Possessed by God

Possessed by God

Today is Pentecost Sunday. Fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit, descended upon 120 followers of Jesus while they were praying that morning in an upper room. God took possession of those believers and gave them power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. They had been gathering together in fear. Now, they had boldness and went out preaching the Gospel and performing miracles as the Holy Spirit enabled them. As a result, thousands believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, and the Church has grown rapidly ever since.

Being possessed by God is absolutely essential to our salvation.

Romans 8:9-11 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

When you get saved, God, the Holy Spirit, comes to reside in your spirit. It is a new life, because you have been born again of the Spirit; whereas, your old life was doomed to death because of sin. You become possessed by God the Holy Spirit, and you are Christ’s possession, because He bought you with His Blood. If you yield to Him, He will express and manifest His nature through you. Once Jesus possesses someone, it isn’t a part-time possession. It’s for a lifetime. The LORD will never surrender to Satan what is His.

John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

We may falter, fail, or fall into devastating sin. But once the LORD possesses us, He will never give up on us. Those whom the LORD possesses, He preserves.

Psalm 37:27-28 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. For the LORD loves justice; He will not forsake His saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalm 145:20 The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

Those whom God possesses, He prepares for ever-increasing usefulness. This includes even fallen, discouraged saints. You may be convinced God has given up on you, that He can’t use you anymore. But if you have a repentant heart, you are being prepared for something greater. God will deliver you out of every satanic snare, if you call on Him. And He will use everything in your life – including your failures, problems, and trials – to prepare you for His best, which is still ahead.

Think back to the time when God came to you, supernaturally touching your soul. He called you to Himself, and you committed yourself to Him by being baptized. At that moment, God made a commitment to you and gave you His Spirit. He became your Father and Jesus became your brother and husband. And nothing can break God’s covenant with you, except you by your own deliberate choice.

Hebrews 9:12 He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

The Creator of the universe redeemed you with the price of His own blood. And nothing has power over that blood. So you remain God’s possession, His redeemed child, even when the powers of Hell seduce you.

For example, Moses was possessed by God. The Lord preserved him through trial after trial. And all along God was preparing him for a great work.

Satan tried to destroy Moses when he was a baby, but God rescued him from the Nile and Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s palace.

Hebrews 11:23-26 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

Moses saw the mistreatment of the Israelites and wanted to do something about it. But when he struck an Egyptian slave driver, he committed murder and hid on the back side of a desert for forty years, tending his father-in-law’s sheep. We would think that was the end of Moses’s usefulness to God.

Then Moses had his encounter with the burning bush. That burning bush was the fire of the Holy Spirit moving through a natural object. God took a useless shrub and caused incredible changes to take place through it. He was also going to do the same thing with Moses. In spite of Moses’ failure and sin, the Lord spoke directly to him in Exodus 3:10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

What followed afterwards is an amazing story. And so is your story. God is committed to you, just as He was to Moses. You may have blown it by committing a grievous sin, but God is preparing you to minister Christ as never before. Your role at this time is to draw close to the Lord and wait for Him to use you for His purpose.

David also was a God-possessed man who defeated many mighty enemies by God’s grace. At the very height of God’s blessing, David was overcome by a demonic enemy of horrendous lust. He committed adultery with another man’s wife, conceiving a child with her. David tried desperately to cover up his sin. Finally, he fell so low that he instigated the death of her husband. In our sense of justice, we would think God should give up on David. At least, David should resign from being king if he has any decency left.

But what about you and me? Have you ever been overtaken by a lust of some kind? Or maybe you’re able to say, “I don’t have any such sin in my life. I have a clean walk.” But what about the chief of all sins: unbelief? Perhaps you came to a place of victory, a peak in your walk of faith, when out of nowhere you were overcome with unbelief. You were plagued by depression, fear, anxiety, even anger at God. Suddenly, you began to doubt God’s presence in your life. It doesn’t matter what your iniquity may be. There is no sin in your life that would cause God to give up on you. You are still His possession.

Even though David grieved God by committing adultery, the Lord didn’t quit on him. Of course, David suffered dire consequences for his sin, (as will we) even though he confessed his sin and repented with bitter tears. But God preserved him through the whole ordeal and used David as part of the linage of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the Word that God revealed to David through his trial, is still being preached today.

Psalm 51:1-4, 10-12 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment…Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Peter was another God-possessed man who committed the worst sin of all. Peter denied knowing Christ, not once but three times!

Jesus had called Simon a rock (Peter). This disciple had walked on water with the Lord. And he had boldly sworn he would die for his Master. Yet later, when Peter was recognized as being Christ’s disciple, he declared, “I do not know the man!”

Matthew 26:69-75 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Had we known Peter, we would have thought, “That’s it, Peter is finished. He denied Jesus, helping send Him to the cross. God will have to give up on him.” No! God wouldn’t give up His ownership. He was going to preserve Peter.

Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

When the rooster crowed, the Holy Spirit began convicting and humbling Peter. He was given a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

After His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter and the other disciples, forgiving them for abandoning Him, and restoring their relationship.

Just a few weeks later, at Pentecost, we see a totally different man. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the Gospel boldly, and at least 3,000 people were saved. The disciple, who had shriveled in cowardice, was now a fearless evangelist and leader of the Church. He devoted the rest of His life in service to Jesus Christ and His Church.

Contrast Peter’s denial to Judas’ betrayal. Both men committed sins against Jesus. What was the difference? Peter was possessed by God and had grace to repent. Judas was possessed by Satan and had no such grace. Neither did Judas seek it. Instead, he hung himself.

Luke 22:3-6 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

Matthew 27:3-5 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.

As you face your own struggle, remember that the LORD will not give up on you. He calls you His child, and He still has His hand on you. God has made an oath to preserve and make fruitful everyone He possesses, but we must choose to be His possession. All He asks for is a repentant heart and faith in His Son, Jesus. Then we possess His promises.

God has promised to subdue all our sins. Micah 7:18-19 Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

The word for “subdue” here means to put down or conquer. The Lord promises to conquer all our sinful habits and strongholds, through faith and true repentance.

God has promised to cause us to walk holy. Ezekiel 36:25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

God has promised never to forsake His possessions. Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

He has promised to put His fear in our hearts. Jeremiah 32:40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

Do you want God to possess you? God will not possess you unless you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, repent of your sin, and give Him your life through baptism. He wants men and women who will give the Holy Spirit control because of Love, not force. He is ready to take over your life, if you are ready to give Him your life. That’s why Jesus said, “Deny yourself and follow me”. Self-denial is not cruel; it is glorious, because only when you die to your “self” will you will find “real life” in the Spirit.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Notice, it doesn’t say God will draw close to you. It says, if you draw close to God, He will draw close to you. If you leave “everything” behind, repent, and run to Him, He will run to you and take over your life completely, if you let Him. Therefore, draw near to God, receive His love, power, forgiveness, and freedom. Ask Him to fill you with Himself, the Holy Spirit. Then every word you speak will be His Word and every work you do will be His Work. When you are possessed by God, full of the Holy Spirit, it will be as if Jesus is living in your body.

Regardless of your past, regardless of wandering away from following Jesus, God has not given up on you. Your best days are still to come if you will draw near to Him, repent, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.