———————————————–THE HOLY SPIRIT AND YOU
Philippians 1:19: the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
This chapter examines the role of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. It is important to keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Jesus Christ”. In the same manner Jesus and the Father are one, so Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one. The Holy Spirit loves Jesus with a love unfathomable. And that love is reciprocal.
Acts 1:2: He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles
As “the head of the church”, Jesus speaks to His church “through the Holy Spirit”. More important to you, Jesus speaks to you “through the Holy Spirit”. He spoke to Peter….
Acts 11:12: the Spirit told me to go with them,
As the Spirit “told” Peter, so He communicates with every faithful disciple of Christ throughout church history. And if you are a disciple (not merely a convert) of the Lord Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit will communicate with you.
Revelation 2:7: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
It is of no benefit to us for “the Spirit of Christ” to speak if we are not one “who has an ear… (to) hear what the Spirit” is saying. It is imperative to be in communication with the Holy Spirit; this calls for a sensitivity that comes from surrender to His lordship.
Philippians 2:1: fellowship of the Spirit,
Because the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Ph’p.1:9) one cannot have “fellowship of the Spirit” without having fellowship with Christ. How much of the Spirit do you have? This is relative to how much of Jesus you have. Well then, how much of Jesus do you have? Think about this: You have exactly as much of Jesus as you want to have, not more, not less.
Perhaps an analogy will best make the point….
In a typical congregation there are a few who are wealthy and a few who are poor, and the majority are somewhere in-between. If an accountant were to determine each person’s financial worth we would see that everyone’s is different. Many are close to average, but no two person’s financial value is exactly the same. So it is with the value of relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Relationally speaking, no two people in a congregation have the same amount of Jesus. A few are wealthy in their love and enthusiasm for Christ, a few are poor, and the majority are somewhere in-between. If we could somehow determine the worth of each relationship we would see that everyone’s is different. Many are close to average but no two persons are exactly the same.
Whereas circumstances often dictate financial status, desire of the heart determines the quality of our relationship with Jesus. If we wanted more of Jesus we would have more. If we wanted less we would have less. We have exactly as much of Jesus Christ as we want.
And we have exactly as much of “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” as we have of Jesus. Some want the power of the Holy Spirit but distance themselves from Jesus. This reveals they want the power for illegitimate reasons, not to glorify Christ but to elevate self or to fortify the way it is.
1 Corinthians 2:2: I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Want more of the Holy Spirit? Then let the focus of your life be 1) “Jesus Christ and” 2) “Him crucified”.
“Him crucified”. All that you are is because of “Him crucified”. Your freedom is in and because of “Him crucified”. Your right to approach the throne of God in prayer is because of “Him crucified”. All the privileges we have as “heirs of God” are because of “Him crucified”.
Galatians 6:14: God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
If your boast is in anything other than Calvary’s cross it is misdirected.
Ephesians 5:18: be filled with the Spirit,
How do you know if you are “filled with the Spirit”? The Spirit magnifies Jesus; to the degree you magnify Christ you have the Spirit. An enthusiasm for Christ is a sure sign of the Spirit’s presence.
How does a christian get “filled with the Spirit”? By sincerely and fervently turning to Jesus, by embracing Him fully in one’s life. It is a package deal; with Jesus Christ comes “the Spirit of Jesus Christ”.
2 Corinthians 5:10: we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Life on earth should be a preparation for that day when you give an account to Jesus because on that day it will be revealed how you will live your eternity. It won’t be a happy occasion if you do not lean heavily on the Holy Spirit in this life, if you do not develop an ear for hearing what the Spirit is saying.
Acts 13:25: as John was finishing his course,
Like John the Baptist, you have a “course”, a specific assignment (commission), to accomplish before you go to heaven. You will not finish your course if you live independent of the Holy Spirit, if you follow the crowd, if you submit to the way it is, if you live to please men.
John 8:32: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
You were saved because someone preached truth to you. Now that you are a believer you need truth to be successful, victorious, fruitful. How do you get this necessary truth?
John 16:13: when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;
One gets truth from “the Spirit of truth”. What friends should I have? What fellowship should I attend? What does God want me to do with my life? Which of the five ministry gifts of Ephesians 4:11 is mine? For every question the Spirit of God has the answer. And not just answers to the big questions.
What does God want me to do today? Is what I heard from the pulpit on Sunday the rightly divided Word? Would the Lord have me pray for someone in particular? Is the book that was recommended to me edifying? Who can I trust to baby-sit my children? Where is the best place to buy running shoes?
How does the Holy Spirit communicate to us?
Romans 8:16: The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
The Spirit “bears witness” to truth, all truth.
Romans 8:15: you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
As a new babe in Christ, nobody told me to call God “Father”. Nobody taught me to talk over my day with Him before going to sleep at night. It just came naturally. The Spirit gave witness to my spirit that I was God’s kid, and prompted me to communicate with Him.
In the same manner that he “bears witness” to the truth that we are His children He “bears witness” to all truth. But “to hear what the Spirit says” (Rev.2:7) you must walk close, really close, to the Lord…. because He will not shout to those who distance themselves. Your ability to hear the Spirit is relative to your love for Christ.
Romans 8:14: as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Only those who are God’s children can be led by the Spirit. But not all of God’s children are led by God’s Spirit. Few fully submit to His leadership, most being loyal to the way it is. Men pleasers, men-gazers, the lukewarm are not “led by the Spirit of God”. This is not to say the Holy Spirit rejects them; faithfulness is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit and His faithfulness is not dependent on ours.
Matthew 16:26: what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
“What is a (christian) profited” if he gains the whole world and is barren of “gold, silver, precious stones” at the judgement seat of Christ? Christians must not be ambitious for profit. Greed for “treasures on earth” is a serious hindrance to hearing the Holy Spirit. Greed for gain displaces the Holy Spirit, thus impeding His sustaining grace.
Proverbs 1:19: So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.
It takes away the life of the Spirit.
1 Peter 5:7: casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Cares carried instead of cast will weaken the presence, and therefore the power, of the Holy Spirit. Worry and the Holy Spirit are simply not compatible. Only one can reign in one’s heart.
1 Peter 5:5: “God resists the proud,
The proud will not bow to the lordship of Jesus Christ, nor the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 5:5: But gives grace to the humble.”
Grace comes with humility. No one becomes born again of the Holy Spirit except by humbling oneself before God. And no one can be successful as a believer except by humility. The Holy Spirit blesses and uses the humble of heart.
1 Peter 5:6: Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
“In due time” could refer, in part, to the judgement seat of Christ.
John 15:4: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
Everyone abides in something or someone. Everyone is infatuated by, addicted to, converted to something. We know what or whom a believer abides in by the fruit of his life. Everyone bears fruit and by this fruit the vine can be easily identified. If the vine is Jesus the fruit is good…. the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, the fruit of good works accomplished through Christ, the fruit of gratitude, a reverence for Jesus.
If the vine from which one draws life is the way it is, or business, or fellow christians (or whatever), the fruit is bad. Sadly, most christians seem to be tapped into two vines (or more), Jesus and something (or someone) else. The fruit of this divided loyalty is a mixture of both good and bad.
In ourselves we are not able to abide in Christ. We are reliant on the Holy Spirit. The acknowledgement of this dependency will cause us to bow to His lordship. Bowing to the lordship of the Holy Spirit will always lead into intimacy with Jesus.
Lordship. That word again. It really is an issue of lordship.
Before I was saved the Holy Spirit spoke to me. I was seeking for truth and reality with a somewhat honest heart and the Holy Spirit responded.
I was at mass, another boring mass, when the Holy Spirit came upon me. I was staring transfixed at a large crucifix at the front of the church. Tears were streaming down my face as the Holy Spirit was speaking.
“Don’t you get it?” the Holy Spirit said.
“No, God, I don’t get it.”
“Don’t you get it?” He repeated.
“No, God, I don’t get it.”
I didn’t have a clue what or where truth was. I just knew there had to be something valid somewhere. And here I was, staring at Truth (a symbol of Truth), tears falling down my face, and the Holy Spirit saying repeatedly, “Don’t you get it?” There before me was “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”, but I could not make a connection between that and the truth/reality I was seeking. (Who would have guessed Truth was a person?)
I quietly laughed in exasperation as the Spirit continued to say, “Don’t you get it?” “No, God, I just don’t get it. Don’t give up on me, God! Don’t give up on me!”
Weeks later the Holy Spirit spoke to me again: “That person has the answer you have been seeking”, referring to a certain nun dressed in customary black. About two weeks later this sister handed me a tract entitled “The Four Spiritual Laws” published by Campus Crusade for Christ, saying to others nearby, “The Holy Spirit told me to give this to Larry!” Wow! A catholic nun giving me a tract published by a ‘protestant’ ministry! Wow! “The Holy Spirit” told her to give it to me!
I read the tract a number of times, and even got my Bible out to read the verses it referred to. I became extremely angry with God!
All this tract talked about was Jesus! This was nothing new. I heard about Jesus all my life. I was literally afflicted with a need to find reality, and I thought God was about to reveal it to me. I was sure this tract was going to satisfy my deep longing, but it only spoke of Jesus Christ. Was God playing a practical joke? Was He teasing me? Did He have no regard for the ache in my heart? It was midnight, I was spilling over with acidic bitterness, I went to bed.
The next morning I woke up with the same bitterness; it had not subsided through the night. I was in the bathroom standing on the bathtub, shaking my fist at God. I couldn’t hit Him with my fist so I hit Him with words. Being a construction worker, I had no shortage of expletives, and I directed them at God. I swore I would never repent. He could kill me and send me to hell, but I would never apologize. And I would never trust Him again. It was my darkest hour.
Who can understand the love of God? The Holy Spirit spoke to me again, “Give Jesus a chance! Give Jesus a chance!” Over and over again, He said those same words, “Give Jesus a chance! Give Jesus a chance!” “Okay,” I thought, “I have never been in a worse condition. What have I got to lose?”
Two days later I was alone in St. Theresa catholic church, a short walk from our residence, about to give my life to Christ. I imagined putting myself in a box, wrapping the box in decorative paper, wrapping a bow around it, and presenting it to Jesus. Nothing happened.
The Holy Spirit spoke again, telling me to receive Christ in the same manner, as a gift. Receive Christ!? I knew Christ was God. How could I receive God!? Well…. okay.
Something happened. Something deep, something real, something permanent. I was suddenly taken “from the power of darkness and conveyed…. into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” The Holy Spirit was the evangelist who led me to God’s great salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sadly, as the years passed I drifted from relationship into religion. Like most, I lived my life doing what I thought was right and practical, and not one led by the “Spirit of Christ.” The Holy Spirit spoke to me less and less.
There are two things that amaze me: 1) the inability of the unsaved to recognize their need for Christ, and 2) the inability of christians to recognize their need for Christ.
There came a time when I made a conscious decision to submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The result was extreme frustration! I had learned I could not have good fruit without Him, I was willing to submit to His lordship, but it was so difficult discerning what He wanted me to do. I reasoned if I sincerely wanted to serve God through good works the Holy Spirit would surely cooperate. For years I prayed to hear the voice of God but rarely did. I felt rejected.
In time I began to pursue Christ, returning to my “first love”. With Jesus came the “Spirit of Jesus Christ”. Before, I had wanted the Holy Spirit so I could do good works independent of Christ. This was not a conscious decision; I had a veil over my mind; a religious spirit had crept in and I could not see the poverty of my soul.
Now I am determined to have more of Christ, consistently more, and I know this desire is the fruit of the Spirit. To the degree I become a true disciple of Christ the Holy Spirit will lead me, just as He will lead every faithful disciple.
Today life is simple. My ambition is to do what God tells me to do. And I will not do anything that God does not tell me to do. I submit to the lordship of the Holy Spirit, trusting Him for direction, trusting Him to bring me ever closer to my Christ.
Now the Holy Spirit communicates with me more and more.
During a Sunday morning service, a visiting preacher was preaching Christ. “Who is this Jesus?” he cried out from a hungry heart. He knew Him, yet the cry of his heart was to know Him. I had many times listened to his recorded music, highly anointed, and had prayed to love Jesus as this brother loved Him. Listening to him speak Christ so passionately that Sunday, I was desperate to ‘catch up’ to this brother, to love Jesus Christ as he did. But how? As he was preaching the Holy Spirit gave me a plan.
As you know, the day before His crucifixion Jesus shared the Passover feast with His disciples, and then He broke custom by distributing bread and wine representing His body and blood, saying, “Do this in remembrance of Me”. The Passover meal was a memorial of God’s deliverance to the Israelites; the ensuing communion ceremonial is for the purpose of remembering “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”, “our Passover”, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.
Every day (that I am home) I have communion during my alone time with the Lord early in the morning. Often I cry out to Jesus as I eat the bread and drink the “fruit of the vine”, asking Him to change me, asking to know nothing other than “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”, to live “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”, and to have opportunity to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”.
I will draw closer to Jesus Christ through the daily breaking of bread. The Holy Spirit, who first brought me to Jesus for salvation, is at work leading me relationally closer to Him.
I have not always obeyed the Holy Spirit.
I was about to grab a light meal at a coffee shop, and before walking through the door I passed a motorcyclist, garbed in black, having a coffee by himself. I felt an urge to ask him if I could join him, and argued with myself whether or not this was the Holy Spirit or me. I chickened out. Later, I knew I had been disobedient. (“The fear of man brings a snare.” Pr.29:25) Help me, Jesus, to overcome!
I have deep yearnings that I believe have been imparted by God. These will never be fulfilled except by the Holy Spirit and my sensitivity to Him. I cannot boast of good discernment; I have been wrong. But in the awareness of my weakness is His strength. I do not lean on my ability to discern, but His ability to communicate to me. I trust in the promise, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame”.
Your life is as valuable as mine, your potential equal. I pray this sharing will stir you to go deeper, always deeper, in Christ Jesus. If you are ahead of me please keep on going, set your “face like a flint”, don’t look back. If you think you might be behind catch up by the power of the Holy Spirit. May the good fruit of your life far surpass mine.
Be blessed, be strengthened, be made whole, “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth”!
——————————————————A TRIBUTE TO JESUS CHRIST
worthy is the lamb
who was slain
worthy is the lamb
who was slain
worthy is the lamb
who was slain
for you were slain
and have redeemed us
by your blood
worthy is the lamb
who was slain