Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Work of the Holy Spirit

PART THREE -- The Work of the Holy Spirit
-Wayne M. Warner-

 Life is always a probation. The will is free . . . the holiest saint on earth may, if he chooses, sin and go to hell. Everything hangs upon the choice. Thank God we need not fall. Falling is possible, but not necessary.
                                    Byron J. Rees,
                             The Wesleyan Advocate

A wretched stench confronted Chuck Swindoll’s family when they returned home from their midsummer vacation. Chuck described their non-humorous dilemma of finding their house filled with the indescribable aroma of a dead possum in the attic over the bedroom.

Racing to find the best solution in the shortest time, they found a product guaranteed to rid their house of the offensive odor of decaying flesh---”Anti-Icky Pooh.”

The Church, like the Swindoll family, sometimes faces offensive odors. Decadent TV ministries leave a bad smell. Churches that tolerate unacceptable beliefs and congregations that allow members to live in Sodom while hobnobbing with the city elders, leaves 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 many in today’s church. There is life under the administration of the Holy Spirit, but this truth frequently finds itself effectively wedged between ineffective teaching and misunderstood practice.

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, emphasis added).

The Old Testament consistently shows God (the Father) at the center of all moral authority---the prime mover toward the human rescue. Yet, piercing through the fog ever so dimly, we see the mission of the Son manifesting the visible God to human eyes, to instruct the world, and finally to atone 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, renews the mind, and attests acceptance with God in practical living.

He sanctifies one’s whole being. He takes possession of a purified temple, makes the heart His home and converts it into a sanctuary of unending comfort. He expands it into a fruit-bearing garden that produces love, peace, and joy.

Pentecost simply served as the Installation Service that brought about the transfer in the command of power. Although people sometimes find themselves drunk on the sensual and sensational, thus void of reality, 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 conviction for sin (cf. John 16:8). Lacking power to rouse themselves, and shake off the stupor, people left to their own devices pass through this life, meet death, and enter 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, leaving 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 soul of poisonous weeds and the bitter root of sin. It allows God’s Spirit of Truth to become the foundation of right principles, true virtues, and correct practices.

The Holy Spirit, moreover, acts upon these plantings, like the quickening rays of warm sun on 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, John announced (Matthew 3:11 NASV, emphasis added).  

By introducing Jesus as the King, John also introduced God’s Kingdom. In proclaiming the arrival of the Promised Child, whose presence brought the power of the Savior-Sanctifier, John called for fruit worthy of repentance. He 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 life that comes to us from beyond mere human discipline.

Without explicit preaching and solid testimony we may fail to understand this truth, which is the fulcrum on which the lever of the Spirit rests.

Faith provides the conveyor belt that carries salvation, but 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’s neither here nor there, but within you (cf. Luke 17:21). There is a level of life to discover beyond mere discipline, an internal power far beyond the norm practiced.

This is reaffirming the Biblical truth that there is a Sanctifier beyond the Savior, and Jesus himself insisted that among His disciples if anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word  (John 14:23a NASV). 

Be blessed!

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