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Your 24/7 Need: the Holy Spirit
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit–Pneumatology
Right now, who has a cell phone with them that has a battery that is easy to remove? Show it to me–go ahead, take the battery out. Now, will you get any calls during the service–yes or no? So you made a good decision. Cell phones do not work without a battery. What’s the point?
I love a good flashlight—they point the way in the dark, do a little kids’ light show, you can hunt for a missing item . . . flashlights are great, until they don’t work. If I remember to pack one, I have often been disappointed in their short life–the batteries burn out, they get old and they don’t work. Then the flashlight becomes dead weight, a waste of space, an unnecessary item.
I love power tools, but you all know just how useless a power tool is without power, when it is not plugged into the socket, or when the battery has gone dead. Without electricity, the tool is useless. It has to be plugged in to work. It would be wrong to say each of these items is not much good without the battery or power, because they are no good at all–a waste, ineffective, useless, dead weight, and they slow me down.
And so are you, Christian, without the filling of the Holy Spirit. Without a direct moment-by-moment connection to the Spirit of God, who indwells every true Christian, you are dead weight as a believer, and anything you do is a waste of time.
Today, we are going to expose the doctrine of the Holy Spirit—pneumatology, the third person of the trinity. Do you rely on the Spirit for everything you say and do? Are you dependent upon the Holy Spirit for everyday tasks? Are you passionate to be in the Spirit all the time? And, are you filled with the Spirit right now? You and I desperately need the Holy Spirit.
Typically, charismatic churches focus on the Holy Spirit, dispensational churches focus on God the Son, and reformed churches focus on God the Father. But the New Testament focuses on all three persons. We are saved by all three persons of the trinity. We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. And all genuine Christians are baptized, indwelt and sealed with the Holy Spirit.
As we get to know the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit, it is a biblical mandate not to divide over Him or argue about Him. But we are to make an effort to get to know Him and think deeply about Him. Most of us in this culture want microwave answers about the Lord, but genuine relationships require a crockpot approach. How much do you know about the Holy Spirit? Take the Holy Spirit quiz with me.
1. The Holy Spirit is . . .
a) the good side of the Force that Luke Skywalker draws from
b) the spirit of Jesus who lives in everyone
c) the good feeling that comes from singing praise
d) a divine person, the third person of the trinity
e) all of the above
2. We know the Holy Spirit is a person because . . .
a) He has infinite intelligence (Ephesians 1:17)
b) He has feelings (Ephesians 4:30)
c) He has a will (Acts 16:6-11)
d) all of the above
3. What does the Holy Spirit do?
a) the Spirit calls people for special service (Acts 13:2)
b) the Spirit intercedes (Rom 8:26)
c) the Spirit can be lied to and blasphemed (Acts 5:3)
d) all of the above
4. We know the Holy Spirit is God because . . .
a) the Spirit wants to be the third person of the trinity
b) that’s what I have always been told
c) you might as well have another person in the Godhead
d) the Spirit is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent
5. Which one is not true about the Holy Spirit
a) The Holy Spirit has a unique relationship with unbelievers
b) The Holy Spirit had a key role in recording our Bible
c) The Holy Spirit was involved in creating the world
d) The Holy Spirit didn’t indwell believers in the Old Testament
How did you do? Do you know the third person of the trinity? The humble will say, “There is more for me to learn,” and the broken will say, “There is more for me to apply.”
Sometimes Christians forget who the Holy Spirit is. The Spirit is a person, not an it, or a force, or a power. He’s not the unseen power referred to as the force in Star Wars. He is not the hidden personality of God in your mind like an Id. He is not the ying, the opposite of yang.
He is a person. He made sure the Word of God was written (John 16:12 to 13). He inspired the Word of God recorded by human authors (2 Peter 1:2). The Spirit gave birth to the Church (Acts 2:1 to 4). He gifts Christians for ministry at their new birth (1 Corinthians 12:1 to 7). He oversees the Church through His chosen elders (Acts 20:28). He sends out missionaries as church planters (Acts 13:1 to 2). The Spirit is the one who convicts the world of sin (John 16:8).
The Holy Spirit is a person. In John 14:23, “He will teach the apostles all things.” In Acts 7:51, He can be resisted. In Ephesians 4:30, He can be grieved by our sin. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, He can be quenched when you don’t use your giftedness in service to the Church because the Spirit is a person.
So as a believer, do not be afraid of the Holy Spirit. Let’s get to know Him today in order to fire up your worship, grow intense in your desire to serve others, and share the Gospel, to lessen your weariness, and find strength and courage to face the tests of everyday life–because of the Holy Spirit. How do we start?
#1 Tune into the Holy Spirit’s importance
Turn in your Bibles to Galatians 3. The same God who created the universe, authored the Scriptures, empowered many Old Testament believers for special tasks for God’s glory ministered to our Lord while on earth, and continues to convict the world of sin–this same Spirit lives in you, Christian. We are not talking about vitamins or an energy boost . . . we are talking about the Creator, Sustainer in you.
Most of us tend to forget the crucial role the Holy Spirit played in opening your eyes to your desperate need of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit was highly involved in your salvation. He’s the one who regenerated you, especially calling you to faith in order for you to believe in Christ. Did you get that? You were dead–dead people don’t respond. Dead people don’t decide. Dead people are dead—separated, unable to respond.
I have seen lots of dead people. They don’t say hi, they don’t move, they don’t choose, they don’t see or understand–they are dead. Ephesians 2:1 clearly states before Christ, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins.” You need the work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate–that means to awaken you from the dead, give you new life, give you spiritual eyes to see your desperate need for a Savior, then give you faith and repentance so you can turn and depend on Christ. The Holy Spirit is the one who awakened you so you could respond to Christ and His Gospel. Then at the point of salvation, He sealed you, securing you forever as a child of God, and He baptized you–immersed you into the body of Christ so that all true Christians are one in Christ.
And this same Spirit, who indwells you, is also the one who empowers you. Let me ask you a Sunday School question and you give me a Sunday school answer. What is your purpose in life? To glorify God–good!
Now a second question, for Christians only. Can a Christian glorify God? Yes or no? You’re both right. Technically, you can’t glorify God, only God can glorify God. Only the perfect, awesome, mighty, transcendent God can honor His own character. Only light can shine light. Therefore, in a true sense, only God can glorify God. So if your purpose is to glorify God, but God must do it through you, (“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”) Then how does that happen? Through the Holy Spirit!
Every single day, Christian, you must remember, that you are saved by God’s grace, and you live by God’s grace. You can’t live the Christian life, you can’t glorify God, you can’t worship him right now, you can’t please Him right now unless you are empowered by His Spirit–His Spirit through you!
In case you are not getting it, let me be blunt. You can’t drive, have friends, talk, eat, praise, give, get married, find a spouse, make a good decision, decide where to go to school, or please Christ in any way, unless it is the Holy Spirit who lives through you, empowering you, glorifying God through you. You can’t, but God can.
One of the main evidences of your salvation, one of the main indicators that you are truly saved, one of the true measures of assurance is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in you and through you. All genuine Christians are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” And 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?” All true Christians are indwelt with the Holy Spirit.
And when the Spirit is in you, He will show through you. First John 3:24, “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” And 1 John 4:13, “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” So all true believers have the Holy Spirit, and all genuine believers will manifest the Spirit through their lives—He’ll leak out. God will display Himself through the life of every genuine Christian.
But as a Christian, it is only as we depend on the Holy Spirit moment-by-moment does anything we do actually glorify God. How many of you here are in faithful ministry to other Christians in this church, just like the Bible commands each believer to do? Can I see your hands? You all realize none of your service, none of your labor, none of your loving sacrifices towards others counts for eternity, does not pleases Christ, unless you are filled with His Spirit.
And just as bad as those who serve in their own strength and not the Spirit’s grieving Him, are those who do not serve at all and quench the Spirit. They literally put the fire of the Spirit out in their lives, and cool off our church family. Instead of their life being a brightly lit fire for God’s glory–they are merely a smolder of smoke.
Now look at Galatians 3, as Paul makes this very clear. The Galatians were starting to drift towards works–that is the heresy that you need to keep the law in order to be saved, and the heresy that you must keep the law in order to grow. Some in Galatia were trying to make salvation a matter of what I do, and not what God has done through Christ on the cross.
Others were saying, “Yes, Christ did the work to save you, but now, as a Christian, you must work hard to stay saved or grow Godly–work hard to keep the rules.”
And Paul says, “No! You were saved by the Spirit, and now grow by the Spirit” (Galatians 3:1 to 5). “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? You are saved by the Spirit, and you grow by the Spirit.
Turn two chapters later to Galatians 5–Paul makes another dramatic statement to Christians, making it clear that if you are not in the Spirit, not living dependently upon the Spirit, not manifesting the Spirit through us, then we are in the flesh. Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” To be in the flesh in this context is to try to live life in your own strength. To be in the Spirit in this context is to live life in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, empowered by Him.
Listen, my beloved church–if you are not manifesting the Spirit, then you are not a true child of God, but a phony Christian. Oh, you may have been in the church for years, you may have walked an aisle, shed some tears, prayed a prayer–your parents and friends may assume you are a Christian. But if you don’t have nor manifest the Holy Spirit, then you are not a Christian.
God says there will be fruit–not the fruit of the flesh, but the fruit of the Spirit. And as you read verses 19 to 24, do not miss God’s conclusion about fruit–He makes two pointed statements about assurance of salvation here. We read this passage and focus on the fruit but miss the point. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
If you have the Holy Spirit, He will manifest His fruit. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you will not show His fruit. And the Spirit is manifested in your life, not merely by the fruit of the Spirit, but by His heart in you. What does that look like? His heart would love the Word, the Spirit of Truth loves the Word of Truth, because the Spirit recorded God’s Word fully using God’s apostles and prophets. Do you love God’s Word? Do you hunger for it? Does that hunger show? Be honest, are you reading His Word?
The Spirit’s heart would also be to obey the Word of God–all the commands of the Bible, not your favorite commandments or your special list of violations you avoid, but all the New Testament commands, like . . .
Ministering your gift in service to the body—COMMANDED
Faithfully attending church every week—COMMANDED
Sacrificially giving through your church body—COMMANDED
Being publically immersed in the waters of baptism—COMMANDED
Loving your enemy—COMMANDED
Forgiving those who sin against you—COMMANDED
Praying for open doors to share the Gospel—COMMANDED
Will you be perfect? Never. Will you fail? Often.
But when you have the Spirit, you will want to obey the Word of God–not just the parts you like or the parts you feel good about, but even those parts that scare you, or require you to change your lifestyle or priorities. And the Spirit’s heart would move you to love Christ first. Do you love Christ more than your spouse–deeply, genuinely? Do you love Christ more than your children? Are you family first, or Christ first? Are you education first, or Bible first? Those indwelt with the Holy Spirit are dependent upon Him to manifest His fruit and demonstrate His heart. Is that you? Is He important to you? Why should He be? Because of Who He is.
#2 Rejoice in Who the Holy Spirit is–God dwells in you
Don’t let that comment slide by—God indwells you? There are some here who’re fearful, worried, downcast. You’re hurting, sad, or struggling with others. You have forgotten God indwells you–we are His temple. The third Person of the trinity indwells you–God is in you, and the Bible reminds us the Holy Spirit is God. Turn to Acts 5.
When the Church was starting out, believers demonstrated the heart of the Spirit through them by giving generously toward one another. They gave sacrificially. One of the greatest things you could give was land, since land was not only generous, but a family inheritance, usually remaining in one family from generation to generation. Land was not given often, but Barnabus gave some land, and the entire Church heard about it and was blessed by it. Acts 4:36 to 37, “Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
Another couple desired to give, so they sold their land and gave the money to the apostles to use for the needs of the Church. As a couple, they decided they would keep some of the money for themselves, which was fine, no problem. The problem came when they told others, or gave the impression to others that they had given all the money to the Church—they lied. No one knew but God, who revealed the deception to His apostles, and look at what happened in Acts 5.
Verse 1 to 5, “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.”
Peter clearly calls the Holy Spirit God. In verse 3, “You have lied to the Holy Spirit,” and verse 4, “You have not lied to men but to God.” Peter clearly calls the Holy Spirit God; God has been lied to. The Holy Spirit is God–He was present before creation began in Genesis 1:2, ”The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
The Holy Spirit was affirmed as the third person of the trinity, even in the Old Testament. Listen as Christ is speaking in Isaiah 48:16, “Come near to Me, listen to this: from the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”
God is three persons, yet one God–the Spirit is God. Christian, I know you forget the Spirit is God and the Spirit indwells you–I know you do . . . like the dating couple who went too far and confessed. Their pastor told them, “Someone saw you compromise last night.” They said, “That’s awful, who was it–who saw us?” Their pastor said, “God did,” and they said, “Oh, well sure.” And their pastor said, “That’s your problem–you fear man, not God. You forget that God is with you, in you, witnessing every word and every action, and seeing every attitude and knowing every thought.”
All the attributes of God are found in the Holy Spirit, as well—like omniscience and omnipresence, found in Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” Answer—nowhere . . . and it is this same indwelling Spirit who comforts us, who prays for us when we don’t know what to pray, who teaches us, leads us, guides us, assures us and gives us joy. Rejoice in who the Spirit is–you don’t have a distant God, but one who makes His abode in you. So how do I live more in the Spirit than in the flesh?
#3 Depend upon the Holy Spirit
Turn to Ephesians 5:18, for that is where the Bible says you need to be filled with the Spirit, for everything . . . serving, talking, driving, giving, thinking, eating and cleaning, with every relationship, spouse, friend, child and acquaintance. Paul says in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” Be filled is a present tense command–24/7. We tend to depend on the Spirit in ministry, but forget to rely on Him in marriage. We think about the Spirit in discipleship, but not depend for washing dishes. We ask for His help when serving, but not in socializing.
The best way to understand filled with the Spirit is to think total dependence. In order to produce fruit, give acceptable worship, be submissive, have assurance, be guided, understand the Scripture, live the Scripture, and serve others you must be filled–completely dependent upon the Spirit.
This is different than being indwelt. Being indwelt with the Spirit means you have all of the Spirit. But being filled with the Spirit means the Spirit has all of you. If you’re not filled right now, you are at this moment not in God’s will–you’re in the flesh, your own strength, not pleasing God. Some here are in the Spirit and some are in the flesh. Look down your row and guess–you can’t see hearts, but those two groups will be different next Sunday. Others will be in the Spirit and others in the flesh. But genuine Christians do not remain in the flesh–there is no carnal Christian. There is no lukewarm believer. So how are you filled with the Spirit? Just think IPOD–not the Mac product, but the acrostic I-P-O-D.
First “I” is immersed in the Word of God–Colossians 3:16
The parallel book to Ephesians is Colossians, and the parallel passage to Ephesians 5:18 is Colossians 3:16, which says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” There is a deep connection between being filled with the Spirit, and letting the word of Christ richly dwell within you. The Word of God dwelling in you literally means to be at home, saturated or immersed. There’s no filling of the Spirit to become like Christ without being immersed in the words of Christ. His words become so much a part of your thinking that you fuel the Spirit’s desire to act on those words through you.
It is like a good cup of tea–any tea drinkers? Radicals! There is a lot more to a cup of tea than water and a tea bag, but hearing the Word of God like you are this morning is like dipping a tea bag one time into a cup of hot water. Some flavor and color from the tea bag will be absorbed by the water, but not as much as if the bag were left in the water for a longer period of time.
Reading the Bible, studying the Bible, memorizing the Bible are all additional dips into the water–some longer, some shorter dips. But having the Word of God dwell in you is leaving the bag in the water, letting all the rich flavor of the tea out into the water all day long. This is the process of biblical meditation–of thinking hard about the truths of God’s Word all day long so they saturate your life with truth, which the Spirit of Truth uses to direct, guide, lead and empower through you.
Have you learned to carry verses with you throughout the day and think on them and rejoice in them all day long? As you scan the news on the internet, do you think hard about how it relates to the Bible (end times, etc.)? God made you to think deeply–the question is, what do we think about all day? We must learn the discipline of thinking deeply about the Bible in order to walk by the Spirit.
First Immersed in the Scripture
Second P is Passionate to serve and share
Do you want to experience God? Then do what the Spirit empowers. The New Testament makes it really clear, serving in your giftedness and sharing the Gospel are two main vehicles of the Holy Spirit through you. Did you ever notice what Paul actually called Spiritual gifts? In 1 Corinthians 12:7, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” God calls spiritual gifts the manifestation of the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit through you for the good of the body of Christ. The Spirit empowers service, the Spirit works through servants.
Self-centered, non-serving, convenience/comfort-loving Christians know little of the power of God in their lives, because their focus is self and not God. They’re spectators, not participants. They’re the drain–seeking to take it all in, and not the faucet–seeking to pour out on others. I will challenge you today the way Paul challenged his timid trainee in 2 Timothy 1:6 to 7, “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
Kindle afresh is to stir the fire, release wild horses, which is Holy Spirit power. What would others say if they evaluated your life? Are you a bucket, only to collect, or a hose to share with others. And just like a lifeguard experiences a surge of adrenaline when he seeks to rescue someone from drowning in water, so a believer will experience God’s power when they seek to share the Gospel to rescue others from drowning in sin.
Every time you see the Gospel going out in the book of Acts, you will see some reference to the work of the Spirit. It will say, like in Acts 4:8 and 31, “Then Peter filled with the Spirit,” shared the Gospel of Christ, or “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” The Spirit empowers the sharing of the Gospel, and the Spirit empowers the serving of others with giftedness. So be immersed in the Word of God, and be passionate about using your gift to serve, and using the Gospel to share.
Third O is Obedient
The Bible is really pointed–no one is filled with the Spirit who is currently, knowingly disobedient to the Scripture–both the sins of commission where you disobey what is clearly forbidden in Scripture, and the sins of omission, where you are not obeying something the Bible commands you to do. Ephesians 4:30 talks about the sins of commission as Paul says, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Paul tells us the Holy Spirit is literally saddened by our unrepentant sin.
First Thessalonians 5:19 talks about the sins of omission with, “Do not quench the Spirit.” The context was the refusal to allow God’s gifts to be manifested. The Thessalonians were literally dumping cold water on the burning fire of the Spirit in the Church. Don’t deceive yourself–no one who is living in unrepentant, unconfessed, defiant, ongoing sin is filled with the Spirit.
So IPOD—Immersed in the Word of God, Passionate about sharing and serving, Obedient to the Word of God
Fourth D is Dependent
Back to Ephesians 5:18, “Be filled with the Spirit.” You have heard me say this before–to be filled is to have the wind in your sails, to be saturated, and to be highly dependent . . . to not trust you, your thinking or ideas, but to have faith in God’s Word and trust Him totally.
The verb “be filled” is a continual, plural command to obey, but it is in a passive voice. It is a command you have to obey, but it has to happen to you. It means you step out in dependent faith, you obey but reliantly, you distrust yourself and trust God, you fully embrace “you can’t, but Christ can.” You don’t do the Christian life, but you “D.O.” the Christian life–Dependently Obey. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. I take full responsibility for my own actions, and I trust completely in the totally complete sovereignty of God over my life.
So IPOD—Immersed in the Word of God, Passionate about sharing and serving, Obedient to the Word of God, and Dependent upon the Holy Spirit 24/7 for everything and everyone.
Brothers and sisters, are you filled with the Spirit or filled with the flesh? Do you walk with the Spirit, remembering His presence in you? Do you honor Him for His role in saving you, and are you praying He will work in the lives of others who are still dead just like you were? Are you immersed in His truth? Are you passionate about serving others with your gift? And are you truly dependent upon the Spirit in everyday tasks, with every relationship, with everything you do?
Those of you who find yourself in the flesh or without power–would you allow the Spirit to work in your heart to draw you to Christ, awaken your dead heart, and open your blind eyes to see that only by giving up your life and taking Christ’s life will save you. Let’s pray.
Is the Spirit that vital in my life? Yes, He is.
1 The Holy Spirit works the Word into your life, makes it tasty, helps you digest it, own it and live it and love it. True Christians love the Word, and genuine believers affirm obedience to the Word. If you have no hunger for the Word and no concern about obeying it, then you do not have the Holy Spirit, meaning you’re not saved.
2 The Holy Spirit causes you to overcome sin—Galatians 5:16. The only way to deal with sin is to be reliant upon the Spirit. What about that stubborn sin? Filled moment-by-moment over time causes you to develop a walk in the Spirit. And when you do walk by the Spirit, Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
3 The Holy Spirit produces heart change–fruit through you, Galatians 5, and joy in you, Ephesians 3:16.
4 The Holy Spirit directs you. He guides you, Romans 8:14. You will not make good decisions unless you cultivate a pattern of dependence upon the Spirit. That means, first according to the Word of God, then it means completely submissive and dependent on God, “Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding.”
5 The Holy Spirit comforts, secures, and cares. He assures you in Romans 8:16, prays for you in Romans 8:26 to 27, and He comforts you in 2 Corinthians 1.
6 The Holy Spirit has two main goals–to bring you to Christ, then to make you more like Christ.
First To draw you to Christ in salvation
Second To make you more like Christ in sanctification–Romans 8:29. Are you cooperating?