#2 SERIES ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
"THE HOLY SPIRIT INTERCEDES!"
TEXT: Rom. 8:22-27
INTRO: Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt helpless? Maybe you even felt unsure, you just didn't know what to do or what was the right solution. We all face these kinds of situations frequently in our lives. The most difficult part of these situations – just not knowing what to do, what is the right thing! How wonderful it is when someone comes along and intervenes; when someone who knows the right solution or even who can go and take care of the problem. What a peace it is when you know someone who can take care of the matter in exactly the correct way!
This is in a sense what the Holy Spirit does in our life when we face situations where we are uncertain what to do, or what is the right thing to do. Maybe you have faced a situation in your life where you simply had no control over the circumstances, or you didn't know how to pray, or even what to pray for! At such times we are usually broken and unsure, we often don't even know how to pray or what to pray for.
This is where the ministry of the Holy Spirit as our intercessor comes in. In difficult times He becomes a great help for He will pray through us to the Father in perfect accord with God's will and He leaves behind in us a peace that passes understanding.
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit acts as an intercessor for us in times of need and uncertainty ... He always prays according to God's will and gives us an inner peace when He ministers through us!
I. STATE OF GROANING 8:22-25
A. Great Catastrophe -23
1. In the beginning before Adam and Eve sinned they enjoyed perfect communion with God and knew God's will about everything ... it was quite nice!
a. All the world was in perfect balance.
b. There was no decay, no weeds, nothing that brought pain or discomfort.
2. When sin became a reality however all of creation was affected since man had been made ruler over all creation!
a. This state of decay has existed ever since sin became reality!
b. The universe now is running down!!
c. Physicists call this the law of “entropy” (the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics) ... which simply states that everything in the universe is in a state of constant decay, that the universe is running down!
d. Chaos entered the perfect universe when Adam and Eve sinned; because of this, everything needs constant care just to keep things going!
ILLUS: HOW ABOUT THAT NEW CAR YOU BOUGHT ... HOW LONG WILL IT LOOK NEW?! HOW ABOUT THAT BODY OF YOURS ... DO YOU LOOK THE SAME TODAY AS YOU DID 20 YEARS AGO? HOW ABOUT THAT HOUSE YOU BOUGHT ... HAVE YOU EVER HAD TO DO ANY WORK ON IT? WE LIVE IN A WORLD THAT IS IN CONSTANT DECLINE ... WE MUST CONSTANTLY INTERCEDE TO KEEP EVERYTHING RIGHT OR FIXED PROPERLY ... THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES IN OUR LIVES, HE CONSTANTLY INTERCEDES TO HELP US! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. Even with all our wisdom and knowledge today there is still much we don't know, there are many things today that we still can't solve, diseases that we don't have answers for.
a. We can intercede and solve many things that we couldn't years ago but there is still much we can't do.
b. When we are sick we look for someone to intercede for us, someone who knows what to do, who has the knowledge of what is right.
c. And how grateful we are when we find someone who can intercede!
4. Here Paul tells us that even creation is "groaning" ... it is in anguish looking for someone or something to intercede for it, to bring everything back the way it should be!
a. The environmentalists have the right concern but they will never succeed in healing nature; even without man’s negative impact the universe is in a state of decay because of sin! It will require the elimination of sin to restore the universe.
b. “All creation is groaning” waiting for deliverance; in fact this is the picture Paul uses here, like a mother in labor waiting for deliverance!
c. For now there is much pain, much confusion, much anguish; creation looks for an intercessor!
ILLUS: JUST IMAGINE IF YOUR PLANTS COULD TALK. HOW THEY WOULD THANK YOU FOR GETTING RID OF THE WEEDS IN THE GARDEN, OR HOW THEY WOULD BLESS YOU WHEN YOU ADD THE NUTRIENTS THAT THEY ARE LACKING, THEY ARE OFTEN UNABLE TO DO FOR THEMSELVES THE THINGS NEEDED FOR BEING HEALTHY ... IT TAKES SOME INTERCESSION ON OUR PART TO HELP THEM. AS MUCH AS WE CAN DO HOWEVER, WHEN CHRIST COMES HE WILL LIFT THE CURSE ON NATURE AND THEN YOU WILL REALLY BE ABLE TO GARDEN!!! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
5. Nature is not the only thing groaning however, Paul says WE ARE TOO! 8:23
a. Since we are a part of nature we suffer loss too.
b. We grow old; systems in our body don't work properly all the time!
c. We experience the same anguish that nature does; things don't work right all the time!
6. For us this is not only true physically but also mentally and spiritually!
a. We struggle many times not knowing what to do!
b. We struggle spiritually, fighting against a fallen nature that tends toward sin!
c. Many times there is a combination; we struggle spiritually and mentally ... we don't know how to deal with a situation, what is the right way to handle something?
7. Often at such times we cry out to God for help, for guidance, for insight, to know what to do!
a. This is life, facing life is difficult for both believers and unbelievers; but for believers there is an intercessor available.
b. We will continue to groan until we receive our inheritance ... the resurrection of our bodies!
B. Great Conviction 8:24-25
1. What helps us endure all this hardship in life?
a. It is the expectation of the resurrection to eternal life with God in a new body that will no longer be subject to decay that enables us to endure hardships!
b. This is something the world does not have, and it can not have this hope without a relationship with Jesus Christ!
c. For the world there is no certain hope or expectation, only uncertainty!
2. Unlike the world, we can look at the same things they do and yet we can rejoice in the midst of suffering because we see something they do not see!
ILLUS: BACK IN OCTOBER, 1982 IN BADGER STADIUM IN MADISON, WISCONSIN A PACKED HOUSE OF 60,000 DIE-HARD UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SUPPORTERS WERE WATCHING THEIR FOOTBALL TEAM TAKE ON THE MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS. IT SOON BECAME OBVIOUS THAT MSU HAD THE BETTER TEAM, BUT WHAT SEEMED ODD HOWEVER, WAS THAT AS THE SCORE BECAME MORE AND MORE LOPSIDED AGAINST WISCONSIN THEY WERE BREAKING OUT IN BURSTS OF APPLAUSE AND SHOUTS OF JOY! HOW COULD THEY CHEER WHEN THEIR TEAM WAS LOSING?! IT TURNED OUT THAT 70 MILES AWAY THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS WERE BEATING THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS IN GAME 3 OF THE 1982 WORLD SERIES. MANY OF THE FANS IN THE STANDS WERE LISTENING TO PORTABLE RADIOS ... AND THEY WERE RESPONDING TO SOMETHING OTHER THAN THEIR IMMEDIATE CIRCUMSTANCES. THEY WERE CHEERING WHAT THEY COULDN'T SEE, BUT WHAT THEY KNEW AS VICTORY SOMEWHERE ELSE! EVEN IN THE MIDST OF WATCHING THEIR FOOTBALL TEAM LOSE THEY HAD THEIR HOPES PLACED ON SOMEPLACE ELSE! THIS IS LIKE BELIEVERS TODAY, WE SEE MUCH LOSS AROUND US BUT WE ARE TUNED IN TO VICTORY SOMEWHERE ELSE AND SO WE CAN SHOUT AND DANCE FOR JOY NOW ANYWAYS! THE WORLD HAS NO SIGNAL TO TUNE IN WITHOUT CHRIST! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. We have not seen that new body yet, and we don't look forward to the inevitable experience known as death, but it is necessary to die in order to move forward to what God has for us; death is part of getting the new!
ILLUS: THE IDEA OF DEATH IS NOT PLEASANT TO ANYONE, YET IT IS NECESSARY FOR US TO RECEIVE IN THE FUTURE A NEW BODY ... EVEN NOW, IF YOU ARE ABOUT TO REBUILD AN OLD AND TOTTERING HOUSE THE FIRST THING YOU DO IS SEND OUT THE OCCUPANTS, THEN YOU TEAR IT DOWN AND REBUILD A NEW STRUCTURE THAT IS STRONG AND FRESH ... IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE FOR THE TENANTS WHILE THEY ARE OUT, BUT WHEN THEY MOVE BACK INTO THE NEW STRUCTURE THEY REJOICE. THE TENANTS DO NOT BROOD OVER THE LOSS OF THE OLD; INDEED THEY ARE JOYOUS OVER THE NEW. WHEN WE DIE, WE VACATE THE OLD STRUCTURE, BUT BOY WILL THE NEW ONE BE WORTH IT! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
II. SPIRIT OF GROANING! 8:26-27
A. Great Concern 8:26
1. Here is where the ministry of the Holy Spirit comes in!
a. Yes we are weak; we don't always know how to pray or what to pray for!
b. Even when we do pray we don't always ask properly or with correct motives.
c. Sometimes we are even physically too weak to pray or emotionally at wits end!
2. The Holy Spirit at such times comes to help us in our weaknesses!
3. When we don't have the words the Holy Spirit does!
4. When we don't know God's will the Holy Spirit does!
5. Even when we are too weak or too uninformed the Holy Spirit knows exactly what to say and how to communicate even when we are in so much anguish we can only groan!
ILLUS: THE 911 EMERGENCY PHONE SYSTEM IS SET UP WITH OUR WEAKNESSES IN MIND. ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS DIAL THOSE THREE NUMBERS: 911. INSTANTLY YOU ARE CONNECTED TO A DISPATCHER, IN FRONT OF THAT DISPATCHER IS A READ-OUT OF YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER, YOUR ADDRESS, AND THE NAME BY WHICH THAT TELEPHONE NUMBER IS LISTED AT THAT ADDRESS. ALSO LISTENING IN IS THE POLICE, THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, AND THE PARAMEDICS. THE CALLER MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO SAY WHAT THE PROBLEM IS, OR THEY ARE OUT OF CONTROL AND JUST SCREAMING OVER THE PHONE, THEY ARE NOT COMMUNICATING THEY ARE SO FRIGHTENED OR UNDER DURESS ... BUT THE DISPATCHER DOESN'T NEED THE PERSON TO TELL HIM WHERE THEY ARE AT, HE ALREADY KNOWS FROM THE COMPUTER READOUT AND HELP IS SENT OUT RIGHT AWAY ANYWAYS! PEOPLE ARE ON THE WAY TO INTERCEDE WHETHER THEY CAN TALK OR NOT. IT IS AUTOMATIC! THIS IS THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES AS WELL! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
6. There are times when we are too weak to even talk to God, all we can do is just sit there and groan!
a. At such times the Holy Spirit speaks to God for us and the message gets through even without our speaking!
b. Even our weakness doesn't shut down the pipeline to heaven, God hears and understands completely!
ILLUS: NEWMAN HALL STOOD EARLY ONE MORNING ON THE SUMMIT OF SNOWDEN, IN WALES, WITH A HUNDRED AND TWENTY OTHERS WHO HAD BEEN ATTRACTED BY THE PROSPECT OF AN UNUSUALLY GRAND SUNRISE. THEY WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED. AS THEY STOOD THERE WATCHING THE SUN TINGE THE MOUNTAIN PEAKS WITH GLORY, AND SPARKLE IN THE LAKES, DR. HALL WAS INVITED TO PREACH. HE WAS SO OVERPOWERED WITH EMOTION THAT HE COULD NOT PREACH, BUT FELT MOVED TO POUR OUT HIS SOUL IN PRAYER. AS HE PRAYED, THE TEARS ROLLED DOWN THE FACES OF THE PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE. A SUPERHUMAN STILLNESS POSSESSED THEM. QUIETLY, WITH SOLEMN AWE, THEY DESCENDED THE MOUNTAIN AND SCATTERED. AFTERWARD, VISITING THIS REGION AGAIN, THE DOCTOR WAS INFORMED THAT 40 PEOPLE WERE CONVERTED THAT MOURNING HE HAD PRAYED AND HAD JOINED THE CHURCH IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD. HE RESPONDED BY SAYING, "BUT, I DID NOT SAY A WORD TO THEM, I ONLY PRAYED!" THE MAN RESPONDED BACK, "YES, AND MORE WONDERFUL STILL, THEY DID NOT KNOW A WORD YOU SAID, FOR NONE OF THEM COULD SPEAK ENGLISH, ONLY WELSH!" THE HOLY SPIRIT HAD COMMUNICATED JUST FINE HOWEVER, THROUGH HIS GROANING AND TEARS! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
7. There are those times when we just don't know what to do, or how to pray ... at such times however the Holy Spirit will lift us up and intercede through us to the Father and His prayer will get through, even if all we can do is groan!
ILLUS: SOME YEARS AGO DURING THE BUILDING OF A BRIDGE ACROSS A PORTION OF NEW YORK'S HARBOR, THE ENGINEERS WERE SEEKING A BASE FOR ONE OF THE PILLARS. THEY STUCK UPON AN OLD SCOW FULL OF BRICKS AND STONE THAT HAD LONG AGO SUNK IN THE MUD UNTIL PRACTICALLY BURIED. IT HAD TO BE LIFTED WITH ITS CARGO AND MOVED ... DIVERS WERE SENT DOWN AND WRAPPED GREAT CHAINS AROUND THE SCOW AND HOOKED THEM TO ALL KINDS OF DEVICES IN AN ATTEMPT TO RAISE IT, BUT ALL ATTEMPTS FAILED. AT LAST A YOUNG ENGINEER ASSURED THEM IT COULD BE DONE ... WITH LITTLE EFFORT ON THEIR PART! HE BROUGHT IN TWO BARGES WITH WOODEN BEAMS ACROSS THEM AND CONNECTED THE CHAINS TO THE BEAMS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BARGES. THEN HE PROUDLY ANNOUNCED FOR EVERYONE TO GO HOME AND RELAX!! ... BY MORNING THE OLD SCOW WOULD BE LIFTED! SURE ENOUGH, AS SOON AS THE TIDE CAME IN THAT NIGHT THE OLD SCOW WAS RAISED AS THE BARGES WERE RAISED WITH THE WATER, THE OCEAN ITSELF USED ITS OWN POWER TO DO WHAT THE MEN AND THEIR DEVICES FAILED AT DOING ... THIS IS HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS IN US TOO. WHEN ALL DEVICES WE HAVE MADE HAVE FAILED, WHEN WE DON'T SEEM TO KNOW HOW TO HANDLE SOMETHING THE HOLY SPIRIT HIMSELF COMES IN HIS OWN POWER AND MINISTERS THROUGH US AND DOES THE INTERCESSION WE ARE HELPLESS AT! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
B. Great Confidence! 8:27
1. At such times when we allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us, we can have such confidence that God's Will will be done ... for the Spirit knows the mind of God perfectly and HE prays always according to the Will of God!
a. There is perfect harmony between the Holy Spirit and God the Father and God the Son!
b. As He intercedes for us it will always be with knowledge on us, and knowledge about God's will!
2. How we so often struggle, we become fearful and uncertain, even in our prayers; but how much confidence we can have if only we yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to pray through us! We struggle so sometimes when we don't really need to!
ILLUS: A VISITOR WAS ONCE WALKING ALONG A HIGH PART OF THE SHORE OF THE DEAD SEA WHEN HE LOST HIS FOOTING AND SO FELL INTO THE WATER. HE COULD NOT SWIM AND, IN DESPERATION AND FEAR LEST HE SHOULD SINK HE BEGAN TO FRANTICALLY WAVE HIS HANDS IN THE WATER AND SHOUT AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS! DESPERATELY HE KEPT FLAILING HIS ARMS AND LEGS AND SHOUTING AT THE SAME TIME. THIS WENT ON FOR SOME TIME UNTIL AT LAST HE WAS EXHAUSTED AND FELT HE COULD DO NO MORE, HE WAS TOO TIRED TO KEEP TRYING TO SWIM AND DECIDED TO LET FATE HAVE ITS WAY, THEN HE FOUND SOMETHING HE HAD NOT KNOWN, THE WATER OF THE DEAD SEA IS SO HEAVY WITH SALT AND OTHER MINERALS THAT WHEN HE LAY STILL IN IT HE FOUND THAT HE FLOATED JUST FINE ... IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO SINK! HE COULD NOT DROWN SO LONG AS HE JUST LAY STILL ... IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO SINK! HE HAD EXHAUSTED HIMSELF FOR NO REASON AT ALL. THE VERY THING THAT HE THOUGHT WOULD TAKE HIS LIFE WAS SAVING IT! HE DID NOT NEED TO STRUGGLE AT ALL, HE WAS KEPT AFLOAT BY THE POWER OF THE VERY SUBSTANCE HE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND, HE WAS SAFE! HOW TRUE THIS IS FOR US, WE EXHAUST OURSELVES NEEDLESSLY SOMETIMES, WHEN WE COULD PRAY IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. HE WILL BEAR US UP; WE CANNOT SINK IF WE JUST RELY ON HIM! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. With the Holy Spirit searching our minds and knowing the Mind of God ... as He prays we are filled with great confidence that God's heart is moved and that His Will will be done!
a. This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit; He is the great intercessor, the one who helps when we are weak!
b. We need to learn more and more how to let Him pray through us, to yield to Him as we come to God!
c. What great confidence awaits those who come to know the ministry of intercession by the Holy Spirit!
CONCLUSION: It is certain that life is not easy! Even Christians face crushing experiences; but unlike those in the world we are not alone! The Holy Spirit is a great intercessor. There are times when it is hard to pray, or tough to know what to pray for, in such times the Holy Spirit prays through us even if we can't find the words! His prayers are always answered, they are always correct! What joy and assurance it can give us to know He intercedes for us!