Forget Me Not
The Holy Spirit is the active presence of God in the world who calls attention to Jesus.
More From This Series
- How have you talked about the Holy Spirit in the past? What did you discover through this message that was helpful for how you view the Holy Spirit moving forward?
- Why is it essential that we understand the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives? What difference does it make in how we live?
- What action step can you take in response to this message?
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)
So a quick confession. I know nothing about gardening and plants and flowers. I just want to get that out there. That's it. You guys have a good day. No, so I know nothing about any of that stuff. I think I even wore a really green shirt just to fake you out today that I knew something about gardening or planting or flowers or any of that stuff. I don't. Some of you have a tremendously green thumb and everything you touch turns green and gold. I have the hand of the Grim Reaper and whatever I touch seems to die. So don't be confused that I might be using an illustration from the world of flowers, because what I don't want you to do is think that I'm one of you, because I'm not. So don't send me pictures and don't send me instructions manuals or any of that because I don't want to know, actually. So I just need to know that I am not one of your number. If you're really good at that, I love you and I thank God for you and you can come to my house and fix all the stuff if you want that I kill. But I'm not of your number.
But there is this flower, it's a pretty blue flower, do you like how I describe that? It's a pretty blue flower. It actually has a botanical name, but I'm not going to use it for fear that you're going to know just exactly how much I don't know about any of these things that I'm talking about. But there's this pretty blue flower and it actually is called a forget-me-not flower. Has anyone every heard of a forget-me-not flower, just raise your hand. Okay, that's some of you and the rest of you are like me. So there's a forget-me-not flower. Now I don't know anything about the flower to be honest with you except that it's pretty and it's blue. That's all I know.
But, what I do know is this, is that there are some legends or myths or stories or narratives that surround this flower and some of them go back to like ancient, ancient days, Germanic and Greek kind of ancient legends as to how these flowers came about. But the one that I think we know best is actually from the 15th or 16th century and this is the idea behind the flower. They used to say that this flower carried with it the virtue of ensuring that its wearer, so if I wore the flower, that's it's wearer would never be forgotten by the one that they love. Thus the forget-me-not flower. It had the virtue of the wearer never being forgotten by the one that they love. Now I don't know if it's true or not, some of you single guys can, you know, find a blue flower, see if it works, let me know. That's great, I don't think that's going to help you, but whatever, alright? Now you probably need to be nice and courteous and all those other things.
But I will say this. Everyone of us, it's kind of interesting that there's a flower called the forget-me-not flower, it actually reveals something greater and deeper and it's this. None of us really want to be forgotten, right? It's one of the worst feelings in the world to feel forgotten and none of us want to feel that way.
I can't help but imagine as we turn our attention to the life of Jesus when He's coming to the close of His ministry, and He's saying things to His disciples about the fact that He is going away and that He's going to be turned over into the hands of sinful men and they're going to crucify Him and that He's going to be gone. I can't help but think that in the disciple's kind of hearts and minds they're thinking to themselves "now if He's gone, are we going to be forgotten?" I can't help it, I mean if you were walking with Jesus you might be feeling and thinking the same thing, right? I don't want you to go, and if you go am I going to be forgotten?
Well, Jesus actually deals with that in three chapters in the gospel of John which is coming to the close of Jesus' ministry. In John chapter 14, John 15 and John 16, Jesus has a long conversation with His disciples. It's kind of a running conversation that He has with His disciples. And then when we read John 17, Jesus prays this High Priestly prayer for His disciples and for those yet to believe in Him. But John 14, 15 and 16 is where we're going to be today. We're not going to read all of the chapters, but I'm going to take from some of the conversation, one big conversation that's kind of chronicled in those three chapters. And so, if you have a Bible you can turn there to John 14 maybe to start out with or if you have a device that you look it up on, that's wonderful too. So that you'll know where we are, we're going to spend our time in John 14, 15 and 16 predominantly and fill in some gaps.
But here's what I want you to pay attention to. When we think about the idea of the disciples maybe feeling like they're forgotten, Jesus actually says something for them that they didn't realize in that moment, but was absolutely cataclysmic for them and incredible for them and a great reminder to them. Listen to what He says in John chapter 14 beginning in verse 16. Jesus says: "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
This is a great and encouraging and promising Scripture that Jesus gives to us, the words that He spoke to His disciples. What He told them is this: I know that you're scared that I'm going to forget you. I'm not going to leave you as orphans, I'm going to come to you. And here's what He did. He promised them, Jesus' forget-me-not for His disciples was the gift of the Holy Spirit. This was Jesus saying very clearly to them that you have not been forgotten by the One who loves you. And it's Jesus saying to us today we have not been forgotten by the One who loves us.
What is the proof of that? The Holy Spirit. That is the absolute proof that we have not been forgotten, that we have not been left as orphans, that Jesus is still paying attention to us. But we fail to remember that. We forget that. Even though the One who loves us has not forgotten us, sometimes we forget the truth of His forget-me-not, His Holy Spirit.
Why do we forget? Well, some of us have responded to some abuses and excesses that have been done in the name of the Holy Spirit and as a result we have neglected or we have forgotten or we have kind of said no, I don't want to be any part of that in terms of the Holy Spirit if this is what this represents. I mean all manner of craziness has been represented in the name of the Holy Spirit. I don't even have time to start listing the abuses and excesses that some people have ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
Like for instance, when they have said, and these are all chronicled by the way, these aren't things I'm making up, these are actual things that have actually happened where people have said, boy the Spirit was poured out on this church and everyone was just walking around on all fours barking like dogs. Well, I can tell you this. There was a spirit present there, it was not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not going to cause you to walk around like an animal when you are created in the image of God. The Holy Spirit is different so we don't ascribe this kind of weirdness and craziness to it.
Or the Holy Spirit was poured out and in such power on us that we had uncontrollable fits of laughter, we could not control ourselves. By the way, whenever you hear you can't control yourselves, that's a problem, because one of the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Just a heads-up on any of that, right? I lost all control, I had no control. Well then that's not the fruit of the Spirit, because you find out that the fruit of the Spirit is actually self-control. And so I lost all control and I was doing whatever I was doing. You just kind of go whoa, a little scared here.
Or the Spirit was poured out in such power that we all just went back to our childhood and we were sucking our thumbs and cooing. These things have literally been ascribed to the Holy Spirit in various places and denominations and times. And people act as if this is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. That is not the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. It is anything other than the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
So what's happened is people have now seen some of those things and it scared them to death, because they looked and saw this is nuts. Rightly so, by the way. But have thrown out everything and said, ahhh and run. Whole denominations have taken that posture, where they have run away from anything relative to the idea of the Holy Spirit and have neglected and forgotten the role of the Holy Spirit, and they've just kind of gone nooo. And so what's happened is that in their denomination, which normally might be orthodox in a Trinitarian Doctrine, believing in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, now in those denominations it almost sounds like the Father, the Son and the other one. That's what it kind of feels like, right? And so we have to be careful that we don't reject everything even though there are some abuses and excesses that get blamed on the Holy Spirit that don't have anything to do with the Holy Spirit.
You know, we almost treat the Holy Spirit sometimes because of that, like He's the embarrassing uncle at the family re-union. You know what I'm saying? It's like you don't want to be around him, you hope he doesn't see you, you don't want him near your kids, you hope that you know you don't have to interact with him at all, you hope he doesn't catch up to you or sneak up on you, when, oh, what are you doing here, right? That's kind of how we view sometimes the identity of the Holy Spirit because we've seen so many excesses and abuses that have been blamed on Him that were never His to begin with. So we've forgotten about Him or we've neglected Him.
On the other side, there are those who have not in any way forgotten or neglected the Holy Spirit, not in any way at all. They've not thought about neglecting Him. In fact, they so emphasize the Holy Spirit that it's almost like anything goes. And anything doesn't go, by the way. And they've so emphasized the Holy Spirit, listen to this, to the neglect of Jesus. And that should not be the case either, as we'll see in the words of Jesus who sent the Holy Spirit. We'll see very clearly what He has to say in regard to that.
Now there's also by the way, I could spend too much time here and I'm not going to, but let me say this. There's also those that maybe are so nostalgic in their relationship with God, that here's what it sounds like in regular conversation. I hear it all the time. Jerry, man, life is hard. I agree. Life is hard, it's challenging. It can be discouraging. I mean, how many of you had a tough week, right? Some of you had a tough week, right? Sometimes life can be hard and it can hurt and all those things. And then here's what I hear as the follow up. Man, my life would be so much better if Jesus was walking with me in the flesh. Like if I just had Him like in my passenger seat of my car. If He was just there with me. I could ask Him questions, we could hang out. You know somebody's yelling at me and I'd go "here's my buddy, Jesus. Jesus, blow him up", right? That's kind of, we've got that kind of thing going on in our heads, right?
And so, but here's the question, right? Here's what we have to ask ourselves, listen carefully, this is a piercing question that I'll come back to at the very end. Would it be better to have Jesus walk beside us or to have the Spirit inside us? I'll come back to that at the end because Jesus actually answers the question. You see, if we are not careful, we forget about the role of the Holy Spirit because of excesses or abuses, or because we over-emphasize the Spirit to the neglect of Jesus and we forget about His nature and His role. Or we forget because we get nostalgic and say, I just wish I was like one of His disciples and I could have walked around with Him, even though there were times when they didn't get it. And they needed the Spirit.
So, with that said, we're going to talk about the Holy Spirit over the next number of weeks. And today is a bit introductory, and I'm going to do some teaching along this line. So, you're not going to probably find me running around the stage jumping and hooping and hollering. What I want to do is I want to teach us, and I want you to be able to be receptive and to hear what God wants to say. Because when we have a right view of God, listen to this, when we have a right view of God it shapes a right view of the world. It also shapes a right view of ourselves. When we understand God's identity, we begin to understand our own in Him. And two of the greatest things that I think are broken in the lives of people whenever you're seeing them in counseling and all of those kinds of things, two of the greatest issues I think for people is they have a misunderstanding of God and as a result they misunderstand who they are in Him. Those are the primary things.
So what we're doing is we're going to set a foundation and I'm really just going to talk about two primary things today. When we talk about the Holy Spirit, here it is, very simple. Who is He, what does He do? How about that? That sound okay? Some of you are going, man, thank you because I needed to come up from a breather after the series on the Feasts. Like I needed a breath for a minute, right? I can't, my mind hurts and I need some help, right? But here's what we're going to do. We're going to talk about the Holy Spirit in the next number of weeks. And any time you're talking about God, it's rich and it's deep and you can't exhaust it, right? But we're going to talk about today, who is He and what does He do?
So let's begin with who is He? Who is the Holy Spirit? First thing that I want you to note is this is that He is the promise. That's the very first thing that I want you to pay attention to. The Holy Spirit is a promise.
Listen to what the text of Scripture says in John 14. Let's go back to it. Verse number 16. Jesus says: "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth." Now this is a promise that Jesus made. He said I am going to, to His disciples, I am not going to leave you alone, I am going to send you the Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Spirit, or as they said in the older times, the Holy Ghost, right? I'm going to send to you the Holy Spirit, that's a promise. Jesus made good on that promise because fifty days after His resurrection at the celebration of the Feast of Weeks, which the Greeks called Pentecost, for fifty, His disciples were together and the Spirit was poured out upon them just as it was prophesied in the book of Joel, that the Spirit would be poured out upon them at Pentecost two thousand years ago. And Jesus made good on His promise that He would send the Holy Spirit.
Now the promise was not only that the Holy Spirit would come, listen to this, but the promise was also what was to come. In fact, I want you to listen carefully about how Paul says it in Ephesians chapter 1. He says this: "When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit," or a down payment, "guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."
You see, not only was the Holy Spirit a fulfillment of a promise that He would come, and He did, but He was also a promise of what was to come. That now living in us is the Holy Spirit of God when we have put our faith in Jesus, and He is a down payment or a deposit, listen to this, guaranteeing what's to come. Guaranteeing our inheritance. That there is coming a time where we will live completely and totally empowered and enlivened by the Spirit and not bound by the flesh that wants to work against us. That is the promise of God. Isn't that good news? It's super good news.
Now, so we're reminded the Holy Spirit is a promise. But I need to make sure that you understand this as well. The Holy Spirit is also God. Father, Son, Spirit. Now when we talk about the nature of God, it can get complex for people, because they're like man, I'm not sure how to understand this. God is one in essence, three in personhood. If you go man, I'm still having trouble with that, go back to thechapel.com and go to our media section. Search for a series that I did called "Foundations" and look for this sermon title if you want to understand the Trinity better, look for this sermon title, it's very complicated, here it is: God. That's the name of the sermon, alright? Look it up on our website, you can view it for free, you can download it, do anything you want. That'll help you with that, but God is one in essence, and three in person. God is not one in the same way He is three. He is not three in the same way He is one. And I explain all of that. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit makes up the One True God. This is the Godhead. So we need to understand that the Spirit is God.
In fact, listen in John 14 to Jesus' words. He says: "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate." By the way, when He says another advocate that another means of the same type. In other words, Jesus who is God in the flesh is an advocate, but now He says, I'm going to give you another that is like me "to help you and be with you" when? "forever". He speaks of the eternality of the Spirit. So not only is He talking about Him in similar essence, another like me, but He also says that He's going to be with them, or the disciples or us forever.
In fact, in the New Testament, we see many mentions of the Holy Spirit being God. Look in Matthew chapter 28. So when we baptize, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead is mentioned here. And Jesus says, "It is in the authority of the fullness of God that we are to baptize Father, Son, Spirit. Jesus tells us that.
We also see, by the way, in the book of Acts, we'll go to it in just a minute but in the book of Acts there's a story about two people, Ananias and Sapphira, they're married. You may have read the story before. It's a very sobering story. They actually lied about some of the gifts that they were giving. They were giving money and land and that kind of stuff, and they held back on what they were really kind of saying that they were giving, which was not a good idea, as you're going to see. In fact, they both died as a result of that.
Listen to what Acts 5 says when Peter speaks to them. "Peter said 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have" listen to this "lied to the Holy Spirit". Remember that phrase. That you've lied to the Holy Spirit "and have kept for yourself some of the money that you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to" who? "God." What did it say, who did it say he lied to earlier? The Holy Spirit. And what does Peter say here? You have lied to God. So lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God because the Holy Spirit is in fact God.
And listen to how Paul phrases this in 1 Corinthians 2: "...these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." Why? Because the Spirit of God has the capacity of the mind of God because the Spirit of God is God. Father, Son, Spirit. We see that. There's many other illustrations, I'm going to stop right there.
So, we need to understand the nature of the Spirit of God. And the reason that I keep referring to the Spirit as a person is because the Spirit is not an inanimate force, the Spirit is not just a power, the Spirit has personhood. Listen carefully. Just as the Father and the Son have mind, will and emotion, personhood, so too does the Spirit. We saw from the verse that we just looked at that the Spirit thinks the thoughts of God, a mind.
But do you know also that the Spirit speaks? In fact, when we look a little further in John, in chapter 16 listen to what Jesus said. He said: "I've got much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears and He will tell you what is yet to come." So here's what we know at the very least about the Spirit. The Spirit speaks. And we're going to talk about that in the next few weeks, we're going to talk about how to hear the voice of the Spirit. The Spirit speaks.
You know what the Spirit also does? Listen to this, the Spirit has emotion as well. How do I know? Listen to what Paul says in Ephesians chapter 4: "Do not" what is the word? "do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." You can't grieve an inanimate force. You can't grieve power. You grieve a person.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, here's why you need to understand this. I'm going to tell you something that's going to help you. I didn't tell this in the first hour, but I'm going to tell you, just because I'm remembering it now because the Spirit's bringing it to my mind because you're the one's who need to hear it. Listen carefully, listen carefully. When you sin, you don't break a rule, you break a heart. Because the Spirit of God is a person. Did you catch that? That changes the dynamic. You don't just break a rule, you break a heart, because the Spirit can be grieved by our sin. That's super important for us to understand in our relationship with God. Because when you're treating it just as rules, that feels to you impersonal, like God is impersonal. But this is not impersonal. This is about obeying and honoring in a relationship.
And see, that the reason that we cannot speak of the Holy Spirit as this inanimate force or object or just as simply kind of this ethereal power, but we have to speak of his personhood, is because if we don't speak of his personhood, it makes some of the other Scriptures that talk about the Holy Spirit sounds senseless.
There are a number of illustrations. I'm going to give you one. In the book of Acts, listen to what is said in Acts chapter 10. "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power." If the Holy Spirit is only power, then that Scripture would have to say that God anointed Jesus with power and power. And that's just silly. He didn't anoint him with power and power. He anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. Why? Because there is a personhood, not just an inanimate force or kind of ethereal power.
Who is he? He's a promise. He's God. That's what we need to remember foundationally. We're going to talk a lot more about who the Holy Spirit is. But this is a foundation. So who is he? He's a promise. And he's God.
But let's ask a second question. What does he do? What does the Holy Spirit do? I'm going to give you a definition that I'm basically taking out of the text, and kind of taking pieces of what Jesus said and putting it together, so that we can have that. And I'll show that to you in just a second. But if you want a simple definition, write this down. Here it is. The Holy Spirit is the active presence of God in the world who calls attention to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the active presence of God in the world who calls attention to Jesus.
Now, I'm trying to buy you just a moment, because I know many of you are writing this down. Some of you that are not I know that you have photographic memories. Not really. But you're thinking to yourself, I'll be able to go back online and watch it, which is cool. The Holy Spirit is the active presence of God in the world who calls attention to Jesus.
Let's break that apart for just a second, listening to the words of Jesus. Listen to what Jesus said in John chapter 15 beginning in verse 26. When the Advocate, he's referring to the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, "When the Advocate, comes whom I will send to you from the Father - the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father - he will testify about me."
You see, the role of the Holy Spirit has to do with testifying to the world about Jesus. In fact, here's what it goes on to say in John chapter number 16. Listen to this. Jesus says, when the Holy Spirit comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. Here's how he says he's going to do that. And I'm going to break it down for you right here. Listen carefully. About sin, because people do not believe in me.
Stay right here for a second. In other words, the Holy Spirit is actively engaging the world so that the world will realize and have a sinner's conscience to recognize that they need a savior to save them from their sin. Because the world generally doesn't believe that. They don't think that they need a savior. But the Spirit of God shows the world that they're in the wrong about sin, and that we've all sinned and come short of the glory of God and are in need of a savior, who is dying in our place to satisfy the justice of God, because we could never save ourselves. So the Holy Spirit, even in that work, is pointing to Jesus.
He also says, the Holy Spirit is convincing the world that they're wrong about righteousness. Because, Jesus says, I'm going to the Father, where you can see me no longer. Do you know what Jesus is referring to here? He's referring to his finished work on the cross and through his resurrection. The completed atonement that he has done on behalf of the world. And that what the Spirit of God does it says to the world, you cannot earn your own righteousness. You can't do this yourself. It is only through the completed work of the perfect sinless Son of God, who went to a cross, dying in your place, because you owed a debt that you could not pay. He paid a debt that you were the one who owed. And because of his resurrection in conquering sin and hell and death and the grave on your behalf, you can be righteous only when you are found in the righteous One. You can never earn it yourselves. The Holy Spirit is pointing people to Jesus.
And then he says, and he's convincing the world that they're wrong about judgment. Why? Because the prince of this world now stands condemned. In other words, if you think that judgment in your mind is when you get a favorable rendering before God, even though you've done nothing to deserve it, the Spirit of God acts in the world in such a way to say no. This is actually about the condemnation of Satan and his works. That Jesus has come to destroy the works of the devil, so that people would not be bound in the kingdom of darkness, but would be transferred by faith into the kingdom light. You see, in every one of these ways the Holy Spirit is testifying about Jesus in the world.
Now with our last few minutes, here's what I want us to do. Because we're going to talk in the next few weeks about how the Spirit of God is active in the church. But we also want to see today how does the Holy Spirit testify about Jesus? Like how specifically does the Holy Spirit give testimony about Jesus? I'm going to give you three things before we're done, alright? I'm going to go through them reasonably quickly.
Here's the first one. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus by inspiring a book that reveals him. Do you know one of the great ministries and acts of the Holy Spirit in the world is authoring the Scripture? That this is one of the great acts of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Because do you know what the Scripture does? We just found out. We just went through a series from the Old Testament where we feasted on Jesus through feasts of God from the Old Testament before Jesus was even born. Because we realized that the whole of Scripture is testifying about Jesus. And do you know what the Holy Spirit has done? He has worked in the lives of the apostles and the prophets to put together for us a revelation of God specifically related to what Jesus would do on our behalf. Because his ministry and his role is to testify about him. So he's put together a book for us to reveal him to us.
In fact, listen to in John chapter number 16. Listen to these words. I'm going to camp in John 16 for these last few minutes. Jesus says, I've got much more to say to you, more than you can now bear, but when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you." Listen to what he says to his disciples. "He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own. He will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."
Aren't you glad for that promise? Because here's what it means. It means that even though the apostles who were walking with Jesus, the disciples who were walking with Jesus, even though they didn't write about him until a couple of decades after he resurrection, the Spirit of God said no worries. I've got you. And I'll bring to your remembrance everything you need to remember. And we'll tell the world a true story through your pen and through my inspiration. We'll tell the world a true story about Jesus, the savior of the world. Isn't that incredible? Like that God hasn't forgotten us? That he hasn't left us as orphans. That he's given us this beautiful revelation of himself.
In fact, when Peter writes about that, he credits the Spirit as well in 2nd Peter chapter 1. He says, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." You see, one of the ways in which the Spirit actively testifies about Jesus is that he inspired a book that tells us all about him.
Let me give you a second thing. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus by shaping believers into the image of Jesus. Now I'm using my words very carefully, but notice what I did not say. The Holy Spirit doesn't shape believers into the image of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not embodied. Jesus, who put on flesh, was. Snd therefore he is our brother in that regard. And so, what the Holy Spirit does, is he helps to release the life of Jesus while we live in this body, so that we can be - here's a big word for you - sanctified or set apart from sin, and set apart to God, so that the life of Jesus can be lived out through us by the power of the Spirit. This is what we learn from the ministry of the Spirit.
In fact, listen to what John says in verse number 14 of chapter 16. I'm sorry, what Jesus says in John. Jesus says,
he, the Spirit will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. In other words, Jesus is saying, what the Spirit is going to do is to appropriate my life in you. How beautiful is that? The image of Jesus is being formed in us by the Spirit.
Notice how Paul phrases this in second Corinthians three. He says, and we all who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image, with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. We continue to be transformed into the image of Jesus. Why is that so important? Here's why. Because what the world needs, the world needs the image of Jesus in our life, not just us. The world needs to see Jesus. When they look at us, through the power and the effective ministry of the Holy Spirit, they need to see the life of Jesus radiating through us. That's what changes the world. Jesus does. That's what gives us the opportunity to have confidence that he is transforming us, because it is the Spirit who's living in us, who's shaping us into the image of Jesus.
So not only does the Spirit testify about Jesus by giving us a book, inspiring a book that testifies about him, but he also shapes us as believers into his image, Jesus's image. But let me give you a third thing. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus by claiming a bride for him.
Okay this one's, I love. so I do have to give credit to Dr. Vines. He helped me with this. Because when you read this text in John 16, it doesn't seem like it's marriage language, unless you really are steeped in the Old Testament. But I want you to listen carefully to what John 16 verse 15 says. Jesus says, all that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.
Now, this is almost like hidden wedding language from the Old Testament. And you don't see it when you first read it. And I'll be honest with you, I didn't see it when I first read it either. So I'm glad there's smarter people who I can read who sometimes help me see things that I haven't seen, right?
I sometimes have people come to me and they'll say, man you showed me things in that text I've never seen in my life. I've been walking with Jesus for 30 years. And I'm like, well thank God. But you know what else I say? I've got other people showing me things that I've never seen either. It just works that way, right? God's gracious to us in that way.
Let me see if I can help us understand this just a little bit. There's a story, and I'm not going to go to the text. I'm going to tell you where it is. It's in Genesis chapter 24. And you can go back there eventually. Don't go there now, because it's a long story and you won't be able to read it all. I'm going to summarize it. But you can go back and read it if you want. And the story is like a picture. It's a true story. It happened historically, it's real. These are real people, real events, real history. But there is kind of a type that we can understand from that Old Testament story. The reason that I'm willing to use that. You can't allegorize everything in the Bible, that's crazy. And that's bad bad interpretation practice. But what we know from Galatians 4 is that Paul actually used Isaac as an allegory, and he says so very clearly as the child of promise. And he kind of gave us some of that. So I'm actually just building on what Paul actually said in the Scripture that we could do. So I'm in good company.
And so, here's what happened in that story. In Genesis chapter 24, it's a story about Abraham sending for a bride for Isaac, his son. Okay? That's the story. So what he does is Abraham takes a servant who is unnamed. He doesn't have a name. And he takes his nameless servant, and upon that servant, he gives him ten camels. Ten camels full of gifts. Right on, ladies. You're going, this is starting out good, right? Ten camels full of gifts. The servant takes off now.
Now, so that you understand the type, here's what you're going to see if you read the story. That Abraham is kind of a picture of God the Father. Not is God the Father. Is a type, is a picture of God the Father. Isaac is a picture of God the Son. The servant is a picture of the Holy Spirit. And Rebecca is a picture of the sought-after bride.
So what happens is Abraham sends the servant. And the servant takes gifts and goes and looks for a bride. Are you following this? In fact, when you're reading here, it seems interesting, because Jesus said, all that belongs to the Father is mine. That's why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.
So in the story, here's how kind of what happens. The servant finds Rebekah through a series of events that he knew this was the Lord's direction. And the servant finally finds Rebekah and he shows her all of the gifts that are on the camels. Now she's not that enamored with the gifts. Her brother Laban is very enamored with the gifts. He's like oh, I like the gifts, right? Laban's really enamored. She's not so much there. She's thinking about who the servant is talking about. He's talking about Isaac. And he's telling all about Isaac. And I'm sure that he said something like this to Rebekah. The servant probably said, you see all of this? It belongs to Abraham. And because it belongs to Abraham, it belongs to his son Isaac. And if you become Isaac's bride, it belongs to you.
So, Rebecca who's not as consumed with the gifts as Laban is. By the way that's another good illustration. She decides yes, I'm going to go back with you. And she decides to go back with the servant. And here's what happens. When they're on their long journey home, just about the time that they're about to get back, in the distance, Isaac is standing in the field. And she asks the servant, who is that? And here's what the servant says. That's him. There he is. And then do you know what happens? The servant fades out of the story because his job was to get the bride to the son.
And do you know what Rebekah does? Rebecca doesn't look at the gifts. Rebecca doesn't have her eyes on the servant. She only has eyes for Isaac. Are you following this?
You see, this is what it looks like in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, because what the Holy Spirit does is the Holy Spirit is bringing a bride to the son. The Father sends the Spirit. The Son also sent the Spirit by the way. The father and son send the Spirit. The Spirit captivates a bride for the son. And does not point all the attention to the Spirit, but instead points our attention to the matchless Son of God. Because that is what Jesus said the Spirit would do. When he comes he is going to testify about me. That's why I want you to understand this definition. That we can remember the idea that Jesus is the active I'm sorry the Holy Spirit is the active presence of God in the world, and that he calls attention to Jesus.
So, would you rather have Jesus beside you or the Spirit inside of you? Well, Jesus answers that question pretty plainly in chapter 16 verse 7. Very truly I tell you, Jesus says, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. Jesus is saying, this is actually for your benefit. Not that I stay in fleshed, but that if I go, I will send to you the Spirit that will not be suspended in time to be in one location at one time, but will be in all of my people. That everywhere they go, I go. This is to your benefit, and it is to the world's benefit.
This does not detract from the incarnation of Jesus. The incarnation of Jesus.. if Jesus doesn't come and put on flesh, we will not be saved. But Jesus also knew that he would leave, so that he would send the Advocate, the Spirit of God, who would live inside of us and would then sanctify us, growing us in the image of Jesus, so that there would be little Jesuses walking around everywhere. We are not exactly like the Son of God, because we still live in flesh and we still fight with that. But we have the power of the Son of God living his life out through us in the Holy Spirit, who is appropriating the life of Jesus in and through our lives.
So, what is the Holy Spirit revealing to you today? Is he possibly revealing to you your need of a savior? Is he revealing to you that you have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and you could never save yourself, so you better stop trying? Or maybe, is the Holy Spirit revealing to you that you need to spend more time in the book that he authored so that you can get to know the Son of God more deeply and be more shaped into his image? Or is the Holy Spirit revealing to you that you need to stop with having gift envy, and paying attention to that, to the exclusion of having your eyes and your heart's affection on the Son of God alone? I don't know what he's revealing to you. But I pray you'll respond to whatever he says.
Here's the good news. He can be trusted, because he has not forgotten you. And the proof is the Holy Spirit of God. Let's bow our heads together.
Before we're dismissed, if you're here and you need to entrust your life to Jesus, here's what I'm going to ask you to do. If the Spirit revealed to you that you need to confess your sin, to entrust your life to Christ, then when we dismiss in just a moment, I want you to walk right across the atrium into the Fireside Room. There's pastors, prayer partners in there. Do what the Spirit says.
Father, for those of us who claim to know you, who've been transformed, born from above, I pray that we would always remember that Holy Spirit, you were always bringing people to Jesus, shaping them into his image, preparing us as a bride for our bridegroom. And I pray that we would yield and we would submit to your leadership in our lives. Some of us, we need your prompting and your reminder today that we need to spend time in your Word, so that we can see the glory of who God is in all of his fullness, and the revelation of Jesus in our lives. For others of us, you're going to shape us more into your image by helping us not have such a concentration on gifts, as beautiful and as good and as from you as they are. But that maybe we've looked at them so focusedly, that we have lost sight of Jesus, the one who is our affection, our life, the resurrection and the life.
So Lord, whatever it is you're saying by your Spirit to your people, would you give me and us all a submissive heart to yield to you, because you can be trusted, because you promised that you would not leave us as orphans. That you would come to us, and you have made good on your promise by the gift of your Spirit, who is a deposit, a down payment guaranteeing what is to come. May we remember that we have not been forgotten by the One who loves us. And may we never forget you. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
God bless you folks. I love you. Have a great week.