Monthly translation of "Fred's Epistle to the Ukrainians"
Recently I felt the Lord leading me to prepare a message on the fact that the Holy Spirit is currently being grieved. The situation is similar to Samson's. During his prolonged period of foolishness he was not aware that the Spirit of God finally left him, not until tragedy struck (Judges 16:20). Then it was too late. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to avoid a similar tragedy.
I. Who or what is the Holy Spirit?
1. Is the Spirit a divine wind?, a powerful breeze? a vaporous image? an inanimate force or influence? Is the Holy Spirit a heavenly powerful liquid stream of divine energy that is occasionally "poured out" on faithful, submissive believers? (See Eph. 5:18; Pro. 1:23; Joel 2:28). The answer is "NO."
2. The Holy Spirit is one of the Three Persons of the Trinity of God. (Mt. 28:19; Jn. 14:26; 2 Cor. 13:14). He has intelligence, feelings, emotions, and possesses all of the attributes of God. He reacts to people's positive and negative attitudes toward Him. He can be "grieved", (disappointed), and His gracious and generous efforts to bless and assist, may be "quenched," (extinguished) by negative reactions from those whom He desires to help.
II. What is His purpose on earth?
- He presently functions on earth as an active member of the Holy Trinity, to bring God's plan for mankind's redemption to fulfillment (Jn. 16:8; 1 Pet. 3:18), and to develop and prepare the Church -- "The Bride of Christ", -- to be ready for His coming! (Eph. 5:27; Rev. 21:9; 22:17).
- Jesus clearly stated the importance of the Spirit's work: "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you" (John 16:7). The Spirit has a very important task to fulfill. (For details see John 16:8, 13-15). He is also called the "Comforter" -- the Friend Who stands along side the believer to assist and protect. He comes as the "Spirit of Christ" to make Jesus real in our lives (Jn. 15:26; 16:14). He is the Messenger Who reminds us of the words of Christ (Jn. 14:26), thus bringing divine teaching to God's people (1 Jn. 2:27).
III. How does He fulfill this work?
- He seeks our cooperation. We are to work with Him (2 Cor. 6:1). He will not force Himself on us against our will. He performs His mighty work -- as we allow Him. For this, He requires our attention, our dependence, and our obedience. (Acts 5:29; 26:19).
- Without the Holy Spirit's help we can't do a thing as we ought. He leads us to salvation (Jn. 3:5). He witnesses to our spirit when we become God's children (Rom. 8:16). He stamps the seal of God's ownership upon us so that heaven, hell and the whole world will know to Whom we belong (Eph. 1:13,14). He gives us faith, peace, strength, joy, and everything we need to make us fruitful and successful children of God (Gal. 5:22).
- We need to be aware of His presence. We must seek to "Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). His coming to us is like the flow of fresh water that cleanses and refreshes the soul. He will also be as the gentle wind, the breath that brings life and energy. The presence and action of the Spirit is comparable to divine oxygen to our spiritual life. Ignore Him, and we won't be able to breathe; -- we shall choke and die.
IV. The Spirit may be hindered
- "Grieve not the Spirit." Paul also admonishes: "Quench not the Spirit." (Eph.4;30; 1 Thes. 5:19)., Allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives. At all costs, we must avoid causing Him disappointment, distress, and sorrow. We grieve Him by ignoring Him, by not including Him in our plans, by disobeying his promptings, by depending more on our flesh than on the Spirit (Gal. 3:3).
- How may we cooperate with the Spirit? We must desire His presence. Wait for the Spirit's move. Listen for the Spirit's direction and for His encouragement. Obey His instructions. (He will never tell you to do anything contrary to the written Word of God). He will speak to us -- as we read the Word of God, as we pray, as we meditate on the goodness and mercies of the Lord. He will convict and correct us of wrong doing through our conscience.
- Be aware: Quenching and grieving the Spirit is dangerous. God says, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man" (Gen. 6:3). God is gracious and as such He desires to give us His best. But He is grieved when we brush Him aside, ignore Him, and place other people and things first. The Holy Spirit is our best Friend; we must not ignore Him.
- "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Mat.6:33). We must walk in the Spirit, be filled with the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, have our minds renewed by the Spirit. We must live and work in the power of the Spirit. Has the Spirit been grieved with us lately? It's time for repentance.
God bless you as you share these thoughts with your people and friends.