Our Beliefs: 4. Holy Spirit

Posted on 12/11/2016 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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For the past three weeks, we've been going through our statement of beliefs. You can find those by going to almcyberchurch.org and clicking the "What We Believe" link, or here in Second Life by clicking one of the "Church Information" signs here.

As as we've done for the first three items on our list, I'd like to begin by clarifying the reason for sharing these beliefs with you.

That reason is NOT because you have to believe everything I'm saying to avoid going to hell or being a deceived heretic. There's always the possibility that I could be wrong about something my mind is convinced is true.

For your Salvation, put your trust fully in Jesus, not in your understanding of doctrinal issues.

As Proverbs 3:5-6 (TLS*) says,

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not dwell in or rely upon your own understanding.
6 Know Him in all things, and He will direct your paths, making them plain and straight.

And for your being led into Truth, put your trust fully in the Holy Spirit, for as we're about to see, leading us into Truth is one of the things He was sent to do.

And when you believe He has revealed something to do, realize that you could be mistaken. Countless people have been absolutely convinced the Holy Spirit told them things that either condradict the words of Jesus or the Scriptures He said cannot lie, or that conflict with what OTHER people have insisted the Spirit told THEM.

Realize that we see through a glass dimly, and the conclusions your mind embraces as indisputable truth just might be wrong. Recognize the mind's pride in its firmly-held beliefs, and let go of its silly fits, as you bring your attention back into the Presence of God in His Holy Temple, the body in which You and He currently reside.

And now, let's read the next item on our list.

4. Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit's ministry is to glorify Messiah, convict mankind of sin, regenerate the repentant sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct, and enable each believer to be fully Present with Him and to act in perfect accordance with His will.

So this statement begins with, "The Holy Spirit's ministry is to glorify Messiah."

John 15:26 (TLS*) says,

26 But when the Comforter has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who flows out of the Father, He will bear witness of me.

The word translated into English as "bear witness" can also be translated, give evidence or proof, bear record, or testify.

This evidence, proof, record, or testimony also suggests showing His nature. It's one thing to know ABOUT someone, such as historical facts or a list of activities or character traits, but it is another thing to see someone face to face.

I can know ABOUT you, but to truly KNOW you, I need to spend time with you, talk with you, be around you and observe, with something deeper than my mind, who you really are.

And this is something the Holy Spirit does: He comes to us, surrounds us, and fill us with the nature of Christ. Do you want to commune with Jesus Himself? Be filled with the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, dwelling in His Life that fills the Temple, and you will thereby be dwelling with, walking with, spending time in the Presence of, the Messiah.

Next, we read, "The Holy Spirit's ministry is to ... convict mankind of sin."

In John 16:8 (KMV*), Jesus says this:

8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.
9 Of sin, because they do not believe in me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and you will see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

So the Holy Spirit brings conviction. Not condemnation, but conviction.

The dictionary defines condemnation like this: "Condemnation is the act of saying that something or someone is very bad and unacceptable."

Conviction, on the other hand, can be translated as, "convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove." And the dictionary gives this example: "If someone has a conviction, they have been found guilty of a crime in a court of law."

So while condemnation points to the person themselves as being very bad and unacceptable, conviction points to the sinful state in which the individual has been, and the judgment they should face as a result, while inviting them to accept the attoning power of Jesus' sacrifice and have those sins washed away.

Do you see the difference there? Condemnation says, "You're a horrible person, unacceptable and loathsome, because you're a liar, and thief, and adulterer, and sexually immoral," while conviction says, "You are facing a horrible judgment because of lies, thefts, and immorality, but underneath all those sins, you are beautiful and priceless; let go of those things that are standing between the priceless treasure you are, and let the Messiah wash that junk off of you, so that together, you can shine the bright light of the magnificent beauty you are."

Condemnation identifies someone with their sins, while conviction is like a medical diagnosis of a completely curable disease.

The one pushes someone into hopelessness, while the other shows not only the seriousness of their sinful condition, but also the glorious hope of their Salvation.

And this is part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit -- to convict the world of sin caused by not accepting and walking with Christ.

"Of righteousness" -- this is the same thing as saying a sick person can be well. You might be covered in the mire of sin, but you can be washed and cleaned, and become completely righteous in God's eyes.

"Of judgment, because of the ruler of this world is judged."

The world -- the carnal state of fallen mankind, the earthly mind that cannot know God, the trap of identifying with the things of this earth that are all passing away -- the ruler, the essense, the nature of the worldly condition, is judged. And we can partake of that judgment, or we can let go of the world and be set free from its condition of sin and the spiritual death it brings.

And next, we read, "The Holy Spirit's ministry is to ... regenerate the repentant sinner."

Second Corinthians chapter three says that there is a veil on the world's eyes that prevents them from knowing God.

And verses 16 through 18 say this:

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (KMV*)

16 Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into His image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord.

So we are regerated, made new, transformed in His image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord.

And Galatians 5:18, 22-23 (NKJV) says this:

18 If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

And you don't have to somehow generate those things in yourself. Instead, walk with God, dwell with Christ in His Presence, and the Holy Spirit will produce in you the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

He regenerates you, makes you new and fresh like an innocent child, as the layers of filth that cover you are continually being removed.

And finally, today's statement ends by saying, "The Holy Spirit's ministry is to ... indwell, guide, instruct, and enable each believer to be fully Present with Him and to act in perfect accordance with His will."

Jesus says in John 14:26 (TLS*),

26 But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and will bring to your remembrance all the things I have said to you.

And in John 16:13 (KMV*) He says this:

13 Nevertheless, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak of himself, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and he will show you things to come.

So part of His ministry is to lead us into truth. Not so we can think we're more enlightened than the next person who doesn't understand something our minds imagine the Spirit revealed to us and not to them, but so we can have anything stripped away that might be causing us to walk or act or live in a way that keeps His Nature from shining through.

And then in Acts 1:8 (KMV*), we read this:

8 But you will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.

So the Holy Spirit draws us into His Presence, Here and Now, so that we dwell with Christ, beholding His Nature within us, beneath all the clutter of the earthly mind, beneath all the noise of the world around us, all the schedules and plans and stories of this temporary life; and we become witness of that Presence, of that Nature of Messiah, to everyone around us.

And by "witness," I don't just mean that we talk to everyone about Jesus. The Spirit certainly empowers us to do that, to share the Good News of Salvation with word that we speak, or write, or sing; but beyond that, we start to take on His Nature, and people will see that. And by seeing the Nature of Christ as you dwell with Him, they will see Jesus; and they will be drawn to the transforming power of the Cross.

In Luke chapter 11, Jesus says this:

Luke 11:9-10, 13 (NASB)

9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.
13 If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

So ask, seek, knock. And dwell in the Spirit of God in His Holy Temple, knowing that God will answer you with something good.

Let's end by reading this verse from Revelation 22:17 (KMV*)

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

We are the Bride of Christ. And as the Spirit inside of us draws others to His Beautiful Nature, we reflect that Nature and thereby draw others to God.

And the one who hears, who are reached with His Glory, will also be transformed, and they will reflect that same Nature to the world around them.

And this creates a thirst. The Psalmist writes,

Psalm 34:8 (KMV*)

8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who trusts in Him.

Once you taste Him, His Presence, His Beauty, His Glory, you realize your thirst for more. And the invitation is to take the water of life freely.

So come. Lay down the mind's excuses. Lay down its clinging to the things of this world. And you let go of those things not by fighting and striving against them, but by turning your eyes, your attention, upon Him instead.