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The Holy Spirit: The Promise of the Father


Reality Made Possible

There is a desperate, desperate need for the correct theology in our pulpits to become clear reality in our pews.

Could the following thoughts be lurking in the shadows of sincere hearts of those who need to learn the secret of living from the inside out by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit?

Common Thoughts About Church

“I have again come to hear the clearly defined, often repeated message of how holy God is and how sinful I am. I will feel guilty. I will fall short of God’s best. I will be given clear instructions on how to change and do better, and I will try as hard as I can only to find that shortly I fail again. I have made some changes.

I have resolved not to listen so intently.
I have resolved not to take as much to heart.
I have resolved not to be so excited about responding.
I have resolved not to expect so much from God or anyone.

I am waiting for the excited ones to calm down, for surely, they will. I am desperately trying to keep myself in a place where I will be comfortable and secure. While I would never discredit the Lord publicly, in my heart I have some major reservations about this whole matter of faith in God. So, preach on, preacher, for you do not understand the feelings of one who is truly weak.”

Misconceptions:

  • I do not fit in the church unless I am strong.

  • I cannot effectively minister to others unless I am strong.

  • I am not pleasing to the Lord unless I am strong.

  • I will never stand against the pressure I face unless I am strong.

Here’s the main point of the section: When the under-shepherd nurtures the intimacy of the flock with Jesus, the Holy Spirit makes our theology a reality in their lives. This reality is life-giving.

Because our Father-Green Thumb-Husbandman knows our frame and remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14), He sent the Holy Spirit to be the enabler of all true believing branches. Again, we notice the Father stepping forward to provide all that is needed for the Vine-branch relationship. Jesus made this promise of the delightful Helper abundantly clear.

Luke 24:49 — Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.

Acts 1:4 — And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;

Notice what Jesus had taught them earlier about the work of the Spirit before His death and resurrection.

John 14:15-17 — If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Jesus here calls the Spirit The Helper who will abide with us forever. He is the Spirit of truth and will be in us.

Shockingly, Jesus reported to the disciples that it was to their advantage that He go away so the Helper could come, and promised that if He Himself departed, He would send the Helper (John 16:7). We should feel very privileged to have the Spirit on our side and in our midst. But even we, along with our flock, somehow are always longing for something “with skin on”!?

Now notice what Jesus said this Helper would do for true Jesus followers.

John 16:12-15 — I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

It is clear God has one Voice, one Message, and one Word. That Word was made visible through His Son and that Word is made real and internal by His Spirit. What a miracle! What a Friend! This is why Jesus can call us friends and make known to us all things that He heard from His Father (John 15:14-15). By the way, it’s worth noting that all this about the Helper becomes “bookends” for the Vine narrative! Obviously, they are divinely related.

I believe we can liken the ministry of the Holy Spirit to that of Jesus with those two discouraged disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. After He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (v. 27), He opened their eyes (v. 31) and their understanding (v. 45), and they worshiped Him and continued serving with great joy (v. 52). That’s what we are after, and that’s what the Holy Spirit enables us to do.

The Shepherd nurtured their intimacy, and the Holy Spirit made his theology a reality and their hearts burned (v. 32).

Now that we know reality is possible, let’s learn how to make it practical.

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