God Breathes When I've Run Out of Breath

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 4/19/2020

God Breathes… When I've Run Out of Breath

When was the last time you lost your breath? Maybe you were swimming or running and had to stop to catch your breath? Maybe you over-exerted yourself working? Maybe you have asthma, COPD, allergies, or a health condition? When I work with wood, I’m always careful to wear a mask. Even with a mask, certain woods can aggravate my lungs for days—to the point I can’t get a deep/satisfying breath! I’ve awoken some nights even gasping! It can be quite scary to lose breath! 

There are many other things that can take our breath away. In life, we quickly to the limits of our strength to “endure”, our abilities and talents to “produce”, our wisdom to “solve.” The limits of our own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. The limits of our imagination, our ability to change our own lives, to muster up will power, to grow in character, to serve God w/all heart-mind-body-soul, or to serve others. Sometimes it’s the suffocating weight of all the world—the weight of all our fears, anxieties, worries, burdens and frustrations—that takes our breath away! 

What if I told you a miracle was possible? What if I told you there was a way to not only catch your breath in life, but to catch a second breath, to get a second wind? What would it feel like to breath deeply and freely once again? 

This past week I saw this video of a woman, who has suffered with Cystic Fibrosis her entire life. The disease ravaged her lungs, leaving her with just “10% capacity.” Maybe that’s how you feel--you’ve been breathing at 10%. Through the miraculous provision of God, she was able to receive a lung transplant. Watch this miracle as doctors at Mayo Clnic help her take a Second Breath! [PLAY VIDEO  www.youtube.com ]

Our "First" and "Second" Breath

In Scripture, our first breath, our physical breath is a gift of God. In Genesis 1:2 we’re told how the Spirit of God hovered in the darkness, over the formless and empty earth, over the watery depths. In Genesis 1, in six short days, the Spirit of God brings form and function to every created thing. But it’s in Genesis 2:7 that we read these words: “Then the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.” This is why Job declares, in Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” 

Do you know the Hebrew word for “Spirit” is breath or wind? The very pronunciation of the Hebrew word, “Ru’ahh,” echoes the sound of breath. Everyone inhale! “Ruuuuu…” And now exhale! “Ahhhhhhh…” Friends, every single breath is a gift of God. If you are breathing you are alive, and it’s because of God. 

But there is more to this idea of breath than physical breath. In John 4:24 Jesus tells us that “God is Spirit. . .” Not just in creation (Gen 1/2), but throughout the Old Testament, the Spirit of the Living God blows upon God’s servants to enable the super-natural, the miraculous, that which transcends the power… the ability… the capacities, the limitations of mere human flesh. What might be possible if God were to fill your spiritual soul with his Holy Spirit Power/Wind, just like he filled your physical body with breath? That’s what this series is about! 

Some 400 times we read about the Holy Spirit in the OT. Hundreds of times we see God’s Spirit blowing upon God’s servants… like Moses (Numbers 11:17); God’s Judges… like Othniel (3:19), Gideon (6:34), Jephthah (11:29), and Samson (14:6—remember him!). Israel’s Kings… like Saul (1 Samuel 10:6-7), like David (1 Samuel 16:13), and Azariah (2 Chronicles 15:1). God’s prophets… spokesmen like Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:1-2), and Micah (Micah 3:8)! 

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

In the New Testament, the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John make it explicitly clear that the most remarkable attribute of Jesus was that the presence/power of the Holy Spirit of the Living God was upon him. We have zero details about Jesus’ physical height, weight, posture, build, bench-press, hairstyle, skin color, beard length, appearance, mannerisms. No, the gospel writers are consumed with this one detail… 

· Luke 1:35 tells us Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

· Luke 3:22 tells how at Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven, and fluttered over him, like a dove. 

· Luke 4:1 tells how the Holy Spirit led, and filled, and indeed, “drove” Jesus into the wilderness, and enabled him to overcome temptation. 

· Luke 4:14 tells us how Jesus inaugurated his ministry in Galilee “in the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

· Luke 4:18-19 Jesus announces how the Spirit of Living God had anointed him, enabling him to preach… to proclaim the release of captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom for the oppressed…” 

· In dozens of instances, God’s Holy Spirit enables Jesus to powerfully drive out every evil, impure, and ill-gotten spirit of Satan. 

People often speculate what Jesus’ childhood, teenager, and young-adult life was like, being “the Son of God.” The gospel writers tell us everything we need to know. Luke 2:46, He was exceptionally bright. Luke 2:49, He had a clear sense of his Divine identity, divine sonship. 

Luke 2:52, like all young men, Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature, in the favor of God and men. 1 John 3:5 tells us that “in him there was no sin.” *But until the Spirit of the Living God descended upon him in His baptism… there wasn’t much of anything remarkable about Jesus life. His family, his brothers/sisters, his own townspeople considered him ordinary. Before his baptism, there’s no record of miracles, of supernatural power and ability. 

I’m not making the heretical suggestion that Jesus “became” the Son of God at his baptism. I’m suggesting exactly what the gospels teach—that on that day the Holy Spirit lighted on Jesus, and blew upon Him, and indwelt him, and led and drove and empowered him. And much to our surprise, Romans 8:11 tells us how at Jesus death the Spirit of the Living God raised Jesus to life! 

You and I, we’re average Joes or Marys. Jesus wasn’t an average Joe like his earthly father Joseph, he was an extremely exceptional, sinless, perfect man. But it wasn’t the Spirit of the Living God, of Jesus’ Heavenly Father indwelt him, that people recognized he was more than a mere man—he was fullness of God dwelling in bodily form, he was God in the Flesh! 

When God Breathes on Us

Do you realize that God’s promise through the ages has always been to fill us human beings to overflowing, with the same Spirit, that filled Jesus? This was God’s purpose, and intention, and plan and design all along! How about a quick survey? 

· Joel 2:27-29, “You will know that I am present in Israel and that I am the Lord Your God, and there is no other. . . I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity…” 

· Ezekiel 39:29, “I will no longer hide my face from the, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel. This is the declaration of the Lord God.” 

· Isaiah 44:2-3, “Your Maker, the one who formed you from the womb… he will help you… do not fear… for I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams (will flood) the dry ground… I will pour out my Spirit on the descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. They will sprout among the grass, like poplars among by flowing streams. . .” 

· Zechariah 12:10-14, “I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at me whom they pierces. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for him as one weeps for a firstborn son. . .” very next verse… ignore chapter break… Zechariah 13:1, “On that day a fountain will be opened up… to wash away your sin and impurity.” 

Do you realize that at creation, the Spirit hovered over the unformed earth and deep dark waters. Out of dark chaos, the Spirit brought forth form, function, order and beauty. Do you realize in the day’s of Noah, the whole earth was demolished by water that fell from heaven, and water that welled up from the deep, like a fountain, completely cleansing the earth of all its sin and wickedness. Do you realize that prophets (Like Zechariah) foretold a day when God would send forth his suffering servant (His Christ, His Messiah, His Son) not only to die for the sin… but that God would also send forth his Holy Spirit, like a mighty fountain (Zech. 13:1), to wash-cleanse-forgive-redeem (not destroy/condemn) sinful man? 

God Offers Us His Holy Spirit

Luke 3:16: In the gospels, it wasn’t just the detail that Jesus Himself was filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s that Jesus offered, and baptized men/women, to be filled with that same Spirit/fire! Romans 8:11: It’s not just that the Spirit of the Living raised Jesus from the grave. No, it’s that “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.” 

There aren’t many verses more amazing than Luke 11:13. Jesus says, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Spirit to those who ask him?” 

How many of you think a fish is good gift? How about an egg? How about the many gifts/blessings your parents gave you? How many of you consider the very breath that fills your lungs, a great gift? But what if God has an even greater gift to offer you? How many of consider God’s Holy Spirit (God’s very wind, God’s very breath) the most greatest gift of all? Our first breath matters for this life, and is a gift. But how much greater is this second breath, deeper breath? 

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

In John 3:3-5 Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus asks, “Wait a minute, how can anyone be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?” But then Jesus says, “Unless someone is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of Spirit is spirit! Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound (Ruuuuu Ahhhhh), but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 

When a baby is born out through water, what is its first biological act? Like that woman in the Mayo Clinic, a child takes its first breath! It’s such a new and powerful and overwhelming sensation the baby cries out! Now what is the child of God’s first and most important spiritual act? Like a baby, the child of God is baptized in water, and having been born again, and coming out through water of baptism, the child of God must learn to breathe! Not biologically, but spiritually! Many of you have taken your first breath, but have learned to take second breath? 

In Acts 2, when Peter preaches, people are cut to the heart. Just as Joel prophesied in Joel 2, God promised to pour out his Spirit. Just as Zechariah prophesied in Zechariah 12:10-14, the people were cut to the heart and wept bitterly and mourned (every one of them) as they realized they pierced and crucified God’s servant Jesus. Acts 2:37 says, “When they heard Peter, they were pierced to the heart and said to the rest of the apostles, “Brothers what shall we do…” 

And what does Peter tell them? Acts 2:38: He tells them what Jesus told them. You must be born again! He says, “Repent and be baptized… be born again… pass through water again… no, were not talking about entered your mothers womb and passing out through water again… repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins… repent and be baptized and you will receive the Holy Spirit… repent and I will open my fountain… I will pour own living water… I will pour out my Holy Spirit on your dry bones and dead flesh. Acts 2:39-40: He tells them, “This Holy Spirit promise is for you and your children and everyone who is far off. . . There is another way for you to be saved despite your corruption/sin. . . God doesn’t have to rid the earth of you and your sin as he did in the days of Noah… God doesn’t have to start all over from scratch like at creation Genesis 1-2. God’s Holy Spirit can wash you, and sanctify you and restore and redeem and save you and fill/flood you with Living Water!” 

Acts 2:41. “Those who accept his message were baptized, and about 3000 people were added to the church that day.” You bet they were baptized. Given the invitation for God to breathe life into your soul, to wash/forgive you with living water, why wouldn’t you be baptized? Do you have some better plan? Some better idea? 

Said no one to Jesus nor the Apostles, “Oh God, do I have to be baptized? Ugh. Do I have to be born again? Do I have to learn to breathe in your Holy Spirit?” No, “Lets do it now. Let’s repent that times of refreshing may come. Let’s be baptized like Jesus, and let the Spirit of God blow on us and fill us, that when one day like Jesus we draw our last physical breath… our Heavenly Father, just like Jesus, might go on to resurrect us with Holy Spirit Breath.” If you accept God’s offer of second breath… won’t you repent… believe and be baptized? [Here is how. . .]

Scripture Verses

Genesis 1 & 2, Luke 1-4, John 3, Acts 2

Worship Playlist

Christ Is Risen by Matt Maher

Jesus Paid It All by Passion

Holy Spirit by Jesus Culture

Christ Be Magnified by Cody Carnes

Study Questions

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