Holy Ghost Promise
(13) When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
(14) He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
(15) All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (ESV)
In biology, a warm-blooded animal maintains what is called “thermal homeostasis;” that is, they keep their body temperature at a roughly constant level, regardless of the ambient temperature. Warm-blooded animals alternately cool down or heat up their bodies depending on temperature variations in the environment. They do this by regulating their metabolic rates (e.g.by increasing their metabolic rate as the surrounding temperature begins to decrease).
This applies to us. Human beings are warm-blooded animals. Our bodies maintain a constant temperature of about 98.6 degrees no matter what the weather is outside. Whether a person is at the Arctic Circle or the equator, their body temperature is about the same. An inner mechanism makes the difference.
I sometimes think of the HS as the inner mechanism of all creation. The Holy Spirit dwells within life to bind us all together and to move us all toward our final purpose. The HS is God’s living presence with us and in us.
There is an old theory of the life called Vitalism. Vitalism says that the processes of life are not entirely explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, that there is something else operating behind and through natural law and natural structure. Sometimes that “something else” is called the "vital spark" or "vital energy." In France, the philosopher Henri Bergson (1874–1948) called it "élan vital," which he described as a force acting on and through living things. The German scientist Hans Driesch (1867–1941) called it “Entelechy.” Driesch said that Entelechy is a vital force that empowers an organism toward self-fulfillment.
Vitalism says that there is a non-physical element present in living things that guides them toward their destiny. I guess that means that all Christians are Vitalists. We believe that the HS is the “vital force” that is behind the matter and energy of the Universe. We sense the Spirit, and that same Spirit guides us and empowers us.
John 16:13 promises us that the spirit of truth will direct us into the full truth. The spirit inspires and encourages. That is what the spirit does. But the spirit does not work only for our individual benefit. The spirit motives and guides us to be lovingly aware of others and to reach out to them and help them. Thus, the HS uses us to touch the lives of others. The HS calls us to be ambassadors through whom the Spirit can do a work of love to someone else. There is a world out there, hungry and searching for answers. The HS will use your life to provide answers.
In John 14:26 Jesus said, “But the Holy Spirit will come and help you … The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said” (CEV). And in 14:15 , Jesus said, “If you love me, you will do as I command.” Thus, the teaching and reminding of the HS is about obeying Jesus, about doing what Jesus said.
When we fail to do what Jesus said, we grieve the spirit. It seems me that I used to hear sermons on “grieving the spirit” or “quenching the spirit.” That is not the kind of thing you hear about any more.
The Holy Spirit should be like a fire dwelling in us, expressing itself in our actions and attitudes, but when we do not do what Jesus taught us, when we turn from good and prefer evil, we suppress or quench the Spirit. We do not allow the Spirit to reveal itself in our lives. We grieve the Holy Spirit by our disobedience and if the Spirit is grieved with us, we will not be able to receive the comfort of the Spirit. When we sin against God and follow our own worldly desires, the HS leaves. That makes us less that we ought to be. Thus, the right road for us is the road that leads us closer to God, and farther away from sin.
Jesus says in John 14:16-18 ESV
(16) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
(17) even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
(18) "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you..
I was talking a bit last Sunday about the Paraclete or helper. I discovered this week that the word “paraclete” has a military application. In the book Healing the Masculine Soul, Gordon Dalbey says that “paraclete” was an ancient warrior’s term. “Greek soldiers went into battle in pairs,” says Dalbey, “so when the enemy attacked, they could draw together back-to-back, covering each other’s blind side. One’s battle partner was the paraclete.”
We are engaged in battle against the forces of darkness. The Holy Spirit is our battle partner who covers our blind side and fights for our well being. We all need a battle partner like that. In a world that is often impersonal, lonely, and cold, we need to know that we have someone not only at our side but within us to guide, to guard, to warn, and to empower. The good news is that we have such a partner in the HS.
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is the “great persuader.” In John 16: 8, we read: “The Spirit will come and show the people of this world the truth about sin and God's justice and the judgment” (CEV). The HS is the spirit of truth and therefore the spirit shows us the truth about sin. It makes shows us the way of God, because God is above all a God of truth.
I think I have told you in the past that I had two uncles who were cops. I remember talking to one of them one day, and he said, “Laws are not made for most people. Most people do not need laws.” I said, “What do you mean by that?” He said, “Take a law against murder. Most people, the huge majority of people, are not going to commit murder anyway whether you have a law or not, so the law against murder does not make any difference to them. The law is for the slim minority that would commit murder if they thought they could get away with it.” Now I think that uncle was basically right. Most people do not need a law passed by the state legislature that says it is wrong to kill other people. They know that already, and they are not going to do that. How do they know that? Because the HS guides us into that truth.
Sometimes you see this guidance of the Spirit in least likely places. I remember a prison ministry that I was part of in college. We would sit in a circle with a group of prisoners and talk about whatever they wanted to talk about. At one meeting, there had been a story in the newspaper about a father who had murdered his child. I remember a big rough looking, tattooed Biker type who said, “That is horrible. Put him in here with me. I will take care of the problem.” Now I have no idea about what that prisoner was in Jail for, but he still had some basic concepts of right and wrong. Where did he get those ideas? The HS guides us into truth.
Now some are more guided that others, because some are more open to the spirit than others. If we quench the spirit by our disobedient lives, then we will not have much of the spirit of truth, and, unfortunately, most people tend to quench the spirit. Most people walk around in a spiritual daze, not really understanding much of anything about God.
They are like lost children. I read about a young boy at Disney World enjoying Mickey Mouse and the rides and the popcorn and parades. He did not notice that he had become separated from his parents. He was enjoying the hustle and bustle of Disney life until he discovered that his parents were not there. Then Disney World was abruptly Disney disaster. Suddenly the cotton candy was not sweet, the rides were not fun, and Minnie Mouse was no longer cute, because Mom and Dad were nowhere to be found.
That kind of thing happens everyday at Disney World, but the park has excellent systems in place to deal with lost children. In fact the Disney people have a department of Lost Children (LC). The LC registers the child's name, age, location, and the name of the adult in charge of the child. This way, if the adult notifies a Disney Employee (who is called a Cast Member or CM) that she is looking for a lost child, that CM can call LC to see if the child is registered.
The Disney people say that the worst scenario they encounter is when large groups split up. One group assumes that the child is with the other group, and vice versa. No one realizes that the child is "missing" until the two groups reconvene, so the child may remain "lost" for a long time.
That has a spiritual application. People are so busy enjoying the rides, thrills, and the bright lights that they have not even noticed they have lost God. They are so busy eating the cotton candy of life, riding the Ferris wheel of entertainment, and going up and down the roller coaster of pleasure that they have not noticed God is not around anymore. However, the good news is that we do not have to stay lost. The spirit is with us, reminding us of a sacred spirituality, persuading us to turn back to God.
I suspect that we have all been in some kind of electrical power failure at night. The first thing we say is, “Wow, it is really dark,” and then we begin to scramble around for candles and flashlights, which do not really work that well, and then we begin to appreciate how much we benefit from an invisible resource called electricity.
Now you may know that electric current is the movement of electrons through copper wire, but that current provides a source of energy that can be used to power a multitude of applications. Electrical power is the backbone of western civilization, but we do not actually see electricity. We can see visibly what this invisible power resource does for us. It cools and cooks our food. It freezes water and make bread pop out of a toaster. It starts our cars and powers our cell phones. When it is dark the lights come on, all because we have available to us an invisible power. The HS is much the same, an invisible resource that is of immense benefit to us.
It is interesting to note that when electricity was first discovered, it was considered by most observers to be an amusing novelty. I read somewhere that in Paris two hundred years ago, when people gathered for a party, one of their methods of entertainment was to rub a piece of cloth on a piece of amber to develop a static electrical charge and then shock each other. They must have been really bored. Electricity was just entertainment. No one ever thought it could drive industry and light whole cities. For many people the HS is just entertainment, but it can be so much more. If we open our lives to Christ. The truth of spirit can flow through us, and we can start enjoying the kind of abundant life that Jesus promised us.
But the Spirit is not going to empower us apart from Christ. Suppose a large electric-power company offered free electric service to all mobile homes within a 10-mile radius of its power plant. Electric power to these homes would be a gift from the power company. However suppose several of these homes were transported to locations beyond the boundary set by the power company. Would they still be eligible for the free electricity? No. The gift of free electric power applied only to those living within the boundaries specified by the company. In like manner, our relationship with the spirit is dependent on our faith in Jesus. If we stir beyond that boundary, we lose our source of power.
Acts 1:8 tells us about how the HS enables us to carry out God’s Mission: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." The teaching here is that the disciples would not have power until the Spirit came. This power is not simply a concept for us to understand. It is a reality that we need to experience. The Spirit should be a real part of your life.
In Acts 1:4, Jesus commanded the disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, and then in verse five Jesus repeated the promise of the Holy Spirit’s coming saying, “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The disciples were being prepared for a work, the work of the kingdom, and they needed spiritual power. We are being prepared for that same work and we need that same HS. And as we obey Christ, the HS comes more and more into our lives, and gradually we come to see that living for the Lord is the easiest most reasonable thing in the world to do. But this is the point: God has called us to be a powerful people, led by his powerful presence. That is a promise..
We are not, however, compelled to accept this promise. This is a choice we make. To return to the symbol of electricity that I was using earlier, electricity may be flowing all around us in the walls of our home. This electric power can bring wonderful appliances to life, but only if we plug in to a receptacle. The HS can bring abundance to our lives, but only if we plug in through our faith in Jesus.
If you have questions or comments, email Tony Grant
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