Sunday Morning Bible Study
November 24, 1996
Jesus has been preparing the guys for what's up ahead of them, after He leaves to go back to heaven.
He's told them that they're going to face tremendous persecution.
And He's told them that they're going to have help, in the person of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit's Ministry (pt.2)
:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
After all, Jesus has only been with the guys for three years.
He could spend a hundred years with them, and probably not even scratch the surface of what He would like to share with them.
But they're not able to handle it right now.
They're not able to "lift up the burden" (bear) of what He could tell them, and carry it on their shoulders.
At least, not at the moment.
You might not be ready for the answer.
The answer to what?
Whatever you're asking of God.
We certainly ask a lot of questions of the Lord.
I wonder if we sound a bit like three year olds, asking "why daddy?" all the time.
We want to know why we're going through this particular problem.
We want to know what is going to happen in our lives.
We want to know who is going to be a part of our lives.
But I think that in the Lord's wisdom and grace, He keeps us somewhat in the dark on purpose.
I wonder if we could handle really knowing what was going to happen tomorrow.
But how do I handle not knowing?
1. Keep trusting.
I think there are times when God wants us to trust Him, even if He doesn't give us what we're asking for, even answers.
God wants us to trust Him.
We are unable to please God, unless we learn to walk by faith.
Heb 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
And yet learning to walk by faith means learning to trust in things you don't see, in things you don't understand.
Heb 11:1(NASB) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
(2 Cor 5:7 KJV) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him
2. Keep growing.(or, "Grow Up")
I think that sometimes we aren't given the answers we're looking for because we aren't in a mature enough place to receive them.
There are some things that I just can't talk about with my Timothy.
After all, he's only four years old.
I can't talk about Greek grammar, algebra, or modern politics with him.
He doesn't understand because he's not grown up enough.
The writer to Hebrews says:
Heb 5:11-14Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Maturity in the Lord comes from practicing and applying the things of God to our lives.
It's only as we learn to walk in obedience to God's ways that we grow and deepen in the Lord, and are able to receive more mature understanding from the Lord.
3. Keep asking.
After all, God says:
Jer 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
Luke 11:9-10 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
When God is ready, and you're ready, He'll give the answer.
:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come
Technically, in the original Greek language, the word translated "he" is a "masculine demonstrative pronoun". Impressed? No big deal?
Actually, it is a little odd, since it's describing the word "spirit", which just happens to be a neuter noun.
Usually you would see a neuter pronoun describing a neuter noun.
But instead of calling the Spirit an "it", Jesus calls the Spirit "he".
The Holy Spirit is a person.
If we're not careful, we can tend to make the Holy Spirit kind of impersonal.
This is one of the problems that the cults have, they see the Holy Spirit as some kind of impersonal, force.
"As for the "Holy Spirit," the so-called "third Person of the Trinity," we have already seen that it is, not a person, but God's active force" (The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1968, p. 24)
"The Scriptures themselves unite to show that God's holy spirit is not a person but God's active force by which he accomplishes his purpose and executes his will" (Aid to Bible Understanding, Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1969, 1971, p. 1543)
In the new age approach, as in Star Wars:
"Luke, use the force!"
As if the Holy Spirit is some kind of cosmic energy that we can psych ourselves into channeling.
But He's a "he".
Not an "it". Not a "she". (sorry ladies)
Look at His personality.
These are not qualitites of an impersonal "thing".
Here's just a small sample -
1. He thinks and knows:
1 Cor 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Only the Holy Spirit can truly "know" the things of God.
Does your car think on it's own? (some of you wonder ...)
2. He speaks:
Ac 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. (AV)
Ac 10:19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. (AV)
Does your chair "speak" to you?
3. He has a will, He forbids:
Ac 16:6 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, (AV)
Does your lawnmower tell you what to do?
4. He has feelings and can be hurt or grieved:
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (AV)
Does the electricity in your home get it's feelings hurt?
The Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force.
Treat Him like one.
Isn't that what the ladies are often saying to us men, "Why don't you treat me like a real person?"
:13 he will guide you into all truth:
It seems that we're living in a society that wants to run from the truth.
We make up all kinds of excuses in order to believe whatever is comfortable to us.
We say that we're all for "Family Values", but some people in Hawaii think a family can be two men living together in homosexuality, while in Arizona it seems to mean easier divorces where $30 and a computer terminal will terminate your marriage.
We say that we're all against what drugs can do to people, yet we now say that smoking marijuana is okay if you're sick enough, and it's going to be amazing at what people will soon be calling "sick enough".
We say that there's too much sex and violence in the media, but we also don't stop going to those movies either.
From George Barna's book, Generation Next:
"Consider the issue of truth. About three-quarters of all adults reject the notion that there are absolute moral truths. Most Americans believe that all truth is relative to the situation and the individuals involved. Similarly, at least three-quarters of our teens embrace the same position regarding moral truths. Not only do more than three out of four teenagers say there is no absolute moral truth, four out of five also claim that nobody can know for certain whether or not they actually know what truth is. This may also help to explain why a majority of teenagers (57 percent) say that lying is sometimes necessary -- not merely convenient, common, understandable or acceptable, but necessary."
(Quote found in Dr. Dobson's Nov. '96 Newsletter)
If the Holy Spirit is a part of your life, you are going to find Him taking you by the hand, leading you through all the mazes and obstacle courses, right into the truth.
A. W. Tozer (1897–1963) wrote, "When the Spirit illuminates the heart, then a part of the man sees which never saw before; a part of him knows which never knew before, and that with a kind of knowing which the most acute thinker cannot imitate. He knows now in a deep and authoritative way, and what he knows needs no reasoned proof. His experience of knowing is above reason, immediate, perfectly convincing and inwardly satisfying."
When you let the Holy Spirit work in your life, He's going to do a work of truth in you.
:13 for he shall not speak of himself;
This doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit doesn't talk about Himself, it means that He doesn't speak on His own initiative.
He waits until He gets orders from higher up.
Let God do the prompting.
If we're being led by the Spirit, then we'll begin to take on His personality.
Instead of cooking up our own things to say, we'll act like the Holy Spirit, and just wait for it to come down the pipeline from a higher authority.
a. Don't put God's signature on your letter.
If you've ever let God use you to speak to another person, it's a pretty heady experience.
One we'd like to repeat over, if possible.
But don't get carried away and write a letter, signing God's name to it.
If I have a grudge or complaint against a certain person, or just a personal opinion on a situation, I need to be careful not to claim to be speaking for God, when I'm just airing my opinion.
b. Wait to speak until God says to speak.
If we're all waiting on the Lord in prayer, don't feel like you need to be the one to break the silence.
Wait until God moves you to pray or speak.
Maybe God just wants it quiet for a little while.
I think churches fall into the trap of thinking that some kind of activity or circus needs to be going all the time if we're going to give people the impression that the Holy Spirit is working in us.
Whatever happened to "Be ye still and know that I am God"? (Ps.46:10)
I would rather that all the things spoken be genuine, than having to weed out who is speaking for God and who isn't.
:13 but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak
Whenever some bit of information comes down the conveyor belt to the Holy Spirit from the Jesus or the Father, the Holy Spirit passes it on to us.
Now, it's not that the Holy Spirit doesn't know everything, but it's just that He only passes on through the network the things He's allowed to.
:13 and he will show you things to come.
show you - anaggello - to announce, make known; literally, "to be a messenger from God right in your midst"
I think this covers two different subjects:
1. Prophetic events in Scripture.
This is what we're looking into on Wednesday nights, as we're starting our way through the book of Revelation, seeing what things that the Spirit has revealed about the future.
The New Testament is filled with insight from the Holy Spirit into the prophetic events of the future.
2. Personal revelation.
And I think there's room here for "personal revelation" as well, though we need to be careful about this.
I think there are times when God will personally speak to your heart and give you a clue as to what the future holds for you.
This happened in Paul's life:
In Acts 21, a prophet named Agabus showed up and warned Paul that he was going to be captured by the Jews in Jerusalem, and handed over to the Gentiles. (Acts 21:10-11)
What Paul was told was very personal, it had to do with his own neck!
My wife and I met at church, and when we first started dating, I was kind of a mean guy, breaking up with her twice.
During one of the times that we were broken up, and she was depressed and upset, she felt that the Lord was speaking to her that she would marry me one day, and that she would be a pastor's wife. She wrote it down on a piece of paper, and tucked it away in her Bible.
It wasn't until after we were married, that she thought about the paper, and showed it to me.
If she had told me this before we were married, I might have been scared off.
I've known people who have used this trick to try and hook a mate, and I shudder.
But the fact that it came true, without using it to twist my arm, showed me that it was from the Lord.
And to think, we almost didn't get married, several times!