Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Holy Spirit #02

In the previous newsletter we studied the divinity and the personality of the blessed third member of the Trinity. In this lesson I want to discuss the presence of the Holy Spirit.

HIS PRESENCE: In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit made visitations to men on earth but did not abide in them. A most enlightening statement to this effect is found in John 7:37-39: In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

What does it mean; the Holy Spirit was not yet given?

Was not this Spirit seen brooding over the water in Genesis 1:2?

Did not He descend as a dove at the baptism of the Saviour?

The answer to all these queries is an unequivocal Yes!

However, these were only visitations upon men to empower them for service. He did not abide in or remain upon them for an entire lifetime. This He would do after the glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Saviour predicted this in John 14:16: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Then in the next verse, Christ states: . . . he dwelleth with you, and shall be [future tense] in you. The Lord again says in John 16:7: Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

There can be no religious quibbling about statements such as these. The Holy Spirit was not on earth as an abiding indweller while Christ was on earth. He could only take up this ministry after Christ's ascension or glorification. When did the blessed Holy Spirit come into the world to live in believers? The answer is simply on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:1, 2 states: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 

The result - (verse 4) . . . they were all filled with the Holy Ghost . . . .

Wind is often connoted with the Holy Spirit. For instance, Jesus said that a man must be born of the Spirit in John 3:5 and adds in verse 8: The wind bloweth where it listeth [wills], and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. So this wind which hit them with the force of a hurricane on the day of Pentecost was the fulfilled promise of the Christ who had sent the other Comforter to abide in believers.

From that point onward, the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 51:11 was outdated. He said: . . . take not thy holy spirit from me. This could only happen when the Holy Spirit made visitations upon men but could never happen after He had come to abide and dwell in men. Amen and amen!

Please do not insult the Lord with erroneous prayers.

The same Holy Spirit which baptises every believer into the Body of Christ at the time of salvation (I Corinthians 12:13) also seals that one into the Body for all eternity (Ephesians 4:30).

Do not take my word for it but God's.

The Holy Spirit's Sealing

Ephesians 4:30 states: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

What a thought! We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God unto the day of redemption.

What day is that?

It is the day when our very bodies are resurrected and redeemed in the presence of God (Romans 8:23). First Thessalonians 4:16, 17 declares: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. It is at this moment that the bodies of the dead and living in Christ are redeemed and - praise His Holy Name - the blessed Holy Spirit seals us to the very moment.

The sealing does not depend on man's perfection but upon Christ's completed work at Calvary and the Holy Spirit's keeping power. If you cannot accept this statement, look at Ephesians 4:30 again: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. It does not say, If one grieves the Holy Spirit, the seal is broken. Instead, it declares that even the one grieving the Spirit remains sealed.

Now, the Holy Spirit may make the erring child miserable because when He, living in the believer, is grieved, the same believer automatically partakes of the grieved Spirit's feelings. And the Lord may give that child a good spiritual paddling (Hebrews 12:5) to bring him to holiness (verse 10), but the fact is that the one doing the grieving is still sealed for time and eternity. Paul again rejoices in this truth in II Corinthians 1:22 as he cries: [God] hath also sealed us, and given the earnest [or guarantee] of the Spirit in our hearts. And again: . . . in [Christ] also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise 

(Ephesians 1:13). Beloved, the Comforter has come to abide and live in believers forever. The genuinely saved need never pray, "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me," and the professors of religion certainly cannot pray it because they never had Him.

So dispensationally the prayer is obsolete. Why?

Because on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to dwell in believers for the entire Church Age. When the Church shall be evacuated at the Rapture, the Holy Spirit and those in whose heart He lives will be caught up and out in the twinkling of an eye, thus ending the Spirit's present program of abiding and dwelling in the bodies of believers. At the Rapture He goes back to the Old Testament method of coming upon individuals and then they will again pray: "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.

The Holy Spirit's Omnipresence

All of the foregoing does not mean that the Holy Spirit is limited to a particular place. He is omnipresent or
everywhere at all times. He always was, is, and always shall be present in all places because He is God. The psalmist said in Psalm 139:7: . . . whither shall I flee from thy presence? He then enumerates places in heaven, earth, and hell proving that the Spirit is everywhere. Though He is God and everywhere present, still He chooses to work differently in various eras of time. This is what we have discussed to this point.

for the Holy Spirit's Presence
Let's consider further reasons for the Holy Spirit's presence among us:

A. The Holy Spirit Strives

Genesis 6:3 states that the Holy Spirit strives with sinners. This striving of the Spirit is closely related to His convicting work . . . when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove [or convict] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8). God gave His Son to die for sinners. Christ went through the atrocious agonies of Calvary in His quest for sinners. The Holy Spirit lovingly, tenderly, and compassionately strives, convicts, woos, and wins every sinner who turns to Jesus.

B. The Holy Spirit Restrains

He also restrains sin in this wicked, hell-bent world. This does not mean the discontinuance of all evil. He could do this by making men robots. However, His purpose is simply to check the evil so that there is still a semblance of sanity left upon the earth. But during the 7-year period of Tribulation when His restraining influence will have been removed, all hell will unleash itself upon this globe. Second Thessalonians 2:7, 8 states: For the mystery of iniquity [lawlessness] doth already work: only he [the Spirit] who now letteth [restraineth] will let [go on restraining], until he [the Restrainer] be takers out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed . . . . That will be hell on earth.

C. The Holy Spirit Regenerates

Another ministration of the Holy Spirit concerns regenerating souls. We touched briefly on this in the earlier part of the study. When one is born again of the Spirit (John 3:5), he receives a new nature - God's divine nature. As human generation begets a life after its kind, so divine regeneration means the impartation of life from God. This is what the Apostle Peter had in mind when he said: might be partakers of the divine nature . . . (II Peter 1:4). At salvation, regeneration - or the imparting of God's nature to the repentant sinner - takes place. Over 85 New Testament passages verify this truth. Church membership is not the answer. A woman cannot become a hen by sitting in a chicken coop. Neither can one become a saint with a divine nature by sitting in church. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again (John 3:6, 7).

D. The Holy Spirit Illuminates

We again see that the Holy Spirit illuminates or enlightens a sinner. Some young people accept the put-downs of the Bible from conceited professors with Ph.D. degrees because they feel these educated nincompoops know everything there is to know about the Bible. Students, I have news for you. To understand the Holy Bible one must know the Author personally - the Holy Spirit of God. First Corinthians 2:11 declares: . . . the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Verse 12: Now we have received . . . the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Then He dogmatically states in verse 14: But the natural man [or unsaved man laden with all of his academic degrees] receiveth not [or understands not] the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. They do not know the Author who holds the key to unlocking the Book. We will have much to say about the anointing of and the filling with the Spirit in subsequent chapters.

E. The Holy Spirit's Comforting Ministry

Jesus said: I will not leave you comfortless . . . (John 14:18), so when He departed He promised to send the Comforter unto the disciples. The actual Greek word which Christ used was Paraclete, which means a helper or one called to another's side to aid the person. Oh, if we Christians could only realize that He is always there to aid and comfort us, we would not have to depend upon men. There is someone far greater than ministers, psychologists, or psychiatrists. He is the blessed Comforter - the Paraclete, who never leaves or forsakes a child of God.

An unsaved man sitting next to a Christian on a train began weeping. The Christian asked, "May I share your burden?" The stranger replied, "I have just lost my wife and our home is so empty. All I have now is her parakeet for company." The Christian answered, "I, too, have lost my loved one, but I have the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, and He never leaves me." This testimony led to the man's conversion. Oh, child of God, how we miss the glorious truth of the Paraclete's comforting ministry This Holy Spirit not only abides with us throughout our earthly pilgrimage but stays with us - hovering over our graves - until the redemption of our bodies. 

You see, the body of the Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). Since it is His temple, He watches over it.

Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman, preaching at Dayton, Ohio, to a group of ministers, said: "I was sitting in my home in the country, reading the account of an address delivered by Dr. Moorehead at a Bible conference. He said that when one became a son of God the Spirit of God came into that person to dwell, and would continue to dwell in that body until the resurrection." Dr. Chapman continued: "I started thinking about that and tears filled my eyes.

I told my man to hitch the horse to the carriage, and my wife and I rode out to the little grave where we had buried our firstborn son, and as we stood there that morning we said, `Thank You, Lord, for keeping watch.' Immediately peace filled our souls. Then years later I stood by the grave of my mother and again said, `Thank You, Holy Spirit, for staying with your temple and keeping watch."'

Unsaved reader, you do not know what you are missing by not knowing Jesus.

Get saved - receive Christ.

When Christ comes in, immediately the Holy Spirit also enters to abide with you forever. He will comfort you daily and stay with your corpse in the grave.

Then at the resurrection of the just, He will touch your body with n
ew life, reunite it with the soul, and sweep your triune person - body, soul, and spirit - into His presence.