"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'." (John 7:38)

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1Cor. 2:12-13)


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Knowing Jesus By The One He Sent

"I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you."

"I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 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. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." (John 16:1-15 ESV)

The disciples did not fully understand what Jesus had taught them until the Holy Spirit had come upon them. Then did the words He previously spoke to them come alive. Since Jesus is not with us, then we must now rely upon whom He has sent, not merely on what He has spoken. He has sent the Spirit in place of Him, leaving us not as orphans.

If we claim to follow Jesus, He must be more to us than a wise prophet and our knowledge of Him must surpass the mere recognition of what He taught. The life of His words is manifest to us by the Holy Spirit. If we are not intentionally regarding the Counselor, we are only learning and teaching about an historical figure who demands morality. This is why many churches are asleep in the light. Leaders are not encouraging fellowship in the Holy Spirit. The authority of many churches, the vast majority of them being men, have not humbled themselves in order to embrace intimacy, among themselves or with the Spirit of the Word. So it is by their minds that knowledge has become the power of much of today's church.

"Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims." Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." (Acts 15:13-19)

What did the demons know about Jesus and Paul that they did not know of the seven sons? This is evidence that a knowledge of Jesus without the life and power of the Spirit has no authority over evil and that greater things than what Jesus did will not abound.

How do we gain life and power of His Word by the Spirit? By intentionally fellowshipping in the Spirit, beyond gatherings that simply teach about what is expected of His disciples. We must release the burdens of our humanity, die to ourselves, that we may "...be transformed by the renewing of your mind.". (Romans 12:2) Stubbornly hiding our weaknesses for pride's sake prevents the life of the Holy Spirit from achieving this.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (James 5:16) This is what Jesus means when He says, "...concerning sin, because they do not believe in me..." If we believed what Jesus spoke, we would freely confess our frail humanity and welcome the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no faith in what we learn, and without faith, our righteousness does not surpass that of the Pharisees. (Matthew 5:20)

If faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God, then it is only by the Holy Spirit that the word is heard beyond the topical and practical commands because Jesus has gone to the Father. This is what Jesus means when he says, "...concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer..." "The righteous shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17) Because Jesus has gone to the Father, it is by faith that we embrace the one He sent. Those who participate in church apart from the guidance of the Holy Spirit do not have the righteousness (faith) Jesus mentions.

The Word alone, the very scriptures we rely upon, remains lifeless until then. "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." (John 5:39,40) It is by the Holy Spirit that we come to Him. It is how we will know Him that we may have the fullness of life. If by the cares of this world and love for our human life we refuse to take up our cross, our minds will not be transformed and we will become conformed to this world. This is what Jesus means when He says, "...concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."

We do not know Jesus until we know the one He sent.

"...therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." (John 16:15)

"Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.'" (John 3:5-8 ESV)

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