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Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives

Another Excerpt from my Bible Study Notes, posted at It's About HIM

Failure Before the Cross, Part 3

In the days we live in there is much spiritual deception. It's past being religious, it's outright Satanic at times. There is much emphasis on weird manifestations, and outlandish behavior and claims in what some call revival. Be so careful, beloved. Much is blamed on the Holy Spirit that He has no part of at all. If you want to know if He is actively working where you are here are your guideposts:

Joh 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

When He shows up, He will convict and expose what is out of order and what is wrong. He will reveal where people have missed the mark, wandered into error and have violated God's law. To be convicted is to be found guilty of violating the divine law of God and it is punishable by death so it's no wonder He wants to bring those He finds guilty to repentance. The Lord is so willing to forgive and when we look around and see the sad condition of this world and its inhabitants, this eagerness, this willingness to forgive on God's part, for the sake of His Son, testifies of a heart of love that almost takes my breath away. What kind of love is it that caused His Son to cry out from the depths of His pain and despised shame on that cruel cross "Father, Forgive them!" I know that was a God-produced cry in the heart of His Son. It had to grieve the Father's heart but at the same time the Father wanted to open the way for these to run into His very presence and find forgiveness and communion with HIM whose Son they murdered?

My feeble mind can't comprehend this. I have to look to Him and depend on Him and cry out Oh, Father, give ME your kind of holy love for I am not able to love those around me like this!!

When the Holy Spirit shows up He not only reveals wrongs, and failures, and exposes that which is out of order, and sin, but also makes clear what is right. He doesn't do this in a harsh or malicious way, He is gentle, not wanting to discourage us or bring us to despair. He lovingly corrects a parent. He has been sent to parent us, to prepare us, to teach, guide and strengthen us. Those who speak for Him in ministry, they are gentle, easy to be entreated, peaceable, compassionate, the law of kindness is in their mouth. If it is not, they aren't completely crucified with Him yet or something is wrong. The Holy Spirit comes and judges in us, exposes it privately to us those things that will condemn and damn us and so we can see it and repent. The Lord loves us so much He allows things and situations to come at us that though they may be very unpleasant, and we will be pressed by them hard, He has a reason. He sees things in our hearts that are unlike Christ, and often we don't. He has seen it from the start, beloved, but yet He has patiently loved, and led and worked with us, and taught us to strengthen us to be able to face unpleasant truths about ourselves. When He begins to show us our hearts, He is right there with us to remind us of His love so we don't fall into despair and give up. When He allows hard times or places into our lives to squeeze us it's to cause that thing in our heart we don't see to come to the surface so we can see it as He convicts us, and exposes it to our understanding. He does this so we can repent and be cleansed and forgiven. What a merciful God! The next time you are in a hard, unpleasant place, remember this. He knows how you feel and He's right there with you. He will hold you up and encourage you if you cry out to HIM and not to people. Run to His Word, run to HIS embrace not yourself, or others. He is WELL able to hold you up-and once you experience how HE holds you up you will not want to run anywhere else ever again.

So, how can you tell if the Holy Spirit is actually manifesting among God's people? His presence brings conviction, revelation of what is wrong and how it should be, and this is brought into the light to bring about brokenness and repentance so He can cleanse and forgive us and restore us. Jesus never said there would be gold dust in the air. He never said there would be people flopping around like fish out of water. He never said people would be making animal sounds. This is an internal, unseen work, but clearly felt by those being ministered too. (The kingdom of God is within you, remember Jesus said this and it comes not with observation (Luk 17:20-21) His presence will produce a reverence for God-an orderly, decent reverence. It will produce joy which is expressed in different ways. One might cry, one might run and shout hallelujah. One might begin to sing. One might begin to praise. However they express their gratitude and worship to God, is not ours to judge. If it is HIM it will be right.

Joh 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

Joh 16:13 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 shew you things to come.

Joh 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Joh 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

This too, identifies the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He had so much He wanted to show them but He knew they could not receive or endure it. It's so important to recognize this. There are things that just cannot be preached to people who have not been filled with the Holy Spirit of God. They can't receive this. You can't preach "Deny yourself-reject yourself and embrace the life of another" to someone who is a new convert until they get rooted in the truth and see enough of Him they would rather have HIM than self and get filled with the Holy Spirit. You can't preach meat to babes. It will choke and discourage them. This is why ministers so desperately need to seek God for the messages they bring to the pulpit. ONLY the Holy Spirit knows what the people really need, and are ready for, and only HE can bring life to the Word so it feeds and strengthens rather than kills as a dead letter.

The Lord is speaking about the individual ministry of the Holy Spirit to the person here, as well as corporately to the Body of Christ. When the Holy Spirit is present, He will show the right way and lead you through this Holy Bible which is the Word of God Almighty to us, and open our understanding. He who made our minds has to enlarge our understanding so we can embrace this truth. He has to reveal it to us. He didn't come to speak of Himself, but to reveal Christ to us. The glorified, risen Christ. He hears what is said between the Father and the Son, and that is what He says. Just as Jesus said, "The Word that I speak is the Word of Him who sent Me" so the Holy Spirit speaks the Word of the One who sent Him. He will also show us what is going to happen or change in our lives. He shows us what has to go, He shows us what needs to change. He warns us of snares and traps in the way ahead. This requires an active seeking of the Lord on our part. We have to understand and believe He lives in and with us by faith as we seek understanding and seek to know the Lord, the Holy Spirit will reveal Him to us. We can't leave our Bibles closed and not show up for prayer and study and expect to learn anything. We can't let our minds wander on everything but the Lord and expect a divine revelation of anything except that we are on dangerous ground and need to get back where we belong.

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