I found it hilarious to hear Chuck Swindoll tell of his family returning home from a midsummer vacation and finding their house filled with that indescribable aroma of dead possum in the attic over the bed-room. Racing to find the best solution in the shortest time, Chuck found a product guaranteed to rid their house of that offensive odor of decaying flesh---”Anti-Icky Pooh.”
Like the Swindoll family, the church sometimes faces offensive odors. Decadent TV ministries leave a bad smell. Churches that tolerate unacceptable beliefs, congregations that allow members to live in Sodom while hobnobbing with the city elders, hierarchies that protect predatory priests all leave a poor witness.
Paul described such behaviors as holding to a form of godliness, while denying its power (2 Timothy 3:5). The antidote for this anemic spirituality is the Holy Spirit, a true Anti-Icky-Pooh product guaranteed to fulfill true righteousness.
There is power beyond the norm practiced by much of today’s church. There is life under the administration of the Holy Spirit, but this truth frequently finds itself wedged between ineffective teaching, misunderstood practice, and misappropriated authority.
From the age of Genesis, Judaism taught the unity of God within one-God (monotheism): Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness (1:26 NASV, italics added).
The Old Testament consistently shows God (the Father) at the center of all moral authority---the prime mover toward the human rescue. Yet, penetrating the fog ever so dimly, we see the mission of The Son manifesting the visible God to human eyes, instructing the world, and finally atoning for mankind’s sin through His own death.
It is the Holy Spirit who administers God’s Department of Grace; applying and distributing what originated through the joint High Command. He revives recollection of Jesus. He quickens the conscience, He renews the mind, and attests acceptance with God in practical living.
He sanctifies one’s whole being by taking possession of a purified temple. He makes the human heart His home and converts it into a sanctuary of unending comfort. He expands and transforms that person into a fruit-bearing garden producing love, peace, and joy.
Pentecost simply served as the Installation Service that brought about the transfer of power in the command. While people become drunk on the sensual and sensational, thus void of reality and power, God’s people throughout the ages have enjoyed the Holy Spirit’s power and presence in several ways.
First, the office of the Holy Spirit is to awaken and arrest one’s attention, to excite the feelings, and produce the conviction for sin (cf. John 16:8). Lacking power to rouse themselves, and shake off their stupor, people left to their own devises pass through life, meeting death, and entering eternity with their sleep uninterrupted.
Second, the work of the Holy Spirit is to renew (cf. Titus; John 3:5). Chaos, corruption, and death begin in the carnal mind. Carnality estranges the soul from God and dismantles the divine in humanity.
Third, the Holy Spirit restores and enlightens spiritual perception; penetrating the soul, repairing vision, revealing truth. He renews vision with perspective. Sin obscures vision and leaves us drifting on an ocean of error in a moral fog, void of true relationships.
Fourth, the Holy Spirit implants and nourishes the seeds of character-producing grace. Regeneration clears the soil of the soul of poisonous weeds and the bitter root of sin. It enables God’s Spirit of Truth to become the foundation of right principles, true virtues, and correct practices.
The Holy Spirit acts upon these plantings, like the quickening rays of warm sun invigorating spring flowers. He conditions the greenhouse of our heart, producing lovely bedding plants for beautifying the yards of our lives.
Fifth, the Holy Spirit assures us of our acceptance by God, reaffirming our justified relationship to Him (cf. Romans 8:6; Galatians 4:6). Although greater things were reserved for the gospel era, these functions are normal to the Holy Spirit.
Immersed in clouds of worldliness, today’s church sometimes finds itself debilitated and sickly, in spite of John the Baptist’s introduction of Jesus: He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, (Matthew 3:11 NASV, italics added).
By introducing Jesus as the King, John also introduced God’s (Spiritual) Kingdom. John proclaimed the arrival of the Promised Child, whose Presence brought the Power of the Savior-Sanctifier. John further called for fruit worthy of repentance and declared Israel already axed, rather than resurrected (cf. Matthew 3:10). He proclaimed the cleansing baptism of the Holy Spirit, rather than legalizing water baptism.
Believing in Jesus requires us to accept a Trinitarian view of God. Thereby, it acknowledges the era of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, we learn there is more to life than mere human discipline.
Without explicit preaching and solid testimony we may fail to comprehend this truth, but it is the fulcrum on which the lever of the Spirit rests.Faith provides the conveyor belt carrying salvation. The Holy Spirit provides the power that creates the cleansing, quickening, and beautifying we all need.
When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about His coming kingdom, He told them it is neither here nor there; it is within you (cf. Luke 17:21). Here, we have discovery beyond discipline, power beyond practiced norm.
There is a Sanctifier beyond the Savior, and Jesus convincingly concluded by telling His disciples, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word (John 14:23a NASV)
From Warner’s World …
a hymn written by C. W. Naylor and sung by Christians worldwide puts it into song:
Spirit holy in me dwelling,
Ever work as thou shalt choose;
All my ransomed pow’rs and talents
For thy purpose thou shalt use.
O how sweet is thy abiding!
O how tender is the love
Thou dost shed abroad with-in me
From the Father-heart above!
Thou hast cleansed me for thy temple,
Garnished with thy graces rare;
All my soul thou art enriching
By thy fullness dwelling there.
In me now reveal thy glory,
Let thy might be ever shown;
Keep me from the world’s defilement,
Sacred for thyself alone.
Spirit holy, Spirit holy,
All my being now possess;
Lead me, rule me, work within me,
Through my life thy will express.