Reflecting the Purity of the Holy Spirit
What does God mean when He says “be holy as I am holy”? What does the Holy Spirit have to do with that process of becoming holy? Anne Graham Lotz will explain in this week’s episode.
today on the johnny Coburg show. My guest is Anne Graham Lots, she was called the best preacher in the family by her late father Billy Graham An is an international speaker and a best selling author when an lost her husband of 49 years. She felt both shock and intense grief than just a few years later, her beloved father Billy Graham passed away and then six months after his funeral and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yet through it all, she relied on the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit to help her. We invite you to join us on this edition of the johnny Karberg show to here and explain how you can rely on the Holy Spirit to be your constant companion. No matter what you are facing. Welcome to our program. I’m john Achterberg and my privileged guest is Anne Graham Lots, The daughter of Billy Graham. Everybody knows that. But the fact is this lady speaks around the world herself and she has spoken to crowds as large as 500,000 people at a time and yet in her book she says she’s shy and I thought boy, those don’t go together, you know. But the fact is God has used her in a great way. She speaks all over the United States. She’s going to Governors to congressman, two different celebrations that they have and she speaks all over the place and she’s our guest today and we’re talking about a very important topic reflecting the purity of the Holy spirit of God. And she’s got a great illustration to start with and it happened at a seminary, would you tell me the story and yes, you know, it was a wonderful seminary and the people were very gracious to me. I was invited to a faculty dinner and then afterwards they invited me to give a brief message and the faculty at this dinner, they write the books for seminaries. I mean this was the who’s who of the evangelical christian academia, you know, and I got up and I gave a brief message, but it included um, aspects of the Holy Spirit. And one of the points I made was that the Holy Spirit of course is holy and that he demands that we be holy. And afterwards one of the professors came up to me and he said, you know, tonight I learned something and I said, you did, you know, it was just a little amazed that somebody of his caliber could learn something from me and, and he said, yes, I learned that the Holy Spirit is Holy, he said, I never thought of that before and I hope I kept the expression on my face, um, you know, polite, but because inside I wasn’t really, you know, but I think sometimes we overlook the obvious, don’t we? And the Holy Spirit is holy, he is totally separate from sin. And um, and he demands in scripture that you and I be holy as he is holy and I think today we compare ourselves with other people. So I think, well I’m not as good as you, but I’m not as bad as she is and so, you know, and I’m sort of average and and so I’m OK, you’re ok. And we compare ourselves with each other, but God doesn’t compare us with each other. He compares us to the perfection of his Holy spirit. But you also had another professor that was ahead of another seminary that came up and talked to you the same night. And the fact is he told you something that really surprised you tell the folks what he said. It’s the same thing when the bible says that were to be holy. And I feel like we have overlooked that command as we have succumbed to what everybody around us is doing. And that was illustrated by the um a seminary president who came up and told me that the number one problem they have at seminary and this is a great seminary. The number one problem was pornography among the students. And that the students would go into the library and they would go back in the stacks where they thought nobody would see them. They would get on the computers and they were going into pornography not realizing that the staff could look at the computer and find out what they’ve been looking at. And it was just like a poison that had seeped into the seminary. And I think john not in the seminary, but think of all the the pastors and leadership that, that seminary was spewing out with all of that poison, you know, is just uh and so when you look at least the american church, you see one reason we’re in the shape we’re in because there is sin in the camp, the entire reason for jesus going to the cross is because God hates sin and it had to be forgiven or none of us would get into heaven and jesus was perfect, never sinned once. He’s tempted in all things just like we are. But the fact he’s never sinned once, he was perfect okay. And he went to the cross and he paid for our sins and God is still holy alright. And the fact is, it seems like some of the americans as well as people in europe and Canada and around the world they’ve forgotten uh that there’s immorality all around us and we’re not to partake with it. Why? Because God doesn’t want us to, I got a verse here, God demands that you and I be holy. Also Peter said in 1st Peter 1 15 and 16, but just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do for it is written, this is God talking be holy because I am holy. Now let’s define what is holiness to me um holiness is just to be like jesus, so in jesus, there was no meanness, there was no unkindness, there was no selfishness, there was no pride fullness, there was no bitterness, there was no sinfulness at all. So when the Holy Spirit comes into us and one of the things he’s going to do is he conforms us to the image of jesus, he’s going to convict us of things so that within us increasing that there should be no meanness, no unkindness, no selfishness, no pride fullness, no bitterness, no one forgiveness, no sinfulness at all. So our whole lives become sort of a cleanup process where the Holy Spirit comes in because john God’s standards have not changed and we can compare ourselves to other people and feel pretty good about ourselves. But God doesn’t compare us to others. He compares us to his Holy Spirit and he says you don’t measure up. That’s what romans 3 23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of that standard of perfection, which of course is why we need a savior. A couple of illustrations I think are from the old testament ones, I think about moses giving The 10 commandments from the mountain. But the fact is God said to the other people don’t even step on that mountain if you put one step on that mountain because I’m holy, you’re gonna die. Think of analyzed and Sofia in the new testament and analyzed and so far they’re watching Barnabas Barnabas sold some property gave it all to the church. They wanted the people to think that they were doing the same thing, they sold some property. But they kept back a little bit themselves, what did Peter say? Peter said, you have not lied unto man, but you’ve lied unto God. And he dropped dead and they carried him out. And a little bit later, Sophia came in and the fact is, she didn’t even know her husband was dead and she was gonna give another part of it and she was lying as well. And God told Peter, you know she’s lying too. He said the same ones that carried your husband out, it’s going to carry you out and she died right there. And fear came down on the whole church because they realized God is holy. You don’t lie. You don’t cheat, you don’t do these things. I think of us standing before an almighty God, the one that’s got the worlds in space and the fact is he’s absolutely perfect, but he’s holy and we have sinned a ton and we’re standing there and boy, I am so glad that the reason that we’re going to be able to stand there and not just quake in our boots and then God’s gonna throw us into hell is because of the fact is his son went to the cross and he took all of our sins God pulled all the sins of all the world? Put them on, jesus and he punished jesus for what you and I have done and everybody else has done. And when we stand before this holy righteous God God’s gonna look over and jesus is going to say he’s one of mine, I’ve completely paid for all of his sins, he goes into heaven, I love that. But the fact is if after inviting the Holy Spirit into your heart and life for christians are out there watching, they might say uh you know I get a voice that whispers, you’re not so good, even though you accepted christ what do you say to those people? Well that voice will come up and say um you know you’re not so good, you have done a lot of wrong things, God can never love you, you can’t be blessed, you know other people can be christians, but you never make the grade and that’s the devil, the devil will come up and try to deceive you, he’s a liar and you’ll try to deceive you into thinking that you really can’t live a holy life and it’s the Holy Spirit who will come up and bring one thing at a time to your attention because I think that what what people are saying right now man, I gotta be holy when I become a christian and they might might be saying I’m not a christian, but I’d like to become a christian? I’ve got so many things wrong in my life, how does the Holy Spirit deal with people that have a mess, but they come and they invite christ to forgive them their sins. How does he deal with us with that mess? Well, he doesn’t one thing at a time. So you know, we can go to um uh place a social scene where we’ve been before and then you just get this uncomfortable feeling. I don’t think I should be here when these people are doing these things and talking this way or maybe you go to talk to somebody and they upset you and you go to retort and and something tells you, I don’t think you should answer them that way. Or you’re looking at television or movies or reading a book and thinking, I don’t think I should be looking at this stuff anymore. And that’s the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, just gently. And and one thing at a time will point out to you the things that are not pleasing to him. He throws open our hearts and our minds to the light of God’s word. This this book is the light of God and it brings and sometimes that’s why we don’t want to read it, john to tell you the truth because it’s the light that shines into the darkness of our hearts and minds. But the light has to come in so we can see what’s there that shouldn’t be. And then the Holy Spirit will say, all right, we’re just gonna take one thing at a time, the way you talk the things you’re listening to the people, you’re with what you’re involved in your your practices, your thought life, you’re you know, so he can just do one thing at a time. And the Holy Spirit is the God himself and you have all the power of God within you. He will give you the power to put the things out of your life. But you’ve got to make that decision. Yeah. We’re sitting here on the stage and people are saying you guys are so great, tell me about you buying pJs at christmas. Well um embarrassed and ashamed but my daughters wanted a particular pair of pajamas at christmas. I went to the store and I found the tops that they wanted but the bottoms went on a different pair. And so when the sales clerk wasn’t looking I just switched them so that the tops went with the bottoms that my daughters wanted went and checked out. The sales clerk didn’t say anything. I didn’t even get to the car in the parking lot until that Holy Spirit started to just turn me inside out. I felt sick. I knew I had stolen actually because I bought something that wasn’t for sale. Not in that set. Had to go home and fix supper. I couldn’t sleep that night. Came back first thing in the morning when the store opened down that sales clerk walked up to her before I could lose my nerve, told her what I had done. She looked, she looked at me so astonished, you know, and she didn’t say anything, but she, you know, took back the pajamas and sorted it out. Um, and I left there thinking, you know, dear God, I’m so sorry, I’m a believer. I serve you. I tell other people how to be right with you and I have just stolen a pair of pajamas and and I’ll tell you something. One of the best ways you can correct yourself is to go make it right. If you find yourself lying, you go and tell the person I lied to you and, and you’re so ashamed and convicted that that you won’t do. You’ll think twice before you lie again. If you make yourself correct it or if you steal something or if you’re lose your temper with somebody, you just go and tell people, I’m sorry I lost my temper. I shouldn’t have said that. And um, and you correct yourself like that. Um, the Holy Spirit will give you the power to refrain from it the next time. I’m gonna ask you another illustration in a minute. But I want to ask the audience a personal question right now. What sin folks? If you’re listening is the Holy Spirit convicting of you right now as you’re listening to us, it might be something we’re not even talking about. But what is he convicting to you? What is he bringing to your mind? You need to confess it. You need to correct it. You need to crucify it and and you’ve got an illustration that goes with what I’m asking the audience to do. You had your own experience and uh you were reading a book and I’ll let you tell the story. Okay, well I think sometimes john we think of sin as being murder, adultery, stealing, you know big what we we categorized in, don’t we? Big, medium small. All sin sent Jesus to the cross. So every single sin is um high honest to God. But anyway, I was preparing for a seminar and I’d set aside 10 days to prepare and um the first day I got there, opened my bible, took out my pen and paper and got nowhere. And so I thought well I needed a good night’s sleep and get something to eat. So I did. I went to bed and got something to eat the next morning, got up, took out my bible and I couldn’t get anywhere just and I said God, you know I’m on a time frame here. I’ve got to have these messages prepared. I hadn’t had to prepare seven messages and I so just silence and I begged him and finally I heard this little whisper and I don’t want to talk about your messages, I want to talk about you and I said God I don’t want to talk about me right now. You know I’ll talk about me after I prepare these messages and silence you just can’t budge God, you know. Um So finally I got on my knees and I had tears coming down my face and I said, alright lord, what do you want to talk about? You know let’s talk about me. And I’ve been reading a little book on revival, my old timey revivalist who has long since departed, but in it he had a list of sins And he said to read the list through three times. So to humor him, I read through that list three times the first time. I felt very um spiritual because I didn’t see any of those things in my life at all. The second time I felt very humble because I could see a couple of those things maybe if I stretched out my third time I read it, john I saw every sin in that list in my life in one form or another, I cannot tell you. I was on my face for seven days. Repenting of said every time I opened my bible There was something else got pointed out to me. He told me and Jose of 14 bring with you words repent. Return to me, bring with your words, confess your sin and words. And and I did um at the end of that time he assured me from Corinthians and you’ve been cleansed. You’re right with me. And I asked him to make sure because it was such a painful experience, I didn’t want to go through it anymore. And but he gave me that sense. I’ve had a bath on the inside, you know, things look clearer, sharper. Um I felt more energized. I felt like there was a fresh anointing in the ministry. God called me to um and it was just because my heart had been cleansed of sin, I hadn’t even known was there and you may want to share with the audience some of the things that stick out in your mind about that list. So I’m just going to read it and I’ll read some definitions because sometimes we think of sin has been great big things, but um ingratitude was first on the list. So how has God blessed you and which blessings have you neglected to thank him for confess it and repent, losing love for God. And I’d be devastated if my family not only lessened in their love for me, but increasingly love someone or something else more. Have you lost your first love for God? So confess it and repent, neglect of bible. Reading as you read your bible or you constantly preoccupied with effects intellectualizing and memorizing the words without applying and living them out. How long has it been since? Reading your bible was a personal delight. Confess it and repent unbelief, refusing to believe or to expect that God will give you what he has promised is to accuse him of lying. What promise you think God will not keep confess that and repent neglect of prayer, prayers are not spiritual chatter, not a homily. They’re not a sermonette? They’re not an eloquent reading. Are you praying to sound impressive in the ears of others? Is your prayer offered without fervent focused faith? Confess and repent, neglect of family? Are you putting your business, your career, your interest, your needs before theirs? What effort are you making for your family’s spiritual good when it requires personal sacrifice? Confess and repent pride? Do you think you’re better or more important than someone else? Anyone else confess that? And repent arrogance, accepting God’s blessing while refusing to be a blessing to others? Confess? Repent prejudice? Do you think you’re superior simply because of your national identity, your religious heritage, that all others are inferior? Confess it. And repent envy, jealousy of those who seem more recognizable than you? Do you struggle with hearing others praised seeing others promoted or elevated, confess it and repent a critical spirit If God has given you a spirit of discernment, if he’s given you intellectual knowledge and understanding, do you use it to find fault with others because they don’t measure up to your standards? Confess and repent slander. You tell the truth with the intention of causing people to think less of a person who’s fault, real or imagined? Have you discussed behind their backs? Why confess that? And repent lying? Anything that’s contrary to the unvarnished truth? What have you said that was designed to impress someone that was not the whole truth or was an exaggeration of the truth, confess and repent hypocrisy. Are you pretending to be something? You’re not? Are you pretending to be anything that you’re not confess? Repent a temper losing patience with the child, co worker friend spouse staff member. What crosswords have you spoken lately? Confess and repent a bad temper, losing control of your emotions, thoughts and words so that you abuse someone else verbally. Have you lost your temper lately? Then confess and repent? And I went through that list and some of those are mine and some of those are yours and I mixed them up. So you wouldn’t know whose is whose. But but as you go through that list and you ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart. Then you may be like me and find that there’s a lot of sin that needs to be dealt with. But let me let me tell you this and john I want to make this very clear when we come to the cross and we confess our sin that we’re sinners, that we’ve done a lot of wrong things. We claim jesus as our savior. We ask him to forgive us. We receive eternal life. He offers. We open up our hearts and invite him to come in. We are forgiven of all sin. He died 2000 years ago. So all of my sin then was future. So past, present future at this moment. All of my sin is forgiven. But first John 19 says that we come back and confess our sin so that he is faithful and just and cleanse us because we need to maintain sweet fellowship with him. If you sin and it bottles up in you and you don’t confess it, then you’ll never lose the Holy Spirit, but you’ll feel like you have because the Holy Spirit will be grieved to become silent in your life and and you’re going to start a struggle in your christian life, run into that spiritual wilderness and dryness. So come back to the cross. You know, the bible invites us to come, come back, confess our sin, tell God we’re sorry. And and if you’re feeling there’s a blockage, if you’re feeling that spiritual dryness, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you, if there’s something in your life that needs to be brought to the surface, brought to the light and confessed and brought to him. And as john has already pointed out to confess it, correct it. Uh one of the things I’ve used in my life because it’s so strong, I just crucify it. I just nail it to the cross and there’s something about seeing that sin nailed to the cross, I don’t want to pluck it off the cross again and and put jesus through that not that we could cause him to die all over again. But he died for that sin, that sin was so evil and so heinous in God’s eyes that it required the death and the blood of the son of God. So that makes me hate sin. That makes me not want to tolerate it in my life. So in a moment I’m gonna ask you to say a prayer for the folks that are that are listening. But I want to start with a verse here. Okay, you listen to the list. What does God say about some of these sins? First John 189 says if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteous nous. And what I’d like you to do is say a prayer. The folks that are gripped in their, their spirit and their heart by some of the things that you said, they need to confess it to the Lord, leading in a prayer that would allow them to confess it right now and make themselves right with the Lord. Yes, Alright, pray with me please. So father of mercy, the father of our Lord and savior, jesus christ. We come to you now and we humbly bow before you and confess that we’re sinners. We were sinners from the day we were born sinners. The day we were born again, saved forgiven but we’re still sinners. Lord, we still do wrong things and we’re so sorry, we’re so ashamed. And so right now we just confess our sins. So I’m going to give you and the first person you just fill in the blank. I confess my And what’s the sin that he’s brought to your mind? So it can be something that’s emotional, can be unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, pride. Any of the things that I mentioned, something I didn’t mention. But right now you just bring that to the cross by name, repent. Return to the Lord, he says, bring words and Lord as we bring our words to you and we confess the sin and call it for what it is. We choose to crucify. We believe jesus died on the cross for that sin in particular. If there was no other sin, he had to die for he would have died for that one to cleanse us of that sin. So Lord, we placed it under the blood of jesus. We thank you, thank you. Thank you for the forgiveness that you offer us through the blood of jesus. Thank you that your god of grace, a god of mercy. And we come down, we cling to you dear Holy Spirit that you would continue to work in our hearts and lives to make us and conform us to the image of jesus until one day the father looks at us and sees the reflection of the purity of his own son. And we pray this please in jesus name and for his glory. Amen Amen folks. Uh next week we’re gonna talk about if the Holy Spirit of God lives in our life and he’s got access to the throne room of the God the father and he knows what God the father’s plan is for your life. The Holy Spirit knows everything about you. Can you trust in the providence of the Holy Spirit and stay focused on his priority as he leads you? That’s what we’re gonna talk about next week. So I hope that you’ll join us. But I got a personal word for you in a moment. So please will you stay with me? Stay tuned, john will be right back, Jesus said he came to seek and to save those who are lost. He says it was because God so loved the world. He loved you so much that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. You see, Jesus came into the world to pay for your sins. He died on the cross and then he rose again so that you can be completely forgiven and spend eternity with him. This isn’t something that you can earn through your own good works. He offers it to you as a free gift which you can receive through putting your faith in him. If you would like to do this right now by asking jesus to be your savior. I invite you to join me in this simple prayer, just say dear God, thank you for loving me. I know I’m a sinner. I ask for your forgiveness right now. I believe that jesus is your son and that he died for all my sins on the cross. I also believe that you raised him from the dead and right now I want to trust him as my savior and follow him as my Lord from this day forward, please give me the strength to live for you. I ask this in jesus name, Amen you know folks, one day I said a prayer just like that and if you prayed this today, I want you to know what God promises to do for you. The bible says who so ever shall call upon the name of the Lord. That’s you. If you just prayed this prayer and if you did, I want you to see what God says, he will do, he says shall be saved. That’s what God does. He promises to save you now if you’d like to watch this program again or share it with a friend, you can do so for free, right on your phone on our app, just go to the app, store on your device and search for anchor Berg, once you download it, you can watch this series over and over again as well as 100 other programs anytime, anywhere absolutely free, you can find these programs by tapping on the program’s icon on our apps homepage there. You can also find our large collection of question and answer videos where we have leading scholars answering your tough questions about the faith along with this, our app lets you read and even listen to the bible in over 1000 different languages. Simply tap on the bible icon displayed on the main page of our app. Once it opens, you can find your language by tapping on the box at the top. If you’ve never read or listen to the bible, I encourage you to find your language and check it out for yourself. The gospel accounts of Matthew, mark luke and john are a great place to start. So there have been tears. But at the same time I’ve been uh, enormously encouraged in the fact that the Holy Spirit prays for me at those times when I don’t have words myself and he knows how to get answers to his prayers. You know, he presents my prayers To the father and the right format. But um, but then I came across the word in um, Ephesians 430, I think it is that says that the Holy Spirit were not to grieve him.