"The Neglected Person Of The Holy Spirit"
by David Legge | Copyright © 2009 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com
This morning I want to preach on the 'The Neglected Person of the Holy Spirit', and so we are starting with the Holy Spirit this morning - and I gathered from the prayer meeting in the back there, now this is embarrassing, but I don't follow the Christian calendar to see what time of the year it is, but I think it might be Pentecost. I'm not sure, it's something like that today - I didn't know that, but the Lord obviously knows it, and this is where we are just now looking at 'The Neglected Person of the Holy Spirit'.
Let me say, I haven't called it 'The Neglected Subject of the Holy Spirit', because I think we are in danger of seeing our biblical Christianity as a series of subjects and topics that you could nearly take classes in, and when you undertake them, once you learn them well enough you feel you're entitled to call yourself a real Christian. Christianity is nothing like that whatsoever, it is more than mere intellectual and doctrinal theological knowledge. In essence, Christianity is a relationship with the Godhead - now I want you to try and remember that - Christianity is a relationship with the Godhead. It is something that is meant to be ongoing, developing, maturing.
Now we all know neglect of people is a terrible thing. Child neglect, we've been hearing a lot about that in the media of late - but how much more is it a travesty, a tragedy, and a great sin for us, as God's believing people, to have neglected a Person in the Godhead? I think I would be unchallenged this morning to say that out of the three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, surely the Holy Spirit has been the most neglected of the three? Now, there are many reasons for that, and we're not going to go into them - save to say that, because of certain disputes, theological understandings and interpretations of this great Person, many of us have just left Him aside because we've been fearful, and because of the excesses of some people within Christendom we have become sceptical because of their abuses. Well, can I say to you this morning: all those things, though they may be valid in one sense, they are really only excuses. They are only excuses for us in neglecting the Holy Spirit, because - and I want you to consider this today - He is the Person in the Godhead with whom we are to have the most dealings in this present age. Let me repeat that: He is the Person in the Godhead with whom we are to have most direct dealings in this age.
Now that will be borne out as we read the Scriptures, and we'll comment on them as we go through. John 14: "Let not your heart be troubled", but we're not so familiar with the verses from 16 on, and that's the ones I want us to concentrate on just now. The Lord Jesus says to His disciples, verse 16 of John 14: "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter". Now the word 'Comforter' there is the word 'Parakletos', it means 'to come alongside and help'. That word could be translated, I think better, 'Encourager', or 'Strengthener'. When we think of a comforter, we sort of imagine someone coming along to us and patting us on the back, and saying: 'There, there, it'll be alright'. That is not - it may be what the Holy Spirit does at times in our lives - but that is not what the Lord Jesus had in view here. It's more like, as one person said, not the lullaby for the fainthearted, it is a blood transfusion to conquer life. So the Holy Ghost is to come alongside us and infuse us, as an encourager, with strength to live the life that God wants us to.
"He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 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". Now let us pause there. The Lord is now saying that not only is the Holy Spirit going to be an encourager and a strengthener to you, but He is going to be an indweller of you - that's highly significant, because in the Old Testament age this never happened. The Holy Spirit came upon men, and you can read about that in multitude in the book of the Judges for instance - the Holy Spirit anointed and empowered, there's no doubt about that - but never in the whole history of redemption, and God's dealing with mankind, had the Holy Spirit ever come to live in and reside, abide, and indwell. Even during the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus, if you look at the Gospels you'll know this well: that His ministry was local. Geographically He ministered around the whole area we would call Palestine, and He never ventured very far beyond that at all. Yet what the Lord is saying here is that the Holy Spirit's ministry will be not local, but it will be extensive, it will be universal. What Christ could not do in God's plan in His body, the Holy Spirit would do by the power of God, ministering Christ to the whole world. The ministry of the Lord Jesus in His earthly life was also external, healings and so forth - I'm not saying He didn't operate in any way regarding men's hearts, but largely speaking His ministry was external, but the Holy Spirit's ministry would come and make Christ's ministry internal.
So not only would the Holy Spirit be the encourager and strengthener, He would be the indweller. Verse 18 says: "I will not leave you comfortless", or orphans, "I will come to you". So the Holy Spirit would bring the very presence of Christ, and that is a mystery in the Godhead - three Persons, and yet the presence of Christ is being brought to us, Christ dwelling in you, the hope of glory, the epistles say.
Now down to verse 26 please: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things". So the Holy Spirit is an encourager, a strengthener, and an indweller, and now we're seeing He is a teacher. So if you need to be taught anything about God or spiritual matters, the Holy Spirit is the one to teach you. So often we run to friends and people we esteem highly in the Christian life, and that's not a wrong thing to do - but sometimes we are spoonfed by pastors and preachers, and we don't realise that as 1 John 2 says: 'We have an unction from the holy one', we have an anointing that God teaches us directly. So, next time you reach a difficult verse in the Scripture, why don't you ask God, through the Holy Spirit, to give you enlightenment? Verse 26: "And [He will] bring all things to your remembrance". He is a teacher and a remembrancer, He'll bring to remembrance the things 'I have said unto you'. If you know anything about the Gospels, you will know that the disciples had a great problem with this. They failed to learn many of the lessons the Lord Jesus taught them, and they forgot many of the truths that He had laid down for them.
Now into chapter 15 please, verse 26: "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you" - remember please, we just read in verse 26 that the Father would send the Holy Spirit, now we're seeing in verse 26 of chapter 15 that the Lord Jesus is sending the Holy Spirit as well. So the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son: "The Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me". He is also a testifier, the Holy Spirit is a witnesser to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, we'll see a bit more about that in a moment as we go now into chapter 16, verse 7, Jesus says: "It is expedient", or it is profitable, it is good, it is advantageous, "for you that I go away". Now this was a real stumbling block for the disciples, they couldn't understand how Christ dying and leaving them could be advantageous - but the Lord explains: "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". 'Reprove' simply means 'to convict', or 'to convince'. He will be a reprover, a convincer, a convictor.
Verse 13 then: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" - there is another thing He does, He is a guider. Do you need guidance this morning? We all need guidance! He is the one to guide us into all truth: "For he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak", He's a reflector. He doesn't have His own agenda, He takes the things of the Godhead and He reflects them to us. "And he will shew you things to come" - not only is He a guider, a reflector, He is a revealer and He shows things prophetically that are to come to pass. Verse 14: "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you". He shows Christ to us, and when we believe on the Lord Jesus, the epistles teach us, He forms Christ in us. Verse 15: "All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you". The purpose of the giving of the Holy Spirit was to glorify Jesus every day from His ascension to His second coming. Have you got that? The purpose the Holy Spirit was given, was to glorify Jesus from His ascension to His return. Now, that is mighty.
Pentecost, if we turn now to chapter 2 of Acts, Pentecost was the day all of this was fulfilled, all that the Lord Jesus has spoken of. Now, of course, Luke in Acts gives us a flashback in chapter 1 to the Lord promising the Holy Spirit again, verse 4: "But but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me", verse 5, "John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence", verse 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...etc...etc". So he speaks of the Holy Ghost as baptiser, he speaks in verse 8 of chapter 1 of the Holy Ghost as an empowerer, and in chapter 2 we see this coming to pass: "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". The Spirit as the filler.
Verse 16: "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" - do you know what that is? The Holy Spirit is a non-discriminator of persons, every race is included here, all flesh shall have the Holy Ghost poured out upon them; every age; sons and daughters, every sex; young men and - we read on - women: "And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy". The Holy Spirit is a prophesier. "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", and I believe this is significant, and linked to the giving of the Holy Spirit, "that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" - the Holy Spirit is saver.
Now, I'm not going to recap all those things, there are too many! But I hope you can see the multifaceted characteristics of the ministry of the Holy Ghost, and why the Lord Jesus Christ said: 'It is expedient, it is advantageous that I go, that this Holy Spirit will come'. Now, the day of Pentecost was the moment when all of this came to fruition, and I hope you understand me when I say that it was on that day that the disciples became Christians in the truest sense. Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying - I'm not saying they weren't saved before, I'm not saying they weren't born again, I'm not saying they didn't have eternal life residing in their breast - but it was on that day that they became the temple of the Holy Spirit, they became fully indwelt by the Spirit of God on the day that the church was born as His temple. So I feel that we must look to Pentecost, that great moment of outpouring, for what God believes and tells us is normal Christianity. Normal Christianity is Pentecost! 'What's that?', you say. Well, Pentecost is when the Holy Spirit assumes central command of the church in Christ's place.
Do you know that the Holy Spirit operates as the vicar of Christ on the earth today? That is not the Pope, it's not a priest, it's not an archbishop, it is the Holy Spirit. This is God's divine plan, this was God's purpose in the church: that the presence, the rule, the power, the administration of Jesus Christ should be exercised and executed by the Holy Spirit on the earth. It's not only God's purpose in the church, it was God's purpose and plan for evangelisation of the world - because we see thousands of souls being saved on the day of Pentecost, and Pentecost was God's plan for setting the world aflame. We see it exemplified from the first to the last chapter in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which probably would be better entitled 'The Acts of the Holy Spirit', as God's Holy Spirit moves through ordinary people and turns the world upside down. So the building of this temple, the church, was never to be 'by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit', says the Lord.
Now, when we move from this history book of the church, the Acts, into the epistles, we see that the Holy Spirit's ministry was the purpose and plan for personal growth in the life of the believer. Not only is His ministry to be normal for the church experience in how they administrate the rule of Christ on the earth, not only is it God's plan for evangelisation, but it is also God's purpose and plan for personal growth. It's the normal Christian life that God has planned and purchased by the blood of His Son. That's why in the epistle to the Galatians Paul came to them and said: 'Have you begun in the Spirit, and now are you trying to be perfected by the flesh, by the law? No!', he's saying, 'You were born again by the Spirit, and the Christian life is not lived by law, it is lived in the Spirit, by the power of the Spirit'.
Now, I hope you see what we're really saying here - we've gone from the Gospels, from the promise of the Lord Jesus, to the experience of the early church in the Acts of the Apostles, to the teaching to the early church and to us today in the epistles, and we're really summarising this whole matter by saying: the ministry of the Holy Spirit is necessary for all Christian experience - for the church, for evangelism, and for our own personal growth.
Now, my challenge and question to you today is: how does your own experience measure up to that? In these areas, let's take them one by one: the church. We read in Revelation chapter 1 verse 4, as John is about to address the seven churches in Asia that the Lord Jesus sent messages to, he says: "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne". Now don't get confused with 'seven spirits', it's just - the number seven typifies, doesn't it, perfection and completeness - and what it is saying is that the perfect Holy Spirit is before the throne of Jesus Christ, the throne of God. Now, what is that telling us? That the Holy Spirit being before the throne is administering the rule of Christ to these seven churches - do you see it? The Spirit administers Christ's rule in the church - that means there is no other body between Christ and His people. We see that as we read through the letters, because Christ is depicted as walking in the midst of the candlesticks, and He's ministering directly to these little churches. Now that is exemplified, is it not, in the Acts of the Apostles where we've been reading from?
Let me show you this, I hope you're still in Acts - go to Acts chapter 8. The Holy Spirit directed the early church where to preach, in chapter 8 we see Philip who was speaking to an Ethiopian eunuch, and the man got saved and baptised. We read in verse 29 that Philip was taken from a revival meeting, we would say, with Samaritans, to this individual because, verse 29 says: "The Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot". When we turn to chapter 10, look at it, we see Peter, verse 19, had this great vision of how God was going to take the Holy Spirit message of the gospel to Gentiles: "While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them". Now, that's what I want you to see: the Holy Spirit directed the early church where to preach - that's how the rule of Christ was administered by the Holy Spirit.
But not only did He direct them where to preach, He directed them where not to preach - chapter 16 in Acts verse 6: "Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not", or would not allow them. So the Holy Spirit administered Christ's rule telling them where to preach, telling them where not to preach, and also ordaining who should preach. Come back with me a couple of chapters to chapter 13 please, chapter 13 and verse 2: "And they", this is the church at Antioch, "And they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them", the Holy Spirit told them to do it. Then when you go to chapter 20, this applies to elders of the church as well, not just those who preach - I know they preach as well - but those who lead in the church. Chapter 20 of Acts, and verse 28, Paul has been bidding farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus, and he says in verse 28: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood".
So what are we saying? The only one that ordained people to preach in the New Testament was the Holy Ghost! So His rule is administered - directing where to preach, where not to preach, and who should preach, and I could show you - we haven't time - that the Holy Spirit even goes as far as to tell us what to preach. But I want to ask a question, now we're thinking of the church here, and what our experience is in the church - and I'm not speaking specifically of Portadown, I'm speaking about them all, particularly in the West in this 21st-century. Who runs our churches? I know it's maybe a blunt way of putting it, but it's the only way I know: who runs our churches? How do they run them? Now, I know human instrumentality, God has chosen to use that, I know that - and we have to use means, and God allows for that - but we must always, this is what this is teaching us, we must always be dependent on the Holy Spirit's ministry. Now, you say: 'That's all well and good, but it's very nebulous - practically tell us how is that done? How do you recognize it?'. Well, the early church were constantly in prayer, they were constantly on their face before God, they were constantly fasting and waiting upon God's Holy Spirit to tell them what to do. That's how you know the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and administration of Christ's rule through the Holy Spirit in the church.
But what about the gospel, our evangelism? This was the experience in the early church - is it our experience, that we know the Holy Spirit's power in our evangelism? You remember we read, Jesus said: 'You shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you'. Well, let's look at Paul's experience, turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 2 for a moment - his experience was of great power in his evangelism. First Corinthians chapter 2, verse 1: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you", this was the Holy Spirit, by the way, telling you what to preach, "save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God". Now in 2 Corinthians 10 he says that his enemies said that in bodily presence he was weak, and his speech was contemptible - he didn't win people over by science and philosophy and mere human wisdom, but it was the power and the demonstration of God's Spirit that made the difference and brought people to Christ!
Now, is that my experience? I have to confess to you: it's not often my experience. I wish it was my experience more. Recently in a mission I was conducting there was a man came up to me at the end who was an unbeliever, and he freely admitted that, and he said: 'Look David, I couldn't contradict a word of what you said there tonight, it all seems true to me, but it's just' - and these are his words - 'it's just not getting in, it's only words'. Now I know that could be a reflection on that man and the hardness of his heart, I know all that - but there's no doubt about it, that sometimes our gospel and evangelism, and my preaching can be empty and devoid of this great ingredient that made the difference in the early church, the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit! E. M. Bounds put it like this: 'No erudition, no purity of diction, no wealth of mental outlook, no flowers of elegance, no grace of person can atone for lack of fire' - that's what we need in the gospel and in our evangelism, its fire! Paul came to the Thessalonians, and he said: 'Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost'.
Someone put it very well: on the day of Pentecost Peter preached one sermon, and 3000 souls were saved; and we preach 3000 sermons, and hardly see one soul saved. I know there can be factors that contribute to that, and you can't take God's sovereignty out of it all, I know that - but could we not be doing with a wee bit more power, a bit more power in our churches and in our evangelism?
But thirdly, what's our experience in our personal lives? Well, after regeneration, that's when you believe on the Lord Jesus, and you're born again, and you're baptised by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit's ministry should be involved in filling you constantly day-by-day by His presence and influence. That's what Ephesians 5:18 says: 'Be ye continually filled with the Holy Spirit' - are you filled with the Spirit? Galatians 5 says we are to walk in the Spirit, that we'll not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5 also teaches that we are to bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance - are you bearing the fruit of the Spirit? First Corinthians 12, 13 and 14 teaches us that the church and individual believers should be manifesting the gifts of the Spirit. I know there are great debates about that, but we miss the wood for the trees when we get into that - are you manifesting gifts of the Spirit? Jude says we ought to be praying in the Spirit, Ephesians 5 says we ought to be singing in the Spirit.
Now I'm asking, and I'm asking myself the question: what is my experience of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my personal life? Not just in the church, not just in evangelism, but in my life. The sad fact is: many professing Christians are living defeated lives because they are not living in the power of the Holy Spirit. I don't know whether that's you. It's like, I call it 'roller coaster Christianity', up and down, up and down - the Grand Old Duke of York, when you're up you're up, and when you're down you're down, half-time you're never up nor down, you're only halfway up or down. Isn't that the way it is? It's like swings and roundabouts. Now I'm not saying there's this great pinnacle that you'll always be on, no, far from it - but what I am saying is: if you're living by law, and you're trying to live your Christian life according to rules and regulations - 'I have to read my Bible every day, I have to pray so long everyday, I have to go down my shopping list everyday, and I have to not say this and do this' - well, that's all well and good, but it could be a symptom that you're not living in the power of the Holy Ghost!
What is our experience in the church, in our evangelism, and in our personal lives? Well, do you know what I think for many people our experience is? Pre-Pentecostal paralysis! John Owen, the great puritan theologian, said of his own day that the church is stuck somewhere between the cross and Pentecost. Now that's mighty! Many believers, many churches, many gospel efforts are operating as if the Holy Spirit never came! I'm not trying to be cheeky, I mean it applies to any church in our country: would we notice if the Holy Spirit didn't turn up at 11 o'clock next Sunday morning? Someone put it like this: imagine an angel who once observed the mighty Moses, and all the patriarchs, an angel who observed the apostle Paul, an angel who observed the reformers and the revivalists, the Whitefields and the Wesleys and Spurgeons; and then he is transported into the 21st century. He goes to one of our Sunday services, and he sits in them and he hears what we claim to be our possessions. Then he goes home with us, and he observes the poverty of our experience - is there not a contradiction between what we think we really are, what we think we have, and what we are experiencing?
Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying: when you're saved you get the gift of the Holy Spirit, but the great question is: from the day that you were saved, does the Holy Spirit have all of you? That's it. That's different. Are you possessing your possessions? Someone has said it's like the bus conductor, he's called out the destinations so many times, he thinks he's got off at them. We talk about the Holy Spirit, we sing about the Holy Spirit, we believe in the Holy Spirit - people in churches right across our land today will confess: 'I believe in the Holy Ghost'. A. W. Tozer said: 'There isn't anything quite so chilling, quite so disheartening, as a man without the Holy Spirit preaching about the Holy Spirit'. He's right, and there's nothing so chilling as a Christian who believes in the Holy Spirit not living in the Spirit. There's nothing quite so chilling as a church who confesses their belief in the Holy Spirit not operating in the Holy Spirit.
Now, I hope you'll give me the time just for a moment or two to answer the question: why we might be experiencing an absence of the power of the Holy Spirit in our churches, in our evangelism, and in our personal lives. Here's the reason put in a nutshell: He is a Person. Isn't that where we started off? This isn't a subject, this isn't an issue, He is a Person and we are meant to cultivate our relationship with Him. He is a person who can be resisted, Acts 7:51, Stephen preached to the Jews and said: 'You do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers do'. He comes to us with a still small voice, and He whispers His will to us, and we can so easily resist Him - and when we resist Him, we lose certain of His influence in our lives. Oh yes, He's omnipotent, He's almighty, but when He came upon the Lord Jesus He came in the form of a dove - and a dove is a very timid creature, easily disturbed just like the Holy Spirit. Could it be that we resist the Holy Spirit's influence in our lives, in our churches, in our evangelism?
He can be resisted, but He can also be grieved - Ephesians 4:30: 'Grieve not the Holy Spirit', that simply means He can be upset. He's a Person, and what upsets Him is sin - He is the Holy Spirit! There is sin today in many of our lives, there is disunity among God's people, there is idolatry that takes the form of materialism, and sometimes it can take the form of political sectarianism. There's also immorality - I haven't got time to go into this, but if you think there is an endemic problem in the Roman Catholic system, well, you need to waken up! Because there's an endemic problem of sexual immorality in evangelicalism today in the form of Internet pornography, and we are all asleep to it, and it's grieving the Holy Spirit who can be tempted and tested. Listen: Ananias and Sapphira did just that and God struck them down - now if that doesn't teach us anything, it teaches us that sin is serious in the eyes of the Holy Spirit, it grieves Him to the point of taking two of His children home.
He can be resisted, He can be grieved, and He can be quenched - 1 Thessalonians 5:19: 'Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings'. To quench the Holy Spirit, that simply means when we don't let Him operate - and the reason for that can be our theology. We've got a mental block, we're so frightened of the Holy Spirit because other people have gone mad in the name of the Holy Spirit. We could be sceptical of certain things that are being claimed in His name, or it could be that He is simply being quenched by the pre-eminence of human wisdom, of human planning. It could be fear of what He will do in our lives, or where He will lead us. Can I say to you, and this is only a throwaway comment I don't have time to go into it, but you have no reason to be afraid of the Holy Spirit!
Probably the main reason that quenches the Holy Spirit is unbelief. We no longer believe in the God of the supernatural, so we no longer look for Him! This was Israel's problem and caused them to wander in the wilderness 40 years, they limited the Holy One of Israel. This was the Lord Jesus' problem as He was ministering around in His home towns, He could do no mighty work there because of their unbelief. Oh, I have much more today I could say to you, but surely, whatever day today is, whether it's Pentecost or not, the great need of the church is to realise afresh the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit. The great need of a Christian is to cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit that exalts Christ and shows Him to us, and conforms us to Him.
You say: 'David, how can I know more of the Holy Spirit?'. Not more in quantity now, don't think I'm saying that, you have Him if you're saved, but more in experience and influence - well, let me just give you the words of the Lord Jesus: 'If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?'. If you regard iniquity in your heart the Lord will not hear you, deal with sin, repent of it, and the Lord is saying: ask and believe! Ask and believe! John says: 'We have this confidence in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us'. Deal with your sin before God, and say: 'O God', as the prayer Sanctus Spiritus says, 'O God, as the sun is full of light, and as the ocean is full of water, and as Heaven is full of glory, O Spirit of God, fill me' - that's what we need!
Paul Raider wrote some beautiful hymns, but he also was a powerful preacher. One night he preached on the subject: 'Out of a man's innermost being shall flow rivers of living water', on the Holy Spirit. Afterwards two men asked him out to dinner to have a discussion. One of the men said: 'Mr Raider, you preached a good sermon, but you're all wrong dispensationally'. The other man said: 'Mr Raider, you're a good preacher, and a good brother, the problem is you have all the wrong interpretation'. Mr Raider, gracious as he was, didn't answer them. They bowed their heads to give thanks before eating the meal, and when Mr Raider finally [finished praying, and] looked up he saw that down both those brother's faces were flowing tears. Their shoulders were heaving up and down, and one of them blurted out: 'Mr Raider, we have the interpretation but you have the rivers of living water, you have the rivers of living water'.
Let us pray: has the Holy Spirit been neglected in your life? I know He has in mine, I know He has in my evangelism, operating in the power of the flesh and my supposed wisdom - I don't have any anyway, but we get ideas about ourselves and we operate in the flesh. I'm telling you, if ever the church needs a rediscovery and revelation of the power of the Spirit - not in false fire now, but the real thing - we need it today. We need to rediscover the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our churches, in our evangelism, and in our personal lives. Why not, just where you are, repent of the sin that you know is grieving Him at this moment, and say: 'Lord, here's my cup, dirty and filthy that it is, wash it afresh from sin through the power of the blood, and fill it to overflowing by the power of Your Spirit'. I tell you, if you do that truly and sincerely by faith this morning, you will never be the same again.
Oh God, we thank You for the Holy Spirit. We pray that You will forgive me and we ourselves together here when we have resisted Him, when we have grieved Him, when we have quenched Him. Oh God, we pray, give us that experience of His fullness, His complete power and sway in all the spheres of Christian experience that we move in. For the glory of Christ alone we pray, Amen. Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Portadown Baptist Church in Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "The Neglected Person Of The Holy Spirit" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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