The indwelling of God is not speaking of a physical location of God, but a working, active relationship He has with His people. What will God do for those whom He indwells? This lesson is not complete, but gives some of the activity Godís Word tells us God will do in behalf of His people. These passages include the work of God the Father, Son and Spirit.
1. God helps us pray
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Jesus, our High Priest also makes intercession for us.
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.
2. God can bring unity
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.
We know we should be united by the teaching of the Word. If we follow the Word we will be united. Yet Paul prayed for Godís help in addition to the Word.
God can use fighting between brethren as a form of chastening in an effort to get us to repent.Isaiah 9:21
Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh; Together they shall be against Judah. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
When there is turmoil among churches as there was in Israel during Isaiahís time, it should cause us all to reexamine our ways to see where we have so horribly gone wrong, and allow it to lead us to repentance. In Isaiahís time, God continued to punish Israel because they refused to properly respond to His chastening.
3. God fills us with joy, peace, and hope
a. Godís activity
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
b. The activity of the Spirit
1 Thessalonians 1:6
And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.
c. The influence of the Word
1 John 1:4
And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
Which is it? Do we have joy from God or from reading the Word? We need to accept all the Scripture. It is both God and His Word working together.
4. God provides deliverance, acceptance by others, safe travel
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.
All these things are not provided by the Word, but through a relationship those who obey the Word have with God. We dwell in Him and He in us.
God is active in the lives of new Israel as He was in the lives of old Israel.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
5. God gives wisdom
a. Our responsibility
2 Timothy 3:15
From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
b. Gods help
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
It is a combination of both. How does God step in our lives and cause us to think wiser? He is helping those who want to be wiser. The lack of discernment in the church today indicates that many are neither studying or praying as they ought.
We freely give ourselves over to our God and He will help us.
6. God provides strength
2 Timothy 4:17-18
But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom...
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.
7. God perfects, establishes, strengthens and settles us
1 Peter 5:10
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
If it is just the Word, why wait for the experience of suffering? God knew it would be good training.
8. God can keep us from stumbling
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
How will God do this?
a. Our responsibility
2 Peter 1:10
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.
b. Gods part
2 Peter 2:7-9
and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.
c. Both us and God are involved in our faithfulness
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
9. God gives comfort
a. Gods Word
1 Thessalonians 4:18
Therefore comfort one another with these words.
b. Paul prayed for God to bring comfort in addition to the Word
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
If reading the Bible was all there was to it, then Paul would have had no reason to say this.
10. God helps us increase in love
a. God can help us increase in love for one another
1) Pauls prayer
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
2) Gods command
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10
But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more.
3) Result of Paulís prayer and Godís command
2 Thessalonians 1:3
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other.
b. God can help us increase in our love for Him
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
We learn to love because we learn of the love which God loved us. This is done through the Word.
Paul still prayed that God would help them love even more.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
11. God can open doors
Praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains.
2 Thessalonians 3:1
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you.
Who is asking prayers for doors to be opened? The one who is willing to give his life going out to teach the gospel. We can pray all day long for doors to be opened but we must do our part also.
12. God can enable us to have proper speech
a. Paulís request
Praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
b. Godís command
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
We know we are commanded to speak properly and must choose to obey that command. If that is all there is to it, then why did Paul ask the Colossians to pray for him?
13. God can help us be bold
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.
Who requested this prayer?
a. In Jerusalem
But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.
b. In Antioch
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
c. In Iconium
Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
d. In Ephesus
And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.
When Peter and the other Christians prayed for boldness in Acts 4, Peter and John had already spoken with such boldness that the rulers and elders marveled. They took their stand and God gave them more.
All of this is done by the two-fold relationship of us giving ourselves over to Gods Word and God working in our lives.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come...
How do we know if we have a true relationship with God?
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such there is no law.
But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
There have always been too many who know the truth but do not have a relationship with God. Knowledge of the truth is essential, but so is humbly submitting to God in all we do.
Our relationship with God begins at baptism
Then Peter said to them, ďRepent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Ē
We maintain our relationship with God by turning from sin and living holy lives.
Therefore do not defile the land which you inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.
1 Corinthians 6:19
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are Gods.
God entered the Temple during the days of Solomon, and dwelled in the Temple in the presence of Israel. Because of the sin of Israel, the days eventually came when He abandoned the Temple, He could not dwell in their impurity (Ezekiel 10).
Today, the Israel of God (the church) must live holy lives for God to dwell in us. He will not live in spiritual filth.
Do not quench the Spirit.
How do we quench the Spirit? If we live in sin and rebellion against God, we violate the holiness of God and will cause Him to not work in our lives.
We must want the Spirit.
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!
Years ago, when I first became a Christian, I asked a well known preacher about the meaning of Luke 11:13. He talked for what seemed to be way over an hour to explain why it didnt mean what it says. Through the years, I have come to believe Jesus meant what He said. We need to pray for the Spirit to work in our lives. Many have not because they ask not. It can be seen by the great lack of the fruit of the Spirit that exists in too many congregations.
We must live holy lives to have the Holy Spirit live with us.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ďI will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.Ē Therefore ďCome out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.??I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.Ē
God is our Father, we are His children. He has an active role in His childrens lives.
He will work in our lives if we will obey His Word.
Come out and be separate! Obey the Word. Be baptized into Christ. Become a new creature so the Father, Son, and Spirit can dwell in us and we in them.
(Wayne Wells preaches in Texarkana, TX. He is the webmaster for http://godofmercy.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)