FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
August 15, 2014
The Holy Spirit: do we really know Him? – Part V
For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and the holy place, with him who has a of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the hearts of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57: 15, N.K.J.V.
Self-renunciation, condition of receiving the Holy Spirit. Of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ’s first coming, it is said that:
“Looking in faith to the Redeemer, John had risen to the height of self-abnegation. He sought not to attract men to himself, but to lift their thoughts higher and still higher, until they should rest upon the Lamb of God. He himself had been only a voice, a cry in the wilderness. Now with joy he accepted silence and obscurity, that the eyes of all might be turned to the Light of life.
Those who are true to their calling as messengers of God will not seek honor for themselves. Love for self will be swallowed up in love for Christ. No rivalry will mar the precious cause of the gospel. They will realize that it is their work to proclaim, as did John the Baptist, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ John 1: 29. [Isa. 57: 15 quoted].
The soul of the prophet, emptied of self, was filled with the light of the divine. As he witnessed to the Savior’s glory, his words were almost a counterpart of those that Christ Himself had spoken in His interview with Nicodemus. John said, ‘He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth.
He who comes from heaven is above all. . . . For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the [Holy] Spirit by measure.’ John 3: 31, 34. Christ could say, ‘I do not seek Mine own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.’ John 5: 30. To Him it is declared, ‘You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness [iniquity, K.J.V.] Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.’ Heb. 1: 9; cf. See Ps. 45: 6, 7. The Father ‘does not give the Holy Spirit by measure unto Him.’
So with the followers of Christ [who are preparing for His second coming]. We can receive of heaven’s light only as we are willing to be emptied of self. We cannot discern the character of God, or accept Christ by faith, unless we consent to the bringing into captivity of every thought to the obedience of Christ [2 Cor. 10:5]. To all who do this the Holy Spirit is given without measure.
In Christ ‘dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him ye are made full.’ Col. 2: 9, 10. R.V. “- E. G. White, The Desire of Ages, Pacific Press Publishing Asso,. 1940, New Edition, April, 1950, pp. 179, 180.
“[Matt. 5: 6 quoted].The sense of unworthiness will lead the soul to hunger after and thirst for righteousness, and this desire will not be disappointed. Those who make room in their hearts for Jesus will realize His love. All who long to bear the likeness of the character of God shall be satisfied. The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted the soul who is looking unto Jesus.
He [the Holy Spirit] takes the things of Christ and shows them unto him. If the eye is fixed upon Christ, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image. The pure element of love will expand the soul, giving it a capacity for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of heavenly things, so that it will not rest short of fullness.”-Ibid, p. 300.
Work of Transforming Character. See John 3: 1-21 on Nicodemus’ personal interview with Christ on what being born of the Spirit means.
“Verily, verily I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ . . . That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ By nature the heart is evil, ‘and who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.’ Job 14: 4. No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul.
‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Rom. 8: 7. ‘Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.’ Matt. 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility.
There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.
Nicodemus was still perplexed, and Jesus used the wind to illustrate His meaning:
[John 3: 8 quoted]. The wind is heard among the branches of the trees, rustling the leaves and flowers; yet it is invisible, and no one knows whence it comes or wither it goes. So with the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. It can no more be explained than can the movements of the wind. A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or trace all the circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted. By the agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart.
Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received by meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,–a patient, protracted process.” –Ibid, p. 172.
“While the wind itself is invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Holy Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above.
The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God. It is impossible for finite minds to comprehend the work of redemption. Its mystery exceeds human knowledge; yet he who passes from death to life realizes that it is a divine reality. The beginning of redemption we may know here through personal experience. It s results reach though eternal ages.” – Ibid, p. 173.
Inspires True Worship. See John 4: 1-29. To the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, Jesus said: “‘The hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.’ Verse 23.
“Here is declared the same truth that Jesus revealed to Nicodemus when He said, ‘Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God,’ John 3: 3. Not by seeking a holy mountain or a sacred temple [as many religions do] are men brought into communion with heaven. Religion is not to be confined to external forms and ceremonies. The religion that comes from God is the only religion that that will lead to God.
In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, giving us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us a willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship. It is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit every sincere prayer is indited [composed], and such a prayer is acceptable to God. [See Rom. 8: 26]. Wherever a soul reaches out after God, there the Spirit’s working is manifest, and God will reveal Himself to that soul. For such worshippers He is seeking.” –Ibid, p. 189.
All Power Received Through the Holy Spirit. “The first disciples went forth preaching the word. They revealed Christ in their lives. And the Lord worked with them, ‘confirming the word with signs following.’ Mark 16: 20. The disciples prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord.
They believed Christ’s promise that the blessing [of the Holy Spirit] would be given, and they prayed in faith. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely; they were weighted with the burden for the salvation of souls. . . . and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.
So it may be now. Instead of man’s speculations, let the word of God be preached. Let Christians put away their dissensions, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them in faith ask for the blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in apostolic days was the ‘former rain,’ and glorious was the result. But the ‘latter rain’ will be more abundant.’ Joel. 2: 23. All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power.
The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through co-operation with Christ they are complete in Him [Col.2: 9, 10], and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of Omnipotence.” –Ibid, p. 827.
(Continued next week)