Monday, 13 November 2017

Knowing the Holy Spirit

Acts 1 v 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."
John 14 v 26: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

John 16 v 7 - 13: "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.
 8  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: note
 9  Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
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."

The words of Jesus emphasize that if He did not return to Heaven then the Holy Spirit would not come to us.  In Acts He called the Holy Spirit the promise of the Father.  We need the Holy Spirit like we need air!

But do we know Him?  Do we know how to work with Him and follow the way He leads us?  Do we know the moods of the Holy Spirit or all that He brings to our lives?

The first encounter that an unsaved person has with the Holy Spirit is the conviction of sin.  This is not just a tweak of our conscience but a complete meltdown.  Every large and small sin is brought to our memory.

This feels like a tsunami of sin crushing us under with guilt and remorse.  It leads to sorrow and repentance and a very heavy heart for offending our God.  The Holy Spirit squeezes every last memory of sin out of us and the Blood of the Lamb cleanses us completely.  If we have never experienced this conviction leading to salvation it may still be necessary.

Then comes the conviction of righteousness.  We suddenly know the person or people whose moral and honest characters impress us the most.  We want to be like them as they are favoured by God and man.  The Spirit of God is strong and deep in them and we have an example to follow.

After this the Holy Spirit convicts us of God's judgment on sin.  This is to bear in our minds what we will face if we turn back into the world of sin.  Or even trying to walk with one foot in God's kingdom and the other in the world.  It cannot be done.  In Matthew it says we cannot serve God and Mammon.  Mammon is another name for the sinful world.

Nowadays the world has increased in sinfulness to such a great extent that they do not want any mention of the word sin.  It is not politically correct.  It has spilled over into the churches where sin is glossed over and people are more used to answers from psychology and self-help institutes.

Books like Rick Warren's 40 Days of Purpose have so watered-down the true gospel that it becomes a world-wide bestseller.  It's convicts no-one and causes no conflict.  It's a do good, feel good, self help that satisfies our soul but leaves our miserable spirit untouched.  

If we know the Holy Spirit He classifies such books as lukewarm and ready to be spat out.  It angers Him that the sacrifice of Jesus is made so common.  He does not tolerate being lied to as Ananias and Sapphira discovered in Acts 5 v 3 - 5: "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 
 4  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
 5  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things."

The same thing happened immediately to Sapphira when she also lied about the land.  She and her husband were buried the same day.  God is not playing games with us and we should give Him the same respect.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and He resists liars.

He is with us to gently lead and guide us into all truth.  There is none so gentle as He.  He is patient, kind and loving but will bring us before the Judgment if we waver and resist Him.  When we face that judgment it is serious illness or death.  The wages of sin is death.

The arrival on the planet of HIV/AIDS portrayed this very clearly.  As this pandemic was spread mostly by casual unprotected sexual behaviour and resulted in long serious illness and death, proved what the Lord was saying.  The political and medical battle against this syndrome....SINdrome....brought about the resistance to labelling the people who contracted it as sinful.  Far too harsh and condemning.

The problem is they can't find a cure.  The latest pronouncement is that they will eradicate it by 2030.  In South Africa we have 5 million people who are HIV+.  The majority are female under 25 years old.  Many are unmarried sexually active people, many are taking recreational drugs and do not use protection when they should.  This is just one type of sin problem that submission to God,  and moral behaviour could cure.

It does not mean that we should be unkind or even judgmental to those suffering with HIV, but in our ministry to them we should speak the truth about why they have this condition and how they should live in future.  We have seen quite a number of people with AIDS completely and permanently healed by the Lord, and living in obedience to Him.

The Holy Spirit is our Teacher.  He is also called the Paraclete, a Greek word meaning One would comes alongside to help.  It reminds me of a tugboat going out to bring a large vessel into harbour.  It nudges and pushes and pulls, avoiding blockages and unsafe areas and brings the ship to its docking berth.

The Holy Spirit teaches us through many ways.  He uses examples from our every day lives.  He uses trees, mountains, birds, rivers, houses, clouds, storms and earthquakes to show us right from wrong.  He uses the Bible to reveal new knowledge and explains the meaning of verses we struggle with if we take time to ask Him.

He guides our prayer life, and our worship of God.  He will always exalt Jesus to us and bring many things to our remembrance.  These things help us when we are helping others.  Sometimes while preaching a strong remembrance comes to mind and gets added into the Word.  It is the Holy Spirit using that thought to reach someone who is struggling with something similar, and set them free.  He will be causing the captive to listen intently and receive truth because the truth will set us free.

Jesus said in Acts that the Holy Ghost would give us power to be witnesses.  He has certainly empowered every entry on this Prophetic Fire blog.  Every one of the 850 Bible studies is initiated and nurtured by Him.  I can take no credit for any of it.  I am just an inanimate pen and He is the ink and creator of the words written.  The pen is submitted to the One who writes, it has no glory, needs no thanks.

Along with everything else He does, the Holy Spirit gives us nine perfect gifts.  1 Corinthians 12 v 7 - 10: "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
 8  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
 9  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
 10  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:"

These gifts are very powerful when used correctly.  Paul had to write to some churches to correct errors of application.  The Holy Spirit always does things under our self control.  He is a gentleman who would never force anyone to do anything they were not ready or equipped for.  When we are baptised in the Holy Spirit it is most often  evident by our Heavenly language, speaking in tongues.

Acts 19 v 5 - 6: "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
 6  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied."

Today we have just barely scratched the surface of knowing the Holy Spirit.  He is also known as the Angel of the Lord, in the Old Testament, particularly in Psalms.  The words angel and spirit are interchangeable.  I hope that we all have had a fresh look at who He is and in our submission to God will get to know Him better.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to be our Friend and Helper.  He brought wonderful gifts, precious fruit, remembrance and solid teaching to navigate through this world until He berths us in our Heavenly dock.  We appreciate His prods, tugs, nudges and wisdom and fully welcome Him in our lives.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.