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November 19, 2012

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

LET THE DOVES SPEAK


We want to continue this week and look at the last five of the Beatitudes:


Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after

righteousness: for they shall be filled
(Matthew 5:6).


I believe this Beatitude refers to our having a desire to see justice around us, in our own country and around the world. Those who are blessed by God, foreseeing the needs of others, do things to help just because it is the right thing to do. They speak up for the poor and needy and for people in other lands who have not had the opportunity to live in freedom. Are we concerned enough about righteousness and holiness to be driven by these holy characteristics as urgently as our bodies respond to hunger and thirst?


This verse also makes me a bit introspective. I read it and ask, “How can I be righteous? How can I be right as I walk in this world?” I must die to self and selfishness and allow Christ to live His life in and through me! The apostle Paul said, the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).


I believe that you and I can claim this blessing only when we truly hunger and thirst after holiness and doing what is right. Then what happens? We shall be filled…with righteousness and with His glory.


Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy

(Matthew 5:7).


Mercy and righteousness are inextricably linked together. If we truly want righteousness, we get involved, we extend help to the needy, we assist, and we forgive those who have sinned against us. If it is within our power, we must show this kind of mercy to those we encounter. Can we not share the mercy that we ourselves have received?


The writer of Lamentations cried, It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness (3:22-23).


What a blessing to have the promise of God’s mercy as we show tenderness to others. What a joy to realize that goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6).


Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God

(Matthew 5:8).


Everything that we have seen and experienced so far is by faith. None of us has ever had the joy of really looking at God. We have seen His handiwork, we have witnessed His love for us by sending His Son, and we have seen the attributes in Christ that He wants us to have. But we have never seen Him.


One day we will-if our hearts are pure. That is His promise.


To me, that will be the best thing about heaven. I’m not the most excited about seeing the golden streets and magnificent surroundings. And as much as I love and miss my wonderful mom and dad who are there (and I do want to see them with all of my heart), the first one I want to see in heaven is the Lord, my Savior and my God!


How, then, can my heart be pure? My pretenses and masks must go because purity of heart cannot be falsified-it must be genuine and sincere. My entire being cries out, Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).


This Beatitude, to my mind, is a foundation stone. It gets down to the crux of everything, doesn’t it? If you don’t have a pure heart, where is the authenticity to want to do the right thing? Without a pure heart, how can you be merciful?


Indeed, without a pure heart, I cannot see Him. And oh, more than anything in this world, I want to look upon His face!


Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall

be called the children of God
(Matthew 5:9).


The Bible teaches that we are to live peaceably with all men (see Romans 12:18). The Lord doesn’t want us to harbor hate, animosity, or intolerance. There will be no place in heaven for racists or exclusionary creeds. Humbly and gently, we are to seek solutions and to disarm hostility. The Bible says, A soft answer turneth away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). I believe that we should seek to be the kind of person who-at home, at church, at work, or wherever we go-can simply enter a room and change the atmosphere.


Another way we can bring peace is to help bring order out of chaos. Where there is clutter and confusion, simply stepping in to help organize and restore order reduces stress and tension. And we can have the courage to do this by calling upon the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit.


The Word of God says that everywhere Jesus went He did good and destroyed the works of the devil-which produced peace (see Acts 10:38; 1 John 3:8). And Jesus said that if we believe on Him, the works He did we can do also, and even greater (see John 14:12). So as we go out and do what Jesus did, we will make peace, because He was, and is, the prince of peace, the greatest peacemaker the world has ever, or will ever know.


If you give this a try, don’t be surprised if people start calling you a child of God. After all, that is the Lord’s promise!


Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men

shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of

evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding

glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they

the prophets which were before you
(Matthew 5:10-12).


The idea of persecution being a blessing seems very strange, especially for believers in America. We have never experienced most of the things that missionaries and other Christians around the world have been forced to endure for the sake of the gospel. Yet Jesus said that we would have tribulation and suffering in this world. And for such monumental sacrifices, He said there would be great rewards and crowns.


I had great admiration for one of the girls in my home church. She married a minister and they went to South America as missionaries. The team with whom they were working was attacked by primitive warriors from the Auca Indian tribe, and my friend’s husband was one of the men who was killed.


The incident attracted international news coverage, and I vividly recall seeing a television interview with the father of the martyred young man. He was asked, “If you could have kept your son from going to South America and being killed as a missionary, would you have done so?”


I’ll never forget his answer. He shook his head and said, “Would I rob my son of the martyr’s crown?” Of course that father felt grief for his son’s death, but he expressed no bitterness or regret. He genuinely believed that his son would be blessed with a great reward in heaven because of the persecution he endured for the Lord (Revelation 2:10).


I truly believe all those who lose loved ones in God’s work receive a special measure of divine comfort. I believe God might well speak to their hearts saying, “I understand how you feel-I sent My Son into the world, and they crucified Him also.”


The psalmist declared, weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5).


My challenge to you


I encourage you to underscore Matthew 5:3-11 in your Bible and read those few verses often. Life itself is in that short passage. Let the Holy Spirit impress each phrase of the Beatitudes on your heart and stamp them indelibly in your mind.


Remember, this kind of living is possible! Jesus would not have spoken these truths if they were not accessible for all of us! I believe that when you and I hide these words within our hearts and then open our mouths to speak, the Holy Spirit will give us the words that we should say. And when these utterances come forth from our mouths…


…the voices of the doves will be heard!



CHANGED LIVES-one at a time


Dear Mr. & Mrs. Van Impe,


I anxiously wait for your weekly newsletter. The messages given by Jack are very informative and inspirational and the "From the Heart of" messages from Rexella are heartwarming and uplifting.


Your ministry is essential during these last days. Thank you for your television program as well. The way Jack compares and proves news headlines to biblical passages is amazing!


May God bless you both and all your viewers.

Love in Christ,

Eileen


 


Today In received my first newsletter and thank you. It has been the first time I understood the beatitudes. Waiting to hear the rest,. I am printing this off to keep in my Bible for future use. Bless you and Rexella what a lovely couple. Wish I knew you personally. Praise God for people like you that speak the truth until our saviour returns.


R. N.



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