Today Derek explains that the Holy Spirit can do for us what no other can do. Power, might, and sound judgment can be produced only by the Holy Spirit through His inward working in our hearts and lives, where He changes us and conforms us to the likeness of Jesus.
It’s good to be with you again as we continue with our theme for this week, “How to be Led by the Holy Spirit.”
In my talk yesterday about the relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit, established right at the opening of His ministry, I pointed out two things. Jesus was represented by a lamb, the Spirit was represented by a dove. And the dove settled on and remained on the lamb. In other words, it’s the lamb nature that attracts the dove, the Holy Spirit. And I suggested that there are perhaps three main aspects to the nature of the Lamb as portrayed in Scripture: purity, meekness and a sacrificial laying down of one’s life. And I want to suggest to you that if you want a permanent, ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit, those are the three things that you need to cultivate. Purity, meekness and a life laid down in God’s service for God and for His people. That’s what attracts the dove and that’s what will cause the dove to remain on you. But angry words and jealousy and strife and arguing and self assertiveness—those scare that timid dove away. And sometimes it takes a long while to coax Him back again when we’ve indulged in such fleshly expressions.
Today I’m going to share with you three important results which only the Holy Spirit can produce in us. First, I want to emphasize that there is no other agent, other power, no other person who can do for us what the Holy Spirit can do. He is absolutely unique. If we do not receive from Him, there is no one else from whom we can receive what we need.
I want to go back to the Old Testament for a moment to the prophet Zechariah 4:6 and quote some words from that prophet.
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel [the one who led the Jewish people back from their exile in Babylon]—This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (NAS)
That’s the Lord of Armies.
Now, God rules out might and power. Might you could understand as that which you have by your nature like talents, ability, strength. And power you could understand as that which you can acquire like education, and finance, and social influence, and other such things. But God says neither one nor the other can do what I want done. There’s only one agent in the universe who can do it and that’s the Holy Spirit.
It’s very significant that it was the Lord of hosts who said those words—the Lord of armies, the one who has all the might and all the power in the universe at His disposal. But that’s not going to do what He wants done. So, that’s why God refrains from using His might and His power. Sometimes we’d like to see God really turn loose and deal with the wicked and blast them into eternity and so on, but God restrains Himself because that kind of power cannot accomplish the results in you and me as God’s children which is God’s number one priority. God can deal with the wicked in due course but at the moment His priority is dealing with His children, His people, and producing in them the results which can be produced only by the Spirit of God.
You see, Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7 three things about the Holy Spirit which I want to emphasize. He says:
“God has not given us a spirit of timidity [that doesn’t come from God], but of power and love and sound mind.” (NAS)
Those are three of the main results which God wants to produce in us through the Holy Spirit. Power, love and a sound mind [or sound judgment]. Let’s look at each of those briefly, in turn.
What kind of power does the Holy Spirit bestow? Well, Jesus said in Acts 1:8 to his disciples just before He left them and ascended back to heaven—in fact, this was the last sentence He spoke on earth:
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be My witnesses.” (NAS)
And he said, “Don’t go out and begin your ministry. Don’t begin to preach until you’ve received this supernatural power which can come only by the Holy Spirit.” Now, that was not military power. The apostles had no military power. It wasn’t physical power. It wasn’t intellectual power. They didn’t spend a lot of time arguing and theologizing. It was a supernatural, spiritual power. And you see, the message of the gospel is totally supernatural. It centers in the record of a man who died, was three days in the tomb, was raised up from death, and was raised up to heaven. Now that is supernatural. What Jesus implies is it is unreasonable to present a message about a supernatural set of events with merely natural power, with merely natural reason. He said, “The power that you need must fit in with the message that you’re commissioned to bring.” The message is supernatural, the power must be supernatural. And as soon as the Holy Spirit descended, absolutely immediately, a totally new kind of supernatural power was released in Jerusalem and, according to Jesus’ plan, began to spread outwards from Jerusalem to the outmost parts of the world.
So, the fist thing that we need to see as imparted by the Holy Spirit is a different kind of power from the power that this world understands. In fact, Paul says, “God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.” When we seek to imitate the methods of the world, when we covet the kind of success that the world esteems, we are actually turning away from the real source of true spiritual success, which is a spiritual power that’s of a totally different kind and can come only from the Holy Spirit—a supernatural power that exalts Jesus, produces miracles, convicts men and women of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, writes God’s laws in their hearts, and brings them into a totally new kind of life. That’s all that God is concerned about—with his children.
As I said before, God can deal with the wicked in due course, but at the moment He’s bringing up a family for himself. He’s creating a people for Himself. And the agent of creation is the Holy Spirit and there is no other.
Then Paul spoke also about love and in Romans 5:5 he says this:
“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (NAS)
That’s an amazing statement. “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Not some of God’s love but just God’s love. I always tell people who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, “You really don’t need to ask for more love. What you need to do is release the love that’s already been poured out in you. In fact, to ask for more love, in a certain sense, is a statement of unbelief because it’s all been released.” The Bible says God doesn’t give the Spirit by measure. He doesn’t ration the Spirit out, He’s so generous. Even the Spirit Himself is called the free, or the generous Spirit of God. There is no stinginess with God. God pours out the whole of His Spirit and the whole of His love into our hearts. Our problems is not that we don’t have enough love, it’s that we don’t yield to the love that we have.
And then the third thing which Paul speaks there to Timothy is sound judgment or a sound mind. And I understand that to mean evaluating things as God evaluates them. I’ve told people many times the greatest realist on earth today is the Holy Spirit. He’s never sentimental, He’s never impressed by the external, He always sees right to the heart of every situation, every person, every problem and He tells us the exact truth about it. There’s been a generation that wanted people to tell them things the way they are—tell it like it is. I always tell those people when I minister to them, “If you want anybody to tell you like it is, you want the Holy Spirit because He never sentimentalizes, He never exaggerates, He never pushed, He just tells it like it is. It’s up to you to respond.”
But this is only by the Holy Spirit. Paul says in Romans 12:2:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (NAS)
So, our minds have to be transformed, they have to be renewed in order that we can have this kind of judgment and the renewing agent is the Holy Spirit. In very similar language in Ephesians 4:23 Paul says this:
“That you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (NAS)
Notice it’s the Spirit that must renew the mind. It’s not psychology, it’s not education, it’s the supernatural operation of the Spirit of God that renews our minds. You see, God renews us from within, religion renews from without, it’s preoccupied with externals. But God renews us from within. He renews our minds, the way we think. And when we think differently we live differently. Our part is yielding to the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives.
So let me sum up those three areas again briefly. The Holy Spirit come to do what no other power or agent or person can do to impart to us power, love and sound judgment. And these we receive as we yield to the Holy spirit.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’m going to speak about the relationship between the Spirit of God and the Word of God. My special offer this week is my book, The Baptism in the Holy Spirit, which explains in clear, practical language how you can have a personal, supernatural encounter with the Holy Spirit that can transform the rest of your life. Also, my complete series of talks this week on “How to be Led by the Holy Spirit, Part 1” is available in a single, carefully edited cassette. Stay tuned for details.