Did you know the Holy Spirit confronts you with a choice that determines your destiny? Today, Derek explains how we depend on the Holy Spirit in every way. Among other things, He is our Servant-Guide. Confronting us with a choice that determines our destiny is part of His function. He reveals the Father and the Son to us, equips us with His gifts, and guides us to our meeting with our heavenly Bridegroom.
It’s good to be with you again as we study together our rich and exciting theme for this week, “Claiming Our Inheritance.”
In my talk yesterday I explained that God has provided for us a special Helper and Guide to stand by us and assist us in claiming our inheritance. This special helper is the Holy Spirit. He is our Advocate, our Attorney, called in to interpret for us the full extent of our inheritance and to show us the conditions that we have to meet in order that our claim to our inheritance may be substantiated.
In this connection I mentioned five specific ways in which the Holy Spirit helps us:
First, He teaches us.
Second, He brings to our remembrance things we otherwise could not remember accurately.
Third, He guides us into all truth.
Fourth, He discloses what is to come.
Fifth, He discloses to us all that belongs to Christ, and therefore to us, because we share the inheritance with Christ.
Today I am going to explain more fully the part that the Holy Spirit plays in bringing us into our inheritance in Christ. I’m going to take a very vivid and beautiful picture from the Old Testament to illustrate this. The picture that I’m going to take is found in Genesis 24. This is the story of how Abraham obtained a bride for his son Isaac. Of course, it’s a series of historical incidents that actually took place and even in that sense, it’s a beautiful story. But it’s also a kind of parable acted out in history that reveals to us other spiritual truths that are even more important and which concern us, as believers in Jesus, today.
By this time, Abraham was settled in the land that God had promised him, the land of Canaan, and he had received the miracle son, Isaac, who was to be the heir of all that God had promised, and he needed a wife for Isaac, but he did not want to take a wife from the daughters of the Canaanites, so he called his senior servant, the main steward of his house, and told him to go back to Mesopotamia, which was the country of Abraham’s origin, and to find a bride from Abraham’s own clan there in Mesopotamia. So the servant equipped himself with ten camels laden with gifts and good things and set out for Mesopotamia. On the way he prayed that God would direct him to the young woman of God’s choice to be the bride for Isaac and when he came to Mesopotamia, he stopped at a well and he specifically prayed that when the right woman came along he would ask her to give him a drink and she would respond by not merely giving him water, but by drawing water from the well for all his camels. And in this way he would know that she was the woman chosen to be Isaac’s bride.
Well, after he had finished praying, Rebekah, who was a member of the same clan as Abraham, came along with her flock. The servant asked her for a drink. She gave him drink and she immediately also of her own initiative proceeded to draw water for his camels. Now that’s significant because he had ten camels and they had made a long journey through a desert and it’s estimated a thirsty camel can drink about forty gallons of water. So, if she had to draw water for ten camels, she was an active, vigorous woman because she had to draw about four hundred gallons of water with a bucket out of a well! I think that says a lot.
Well, then the servant brought out the gifts that he was carrying and he gave her some beautiful gifts which she immediately adorned herself with and then she introduced the servant to her family. The family welcomed him and his camels into their home. He presented the destiny that God had for Rebekah and she responded in faith that she would go. He family blessed her and so she set out with the servant and the camels once again to take that long journey back to find the man that she was due to marry. And bear in mind, she’d never seen Abraham. She’d never seen Isaac. Her only contact with the family into which she was going to marry was through the servant.
Now the parable is this. It’s a parable of God finding a bride for Jesus Christ, His only Son, and of course, the bride is the church. In this interpretation, Abraham, the father of Isaac, represents God the Father. Isaac, the only son, represents Jesus, the only Son. Rebekah, the chosen bride, represents the church; and we’re left with one more major character, the unnamed servant. But I see the unnamed servant as the Holy Spirit’s selfportrait. I think perhaps it’s the clearest portrait in all Scripture of who the Holy Spirit is and what He does. And it always blesses me that the Holy Spirit is so modest and unassuming that He never even gives Himself a name. All He’s called is “the servant.”
So you see the application of the story to the present truth: Abraham typifies God the Father; Isaac typifies God the Son; Rebekah typifies the Church, the chosen bride; and we’re left with the servant, who typifies the Holy Spirit. In the light of that, I want to point out to you seven facts about the servant and his relationship to Rebekah and to Abraham and Isaac.
The first fact is stated very clearly in that account that he, the servant, had charge of all that Abraham owned. He was in complete control of the entire inheritance.
Secondly, he sought nothing for himself, but only for Abraham and Isaac.
Thirdly, it was his responsibility to find a bride for Isaac.
Fourthly, he came with ten camels bearing gifts.
Fifthly, he confronted Rebekah with the choice that settled her destiny.
Sixthly, he was Rebekah’s only source of information concerning Abraham and Isaac.
And seventh, it was he who guided Rebekah to her bridegroom.
Now, let’s quickly apply those truths about the servant to the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Church.
First of all, the Holy Spirit is the administer of the total inheritance. He’s the one who takes the things of Christ and discloses them and imparts them to us.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit seeks nothing for Himself. His aim is to glorify the Father and the Son.
Thirdly, it’s the responsibility of the Holy Spirit in the world today to find the Church, the bride for the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Fourthly, when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, He comes with many, many beautiful and wonderful gifts.
Fifthly, He’s the one who confronts us with the choice concerning Jesus that settles our destiny for time and eternity.
Sixthly, He’s our only source of direct information concerning God the Father and God the Son. We do not see the other persons of the Godhead, but the Holy Spirit reveals them to us.
And seventhly, He’s the one who’s going to guide us through this world to our meeting with our heavenly Bridegroom.
I’ve explained to you how the servant of Abraham is a picture of the Holy Spirit in His relationship to the Bride of Christ, the Church.
Now I want to look at it from the other point of view and I want to explain to you how Rebekah is a picture of the church and of the response the church has to make to the Holy Spirit in order to qualify to be the Bride of Christ, and I’m going to point out seven facts about Rebekah’s response and show you their significance for us as believers in Jesus.
First, her first contact was with the servant, not with Abraham or with Isaac.
Second, her response to the servant determined her destiny.
Third, her response was to serve the servant. She immediately began to draw water for his camels' very hard work.
Fourth, she received the gifts the servant brought.
Fifth, the gifts, when she placed them upon her, visibly marked her out as the chosen bride.
Sixth, she made room in her home for the servant and his camels. And let me point out that camels take a lot of room.
Seventh, she followed the servant in faith to her destination.
Now, let’s just see how this all typifies the way in which we are required to respond to the Holy Spirit.
First of all, our first contact with God is always through the Holy Spirit. He’s the one that first reaches into our lives and begins to reveal to us the Father and the Son.
Second, it’s our response to the Holy Spirit that will determine our destiny for time and eternity. At that point, through the servant, Rebekah was faced with a decision that determined her destiny for the rest of her life. If she said yes to the servant, her destiny was in accordance with the will of God and was good; but if she said no to the servant, then the rest of her destiny would never have been revealed to her and she would have missed all that God had purposed for her.
Third, Rebekah’s response was to serve the servant. I call that faith with works. She didn’t just believe, she didn’t say yes; but she, as it were, got busy, dipped down her bucket into that well and drew something like 400 gallons of water. I believe that Christianity has got to be the religion of active faith. Faith with works. And I think Rebekah drawing the water from the well is a good picture of what that means.
Fourthly, she received the gifts the servant brought her. We cannot entertain a man and reject his gifts. That’s true in life. If a young man saves up to buy a beautiful engagement ring for the young woman he wants to marry, never will it happen that the young woman will refuse the ring and marry the man. Accepting or rejecting the ring is an indication of her attitude toward the man. And so it is with us in relationship to the Holy Spirit. We cannot reject the gifts of the Holy Spirit and expect to be part of the Bride of Christ.
Fifthly, the gifts visibly marked out Rebekah as the chosen bride and it’s when these gifts come into operation in the church that the church is visibly set apart as the Bride of Christ.
Sixthly, Rebekah made room for the servant and his camels. Taking the Holy Spirit into our lives means a lot of changes. It means we have to get rid of a lot of things in order to make room for what God wants in our lives. It means radical changes. It means putting the will of God before our own convenience.
Seventh, she followed the servant to her appointed destination, and the only way we’ll make our way through this world and come to that encounter with our Heavenly Bridegroom is through following the Holy Spirit.
See, what I want to point out to you is that Rebekah’s relationship to the servant was essential to her destiny in God. And equally so for us as believers in Jesus Christ. It’s our relationship to the Holy Spirit that’s going to determine our destiny. If we snub the Holy Spirit we cannot enter into our destiny. He’s the helper sent to enable us to claim and receive our inheritance.
All right. My time is up for today but I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be explaining the relationship between the provision of God and the promises of God.