The Third Person
My Sermon today is about the Person of the Holy Spirit.
The THIRD PERSON of the Trinity.
Let me begin by clarifying a position I have held and a proclamation I have made many times over these air waves that it is not possible to be a Christian without the Holy Spirit. It is also not possible to build a Church without the Holy Spirit, nor is it possible to have and maintain a ministry without the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirits Person, Power and Presence is a vital essential in the eternal dimension of relationship, revelation and reward. You see our Christian Testimonies, our Churches Development and Growth and our Ministry Successes are dependent upon eventual eternal scrutiny, and not just the judgements and opinions or popularities of time.
One may build a 10,000 seater Church, and fill it every Sunday and appoint an appealing, gifted and qualified preacher with all kinds of programmes, strategies and methodology to make it work and work well, and indeed one may say “there, we did it all without the Holy Spirit” but it still must be scrutinized by the fire of Eternity! When this life and time is no more, God will put all of our labours through the fire of Heaven, to test them, (1 Cor 3:13) and if they are all burned up leaving us nothing – as we stand around in the glory knee-deep in the ashes of OUR own efforts, what reward will there be? If God has to say to us, “yes you did it, yes you got it to work, yes you were successful in the eyes of the world, but you did it all without the Holy Spirit, without me” … we will have no lasting reward in Eternity, we have laid up no treasure there. So I need to say it again, “WE NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT”.
I have found that in most Charismatic and Pentecostal circles (but not all) you will discover that the Holy Spirit is recognised by many, only by his attributes. They will speak of the POWER of the Spirit, the GIFTS of the Spirit, the TONGUES of the Spirit and so on – yet will rarely acknowledge or talk about the PERSON of the Spirit? These are hung up on the manifestation and not the man. Think about this … If you have a specific or unusual attribute, image how insulting it would be to be called by, or known only for your attributes.
I was born with what I can best describe as “sticky out ears” but imagine how hurt or insulted I would feel if you announced next week that “Big Ears” would be coming to your Pulpit? Some people have large noses, or big feet, but we do not know them or identify them by these attributes, we know them by their Name, and by their Personage.
So image how insulted the Holy Spirit must be at our continual and constant references to him, only as the Power, or the Gift, or the Anointing, or the Comfort. Yes he is all these but he is also the third person of the Godhead, He is GOD! We must get into the habit of addressing him and acknowledging Him as a Person.
In John 14, when Jesus announces to his disciples that he is leaving them, they were clearly downcast, and depressed by hearing such news. Yet he tells them that His going, will herald another’s coming? He will send them a “comforter” (John 14:26) The word in the Greek is Parakletos, which means a comforter, a consoler, a helper one that comes along side. The Holy Spirit comes to walk with us, to lead us, to guide us, to nudge us but not to drive us. That’s why – if your work or worship is being driven, its not God. If you and I go for a days
outing together to the city, to see the shops, the museums, or the parks, I will walk beside you and nudge you when I think it would be nice to go into that museum, or walk down that park pathway.
I will not stand behind you, grabbing you by the shoulders, and drive or force you into a shop, nor force you to get on a bus?
The Holy Spirit is not an Ogre, he is Gentle Jesus, gracious and tender in all his ways. He walks beside us nudging us to change direction to leads us to the right places and the right people and into the right purposes and plans that He has for us. (And incidentally even though the Bible refers to Him as Holy Spirit, he answers only to the name of Jesus.) He is one with the Father and one with the Son. So as God the Father sits on the throne of Heaven, and Jesus the Son sits at his right hand, the only part of the Godhead with you and I today, is the Holy Spirit. When you pray, God will not do what you ask, when you pray Jesus will not set in motion your desires, NO, but the Holy Spirit will do the work because he is the one here to do it.
So it is important that we acknowledge Him. The Bible says
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths“. Proverbs 3;6 But if we ignore him, and get up every morning to go out to do our own thing, how can he direct our paths? And should we not expect to end up in the wrong places, and doing the wrong things, selfish things, or fruitless things without His help. God is not Our Servant, we are supposed to be His Sons – He does not follow us, we are supposed to be following Him!
Many of us in the Church will sit down and formulate great plans and schemes, and then go into a prayer meeting and ask God to bless our plans. – But when God gives us the plan in the first place, prompted by the Holy Spirit beside us and within us, then that plan is already blessed, we don’t ever have to ask God to bless it. In my short life time I have witnessed this kind of thing over and over again in church and religious circles.
There are genuine and sincere Christian Believers who
earnestly desire an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, and work and pray to the end that souls will come in to the Churches week by week, hear the word and be saved, be changed, be discipled and become true followers of Jesus Christ. They are sincere in their efforts and in their prayers, but the tragedy is that they are not doing things Gods way, thus there is little or no fruit from all this human effort and little or no change in any Church congregation from one year to another, (except that the numbers fall instead of increase) … Why is this? God has not told us to bring them in to the Church, (that’s His job) God has told us to GO out into all the world and preach the Gospel.
We must take the message to people where they are, in their homes, in their Golf Clubs, in their Restaurants, in their schools, in their factories and shops. Get out there and start speaking for Jesus. I have discovered that if each one of those involved in the planning and preparation of some great Church Festival or Outreach, had simply set out to win ONE soul by themselves working together with the Holy Spirit, maybe even just speaking to one in their own family and giving them a scripture, they would have seen so much more fruit. Without all that human effort, Gods Holy Spirit would have done the work. Oh how we underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit, to take the word and change lives through that word. It is not us working but resting in the Holy Spirit that gets the job done.
But some of you may argue, “surely if only one is saved, if only
one was converted then there is no effort too great.” I would agree, but I have discovered that God does not save souls by human effort, God saves souls by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul said “So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase“. 1 Cor 3:7
The problem with some of us is that we still live in “past” blessings and cannot move with the Holy Spirit into the present and expect the Holy Spirit to work with us and bless us today.
I like what the Apostle Paul says in Acts 15:28 “it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us”? This is connection, this is partnership – and we must know that we can do nothing without that kind of union to God. Are you excusing yourself for your own lack of personal witness, just because your Church had a mission and you prayed with them for souls. Jesus did not commission the Church, he called YOU to go. If God called you up to heaven today, what fruit will you carry in your own hands to give to Jesus? Don’t expect others to work – and for you to get any reward! Now don’t get angry with me for preaching this way, remember that the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of Truth” I must speak the truth whether we like it or not.
So then, How do we get into a more meaningful relationship with the Person of the Holy Spirit. The key to a successful ministry, the key to a successful church outreach, the key to functioning and flowing in the miraculous – is a relationship with the Holy Spirit who alone can make the life of Jesus effective in us. We need to understand that in any partnership in any marriage, there must be the acknowledging of the other.
One cannot ignore their significant other – and have a great Marriage? In marriage we understand how to get the attention of the other, so there needs to be an understanding of how we get the attention of the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit gets our attention. God wants us to walk with him all the time, all the time. The problem is that we often want what God wants, but we also want what we want. Like little children who get to the stage when they don’t want Mum to help, … I’ll tie my own shoes, I’ll make my own bed. The Holy Spirit is the “helper” but if we don’t acknowledge and cooperate with him, we remain without his help. If you need wisdom for today, then acknowledge him. If you need counsel for today, then acknowledge him. If you need courage for today, then acknowledge him. If you need finance for today, then acknowledge him. Help for today then acknowledge him. He’s more than a language and a gift, he’s a person. Learn how to talk with him. Of course you may talk in tongues but you can also talk in plain English. He’s a person, he’s listening, … and He’ll talk right back to you.
Become intimate with him.
There are some whose only connection to God is through others, – other than the Holy Spirit. A Wife, a Husband, a Pastor of Preacher, so be careful that you are not allowing me to be your contact with God. God wants to speak into your life apart from me or any other preacher. Of course I can help you to see what I have seen in the word, to uncover for you the things that I have discovered, but don’t neglect your own quiet time with God because of me. Don’t allow a radio or television sermon to take the place of meeting with God for yourself. If I were to fail you, where would your faith be? I must teach you always to go directly to the Holy Ghost. Persons will let you down. Some
people are mad at me because they had some unrealistic expectation of me. But I am not a super-man, I am a man walking every day in the company, in partnership with God the Holy Spirit, and you are expected to walk this way too. The Holy Spirit loves you as much as he loves me. Religion of course does not like this because religion says, you can only do it through a Priest or a Pastor or some Guru. They want someone to speak into their lives, speak into their circumstances, … but what the Devil wants is for them to substitute someone else to take the place of the Holy Spirit. If someone is speaking into your life, who is speaking into their lives? We only report to the Holy Spirit every day. He’s the only mentor we need. Be careful that you are not allowing others to control your life. We need to point people to the Holy Spirit, who in turn is the only one who can bring them into partnership with the Lord Jesus.
We need to grasp something of the difference between the omnipresence of God and the manifest presence of God. God is everywhere, but he is not manifest, not visible everywhere. God wants to be manifest everywhere. He has chosen to show himself strong through his Church. It would seem strange that God would put himself at the mercy of the Church to carry out his will. But nevertheless, He is waiting for us to step over into that place where we can expect God to show up. God wants us to bring his love, his word, his wisdom, his miracles and his mercy to a hurting world. If you don’t or won’t do it, then he will find someone else, because he always uses people, he always finds people. He sees us all, as empty vessels, which he can fill.
Think of it this way: In your Kitchen there are many vessels, of all shapes and sizes and some of them don’t ever leave the
Kitchen, they are not fit for the dining room- fit for the party – they remain hidden, not fit for prominence. What we need to grasp is that we are all unfit, we all need to be sanctified and made meet (fit) for the masters use. Speaking for myself, I don’t want to be left in the kitchen I want to be on the great banqueting table. But, that’s a process. The Holy Spirit does the work in the heart, God makes us ready, God makes us worthy, God makes us good, and in the power of the Holy Spirit we are being changed from one degree of Glory to another greater degree. 2 Cor 3:18
God needs to work first of all in your Character, because if he put his power in you and you don’t have the character to handle it, it will destroy you and take you out. In this part of the world people are often positioned based on their gifts and not on their character. We must become good stewards of all that God has gifted us with, and if we are not walking the way we should we open ourselves up to “lying spirits” remember he is the Holy Spirit”. We must walk worthy of his name for our assignment is to “lift up Jesus” to lift up His name. The more you want to exalt Jesus the more the Holy Spirit will stimulate you and overflow in you. Someone has said that the Holy Spirit is the artist that paints Jesus on the Canvas’ of life. Incidentally while God expects the Glory, you must learn to give him the criticism as well. Its not being rude or disrespectful to give him both, for if I am not touching the glory, it would be wrong of me to touch the criticism or to try to defend myself. Strong Character enables us to rise above any selfishness.
Then, the work of the Holy Spirit is also to SEAL the believer. Like a woman making jam or preservative she gets the jar and
seals it, so that no outside influences can get in. The Holy Spirit as it were, places a label on us saying “Protected as Holy do not tamper with this seal“. If you like, it is the enabling of the Holy Spirit to help us to bear that fruit, Love, Joy, Peace, longsuffering, faithfulness, self control, truth and so on. If you are lacking in any of these, then there is nothing but a drink of that “new wine” of the Holy Spirit that can cure. The good of the Fruit is Sealed in by the Holy Spirit.
We are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to keep us in the pages of the Book, he will never lead us outside of Biblical Truth. He will give us power to witness – to make the Gospel real in front of peoples eyes, and at the same time also comfort us with the self same truth. Many of you don’t know that as I am preaching the word to you week by week, I am at one and the same time, preaching the same word to myself, hoping that also by preaching it, I will be able to grasp it more firmly for myself. I too am in the learning process, being changed from the Kitchen vessel to the Banqueting room vessel.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD.
If it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit, many of us as Christians would be utterly crushed and defeated. But God is preparing a people right now, who as I like to think of it, … through the crushing of the grape will become the new wine of the glory. The body of Christ is moving into another realm. Led by the Holy Spirit in the WORD, made clearer by meditation, dreams, visions, manifestations and angels, we are coming into the churches finest hour. There will need to first of all be a shaking up both within the Church and outside of the Church. God has some
major changes to impose on us. (whether we like it or not)
We will see that whole cities will be shaken, whole nations will tremble and quake under the power of God, and the Church –
the body of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will change this world for Jesus.
Now is the time, this is the hour, and there is no going back to “past times”.
Those who are fighting against the Church and against its Christ will be transformed and translated into new spheres of the miraculous and the supernatural, as the last great and glorious harvest is gathered in. God is about to take the Church from the Church. (think about that) The Angels of heaven will stand with us, as the wheat and the tares are separated and the Glory of Heaven will become visible on this earth, like never before. If you don’t believe me, then you don’t know your Bible. This is a revelation for the whole Church, not for any denomination – so take your Bible in your Hands now and Pray with me as I end this message today:
Holy Spirit Shine now upon this book I read, and
Guild its Holy Pages with all the light I need.
For your dear names sake …