Friday, March 1, 2019

LIVING THINGS – The Holy Spirit

E. C. Richards

Hebrews 3:7, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)”

Communication is one of the sure attributes of life. A stone does not communicate except to the geologist. Living things do so, in reality; though, of course, we live in the era of playthings, called talking machines. The spiritually intelligent don’t count them as real life. In this Scripture, we read, “The Holy Ghost saith,” He is real, an animate Being, one of the Holy Trinity; never has gone out of business, ceased to communicate. The Word of God, unless directly quoting the  Father or the  Son, is the communication of the Holy Ghost. We got saved because He communicated with us and how glad we are!

II Pet. 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” So the Holy Ghost spoke through men of old. In other words, He was the authority of the Old Testament. Life emitted from His Person, a very characteristic living quality. Men living were moved by a grater life, and learned to yield their minds, wills, and voices to the greater Intelligence. We respect the Old Testament not because it is valuable as literature, history, religion or tradition, as a relic, an antique, a glimpse into the past, but because a vibrant dynamic Person gave voice to divine wisdom appropriate to that time. Incidentally as prophecy is brought forth in these passages, much of the future is made known in the old Bible, too. That is life-divine life, Amen!

Zech. 4:6, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” Here is the candlestick, seven lamps, and two olive trees. They are highly symbolical, meaning then in those days of partial restoration of Israel: Zerubbabel and Joshua, the two anointed men, prominent in that restoration.

Yet so far reaching  is the Word of God that we see these symbols again in Revelation 11 referring to two notable witnesses in the final restoration of Israel. This is following apocalyptic days yet to come. The thing for our note at hand, though, is that those two and the latter two anointed ones received their power and authority from the Holy Ghost. Man, so tied down to human power, in what he is, or what he makes, can’t fathom of another source of inner power, but there is such, declares Zechariah, and it is the mighty Holy Spirit, and that is a very living quality, for sure, power. Hallelujah!

Remember, in the book of Ezra, we find the record of the restoration of temple worship for Old Testament nation, Israel, and it was effected under great opposition by the enabling of the Holy One. That is very comforting, and that is the purpose of this Scripture, to know that He was with them, in them, before them, and behind them, as the pillar of cloud and fire of Exodus days.

Acts 13:1-5, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they …laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia…Cyprus…And at Salamis, they preached the word of God…”.

It is interesting and at times disgusting that men, even of the religious ilk, talk of the Holy Ghost as just a kind of quaint tradition or manner so speaking from the past, and not a reality. These people herein mentioned, are real people, and the Personality that directed them was real, more real, or eternal, than they. He did some very real-life things: “said, sent forth,” and in verse 5, “preached the word” and it was of the Holy Spirit, for Peter said…”them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven…” I Pet. 1:12.

Those who were accounted great in the church, Paul and Barnabas, didn’t shrink from listening, obeying, and acting on the counsel and authority of the great, wise Holy Ghost, one of the very Holy
Trinity. How did the communication come through? According to knowledge church-wise, a message in prophecy, tongues, or directly to the minds of respected elders of that time there present; perhaps by God’s principle of witness – two or three. Amen! He can get His message over, if He can get a ready ear on the other end of the line. You see, He is living.

Acts 6:8-10, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.  Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” Stephen manifested power, spiritual power, and the ability of sound judgment which man could not refute. These things are the nature of a most living Being. God had, and has great concealing ways, but when He wants to show life, He surely can. For us of the church, and maybe always, the Holy Spirit was on the spot as Agent of life in action.

Acts 15:23-28, “And they wrote letters by them after this manner…Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you…saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men… Barnabas and Paul…Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.” And so it is evident that the Holy Ghost is able and willing to interpret doctrine. Grace over law was His idea for this entire age, and He has used the twelve apostles, and the new church apostles to promulgate His sound idea, for it came from heaven, where He has good contact. Yes, what the “wise ones” belittle as the primitive church, had its doctrine from the very top, the Holy Ghost, Who was quite lively in the whole process.

Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Here Paul in his last visit to the venerable elders of the high-level church of Ephesus, made known whence was the authority of their officers: “The Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.” They must have recognized Him as very real, lively and viable. How silly to take departure from such a simple yet powerful and living order. We could do no better than to take orders from such a great Spirit.

Rom. 8:11, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” This is the victory chapter for the church; it is the Holy Ghost chapter, for He is mentioned directly by name 17 times and implied more times in this chapter. A very central part in the fact of His in-dwelling the believer, who has opened up and received His entrance. It is He that has taken faith for this experience and manifested the divine sign, speaking in tongues. In Him this great entrance and One who enters, enlivens earthly bodies in the midst of the dying process always going on in us, Hallelujah! This truth is more than a cold doctrine; it is a living Person. Hail to the  Spirit Who lives!