Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Personality Of The Holy Spirit


First Quarter 2017 Adult Sabbath School Lesson
"The Personality Of The Holy Spirit"
January 28, 2017

For He said, "Surely they are My people,
Children who will not lie."
So he became their Savior.
In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the Angel of His Presence saved them;
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
And He bore them and carried them
All the days of old.
But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit;
So He turned Himself against them as an enemy,
And He fought against them.
Then he remembered the days of old,
Moses and his people, saying:
"Where is He who brought them up out of the sea
With the shepherd of His flock?
Where is He who put His Holy Spirit within them…Isaiah 63:8-11, NKJV.
Just a few hours ago I was driving home on snow-covered roads near our house. Coming to an intersection, I found two of our neighbors bending over the still-warm form of their precious two- year-old black Labrador Retriever, Sadie. This dog, with "not an unfriendly bone in her body," according to her owners Bill and Liz, had been bounding excitedly back toward them on the snow and did not see the pickup truck coming across her path. The fact that she was killed instantly was small consolation to our bereaved friends. They were sobbing out their sorrow. Placing her body in the back of our Suburban, we gave Bill a ride back to their home, as Liz brought home their other
two dogs. Tears came to our eyes as we thought of this precious dog, who had shown her happy friendship to us so many times on our walks, now alive no more.
And then it hit me. There is another Person feeling this pain.
The Holy Spirit is a Person, exhibiting traits of "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."--Gal. 5:22,23.
No need to get bogged down in analyzing what personality type here. He has the perfect personality. A Divine, not human, personality:
The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.--The Desire of Ages, p. 669.
God is love. Christ was given to humanity out of love, and He loves us as His brethren. The Holy Spirit is love. He longs to minister to us all the blessings of Christ's life and death on our behalf. But He can be turned away even as He seeks to bless and comfort.
And that means the Holy Spirit feels pain. In Divine fellowship with Christ, both He and the Father experience being touched with the feelings of our infirmities. But there is more than this.
The Holy Spirit is moment by moment actively fulfilling the Word of God in keeping every part of the creation intact.
The Bible shows us God in His high and holy place, not in a state of inactivity, not in silence and solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy beings, all waiting to do His will. Through these messengers He is in active communication with every part of His dominion. By His Spirit He is everywhere present. Through the agency of His Spirit and His angels He ministers to the children of men.--MH 417.
Each heart-beat, each breath, is the inspiration of Him who breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life,--the inspiration of the ever-present God, the great I AM. The great and infinite God lives not unto Himself, but for the benefit and blessing of every being and every object of His creation.--AUCR, June 1, 1900.
When something goes wrong, when a beloved pet or a family member dies, or when any sin or rebellion occurs, the Holy Spirit is directly and forcibly pained. If we could but constantly be aware of His personal presence in our lives, perhaps a look at the cross would bring the repentance we so desperately need.
This is part of the intercession of the Holy Spirit for us - to bring us in our humanity into that Divine fellowship with the Godhead so that we see the cross for much more than a one-time event in history.
The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him.--Education, p. 263.
In the lesson this week we see the Holy Spirit as the Divine Comforter, Helper, Intercessor for our prayers, Spirit of Truth, and Teacher of Righteousness. All of these descriptions are of a Person ministering rather than a nebulous, impersonal force.
The Holy Spirit has a personality, else He could not bear witness to our spirits and with our spirits that we are the children of God. He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."
--Manuscript 20, 1906.
God has always desired to put His Holy Spirit within us, to guide us as He did Christ, the second Adam. Jesus in faith submitted to the continual indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is the Faith of Jesus experience that we need, corporately and individually.
How was the Person of the Holy Spirit as Christ's representative treated at Minneapolis and thereafter? How much pain did we cause God then, and how much do we cause Him today? What can we and should we do about it?
On many occasions the Holy Spirit did work, but those who resisted the Spirit of God at Minneapolis were waiting for a chance to travel over the same ground again, because their spirit was the same. Afterward, when they had evidence heaped upon evidence, some were convicted, but those who were not softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit's working, put their own interpretation upon every manifestation of the grace of God, and they have lost much. They pronounced in their heart and soul and words that this manifestation of the Holy Spirit was fanaticism and delusion. They stood like a rock, the waves of mercy flowing upon and around them, but beaten back by their hard and wicked hearts, which resisted the Holy Spirit's working. Had this been received, it would have made them wise unto salvation; holier men, prepared to do the work of God with sanctified ability. But all the universe of heaven witnessed the disgraceful treatment of Jesus Christ, represented by the Holy Spirit. Had Christ been before them, they would have treated him in a manner similar to that in which the Jews treated Christ.--1888 p. 1477,1478.
The Lord has been calling his people. In a most marked manner he has revealed his divine presence. But the message and the messengers have not been received but despised. I longed that those who have greatly needed the message of divine love would hear Christ's knock at the door of the heart, and let the heavenly guest enter. But at the hearts of some Jesus has knocked in vain. In rejecting the message given at Minneapolis, men committed sin. They have committed far greater sin by retaining for years the same hatred against God's messengers, by rejecting the truth that the Holy Spirit has been urging home. By making light of the message given, they are making light of the word of God. Every appeal rejected, every entreated unheeded, furthers the work of heart-hardening, and places them in the seat of the scornful.--1888 p. 913,914.
God designed to work mightily by his Holy Spirit in that Minneapolis meeting, for all who would submit their way and their will to him. He would make that occasion a most precious school for all who would be teachable. However weak and imperfect in themselves, if they realized their weakness and their spiritual ignorance, they would receive divine strength and enlightenment. In that time of perplexity, if instead of sporting, jesting, and ridicule, there had been earnest prayer and an effort to promote harmony and unity, most precious victories would have been gained; which would have placed the work years ahead, and saved many souls. But the giving up to Satan's arrangements, and acting out Satanic attributes on that occasion, caused the record to be entered in the books of heaven, "Untrustworthy when important interests are at stake."

God would have his people sensible at all times, moving as under the eyes of the whole heavenly universe. Then when differences arise, there will be a burden of responsibility upon every soul. The fear of God will lead to solemnity, care taking, and earnest prayer, not to lightness and trifling, not to playing upon words, not to jesting and joking. All will be weighted with a sense of the consequences depending upon their own individual actions and decisions. If all the brethren at Minneapolis had been seeking the Lord with humility of mind, there would have been no conflict, no clashing, no uncourteous words, nothing unwise advanced. But men who were capable of being entrusted with great interests, desired to reveal their executive ability in guiding the vessel through the breakers to the harbor. They did not wait for divine guidance.

After we left Minneapolis, the battle had to be fought over and over again. Time was lost, souls lost, lives imperiled, all because men felt sufficient in themselves, and were not careful to keep the way of the Lord. The testing process is going on with every individual. Every movement is made before the whole heavenly universe. Whatever position men occupy, just as soon as they lift up their souls unto vanity they are left to make their own way without the help of God. He cannot co-operate with them.--1888 p. 1229,1230.
Those who, since the Minneapolis meeting, have had the privilege of listening to the words spoken by the messengers of God, Elder A.T. Jones, Prof. Prescott, Brn. E. J. Waggoner, O. A. Olsen, and many others, at the campmeetings and ministerial institutes, have had the invitation, Come, for all things are now ready. Come to the supper prepared for you." Light, heaven's light, has been shining. The trumpet has given a certain sound. Those who have made their various excuses for neglecting to respond to the call, have lost much. 

The light has been shining upon justification by faith and the imputed righteousness of Christ. Those who receive and act in the light given, will, in their teachings, give evidence that the message of Christ crucified, a risen Saviour ascended into the heavens to be our advocate, is the wisdom and power of God in the conversion of souls, bringing them back to their loyalty to Christ. These are our themes,--Christ crucified for our sins, Christ risen from the dead, Christ our intercessor before God; and closely connected with these is the office-work of the Holy Spirit, the representative of Christ, sent forth with divine power and gifts for men.
The call is sounding, Come, for all things are now ready. Those who will be worked by the Holy Spirit bear the living testimony, and have not only a theory of the truth, but are God's witnesses. These will not continually follow the meetings, that they themselves may be benefited, by hearing more and still more, But in humble trust and living faith they will search the Scriptures, for Christ says, They testify of me. They will walk in the light they receive, and will communicate to others the precious truth. As they endeavor to impart that which they have received, more light will certainly shine upon them. In holding forth the word of life to others, they co-operate with the heavenly agencies, who are sent to impart the power of the truth.
--1888 p.1455,1456.
Shall we not allow the Holy Spirit to have His way with us today? It is a personal invitation!

~Todd Guthrie


Friday, January 20, 2017

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #3 January 21, 2017


First Quarter 2017 Adult Sabbath School Lesson

"The Divinity Of The Holy Spirit"

January 21, 2017

     Our lesson this week is on the divinity of the Holy Spirit. That He is a divine Person is clearly presented in Scripture. Hebrews 9:14 informs us that the Holy Spirit is "eternal." Since only God is eternal, it follows that the Holy Spirit is truly God. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is distinct from the divine Persons – the Father and the Son. To establish this, we need only to examine our Lord's words, and collate with them the ample and various testimonies of the entire New Testament. To quote all the references in the New Testament is beyond the scope of this lesson. We will, however, consider some very powerful testimonies. There is unmistakable evidence of the divinity of the Holy Spirit but has been denied by man, including some Christians. The Holy Spirit has been judged by fallible man to be an "it" or an "influence" and assigned a non-person status. Let's learn from Jesus.

     The Son, Christ Jesus, is the Revealer of the third Person of the Godhead, as well as of the Father. Christ's final discourse has left no question on this subject unsolved: before He was glorified, Jesus glorified the Spirit by establishing the first principles of His personality, His divinity, and the eternal relations in the Godhead. The pronoun He (Ἐκεῖνος) is applied to One who is another Comforter. The personality (John 16:17; 14:16, 17) of the Holy Spirit governs the Lord's entire discourse, and must interpret those many passages in which the Holy Spirit's operations are identified with Himself as a Person. It is impossible to read carefully, in their context, these sayings concerning the Spirit without understanding that the idea presented is indeed that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person. Whether one believes He is Divine or not, most certainly the Holy Spirit is a Person announced by Jesus just as certainly as was a Person heralded Who Moses predicted as the coming prophet. And the prophet was a Person – the Lord Jesus Christ.

     The Divinity of the third Person in "the heavenly trio" was declared to be sent from the Father. "When the Comforter is come Whom (John 15:26) I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me."
The pronouns "Whom" "He" and "Who", referring to the Holy Spirit as a parenthetical reference to essential eternal relationships within the Godhead. Consider the present tense verb "proceeds" or "proceedeth," (KJV). It is not "shall proceed." The Holy Spirit has been eternally present from eternity. He was there in the creation of this world (Genesis 1:1-2). And He is mentioned many times in the Old Testament as well as the New. The following thoughts summarize the presence of the Holy Spirit before Christ came to the earth to redeem mankind.
     Before this the Spirit had been in the world; from the very beginning of the work of redemption He had been moving upon men's hearts. But while Christ was on earth, the disciples had desired no other helper. Not until they were deprived of His presence would they feel their need of the Spirit, and then He would come.

     "The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth (DA 669).
     The New Testament is true to Christ's teaching on this subject. The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit is everywhere. The humiliation of the Son send as the incarnate One has its parallel, though after another manner, in the humiliation of the Holy Ghost. While we read of His humility: "He poured out this which you now see and hear" regarding "the promise of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:33), we also read that the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (Acts 13:2). This command comes from God.

     Consider next, the first hypocrites mentioned in the book of Acts who lied to the Holy Spirit, (Acts 5:3, 4), and therefore lied not to men but to God. Clearly, the Holy Spirit is called God in this passage (verse 4). Ananias first and later Sapphira, his wife, lied "to the Holy Spirit." (Acts 5:3). One cannot lie to a mere influence. The Holy Spirit is a Person. And He is divine. To repeat, the Person – the Holy Spirit – was "lied to" by Ananias and He is "God." (v 4).

     Turning now to the letters written to the Corinthians, which dwell so much on the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 2:12 that "we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God. The preposition "from" is very significant as it expressly distinguishes between the evil spiritual influence of the world and the Substantial Spirit coming out from God. This same Spirit "searches all things, yes, the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10), thus being essentially a Personal and Divine.

     Let's consider the beginning and the ending of the public ministry of Jesus while on earth. Both the Father and the Holy Spirit were present at Christ's baptism. Immediately following His baptism, Jesus saw the Holy Spirit, then felt Him "upon" Himself and heard the voice of the Father: "The heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him (Matthew 3:16) and suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' " (verse 17).

     At the end of Christ's earthly ministry, just before ascending to heaven, He said unequivocally that those who were to be baptized were to be baptized in "the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). The term "name" is in the singular. The name of God is about His character as observed by the writings of Moses.

     When Moses asked to see the glory of God, He replied that He would "make all" His "goodness pass" before him and that He would proclaim His name to him (Exodus 33:19). The next day that happened. 5"The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation." (Exodus 34:5-7).

     That name is a revelation of the character of justice and mercy regarding God – "the three living persons of the heavenly trio" in the fullness of the Godhead who gives divine grace to baptized believers. Notice this wonderful thought:
     The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers --the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ. -- Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63 (and quoted in Evangelism p. 615).

     There are those who do not believe what Jesus said regarding baptism – in the name of the "heavenly Trio" – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is a group of people claiming to be Christians, but who use Peter's statement when he told his enquirers they needed to repent and be baptized "in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:38). The papacy is not the only entity that uses Peter to usurp Jesus. Amazing! Notice that Peter did not use the word "faith" in connection with repentance and baptism. Shall we then deny what Jesus said about faith?

     The above testimonies – both of Jesus and of Mrs. White – are enough for our present purpose to show the relationship of the three Persons in the Godhead to the One Name into which Christians are baptized.

     Regarding the divinity of the Holy He is called a "divine Spirit" well over 150 times in the writings of Mrs. White. And further, she is unmistakably clear by her many statements that there are three Divine Persons in the Godhead. There are those who argue that her statements have been falsified by whomever. On the contrary, there are too many of her declarations concerning the heavenly Trio for that argument to be true.

     We have another Scripture to consider. Luke quotes the angel who spoke to Mary regarding the work of the Holy Spirit in process of conception and birth of Christ in the incarnation: "The angel … said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God'" (Luke 1:35, NKJV).

     "The power of the Highest" that was to "overshadow" Mary is parallel to the first clause of the sentence: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you." This power is the Highest divine power of God administered by the Holy Spirit.

     This week, along with many others, I received comments from a person regarding the Sabbath School lessons for this quarter. This person does not believe the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead. The author of the comments quoted the KJV which says "that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." He noted correctly that the word "thing" is not in the original language. However, his interpretive philosophical opinion is that the word "could be spirit instead of 'thing.' " From this premise his deduction followed: "The verse would then carry the following meaning: The Spirit of the Father would overshadow Mary and the Holy Spirit that would be born would be called the Son of God." !!!

     However, consider this valid commentary on this verse: "The humanity of Christ is called 'that holy thing.' " (E. G. White, "Signs of the Times," January 16, 1896). Emphasis supplied. So we can say very positively the word to supply is not spirit, but rather "humanity." The verse then carries the following meaning: "The divine Spirit overshadowed Mary and the human born of her is called the Son of God."

    The divine Spirit, as "the power of the Highest," united in some way Christ's divine nature with humanity (which is impossible for our little minds to understand) and this union is our salvation. Our Savior is both divine and human.
In closing, Joel prophesied that the Holy Spirit comes as "a teacher of righteousness" (Joel 2:23, margin) under the metaphor of rain. This prophecy began to be fulfill at Pentecost under the figure of the "former rain." The final fulfillment began in 1888 in the "latter rain" message brought to us through elders Jones and Waggoner. However, the outpouring was stopped. But there will be a return of the latter rain. One day, hopefully soon, this teaching of righteousness by the "Teacher of righteousness" – The Holy Spirit – will again be poured out again from on high. Let's be prepared for the downpour that will flood the earth with the message of all messages that will swallow up all other subjects: "One interest will prevail, one subject will swallow up all others, Christ our Righteousness" (Ellen White, The Paulson Collection, 342). This is the teaching of righteousness according to righteousness by the divine "Teacher of righteousness." 
     Paul in writing to the Corinthians stated that people there were "justified … by the Spirit of our God" laterally with "the name of the Lord Jesus" (1 Corinthians 6:11). Paul here describes the Holy Spirit as the divine Person along with Jesus as the justifying life-giving and life-changing Person (compare Romans 5:10).

    This teaching of righteousness, by the Teacher of righteousness, is the righteousness of God which justifies believers through the "faith of Jesus" (Romans 3:22-24; Galatians 2:16, KJV).
This is the message and the work of the Divine Holy Spirit, the third Peron of the Godhead. Are we learning this message?

~Jerry Finneman

Thursday, January 12, 2017

"The Holy Spirit: Working Behind The Scenes"


First Quarter 2017 Adult Sabbath School Lesson

"The Holy Spirit: Working Behind The Scenes"

January 14, 2017

A few weeks ago while waiting at a gate to catch a flight in Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, I observed a well-dressed man seated on an extra high leather chair. Everything about the construction of this large wood-framed chair and the steps up to it bespoke prominence and importance. At its base a humble-looking man wearing a simple smock and worn pants bent over the man's feet, polishing the shoes of the man in the chair. The question, "Where is Jesus in this scene?" pressed upon my mind.
"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth," "humbled Himself" Is. 40:31, Phil. 2:8. It struck me that the shoe-shine man was doing the work of Jesus, "who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" Matt. 25:44 and Mark 10:45.
Jesus came to reveal the Father. The Holy Spirit's purpose, in turn, is to lift up Jesus. And in keeping with the self-effacing character of God, the Holy Spirit Himself is humble. He does not seek the limelight, which is why we read so little of His work in the Bible compared with that of the Father and the Son. 
This is contrary to how we naturally think. We like to be noticed, praised, admired, and flattered; not so with the Holy Spirit. 
This week's Sabbath School lesson states: "Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit speaks not of Himself, but of Jesus. His work consists in elevating the redemptive work of Jesus. He keeps Himself in the background and puts the floodlight on Jesus." 
And again, "This is highly significant. Any emphasis upon the work of the Holy Spirit that detracts from the Person and work of Jesus Christ is not from the Holy Spirit. As important as the Holy Spirit is for our spiritual life, He should never take the place that is due in our thinking and for our salvation only to Jesus Christ. Wherever Jesus is exalted, the Holy Spirit is at work."
Jesus said, "When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, . . . He will testify of Me" John 15:26.
The Holy Spirit's work has always been to testify of Jesus. "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." "And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth." 2 Cor. 4:6, 1 Jn. 5:6. 
When God said, "Let there be light," the Spirit was there to reveal Jesus who "[had] created these things, who [brought] out their host by number" Is. 40:26. 
When God breathed life into Adam, man became a holy habitation of the Holy Spirit. ("Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" 1 Cor. 3:16). He was placed in a sacred home (Eden). 
Would this new order of being bear witness to the self-sacrificing nature of the character of God? Adam was created in the very image of God. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he desired nothing but to do God's will.
Lucifer had introduced a new spirit into the heavenly courts that was opposite of the character of God. Instead of utilizing his gifts for service, his heart became lifted up. He became proud and came to feel that he deserved to be ruler of the universe. He wanted to "ascend above the heights of the clouds," to "be like the Most High" Is. 14:14. He wanted to make a name for himself.
In yielding to Satan's temptation, Adam imbibed of this counterfeit spirit, thereby expelling the Holy Spirit from his soul temple. The glory of God departed and since we were all "in Adam", self took its place on the throne of the heart of every son and daughter of Adam since. Henceforth, "the natural man [would no longer] receive the things of the Spirit of God," though but a short time before he had fully reflected God's image, "for they [had become] foolishness to him; nor [would] he know them, because they [were] spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14. Reflective of Adam's new spiritual state, he was cast out of his sanctuary home. No longer would God commune with His new family face to face as he had heretofore.
The Holy Spirit would provide the promised enmity against the deceiver in His work of revealing Jesus following the entrance of sin.  In astonishment the onlooking universe listened as Jesus laid bare the "mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom] which God ordained before the world unto our glory," (2 Cor. 2:7) to our first parents: the Creator would become the Savior. He who had breathed the breath of lives into Adam would give his life to the world again as He breathed his last on the cross.
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cor. 5:21.
The restoration of the divine image in the soul of fallen man would call forth every resource of heaven. It would precipitate an outflowing of love to an evil and thankless race of beings that would astonish the angels, fallen and unfallen alike.
Jesus would reach across the abyss to rescue the fallen race by becoming one of His own creation. From the moment of conception, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. The body He took was not like the body He had prepared for Adam in his sinless state. The flesh that Jesus took was weakened by 4,000 years of sin. 
Christ was made to be as weak as the weakest sinner on earth in order to be the Savior of all men. There was no depth to which His love would not reach to save us. In order that we might overcome even as He overcame, Christ crucified the flesh and its sinful desires.  "Not my will, but Thine be done," was His prayer. By surrendering His life to the Spirit's leading each day, He obtained complete victory over sin and the grave, and He imparts to us this gift of the indwelling Spirit enabling us to live even as He did in this world.
In the wilderness, the erection of the earthly tabernacle served to illustrate God's desire for His dwelling place in the heart of man to be restored: "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell among them." Ex. 25:8. Here the Holy Spirit was at work, not simply in guiding the physical details of the construction, but in pointing to Jesus. All aspects of the sanctuary pointed to His saving ministry, and it was the Holy Spirit's work to bring this message home to each heart.
After 6,000 years of sin, some have grown weary of waiting for Jesus to come and restoring us to our original Eden home. Many people vainly seek what pleasure they can from this present world, not seeing the world to come through the eyes of faith nor recognizing the gift of salvation made in their behalf. Many have sought to silence the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit which points us to Jesus and away from ourselves. 
Humanity naturally desires to either suppress the quiet voice of the Spirit through a sensory experience or to shut out the voice entirely through purposeful silence, or both.
While to all appearances the world is without faith, we know that there are people everywhere who are listening to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. Their lives give evidence of this work as they are transformed into the image of Jesus.
Nearly 130 years ago the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer, began. This inauspicious beginning of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not accompanied by fits of spiritual ecstasy or dramatic miracles, but by the lifting up of Jesus on the cross. Though unheard of by many, neglected by others, and despised by some, this most precious is still "the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth" (1SM, p. 363).
The Holy Spirit still has much to teach us about Jesus. From the pages of the 1893 GC Bulletin we read : "When that message of God's righteousness--the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, God's right doing--when that is received and is allowed to be carried on, and is held by his people, what does that mean about the work of God on earth?--It will be but a short time until the whole thing is done . . . " (A.T. Jones, p. 243).
Our neighbor is a civil engineer. One of the jobs he recently undertook was to construct a new interstate bridge near where we live. It took several years to complete that bridge. Now his company is removing the old bridge, section by section. After removing the concrete, he describes how the next task is to weaken the steel structure. The last step is to plant dynamite throughout the remaining steel frame. In one day (which happens to be today when I am writing this), the dynamite will explode, blowing up and collapsing the whole remaining structure. Every bit of steel will be removed and the old bridge will be as though it had never been.
In our world today, the Holy Spirit has lit small lamps burning with the love of Jesus in the hearts of people all over the globe. Warmed by the message of Jesus Christ our righteousness they respond as do the disciples of old: "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" (Lk. 24:32)
We cannot see this work, because it is internal, but we can know by faith that the work is taking place. In the future, as "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus" deepens and matures, in an instant, like fire through the stubble, the earth will be lightened with the glory of God. The old Babylonian way of salvation via self will collapse, and the redeemed will "make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low" Isaiah 40:4. That highway leads us back to our Eden home, where God's tabernacle will once again be "with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people" (Rev. 21:3.
Such is the work the Holy Spirit will accomplish in these last days, and throughout eternity that still, small voice will continue to unfold new revelations of Jesus. "They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads" Rev. 22:4.
~Patti Guthrie


Thursday, January 05, 2017

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #1 January 7, 2017


First Quarter 2017 Adult Sabbath School Lesson

"The Spirit and The Word"

January 7, 2017

The lessons this quarter can be summed up regarding the Holy Spirit, His Personhood and His work. Our lesson before us this week is about His role in inspiration and revelation. Revelation – inspiration is not a word for word dictation by the Holy Spirit, except on rare occasions such as in the giving of the ten commandments by God – in both speech and written form. Another exception is in the inspired time prophecies as revealed in the books of Daniel and Revelation.

     The Ten Commandments were spoken by God Himself, and were written by His own hand. They are of divine, and not human composition. But the Bible, with its God-given truths expressed in the language of men, presents a union of the divine and the human. Such a union existed in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and the Son of man. Thus it is true of the Bible, as it was of Christ, that 'the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us' (John 1:14). 1SM 25.

     Revealed truth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, does not exclude the human element in the process of revelation 
– inspiration. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in conveying His thoughts to chosen men and women, who in turn communicate these messages from God to other humans both by word and by written form. It is the Holy Spirit who declares to man "what is His thought" (Amos 4:13, KJV). His thoughts are joined to human language and thus are the inspired word of God revealed to us. This involvement of the Holy Spirit in inspiration and revelation reveals that He is a Person.

     There are three faculties a person must possess. These are: intelligence, emotions, and will. A thing or an influence lacks these. The Holy Spirit is neither a thing nor an influence because He has intelligence, emotions, and will:

1) The Holy Spirit knows the things of God. This takes intelligence (1 Cor 2:10–11). Paul also speaks of "the mind of the Spirit" (Rom 8:27);
2) The Holy Spirit has emotions. He can be grieved (Eph 4:30);
3) The Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts "as He wills" (1 Cor 12:11).
     The Holy Spirit does possess the characteristics of a person. And as a Person He is directly involved in inspiration and revelation. He inspires prophets to speak and to write the thoughts He gives them. His thoughts are revealed in human words. A word is simply a thought made audible. Creation, as well as Scripture, expresses God's thoughts of love, mercy and compassion. In addition, the thought of God is revealed in Christ Jesus who is "the Word of God" (John 1:1, 14). He is Go
d's audible thought as stated in The Desire of Ages: "He was the Word of God,--God's thought made audible" (p. 19). What we have, in this paragraph, God's threefold library of revelation – nature, Scripture and Jesus. Jesus clearly is the supreme revelation of God's thoughtful mind and is testified to both in nature and Scripture.
     Again, in regard to Scripture, God's thoughts are "conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth." (1SM 26). The phrase "imperfect expression" acknowledges that revealed truth (truth inaccessible to humans apart from direct revelation), may be conveyed adequately. Revealed truth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, does not exclude the human element in the process of revelation 
– inspiration.

     Think of this! Man's imperfect language is used by sinful persons for sinful purposes, yet the Spirit of God condescends to place His thoughts within our language in order to communicate His thoughts thus purifying the minds of believers. This same union, of the divine with the human, is revealed in the incarnation of Christ. He took our flesh of sin which is used for sinful purposes and condemned sin in our flesh in order that the righteousness of His holy law might be fulfilled in us as we walk according to the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:3-4).

     We will conclude this Insight with an application. As the Bible is believed and accepted by a lost sinner, this inspired word of the Holy Spirit brings about a spiritual "new birth" experience (1 Peter 1:23; John 3:5). This is a change inside the believer. This change is then seen in his outward behavior. As the believer grows in grace he knows personally that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16) as revealed to him. Have you responded positively to the Holy Spirit and His revelation – inspiration? If not, why not do so now?

~Jerry Finneman