The voice of the Holy Spirit and how we listen.
Wednesday September 7,2022
The night before Jesus died on our behalf, He promised us that He would send another Helper, God the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself was the first Helper.
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.”
He then said one of His many amazing statements concerning this decree in which He, the first Helper, would leave us, and the other Helper, God the Holy Spirit, would come to us – it would be to our advantage.
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
It is important that we know why it is an advantage to us.
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; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.”
“disclose” – anangello = to declare, proclaim, announce.
This word literally means to bring back word or tidings as when a herald comes with news to a king. The Holy Spirit then is declaring something to us, and it is the most precious message – the things of the Son and the Father. “Things” wonderfully refers to all that we can know about them and what they have and what they do.
The advantage to us is that through the declaration of the Holy Spirit within us, we can see and understand the Son, and through Him, the Father, which is more understanding and vision than we could have had if Jesus remained on earth. It is to our advantage that our Lord sits light-years away at the right hand of God and that the Holy Spirit indwell us for the purpose of revealing the Son through proclamation. The Spirit abides with us forever, and so there is never a day, a time of day, when we cannot listen to His voice and behold the Son.
The main theme of the Spirit’s ministry to the church is to reveal the Son.
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
The revelation of Christ is not spatial but relational, meaning I don’t actually see the Lord Jesus but I do come to know Him well. The Lord Jesus 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.
The Spirit therefore is doing whatever is necessary for the creating, sustaining, deepening, and expressing of this awareness in our lives. The themes of how the Holy Spirit does this are spelled out in the Scripture clearly enough: 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.
Today we want to confirm what the Spirit is saying and how we can hear and understand it.
Without seeing this main theme of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, no part of His ministry can be properly understood. What I mean by the parts are the revealed aspects of His ministry to us from the Scripture: power, performance in service, purity of motive and conduct, guidance for decisions, teaching for wisdom, understanding Scripture. All of these are a part of the main thrust of what the Spirit is doing for us – to see the things of Christ and so the things of the Father. If we fail to focus on the main reason for them, we tend to isolate one or two and without the others, we lose our way and end up on the wrong place.
Too often the Spirit’s ministry is seen as being related to what we lack and need as frail believers, and although He is helping us, that help is not the end of His purpose. His purpose is to reveal and glorify Christ, not us, and not even Himself. The Spirit’s ministry is Christ-centered and not Christian-centered.
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.
There are some who have floated, and others confidently professed, that the Holy Spirit can give revelation of things that are not found in the word of God. This has obvious problems that can be seen outside of the fact that the idea is not in the word of God.
It should be repeated that no one knows all the Scripture perfectly or completely. Some of us know more than others. Paul knew a whole lot more than the murder 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.
No one knows it all. Some doctrines are more revealed than others. Some parts of doctrines are abundantly clear and foundational, of which, all believers must know them well and put all their faith in them. Some doctrines are more obscure and others are filled with mystery. Still, even of the clear and foundational doctrines, no one knows them perfectly, meaning that there is no believer alive who couldn’t learn more about the doctrine of the Trinity, hypostatic union, the fall, Israel, prophecy, Abrahamic covenant, Mosaic Law, first advent, the church, election, Rapture, Tribulation, etc.
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. 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.