Eyes and ears for the message from the Holy Spirit.

Class Outline:

Thursday September 15, 2022

God in redemption finds us all more or less disintegrated personalities. Disintegration and loss of rational control are aspects of our sinful and fallen state. Trying to play God to ourselves, we are largely out of control to ourselves and also out of touch with ourselves, or at least with a great deal of ourselves, including most of what is central to our real selves.


Fear, repression, broken parts lurk in the soul of every believer.


Much in us is shrouded in the deep, dark, and cold Loch Ness of our subconscious mind. How much of each of us are unknown and suppressed? There is a monster down there, just under the surface, who through repression and fear has lived and lurked and made us uneasy. Nessie calls from just below the surface, will we listen and harken? She lifts her head above the surface, how often concerns the spiritual state of that mind, and we leave her to swim free, giving over to her desire and passion, sinning in various ways, causing hurt and disappointment; to ourselves and others. The life of Christ who is the light must burst in upon her. If the light that is in us is darkness, how great is that darkness? Darkness hates the light.


But God’s gracious purpose is to bring us into a reconciled relationship with Himself, through Christ, and through the outworking of that relationship to reintegrate us and make us whole beings again.


2CO 5:21

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


This relationship itself is restored once and for all through Christ who made Himself sin for us and we in consequence were made the righteousness of God in Him, what Luther termed “the great exchange.” Justified and adopted into God’s family through faith in Christ, Christians are immediately and eternally secure; nothing can sever them from the love of the Father and the Son.


But the work of recreating us as psychophysical beings on whom Christ’s image is to be stamped, the work of practical sanctification, is not the work of a moment. Rather, it is a lifelong process of growth and transformation.


In time believers have to behold the glory of the Lord (2CO 3:18). They have to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (ROM 12:2). They have to no longer walk as the Gentiles in the futility of their minds, putting off the old self and putting on the new which is being renewed (EPH 4:14-24). They have to long for the pure milk of the word of God (1PE 2:2). They are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2PE 3:18).


In fact, it extends beyond this age and into eternity, for the basic disintegration in us, psychic life of the inner self and physical life of the body will not be finally healed until the redemption of our bodies, which is why we groan in these bodies. Not until we leave this mortal body will we come to know the extent of our split self who desires to live a life just as Christ did, as Paul analyzed in ROM 7:14-25 and GAL 5:16-26. There Paul presented this sober truth to hearts that delighted in God’s law but nonetheless found themselves, more often than they’d like to admit, allergically negative in their response to it. Paul diagnoses the problem as the sin which still dwells within us, the flesh; dethroned buy not destroyed, doomed to die, but not dead yet.


Still, however, the indwelling Holy Spirit, whose presence and ministry are the first installment of the life of heaven and who is sovereign in communicating to us the touch and taste of fellowship with the Father and the Son, abides and works in us to lead us toward the appointed goal, and He deals with each one’s broken and distorted humanity as He finds it.


Take courage, the working of Christ’s image in us is a lifelong process. Take boldness, the work will only progress as you strive to know God’s word and make every effort to live holy, devoted, and blameless. Take humility, for we are completely dependent upon God the Holy Spirit for anything to work at all. Take care, for if we don’t keep seeing and hearing by learning God’s word and living holy dedicated lives, we will only stand still while the Spirit longs for us to move forward.


TIT 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.


The Holy Spirit was given to us to proclaim the Person of Christ, described by Christ as the things which the Father has, JOH 16:15.


We have to have ears to hear and eyes to see.


The character of holiness and godliness gives us eyes to see and ears to hear the proclamation of the Spirit - the Person of Christ.


MAR 4:10-20

And as soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. 11 And He was saying to them, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven. " 13 And He said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables? 14 "The sower sows the word. 15 "And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 "And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 "And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 "And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."


Jesus gives the interpretation to the disciples when they ask Him. They ask and seek and knock. In Matthew, Jesus explains that the seed that fell beside the road as those who when they heard the word did not understand it and while it remained a mystery, in some way Satan came and took it away.


For the ones with no firm root, they hear with joy, but because of affliction or persecution they fall away. If tough times are enough to drive you away from the word of God and the life that allows you to hear, then knowing Christ is not your top priority - you are.


For the ones among the thorns, but worry and the thought that the world’s riches and other things are the source of joy and fulfillment choke the word (choke or suffocation is the meaning). It is interesting in this third case that they don’t fall away and that the word is still with them, but it becomes unfruitful. I would say that these know of the Lord from the word but haven’t invested time and concentration along with faith into the word so as to understand it. Why? They are in pursuit of other “things.” In this case Jesus uses the word loipos, which means “the rest” or “the remainder.”


What chokes the word is the deceitfulness of riches and “desires” (epithumia - lusts) for “the remainder.”


If the word is suffocated and that is what the Spirit is proclaiming to us, how could we come to know the Son of God and the Father whose things He has?


I love the image - the love of money is the root of all evil, but there is the rest or remainder in the world that people, including Christians, lust for. That said, what is the problem that causes them not to see and hear what would give them life abundantly.


They love other things - things of the world. The cost to them is immense - no fruit. Their lives, in comparison to what it could be with Christ, looks like a dried-up vine branch (JOH 15:6).


In this study of the Holy Spirit revealing the Person of Christ to us, the word “things” keeps popping up. Here we hear of the things of the world. The Spirit is showing us the things of Christ. We are each stuck in the lurch, in the middle we are appealed to by both sides.


JOH 16:14-15

“He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. 15 "All things that the Father has are Mine;”


2CO 4:17-18

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


GAL 5:16-17

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.


A lot of things are in this world, but some things are eternal, while the rest are all temporal. We must see and hear properly.


After the parable of the sower, Jesus continues the seeing and hearing motif. This is foundational to our purpose in life. Remember the sower, for, as the Lord said, it is the foundation of all the parables. Not that all the parables are based in agriculture, but that in order to understand the parables and truly take their message into your heart so as to change you, we have to be living in good soil so that we produce fruit. The heart that lives in the good soil is an aggressive learner of the truth. He or she has eyes to see and ears to hear.


MAR 4:21-25

And He was saying to them, "A lamp is not brought to be put under a peck-measure, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? 22 "For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it should come to light. 23 "If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."  24 And He was saying to them, "Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you; and more shall be given you besides. 25 "For whoever has, to him shall more be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him."


The man who has ears to hear will hear. And in vs. 24-25, Jesus uses the same wording as He does in the parable of the talents, in which a man went on a journey and gave three of his slaves talents, one 5, one 2, and one 1. The first two invested and doubled the master’s money, while the last one hid the one talent and later returned to the master.


MAT 25:29

“For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”


If we couple the two, this passage and Mar 4, then we can conclude that the “talents” are the things we listen to. The great gift that God gives to us is the proclamation of God the Son by God the Holy Spirit. We can invest in them or we can hide them away.


In the parable, the master is a hard man who reaps where he did not sow (not a type of God). The last slave feared the master. We might imagine that his thinking is, what would the master do to him if he invested the one talent and lost it? This thinking is inferred by the master’s inquiry of why he didn’t just put the talent in the bank and collect the interest. Some believers risk it all on God - they invest their entire lives into knowing and walking with Him. Some don’t risk as much and come to know and walk with God less. Some are too scared to risk anything and they hide the spiritual life away, not even doing what is no risk at all - listen to the word for a while and see what the interest payments might be.


LUK 11:9

ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.


The talents, the “things,” are the words that the Spirit is revealing to us that show us the Son and the Father. If we have ears to hear, the reward will be beyond dreams.