Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Spirit of Truth


Ezekiel 11:19-21
19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Your in deep conversation with a brother or sister of the faith, your in a group study or in a worship service, maybe your just sitting alone staring at the star laden night sky wondering where to go from here, the hairs on your neck stand to attention, your heart warms inside your chest, a peace accompanied by an almost giddiness envelopes you, the Spirit has made Himself known.

What a gift that has been given to us the Disciples of Christ Jesus. Quite often He is not discussed or focused on enough. Jesus called him the Spirit of Truth in John 16:13 and he tells us He will be our helper, our teacher, and our counselor. Paul tells us He helps us in our weakness in Romans 8:26, he explains the fruits that come from the indwelling we receive in Galatians 5:22-23, and tells us that our bodies are not our own but a temple for Him the Holy Spirit.
He certainly makes Himself known in many more ways than I have described above and can be experienced differently in different people but His presence, His guidance, and His love should be a central part of a followers walk with Christ. Although we are not consistently seeking to remain sensitive to His continual presence He is consistently with us choosing to reward us at times for righteous action, convict us of wrongful doing, and lead us if we will only give Him authority in our lives.
Are we giving Him that authority, do we even really and I mean really want to know what God has planned for us, or would we rather try and tune Him out and play it safe?
Jesus gives us the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 The Master entrusting each servant with various amounts of gold, returns later to make an accounting for how these talents have been spent. Here we see the hard line Jesus draws for the difference between the fearful lazy servant that hides his talents making no effort to have them grow his Master’s wealth and the servants that spend wisely the talents given to them helping to grow the Master’s fortune.
This tells us the Lord has endowed all his children with a number of talents, some more some less, but all equally required to use those talents for His Kingdom while we are here. He has given us also an allotted time to spend those talents, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we knew how much time that was?
We walk around convinced there will always be more time until a friend or family member passes unexpectantly or worse a child. These occurrences grab us and force us to see that death can come to any of us at any time. How quickly that thought evaporates though and we go back to spending our time as if it will never run out.
This however is not the case, time for us on this earth will run out and we do not know when, it can come at anytime, and whether we will go immediately to the lord or sleep until the end of time and return of Christ there will be an accounting. This life is but a pop quiz for the next, the Lord has given us all varying degrees of personal wealth in our abilities and like it or not His Word tells us he does have expectations as to how we might spend these abilities.
Will we use them only for our own betterment or self-glorification, or strive to spend them to increase the wealth of His Kingdom? He has left the choice in our hands.

The Spirit of Truth pushes and we push back and retreat from the call, why?
Fear, fear of change, fear of uncomfortable situations, of what those around us might think or do, of financial insecurity, of all the “What ifs” that crowd our minds when we feel the pull of the Him the Spirit. We say to ourselves and others “I don’t know enough, I’m not good at that, I could never do that or that would be uncomfortable for me” and while yes some people are more gifted in some areas than others some of our gifts are unknown to us and need our willingness to be discovered.

At some point in this marriage we have entered into with Christ we must count the cost as he calls us to do, the cost of what he wants from a disciple and the cost of what we are willing to give and then we must ask ourselves what we will have be our authority in this life because certainly we are being graded on that very thing. Belief has become regarded as a very loose and flimsy term in our current culture. Most seem to regard it as a mere vocalization, no commitment, and no action intended. But as disciples we are called to much more than that. Abraham believed God and when that belief was made manifest in his actions it was attributed to him by God as righteousness.

The Holy Spirit also convicts us of wrong doing and character defects and we can choose to take His counsel repent and turn back in obedience or ignore His instruction. When we choose not to forgive others, ask for forgiveness from others, or repent confessing our sins to our Father who already knows them, that light that shines on our path gets a little harder for us to see, as our hearts harden from our lack of obedience we begin to walk in darkness yet again, not because God’s love is a condition of our obedience, no, His love is immense and unending, it’s due to our own inability to any longer see that love that light upon our path because we have lost our focus on it and on Him. He can only give what we will open up and receive, if we close ourselves off He being Love will not force us to take His gifts or His instruction.

The Spirit of Truth showers us with the peace of God in times of great turmoil; we come through these periods and marvel at His work in us and through us. He strengthens us for times of great tension and pressure that can be hoisted upon us, He guides us through the mine fields of life, He energizes us for the work of the Kingdom and He brings to light our gifts and abilities that we may spend for the glory of Yahweh, the one and only giver of gifts and Lord of Lords, the one that gave us His Son, our brother and our King. We serve a triune Lord, Savior, and Spirit that is in his essential being Love. He creates, He saves and He is with us till the end of the age. This sovereign triune God of ours is also truth He judges, He instructs, He convicts, and ultimately he will condemn. With out His Love we would remain today without the choice of salvation, the hope of grace and without His truth we would be utterly lost and eternally hopeless being guided only by our almost entirely depraved minds and souls.

Let’s shout His love from the roof tops and declare His praises to all we encounter! Let’s embrace His truth for us even when it causes fear or pain knowing that His perfect will is reliable and ever faithful. Will we spend our bags of gold only for ourselves here in this place or will we use them to glorify Him here while storing up treasures there where moth and rust cannot destroy?

What if today is the day, what if the quiz comes to an abrupt end today, what if this is our last day to seize and use the Holy Spirits instruction, to pour ourselves out for Him as a drink offering, to be married into an eternal commitment that will mean taking eternal actions that will be felt by others until Christ comes again? 

We here today share the very same Spirit of Truth that indwelled the prophets, apostles, and disciples throughout God’s word. Christ talks to us through Him often telling us to take actions that seem impractical, uncomfortable, insurmountable even, but who will be our authority in this life, us, our depraved minds, our selfish desires, our own self created truth or the God that brought down the walls of Jericho from an army’s simple obedience, the God that empowered a small boy to kill a twelve foot giant, the God that strengthened John the Baptist to proclaim the coming of the Messiah even when it could get him executed, or the God that would send His own Son to die in our place?

Why would we dare to feel comfortable relying on our own understanding when we have access to the timeless and all powerful understanding of the Creator?

The Father sent the Son to be born in a muddy manger among a poor and enslaved people to live a faultless life for us. He sent his Son to weep with us, to suffer with us, to heal all the people that would come to his hand only to be violently beaten, spat upon and nailed to a tree so that we, you and I, may live His life, so that we may enjoy His inheritance, so that we may receive the ever guiding and loving direction of Jesus Christ through the Spirit of Truth!