Factor

2. For The Spirit-Filled Husband, Affection Is A Factor

III. We Have A Process That Needs To Be Followed – The Intervention Of The Supernatural

(Isaiah 64:1–5)

A. Notice The Melting

What is this process? We know it is the working of the Spirit because verse 4 is quoted in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 in regard to the Spirit.

B. Notice The Meeting

He is worth waiting for. Just as the New Testament saints were waiting to be filled, we must wait upon the Lord.

(Isaiah 64:5) Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.

rejoiceth – Hebrew 7797. suws, soos; or siys, sece; a prim. root; to be bright, i.e. cheerful:--be glad, X greatly, joy, make mirth, rejoice.


Augustine prayed this prayer:

"Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy;

Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy;

Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy;

Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy;

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen."