(First of Two addresses)
Reading: 1 John 2:18-29
[*] I remember as a child, how much I loved ghost stories. I remember sitting in our house with my cousin John, (who was about the same age) listening for creaks and strange noises. With it being an old terraced house, we were never disappointed! We used to enjoy scaring ourselves silly!
[*] Unfortunately, to many people, Whitsontide, or Pentecost, is just another ghost story!! Talk too much about the Holy Ghost, and it frightens the wits out of them!
(a) When Jesus went back to Heaven, rising into the clouds from the mount of Olives He promised the PERSON, PRESENCE and POWER of the Holy Spirit. A short time later, the promise of Christ was fulfilled, the Holy Spirit was given, and the Church came into being!
(b) Perhaps, some two millenniums later, we have at times difficulties in fully comprehending the wonder and blessings available today, through the indwelling Spirit, in our own personal hearts and lives!
(c) The Holy Spirit’s indwelling was NOT just an experience given as an initial starting boost to the infant Church!
HE IN ALL HIS POWER AND GLORY IS AVAILABLE TO EACH ONE OF US TODAY!!
(d) I feel it would be good for us this morning, to remind ourselves of some of the BLESSINGS which are ours through the INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT!
(a) The Christian’s grasp upon the truths of THE BIBLE, is of absolute importance, which is why Bible teaching in any corps or church is of paramount importance! I think it is only right that we start with, the INSIGHT which is ours THROUGH THE SPIRIT! He it is, Who gives us understanding of the Scriptures.
(b) We find mention of this in our reading in verse 27. It speaks of the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon our lives, and the fact that THROUGH THIS ANOINTING, HE TEACHES US!
(c) The Word of God is a SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED BOOK!
So Who better to teach us, than the AUTHOR HIMSELF, the Holy Spirit! It was He Who inspired men to write it, and therefore it is He Who can give us the necessary insight to understand it correctly!
[*] Those with no real experience of the Spirit, will neither be able to understand the Scriptures, or indeed be able to recognize their importance!
(d) To many people, the Bible is A DEAD BOOK! WHY???
Because they have NEVER SOUGHT THE REVELATION OF THE ONE OF WHOM JESUS WITNESSES, “HE SHALL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS.”
(e) I regret to say I have met professing Christians, some even Salvationists, who simply do not understand Scripture, and have no interest in wanting to!! How can this be??
(b) They have perhaps grown up in the church or the Army, and simply fitted in, maybe because it was their parents way, or they became Junior Soldiers without any real commitment, so they could get into the YP Band or Singing Company! But they have FAILED TO REALISE, that unless they are CONVERTED, they will NEVER BE IN HEAVEN!
(c) And they have no hope of understanding the will and way of God presented in Scripture, because they DO NOT HAVE THE INWARD ILLUMINATION OF THE SPIRIT - they have never opened their lives to God so that He may fill them with His presence, His love and His power!
(d) All the MEETING ATTENDANCE in the world, the WEARING OF THE UNIFORM, PLAYING IN THE BAND, SINGING IN THE SONGSTERS, WILL NEVER SAVE THAT PERSONS SOUL!!
(*) Yet we have become increasingly aware in recent years, that in many instances this is indeed the case - going through all the MOTIONS, having all the right PHRASEOLOGY - but NO EXPERIENCE OF THE NEW BIRTH! Without it, Jesus said, we cannot even SEE the Kingdom of God, and THERE IS NO SALVATION!
(e) I have often thought of the terrible horror it would be for a lifelong Salvationist, to stand before Christ, and hear
the awful words, “DEPART FROM ME, I NEVER KNEW YOU!!”
(f) These are the people whom Paul spoke of, as “Having a FORM OF GODLINESS, but denying the power thereof!”(2Tim 3:5)
As I preached on another occasion, there are indeed many COUNTERFEIT CHRISTIANS around today, people who are just PLAY ACTING without being real with God!!
(a) I have met YET OTHER CHRISTIANS, who, although saved, appear to HAVE NEVER HAD ANY SPIRITUAL REVELATION, since they were converted!
Often it is because, they have never been willing to grow in their faith - they HAVE REMAINED SPIRITUAL DWARFS!
(b) Needless to say, it is IMPOSSIBLE for someone in that condition to WIELD THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT with any success!
(*) Let us remember, that the Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6 that THE WORD OF GOD, THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, IS OUR ONLY OFFENSIVE WEAPON in our spiritual warfare and defence against the forces of evil! Little wonder so many are unable to fight the attacks of the evil one! We treat the Word of God of little importance at our peril!
IT MUST BE THE LIVING VITAL REVELATION OF GOD, THAT THRILLS OUR HEARTS AS WE FEAST UPON IT!
When we refuse to obey God, then it’s as if the DISOBEDIENCE BLOCKS UP THE PIPELINE, and other revelations of God cannot get through to us!
What could be worse than trying to follow someone, if you are unaware of where they are leading??
(d) Poem from ‘1200 Notes Quotes & Anecdotes’ (Number 512)
I said, “Let me walk in the fields,”
God said, “No, walk in the town.”
I said, “There are no flowers there,”
He said, “No flowers, but a crown.”
I said, “But the sky is black,
There is nothing but noise and din!”
He wept as He sent me back:
“There is more,” He said, “There is sin.”
I said, “But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun;”
He answered, “Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark undone.”
I said, “I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me they say;”
He answered, “Choose ye tonight
If I am to miss you or they.”
I pleaded for time to be given;
He said,” Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide.”
I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town;
He said, “My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?”
Then into His hands went mine,
And into my heart came He,
And I walk in the light divine
The path I had feared to see.
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO BE A TRUE CHRISTIAN, BUT TO WALK WITH CHRIST AND TO FOLLOW HIS LEADING AS REVEALED IN SCRIPTURE BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
(a) It is one thing to know God’s will for our lives - but yet another thing to obey that will!!
(b) For whatever reason we CHOOSE NOT TO OBEY GOD, the result will be the same!! OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE AND RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD WILL FREEZE-UP!!
(c) I suppose that makes more sense, when we remember that the WHOLE OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD is one based NOT ONLY ON TRUST - but also on OBEDIENCE!!
(d) By refusing to obey God’s will in our lives, we, by our own actions, are bringing into question, the depth of our love for Him!!
Jesus said, “IF YE LOVE ME KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS!”
(e) The INSIGHT of God the Holy Spirit, REVEALS to us what those commandments are - WE ALONE CHOOSE WHETHER OR NOT TO OBEY THEM, AND BY SO DOING EITHER ADVANCE OR RETARD OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!
HOW STANDS THAT RELATIONSHIP AT THIS MOMENT??
DOES SOMETHING IN OUR LIFE NEED ATTENTION JUST NOW??
DON’T LET THE OPPORTUNITY PASS - IF GOD HAS SPOKEN, THEN IMMEDIATE ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN.
WHEN GOD DOES SPEAK TO OUR HEART - IT IS AN INSULT TO HIM WHEN WE DO NOT RESPOND!
THE MERCY SEAT IS OPEN AT THIS MOMENT FOR YOUR RESPONSE!
IF GOD HAS SPOKEN - THEN COME NOW!!
756 182 (DIADEMATA - 2 verses at a time)
Prayer Chorus no. 99 “Silently Now ...”
657 70 “AMAZING GRACE”
SHEET - “TEACH ME HOW TO LOVE THEE” (Tune of chorus 105)
(Tune "Teach Me How To Love Thee")
Teach me from the Scripture,
Thine Own Word Divine,
Let it shine within me,
Light this heart of mine.
Teach me Lord to trust Thee,
That Thy Word is true,
May my life proclaim it,
As Thy work I do.
Teach me of the pathway,
You have planned for me,
Let me always walk it,
Hand in hand with Thee.
Teach me how to witness,
Others then to win,
Bringing them the message,
Christ can save from sin.