Monday, May 18, 2015

P3 The Ambassador of God's Greatness - The Holy Spirit

Isaiah 40:13-14 "Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,Or as His counselor has informed Him? 14 With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?"

When I was growing up at home there was a period of time where we had the opportunity to become acquainted with what I would call “an ambassador of goodness”, otherwise known as “The Schwan’s ice cream man”. Whenever Friday would come, my sister and I knew that in addition to finishing up school, we would get to sometimes see that yellow and white truck back into our drive way. My dad would go out to greet this diplomat of the tastiest frozen desserts this side of eternity (I don’t think I exaggerate). Back then as a boy I had no trouble eating as much ice cream as I could stomach. My dad quickly developed the habit of eating ice cream for his lunch, all thanks to the goods delivered by the Schwan’s ice cream man. While we received these bi-weekly visits from the “Schwan’s” home deliver truck, I soon began to notice the commercials on T.V and then it dawned on me: “hey, that guy is delivering to us what is on the commercial”. As a young boy, all of this was an amazing experience. We thought we had it good with the ice cream from the store. However, when the Schwan’s man came into our lives with his frozen treasures of ice cream, why would anyone want to turn back?

The Christian life begins with a visitation The Ambassador of the Trinity, Who is the Ambassador of God’s greatness. When I speak of this One and only “Ambassador of God’s Greatness”, I am speaking of the Holy Spirit. In previous messages we have looked at the greatness of God, and how the need for the greatness of God could not be any more than in today’s church and Christian life. We also saw in our last message on this theme how the church’s mission, and really the Christian’s mission is none other than promoting the greatness of God in a world that rejects God for lesser things. Romans 11:33-36 spells out more clearly than any other scripture the greatness of our God.

Today’s post aims to continue showing how the Holy Spirit, the Ambassador of God’s greatness, brings down to people this great truth – namely that God is great, and greatly to be praised. So as we shall see, our main point of application will be that: the Ambassador of God’s greatness brings to you and me the greatness of God. We saw already how the Holy Spirit brings to us the desire to worship God. We considered yesterday in greater detail this Mighty Ambassador Himself. Today we want to consider how the Holy Spirit brings to us the meaning of scripture.

The Holy Spirit provides the meaning of scripture. Romans 11:33-36
Sinful man must have the Spirit’s work of convincing Him that Jesus is worthy of worship. The problem is that sinful man has no desire to worship this great God. However Jesus tells us what the Spirit does in overcoming this obstacle in John 16:13-15  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15“All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” The Holy Spirit’s task in regenerating lost sinners in saving faith is to remove the heart of rebellion against God and replace it with a heart that desires God. Romans 8:5-6 tells us – “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”

The preacher may come to you with polished words and the song leader may be angelic in their voice and musical ability. Yet, lest the preacher’s message be accompanied by the Holy Spirit’s conviction and lest the song service be charged with Holy Spirit anointing, all will fall on deaf ears. He brings the desire to worship God. But what else does He bring?

Romans 11:33-36 is a doxology that not only quotes scripture but is also summarizing scripture (in this case Romans 1:1-11:32). When the Schwan’s man began to bring ice cream regularly to our home growing up, there were numerous flavors and different kinds. It did not take long until my dad knew what kind of flavors were in the truck and the different kinds of treats made available. The Schwan’s delivery person not only brought the goods, he had the responsibility of explaining the goods. In returning back to Romans 11:33-36, there is no doubt that the passage is not only among the greatest verses in the Bible, but also the most profound.

As we already noted, Paul quotes from Isaiah 40:13 which in its wider
context points to the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is
admittedly a closed book to the minds of unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 2:9
states – “but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has
not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has
prepared for those who love Him.” Human
reason alone is incapable of
appreciating the meaning of scripture. 
Unbelievers may read a verse like
John 3:16 and tell you what it says, 
however unless the Holy Spirit is
working in their hearts and shedding 
light on the passage, the appreciation
of the meaning will remain hidden. This 
is why 1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us–
“But a natural man does not accept the 
things of the Spirit of God, for they
are foolishness to him; and he cannot 
understand them, because they are
spiritually appraised.” The Holy Spirit is 
the one who brings home to the
heart of the sinner the joy of the 

The Holy Spirit is the One who bridges the gap between the words of scripture and their meaning. Unless you and I have grasped the meaning and significance of the scriptures, we won’t know how to apply them. The Holy Spirit connects our minds to the meaning of the words on the pages of sacred scripture. 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 explains – “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”

The Bible elsewhere tells us that the Spirit is the primary author of every word of the Bible along with 40 other human authors spanning some 1500 years. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21) Who else can we go to in understanding the Bible than the Holy Spirit. He has gifted teachers and preachers to communicate the scriptures and He also gives Christians the ability to discern, appreciate and apply the words of the Bible.
It is vital to remember to pray for the Spirit to give us not only the sense of scripture but the desire to study it. Psalm 119:9-11 contains the Psalmist’s expressed desire to study God’s word and a request for such a desire. The Holy Spirit is the One Who brings to us the things freely given to us by God. (1 Corinthians 2:12) So much more could be said on this point, but we must hasten. Again, the Ambassador of God’s greatness, the Holy Spirit, brings to you and me God’s greatness by way of bringing the ability to worship God and making plain the meaning of scripture. We once more ask: what else does this Great Ambassador bring?

More tomorrow....

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