Holy Spirit Part 5: The Great Harvest of God


Acts 2:16-21 “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
 
We studied this passage out of Acts last week. As the disciples were being obedient to Jesus by tarrying (waiting) in Jerusalem, they received the promise of the Father, which was the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and they began speaking in other tongues.
 
One very important point that was emphasized last time was that the purpose of the power received from the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49) was to be witnesses for God's kingdom.
 
I find it extremely interesting that in the first Holy Spirit filled message Peter not only preaches Jesus, His sacrifice, and His resurrection, but he also refers to Joel’s prophecy about the end days when God's wrath will be poured out upon unrepentant man. In between the time frame of this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, taking place, during the festival of Pentecost (50 days after Passover) and the outpouring of judgment Peter referred to from Joel's prophecy, is the time frame in which we are currently living known as the "Church Age."
 

As we move forward, we will see that there is rich symbolism contained within the Old Testament and specifically the feast of Pentecost surrounding the great harvest of God.
 
In order to properly understand the points I will attempt to make, the reader should be aware that the church age, for the purposes of this teaching, represents the great harvest of God, which is broken down into two parts: the day of Pentecost would represent the beginning of the harvest time (first fruits); whereas, the end of the harvest (the ingathering), or the end of the ages is where God will reap His harvest from the earth, separating the wheat from the chaff (Matt 3:12), is rapidly approaching.

 

In addition, there is the concept of Israel’s seasons, which were paramount for their harvest. I will mention this again, but Israel’s former rain occurred in the beginning of the harvest season, preparing the soil for the reception of seed, and the latter rain occurred towards the end of the season, allowing the harvest to become more full and plentiful. Whereas, the feasts I spoke of previously specifically represent the harvest itself from the beginning to the end-- the church age, the rains represent the descending of God’s Spirit: both the former rain (Pentecost) and possibly the latter rain (Azusa Street). I believe these events are God pouring out His Spirit upon the earth for the purpose of preparing and producing His harvest.
 
Exodus 34:18 “The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.”
 
The feast of unleavened bread coincided with the feast of Passover. In essence, they were one and the same. The Passover feast was a specific meal celebrated upon a specific day, which began the week long feast of unleavened bread.
 
Regarding the Passover, as we have discussed multiple times, it was a sacrifice that God required of Israel as a memorial every year (Exodus 12:14). The purpose of the remembrance was to keep on the forefront of Israel's mind the salvation and deliverance God provided for them when He brought them out of Egyptian slavery.
 
The killing of the Passover and remembrance of the painting of its blood served as an annual reminder that God's wrath was assuaged and moved away from the obedient Israelite and placed upon the slain lamb. It was their faith obedience in the slain lamb that made them different than the Egyptians around them who incurred the judgment and wrath of God upon their firstborn the night of the first Passover.
 
Amazingly, this festival was kept every year as God demanded and then one Passover night, 1500 years later, outside a city called Jerusalem, a man named Jesus, who John the Baptist had previously said was, "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," was betrayed, arrested and crucified. And approximately 30 years after that Paul would say, "Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:" 1 Corinthians 5:7
 
The reference to the "leaven" in the Corinthian passage brings me to my next point. The Feast of unleavened bread was all about inspection of the house and removal of sin. As noted in the verse above, Paul says that we are to remove all leaven from our lives. Leaven is the same as yeast, and it’s repeatedly used to represent sin in the Bible.
 
Yearly, during the feast of unleavened bread, the Israelites were commanded by God to inspect and remove leaven (sin) from their environment and only allowed to eat unleavened bread during the week of this feast.
 
Within these first two required feasts, some main ideas are emphasized: (1) God has brought deliverance for His people, and this was accomplished through the shedding of innocent blood (2) Sin is something that God takes seriously. He demands its removal from our lives and "diets."
 
Ultimately, Jesus is the fulfillment of these truths. As already pointed out Paul explained that Jesus was our Passover; therefore, we should purge out the old leaven. Instead, of eating the bread of sin-- what the world offers, we are to eat the bread of life-- what God offered.
 
Exodus 34:22 “And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks {Pentecost}, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end.”
 
These are the other two feasts that God required the men of Israel to observe in their worship of Him.
 
The Feast of Weeks was another name for Pentecost. It began 50 (Pente) days after Passover. This feast celebrated the beginning of the harvest season.
 
It was on the day of Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, approximately a week after He ascended to the Father that the Spirit of God descended upon the disciples and the church was born.
 
It's imperative that we realize all the typology occurring here. The reader can think all this is accidental if he chooses, or he/ she can believe that the God they serve is powerful enough to establish these feasts thousands of years beforehand, demanding His people observe them yearly to keep them ever before the mind, so that when the time of their true fulfillment arrived, the people of God, established through faith in His plan, would be able to see the intricacy and detail He planned salvation with, so that the more they were willing to search the treasures of His Word, the more they would realize how real all this is.
 
So the Feast of Weeks/ Pentecost was the first fruits of the harvest. And the Feast of Ingathering was a feast to celebrate the conclusion of the harvest season. I want to make myself clear, "I’m seeing within these passages: Passover is the cross, Pentecost is the birth of the church and beginning of the church age, and the Feast of Ingathering is the end of the age, the end of the great "harvest" of God.
 
As should be obvious by now, "harvest" is the pervasive theme of this teaching. Another concept extremely important to Israel's harvest was the former and the latter rains. There is no reason to wait for a big reveal; the point tonight is to help the disciple see the importance of the Holy Spirit's work in the great harvest of God.
 
Just as the rain descended from the heavens preparing the soil for the reception of seed (former rain), and at the end of the season, the rains would descend from heaven in order to "fatten" or enrich the harvest, the Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost, preparing the soul of the church age to receive the seed of God's Word.
 
Furthermore, it's this writer's contention and many others before him that the Azusa Street Revival, taking place in Los Angeles, California, at the turn of the 20th century, was the latter rain of God "fattening" the harvest, preparing it for its reaping.
 
In some of the following passages, the emphasis is upon the former and latter rains of Israel in the Old Testament. Israel was completely dependent upon these rains in order for their crops to be successful. Unlike the world (Egypt), who could readily plan their seed and harvest times based upon the regularity of the Nile's inundation, Israel was dependent upon God to send the rain.
 
As we will see in many of the following passages, the context surrounds harvest, the rains, and judgment because God's people weren't concerning themselves with God's desires. Therefore, because, God's people, called by His name, didn't concern themselves about the spiritual, He withheld what they needed in the physical.
 
In a similar fashion, many Christians cry out to God to move in their physical circumstances; yet, they, and their preachers alike refuse to concern themselves with the pressing issue at hand-- GOD's HARVEST!!
 
Hosea 6:1-3 (790-739 BC) “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.  Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
 
At this point in Israel's history, there is still hope. In other words, captivity can still be averted. God is pleading with His people through the prophets to come to their senses, repent, and serve Him. If they do, the promise is that His presence will descend upon them just as the former and latter rains descend upon their physical land.
 
Jeremiah 5:20-24(582 BC) “Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it:and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”
 
During this time-frame, Israel the, Northern Kingdom had remained disobedient and were brought under the captivity of Assyria and Judah is about to be brought under the bondage of Babylon.
 
God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah is reminding the people of His power, and His awareness of their disobedience. Just as He has the power to tell the waves where they must stop, He also has the power to with hold the former and latter rains, which were of absolute necessity for a successful harvest.
 
Joel 2:23-26
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God:
for he hath given you the former rain moderately,
and he will cause to come down for you the rain,
the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
 And the floors shall be full of wheat,
and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,
the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm,
my great army which I sent among you.
 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
that hath dealt wondrously with you:
and my people shall never be ashamed.... Joel 2:28-32
And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh;
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
your young men shall see visions:
 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids
in those days will I pour out my spirit.
 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth,
blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,
before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance,
as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

 
God promises in the first part of this passage to supply Israel with what they need in order for them to physically prosper. He would send the former and latter rains in order to bless them abundantly; furthermore, He promises to restore unto them what has been devoured because of their disobedience. The reference of this passage speaks of His promise to restore the aftermath of Israel's disobedience when they return to His ways.
 
The truth is that the kingdom of God has always worked this way. When His people rebel against Him, their physical lives are oftentimes directly affected. While many may say, "I've known people that rebelled and made more money during those times than ever before." Ok, but what about their emotional and mental state? I can assure you that when people move in a direction opposite of God's will for their lives there will be repercussions whether it be financial, mental, social, emotional...
 
Sadly, in these modern days, where man promises to have the answers fixing problems originating from the fall,  "Christians" scurry to and fro looking to man to fix the ordeal they have brought upon themselves as though the Psychiatrist, the friend with a bottle of pain pills or Xanax, or the loan officer is going to be able to stop the spiritual landslide that's occurring.
 
Actually, it’s an inaccurate statement on my part to draw the reader's attention only to modern times; instead, we should be made aware that since the fall, man has corporately pulled together in opposition against God, building a society without Him, which focuses on the niceties of a better physical life while ignoring the spiritual reality of death and decay around them.
 
As life gets "easier," it becomes more difficult for some to recognize that something is wrong and that the answer is, "God must be embraced." On the other hand, some are beginning to see through the façade, that while technology abounds, the stability of the human race continues its spiraling descent towards moral depravity-- man's intellect and ingenuity cannot resolve the spiritual issue at hand. More specifically, with regards to this thought, from Cain's descendants, through Nimrod at Babel, man is seen both defying God and attempting to make his life better for himself through ingenuity.
 
Jubal, a descendant of Cain is one of many pre-flood examples of what I'm talking about. According to the Bible's testimony, he was the first to produce musical instruments, so from the people of the world, Cain's descendants, rather than Seth's, music was given to the world. By now, Christians should know Lucifer was created with music in him (Isaiah 14:11). Therefore, we should expect he would have his claws within the music of the world. Most people would say, "But I don't listen to bad stuff. I only listen to stuff that reminds me of happier times, stuff that makes me feel better." And here is a perfect example: music, which affects the soul (mind, will, and emotions) offers an alternative to ease discomfort.
 
Some would say, "Come on man give me a break. I'm not smoking dope or taking pain pills, and you have a problem with my harmless music?" You do what you want with your own life, but I will tell you this, "If you're subconsciously turning on the music of the world for a "pick me up," (it has been proven by the way that music changes the levels of serotonins and dopamine in the brain, which are the neurotransmitters that regulate mood [low levels-- depression, high levels-- elevated mood]) then you aren't turning on worship music, spending time in God's presence and learning how to cast your cares on Him:
 
1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
 
John 4:34-38 “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour:other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”

 
This whole chapter is an awesome lesson, but the point I want to make here is a little more obscure within the text. In this story of the Samaritan woman, the whole reason that Jesus was left alone with her was because His disciples had gone looking for food because they had been on a day’s journey and was hungry.
 
After their long search and Jesus' long conversation with the woman, they are completely focused on the here and now; they're focused on eating physical food; whereas, Jesus' focus is on accomplishing His Father's will.
 
Furthermore, when He speaks about the few months until the harvest and mentions the fact that the harvest is white and ready, the disciples undoubtedly are looking at the flowing grain as it moves back and forth from the blowing wind; however, the eyes of the Lord are focused on the return of the Samaritan woman and the town's people following her because they represent lost souls.
 
The point to the whole teaching tonight was to emphasize the Holy Spirit's role to make the believer aware of the urgency regarding God's harvest. Furthermore, if we will focus on God's desires, He promises to take care of our needs.
 
Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”



 



The Holy Spirit, Part 4: He Endues With Power

Luke 22:31-34
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:and when thou art converted
[to turn to: bring back], strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
 
Mark 14:27-31
And Jesus saith unto them,-- All ye shall be offended because of me this night:for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.

 
The word offended in the KJV is translated from the Greek word: skandalizo, which is where we get our word scandal.
 
σκανδαλιζω skandalizo; from 4625; to entrap, i. e. trip up (figuratively, stumble (transitively) or entice to sin,...
 
There is a lot going on behind the scenes at this point, but what I want to focus upon is Peter's response to the words of the Lord.
 
Jesus is foretelling them what's going to happen after He dies. The result of His death is going to cause them to stumble in their faith; they will commit the sin of unbelief.
 
What the disciples are facing at this moment in time is common to all Christians. There are times within this journey that we are filled with uncertainty, even confusion, and we shrink back; furthermore, there are many times that we, like Peter, think more highly of ourselves than we should. In other words, we have more confidence in ourselves than we should.
 
I have always loved this passage of scripture:
 
...  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren...
 

There is so much in this one verse because the truth is that the enemy of our soul wants to sift us all like wheat. I don't mean to over- spiritualize the statement Jesus made, but the sifting of wheat certainly has the idea of separation, separating husk from grain, separating large grain from fine flour, and separating unwanted elements from the flour itself. From a spiritual perspective, the idea is undoubtedly that the enemy wants to sift or separate Peter, not only from God’s presence, but also from God's purpose.
 
Essentially, Satan desires permission from God to tempt Peter, his hope (Satan) being that he will destroy Peter's faith, and ultimately, destroy the plan God has for Peter's life.
 
Every Christian should take note of what is taking place in the spiritual realm at this point. This is a similar occurrence to what happened to Job. The enemy of our soul and accuser of our walk with God asks permission to prove us wrong, and there are times when God allows him certain latitude.
 
Now, we must also understand that God has a plan through these tests and ultimately His desire is not to destroy us; rather, His desire is that through the test, He will prove and perfect our faith, essentially bringing us to the place where we understand the import of God's kingdom business.
 
Satan, on the other hand, also has a desire, like the sift separates wheat; he wants to separate us from our relationship and purpose in God. Jesus assures Peter that He is interceding so that Peter's faith wouldn't fail. He didn't say that Peter in no way would fail, or that Peter would never make a mistake. Instead, Jesus' prayer is that Peter's belief in the declaration that he previously made, which was given to him by the Father in heaven:
 
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
 

It is this faith that Jesus prays would not fail.
 
As we will see moving forward, the mixture of our failing attempts in our own strength compounded with the filling of the Holy Spirit, produces a child of God that is prepared to perform for God through His (God's) power, having been convinced that his (self's) own power won't work.
 
...But he [Peter] spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all (Mark 14).
 
Already, the disciples are following Peter's lead. Sadly, when he fails God, through denying Jesus (Luke 22:54-61; Matthew 26:69-75) and in his remorse, moves further away, they will also follow.
 
John 21:3
Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
 

Here, we resume the story after Peter denied Jesus three times and the crucifixion has taken place. Even though Jesus has been resurrected and revealed Himself to the disciples sporadically for 40 days before His ascension to the Father, which obviously would have given them time to contemplate all these things that were happening.
 
It's within the midst of one of these times, a time where Peter has seen and is made aware that God's purposes are moving forward as planned in spite of Peter's failure, that Peter takes a wrong turn. No one really knows what's going on within the heart of a man or woman, the past hurts, insecurities, or even secret failures that plague a person's mind. But this is the very time when Satan is attempting his sifting, the liar is attempting to remove Peter but put yourself in the blank, because the liar wants to sift you also you can be assured; however, remember the words of the Savior, "When you are converted, strengthen the brethren..."
 
In other words, the failure and rescue from the trial is going to produce in us the epignosis (experiential) knowledge of Jesus needed to convince us about kingdom business.
 
The Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest explains that the underlying language in this John passage is describing something more than just an innocent fishing trip on Peter's part. Instead, the idea being communicated is that he is going back to his former lifestyle as a fisherman and turning his back on the call; furthermore, many of the other disciples are falling prey to his influence.
 
We don't have time to dissect Jesus' words of correction and instruction, which put Peter back on course, and while I would never want to put a heavy burden on any individual, I certainly want to be a part of a process that produces sober minded disciples when I say, "People are watching your walk!"
 
People both in the world and the church are watching your walk, at least if you've stepped out enough and told anybody you were a Christian. If you have done that, they're watching and how you handle your business matters.
 
Now, that isn't said to place heavy burdens on anyone. The truth is that we can't walk in victory on our own anyway, and I can assure you that there will be failures in the journey of Christianity, and anyone who says they haven't failed the Lord  in some way is probably so full of a lying spirit of religion they couldn't see their failure even if they wanted to.
 
Nevertheless, the main reason I spent all this time talking about Peter's failure is because I wanted to provide a contrast for the power of Pentecost.
 
Before Jesus ascended to the Father, He told His disciples:  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you:but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49).
 
When we contemplate the struggles that the disciples, more specifically Peter, were having, we can come to the conclusion that there is no way they would be able to accomplish God's mission: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:was the power of God to help them (Matthew 28:19).
 
Once Jesus was ascended and the disciples obeyed His instructions to tarry in Jerusalem so they could receive the promised power, the Holy Spirit showed up and some amazing things took place.
 

Acts 2:1-41
 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,-- Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?-- Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh:and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death:because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens:but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
 
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized:and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
 

So in the end of this story, the same man, who full of pride, said he wouldn't fail God did, and in his failure, responding through despondency, turned his back on God's plan for his life, leading most of the disciples to do the same; ultimately, heeds the words of the Savior, is filled with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, preaches the first Holy Ghost message, and 3,000 get saved.
 
The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is to give us the power to be witnesses for the kingdom of God, to be witnesses for the gospel of Jesus Christ:
 
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.



 
 
 

 


The Holy Spirit, Part 3: He Guides

John 16:12-15 “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 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. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
 
We have been studying the person of the Holy Spirit; thus far, we have covered the Spirit's role in creation. We discussed how the Holy Spirit performed the miracle of creation based upon the Father's eternal plan, which was spoken by the eternal Word (Jesus) long before His incarnation.
 
Similarly, the Holy Spirit also performs a creative miracle in the heart of man (Ezekiel 36:25-27; Titus 3:5) when the word (the Gospel) about the eternal Word (Jesus) is spoken and the hearer receives it by faith, the hovering Spirit of God creates a new human heart.
 
Last week we covered the concept that the Holy Spirit comforts, convinces, and convicts. We took upon ourselves the arduous task of following the process where God has relentlessly pursued humanity with His presence.
 
Immediately following the garden incident, through the skins of the innocent animal, God has been bringing His presence closer into communion with believers; ultimately, at least on this side of the eternal veil, the climax of restoring His presence occurred at the cross, where the sin debt was paid, allowing humanity, with a simple act of faith, to become the tabernacle for the presence of the living God:
 
John 14:17-18 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
 
Tonight we will cover the statement that Jesus made about the Holy Spirit's guidance, but before we dive into this topic, we should first consider the beginning verse of our passage:
 
John 16:12 “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
 
To this point, we haven't really discussed a big part of the surrounding context, which gives deeper meaning to the passage we are studying tonight.
 
John 16:12 “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
 
There are some great theological truths that will have to be given to the disciples in order for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to move forward and spread the globe. However, Jesus makes it clear that, at the present time, the disciples are in a place where they are unable to spiritually bear or endure.
 
Bear- bastazo-- to take hold of with the hands or carry away.
 
Now, it seems crucial to me to take notice of this thought that the very men who are called to carry this Ggospel message so that it will eventually encircle the globe are presently incapable of accomplishing the mission.
 
Now, there is no question that they have not received the Holy Spirit yet, and no man will ever accomplish the true work of God without the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
 
However, I will tell you that there are also some personal issues that prevent them from being able to properly carry on the work God will require of them. We would do well to try and determine the underlying context, because we might find that some of those same problems stand in our way, preventing us from accomplishing the will of God in our lives.
 
If you review, in all the gospels, the undertakings that occurred between Jesus and His disciples the night they ate the Passover, you will be overwhelmed by the amount of teaching that took place that night before He was betrayed and arrested. But if we start six days before and include the anointing for His burial, along with some of the occurrences from the Passover night, we will begin to see these people's struggles more clearly:
 
(1). People are having a hard time determining the value of the Lord (Mark 14:1-9; John 12:1-8). Jesus is about to go to the cross, and it appears that only Mary has a revelation of what's important. As we will see moving forward, everyone else has their own agenda.
 
(2). The Bible teaches that the heart of man is deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), and we find this truth also taking place even in the lives of Jesus' disciples. From the extreme of Judas deciding in his heart to betray Jesus (Luke 22:21-23) and becoming possessed by Satan, to some of the disciples concerning themselves about who will be labeled the greatest or most important (Luke 22:24-27).
 
(3). Because they are consumed with their own agendas, there is no sense of urgency or vigilance regarding kingdom business; instead, when Jesus needs them the most, they fall asleep on the job (Luke 22:44-46; Mark 14:37-42; Matthew 26:40-45).
 
John 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.”
 

We should probably dissect this verse and handle it in two different parts:
 
(1) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...
 

First, let's look at the word guide. This word in the Greek is hodogeo, which comes from the root of hodos.
 
Why is this important? The word hodos is translated into English as "way."
 
Luke 1:79-80 “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”

 
Luke 3:4-7 “As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
 
The meaning of the word hodos or way describes a path or journey, or a well worn path. Or in other words an easily discernible path.
 
Have you ever seen a path in the midst of a wooded area? When you see a trodden path in a wooded area it's easily discerned which way to go.
 
Sadly, at the time of Jesus, humanity had been lost in sin for so long that the way to God was obscured. One would think that the religion of the Jews would have cleared things up a bit simply because they were God's chosen people. While it's true God chose Israel to birth Messiah and there is much that could be said here, but let it suffice to say that by the time Jesus showed up on the scene, the religion of the Pharisees had muddied the water and obscured the path.
 
Therefore, God sent John the Baptist to prepare a way for The Way. Furthermore, in the passage we are discussing the immediate context, once again, speaks to God's movement through the ages to bring revelation about His truth to a lost and dying world.
 
The Holy Spirit's guidance is specifically related to "The Truth." In the Greek text, there is a definite article preceding the word "truth;" therefore, a more accurate translation would be "The Truth."
 
We have discussed the concept of the definite article before but mostly in reference to the concept of sin, pointing out that in Romans 5, 6, and 7 on most occasions there is a definite article preceding the word sin.
 
What is a definite article? For us it is the word "The." An indefinite article would be "a" or "an." The idea is that when the word "the" is used in the Greek it always has some specific information connected to it; for instance: (1) it is always used with a noun; (2) the definite article always refers to specifics.
 
Let's take the concept of the noun first. When we speak of "The Sin," as a noun we are not concerning ourselves with the various verbs of sin, which are merely the fruit of the underlying problem; rather, we are concerning ourselves with the root of sin. In other words, we are speaking of the principle of sin, or the power of sin that has wound itself around the helix of humanities' DNA if you would permit such language.
 
We are talking about the sinful nature that we received from our father Adam in our first birth into the sin of this fallen world. It is this sin principle or root, which dominates our lives, producing in our members (Romans 7:5, 23) the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), which we see manifest in our walk upon this earth. But thanks be to God, because the finished work of Jesus on the cross accomplished a spiritual victory for helpless humanity.
 
When we are born again, we become partakers of the divine nature of God (2 Peter 1:4) through our connection (abiding in the vine) with Christ (John 15).
 
Now, I only used this sin concept as an illustration to discuss the concept of the definite article. Our topic is "The Truth."
 
It should not be hard for us to realize that this fallen world is full of lies. Even within our own lives, we can see how easy it is to fall prey to convenient half truths, which we pretend are producing something better for ourselves, when in reality, all untruth cannot move us closer to God; instead, it repels us from His presence.
 
God is truth! Humanity, born of Adam, has been born into a fallen state of disrepair and absolutely incapable of getting to the source of life. However, God in His love and mercy has been progressively, for thousands of years of human history, working His salvation history through the ages, revealing greater levels of His truth to a lost and dying world.
 
If we consider the course God has chosen to travel in bringing truth to us, which ultimately finds its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus, we are faced with the haunting fact that sin was so devastating and moved man so far from the understanding of God that His plan of salvation had to be given a “jot and tittle” at a time...line upon line...precept upon precept...here a little...there a little (Matthew 5:18; Isaiah 28:10).
 
Simply stated, man can't handle all the truth of God thrown at him at once. Nevertheless, let it be understood that this great undertaking God has been working through the ages has been for that very purpose: to reveal Himself to us, to reveal His truth to us, to restore us back into His presence-- Jesus is the fulfillment of all those things. Furthermore, Jesus was the types and shadows concealed in all the moving of God through all those years.
 
Whether it be the blood painted on the door posts or the articles of the tabernacle in Exodus, the sacrifices in Leviticus, or the rest of the Sabbath, all these elements of truth were pointing towards the day when "The Truth" would be manifest in the person of Jesus.
 
So when we speak of the Holy Spirit's role regarding "The Truth." His function, as Jesus says will be to reveal all these truths that have been given over the millennia, building steam through the years, and ultimately finding their fulfillment in Jesus.
 
What does this mean to us, today? It means that if we are going to understand the real truth about Jesus, we are going to need the parakletos (someone s
ummoned, called to one's side, esp. called to one's aid) ruling and reigning in our heart; we are going to have to learn the process of walking in the Spirit; we are going to have to learn the pivot point of the Christian journey-- self must die, so that He might live.
 
Christianity is not about selfishness-- what I get out of the deal from God. Instead, Christianity is about me coming to the end of my life born of Adam and allowing the new man, born in Jesus, to come alive. As that process progresses, I will find that each day, week, and even year that passes by, I will be gaining revelation knowledge about "The Truth" that was manifest to reveal the love of God to a lost and dying world.
 
So the Holy Spirit wants to reveal "The Truth" to the disciples first but also to every disciple (me and you) that will ever walk the face of the earth. As we grow in "The Truth," we are better equipped to discern the difference between truth and lies throughout our daily travels on earth.
 
1 John 2:20-21 “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
 
(1 John 1:1-10).
The first couple of chapters of first John essentially reiterate everything that I was previously attempting to explain. Humanity was in the midst of darkness, but the love of God was manifest in Jesus. He is the love of God; He is the light of God; He was manifest to bring deliverance from the power of sin and darkness
 
(1 John 2)
He is the sacrifice for sin; He is the power over sin, and the visible fruit that a man, woman, or child has been born again and loves God is that he will keep God's commandments. In other words, he will be obedient to God's word. I have been teaching this next thought for over 14 years, but here it goes again, "A man cannot just set out in his own strength and successfully walk in obedience to the word of God, and neither can he accomplish the will of God through his will power.
 
The Christian attempting to live for God in this manner will find himself in the back side of a wandering wilderness, experiencing an epic Romans 7, Pauline struggle (Pauline is used by scholars as an adjective to describe the writings and work of Paul. In a similar fashion, they describe the work of John as Johannine. I'm taking a little liberty to use the word this way, but I simply mean a Romans 7 struggle like Paul had).
 
Back to the commentary on the second chapter of first John - when a man is born again and absorbs himself in "The Truth" of Christ, he will learn to walk in obedience to God's word, which will ultimately result in love towards the brethren because Jesus is the manifestation of the love of God, and when the fruit of the Spirit is manifest in our lives it will look like Jesus, which is epitomized by sacrificial, selfless, LOVE!
 
Also, in chapter two of first John, the idea that the spirit of anti-christ is alive and well on the earth is introduced. Obviously, this spirit is the opposite of the Holy Spirit. It is a lying spirit of deception drawing humanity away from the truth of God.
 
I said all this to prepare for the concept of this verse:
 
1 John 2:20-21 “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.”
 
The word unction in the Greek is Chrisma. The root meaning of this word comes from the same place as other words such as charisma, charismatic, or Christ, which the latter literally means "The anointed."
 
Chrisma, in a similar fashion to the word Christ, has the idea of "smearing with oil, just as David was anointed with oil as king (1 Samuel 16:12, 13), and the Psalm speaks of the anointing oil that rolled down Aaron's beard (Psalm 133:22).
 
What should be understood about these earthly scenarios is that the anointing oil was representative of God's hand and acceptance being placed upon the person that was anointed with the oil.
 
Therefore, when we speak of the Christ, we are referring to the anointed One. The Ancient of Days had been promising for thousands of years, who was manifest in the flesh and revealed to us as the man Jesus.
 
With regards to the word "unction," it could have also been translated as anointing; for that is the literal meaning of the word. Nevertheless, the idea is that when a man or woman is born again from the dead and translated from darkness into light (Col.1:13), the residing presence of the Holy Spirit, serves as an unction or anointing of truth, almost like a signal caller, or an umpire, if you would permit such language to be used in reference to such an important concept.
 
Let me give you a personal illustration. I have already shared with many of you my 12 year struggle as a Christian who walked in the flesh rather than the Spirit.
 
During this time frame, I went through a period where I was unhappy with everything: my job, my marriage...
 
One day I was voicing my frustrations to a female co-worker. Let me take just a moment and interject that I realize now, many years later, that this was an IDIOTIC thing to do. By the way, any man reading this teaching; if you love God, whatever you do, don't EVER voice your frustrations about your marriage to a person of the opposite sex. To do such a thing is Christian immaturity at best, but more properly would be termed carnality.
 
Anyway, as I voiced my frustrations, the nurse I was talking to said, "Awww, it's ok Matty (why she called me this I don't know-- maybe she thought I was a cuddly teddy bear), any way, she said sometimes things don't work out, and you have to move on with your life..."
 
Wait what? Stop the presses! Rewind! Did you hear what she said, “Sometimes things just don't work out, and you have to move on..."
 
What thing would you be talking about young lady-- the holy covenant of marriage that I took vows before God with when I married my wife?
 
Listen, I understand things happen and circumstances differ, but the spirit of anti-christ is circulating a lie around town saying even to the Church, "Oh well, it didn't work out like you expected, pack your bags and start from scratch."
 
I can tell you one thing with all certainty: "That's a lie from the pit of Hell!" And you don't have to believe me if you don't want to, but look back in 10-15 years at the fruit of your decisions and see how it affects your offspring. Anyway, that's another sermon for another time.
 
As I was talking to this girl, I heard a still, small voice whisper through all the sin that was hidden in my life as a struggling Christian, too much to try to exhaust at this point, but I heard the whisper say, "Are you going to believe this? This isn't truth! Will you choose to believe this even though it's against my Word?"
 
And that was it. As fast as it came, that quickly, it went away. What I want you to know is that was an unction or anointing that was resident in me through the presence of the Holy Spirit, speaking to my heart, desiring to help me to know and walk in truth.
 
Ephesians 1:15-23 “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The ((EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING BEING ENLIGHTENDED;
))

(This has to happen)

 ___________________________________________________________________________

(Before you can see all this)

that ye may ((KNOW WHAT IS THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us- ward who believe,)) according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”
 
I love the Greek word for "knowledge" here. I've said it before, but in the Greek language, richer meaning is built into the words as prefixes and suffixes are added.
 
This word is epignosis. The word root is gnosis, where the word Gnosticism comes from, but literally means "knowledge." The word Epi in the Greek is a preposition, meaning upon, so the idea is "upon knowledge," or added to just regular knowledge. I remember studying this word a long time ago, and the Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest described that the word has an experiential aspect to it.
 
The definition out of Strong's Greek dictionary: is a "correct knowledge, more full discernment."
 
Truthfully, the preacher can try to convince us that sin will destroy us and our relationship with God, but let a man crack the door and let it in for a visit. I can assure you that once that man is finally driven to his knees, if his soul doesn't perish, he will come out of the trial with experiential knowledge about sin yes, but I can assure you that he will have also gained a new found appreciation surrounding the grace of God.
 
Please don't be foolish and think this preacher is suggesting a trip around the Wilderness of Sin in order for the believer to gain a more clear revelation about sin and grace-- that would be preposterous.
 
The point is that in this pilgrimage with God, there will be failings and frustrations, bumps and potholes, but as we travel this journey, with a desire towards obedience to God's Word, we will gain greater revelation on properly walking according to His will, which brings me to our next word in our passage-- enlightened.
 
The word ‘enlightened’ is photizo, obviously where we get the word photo. The idea is to shed light or rays of light- to see or be illuminated.
 
Now, our understanding doesn't have a set of eyes. Obviously, Paul is speaking from a spiritual perspective. He's saying it's my prayer for you that you will be able to see spiritually.
 
In order to be able to see this way, we will need the “God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him…” (Ephesians 1:17)
 
Ultimately, what we will be enlightened too is: Ephesians 1:18-23...
that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

 

 


The Holy Spirit, Part 2: He Comforts, Convinces, & Convicts

John 16:5-7 “But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away:for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
 
We discussed some of these principles previously. Jesus is instructing His disciples that His departure back to the Father, from which He came, is imminent, lying just around the corner.
 
Imagine the consternation gripping their hearts: previously bound by the lies of religion, the pathway to God having been obscured by the leavened doctrines of the Pharisees, they have found the truth in Jesus; and now, He is departing.
 
Nevertheless, the assurance given to them and all believers for the millennia to come is that this is expedient, meaning it's going to be profitable, resulting in what's best for the kingdom of God. It must be understood that this is God's plan, and while the disciples didn't understand it then, God has been, for thousands of years before their time, and for thousands of years after their existence bringing about this eternal plan, which was foreordained before the foundations of the earth (1 Peter 1:18).
 
I have also mentioned many times the progression of God's plan. Simply stated, “He has progressively and methodically revealed Himself and His plan throughout thousands of years of human history.” From The Fall [of Adam & Eve] to The Ascension [of Christ,] we see His hand effecting salvation through the progressive revelation starting with the innocent skins following the fall in the garden, then intersecting through the Levitical sacrifices performed in the tabernacle, and finally climaxing on the cross of Calvary, where sin's back was broken (Colossians 2:13-15) and the fulfillment of the promised restoration procured.
 
However, it should also be noted that along the way there has been an ever narrowing gap between the believer and the presence of the living God. As the plan of redemption (simply meaning to be bought back with a purchase price, and what might we propose that to be?) has moved forward, another glorious phenomenon has taken place. The presence of God has been consistently brought closer to the hearts of those willing to embrace His plan.
 
Consider the pre-Fall state of the first family's [Adam & Eve’s] fellowship with the Lord: "...they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8)
 
Quite obvious are two facts: before the fall, the first family enjoyed an incredible intimacy with God; yet, the fall changed the dynamics of this relationship. Nevertheless, we immediately see God's plan of restoration, bringing His presence back to us flying into effect.
 
The sacrifice [of the innocent animal] in the garden allowed a semblance of fellowship to be restored; the covering of the innocent animal was a far cry from the fulfillment to be found in the death of God's own Son; however, within this move, we see restoration moving forward.
 
It should be noted that God is a moving forward God. Many people struggle through their whole life of Christianity for one reason: they simply can't believe what God's Word says about the exchange that took place at the cross-- He took their guilty past and gave them His righteousness.
 
Whether or not the reason they don’t ever get that revelation is because their preacher won't make sure they know it (sometimes he also doesn't know and sometimes he assumes they know) or whether they have unbelief and refuse to learn for themselves (I've been there), they flounder in Christian mediocrity, at best, and God has so much more for them.
 
When any man, woman, or child who calls themselves Christian doesn't understand that the cross of Christ has resulted in a complete position change, a translation from darkness to light, a translation from our guilt to His righteousness, that Christian, is easy prey for the liar, who is a master of doubt, condemnation, and fear. He holds untold millions under the sway of his age old lie, "You are guilty!"
 
But glory hallelujah, that's not the report for the believer in Christ; for this position change has resulted in the righteousness of the Christ clothing the sinner with His own righteousness (Galatians 3:27).
 
From the garden, God's presence led Israel in the wilderness as the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). Furthermore, His presence, as a consuming fire would engulf the sacrifices they offered, which showed acceptance towards their obedience for recognizing that their sin could only be assuaged by the offering up of innocent blood to pay the penalty for their guilt. Any gospel that refuses to expose man's guilt and the cross as the pardon is no gospel at all. And any man, who refuses to recognize that without faith in the sacrifice of Christ he is altogether undone and separate from the presence of God, can be no Christian at all.
 
Lastly, regarding the wilderness Tabernacle, God's presence would show up as the Shekinah glory in the Holy of Holies behind the veil, the place, which was known as the innermost sanctuary. God had instructed Moses: "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8)
 
The progression is becoming clear: God wants to have relationship with humanity, and He is committed to getting His presence back into communion with us. However, it should be noted with which such toil God works this plan (sacrifices, wanderings, tabernacles and temples). I speak from a human perspective. At the same time, the reader should take notice of the mercy of God but also the severity of sin. God's justice and righteousness will not allow the sweeping away of or a winking at sin; rather, the plan must be worked through the ages. And all the while, in Old Testament and New alike, names are added daily to the book, which records the genealogy of those who have joined the eternal family of faith through God's sacrificial provision, exchanging guilt for righteousness, condemnation for freedom, and eternal death for eternal life.
 
A most glorious proclamation is made in the first chapter of John's gospel, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
 
The word ‘dwelt’ literally means "to tabernacle." In other words, God spoke in Exodus saying, "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." And as He turns the pages from the Old to the New covenant, His presence tabernacles with us in Jesus, the literal presence  of God (Philippians 2:6-8; John 1:14; Colossians 2:15) made flesh becomes us and reveals God to us in such a personal way that those who went before us (the disciples) were able to see Him, hear Him, and even touch the Word of life (2 Peter 1:16-18; 1 John 1:1-4).
 
The next step is where Jesus promises a "new thing." What was the new thing you ask? The "new thing" was the fact that there was about to be a magnanimous shift in the kingdom of God; for Jesus promised His disciples that the presence of the Holy Spirit would be making a change of residence. Once the work of the cross was completed and man's sin atoned (Hebrews 10:8-18); the Holy Spirit would make His abode in the human heart upon salvation (John 14:17).
 
Think about that child of God. What a wonderful plan, what commitment God has to restoring His presence to us.
 
Now, after this detour, we must return to our original thought: Jesus is going away so that the Comforter can come. It should be pointed out that one crucial point of expedience related to Jesus’ departure and the Comforter’s coming is that of geographical access. While God is certainly not opposed to crossing natural boundaries and proving Himself miraculous, He often works within the natural laws He created to sustain this earthly realm. The presence of the Holy Spirit “tabernacling” in the hearts of believers has resulted in an ever growing, global presence of Jesus as the Gospel message has gone forth through the millennia. Whereas, during our Lord’s physical presence upon this earth, He was somewhat restrained by logistics and time, meaning, for the most part, He didn’t work in two separate locations at once, now, His presence is active all over the world at once, through this organism we call the Church, He reveals His love to this lost and dying world.
 
Comforter- the Greek New Testament word here is: Parakletos. Greek words are commonly compounded with added meaning taking place with the addition of prefixes and suffixes. In this particular case the word para, which is a preposition meaning "along side" or "beside," has been added to the word kletos, which is derived from the word "kaleo," which is where we get our word ‘call’ from, and this is the exact meaning to call.
 
Therefore, when the word is seen from its proper perspective, the Comforter is the Holy Spirit. He is the one who has been “called alongside to help.” It should probably not be thought of as in reference to His calling alongside our outside. For instance, in this Acts passage, David expresses, "For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:" (Acts 2:25)
 
As I have so strenuously attempted to explain with all the dialogue of God progressively moving His Spirit towards us, the climax point of God's movement, at least on this side of eternity, is the cross of Christ, allowing God’s Spirit to reside in our person.
 
John 14:17-18 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
 
In this passage, the reader's attention is focused towards the contrasting words: "with you" vs. "in you."
 
Previously, through all the OT movement of God, the Holy Spirit merely dwelt "with" the inhabitants of Israel, as they were God's chosen people. While there were isolated instances where God allowed His Spirit to indwell His servants in order to accomplish specific tasks: Bezaleel (when creating the articles of the tabernacle) and Ezekiel on several occasions when God asked Him to prophecy, His presence did not make His abode in the hearts of man until the finished work of the cross.
 
Because the sin debt could not be removed in the Old Testament economy, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." (Hebrews 10:4), the Holy Spirit could not use the human “tent” as His tabernacle.
 
But once the blood of the Eternal Lamb, which was slain before the foundations of the earth, was offered, and the sin debt paid in full, the Holy Spirit could then make us His abode.
 
Therefore, when we consider the concept of the Comforter or parakletos (one called alongside to help), we should understand that He is alongside us on the inside. The Holy Spirit is sharing habitation with our spirit man. Remember the Ezekiel passage we spoke of last time, "...ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness,... A new heart also will I give you,...a new spirit will I put within you: and... And I will put my spirit within you...” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
 
It is of the utmost importance that we gain revelation that the very God of glory, who scattered the stars in the skies and breathed life into a lump of clay now lives in this mortal vessel.
 
Furthermore, the finished work of Jesus on the cross is what allows all this to take place, because it is our faith in God's eternal plan (Jesus Christ and Him crucified), which allows us to receive the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17), allowing the Holy Spirit to make our heart His home, allowing us to have unfettered access to the presence of God.
 
What is the purpose of the comfort?
 
While I certainly don't want to take away from the truth that God is very concerned about our well being in the daily struggles of life, the context of this passage is quite clear: the Comforter will be needed, because as the followers of God move forward with the Gospel message through the annals of human history, those believers can expect persecution; therefore, believers will need a comforter/ counselor/ advocate to see them through.
 
He also wants to be those things for us as we find ourselves in the mess of life upon this fallen world. Sadly, much of this mess is self inflicted-- not always, but usually. The journey from selfishness (born of Adam) to selflessness (born of Christ) is rife with confusion, chaos, and calamity; nevertheless, you can be assured of some things if you're a child of the living God:

(1) This place is not your home, so there is always hope in the future

(2) Jesus has already won the victory. Whether you are experiencing it in your life or not isn't              evidence that can refute the facts that Jesus was victorious, through the cross, over death,                Hell, and the grave

(3) If you will learn to believe that you are a new creation in Christ, literally, in God's mind your    "old man" has been done away with, and a "new man" has been resurrected with Jesus, and if you begin to believe this, then…

(4) You will see the grace of God, in the indwelling person of the Holy Spirit going to work on your behalf.
 
What I'm talking about is a spiritual miracle where God begins to heal His people's land. He does this not because they are good enough, fast enough, go to church enough, or pray enough... But instead, they were told the truth about the New Covenant, they placed and kept their faith there, and because that is God's eternal plan, He blesses them by bringing peace through grace, which is dispensed by the person of the Holy Spirit, and all this is predicated on the believer's willingness to continue trusting in the finished work of Jesus for that is righteousness God can accept and that is the place where grace can flow.
 
John 16:8-11 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
 
First in order for this next passage of scripture is to get a handle on this King James word "reprove."
 
So let's examine this word in a variety of ways in order to attempt a proper understanding. The Greek meaning is:
 
ελεγχω elegcho; of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish:— convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove
 
The English dictionary describes the word as such: to criticize or correct.
 
And various other words from other translators, in their attempt, to capture the meaning are: prove, correct, convince.
 
So for the disciples and us as believers, He is the Comforter, and for the world, He is the "reprover."
 

As Jesus promised, He ultimately resurrected from the dead and ascended to the Father, which resulted in the coming of the Holy Spirit. Now, to me what's interesting is that the work of the Holy Spirit is affecting the church and the world through His residence in the heart of believer's.
 
In other words, it is through the witness of the followers of Christ, as they proclaim and live this Gospel message that the Holy Spirit comforts the church and convinces the world system they are wrong.
 
We are the mouthpieces from which the Spirit of God chooses to do His work; our presence is salt upon the earth and light in the midst of darkness (Matthew 5:13-16). That's why I become enraged when modern preachers say things like, "Preach the gospel and use words only when necessary." No! Christian don't believe that! Yes, your actions, empowered by the grace of God, must emulate the love of the Savior. However, without words, the world may be led to believe that we are influenced by the deceptive angels of light who teach the Buddha's doctrine of progressive reincarnations, where the spirit moves higher towards the destination of Nirvana, as it practices better Karma (works) through each stage of its vegetable or animal kingdom existence.
 
In other words, Buddhists are taught to treat people right also, but the underlying spirit driving their purposes are demon spirits and fallen angels. There are probably people reading right now who think I'm a fool for writing this, thinking I'm so unskilled and unlearned about the arts of Eastern Mysticism. No! You're the unlearned one. By Aleister Crowley's own admission,…who is he you might ask? He is the most powerful Satanist that lived in the past 100 years, and was a practitioner of various forms of metaphysical cults. Furthermore, he was a practitioner of the ancient art of Buddhist Transcendental Meditation, becoming convinced of its otherworldly power when he paid a visit to a man whom he used to practice the occult arts with, who had travelled to Tibet to learn the way of the Buddha from the monks in the mountains; and upon entering the room in which his friend was, he found him levitating several feet within the air. I can assure you this man was experiencing a spiritual phenomenon, but this was not the Holy Spirit; rather, these were demon spirits.
 
My point is that the Holy Spirit produces His effect upon the world through us, His people, the vessels He has recreated in Christ (Galatians 2:20), and if God's people are silent then how will the world ever know the love of Jesus.
 
John 16:8-11 "... He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
 
Regarding the word "world," the word Kosmos is used in the Greek, describing a specific order or arrangement and its inhabitants, so the context we are dealing with is the fallen world of which Satan has been given dominion through Adam's disobedience; furthermore, included is the idea of the spiritual influence of the anti-Christ agenda upon the inhabitants of the world.
 
Within the context of this framework, we are reminded of the separating line of the believer in Christ from the inhabitants of the world system. We are the ekklesia (Greek for church)  ek= out; klesia= called, so the word "church," in the Greek literally means, "the called out ones." God, through the foolishness of preaching has…called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, and through this peculiar group of people (1 Peter 2:9), He chooses to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, through which the Holy Spirit's presence begins to convict, convince, even prove to the world some things about sin, righteousness, and judgment.
 
John 16:9 "...Of sin, because they believe not on me..."
 
There is no other way to say it other than this, "When man finds himself outside the forgiveness of Jesus, He is guilty of sin in God's eyes."
 
We have already discussed at length that the plan of God regarding sin was foreordained before the foundation of the earth (1 Peter1:18), the remedy offered was Jesus' sacrifice, and a rejection of that sacrifice leaves man outside the forgiveness of God.
 
Therefore, when the Comforter preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ through the preacher or believer alike in his daily walk through the world around him, the Holy Spirit does His work of convincing. It is at this point that the age old choice must be confronted-- will the hearer believe, from the heart (inner man) the truth spoken and receive the forgiveness purchased by Jesus? Or will he/ she ignore the reproof of the comforter and remain on the sin guilty side of the cross?
 
John 16:10 "...He will reprove...and of righteousness...of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me know more..."
 

Not only does the Holy Spirit convince the world of sin, but also of true righteousness. You see man can attempt in His endless endeavors to produce righteousness through his sin sickened body, but every grave marker that marks the spot of another departed soul preaches a message all its own. The message preached-- you ask?
 
"The wages of sin is death" is the message and every tombstone signaling from the soil of this fallen earth is the illustration that all the righteous acts of both sinner and saint alike cannot and do not save a man from the curse of sin.
 
Jesus' death tells an altogether different story; for if a man sojourn to the place where they say His body was laid to rest, there are no bones to see. Jesus was accused by Israel and crucified by Rome as a guilty man, but He was vindicated by the Father through His resurrection from the grave as Peter eloquently preached in the book of Acts:
 
Acts 2:22-24 “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
 
We are promised that if we through faith accept the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin that: "the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Romans 8:11)
 
The resurrection proves His righteousness. The wages of sin is death for mortal man, passed through the annals of time from our father Adam, we are all found guilty outside of Christ; however, He became us, so He could destroy the power Satan held over humanity through sin and death:
 
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Hebrews 2:14-15)
 
The resurrection is paramount to our Christian faith. There are so many Biblical truths proven through Jesus' resurrection. As we are studying now, the resurrection proves Jesus was the sinless Lamb, who was slain before the foundation of the earth; for if He had a blemish, He would not have risen, because He would have been guilty rather than innocent.
 
In addition, because He is risen, we are assured that through faith in His sacrifice all our sin is atoned, because He: "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."(Acts 2:24) paid our penalty in full.
 
Since He is risen, we can be certain that our sin is atoned; and because He is true righteousness and we have been clothed with Him (Galatians 3:27), we can be sure that we have been made the righteousness of God through Him:
 
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

 
The resurrection of Jesus testifies to a dying world the righteousness of God. The Comforter's presence and testimony of the resurrection, empowered the disciples to testify to the righteousness of Jesus, disregarding their own lives, they preached the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, which ultimately resulted in their own deaths: Mark had a noose placed around his neck and was dragged behind a chariot through the streets of Alexandria Egypt; Andrew was crucified in Greece; Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel, the one found under the fig tree, had his skin flayed from his body and was ultimately beheaded for Jesus; lastly, Thomas, the very one who doubted the Resurrection to begin with, after being invited to stick his fingers in Jesus' nail printed hands and thrust his hand within His pierced side, evangelized India and ultimately faced his demise as he was run through with a spear for his refusal to shrink back from the Gospel's testimony.
 
Let every believer be reminded that our Jesus is not dead... "No! He is alive. God's not dead-- no! He is alive... God's not dead-- no! He is alive-- I feel Him all over me!"
 
And the Holy Spirit is in the ministry of convincing the world that their dead works cannot produce righteousness because Jesus alone is the righteousness of God.
 
11 "... He will reprove the world of...judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
 
Through Jesus' sacrifice and vindicated resurrection, the prince of this world has faced judgment. Mankind can scoff at the Word of God if that is what they choose to do; nevertheless, God continues to methodically move towards the fulfillment of His plan.
 
Satan, in his fallen state, is the nemesis to God and all that God plans for His beautiful creation-- humanity. Jesus judged Satan's lies and all the fruit of sin that emanates from those lies. The power of the prince of darkness and his resulting plans of sin to destroy the human race has been brought under trial. Satan is found condemned, and while he continues to wreak havoc upon this earth for this period of time known as the Church Age, the day is rapidly approaching where the final sentence of his judgment will be executed.
 
With this in mind, it is of the utmost importance that, we, as the followers of God, be about our Father's business, which is allowing the Holy Spirit to testify to the truths about this trial. The devil is found guilty; he and his kingdom have been judged; the day of salvation is now; believe on the sacrifice of The Lord Jesus as payment for the penalty of your sin, so you can receive the gift of His righteousness, or refuse and share the demise of the liar in the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 15).
 
So I close with this child of God, "please allow the Comforter to do His work through you, so the eternal souls crossing your path won't meet the demise of eternal death without at least having had the opportunity to make a choice about the Gospel message. ~Matt


 

The Holy Spirit, Part 1: He Creates

It should be understood that the Holy Spirit is a person. We believe in the Godhead as a trinity or triune. God is 3 distinct personalities, moving and functioning in our lives in 3 distinct ways; yet, God is one in purpose and essence.
 
The Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit is God, and must be reverenced and respected in this manner. There are some forms of Pentecostalism that do not ascribe to this position; rather, they believe the Holy Spirit is a force or power emanating from the Father, who they say is really Jesus.
 
I have spoken to multiple people who believe this way, and some of them reference Him as "it." To them the Holy Spirit is an "it," but to Jesus, the Holy Spirit was:
 
John 16:7-8
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away:for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

 
The translators and all the Greek scholars agree the right translation here is "He." Once again, the Holy Spirit is not an “it,” He is the third person of the Godhead.
 
The main scripture that people of the "oneness" persuasion use to defend their position is:
 
Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel:The Lord our God is one Lord:
 

First, it should be reiterated that the position of this student and many much smarter scholars that have gone before believe that the God we serve is one as already stated; nevertheless, it should be understood that the context of this passage is specifically written to God's people, Israel, who are about to enter the land of Canaan (Promised Land, Israel, Palestine...); furthermore, at this time, the land was filled with a plethora of false gods.
 
The warning God is giving His people is that there is only one God and that God is the great "I am" known as Jehovah.
 
We will not talk in circles about this topic much longer. Rather, I will simply state that anyone who assumes that our finite human intellect can understand all there is to know about God on this side of the veil is...well, that man would be foolish in his thinking.
 
Jesus is the physical manifestation of God (Philippians 2:6). In Him dwells the entire Godhead bodily (Col 2:9). He told Phillip, "When you see me you've seen the Father (John 14:9-11). Yet, we're told that the Father was seated on the throne and the Lamb takes the scroll from His hand (Revelation 5:1, 8). We're told that at the baptism of Jesus, the Father spoke from heaven and the Holy Spirit, descending, lighted upon the man Jesus. Lastly, when He was born as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, please tell me, Who was manning the universe as the blessed baby lie in the manger completely dependent upon His earthly parents?
 
One of the points this persuasion will also make is, "God is not the author of confusion
(1 Corinthians 14:33); therefore, God can't be a triune being who is one, because that confuses me and God's not confusing."
 
Let me tell you what would be confusing sir, or ma'am, whoever you are that  may be tending towards this form of doctrine, "It would be most confusing to find out that there wasn't really a Father, but instead, Jesus was just playing around."
 
In this sense, when He prayed, He wasn't really praying. Instead, He was just talking to Himself because there was no one there. In Gethsemane, facing the most perilous time of His human existence, while bloody sweat rolled down His cheeks, He went ahead and took the time to pray to a Father that wasn't really there, in order to make an example for us to pray to a Father, who isn't really there and instead is Him???
 
Matthew 6:9
9 After this manner therefore pray ye:Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

 
Ok, if you say so. If that's the Jesus, you pray to ok, but it doesn't sound like the testimony of Jesus Himself who mentioned His Father hundreds of times throughout scripture.

 

Without a doubt, the New Testament points us to attributes that are distinctively the Father and not the Son; furthermore, we are pointed to attributes that are distinctly the Son and not the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds forth from both of them.
 
Now, I digress to my original point: there is a trinity, and the Holy Spirit is a person not just some floating essence. Furthermore, He is to be respected and reverenced as such. He is to be asked into our daily circumstances, we are to call upon Him for guidance, and we should cry out to be filled to overflowing with His person, so that Jesus will be emanating from us because He and Jesus are one.
 
The Holy Spirit Creates--
Chapter 1
 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

 
...darkness was upon the face of the deep...the spirit of God moved [brooding] upon the face of the waters, and God (Jesus [as the pre-incarnate eternal Word]) said, Let there be light: and there was light.
 
And so we see in the act of creation an awesome plan orchestrated by the Father in heaven, spoken by the eternal Word of God [Jesus, thousands of years before His incarnation, spoke the worlds into existence (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; John 1:1-3; Revelation 19:13)] And once the eternal Word spoke the eternal plan of the eternal Father, the eternal Spirit was hovering or  brooding, He was poised ready to create that which was spoken from the eternal Word, and it was so.
 
Creation of a New Heart
 
Similar to the creation of the worlds, the creation of a man's new heart when he is born again, sees the characteristics of the triune God in operation.
 
Once again the Father has a plan:
 
1 Peter 1:18-21
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

 
The word became flesh (John 3:14), lived His life perfectly as the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45); thereby, making right the first Adam's wrong (Romans 5:12, 15, 17) and removing the debt of sin (Romans 6:23) and death (Hebrews 2:14), which previously plagued the human race.
 
Now, during this time called the Church Age, the Holy Spirit hovers or broods over the heart of man, waiting, for the Word of God to be spoken regarding the Christ. Once the written Word is preached in reference to the eternal Word (Jesus) and the believer responds through faith a creative miracle takes place and the heart of man is forever changed.
 
Ezekiel 36:25-27
Then will I sprinkle clean water
[represents the cleansing of the cross, (Hebrews 9:18-22)] upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. [Beginning with the portion of the new heart, through the end of this passage we're covering, it's the ministry of the Holy Spirit performing these miraculous changes of regeneration].
 
Back up & start reading at Titus 2:6


Titus 3:5-7
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 
Two main words from this passage should receive further attention: regeneration and renewing.
 
AV (2) - regeneration 2; new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration hence renovation, regeneration, the production of a new life:

 

When a man is born again, his life is changed, his desires are changed, his thoughts are changed… He begins to concern himself with what God desires more than his own desires. He doesn’t hold on, without conviction to the things he knows God isn’t pleased with in his life!
 
When any man, woman, or child is willing to exhibit faith in the eternal gospel and repent of their sin, the miracle of a transformed heart spoken of in Ezekiel and right here in Titus immediately produces a spiritual conversion from sinner to saint, a miracle enacted by the "hands" of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30), a miracle made possible because of the finished work of Jesus on Calvary's tree.
 
AV (2) - renewing 2; a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better.
 
Jesus finished His work on the tree, allowing the sinner an opportunity to be saved, faith in Jesus Christ and Him crucified results in the Holy Spirit producing the regenerated heart. Through this miracle, it's almost as if we are given a spiritual receiver, an ability to tune into the frequency of the Holy Spirit, who from that day forward progressively changes our inner man to look more like Jesus and less like us (conformed).
 
Sometimes the renewing is slow in seasons of disobedience, and sometimes fast in those of obedience, but the Holy Spirit is always committed to His ministry of renewal (conforming the believer into the image of Christ - Romans 8:29). The greatest assistance the believer can give to the Holy Spirit and His ministry of our renewal is to keep their faith anchored in Jesus Christ and Him crucified for righteous standing and purity with God, because the cross has always been and will always be the access point to God's presence, and it’s in the presence of the living God that the believer is changed.