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Title: The Testimony of God’s Spirit with ours
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The Testimony of God’s Spirit with ours
Last week we read where Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi saying,
“(6)[I am] confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (7) just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.” – Php 1:6-7
To make this a full connection in your hearts, we read what it means to be a partaker of grace by reading what grace does when it comes to us as it is described in Titus 2:11-15.
“(11) For the grace of God has appeared, with salvation for all people, (12) instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, (13) while we wait for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (14) He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a special people, eager to do good works. (15) Say these things, and encourage and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
We talked about our belonging to God. That He has come to dwell within us in the Person of the Holy Spirit of grace!
We spent SOME time talking about developing a keen sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit of God within us. How we must learn to hear His voice, but also to discern His heart. Being sensitive to Him so as to never displease Him.
Now this part is MOST important. What we do can offend the Spirit of God and that is something we need to avoid at all costs.
We are told this a few times and in a few ways in scripture but perhaps the most sobering is in Ephesians 4:29.30,
“(29) Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
These words have always struck me as just shy of a threat in terms of a sobering and strong warning.
As I have suggested to you many times, usually around Mother’s day, the Father and the Lord Jesus seem particularly protective of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit out of the three of them seems to be the most sensitive. His deference and respect to the Father as well as His admiration and fondness of the Lord Jesus predisposes Him to be very sensitive about anything which takes the Father lightly or for granted for which treats the sacrifice and investment of the Lord Jesus with the light hand.
There are many times in my life where my less than reverent treatment of the father and the son have resulted in a type of distance with the Holy Spirit. I don’t mean unforgiveness of course but that even after forgiveness he would distance himself in terms of revealing Christ to me assuming a silent posture in our relationship for a Time. I’ve always seen this not as a punishment but as reaping a harvest from my irreverent treatment of the Father and the Son.
Then, last week, we examined a few examples of the Spirit saying things to Paul, Peter and even Jesus which Jewish theology would not have suspected God would ever say.
- “Go to the Gentiles” – the Spirit says to the ONE apostle who was naturally MOST qualified and passionate about going to the Jews.
- “Kill and eat unclean meat” – the Spirit says by way of analogy to Peter who has NEVER let anything unclean come to his lips.
- Then, “follow Me into the wilderness so that you can be tempted and tried by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights without food” – says the Spirit to Jesus upon being baptized in the river Jordan.
These I used along with some potent modern examples to illustrate how sensitive we must be to the Spirit’s leading. He may very well tell you something which does not easily conform to your theology and you need to know Him well enough and be attuned to His heart enough that when He leads you just follow.
Now I DO need to express a cautionary note here. There are times when there is a profound difference between our theology and the written word of God and it would ONLY be in those cases where this concern will likely take place. Meaning the Spirit will of course NEVER lead you away from adherence to the written word of God!
God does not change and His word is everlasting. The words recorded in scripture which God once spoke are still speaking today!
I remember when we went through Tozer’s book ‘The pursuit of God’ back in 2016 how he addressed this issue of hearing God speak.
In typical Tozer fashion he captured the idea in a singular brilliant statement when he said,
“I believe that much of our religious unbelief is due to a wrong conception of and wrong feeling for the Scriptures of Truth. A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence again forever. Now we read the book as the record of what God said when He was for a brief time in a speaking mood.”
With such silly thoughts as this is it any wonder that the body of Christ finds themselves on hard times when it comes to being led by the Spirit within?
The Spirit, as we know, is STILL speaking, but what He speaks today is in NO WAY in conflict with what He has already and in fact always spoken.
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks is NOT just true of the creatures, it is true of the Creator. As such, could His words ever change if the heart they come from changes not?
To work through the application of this we were going over Romans 8, so turn with me there again.
We began in verse 3 and got to verse 8. So let’s begin in 3 again for background and context and see how far we get today.
“(3) What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did.”
Now remember that the flesh is a primary source of our weaknesses and earthly cravings but is also the veil over our eyes which obscures our view of Jesus.
The power of BOTH is removed by the Spirit of God. By HIS inner power. Not by our own strength or even devotion, but His Own through us.
“He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His Own Son in flesh LIKE ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, (4) in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished IN us WHO do not WALK ACCORDING to the flesh but according TO THE SPIRIT.”
“(5) For those whose lives ARE according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives ARE according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit.”
This is telling us to deliberately direct our mind’s attention towards the Holy Spirit within us. His thoughts, purposes & direction.
We need to learn to be easily influenced by His heart.
When you are close to someone, you are often able to sense when they are uncomfortable. The same is true in our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
You can sense if something offends Him, or concerns Him or runs in a Direction that conflicts with His leading.
We must k develop a sensitivity to the Spirit of God. An inner knowing of His state of heart – so far as He chooses to reveal it to us.
“(6) For the mind–set of the flesh is death, but the mind–set of the Spirit is life and peace.”
Mind-set of the flesh is death or separation. The mind-set of the Spirit is submission to union and agreement.
“(7) For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so.”
Can you see how the earth-bound outlook of our minds often encourages us in directions which run contrary to “life and peace”?
Under these conditions of heart we are unable to have real trust IN God and so we fail to please Him.
“(8) Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God.”
Faith is about intimacy in union with God. It is NOT about belief in asserting our assumed privileges of sonship on the world around us.
This is part of what Paul meant when he told the Philippians that they were Partakers of the grace of God WITH HIM.
That grace has a voice and it is the voice of the Holy Spirit of God Who has moved into our bodies and has made them His home… His abiding place!
That same Holy Spirit of Grace teaches us that we are to “deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, (13) WHILE WE WAIT for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ… being eager to do good works.” ~ Titus 2:12-14
“(9) You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, SINCE the Spirit of God LIVES IN YOU.
But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
“(10) Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
So even now that we have the Spirit within – even within these bodies, sin and death are still in the body as well.
“(11) And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He Who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit Who lives in you.
(12) So then, BROTHERS, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, (13) for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if BY THE SPIRIT you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
(14) All those regularly led by God’s Spirit are God’s mature children.
(15) For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by Whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”
(16) The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, (17) and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—seeing that we SUFFER with Him so that we may also be GLORIFIED with Him.”