The Biblical Christian Network: “Holy Spirit Study” (1-3)

Posted: March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Yes! Jesus is Coming!

-The Classic Christian Network-Biblical Prophecy Today Network-Last Generation News Report-Christian Issues Network-Last Call Devotional Network-Natzsal The Jewish Network-Michael James Stone Online-

“Holy Spirit Study”

12 Studies in the Holy Spirit Weekly

(currently)

-Chuck Smith-

 

 

Chuck Smith

(1)
The Person of the Holy Spirit

Jesus is about ready to go to the cross to be crucified. He is in the final sessions with His disciples who are deeply disturbed by His words as He speaks about going away. But in John 14 He said,

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17)

The purpose of the series that we are beginning tonight is to bring you into the knowledge of the person of the Holy Spirit, in order that you might come into a full, rich relationship with Him. It is our desire to so present His glory and beauty that you will seek to yield your life fully to Him, that you might know His grace, His love, His power, and the gifts of the Spirit in your life. We desire that you might come to experience Him as did Finney—that great American evangelist and theologian, who wrote these words:

After dinner we [referring to Squire Wright and himself] were engaged in removing our books and furniture to another office. We were very busy in this, and had but little conversation all the afternoon. My mind, however, remained in that profoundly tranquil state. There was a great sweetness and tenderness in my thoughts and feelings. Everything appeared to be going right, and nothing seemed to ruffle or disturb me in the least.

Just before evening the thought took possession of my mind, that as soon as I was left alone in the new office, I would try to pray again—that I was not going to abandon the subject of religion and give it up, at any rate; and therefore, although I no longer had any concern about my soul, still I would continue to pray.

By evening we got the books and furniture adjusted; and I made up, in an open fireplace, a good fire, hoping to spend the evening alone. Just at dark Squire W, seeing that everything was adjusted, bade me goodnight and went to his home. I had accompanied him to the door; and as I closed the door and turned around, my heart seemed to be liquid within me. All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out; and the utterance of my heart was, “I want to pour my whole soul out to God.” The rising of my soul was so great that I rushed into the room back of the front office, to pray.

There was no fire, and no light, in the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It did not occur to me then, nor did it for some time afterward, that it was wholly a mental state. On the contrary it seemed to me that I saw Him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at his feet. I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind; for it seemed to me a reality, that He stood before me, and I fell down at his feet and poured out my soul to Him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed His feet with my tears; and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched Him, that I recollect.

I must have continued in this state for a good while; but my mind was too much absorbed with the interview to recollect anything that I said. But I know, as soon as my mind became calm enough to break off from the interview, I returned to the front office, and found that the fire that I had made of large wood was nearly burned out. But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love, for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.

No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushings of my heart. These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after the other, until I recollect I cried out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.” I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more;” yet I had no fear of death. (Finney)

The experience in his own words, of Finney, that great American evangelist.

It is my prayer that you also shall come to a very vivid, glorious experience with the person of the Holy Spirit. It is important that we realize that the Holy Spirit is a person. If you think of the Holy Spirit only as an essence, only as a breeze, only as a power, it is very difficult to develop a meaningful relationship with an essence. If you think of the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force, an unintelligent power that permeates the universe, you really cannot love Him or call upon Him in your time of need.

He has been sent by the Father at the request of Jesus to come alongside of you to help you. Jesus said, “I will pray the Father. He shall give to you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16). And even in that you have—what we will take up in the next lesson— the Trinity, or the triunity of the Godhead. You have Jesus declaring,

I will pray the Father. He will give to you another Comforter [paraclete], even the Spirit of truth. (John 14:16)

The Son is praying to the Father that you might receive the Spirit.

Now there are certain necessary characteristics of personality. Three things are necessary for personality: 1) will, 2) intelligence, and 3) emotions. Personality has will, intelligence, and emotions. And if the Holy Scriptures ascribe these characteristics to the Holy Spirit, then it is safe to assume that He is indeed a person.

Personal pronouns are also used in reference to the Holy Spirit. In this promise that we read,

I will pray the Father. He [that is, the Holy Spirit] or the Father, He will give you another Comforter that He [the Holy Spirit] may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him. But you know Him for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17)

And then in John 16,

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. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin because they believe not on Me. Of righteousness because I go to My Father and you see Me no more. Of judgment because the prince of the world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth, for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me for He shall receive of Mine and shall show it unto you. (John 16:7-14)

And so all of these personal pronouns are in reference to the Holy Spirit.

Intelligence is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 2,

But as it is written: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those that love Him, but God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of man save the spirit of man which is in him. Even so, the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

He knows the things of God.

Which things also we speak [Paul said] not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but with the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13)

Now notice the things that Paul says about the Holy Spirit in this passage. And that is that God reveals things to us by the Holy Spirit—that the Spirit searches all things, the deep things of God. The things of God that man does not know, the Spirit knows. We have received the Spirit of God that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God, and the Holy Spirit then teaches us.

The Holy Spirit is spoken of as having a will—a second characteristic of personality. In the disbursement of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul said,

But these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. (1 Corinthians 12:11)

And then the Scripture speaks of the emotions of the Holy Spirit in Romans 15,

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake and for the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me. (Romans 15:30)

Again the three, “I beseech for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake…for the love of the Spirit…and that you would strive together with me in your prayers to God for me”—Father, Son, Spirit.

In Isaiah 63 it says,

But they rebelled and vexed His Holy Spirit, therefore He was turned to be their enemy and fought against them. (Isaiah 63:10)

You can vex the Holy Spirit. Ephesians says,

Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

So He can be grieved.

Now this would be impossible to say of just an essence or a non-person. A plant is a non-person. It would be ridiculous to say, “Oh, don’t grieve that plant,” or “You have vexed that plant—he is angry with you,” or “Oh, that plant loves me.” You see, you cannot say this of something other than a person. The Holy Spirit is a person who loves you and who can be grieved by you.

Not only are these characteristics of personality ascribed to the Holy Spirit—personal pronouns given to Him—but also there are personal acts that are attributed to the Holy Spirit. He speaks—again, it is hard for you to think of something other than a person speaking. In Acts, as they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said,

Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:2)

In 1 Timothy,

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith. (1 Timothy 4:1)

In Revelation,

He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth unto the churches. (Revelation 2:7)

Secondly, He intercedes,

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but theSpirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26 KJV emphasis added)

In the Revised Standard Version, “the Spirit Itself” is changed to “the Spirit Himself.”

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himselfintercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. (Romans 8:26 RSV emphasis added)

He testifies in John,

But when the Comforter has come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth which proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of me. (John 15:26)

Note again the three—when the Comforter has come, whom I will send to you from the Father—I will send from the Father. You have the Father, the Son, the Spirit.

Even the Spirit of truth which proceeds from the Father. He shall testify of me. (John 15:26)

It is doubly bound up in that verse. The Spirit of God teaches,

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)

And in Nehemiah,

Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them and withheldest not the manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. (Nehemiah 9:20)

He guides us in Acts,

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go to Bithynia; but the Spirit suffered them not. (Acts16:6-7)

And then He communes with us. Paul said,

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Again notice the three: grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; love of God; and communion of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit strives with men in Genesis,

And the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not always strive with man.’ (Genesis 6:3)

And then He works miracles in Romans,

Through mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:19)

Mighty signs and wonders are worked by the power of the Spirit of God.

Personal treatments are accorded to the Holy Spirit—that is, He can be grieved.

Paul said,

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

He can be lied to. In the case of Ananias and Sapphira,

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? (Acts 5:3)

He can be resisted. Stephen, in his defense, in Acts said,

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:51)

He can be vexed. We have already looked at that in Isaiah,

But they rebelled and vexed his holy Spirit. (Isaiah 63:10)

He can be blasphemed. In Mark, Jesus said,

Verily, I say unto you, All sin shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme. But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. (Mark 3:28-29)

Now from these passages we can safely conclude that the Holy Spirit is indeed a person, possessing all of the characteristics of personality. And as a person, He can be known. As a person, you may develop a relationship with Him. As a person, you can come into a close, intimate fellowship with Him. And as a person, you can commune with Him.

Jesus, in promising the Holy Spirit, referred to the Holy Spirit as theparaclete. And He promised His disciples that He would pray the Father to give to them another Comforter—parakleton. The word paraklete in Greek means one who comes alongside to help. Jesus has been alongside of the disciples for several years. And He is now saying to them, “I am going away. Where I am going you cannot come now.”

Surely you can imagine how they felt because they had come to so trust in the Lord. They had such confidence that He was the Master of every situation. Jesus was just a handy person to have around. They never had to worry when Jesus was there. If the Pharisees were trying to trip them up and stump them with some kind of a technical question, Jesus would handle them. And He could handle them quite handily. And so they would not have to worry—just talk to Him, you know. If there were taxes to pay and they did not have the money available—it was wonderful to have Jesus around—He would tell them just exactly how to get the money. “Go catch a fish, take the coin out of his mouth and pay the man.” If they were out on a stormy sea in danger of sinking, it was always great to have Jesus around because He had the power to still the storm and to bring them safely into the desired haven.

All the way along they had come to trust in Jesus. They had come to rely upon Him. When Jesus was there, there was nothing to worry about. There was nothing to fear—He was there helping them. Now He is saying, “I am going away,” and the disciples’ hearts are filled with fear and turmoil. And that is why Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Those words indicated that their hearts were troubled—they were afraid. They wondered, “What will we do without Jesus?” And Jesus is now telling them what they will do.

“I will not leave you comfortless.” The word there is orphanos. I will not leave you as orphans. I will pray the Father—He will give you anotherparakleton, another Comforter—one who will come alongside of you to help you. And that is exactly what the purpose of the Holy Spirit is. He is the one to whom you may come into a personal relationship, who will come alongside of you and help you in and through every situation of life. And Jesus is saying, “Just as I was with you and took care of every situation, so the Holy Spirit will be with you and will take care of every situation for you.”

And that is why it is so very important that each of us come to know the person of the Holy Spirit. To know Him in His fullness, in order that we might experience that comfort, that help, the strength that we all need, especially in these days in which we are living.

Through the grace of God we are praying that during this series of studies, God will give to you such a knowledge of the Holy Spirit, such a hunger for the Holy Spirit, such a thirsting after the Spirit, that you will come to know Him as He has been revealed to us in the Scriptures. As you come into a deep, personal, intimate relationship with Him, your life will be absolutely transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit working in you.

So, it is my purpose during these studies to introduce you to the Holy Spirit. And it is my prayer that you come into a long and fruitful relationship with Him—that you will come to depend upon Him for your guidance, for your help, for your strength, for your comfort, and for power. And I pray that He will come and become closer to you than any person you know. May you be bathed in His glory and may you yield to His influence as you allow Him to conform your life into the image of Jesus Christ.

Now it is always dangerous to look at the experience of others and seek to have a duplication of their experience. Although Finney described his experience as waves of liquid love just flowing over and over and over until he cried out, “I will die if these waves continue to pass over me”—and though he described his experience as electricity, waves of electricity going though and through him—that could very well not be your experience. It is not necessary that you have the same reactions to the Holy Spirit or the same feelings that Finney had. The Holy Spirit is sovereign in the gifts that He bestows upon the believers. He is sovereign in the way He relates to us. Some, as Finney, have described experiences like electrical shocks and others have described tingling sensations. Some have described just waves of glory, while still others have described just an incomprehensible peace and love filling and flooding their soul.

I cannot tell you what experience you may have or how you might relate and how it will feel to you. That is not the important issue. It is not the feelings that are important and the Lord did not give us the Holy Spirit that we might have sensational feelings, such as electricity or liquid love. Those are wonderful! I am not discounting them, but I am just saying, do not premise your experience on the feelings or reactions that you may have to the Holy Spirit. Yours may be entirely different and it may be that you will not feel anything. But that does not negate the relationship with the Holy Spirit and the power that you will experience in your life when you come into that full, complete relationship that God wants you to have—that the Holy Spirit desires to have with you.

The purpose is not that you might get more of the Holy Spirit; but the purpose is that the Holy Spirit might get more of you—that your life will become controlled by the Spirit. Your character will be controlled by the Spirit, so that you will be led by the Spirit, that you will walk in the Spirit, and that you will be filled with the Spirit.

We have some exciting days ahead. Now, you do not have to wait for the end of the lessons to gain the benefit. You can go home tonight and just yield yourself to the Holy Spirit, giving yourself over to His control, to His filling—the yielding and the surrendering of your life to Him. And you can begin even this night—that glorious walk in the Spirit and experience that fullness that God desires for each of us.

When you look at the life of Finney and read of his revival meetings in which thousands of people came to Jesus Christ—eighty-five percent of them stuck with the Lord. When you read about cities where he was holding meetings and, after the meeting, every bar in town was closed due to the lack of customers, you begin to realize what the Holy Spirit can do when He comes upon a person’s life. You will never know your full potential in Christ until you have yielded to the fullness of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Gordon, Finney, Moody, Torrey, Jonathan Edwards—down the line, these men of God who have done such a great work for God in their lifetime—each of them have their own testimonies of experiencing of the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. And we hope, that as we go through this series that each evening, we will be able to give you a little personal testimony of these men as they relate, as did Finney, the experience they had of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And you will realize that the church is in desperate need today of a new, fresh work of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, we have sought to substitute programs and psychology and many other gimmicks for the power of the Holy Spirit. The church is suffering as a result and I am praying that God will give to us a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in each of our hearts and lives—a renewing of the life of the Spirit within the church. Surely we need it and surely our community needs it desperately.

Shall we pray?

Father, we thank You that You sent the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth; to teach us; to bear witness of Jesus Christ; to empower us. And we pray, Father, that You will bring us into a very rich, meaningful relationship with the Holy Spirit. As we learn about Him, as we learn about His work, as we learn about His gifts, and as we learn about His power, may we know more of His power in our own lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

WORKS CITED:

Finney, Charles. “Conversion to Christ.” The Autobiography of Charles G. Finney. ChristiansUnite.com. 1876. 21 July 2005.http://bible.christiansunite.com/Charles_Finney/finney02.shtml.

[Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical references are quoted from King James Version.]

 

(2)

 

Chuck Smith
Third Person of the Trinity

It is the purpose of this series of studies to bring you into a close, intimate, personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. Our study last Thursday night dealt with the person of the Holy Spirit showing that, from the Scriptures, He has all the characteristics of personality and He is referred to with the personal pronouns. Thus He is not an it. He is not an essence. He is not just a force, but He is the person of the Holy Spirit. Tonight we purpose to show to you that He is the third person of the Godhead.

Before we get into those Scriptures, I would like to read to you the testimony of R. A. Torrey, who was the founder of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, commonly known today as Biola University. He was an associate of Dwight Moody and in his book, The Baptism with the Holy Spirit, he recounts that he had been in the ministry for some years before he came to the place that he realized he had no right to preach until he was definitely baptized with the Holy Spirit. He told a friend that he was never going to enter the pulpit again until he knew that he had been baptized with the Holy Spirit, or until God, in some way, had told him to go. He then shut himself in his study alone and he spent the time continually on his knees, asking God to baptize him with the Holy Spirit. He said that he had mapped out in his mind what would happen—

But what Torrey had mapped out in his mind did not happen. He said he recalled the exact spot where he was kneeling in prayer in his study. It was a very quiet moment—one of the most quiet moments he had ever known. Indeed, he thought one reason he had to wait so long was because it took that long before his soul could get quiet before God. Then God simply said to him—not in an audible voice, but in his heart—”It is yours. Now, go preach.” And he went and preached. And he was a new minister from that day on. He was then the pastor of a very obscure church, though he had taken two degrees at Yale and had studied at two German universities. But from that time his field began to wonderfully enlarge until at last, he had preached the gospel around the world and had seen hundreds of thousands converted to Christ (Torrey 266-267).

He recalls that sometime after that experience, while sitting in his room one day—that very same room—he does not remember what he was thinking about, but suddenly he was struck from his chair unto the floor and he found himself shouting. He said that he was not brought up to shout and that it was not his temperament. But he shouted like the loudest shouting Methodist. He was shouting, “Glory to God! Glory to God! Glory to God!” He said that he could not stop. It was like some other power, other than his own, was moving his jaw. These are the experiences of R. A. Torrey as recorded in the book, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.

As we look at the subject of the Trinity or the triunity of God, we first of all recognize from the Scripture, that it indeed is a mystery. In1 Timothy 3:16 Paul said,

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

So, God the Father was manifested in the flesh and Jesus Christ is justified in the Spirit.

I have no intention of trying to explain to you the Godhead. It is beyond the boundaries of the human mind to understand the nature of the infinite God. There is one God and yet He is manifested in three persons—that of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

G. Campbell Morgan declared,

The idea of one essence subsisting after a three-fold manner and in a trinity of relationships, finds nothing in the phenomena of nature upon which it can fasten as a sufficient symbol.

We are always trying to give some kind of a symbol by which we can then make an analogy to the Godhead, but as G. Campbell Morgan said, there just is not any symbol that can tie together what we understand about the Trinity (or the triunity of God.) Because it is a mystery, we cannot expect to reduce it to logical precepts. To our finite minds the doctrine is a contradiction.

How can you have one God and yet three persons? Some have tried to say that it is the three masks that the one God wears. The denial of the Trinity always brings with it the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit. Some have suggested that the Trinity is a mathematical absurdity—one plus one plus one, they point out, equals three. However, one times one times one equals one—so that mathematically you cannot disprove the Godhead.

Paul, in speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus in Acts 20, beginning with verse 28, said,

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Notice the three there—”the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.” Paul said,

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore, watch. (Acts 20:29-31)

So, he is telling them that it is their duty to watch and to take heed over this charge that they were given by the Holy Spirit to feed the church of God.

Now the triunity (or the Trinity of God) is manifested in the Old Testament not nearly as clearly as it is in the New Testament. But in the Old Testament, we surely have indications, hints, and declarations of the three aspects of the Godhead.

In Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God…” the word translated “God” in Hebrew is Elohim and Elohim is a plural noun. The singular form in Hebrew is El, while the plural is Elohim. It is interesting that “in the beginning God,” the first mention of God, would be plural rather than singular. Some seek to explain the use of this plural, Elohim, as what they call the plural of majesty or the plural of emphasis. But that is only an excuse that has been offered to explain away the fact thatElohim is plural and it is the name for God in Genesis 1.

The other Hebrew word for Lord is Adonai, which also is a plural. In Genesis 1 is the first mention of the Holy Spirit.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

So the first mention of the Holy Spirit is right in Genesis 1:1-2.

And then when we get down to verse 26, “And God said, [that is,Elohim (the plural again) said] Let us [plural pronoun] make man after our own likeness and image.” And here, plural pronouns are used concerning God, which wipes out that concept of the plural of majesty.

The Scriptures teach us that all three persons of the Godhead were active in the creation.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And all things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1-3)

So John declares that Jesus was in the beginning with God; that He was the Word, the Eternal Word, and that He was with God; that He was God and that all things were made by Him. “Without Him was not anything made that was made.”

Paul said, “For by Him were all things created [Him being Jesus.] And He is before all things and by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).

The Son is in creation.

Also in Psalm 33:6, we read about the part of the Holy Spirit in creation.

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the hosts of them by the breath [or the ruach] of his mouth.

The word ruach in Hebrew is breath, wind, or spirit. So the translation of Psalm 33:6 could very well read: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made [and of course Jesus is the Word of the Lord] and all of the hosts of them by the Spirit [breath, ruach] of His mouth.”

In Deuteronomy 6:4 is that which is called the Shema of the Hebrews. It is that which was chanted over, and over, and over again during their worship time at the temple—especially during the feast days. They would cry out over and over the Shema, “Yishrael Yahweh Elohim ekad Yahweh.” Over and over they would chant that. And that was the whole basis of the monotheistic Hebrew religion—the oneness of God. But in looking at the Shema, it is interesting that the Yahweh (orJehovah) Elohim—again the plural for God—is combined with ekad Yahweh—one Yahweh (or one Jehovah.) This means: Israel, Jehovah Gods [plural]—one Jehovah. Not only is it interesting that the Elohim[plural] is used, but so is the use of the word ekad—for the word ekadin Hebrew is a compound unity. When God created Eve out of Adam, He said, “And the two shall be [ekad] one flesh”—compound unity.

There is another Hebrew word for “one” that is an absolute one, and that is yakad. And had, in the Shema, they declared, “Yishrael Yahweh Elohim yakad Yahweh,” then you would have no basis to try to make an argument for the Trinity. But the fact that the Elohim is plural and theekad is a compound unity—even within the monotheistic chant of the Hebrews—is a suggestion of the triunity of God.

Moses commanded how Aaron and his sons were to put the blessings of God upon the people. According to Numbers 6:24-26, they were to say:

The LORD [Yahweh] bless thee and keep thee: The LORD [Yahweh] make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD [Yahweh] lift up is countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Notice the threefold declaration of Yahweh—one Yahweh, yet why would it be repeated three times? “Yahweh bless thee and keep thee. Yahweh make His face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. And Yahweh lift up His countenance on thee and give thee peace.”

And thus, the Lord said, you will put My name, the name Yahweh, on the children of Israel, and I will bless them. This is the trinity of the blessing in unity.

We also find when Isaiah saw his vision of the Lord high and lifted up, sitting on the throne, he heard the seraphim as they were saying, “Holy, holy, holy.” Why three times? It is the Lord of hosts—the threefold holiness.

In the prophecy of the Messiah, in Isaiah 48:16, the Lord said,

Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

Notice, “the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent Me”—Jesus the Messiah. It is the Messiah speaking in verse 16.

Come ye near unto me. Hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning. From the time that it was, there am I. (Isaiah 48:16)

“In the beginning was the Word” and now, “The Lord God and His Spirit sent Me.” The Revised Standard Version reads: “The Lord God hath sent Me and His Spirit” and that is more literal from the Hebrew. We find first of all, it is a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah and then the coming of the age of the Holy Spirit. So,

The Lord GOD hath sent me and his Spirit. (Isaiah 48:16RSV)

Of course in the New Testament, we have the triunity of God all the way through. At the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:16,

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water and lo, the heavens were opened unto him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him.

Notice that Jesus was being baptized and there was then the Spirit of God descending like a dove. And then a voice from heaven was saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.” We see Jesus baptized, the Spirit descending, and the Father speaking from heaven declaring His pleasure in His Son.

Now there is a sect that is called the Jesus Only sect. They are quite strong in the southern part of the United States and they have spread as far west as Arizona. There are a smattering few of them here in California, but not many. This Jesus Only sect has taken up the error of the early heresy in the church that was known as Sabellianism, which denied the separateness of the three persons of the Godhead. The Jesus Only sect declares that Jesus is the only God, that He is the Father, that He is the Son, and that He is the Holy Spirit—that He is all three.

Well, this particular passage of Scripture in Matthew 3:16 would seem to me to provide sort of a problem for them. Jesus would have to be some kind of a magician bringing forth a dove to land upon Himself—the Holy Spirit. And then He would have to be a ventriloquist throwing His voice up to heaven as He declared, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.”

In John 14:16-17 Jesus said,

And I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth him: but you know him; for he dwelleth with you, and he shall be in you.

So the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, was sent at Jesus’ request to the Father.

Also in John 14:26, we have, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name”— so again, all three.

When Jesus commissioned His disciples to go and to teach all nations, He said, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”—all three again.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians he said,

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

So, the Trinity being one Spirit, one Lord, one God—one times one times one.

It is interesting that most generally the Spirit is mentioned third—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is why He is commonly said to be the third person of the Trinity, because usually He is the third one mentioned. It is in nowise a reflection of inferiority, because surely, the Scripture teaches the co-equal aspects of the Godhead. But here the typical formula is reversed—the Spirit is mentioned first, Jesus second, and God third.

In Romans 15:30 Paul said,

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.

So notice the three again, but this time Jesus is first, the Holy Spirit is second, and the Father is third. When we refer to the Spirit, as I mentioned, as the third person of the Godhead, there is no thought of inferiority. The Westminster Confession, says

There is but one only, living, and true God. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. (The Westminster Confession, II:i,iii)

As Jesus was talking with His disciples in John 15, He said,

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. (John 15:26)

These personal pronouns are referring to the Holy Spirit. But the Comforter was sent to them from the Father at the request of Jesus.

In Paul’s benediction in his second letter to the Corinthians, he said,

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Paul notes the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit—the three in one.

In Peter’s message in Acts chapter 10 to the group that had gathered at the house of Cornelius, he declared how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit—all three are mentioned.

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38 )

In 1 John 5:7, we have the strongest declaration of the Trinity in the New Testament.

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Now there is an objection by some who say that this particular Scripture does not exist in the original manuscript. The interesting thing of course, is that we do not have any original manuscripts. We are not certain what is in the original manuscript. For a person to say that it is not in the original manuscripts cannot be spoken in certainty, because we do not have original manuscripts that we can examine and look at. The oldest manuscripts that we have—and in my opinion they are rather poor manuscripts to say the best—are the Codex Sinaiticus,the Codex Alexandrinus, and of course, the Codex Vaticanus. And these are all from the same school of manuscripts. And it is true that this passage is not in these manuscripts. Nor is the latter portion of Mark’s Gospel, from 16:7 on. They are not in those manuscripts. However, those manuscripts are dated about A.D. 412, which would be some 300 years after the original manuscripts. So, you have an intervening time of 300 years in which we have many, many other manuscripts and portions of manuscripts.

This particular verse in 1 John is not in the majority of the manuscripts. However, it is quoted by some of the early church fathers, who wrote in the second century, as is the latter part of the Gospel of Mark 16. So, the fact that it is quoted by early church fathers who lived in the second century some 150 to 200 years before theCodex Sinaiticus, they must have been quoting from some manuscript that was older than the Codex Sinaiticus. And so, the argument that it does not appear in the oldest, full manuscripts—and the Codex Sinaiticus is not really a full manuscript—it really does not bear that much weight. And I think that that is one of the major mistakes of the Westcott and Hort text. They relied almost completely, over ninety-five percent, on the codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus.But that is only for you who are interested in the textual criticism.

But even without 1 John 5:7, which of course is very strong—

There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit and these three are one.

—even without this particular text, surely there are enough other texts in the New Testament where the three are coupled together, as we have already demonstrated, that the evidence is conclusive that there are three persons and yet one God.

Now divine names are given to the Holy Spirit. In Acts 5:3,

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the price of the land?”

You remember Ananias’s wife, Sapphira, sold some land and they brought a portion of the money earned and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Now this was a bit of hypocrisy because Ananias was acting like he was giving everything—giving all, you know. And Peter says,

Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit in that you have kept back part of the price of the land?

And then he said,

Look, you did not have to give anything. While it remained was it not your own? And after you sold it, it was in your own power. You could do with the money whatever you wanted. But why have you conceived this thing in your heart?

This was deception. And then he said,

You have not lied unto men, but unto God. (Acts 5:3-4KJV)

Now, in the previous verse he said you have lied to the Holy Spirit and now he said you have lied to God. And so there is a geometrical theorem that applies here. It has been too long since I have had my geometry to remember the theorem. But it is something about equal sides and equal angles. If you have lied to the Spirit and then you have lied to God, then it makes them equal. It means they are the same.

In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul speaks of our being transformed from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord. Now the phrase, “the Spirit of the Lord,” has been translated in the newer versions more correctly and more literally from the Greek, “by the Lord, the Spirit.” And it is in the Greek, hapo curios numetous—the Lord the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit possesses divine attributes. He is eternal.Hebrews 9:14 says,

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Again the Trinity—the blood of Christ, through the eternal Spirit, purges your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

The Holy Spirit is omnipresent. Psalm 139:7-10 says,

Wither shall I go from thy spirit? or wither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

The Spirit is omnipresent. In heaven, He is there; in hell, He is there; and in the uttermost parts of the sea, He is there. I cannot flee from the Spirit.

He is omniscient. 1 Corinthians 2:10 says,

But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

He knows all things—the deep things of God.

For what man knoweth the things of man save the spirit of man which is in him. Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11 KJV)

He knows—as with God—all things. He is omniscient.

The Holy Spirit is omnipotent. When the angel was promising to Mary that God had chosen her as the vessel to bring the Messiah into the world, she questioned,

How can this be since I am really a virgin? I have not had relationships with a man.

The angel answered and said unto her in Luke 1:35,

The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. [The Holy Spirit is the power of the highest.] Therefore also that Holy One, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.

All three are there—the Holy Spirit, the power of the Highest, and the result is the Son of God.

The Holy Spirit is identified with Jehovah of the Old Testament. Verses in the Old Testament that are described to Jehovah are ascribed, in the New Testament, to the Holy Spirit. In Isaiah 6:8 for instance:

Also, I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” Then said I, “Here am I. Send me.” And he said, “Go and tell this people, Here ye indeed, but understand not. See ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat and make their ears heavy and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and convert and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:8-10)

Another example is found in Acts 28:25 with Paul the Apostle:

When they had agreed not among themselves, he departed. And after that Paul had spoken one word, well spake the Holy Spirit by Isaiah the Prophet unto our fathers saying, “Go unto this people and say, hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see and not perceive.” (Acts 28:25-26)

So, that which the Lord spoke to Isaiah, Paul ascribes to the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts.

Jeremiah 31:31 says,

Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. But this shall be the covenant that I shall make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah, I will put my law in their inward parts. I will write in their hearts. And I will be their God and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother saying, Know Jehovah, for they shall know me from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith Jehovah, for I will forgive their iniquity. I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

Hebrews 10:15 says,

Whereof the Holy Ghost also is witness to us. For after that he had said before, “This is the covenant that I make with them after those days, saith Jehovah. I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them. And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:15-17)

So, the Holy Spirit is declared to be the one who inspired the prophet Jeremiah, though Jeremiah said it was Jehovah who spoke to him these things. The Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the writing of the Bible.

In Mark 12:36,

For David himself said by the Holy Spirit, “The Lord said to my lord, Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

David said this by the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 1:16 Peter said,

Men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was a guide to those that took Jesus.

This is acknowledging that David was speaking through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

And Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:21,

For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

He was the one who inspired the writings of the holy men of old, which we call the Bible—the Scriptures.

But not only that—Jesus said He was the one who would inspire the apostles. And so, after telling them that they were going to be brought before the synagogues and to the magistrates and the powers, Christ says in Luke 12:12,

Take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer or what ye shall say. For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say.

Do not take any forethought. Do not worry about it, for in the same hour the Holy Spirit will give you what you need to say. Inspired, the Old Testament writers would be the inspiration to the apostles and to the servants of Jesus Christ when brought before the judges, the magistrates, and the councils.

Now, the fulfillment of this is clearly seen in Acts 7, when Stephen was arrested and brought before the council and he began to give his defense of his faith. And the latter part of Acts 6 says,

And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel. (Acts 6:15)

And then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these things so?” And Stephen began to preach to them one of the most masterful sermons ever preached. He started out on the common ground, speaking of their favorite subject: their fathers, their illustrious fathers. They were a very proud people—proud of their national heritage. They were always saying, “Well, our fathers…” and boasting in the illustrious, glorious fathers of the Hebrew nation. So he pointed out to them how that their fathers sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver; deciding not to kill him, they sold him as a slave for twenty pieces of silver and he was carried away to Egypt. They were so hard-hearted they were not moved by his tears and all.

When Joseph was being taken away to Egypt, they did not realize that God had indeed ordained him to rule over them. They did not recognize that the first time around with Joseph. But the second time around, when they came to Egypt and they were all bowing before him when he was giving them a bad time, then they recognized that Joseph was ordained by God to the position that he had. They rejected it the first time with Joseph, but the second time they saw, they acknowledged, they recognized.

Their illustrious fathers turned their backs on Moses and he had to flee. And Moses thought that surely they understood that God had chosen him to lead the children of Israel out of the bondage in the Egypt. He knew the call of God and when he first tried to fulfill it, they rejected him. They cast him out; He had to flee to the wilderness, but the second time around, they recognized that, yes, he is God’s ordained leader.

Can you see what he is building to? The first time around, they rejected Jesus, just like their fathers rejected Joseph—just like their fathers rejected Moses. But the second time around they recognized what God was doing. And so he is saying basically, “Hey, next time around you will know that you were more stupid than your fathers.”

But then Stephen went on to say, “Which of the prophets did not your fathers kill? I mean, they were ignorant. But you have done the worst of all because you have killed the one whose coming the prophets all declared.” And that really burned them. I mean, the truth cuts and hurts.

And so, they would not listen and they stopped their ears. They began to gnash their teeth—screaming. They drug him out and stoned him to death because they could not stand the truth. But how masterful to show them that they were following the pattern that had long-existed in the nation: that of missing God’s Anointed the first time around, but recognizing Him the second time around. Inspired by the Holy Spirit!

We read that Peter was standing before the council being asked a leading question that could lead to his being stoned. It says, “But Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit said, ‘Ye men and rulers of Israel…'” He was filled with the Holy Spirit and thus speaking to them. And when he was through, it says they wondered. They were marveling because of the wisdom—because they perceived that they were ignorant and unlearned men. The Jewish council was thinking these guys do not have any college degrees, and yet, the wisdom with which they spoke! Why? Because it is the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is a person, the third person of the Godhead. He is the gift that God has given to you and to me—to His church. And He will come to be a Comforter, Parakeltos. He will come alongside of you to help you in your Christian walk. He will come alongside of you to guide you in the way of truth. He will come alongside of you to strengthen you. He will indwell you that you might be empowered to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

As we continue our study in this most important subject—the Holy Spirit and you—we are going to talk more about the indwelling and the out flowing of the Holy Spirit; the gifts of the Holy Spirit; the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer; the work of the Holy Spirit in the church; the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the church; and the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. Shall we pray?

Father, how we thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit that has been given through the request of Jesus—given to the church and that we have now this blessed privilege of our bodies becoming the temple of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. And so Lord, we wish to present our bodies to You as living sacrifices. And we invite the Holy Spirit to come and to take residence within us. We yield ourselves to be controlled by the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, baptized in the Spirit. Lord, work in our hearts by Your Holy Spirit, as He conforms us into the image of Jesus Christ and as He gives us the power to bear witness of Jesus Christ to a dark and dying world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

WORKS CITED:

Torrey, R.A. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. Whitaker House, 1996. pages 266-267

[Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical references are quoted from King James Version.]

 

 

(3)

 

 

Chuck Smith
The Holy Spirit in the World

Regarding the subject of the Holy Spirit, C. H. Spurgeon said,

I believe, brethren, that whenever the church of God declines, one of the most effectual ways of reviving her is to preach much truth concerning the Holy Spirit. After all, He is the very breath of the church. Where the Spirit of God is, there is power. If the Spirit be withdrawn, then the vitality of the godliness begins to decline and we are backsliding. Let us turn to the Spirit of God crying, ‘Quicken Thou me in Thy way.’ If we sorrowfully perceive that any church is growing lukewarm, be it our prayer that the Holy Spirit may work graciously for its revival. Let us return to the Lord. Let us seek again to be baptized into the Holy Spirit and into fire and we shall yet again behold the wonderful works of the Lord. He sets before it an open door and if we enter not, we ourselves are to be blamed. (C. H. Spurgeon)

Note that last part: “Let us return to the Lord. Let us seek again to be baptized into the Holy Spirit and into fire and we shall yet again behold the wonderful works of the Lord. He sets before us an open door. If we enter not, we ourselves are to blame.” Tonight we would like to look at the subject of the work of the Holy Spirit in the world.

Jesus, in promising the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Paraklete, to the disciples said,

Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: But ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and he shall be in you. (John 14:17)

The Holy Spirit has been dwelling here on the earth from the beginning of creation. In verse 2 of Genesis,

The earth was without form and void and the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

Now in John16:7, when Jesus was speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit, He declared,

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient [or necessary] 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. And when he is come, he will reprove the world [The work of the Holy Spirit in the world] of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (John 16:7-11)

In Genesis chapter 6, when God saw the wickedness of the earth was exceedingly great and He declared His intention of destroying man from off of the face of the earth because the imagination of his heart was only evil continually, God declared, “My Spirit will not always strive with man.” God’s Spirit had been striving with those people in Noah’s day. The Spirit had been convicting them of their sin. The Spirit was working in the world, reproving the world of their sin, but they were rejecting the Holy Spirit. Though He was striving with them, in their hearts they knew what they were doing was wrong. They closed their minds and their hearts to the Holy Spirit and thus, God warned, “It is not going to always be. My Spirit will not always strive with man.” There comes that day when the Spirit ceases to strive and the judgment of God comes, just as it did in the times of Noah.

Today we often call the striving of the Holy Spirit with man, the voice of conscience. Paul, in Romans 2, speaks of the law of God that is written in the hearts of man—the unregenerate man. Even in man’s heart, God has written His law. Paul said, “The conscience also bearing them witness, as their thoughts either accuse or excuse them.” So, God’s law is written on the hearts of man and their conscience is reproving them. Paul is talking about unregenerate men. In First Timothy 4:2, Paul speaks of those whose conscience had been seared as with a hot iron, who had rejected the voice of the Holy Spirit until they were able to do things without feeling guilt or without feeling any kind of remorse.

I was at a seminar at which some of the social scientists who follow the trends of society were sharing with us on how the church should prepare for the year 2000. And a man who has done a lot of research and written a book on the subject was saying that, for the most part, we adults are out of touch with what is happening in our world. We are out of touch with what is going on with the young people. He said we are living in a day and fast moving towards that time when the young people will have no consciousness of evil. They will not even know what evil is, and thus, they will be able to commit the most horrible crimes and not feel any sense of remorse. And since that conference, many times I have observed the remarks of the commentators after some of these serial killers are caught. When they are sitting there being tried, or even when sentence is passed, so often the remark is, “And they showed absolutely no remorse.” They have consciences that are seared as with a hot iron.

The Spirit of God does convict of sin. He reproves the world of sin. But people can and do resist this work of the Holy Spirit. When Stephen was standing before the Jewish council, he finally accused them of resisting the Holy Spirit, even as their fathers did.

When Jesus apprehended Paul on the road to Damascus, Jesus said to Paul, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” This is interesting because Paul testified that as far as the righteousness of the law was concerned, he was blameless; that he had always sought to live with a clean conscience before God. And yet there was something inside that was goading him, so that when the Lord apprehended him, He said, “It has been hard for you to kick against the goads.” (Acts 9:5 NKJV)

In Zechariah 7:12,

Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts has said in his Spirit by the former prophets.

They hardened their hearts, made them as adamant stone, so that they would not hear the Spirit—hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit—by the former prophets. Therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. When a person hardens his heart and will not listen to the Spirit, then God has no alternative but judgment.

So we see a world today that has turned a deaf ear to the reproof of the Holy Spirit. We hear people mocking against a righteous life, mocking Jesus Christ, and mocking the witness of the Spirit. Now the witness of the Holy Spirit to the world is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the only Savior. Jesus said He is witnessing of sin because they believe not in Him.

The name “Jesus” bespeaks His mission. The angel said,

Thou shalt call His name JESUS [or Joshua]: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

His name, Jesus, derives from the Greek for the Hebrew, Joshua, which is the contraction of Jehovah Shua, or Jehovah is salvation. He said He came to seek and to save those that were lost. That was His mission. And the Holy Spirit testifies to the world, reproves the world, of sin because they do not believe in Jesus.

It is my belief that the continual rejecting of the witness of the Spirit to the heart of man constitutes the sin of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It is the sin that will ultimately consign a person to hell. And when the final day of judgment comes and the books are opened, you will be judged by your works. But the second book is the Book of Life and if your name is not found in the Book of Life, then you will be cast, according to the Scripture, into the lake that is burning with fire. The refusal to accept Jesus Christ, thus not having your name in the Book of Life, is an unpardonable sin.

Jesus said He did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world,

through Him, might be saved. And he that believeth is not condemned. Oh, that you would underline that in your mind and in your heart. He that believeth is not condemned. Those words should strike a chord of rejoicing in your soul. He that believeth is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already.

Now the Holy Spirit is reproving the world of sin because they do not believe in Jesus. “He that does believe is not condemned. But he that believeth not is condemned already,” Jesus said, “seeing he has not believed in the only begotten Son of God.” This is the issue: your believing in God’s provision for your sin, your believing that God sent His only begotten Son who bore your sin, who died in your place. This is the witness of the Holy Spirit. This is the witness of the Spirit to the world.

They are suffering from the conscience. They know that they are not doing what is right, but they will not come to Jesus Christ to receive the cleansing and the forgiveness. So this is the condemnation—that light has come into the world, but they will not come to the light because men love the darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil.

When Jesus sent His disciples into all the world to preach the gospel, He said,

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)

The whole issue is believing in Jesus Christ. It is the difference between being forgiven and being condemned. That is the whole issue. “Of sin,” Jesus said, “because they do not believe in Me.” It is interesting He did not say, “Of sin because they are, you know, into pornography, and they are into fornication, and they are into this, and they are into that.” No: “Of sin, because they do not believe in Me” (John 16:9).

John testified,

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)

And then John said if you believe not, actually you are making God a liar. You are making the Holy Spirit a liar. You are blaspheming the Holy Spirit by your rejecting, or your refusal to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who bore the sins of the world. If you believe not, you make God a liar, for you do not believe the record that God gave of His Son. You do not believe the testimony of the Holy Spirit concerning Jesus Christ.

Concerning the day of final judgment, Revelation 20 says,

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which was the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

Your name is written in the Book of Life by virtue of your believing in Jesus Christ.

Now the Holy Spirit is not only reproving the world of sin, but He is also reproving the world of righteousness. Sin is doing the wrong thing. Righteousness is doing the right thing. Righteousness—the Holy Spirit shows to the world what is the right thing to do, the right actions to take, and the right reactions to take. Sin is missing the mark. Righteousness is hitting the mark. And the Holy Spirit bears witness, or reproves the world of righteousness, by pointing to Jesus Christ as the prime example of righteousness. He is what God intended us to be.

Peter said, “He has set for us an example that we should follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Do you want to know what God wants of you? Look at Jesus Christ. Do you want to know what God intended man to be? Look at Jesus Christ. And so the Holy Spirit in reproving the world of righteousness does so by pointing to Jesus Christ. He is the example. He is what God would have you to be. As you yield—and we will get to this in a further lesson—as you yield to the Holy Spirit the work of the Holy Spirit within you is that of conforming you into the image of Christ.

But to the world, He reproves them of righteousness—again, pointing to Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Of righteousness because I ascend unto My Father” (John 16:10). Now the logical question would be, what does the ascension of Jesus Christ testify to us of righteousness? How does the Holy Spirit put the two together? Jesus said, “Of righteousness because I ascend to the Father.”

Paul the Apostle tells us that the unrighteous are not going to inherit the kingdom of heaven, in 1 Corinthians 6:9. In Galatians 5, when he lists for us the works of the flesh, Paul adds, “I told you before that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.” So read 1 Corinthians 6:10 in its context and read Galatians 5, the works of the flesh, in its context. And they that do these things—these things are unrighteous things. They are not right. And if you do these things, you are not going to inherit the kingdom of heaven.

In the Book of Revelation we are told that God will not allow anything to enter that defiles, because it would defile heaven. In Ephesians 5, Paul tells us that “no whoremonger or unclean person or covetous man who is an idolater hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” So the Holy Spirit is reproving the world of their unrighteousness as He testifies to them of righteousness and as He points to the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.

In Hebrews we are exhorted to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). So the Holy Spirit is speaking to us about a holy life, about a righteous life—the denial of the flesh life. But what about the ascension of Jesus into heaven? What does that have to do with it?

Well, we have been talking about the things that will keep a man out of the kingdom of heaven. The works of the flesh will keep a man out of the kingdom of heaven. When Jesus ascended into heaven, God was bearing witness to the world that here is a man who lived such a righteous life that His righteousness grants Him an entrance into the kingdom of heaven. In other words, God is saying, “This is the righteousness that will get you in. This is the righteousness that it takes to get you into the kingdom of heaven.”

Now one day Jesus said to His disciples, “Except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). And what a shocker that must have been to the disciples, because the scribes and Pharisees were known for their righteousness! They were the fellows who were always straining at gnats and swallowing camels. They were men who were always so careful to demonstrate their righteousness before the people, trying to keep every little jot and tittle of the law, according to their interpretations of it. And they even went beyond the intention of the law in many places, as far as the physical keeping of it. But of course inwardly, they were breaking it all the time because of the attitude of their hearts. But the scribes and Pharisees were known for being righteous and yet Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds theirs, you are not going to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Do not believe the lies of Satan, whereby he seeks to convince you that somehow God will be persuaded to let all kinds of people into heaven who are basically sincere, good people. Do not believe that God will tolerate evil or that God will allow evil within the kingdom of heaven—providing you are not too bad. Do not believe that God will give you some kind of special dispensation and allow you to live after the flesh, but still grant you entrance into the kingdom. Read again the list and read the warning. We know that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus lived the kind of life and exemplified the kind of righteousness that God will accept. And by His ascension into heaven God is saying, “This is it. This is the standard that will get you into heaven, a righteousness greater than that of the scribes and the Pharisees.” Nothing short of that righteousness can grant you entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

You might say, “Well Chuck, aren’t you closing the door to all of us?” Yes, as far as your own righteousness and efforts are concerned, I am. If you are thinking you can get there on the basis of your good works or your good intentions or your efforts—forget it! You will never make it. There is only one way that any of us will find entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and that is through the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is imparted to us by our faith and trust in Him. You cannot perform any kind of service or duty to God that He will accept as admission into the kingdom of heaven. Only by faith in Jesus Christ can you ever find entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

The third thing the Holy Spirit reproves the world of is judgment. And Jesus said, “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” We earlier read in Revelation concerning what is commonly called, “the great white throne judgment of God.” The Holy Spirit is not really reproving the world of that. “Of judgment,” He said, “because the prince of this world is judged.” Where and when was the prince of this world judged? On the cross of Jesus Christ, the power of Satan was broken. His hold over the earth was wrested. Paul tells us inColossians 2:13,

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of the flesh, hath he made quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses, blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it [or in the cross]. (Colossians 2:13-15)

So, on the cross Jesus Christ triumphed over the principalities and powers of darkness. And He made an open display of His victory in the resurrection. He defeated or spoiled those principalities and powers of darkness, which were against us. He triumphed over them on the cross; and thus, the prince of this world has been judged. His authority and his power that he once had has been overcome through the power of Jesus Christ.

Now, when you belong to Jesus and are walking in the Spirit, you have power over the principalities and powers of darkness. The world is still under the power of Satan, but the Holy Spirit bears witness to the world that they do not have to be chained by sin any longer. They do not have to be a captive and be held by the enemy in darkness any longer. You can be free! Jesus broke the chains. And He will break the chains by which Satan is holding you. The prince of this world has been judged. He has been thoroughly defeated and he only holds people by usurped authority and power. Jesus died for the sins of the world and you can be set free from the power of sin. You do not have to live in sin any longer. And this is the witness of the Holy Spirit to the world, as He is seeking to draw men unto Jesus Christ and unto the kingdom of God.

So we have the threefold witness of the Holy Spirit. 1) Of sin, because they do not believe in Jesus. 2) Of righteousness, because Jesus is the standard of righteousness that you must attain if you ever have any hope of entering the kingdom of heaven. And when you look at the righteousness of Christ, you will realize that you cannot attain it in yourself. You are bound up to God’s provisions through faith. That is the righteousness that God imputes to the believing sinner. And 3) He then testifies that you do not have to be ruled by sin any more because the prince of this world has been judged. Therefore sin is not to reign in your mortal body any longer.

Writing to the Romans, Paul said,

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body that ye should obey it in the lusts of thereof. (Romans 6:11-12)

That is a command. Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey the lust. “Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness” (Romans 6:13). That is, your body; do not yield the members of your body as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. But yield yourselves unto God and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). Sin shall not have dominion over you. Satan has been judged. His power has been broken. And you can have, through Jesus Christ, that victory over the powers of darkness. That is the witness of the Holy Spirit to your heart and to the world.

Thank God! I am free. Shall we pray?

Father, we thank You for the work of the Holy Spirit in the world even tonight, a world that is darkened by sin and the powers of darkness. We thank You, that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That His power still avails and prevails over the powers of darkness. Thank You, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit bore witness of the truth to our hearts and drew us to Jesus Christ. He planted faith in our hearts towards Him whereby our sins were forgiven. The Holy Spirit came in and is bringing to us that righteousness of Christ, as He conforms us into the image of Christ. We thank You, Lord, that through our faith it is imputed as though it was already done and accomplished. We thank You, Lord, the powers of Satan have been broken and we have been set free from the power of sin and the darkness of Satan. He has been judged and sin no longer reigns in our mortal bodies, but the Spirit of God reigns. Lord, fill us with Your Holy Spirit. Lord, draw us by Your Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ and to the fullness that You desire for each of us as we walk in the Spirit, not fulfilling any longer the desires of the flesh. Lord, we desire to be filled until we overflow with the fullness of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical references are quoted from King James Version.]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s