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April 15 newsletter.html, 2013

In the previous newsletter we studied the divinity and the personality of the blessed third member of the Trinity. In this lesson I want to discuss the presence of the Holy Spirit.


HIS PRESENCE


In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit made visitations to men on earth but did not abide in them. A most enlightening statement to this effect is found in John 7:37-39: In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)What does it mean; the Holy Spirit was not yet given? Was not this Spirit seen brooding over the water in Genesis 1:2? Did not He descend as a dove at the baptism of the Saviour? The answer to all these queries is an unequivocal Yes! However, these were only visitations upon men to empower them for service. He did not abide in or remain upon them for an entire lifetime. This He would do after the glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Saviour predicted this in John 14:16: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Then in the next verse, Christ states: . . . he dwelleth with you, and shall be [future tense] in you. The Lord again says in John 16:7: Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.


There can be no religious quibbling about statements such as these. The Holy Spirit was not on earth as an abiding indweller while Christ was on earth. He could only take up this ministry after Christ’s ascension or glorification. When did the blessed Holy Spirit come into the world to live in believers? The answer is simply on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:1, 2 states: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. The result – (verse 4) . . . they were all filled with the Holy Ghost . . . . Wind is often connoted with the Holy Spirit. For instance, Jesus said that a man must be born of the Spirit in John 3:5 and adds in verse 8: The wind bloweth where it listeth [wills], and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. So this wind which hit them with the force of a hurricane on the day of Pentecost was the fulfilled promise of the Christ who had sent the other Comforter to abide in believers. From that point onward, the prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 51:11 was outdated. He said: . . . take not thy holy spirit from me. This could only happen when the Holy Spirit made visitations upon men but could never happen after He had come to abide and dwell in men. Amen and amen! Please do not insult the Lord with erroneous prayers. The same Holy Spirit which baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ at the time of salvation (I Corinthians 12:13) also seals that one into the Body for all eternity (Ephesians 4:30). Do not take my word for it but God’s.


The Holy Spirit’s Sealing


Ephesians 4:30 states: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. What a thought! We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God unto the day of redemption. What day is that? It is the day when our very bodies are resurrected and redeemed in the presence of God (Romans 8:23). First Thessalonians 4:16, 17 declares: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. It is at this moment that the bodies of the dead and living in Christ are redeemed and – praise His Holy Name – the blessed Holy Spirit seals us to the very moment.


The sealing does not depend on man’s perfection but upon Christ’s completed work at Calvary and the Holy Spirit’s keeping power. If you cannot accept this statement, look at Ephesians 4:30 again: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. It does not say, If one grieves the Holy Spirit, the seal is broken. Instead, it declares that even the one grieving the Spirit remains sealed.


Now, the Holy Spirit may make the erring child miserable because when He, living in the believer, is grieved, the same believer automatically partakes of the grieved Spirit’s feelings. And the Lord may give that child a good spiritual paddling (Hebrews 12:5) to bring him to holiness (verse 10), but the fact is that the one doing the grieving is still sealed for time and eternity. Paul again rejoices in this truth in II Corinthians 1:22 as he cries: [God] hath also sealed us, and given the earnest [or guarantee] of the Spirit in our hearts. And again: . . . in [Christ] also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13). Beloved, the Comforter has come to abide and live in believers forever. The genuinely saved need never pray, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me,” and the professors of religion certainly cannot pray it because they never had Him. So dispensationally the prayer is obsolete. Why? Because on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to dwell in believers for the entire Church Age. When the Church shall be evacuated at the Rapture, the Holy Spirit and those in whose heart He lives will be caught up and out in the twinkling of an eye, thus ending the Spirit’s present program of abiding and dwelling in the bodies of believers. At the Rapture He goes back to the Old Testament method of coming upon individuals and then they will again pray: “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.


The Holy Spirit’s Omnipresence


All of the foregoing does not mean that the Holy Spirit is limited to a particular place. He is omnipresent or everywhere at all times. He always was, is, and always shall be present in all places because He is God. The psalmist said in Psalm 139:7: . . . whither shall I flee from thy presence? He then enumerates places in heaven, earth, and hell proving that the Spirit is everywhere. Though He is God and everywhere present, still He chooses to work differently in various eras of time. This is what we have discussed to this point.


Reasons for the Holy Spirit’s Presence


Let’s consider further reasons for the Holy Spirit’s presence among us:


A. The Holy Spirit Strives


Genesis 6:3 states that the Holy Spirit strives with sinners. This striving of the Spirit is closely related to His convicting work . . . when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove [or convict] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8). God gave His Son to die for sinners. Christ went through the atrocious agonies of Calvary in His quest for sinners. The Holy Spirit lovingly, tenderly, and compassionately strives, convicts, woos, and wins every sinner who turns to Jesus.


B. The Holy Spirit Restrains


He also restrains sin in this wicked, hell-bent world. This does not mean the discontinuance of all evil. He could do this by making men robots. However, His purpose is simply to check the evil so that there is still a semblance of sanity left upon the earth. But during the 7-year period of Tribulation when His restraining influence will have been removed, all hell will unleash itself upon this globe. Second Thessalonians 2:7, 8 states: For the mystery of iniquity [lawlessness] doth already work: only he [the Spirit] who now letteth [restraineth] will let [go on restraining], until he [the Restrainer] be takers out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed . . . . That will be hell on earth.


C. The Holy Spirit Regenerates


Another ministration of the Holy Spirit concerns regenerating souls. We touched briefly on this in the earlier part of the study. When one is born again of the Spirit (John 3:5), he receives a new nature – God’s divine nature. As human generation begets a life after its kind, so divine regeneration means the impartation of life from God. This is what the Apostle Peter had in mind when he said: that…ye might be partakers of the divine nature . . . (II Peter 1:4). At salvation, regeneration – or the imparting of God’s nature to the repentant sinner – takes place. Over 85 New Testament passages verify this truth. Church membership is not the answer. A woman cannot become a hen by sitting in a chicken coop. Neither can one become a saint with a divine nature by sitting in church. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again (John 3:6, 7).


D. The Holy Spirit Illuminates


We again see that the Holy Spirit illuminates or enlightens a sinner. Some young people accept the putdowns of the Bible from conceited professors with Ph.D. degrees because they feel these educated nincompoops know everything there is to know about the Bible. Students, I have news for you. To understand the Holy Bible one must know the Author personally – the Holy Spirit of God. First Corinthians 2:11 declares: . . . the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Verse 12: Now we have received . . . the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Then He dogmatically states in verse 14: But the natural man [or unsaved man laden with all of his academic degrees] receiveth not [or understands not] the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. They do not know the Author who holds the key to unlocking the Book. We will have much to say about the anointing of and the filling with the Spirit in subsequent chapters.


The Holy Spirit’s Comforting Ministry


Jesus said: I will not leave you comfortless . . . (John 14:18), so when He departed He promised to send the Comforter unto the disciples. The actual Greek word which Christ used was Paraclete, which means a helper or one called to another’s side to aid the person. Oh, if we Christians could only realize that He is always there to aid and comfort us, we would not have to depend upon men. There is someone far greater than ministers, psychologists, or psychiatrists. He is the blessed Comforter – the Paraclete, who never leaves or forsakes a child of God.


An unsaved man sitting next to a Christian on a train began weeping. The Christian asked, “May I share your burden?” The stranger replied, “I have just lost my wife and our home is so empty. All I have now is her parakeet for company.” The Christian answered, “I, too, have lost my loved one, but I have the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, and He never leaves me.” This testimony led to the man’s conversion. Oh, child of God, how we miss the glorious truth of the Paraclete’s comforting ministry This Holy Spirit not only abides with us throughout our earthly pilgrimage but stays with us – hovering over our graves – until the redemption of our bodies. You see, the body of the Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). Since it is His temple, He watches over it.


Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman, preaching at Dayton, Ohio, to a group of ministers, said: “I was sitting in my home in the country, reading the account of an address delivered by Dr. Moorehead at a Bible conference. He said that when one became a son of God the Spirit of God came into that person to dwell, and would continue to dwell in that body until the resurrection.” Dr. Chapman continued: “I started thinking about that and tears filled my eyes. I told my man to hitch the horse to the carriage, and my wife and I rode out to the little grave where we had buried our firstborn son, and as we stood there that morning we said, `Thank You, Lord, for keeping watch.’ Immediately peace filled our souls. Then years later I stood by the grave of my mother and again said, `Thank You, Holy Spirit, for staying with your temple and keeping watch.”‘ Unsaved reader, you do not know what you are missing by not knowing Jesus. Get saved – receive Christ. When Christ comes in, immediately the Holy Spirit also enters to abide with you forever. He will comfort you daily and stay with your corpse in the grave. Then at the resurrection of the just, He will touch your body with new life, reunite it with the soul, and sweep your triune person – body, soul, and spirit – into His presence.



FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE

“Just a Cup of Coffee, Please!”


The news media often calls attention to the large number of homeless and hungry people in our nation’s big cities. The scenes of people sleeping on benches, huddling in cardboard boxes, or looking through garbage cans for food are pitiful and troubling. While many of these individuals have ended up on the street through misfortunes beyond their control, even sadder are the cases that are there largely by choice.


As I prayed and thought about this problem, it occurred to me that while not homeless and destitute, most of us, in a spiritual sense, have gotten by with just a cup of coffee and a morsel of bread when we could have been feasting on God’s plentiful banquet of spiritual manna. As the Apostle James observes, Ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).


My husband, Jack, and I have a favorite little “home cookin'” cafe we often visit when it’s just the two of us. It’s not fancy at all, but it’s a cozy, comfortable place where we can relax-and the food is good. We go there often enough that we know most of the waitresses and many of the regular customers.


For weeks we noticed that a certain man was almost always in the cafe, sitting at the counter. He looked as if he might be homeless, usually dressed in worn, slightly shabby clothes which probably hadn’t been laundered in weeks. He was always alone-never did we see him with a friend or ever having a conversation with others at the counter. His countenance was drawn and sad, and one could sense that he had known much sorrow in his lifetime. The waitresses told us he ate only once a day-the rest of the time he just drank coffee…”buy one cup and the refills are free.”


Jack and I felt terribly sorry for this man. One night as we were having a light dinner, we looked over at him sitting alone at the counter, nursing his coffee cup, and it made us sad. My hubby called a waitress over and said, “Give that man the best dinner in the house and bring me the bill. Let him pick out anything on the menu and tell him a friend has picked up the tab.”


“No, Dr. Van Impe, you don’t need to do that,” said the waitress.


“But I want to,” he answered. “He looks like he needs a good meal and I’d just like to help him a little.”


“You don’t understand,” she said. “That is Mr. _____” (and she named a very well-known and wealthy local family). “His father owned much of the land that is now the City of Troy-he’s the heir to millions!”


“But he looks so underprivileged!” I exclaimed.


“Yes, I know,” said the waitress, “but he’s really a multimillionaire. He lives like a pauper by choice.”


I haven’t seen that poor, sad man lately, but recently I’ve been thinking about his situation. Could it be that many Christians are living like spiritual paupers when they could be enjoying God’s manifest blessings every day of their lives? Are they settling for just a cup of coffee when they could be feasting at the Lord’s banquet table?


As we face the future, are we anxious about what lies ahead? Will it be a time of happiness and blessing-or endless loneliness and deprivation?


Change your wardrobe


The old man in the cafe was dressed in worn, shabby clothes. Yet he could have been wearing the finest suit from the best tailor in town.


What are you wearing? The Prophet Isaiah said, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10).


Clothe yourself in the wardrobe God has provided for you. Get dressed in His righteousness and see what a change His garments will make in your whole outlook on life. You’ll discover a new awareness of God as your Sustainer and Protector. You’ll stand taller and walk in trust and confidence.


So resolve to stop dressing like the world and get clothed in His righteousness.


Put sadness aside


The old man in the cafe looked so sad, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Yes, from a worldly perspective, he had everything. He was from a prominent family, with every possible financial advantage at his disposal. If money could buy happiness, he could have had it all.


Christianity is the most joyful of all the world’s religions. Yet we often manage to make it appear the most sad and mournful by our actions and our countenance. Mark Twain once had his famous character, Huck Finn, wondering if the mule in the barn had “got religion” because of its long face!


The psalmist exults, Thou hast put gladness in my heart. For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 4:7; 107:9).


I think we sometimes develop a bad habit of letting our faces reflect the care and confusion of the world around us instead of the joy and peace of the Lord welling up within us.


If we have full access to God’s goodness, gladness, and blessedness, shouldn’t our faces show it?


As Christians, our future is as bright as the promises of God. And the Word of God is filled with wonderful promises. Some of my favorites include Christ’s promise: Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20) and also God’s assurance that as thy days, so shall thy strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25).


If we believe God, we have something to smile about.


Be a friend


In all the times we observed the old man in the café, Jack and I never saw him with a friend…or ever being friendly with those around him. While others had pleasant conversations and shared personal things with each other, the old man sat alone, without a friend. How sad.


But while true friendship is measured by more than “hellos” and conversations, some people have no friends because they will let no one get close to them.


As the writer of Proverbs observes, A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).


One must be a friend to others to have friends who will share fellowship and companionship in return. And this is an important part of life. But even if earthly friends do fail in times of trouble, we can be secure in knowing that we can have a friend who will stick closer than a brother, in good times and bad.


We know we can count on Him because He has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).


When we have such a Friend, why don’t we rely on Him more? In the words of the grand old gospel song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,”


Oh, what peace we often forfeit.

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer.


Eat heartily


I don’t think I’ll ever forget the old man in the cafe, scrimping by on one meal a day, when he could have had anything on the menu, anytime he wanted it. Yet he’d order “Just a cup of coffee, please” and ask for free refills. How tragic to see a multimillionaire going hungry.


But how much more tragic to have the riches of heaven at our disposal and go through life starving ourselves spiritually! Do you have a Bible? Of course, you do. Are you feasting daily on the abundant nourishment found there-or do you hurriedly pull out a single scripture card and glance at it before you dash out into the day?


Compare your biblical diet with Jeremiah’s. He said, Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts (Jeremiah 15:16).


Don’t settle for just a cup of coffee-eat heartily-even as the Apostle Peter admonished us to do in 1 Peter 2:2, stating: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. The psalmist concurs, saying, O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him (Psalm 34:8).


I heard the story of a man whose dream was to go to America. For years he saved his money to buy passage on a ship. Finally he had just enough, with only a small amount left over.


He took part of the little money he had left and bought some bread and cheese he could take on board. By careful rationing, he thought there would be just enough to last through the voyage.


So he set sail, glad to finally be going to the “promised land.” Other passengers were festive and happy, going into the ship’s dining room to eat wonderful meals, and strolling about the decks, laughing and having refreshments together.


The man would go to his little cabin at mealtime and eat stale bread and hard cheese.


But he had miscalculated the length of the voyage, and a few days before the ship was to arrive in New York harbor, he ran out of food. He drank water and did without for a day or so. Then he got so hungry he didn’t think he could last. So he scraped together all the money he had left-several coins-and went to a steward in the dining room.


“Excuse me, please,” he said. “Is this enough money to buy just a little bit to eat? I’ve run out of food and I’m very hungry.”


The steward said, “Sir, you do not need to pay extra to eat in the dining room. Your meals were paid for in the price of your ticket.”


I urge you to begin living up to your privileges in God. Jesus Christ paid for them in the price of your passage to heaven!


Blessing, gladness, satisfaction, goodness, and all other spiritual pleasures are yours. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God (Psalm 146:5).



CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Van Impe,


As we are watching prophecy fulfilled every day, I am so thankful to have the both of you blessing us with God’s truth. I remember as a young person growing up my Mother always watched your show so I was being taught as a young woman on bible prophecy. As a child of the 70’s I remember thinking this will not happen in my life time. But now, I make sure that my 12 year old son Noah is blessed by your teaching. God Bless you both and I my family prays for you and your show.


J. B.


 


Thank you for your faithfulness and devotion to the Word. It is a blessing to find a Bible-based ministry in these troubled times. Do not be discouraged by adversity. Though the battle may rage, the war was won for us by Jesus at the cross — as you so often remind us! God bless you both.


A. W.



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Pope Francis, Armageddon, and Christ’s Return


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Are we witnessing the rise of a world dictator and a false prophet?


What 800 year old prophecy about the Pope is now unfolding before our eyes?


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Who says Jesus Himself will destroy Christianity?


How soon will World War III and Armageddon happen?


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