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Sermon– 7/29/01
Psalm 51:11 – Take Not Thy Holy Spirit


  Take Not Thy Holy Spirit

"Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me" (Psalm 51:11)

David the king cried "take not Thy Holy Spirit from me" because he sinned! He REALLY sinned – and what he did was terrible! The wonder of it all, was that God did NOT take His Holy Spirit from this man, who committed adultery and then murdered to cover it up!

And what about you and me? If we think WE have not sinned, we just don’t understand ourselves or people in general. If you think you have sinned TOO MUCH and can’t be forgiven, you don’t see the grace and the mercy of God, extended so freely in Christ Jesus. He gives gifts, even to those (all of us) who really don’t deserve them.

I have noticed there is a sudden onset of the gifts of God in our lives. Some are gifts from birth, such as the ability to walk, or run, or use our hands; the capacity to think, or to see. If we have a spouse, is it because we’re so good looking? - Or has God blessed us? I meet people who cannot even BREATHE on their own, let alone walk or move their bodies. Some of them are glad for what they DO have, but others are not even sure they want to be alive.

The "natural" gifts are really supernatural in origin, since they are gifts of God. The one who runs well, through God’s sovereign choice, like the one who can THINK, or SEE better than others, usually does not think of what they have as a gift. And when some of these gifts are taken away, many think their "rights" have somehow been violated, and they tend to get angry with God.

There are other kinds of gifts, given by God. You maybe have not thought about it, but the ability to pray is an incredible gift and privilege, and it is available to all. Prayer is an audience with the King, and He does not shout, "off with your head", when you come into His presence, but instead He LISTENS to your petition.

He always answers, too. His answer may not be "yes" in your case or in mine. He knows what we need, more than WE do, and a "yes" to a request, might ultimately be the worst thing that ever happened. You might be ruined by that which seems so important right now. But He hears, and He answers, and if you "listen" with your heart, you will "hear" His response. And the Holy Spirit will prompt you to pray the prayer you really should have been praying, all this time.

The "spiritual gifts" like "teaching", tend to come suddenly into our lives. That was the experience of the followers of Jesus, who actually had very little to offer, but SUDDENLY (Acts 2:4 & context) they were DIFFERENT men and women. God gives us gifts, often without warning, and partaking of them gives great pleasure to His little ones (you and me).

I had an interesting experience some years ago – but first, let me tell you how I teach. When I teach, I pray. When I prepare to teach, I pray constantly. If there is a "yes" in my heart, then I present it, but if not, I usually don’t, for without the Lord, I really have nothing to say (none of us do).

On October 29, 1995, I was speaking at Sunday services for a convalescent home in Long Beach, California. In my journal of that evening, I wrote, "there was no power, no gift of teaching; only a lady who loudly complained, and another who shouted ‘Get me out of here!’" I didn’t mind the words, but there was no strength in me for the moment, and it seemed like His Holy Spirit had been taken from me. What about the next Friday Study I was to teach? Without His Spirit, we are not right for His people. What would I do?

I was grief stricken, for I thought of teaching as "my" gift; His treasure within. It is my JOY to share His Word. But what I discovered was interesting. For on the next Friday morning, it all was like nothing had ever happened and we were blessed by His Word. And on subsequent Sundays and Fridays, the "faucet" in me was "on", and those lovely people listened with quiet reverence to the Word of the Lord.

What I found in all this was: it is not really the "gift" I want at all (though I LOVE that gift). What I really want is HIM who gives the gift.

My focus had been wrong. The gift is for the glory of God who gives it, and for those others who may learn of Him. It has little to do with the person who has that gift, except he or she reasonably should thank God daily for His mercy and grace. It is not whether I will have anything to say to you next Friday or Sunday – it is instead a PRIVILEGE to be His servant and also the servant of those who are open to the Word of God.

The one who runs well, just like the one who prays well, should do so for the glory of God. Paul understood that, and he said "Run in such a way that you may win" (1 Corinthians 9:24). He used the analogy of an Olympic runner, illustrating a reality in which we "run" by sharing the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (through whatever gifts we may have), revealing His love.

You and I are sinners just like David, for we see that "ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Not long after that verse, Paul quoted David from Psalm 32:1, "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered" (Romans 4:7). David’s sins were dramatic and obvious, but usually the worst sins in us are subtle and difficult to see, covered as they are with pride.

At some point, it will be posed to us (all are given this "test") – What (Who) do you love more? Do you love the "gift" or do you love the Giver OF the gift? He gives you everything, no matter how much or how little you may think you have. Are you grateful? Do you delight in Him for what you have? Or do you just want more, and feel bitter inside?

Father, we need Your Holy Spirit more than life itself, and yet we have often preferred Your gifts to You, the Giver of life. Forgive us, Lord, and cleanse us of our sins. All that we are, all that we have, is Yours, and we are Yours, as well. We surrender, Lord, our cares, our worries, and our "rights". Fill us, Holy Spirit and guide us. We come to You now, and TRUST in You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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