L I V I N G H O P E
F E L L O W S H I P
F E L L O W S H I P
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Jesus tells us the Spirit is like the wind. It blows wherever it pleases. We hear it but we cannot tell where it comes from or where it's going. How can anyone be led by the wind? But here, He's talking about those who will receive Jesus as Lord, those who the Holy Spirit of God sovereignly chooses to bring to the point of decision. None of us can understand the way God awakens one while another seems impervious to all prompting and argument. But for those who receive Jesus, and are born of the Spirit, Jesus promises that "the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26.).
The first paragraph of the Bible says: "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." The Spirit of God has been present through all eternity and God has moved by His Spirit throughout the ages, but His Spirit was not available to all who wanted Him until Jesus said "It is finished." There were a handful of people in the Old Testament that God anointed with His Spirit, including Moses, King Saul and Samson to name a few, but even for them there was no promise that it was forever. God took His Spirit off of King Saul and put it on David, and Samson's anointing was dependent on his obedience. But something greater was planned. Something God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah:
That time came with Jesus, which is why He declared: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." (Luke 22:20.) Only now it was for all people, not just the people of Israel. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance..." (Hebrews 9:15). Which is also why Peter can say at Pentecost that the promised gift — the Holy Spirit — "is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:39.)
God is putting His law in our minds and writing it on our hearts. It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things and reminds us of everything Jesus has said. The Holy Spirit is the very power of God within us, the same Spirit that produces spiritual fruit in us and gives us spiritual gifts to heal the sick, to speak words of knowledge and encouragement and to do battle in heavenly realms against the forces of darkness. It is the Holy Spirit that causes the children of God to recognize each other wherever we go and the world to notice that there's something different about us.
In the first home church, on the very day the empty tomb was discovered, the fearful disciples were together behind locked doors when "Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, 'Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.' And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" (John 20: 19-22.)
Forty days later they were assembled together, uncertain about the future and about what Jesus had taught them. Jesus suddenly appeared among them and "opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, 'This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.'" (Luke 24: 45-49.)
Ten days later it happened like this:
Like those first disciples, when we accept Jesus in our hearts He breathes on us and invites us to "receive the Holy Spirit." When we say yes, we are also filled with the Holy Spirit and clothed with power from on high. And like the disciples, our lives are forever changed.
The Holy Spirit is God's gift to us (Acts 10:45) and the fulfillment of His promise. By filling us with His Spirit, the Lord equips us beyond our understanding to advance the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth and wherever He leads us by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Which is why Paul says, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."
It's not always easy keeping up. It's not always clear where we're heading or what's going to happen. It's not always comfortable.
But it's an adventure. Encounters with the living God always are.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4.)
'The time is coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares the Lord. 'This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,' declares the Lord. 'I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,' declares the Lord. 'For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.' (Jeremiah 31:31-34.)
I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (John 3:5-8.)
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (Galatians 5:25.) How do we follow the unseen Spirit of God within us? How do we know which way to goand where the Spirit is leading us? It's no small matter. The Apostle Paul tells us that "those who are led by the Spirit of God, are sons of God "(Romans 8:14) and are no longer "under the law" (Galatians 5:18). The implications are astounding. Jesus makes it even more clear: v