Everyone has been created in the image of God and therefore has the potential for greatness and victorious Christian living. As followers of Jesus we live in an age of tension between living in the fullness of God’s righteousness or in the struggle with temptation and sin. The Apostle Paul identifies this in Gal 1:4-5 - Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Jesus came to rescue mankind from the effects of sin and the present evil age in which we live. After Jesus’ ascended the Scripture tells us he did not alone but gave us the Holy Spirit. Jesus was bringing words of comfort and peace to the disciples in troubling and confusing time – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
Victorious Christian living is not about living “happily ever after” but being peace-full in the Holy Spirit in this age of tension. In my experience the Holy Spirit is much more than I can handle, in other words, Christianity is not something we control to our personal level of comfort, but something we surrender to. Just a Jesus surrendered his life for us on the Cross of Calvary, we must learn how to yield and come under submission to the Holy Spirit. I hope that over the summer months we can discover more of who the Spirit of God is in relation to you and I. And I trust that this will bring us into greater victorious Christina living for God’s glory.
Faces of the Holy Spirit
Moses spoke with God face to face and thousands of people encountered Jesus face to face. How do we see the face of the Holy Spirit? He is Spirit, unseen, everywhere all the time and fully involved in the purposes and plans of God. It is very important for us to understand how to relate to Holy Spirit so that we can live in victory. My thought about the Spirit is this – what does he look like, face to face, so to speak? There are various symbols that describe the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures; the Spirit hovered over the waters (Gen 1:2), fire (Ex 3:2; Acts 2:3), the cloud (Ex 16:10), wind is used of the Spirit (Acts 2:2), the dove (Matt 3:16), oil (Acts 10:38). In A. W. Tozer’s book Knowledge of the Holy, he describes various attributes of God; omniscience, omnipotent, omnipresent, the wisdom, holiness, love, goodness, faithfulness of God to name a few. These characteristics give us a glimpse into our eternal God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), who is beyond our finite understanding. He is all of the above mentioned by Tozer, with specific roles and responsibilities, in relation to the Church of Jesus Christ.
God is the ultimate Multi-tasker!
Multi-tasking was the new buzz word in the 60’s and 70’s. Originally it was directed towards computers that could perform several tasks at the same time. Eventually, psychologists began to experiment with humans and their ability to multitask. Simply multitasking is possible and we all do it in some form or fashion. However, recent research has found out that multitasking can negatively affect the brain resulting in a lesser degree of focus and accomplishment.
However, when it comes to God, his multi-tasking is totally exceptional, especially in relation to the Holy Spirit. He can teach and comfort and empower and guide all at the same time with everyone who has surrendered to him. How awesome is that… I hope to help us understand this idea in relation to the Scripture Rev 1:4-6 - John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Here are a two multi-tasking points to highlight. God multitasks through time and is not limited by time. God multitasks through the seven spirits; not seven different spirits but seven aspects of the Holy Spirit – i.e. – the seven-fold Spirit of God. The number seven is significant in Hebrew culture and seen as a sign of covenant and of grace, it is a number of purification and fulfillment. This morning I would like to focus on one area of the Holy Spirit with regards to his role in our lives.
The Holy Spirit our Regenerator
Regeneration is synonymous with words such as rebirth, renew, revival, restoration. One of the initial activities of the Holy Spirit is that of bringing someone’s dead spirit to life. We see this clearly in John 3:5 – you must be born of water and the Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God. A key Old Testament passage, Ezek 36:25-27, prophesies about the work of the Holy Spirit - I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. What a wonderful thought – a new heart and a new spirit instead of a heart of stone.
The Valley of Dry Bones is a classic Old Testament passage highlighting the Holy Spirit as the source of regeneration to a vast army. In Ezekiel 37 the Holy Spirit breathes life into the army of dry bones, there is a rattling sound as sinew and flesh form over the bones resulting in life.
Titus 3:5 speaks to the same idea – “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” Water and washing refer to baptism while Spirit and renewal refer to the Holy Spirit. This is not the recharging of a dead battery; it is a total battery replacement with a new and ever-ready charge. This power encounter with the Holy Spirit brings to life a dead spirit due to the effects of the fall of mankind into sin and death. This conversion is the transference out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (Col 1:13), considering the cross but by the power of the Spirit.
The Victorious Christian Life begins with regeneration. It is the Holy Spirit who makes anew what once was but became dead because of sin. This miracle of “new-life” brings a fresh and new perspective for living. Victory becomes possible. Our dreams come alive again. Regeneration is the first step towards a victorious Christian life. The Holy Spirit has so much more to offer if we are willing to surrender. I know many Christians who long for a deeper walk with Jesus, they have been born-from-heaven’s Spirit, but they need to learn to yield to the fullness of the Spirit’s activity. A victorious Christian life requires an increase of the Holy Spirit working and a decrease of one’s self-rule. This might sound like hard work as in applying the spiritual disciplines we talked about last week, and to some degree it requires effort. Let’s approach the Holy Spirit with passion and hunger, allowing him to work in us because it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32).