Word of the Day
It is said that if God were to withdraw His Spirit from the church today, that business would go on as usual. If the Holy Ghost of God were not present in the average church today, nobody would notice, and the services and works of the church would go on as usual and would have the same effects that we are seeing today.
Sadly, I tend to believe this. Manley Beasley, probably the most godly man I ever knew, said once that the sin of the Old Testament era was neglect of God, the Father, the sin of the New Testament era was neglect of God, the Son and the sin of the modern era is neglect of God, the Holy Ghost. From my perspective, I think he got that one right.
There was a time when we even sang hymns to the Holy Spirit, just as we did to God and to Jesus Christ. But seemingly no more. I don’t hear us exalt Him to the same level as God, the Father and God, the Son. If the doctrine of the Trinity is true, then God, the Holy Spirit is on the same plane as both of Them.
And Scripture bears this out. In the many statements made by Jesus concerning the coming of the Spirit, Jesus constantly spoke of Him as being divine. And if He truly is divine, does He not deserve our attention, allegiance, worship, adoration and obedience?
In John 14:16-18, Jesus, speaking of the coming of the Spirit, says that He, Jesus, would pray the Father and the Father would grant the presence of the Spirit in our lives and in our churches. The idea that the “disciples prayed down the Holy Ghost” while they were in the upper room(Acts 1:13-26) is a figment of our imagination. First, they were there for protection. Their Lord had been crucified and they feared that Rome had a cross with their names on it. And it is true, that they wanted the fellowship of like-minded folks. They had no knowledge nor expectation of the coming of the Spirit. No Scripture even suggests that. The Spirit came because Jesus had asked the Father for Him.
In this passage, Jesus refers to the Spirit as our “Comforter”(the word is “Paraclete” or one “who stands beside”). His task was to “stand beside” us just as Jesus did the disciples when He was physically present. In describing this “Comforter” Jesus uses the word, “another” and the idea is that this Spirit would be a Comforter on the same order as Jesus Himself. In other words, this “Comforter” would replace the physical presence of Jesus.
He said that this “Comforter” would be with us forever(v.16), and that He would be “…in you…”. He is ever-present in the lives of believers, whether we “feel” Him or not(never have quite understood what it means to “feel” Him. I don’t find that in Scripture).
Then Jesus said that this “Comforter” “…shall teach you all things…”. In other words, He will fill the role as Teacher in our lives. And if we are honest about the current level of knowledge and understanding in the lives of believers today, there is something that is missing sorely. There is more biblical illiteracy today than ever before(I have been to Ukraine several times and one thing I learned about these folks. They read the Bible through six or seven times a year).
The level of biblical illiteracy being as low as it is, what does that say about our reliance on our Teacher? Jesus also said that this “Comforter” would “…bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you…”(14:26). Again, the level of biblical knowledge being so low, someone is falling down on the job. Could it be that this “Comforter” is not what He was advertised to be?
Then in John, chapter 16, Jesus again speaks of this “Comforter”(vv.7-15). First Jesus assures His disciples that in order for this “Comforter” to come, He, Jesus, would have to go away. In fact, Jesus said that, for the disciples, it was “…expedient…” for Him to go away. If Jesus did not go away, the “Comforter” could not come. Then, Jesus said that “…when(not, if) He is come, He would reprove the world…”(v.8). Through those in whom He dwelt, this “Comforter” would do a work in the world that would glorify Jesus Christ. Through the born-again ones, this “Comforter” would “…reprove the world of sin…” and that He would testify that “…the prince of this world is judged…”.
Paul then adds some things of his own about this “Comforter”, this “…holy Spirit of God…”, we are not to “…grieve…” Him(Eph. 4:30). We are not told that we can grieve God nor Jesus, but we are told that we can grieve the Comforter. Then in I Thessalonians, chapter five, verse nineteen, Paul tells us that we are not to “…quench…the Spirit”. Again, we are not told in Scripture that we can quench God nor Jesus either one, but we can quench the Spirit.
And why is this? Why can we “quench” or “grieve” the Spirit, but not the Father nor the Son? Jesus gives us the answer to this in John 16:13-15. The role of the Spirit in the life of a believer is to magnify Jesus Christ. In fact Jesus says that the Spirit will never speak of Himself, but He speaks only of Jesus. His role in your life, in my life, is not to draw attention to Himself, but always magnify the Name of Jesus(He NEVER speaks of Himself).
You meet someone who is always talking about the “Holy Ghost this or the Holy Ghost that” has no clue about Who Jesus is. But you meet that old boy who is as dumb as a box of rocks, but it’s “Jesus this and Jesus that”—he may be dumb, but he knows the work of the Spirit in his life.