The voice of the Holy Spirit and how we listen, part 2.
length: 67:31 - taught on Sep, 8 2022
Thursday September 8, 2022
The main theme of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to proclaim to us the things of Christ, which are the things of the Father.
My revelation of the Person of Christ enlightens me, animates me, transforms me along with others as He stirs our sluggishness, sharpens our insight, soothes sour guilty consciences, sweetens our tempers, supports us under pressure, and strengthens us for righteousness. His work is so glorious in us that He merits all the worship, adoration, love, and loyalty of which we are capable.
In revealing Christ to us, the Spirit does multiple things, all of which have the main goal as their object: interpreting Scripture, illuminating our hearts as to its truth and reality, assuring us of its validity and reality, actualizing of spiritual gifts and good works, bearing witness of our adoption and election, helping our human weakness, supernaturally engendering our faith and prayers, creating in us love and joy and hope and all of His fruit (facets of Christlike character); purifying our hearts, leading us to make good decisions.
The Spirit therefore is doing whatever is necessary for the creating, sustaining, deepening, and expressing of the awareness in our lives of the things that belong to Christ.
We started to confirm what the Spirit is saying and how we can hear and understand it.
I will say again that we must never lose sight of the main reason for the Spirit’s ministry - to proclaim to us the things of Christ. To focus only on Scripture knowledge and forget the reason for it will make us doctrinal snobs having knowledge without love. To focus on purity of conduct and forget the reason for it will make us spiritual neurotics without joy or humor.
Intimately related to this vital truth is that the Spirit’s ministry does not center on us but on Christ. We are helped (the Spirit is our Helper) for the purpose of knowing Christ. So, we seek power, wisdom, guidance, purity (holiness), the fruit of the Spirit, but without forgetting that it all has a purpose - to know, see, fellowship with, and with great understanding, the Son of God.
Today we want to look at what the Holy Spirit is saying to us in particular and how we listen and understand. It is obvious in the history of the church that not all believers know the Spirit’s voice, and for some who do, they are not listening so as to comprehend.
The voice of the Spirit is the truth in the Word of God.
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
Revelation of God is only in the Scripture.
Some know more than others, but no one knows it all. We have to know enough to understand and relate to our Lord in all aspects of our lives, and these qualities must continue to increase. We explored this last time.
Paul knew a whole lot more doctrine than the murderer on the cross who hung next to Christ, but I guarantee you that they are both living in the delight of the glory of God right now and not debating theology.
The reality of our limitations in knowledge is used by some to justify laziness in learning the truths in the Bible. It is okay not to know everything. It is not okay to not want to know as much as you can.
A part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal the Scripture. Does that mean we will know it all?
So here we find ourselves in danger. If we focus purely on the Spirit’s ability to teach us the Word of God, which He does, then we might conclude that we can know all of the truth, at least perhaps the most dedicated of us, and we would be right on every question. This is not the kind of faith of children that the Lord told us to have. He didn’t mean that we should act like children, but like children who do not know more than they are able live lively and well through faith in their parents or teachers.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
The Greek word for child can mean infant or young child. A young child doesn’t know all that much but has faith to live well, if he does in fact thrive. Compared to all of the knowledge of the Scripture, we don’t really know much either, but we continue to increase in it. The point is that through humility and faith in what we know so far, we can live in the presence of Christ.
I hope we can all see the evil in the contention that Christians engage in concerning levels of knowledge about the Bible.
Often it is not knowing more biblical data about a doctrine that makes seeing Christ a reality, but having
It is one thing to know something about Christ, it is another to grasp the depth of its meaning so that it fills you and changes you.
And you don’t have to know everything about that thing for this to be true. In Eph 3, if you remember, Paul prayed that we would be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man so that we may grasp what is the height, length, depth, and width of the love of Christ. We might know of the love of Christ, but do we grasp the depth of it? And most times, it is not further data on the love of Christ that does this, but our faith and inner understanding which comes from introspection, meditation, and attempting to walk in His love.
Another danger is that if we focus only on the Spirit’s ministry of knowledge then we might exclude service to others in our spiritual gifts, making good and godly decisions, love and all the fruit of the Spirit, and prayer. How do we remember them all? We remember the main reason for the Holy Spirit in us, the actual ministry of Him to us - to know Christ, what He has, and what He does.
Can I enjoy beholding the Son of God and His influence in all my life without having all-knowledge of the Scripture? Yes.
If then, however, I didn’t want more true knowledge of Him, what does that say about my desire to behold Him?
Another justification that some Christians have done is to latch on to certain theologians (and pastors) as being always right. I think this stems from a prideful desire in us to be always right, the fear of being found unknowing on something that we love (Christianity), and the fear within ourselves of having gaps in that love of truth (holes in our theology). So, since we can’t discern the whole of Scripture, we latch on to someone who is a very talented theologian, like Martin Luther or John Calvin or John Wesley and we claim all their conclusions to be gospel. We can be right all the time without having to do all that pesky and time-consuming research on our own. Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Edwards, and many others have been very talented and learned theologians, but not one of them knows it all, and, it seems to me, that all of them have some blind side in which they proclaim to have knowledge but don’t (call it a bias of some sort). But that also means that I have a blind side, a bias, a way of thinking that is predisposed to grab certain errors if I’m not careful. But even the most careful of us are going to think and make doctrinal errors. If we didn’t, we would be all done with learning the content of the Bible.
In His final parable in Mat 13, after explaining to the disciples the other parables, Christ tells them that they are to be like scribes - very knowledgeable of all Scripture.
"Have you understood all these things?" They said to Him, "Yes." 52 And He said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old."
New and old would contain all of revealed truth in the word of God. A scribe is an expert, but no expert knows it all. God gave the church the gift of pastor-teacher so that we could navigate the truths in the Scripture, but none of them know it all either, however, they need to know enough so that they can lead others in the accumulation of the clear truths contained in the Scriptures with humility.
The voice of the Spirit is the Scripture.
How do we hear and understand the Spirit’s voice of the Scriptures?
The Spirit’s voice will be heard and understood by all who love the Lord and obey His work, which will make them hungry for exactly what the Holy Spirit is proclaiming.
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. 24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.
25 "These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. 26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
If we’re not actually seeing the Son and the Father, all of our theology was a waste of time.
Sin, doubt, fear, selfishness, lusts, ignorance, distraction, all get in the way of our revelation of Them. In light of that, are any of them or all of them remotely worth it?