Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Believer's Companion: God the Holy Spirit.....(Part Two)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  (II Corinthians 13:14) 

       How can any believer really experience the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father if they do not have fellowship with the Holy Spirit?  God the Father is not here on planet earth, nor is God the Son.....

       It is an undeniable truth that God the Holy Spirit directed the life of Jesus during his short ministry.  Just as important, especially for us believers today, Jesus taught His disciples about His and the Father's divine plan to have the Spirit come to earth to continue the Savior's ministry.  Jesus, in pure obedience, had thoroughly submitted to the Father by way of God's Spirit.  As His time on earth rapidly came to a close, He desired to share the truth of the Holy Spirit with His disciples so they too could experience fellowship with the Father, and with Him!

       Scripture teaches that the Christ, when He came to earth, "stripped" Himself of all power in order to become like man.  (Please refer to Luke 4:18-19; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 2:9, 2:14-17)  In and of Himself, He was completely powerless and depended wholly on God the Holy Spirit for everything He did in His ministry.  Important scriptures that illustrate Jesus receiving and submitting to God's Holy Spirit are:  "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him."  (Matthew 3:16); "Jesus, full of the the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil."  (Luke 4:1); and, "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside."  (Luke 4:14) 

       Jesus depended on God's Spirit for everything.  He, without doubt, kept deep, abiding, intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit at all times.  His success depended on it because by having uninterrupted fellowship with God the Holy Spirit, Jesus had the necessary, constant link to His Heavenly Father.

       Continuing, there are two important considerations as we reflect on the Holy Spirit and His ministry upon coming to earth.  Firstly, we note that the Spirit came to earth per Jesus' request to the Father.  This was a planned, coordinated effort between all members of the Godhead.   "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever--the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."  (John 14:16-17)  It wasn't coincidental that the Lord shared this with the disciples shortly before His crucifixion, knowing that soon He would have to leave them to fulfill the Father's plan that He, the Christ, die upon the cross, and thus have to leave behind his beloved followers. 
       Secondly, the Lord refers to His Spirit as the "advocate," or "comforter" in the King James.  The Greek word here is paraklētoswhich means (1) summoned, called to one's side, especially called to one's aid, (2) one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate, (3) one who pleads another's cause with one, and intercessor [Please please read Romans 8:26-27 to see what the Spirit can and will do for you!], (4) of Christ in his exaltation at God's right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins, (5) in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant, (6) of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom.  It should be evident how desperately we need this wonderful Person with us in the absentia of Christ! 

       Jesus later assures the disciples that when the Advocate (Spirit) comes, He would vouch for the reality of Christ.  "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father--the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father--he will testify about me."  (John 15:26)  The Spirit will ALWAYS, unfailingly give an honorable report about the Son of God.  He will witness the presence of Christ in our hearts.  This affirmation is sure and certain; we can depend on it!  Furthermore, and no less importantly, the Apostle Paul told the church that this same indwelling witness of the Holy Spirit allows us to recognize and acknowledge God Almighty as our Heavenly Father.  "Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'"  (Galatians 4:6)  [See also Romans 8:15.] 

       How incredibly exciting it is to have more than just head-knowledge of the truth that we are sons and daughters of God, and joint-heirs with Christ!  (Romans 8:16-17)  The Spirit, Who lives in the heart of every believer per the will of God the Father and God the Son, testifies directly to us the reality of who we are in Christ and to Whom we belong!  Praise the Lord for His goodness!  And thanks be to Him for allowing us to have uninterrupted, sweet fellowship with His Spirit!  It is in the depths of this intimacy that we can indeed know who we are.  Additionally, we can through the Spirit enjoy the love of our Heavenly Father and move forward in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!  

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