17 June 2018

BE A WITNESS OF GRACE PART FIVE



Eph 4:25-32

As we approach this portion of Scripture I want us to recognize and come with humility and delicate hands as the scribes did when they transferred the Scriptures to Parchment skins. Hands that knew, what we know, to be very important to the soul of God’s children. Let me explain! “Many of the rules for copying the Scriptures dealt with the character and heart of the scribe himself. A scribe had to speak and sing aloud each word as he wrote it. They washed their hands before each writing session, not just to make them clean, but rather to prepare the heart and mind for performing the holy act of writing the Word of God. They also prayed before each session. Writing a Torah is a "mitzvah," a holy act. Before writing "Jehovah," the name of God, the scribe had to clean the pen and wash their entire bodies in a "mikveh," a pool of natural running water. In writing the Scriptures, scribes were careful to show great reverence and respect, even centuries before the Hebrew Scriptures were canonized, showing that from the earliest times these writing were recognized as God’s Word.” We are approaching a name of God in the person of the Holy Spirit and I want us to approach this passage the same way the scribes did. 

Do we/you; truly understand the wonderful intimacy of the nature of God?

Do we/you; truly understand that God is personal and not impersonal?

Do we/you; truly understand that God is here and not distant, hiding in a corner?

In order for us to understand this portion of Paul’s letter as it pertains to what’s been previously said; it’s important to understand why we are to be witnesses of grace. If God is intimate, personal and ever present then our thoughts and actions should be drastically different then from our previous state and nature. It’s called a God consciousness and understanding it’s not about me, but all about Him. So! If it’s not about me anymore, then it has to be about someone else, I need to be living for. Paul says “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” this statement stretches the mind and our hearts. Why? This statement challenges our understanding of scripture, and theology, but at the same time it encourages our hearts to continue.

Think about it for a moment what Paul is saying! We are usually accustomed to think that our thoughts and plans don’t and they never would ever affect God’s heart. Reason being! We usually are thinking…..It’s my lack of speaking truth, it’s my anger, it’s my lazy attitude and bad behavior, it’s my bad empty headed rotten mouth. What I do affects me; it surely doesn’t affect God’s heart. To think this way is exhibits that we truly don’t understand the wonderful nature of God and the intimacy that it brings through the gospel.

Understand this as we go through this statement that Paul makes!
Just as Christ, can be affected by the feelings of our infirmities, Hebrew writer said “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb 4:15. Understanding that wonderful truth…..In the same way the Holy Spirit grieves over our failures to love as we should in the Christian community and especially in the church. Here are some things to think about the Holy Spirit, as when we read this statement in Paul’s letter.

What is the Holy Spirits purpose? The ultimate answer to that question is that the Spirit testifies of Christ and the true gospel. Jesus was very clear on this with His disciples. "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” John 15:26 Jesus goes on to say in the next chapter “But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when He comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:5-14. We are not grieving some essence or mist or ghost like figure, like Casper the friendly ghost. When we sin against a holy God with our mouths and with our heart lead actions, it grieves the Holy Spirit. The Third Person of the Trinity.

Understand the Spirit…. 
He has intellect…… 1 Cor 2:11 “Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”
He has feelings…….. Rom 8:26 “groaning too deep for words.”
He has a will…….. 1 Cor 12:11 “who apportions to each one individually as He wills.”
He speaks……. Acts 13:2 “the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I called them.”…”
He brings conviction into the sinner’s heart. John 16:8 “He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement.”
He makes the gospel effectual. 1 Cor 2:4 “But in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
He resides in the believer permanently. Rom 8:9 “You, however are no the flesh but in the Spirit.”
He baptizes the believer 1 Cor 12:13 “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.”
He seals the believer. Eph 1:13 “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”
He fills the believer. Eph 5:18 “be filled with the Spirit.”

The filling of the Spirit in the life of the child of God is one of the most important issues for daily living for the glory of His name. We need the Spirits filling and when we grieve the Spirit the filling begins to leak the blessings of this day. This is important why? The Christian life depends on our complete yielding to the Spirit that dwells in us for His glorious name.

Also know this though! We can also quench the Spirit……1 Thess 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit.” This language is taken from the way of putting out a fire, and the sense is, we are not to extinguish the influences of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. The Bible says we are to walk in the Spirit ……Gal 5:25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Gal 5:22-25

Bryan Chapell said this in his commentary “The same Spirit who convicts my heart of sin, generates in me love for God, gives me new birth, provides my apprehension of the beauty of grace in the world, and seals my redemption until the coming Lord, this same Spirit who loves me so intimately and perfectly, I can cause to grieve." Think about what we know this morning alone! This should be the greatest motivator in our lives. That not wanting to hurt Holy Spirit is the inspiration to not harm or hurt others, who are image bears of God. Whether that is by our words, or actions. If that’s not enough to convict you this morning then maybe what Paul says next will! “by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (v30b) If this statement doesn’t melt your heart than I don’t know what will.

This Sprit that we can grieve so easily with our words and actions is the Third Person of the Trinity…..
The Spirit is the One who drew us to Christ and the gospel.
The Spirit is the One who saved us in Christ.
The Spirit is the One who keeps us in Christ,
The Spirit is the One who will deliver us to Christ on the day of redemption.

Knowing this truth should make us rethink our words, actions and lifestyle, considering the great cost that was given so that you and I could live with an eternal hope. To grieve the Holy Spirit, is to grieve a holy God who loved us and gave Himself up for us. Why would you ever want to grieve a God who keeps us, for the day of our redemption? The Spirit of God is our personal mark of authenticity, His divine stamp of divine approval. How can we grieve the One who is our Helper, Comforter, Teacher, Advocate, and Divine Author over our hearts of our eternal redemption? These sinfilled bodies to the core have not yet been fully redeemed….we wait this day patiently and with great joy. Paul said this “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Rom 8:18-25

The work that the Spirit has done and is doing should draw our hearts with great gratitude. Knowing this truth and promise this morning should bring conviction and unrest to our hearts for how we spoke too and about someone else. Again our words do hurt one another but it also grieves the person of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has done so much for us, that out of gratitude, we ought not to grieve Him because He is the One who keeps us to be redeemed in the end. 

That’s good news as John MacArthur said “Paul is not saying we should avoid sin in order to keep our salvation, but rather we should be eternally grateful to the Holy Spirit for His making it impossible for us to lose it.”

Understand! He is the Holy Spirit; anything that is not holy is distasteful to Him.  He is the Holy Spirit of God, a member of the blessed triune God. We are sealed by Him for the day of redemption and when we grieve the Spirit, it grieves Him to see the believer’s spiritual progress interrupted by sin.  He must then lead us the Christian to repentance and confession so that the spiritual progress continues. Until that happens the progress will come to holding pattern until you recognize your wrong and humble ourselves under His sovereign grace and longsuffering.

Everything we say and do should have this question attached to it. Will what I’m about to say or do please the Spirit or grieve the Spirit? Paul reminds us that relationships involve spiritual warfare. Anything that is inconsistent with the Spirit’s nature grieves Him. And as we have seen in the previous verse (v29) and the verse to follow (V31) that the sins of the tongue lead to the withdrawal of the influences of the Spirit. (V30) We as Christians must be sensitive to the One, meaning the Spirit who seals us for the day of redemption. So let us learn to walk in the Spirit and yield to Him in our conversations, actions and eagerly maintain the unity of the church until the day these sinfilled but saved by grace bodies are redeemed on that day.

As Kent Hughes said in his commentary “The Holy Spirit us not a phantom, He is a Person. In infinite love He has condescended to indwell us and to suffer pain and joy through us. Is He grieved with us, or is He singing over us?

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