FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
August 1, 2014
The Holy Spirit: do we really know Him? – Part III
It takes God’s wisdom to know His wisdom. It is through the Holy Spirit, who inspired holy men of God to speak and write the Holy Scriptures (2 Pet. 1: 21) that this wisdom is imparted to every earnest searcher who sinks the shaft of investigation deep into the mines of eternal truth—the Bible.
HOW DO WE RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?
See Luke 11: 1-13. Like anything precious to us, we must desire the Holy Spirit so much so that in the wings of prayer, we will “ask, seek, and knock” for the Him. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12: 34.
If we haven’t realized this yet, a careful reading of Luke 11: 1-13 should bring home this vital point of salvation. This desire is distinguished for its importunity to the nth degree—persistence and insistence, redundant for good reason.
We must plead for the Holy Spirit as we would for rain in time of drought. And God’s promise is: “Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; he will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.” Zech. 10:1, N.K.J.V.
To “ask, seek, and knock” for the Holy Spirit is to refuse to take No for an answer from God. It is isn’t presumptuous or irreverence to do so because we are following Jesus’ instruction on how and what to ask for within the prayer form every Christian knows and even sings as “The Lord’s Prayer,” which actually is to be our prayer.
Therefore this is one of those requests that God will not, when asked in the name of Jesus, and for His glory, turn down. He may deny us many things our myopic, earth-bound vision and carnal hearts crave for, thinking they are good and essential, but petitioning for the Holy Spirit is assured a Yes! And then we are to remember that the Holy Spirit is to use us, not us using the Holy Spirit! This is where countless will fall for Spiritualism, Satan’s counterfeit of being spiritual (versus carnal). See 1 Cor. 2: 9-16; Rom. 7: 14; 8: 7, etc.
It is with the same undeterred intensity that we are to seek the kingdom of heaven—seizing it with spiritualviolence. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force !” Matt. 11: 11, 12, N.K.J.V. What does the kingdom of heaven refer to? “In many of His parables, Christ uses the expression ‘kingdom of heaven,’ to designate the work of divine grace upon the hearts of men.” – E. G. White, Great Controversy, 1911. p. 34
See 1 John 2: 27. ”It is the Spirit that teaches and enlightens. The most powerful preaching of the Word, the reading of the Scriptures, will not be able to transform the character and save souls unless the Spirit works with and through human agents.
The planning and devising must not be of a character to draw attention to self. The Word is a power, a sword, in the hands of the human agent, but the Holy Spirit in its vital power is the efficiency to impress the mind. ‘They shall be all taught of God.’ [John 6: 45]. It is God that causes the light to shine in the hearts. . . .The reason why God can do so little for us is that we forget that living virtue in the Holy Spirit is to combine with the human agent.
“With the great truth we have been privileged to receive, we should, and under the Holy Spirit’s powerwe could, become living channels of light. We could then approach the mercy-seat [See Heb. 10: 19, 20]; and seeing the bow of promise, kneel with contrite hearts, and seek the kingdom of heaven with a spiritual violence that would bring its own reward. We would take it by force, as did Jacob [when he wrestled from dusk to dawn with the Angel of the covenant, Gen. 32: 22-32; cf. Hosea 12, 3, 4].”– E. G. White. Sons & Daughters, p. 30.
“Christian life is more than many take it to be. It does not consist wholly in tenderness, patience, meekness, and kindliness. These graces are essential; but there is need also of courage, force, energy, and perseverance. The path that Christ marks out is a narrow, self-denying path [Matt. 7: 13, 14]. To enter that path and press on through difficulties and discouragements, requires men who are more than weaklings. . . .While we are to give the soft answer that turns away wrath [Prov. 15:1] we must possess the courage of a hero to resist evil. With the charity that endures all things [1 Cor. 13: 4, 7], we need the force of character that will make our influence a positive power.” – Ibid, p. 203.
Jesus is the Desire of Ages, the Answer to all that perplexes. Even though many will not admit it now, they are searching for the One who can fill the aching void in their hearts that can never be provided by anyone or anything this world can offer. Such should never give up their quest, for the Seven Lamps are a type of the Holy Spirit.
“And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Rev. 4: 5. He is also called the Eyes of the Lord. “For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” Zechariah 4:10. The Holy Spirit is searching for those whose hearts are loyal to God. “For the eyes of the Lord run through and forth throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16: 9.
Edward Snowden revealed a surveillance state larger than imagined by most, including government officials, by the NSA bulk data collection. But Christ’s followers “Fear not what flesh can do” (Ps. 56: 4) “for God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing whether it is good or whether it is evil.” Eccl. 12: 14; cf. Rom. 14: 10.
“It is not essential for us to able to define just what the Holy Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Spirit is the Comforter, ‘the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father.’ It is plainly declared regarding the Holy Spirit, that in His work of guiding all men into the truth, ‘He shall not speak of Himself.’ John 15: 26; 16:13.
“The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it [even as Christ’s incarnation is a mystery], because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them; but the acceptance of these views will not strengthen the church. Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden.
[But] “The office of the Holy Spirit is distinctly specified in the words of Christ. ‘When He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ John 16:8. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin. If the sinner responds to the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit, he will be brought torepentance, and aroused to the importance of obeying the divine requirements.
“To the repentant sinner, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, the Holy Spirit reveals the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. ‘He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you,’ Christ said. ‘He shall teach you all things, ands bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’ John 16: 14; 14: 26.
“The Spirit is given as a regenerating agency, to make effectual the salvation wrought by the death of our Redeemer. The Spirit is constantly seeking to draw the attention of men to the great offering that was made on the cross of Calvary, to unfold to the world the love of God, and to open to the convicted soul the precious things of the Scriptures.
“Having brought conviction of sin, and presented before the mind the standard of righteousness [God’s law], the Holy Spirit withdraws the affections from the things of this earth, and fills the soul with a desire for holiness. ‘He will guide you into all truth,’ the Savior declared. If men are willing to be molded, there will be brought about a sanctification of the whole being. The Spirit will take the things of God and stamp them on the soul. By His power the way of life will be made so plain that none need err therein.”- E. G. White, Acts of the Apostles, pp. 52, 53.
Receiving the Holy Spirit is a Precious Experience. The sweet psalmist of Israel says of the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: He who rules over man must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after the rain.” 2 Samuel 23: 2-4. As Jesus Christ is “all the fullness of the Godheadbodily” (Col. 2: 9) so is the Holy Spirit the fullness of Christ spiritually.
At the outpouring of Pentecost, “Faithful to His promise, the Divine One, exalted in the heavenly courts,imparted His fullness to His followers on earth. His enthronement at God’s right hand [as Advocate, High Priest, Intercessor, and Mediator] was signalized by the outpouring of the Spirit upon His disciples. By the work of Christ these disciples had been led to feel their need of the Holy Spirit; under the Spirit’s teaching they received their final preparation and went forth to their lifework. . .
“Then there was such a revelation of the glory of Christ as had never been witnessed by mortal man. Multitudes who had reviled His name and despised His power confessed themselves disciples of the Crucified. Through the cooperation of the divine Spirit the labors of the humble men whom Christ had chosen stirred the world. To every nation under heaven [then] was the gospel was carried in a single generation.”- E.G. White, Education, p. 95.
(To be continued next week)