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Transforming Spirit



60 years ago the great Bible teacher HA Ironsides was preaching in a park in SF. Prove your Bible. Invited up any whose lives God’s Word had changed.

Have you ever comprehended how marvelous is the transforming power of God? May I use the ministry of one of my lifelong heros to illustrate that transforming power of God available this morning through the Spirit of God.

Nowhere on earth was the transforming power of God’s Spirit more needed than the land to which CT Studd gave his life. Born in 1858 to an incredible successful English family with vast real estate and business interests all over the the British Colonial Empire. In the 1880″s, CT inherited a substantial amount of money—several hundred thousand dollars in that day, tens of millions of dollars in ours.

On January 13th, 1887, CT and his wife wrote nine checks and gave away my fortune as carefully as a business man invests in some ‘gilt-edged’ securities. They chose safe and high yielding securities in the Bank of Heaven. This was no fool”s plunge on their part, but a public testimony before God and man that they believed God’s Word to be the surest thing on earth. God promised an hundredfold interest in this life, not to speak of the next. This became a reality for all those who believe God’s Word and act on it.

on July 3, 1888, I wrote [1] the following letter to General Booth the founder of the Salvation Army explaining why my new bride and I gave everything to God: “Henceforth our bank is in heaven. You see we are rather afraid—notwithstanding the great earthly safety of the Bank of England—we are, I say, rather afraid that they may both break on the Judgment Day. And this step has been taken not without most definite reference to God”s Word, and the command of the Lord Jesus, Who said, “Sell that ye have and give alms. Make for yourselves purses which wax not old.” ‘

When we had given all our money away, I packed up my new bride, and went to China (15 yrs.), then India (6 yrs.) and finally Africa (21 yrs.) as missionaries for the rest of our days. That is the gift of giving that God prompted in my heart and all those with me who love Him more than life!

My ambition [2] and prayer had always been to die a soldier’s death on the field of battle, and not be a drag on my fellow-workers through months or years as an invalid. I was a museum of diseases when I left China, and was afterwards hardly ever free. I had a life long battle with asthma, recurring malaria and dysentery as well as the chills and pains of gallstones ever with me in varying combination. Yet God enabled me to go on working not 8 but 18 hours a day, addressing, often for hours, thousands of his fellow-creatures in the heart of Africa”s darkest jungles, telling them of Jesus Christ and the wonders of His Love-and this to the very end of my days.

Think about what came out of the gift of my life to Christ: through the fortune I gave to Christ Hudson Taylor was helped in the founding of the China Inland Mission, George Mueller’s orphanages were expanded in London, great Salvation Army extensions were made, and the founding of the Moody Bible Institute.

In Africa when I began to invest in the natives in 1910 I arrived to villages of black skinned, naked cannibals who were totally given over to witchcraft. By night they spent their time with orgies to the demons, worshiping the gods of darkness in every impure act imaginable. To the pulsating beat of the drums, dancing by dim and flickering fires passion gave in to beast-like frenzy. Sometimes it was incest, sometimes it was adultery, sometimes it was murder, always it was hard, godless and cruel.

By day there was hatred and guilt. Stealing others wives, sometimes murdering and eating even their own relatives. Always hateful, always mean, always deceptive, always harsh and always cruel. Always enduring a mind tormented by lives of shame and filth. That was the picture at my arrival in 1910 to the North east corner of the Belgian Congo and the 22 tribal settlement areas. Is it possible to change the entire disposition of a murderous cannibal? Is it possible to see a lifetime of lust, filth, gross immorality and debauchery stop? Is it possible to see murderers become loving, cannibals become tender, adulterers become faithful, demonized become holy? Yes to all these and much more. In 21 years of constant labors CT and his team saw God totally transform those 22 villages.

Elizabeth Elliot [3] shared that she heard one of CT Studd’s children share his deathbed words to them, “I wish I had something to give each of you, but I gave it all to Jesus long ago.”;

CT Studd Biographical Sketch [4]

· Born in 1858

· China from 1885-1900

· India from 1900-1906

· England from 1906-1908

· Africa from 1910-1931

· Mrs. Studd Died 1929

· C.T. died July 1931

In May of 1931 there was an ocean of transformed lives of former sinners who were now singing, worshiping, and praising God. These joy filled black saints were stretching off in every direction from the hut where the lifeless body of the British businessman-athlete missionary named C.T. Studd awaited burial. At CT Studd’s death there were 30,000 born again, baptized and discipled pygmies. Those whom he had found in 1910 as naked, murderous, grossly immoral cannibals butchering each other in the darkest jungles of Africa, those were the saints now singing. And after 68 years those redeemed cannibals now sing around the Throne of the Lamb, clothed in white raiment and worshiping Jesus with the saints like CT Studd, who went to preach the Gospel to them. That is the transforming power of God.

That is how the Spirit of God operates. Do you see yourself supernaturally transformed by the power of Jesus through the Spirit of God. The Book of Romans introduces us to the Walk in the Spirit. In this book we have the keys that unlock the Spirit filled walk into our everyday lives.

Please open with me again to Romans 8:5-11.

God wants to utterly transform you and me this morning. We saw at the start of this series that God Almighty commands each and every one of His children to allow His Spirit to be constantly filling and controlling our lives.

The Holy Spirit in Romans


We saw last time that some amazing changes occur when God gets a hold of us. First we saw the Witnessing Spirit at work.

1. the WITNESSING SPIRIT OF God ROMANS. 1:3-4 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

  • There are 31 different Greek words used in the book of Acts to describe the 160 different times of Christians verbally communicating the Good News about Jesus [5] . It is the Holy Spirit who energized them into action. This book is not the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES but of the HOLY SPIRIT!
  • Whats the bottom line?

When we are walking in the Spirit we will be talking in everyday terms to everyday people about the most extroardinary event of all time. Jesus is to be a part of life. Is He in yours?


  • Do your work friends know about Him from you? If you have met and been filled by the transforming Spirit, they will hear about it from you!

Secondly we met the Liberating Spirit in Romans 8. A long time friend of mine was an elder who used to sit by me at the meetings of the elders at Grace Church while we served there in the eighties. Out of the 50 some elders at that church Herb Clingen was one of the most radiant. You could hardly talk to this 80 year old saint without him telling again the climactic moment in World War II when General Douglas MacArthur liberated him from a Japanese concentration camp.

He and his wife were there serving as missionaries, imprisoned, nearly starved to death and finally being led out for slow and horrible “TIN BOX” execution when the Americans stormed in and liberated their camp. In Herb’s vivid recollections he could still see General MacArthur marching through the gate and the soldiers kicking down the doors and freeing the prisoners facing death.

Has Jesus marched into your life and liberated you? Is there a vivid recollection that you can’t stop sharing?

2. THE LIBERATING SPIRIT of god Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

  • When we are Walking in the Spirit we are experiencing the powerful liberating law of the Spirit which lifts us above the chains of sin which like gravity holds us down to the earth. So the Spirit of God teaches us that the faster we develop our resistence to sin, the sooner we tear away at the anchors of sin and the flesh chaining us to mere earthliness, and we begin to regularly soar to even greater levels of fewllowship with Jesus!
  • Does YEILDING to Him take that place in my life? Have we given obedience to God the highest place in our lives, as the inspiration for every action and motivation?

Now this morning, we come to the third element of the Holy Spirit of God’s miraculous working. Do you remember the darkness of Africa in 1910 when CT Studd arrived? Remember the total transformation of those former demon worshiping cannibals? Sounds totally impossible doesn’t it? It is apart from the work of God.

Since Jesus Came into My Heart

1  What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought

Since Jesus came into my heart!

I have light in my soul for which long I had sought,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

Chorus Since Jesus came into my heart,

Since Jesus came into my heart,

Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll,

Since Jesus came into my heart.

2  I have ceased from my wand’ring and going astray,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

And my sins, which were many, are all washed away,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

3  I’m possessed of a hope that is steadfast and sure,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

And no dark clouds of doubt now my pathway obscure,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

4  There’s a light in the valley of death now for me,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

And the gates of the City beyond I can see,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

5  I shall go there to dwell in that City, I know,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

And I’m happy, so happy, as onward I go,

Since Jesus came into my heart!

Now, finally this morning, how is all this changed life possible. How can we though not outwardly as enslaved as those in the blackness of turn of the century Belgian Congo jungles, yet inwardly just as wicked, how can we be changed? Listen again to Romans 8:

3. THE transforming spirit of god Romans 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

  • This is the mind that is set above. Just like people say, they really have their mind set on that, so we must do the same. If we believe right we will behave right.

Here are six practical action items to begin the TRANSFORMATION process in your life. That process involves, to throttle sin and crush it in our lives, sapping it of It’s strength, rooting it out, and depriving it of It’s influence. …the cultivation of new habits of godliness, combined with the elimination of old sinful habits from our behavior. [6]

1. Seek full yieldedness: By presenting yourself to God to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Gal 5:16, 25. Remember Romans 12:1 present your bodies to God to cleanse, fill and use. How do we get a transformed mind? Remember in the old days when you used to check books out of the Library?

  • What primarily shapes your mind?
  • For a moment may I speak to the 31 million of you between the ages of 12 and 19. If you are average and normal and in step with the world around you, your world is shaped by TV, music and computer games. The average teen this week spent 11 hours bathing in the waters of TV, showering their mind in the waters of music 7 hours per week and basting their soul with the spices of video computer games for 6 hours per week.

2. Stop the pattern today: Abstain from fleshly lusts. 1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, Concerning the first command Abstain from fleshly lusts, Look at I Peter 2:11 with me. Pretty straight forward isn’t it? Listen to the great preacher of last generation, D. Martin Lloyd Jones:

I do not know of a single scripture – and I speak advisedly – which tells me to take my sin, the particular thing that gets me down, to God in prayer and ask Him to deliver me from it and them trust in faith that He will.


No, what the Apostle Paul tells him to do is this: “Let him that stole, steal no more.” Just that. STOP DOING IT. And if it is fornication or adultery or lustful thoughts, again: STOP DOING IT, says Paul. He does not say, “Go and pray to Christ to deliver you.” No. You stop doing that, he says, as becomes children of God. [7]

3. Starve the flesh: Make no provision for the flesh. Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Simply put,

  • if you struggle with gluttony, don’t pile your basket with junk food at the super market.
  • If you are prone to gossip walk away from the converstion that goes into gossip. Become a keeper at home and invest in your family which was Paul’s solution for gossiping women.
  • If you struggle with materialism stop drooling over the ads for what you want.
  • If you have struggle with sexual desires, stop putting more pictures in your mind. Cancel cable, change to internet with blocks like Family Net, ask someone to check up on you.
  • Filter out anything that feeds your flesh like you would filter out anything that would make you sick from your camping water.
  • Yes, stop the sin where it is fed and breeds, starve it!

4. Stare at the goal: Set your mind, Fix your heart on Christ. (Like the person who won’t let anything get in the way of what they are watching) Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Fix your heart on Christ. 1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (KJV)

5. Soak up the word: Saturate, Fill your mind and Meditate on God’s Word.Psalm 119:9-11 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! Yesterday I became aware of an alien ship that must have landed near our home. This was brought to my attention as I went out to the garage. There by my work bench was the can of oil based Redwood stain unopened, newly purchased, on the floor and spilled across the floor.And no one did it! The newspapers were placed atop and soaked it up, they were sytained, permeated with the stain.

6. stay in touch with god: By staying in touch with God by praying without ceasing. Staying alert and guarded by watching and praying. Mt 26:4; Stay in control by exercising your discipline of self-control. Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

Each of these Biblical commands are for us as Christians to obey. They are not something we pray for and wait. They are for us to actively grab a hold of and obey.

[1] Norman Grubb, C. T Studd, Fort Washington, Pa.: Christian Literature Crusade, 1972, pp. 59-62.

[2] Norman Grubb, CT Studd, p. 216-217.

[3] Elizabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity, p. 43.

[4] Norman Grubb, C.T. Studd, Cricketer & Pioneer Christian Literature Crusade, 1933

[5] Robert Coleman, The Master Plan of Discipleship, p.88-89.

[6] John MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience, Dallas:Word, 1994, p. 156.

[7] Sanctified Through the Truth: The Assurance of Our Salavation (Wheaton: Crossway, 1989), 54.