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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

It’s Impossible For Us To Know The Mysteries Of God Without The Holy Spirit

The Old Testament contains hundreds of prophecies about the coming Messiah. The Jews anticipated the coming Messiah. They were well aware of the prophecies. But when He came, people just didn’t seem to get it. Even His own disciples struggled. They had traveled, studied, and ministered under Jesus; heard His every word.

For instance, here is where Jesus told His disciples about His death and resurrection.

Mark 8:31 (CEV) Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, "The nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make the Son of Man suffer terribly. He will be rejected and killed, but three days later he will rise to life."

Matthew 20:17-19 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

When Jesus died on the cross, some miraculous things happened.

Mark 15:33-34 (CEV)  And it being the sixth hour, darkness came over all the land until the ninth hour.  (34)  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? (which being translated is, My God, My God, why did You forsake Me?)

Matthew 27:51-54 (CEV) At once the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, and rocks split apart.  (52)  Graves opened, and many of God's people were raised to life.  (53)  Then after Jesus had risen to life, they came out of their graves and went into the holy city, where they were seen by many people.  (54)  The officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus felt the earthquake and saw everything else that happened. They were frightened and said, "This man really was God's Son!"

And, yet, it seems that Jesus’ death and resurrection came as a total surprise to them!

Why? Jesus had done so many miracles in their presence, even raising Lazarus from the dead. Despite the miracles they had seen Jesus perform, they refused to believe Jesus had returned until Jesus repeatedly demonstrated that he was not a “ghost.”

Luke 18:34 (NIV) The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

John 20:9 (CEV) At that time Peter and the other disciple did not know that the Scriptures said Jesus would rise to life.

Dazed and confused, their minds couldn’t seem to comprehend. As we read the gospels there are multiple times when Jesus seems to be very specific and yet the disciples just seemed unable to put it together. And we ask ourselves, “Why didn’t they get it?”

Luke 24:11(MKJV) And their words seemed to them like foolishness, and they did not believe them.

But we are living today in the age of the church. The Church Age is the period of time from Pentecost (Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit was sent to earth) to the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 when Christians join Christ and the Holy Spirit is removed from the world). It is called the Church Age because it covers the period in which the Church is on earth as the body of Christ. It corresponds with the dispensation of Grace.

The Church is composed of those individuals who have, by faith, accepted Christ Jesus as their Savior and Lord. For the first time in history, God actually indwells His creatures through the Holy Spirit. Before Christ, the Holy Spirit was always present and always at work, but He would come upon people temporarily. During the Church Age, once we accept Jesus as our Savior and are born again, the Holy Spirit actually moves in and dwells inside of us. It’s called the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and He continues to live and work in us until we are called home to Heaven or until Jesus returns. This is a special time of grace that is unique and therefore called the Church Age. Every person who repents of his or her sin, and turns to Jesus, in faith, becomes part of the church. The church is a ‘called out’ group of people who love and serve God, who have been forgiven of their sins and graciously granted eternal life. This group seeks to serve, love, glorify, and honor God out of gratitude for all He has done for them.

Ezekiel 36:24-27 (MKJV) For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all lands, and will gather you into your own land.  (25)  And I will sprinkle clean waters on you, and you shall be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from your idols.  (26)  And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.  (27)  And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them.

Evidently, before the Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus to help us, we weren’t going to understand the things of the spirit! It took supernatural help to enable human beings to understand what Jesus was saying. We are truly like sheep. All we can think of is the grass in front of us. Our minds are incapable of understanding the complexities of the spirit. Sin has so deadened our minds and dulled our spiritual perception that it takes a miracle for us to get it.

John 14:16-17 (Good News Bible - GNB) I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. (17) He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is in you.

The spirit world is eternal. It is more real than this passing material world. Yet we live in this temporary, physical world and it’s nearly impossible for us to grasp things of the spirit. God knows this so He provided a way. He sent Jesus, His Son, to save us and be our example. He gave us His Word through the Bible. And He sent His Spirit into this world to convict the world of sin and show us the only solution, faith in Jesus Christ. And when we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit’s job is to move into our hearts and to begin the lifelong sanctifying process. He begins teaching, training, convicting... opening our eyes!

While Jesus was on the earth, even after His resurrection, He had to supernaturally aid them in understanding what was plainly before their eyes!

John 20:22 (MKJV) And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.

This may have been a temporary indwelling to enable them to understand what was happening. Similar to the indwelling of the Spirit in Old Testament times as with Saul and David. An indwelling that could be removed (as it was with Saul). David prayed that the Holy Spirit might not be taken from Him. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to us permanently as a seal unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; John 14:16). At Pentecost, when the church began, the Spirit’s indwelling became permanent.

Luke 24:49 (ERV) Remember that I will send you the one my Father promised. Stay in the city until you are given that power from heaven."

Luke 24:15-27  And while [the two from Emmaus] talked and reasoned, it happened that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.  (16)  But their eyes were held so that they could not know Him.  (17)  And He said to them, What words are these that you have with one another as you walk, and are so sad?  (18)  And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered and said to Him, Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem and have not known the things which have occurred there in these days?  (19)  And He said to them, What things? And they said to Him, The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a man, a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  (20)  and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the judgment of death, and have crucified Him.  (21)  But we had trusted that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. And besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done.  (22)  Yes, and also some of our women astounded us, having been early at the tomb;  (23)  and when they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive.  (24)  And some of those with us went to the tomb and found it even as the women had said. But they did not see Him.  (25)  And He said to them, O fools and slow of heart to believe all things that the prophets spoke!  (26)  Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?  (27)  And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself... (31)  And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. And He became invisible to them.

Mark 16:14 (MKJV) Afterward He appeared to the Eleven as they reclined. And He reproached their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Acts 1:1-5 (ERV) Dear Theophilus, The first book I wrote was about everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning  (2)  until the day he was carried up into heaven. Before he went, he talked to the apostles he had chosen. With the help of the Holy Spirit, he told them what they should do.  (3)  This was after his death, but he showed them that he was alive, proving it to them in many ways. The apostles saw Jesus many times during the 40 days after he was raised from death. He spoke to them about God's kingdom.  (4)  One time when Jesus was eating with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem. He said, "Wait here until you receive what the Father promised to send. Remember, I told you about it before.  (5)  John baptized people with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

Acts 1:8 (MKJV) But the Holy Spirit will (future tense) come on you and give you power. You will be my witnesses. You will tell people everywhere about me—in Jerusalem, in the rest of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world."

So in order for us to understand things of the spirit, we have to have a special dispensation of grace. God sent the Holy Spirit into the world with two jobs:

1) To work on unsaved hearts to prepare them for the saving question. Like plowing a field before you plant a seed. We all have the seed of faith placed within us. But it does not germinate until we answer the great question: Will you accept Jesus as your Savior, as the Son of God, as the one who forgives you from your sin and gives you eternal life? This is a question we cannot understand unless the Holy Spirit prepares our hearts. Every human being comes to the realization that Jesus is asking them to repent and be saved. But we have the freedom of will to accept or reject the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and Him alone. The Holy Spirit will work on you until the day you die to try and change your mind and to give you every chance to be saved. God did not want even one human being to go to hell so He provided the way of escape through Jesus. He has sent the Holy Spirit to try to change our hard hearts. He has given us the Holy Bible as His Word. And He has directed all Christians to testify of salvation through Jesus Christ. He gives us every opportunity to avoid eternal damnation. But we have the freedom to choose and many choose to reject Christ.

2) Once we are saved, in that moment, our spirit is born and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us to teach, train, mature our baby spirit. The Holy Spirit supernaturally reveals God to us and opens our spiritual eyes and ears to the things of God. He becomes our tutor. This lifelong learning process is called sanctification. What a blessing to have God, Himself, dwelling inside of us supernaturally aiding us to understand God and the things of the spirit.

Galatians 4:6 (CEV) Now that we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. And his Spirit tells us that God is our Father.

Romans 8:6-7 (ERV) If your thinking is controlled by your sinful self, there is spiritual death. But if your thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace.  (7)  Why is this true? Because anyone whose thinking is controlled by their sinful self is against God. They refuse to obey God's law. And really they are not able to obey it.

John 16:7-14(ERV)  “Let me assure you, it is better for you that I go away. I say this because when I go away I will send the Helper to you. But if I did not go, the Helper would not come.  (8)  "When the Helper comes, he will show the people of the world how wrong they are about sin, about being right with God, and about judgment.  (9)  He will prove that they are guilty of sin, because they don't believe in me.  (10)  He will show them how wrong they are about how to be right with God. The Helper will do this, because I am going to the Father. You will not see me then.  (11)  And he will show them how wrong their judgment is, because their leader has already been condemned.  (12)  I have so much more to tell you, but it is too much for you to accept now.  (13)  But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you into all truth. He will not speak his own words. He will speak only what he hears and will tell you what will happen in the future.  (14)  The Spirit of truth will bring glory to me by telling you what he receives from me.”

Hebews 10:15-17 (CEV) The Holy Spirit also speaks of this by telling us that the Lord said,  (16)  "When the time comes, I will make an agreement with them. I will write my laws on their minds and hearts.  (17)  Then I will forget about their sins and no longer remember their evil deeds."

1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (ERV) We teach wisdom to people who are mature, but the wisdom we teach is not from this world. It is not the wisdom of the rulers of this world, who are losing their power.  (7)  But we speak God's secret wisdom that has been hidden from everyone until now. God planned this wisdom for our glory. He planned it before the world began.  (8)  None of the rulers of this world understood this wisdom. If they had understood it, they would not have killed our great and glorious Lord on a cross.  (9)  But as the Scriptures say, "No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him."  (10)  But God has shown us these things through the Spirit. The Spirit knows all things. The Spirit even knows the deep secrets of God.  (11)  It is like this: No one knows the thoughts that another person has. Only the person's spirit that lives inside knows those thoughts. It is the same with God. No one knows God's thoughts except God's Spirit.  (12)  We received the Spirit that is from God, not the spirit of the world. We received God's Spirit so that we can know all that God has given us.  (13)  When we say this, we don't use words taught to us by human wisdom. We use words taught to us by the Spirit. We use the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths.  (14)  People who do not have God's Spirit do not accept the things that come from his Spirit. They think these things are foolish. They cannot understand them, because they can only be understood with the Spirit's help.  (15)  We who have the Spirit are able to make judgments about all these things. But anyone without the Spirit is not able to make proper judgments about us.  (16)  As the Scriptures say, "Who can know what is on the Lord's mind? Who is able to give him advice?" But we have been given Christ's way of thinking.

So we must realize that without a special enabling, people can’t understand spiritual things especially Jesus and the salvation gospel. But we have been given what we need to understand! During this age, the veil has been torn away and we have the opportunity and privilege of knowing the mysteries of God.

Will we take advantage of it or will we willfully walk in ignorance and reject God?

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