Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE GOOD GIFT (Luke Chapter 11)

Luke 11:13, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

The person of the Holy Spirit is set forth by Jesus as the preeminent example of God’s readiness and ability to give good gifts to those who ask of Him.  Of all the gifts given by God to minister to His children and their needs none is more necessary or precious as He.

Jesus’ disciples were troubled at the news of His pending departure (John 13:36-14:1).  He spoke to them comforting words, including this surprising statement: “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” (John 16:7).  Jesus departure would be advantageous inasmuch as it would open the door for the Spirit’s coming!  How precious then must be the provision of the person of the Holy Spirit!

The Spirit’s work in the believer’s life is all encompassing.  It is by the Spirit that we are made aware of our sin and pending judgment (John 16:8).  It is by His work that we are born again (John 3:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:13).  It is by His presence that our new identity as a child of God is confirmed (Romans 8:16).  It is by Him that our eyes are opened that we might understand and know the truth (John 16:14-15; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 John 2:26-27).  It is by Him that we are made to realize the glorious nature of our inheritance and immeasurable greatness of His power (Ephesians 1:16-19).  Again, it is by His revelation that we are given the strength to comprehend the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:14-19).

It is the Spirit who intercedes for us in our prayers (Romans 8:26).  It is by Him that our minds are renewed (Ephesians 4:23), sin put off (Romans 8:13; Ephesians 4:22), and Christlikeness attainted (Ephesians 4:24).  It is by Him that we have received spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).

The Spirit of God reveals Christ to us, in us, and through us (John 16:14).  He is everworking, patiently and relentlessly, to conform us to the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).  His presence in our lives is made evident in the glorious fruit He bears.  Supernatural, Christlike, virtues—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control-- blossom and bloom where there once was but barren ground and noxious weeds (Galatians 5:22-23).

The parched soil of our need is met with His abundant and overflowing provision of “living water” (John 7:37-39).  God’s provision of salvation and all its benefits are realized only in the Spirit.  The commands to be filled with the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit are of preeminent concern to us.  The gift of the Spirit is treasured to the extent that we wholeheartedly submit ourselves to His control (Ephesians 5:18). We are commanded to walk in Him (Galatians 5:16) and not to quench Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30).

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is oftentimes overlooked or misunderstood.  Many dubious works are attributed to Him (speaking gibberish; laughing revivals, being “slain” in the Spirit, false healings, etc.).  But His work in us transcends such spurious matters.  The transformation of the believer in Christ into the very image of Christ is a miracle of God that is at the heart of His ministry.  It is a work that cannot be accomplished apart from Him.  J. C. Ryle once said, “The Holy Spirit is beyond doubt the greatest gift which God can bestow upon man.  Having this gift, we have all things—life, light, hope and heaven!”  Praise God for His good and perfect gifts, and especially for the gift of the Spirit (Cf. James 1:17)!  Let us treasure this precious Gift as we work, by God’s grace, to fully cooperate with Him in His miraculous, empowering, and transforming work!

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