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Sunday, January 31, 2010

What does the Holy Spirit do?

              "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you

            into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he

         shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come."

                                                                                                                    John 16:13

        "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

                                                                                                                Romans 8:14

A while back we had a series of lessons in our midweek Bible class on the Holy Spirit. During that study I made some notes to myself on this subject with the intent to someday editorialize on it. Well, today's the day.

Now I'll be the first to acknowledge that there have been a myriad (means "a whole lot") of writers, preachers and teachers that have already written a myriad of books and lessons about the Holy Spirit and "He" has been studied from just about all angles possible. But, the fact that others have opined about a particular subject before has never deterred me in the past and it won't today. I'm going to throw my proverbial "two cents" into the arena for you to consider.

I'll also tell you, as regards some of the other writings on this subject, that many of them are very "deep" in nature, obviously stemming from a deep-thinking person, but my thinking ability operates in fairly shallow waters, shall we say. Based upon the above provided passages and some others that I'll refer you to, I intend to offer you, at least what I perceive to be, a pretty simple lesson. So, let's get started.

The direction of my lesson today is to show what the Holy Spirit is, and what He does. I refer to the Holy Spirit in the masculine gender because that's how the Bible refers to Him (John 16:13). And, in doing so, I'll present it in a manner that I hope will be easy to understand and not as confusing as some lessons I've read and heard on this subject.

Let me start off by asking you if you've ever been lost? Like in a forest or a wilderness area that you were unfamiliar with? I've been a hunter all of my adult life and I have to answer that question with a "yes." And, trust me, it isn't hard to do either. But, when that happened I had gotten separated from my companions and was out there on my own. Now, let me tell you something else from my hunting exploits. On the hunts where I had a "guide," I never got lost.

You see, in my simple way of understanding, and regardless of what some people will tell you, the Bible is not hard to understand, so here's my definition of what the Holy Spirit is and what He does.

Simply stated, the Holy Spirit is a "Guide." Jesus called Him "the Spirit of Truth" and told His disciples that when He came, He would "guide them into all truth." Then when you turn to Romans the 8th chapter, verse 14, we find that those who are "led by the Spirit of God" are those God considers to be His children.

God's Word, "The Truth" that was brought by the Holy Spirit, also refers to Him as "The Comforter." (John 14:26) That title is not deep or confusing when you consider the picture we've drawn here. If you answered in the affirmative my earlier question about ever being lost, can you not easily see what a comfort a "guide" can be? How comforting it is to know that you have someone that "knows the way" to home or safety?

Allow me a little writer's discretion here in order to paraphrase what Christ told His disciples would happen when The Comforter came. He told them that He would lead them "into all truth." That He would "teach them" and that He would bring to them "remembrance of all things." (John 14:26) Thus, the Holy Spirit provided The Gospel of Christ to those who put it on paper for us to know. I ask you, does it take any great mental leap for us to see how the Holy Spirit "guides" us today?

The underlying theme of the book of Proverbs is to know and understand the "wisdom of God" and to know that by following it as a guide, that it will lead its followers to righteousness. Proverbs also points out that "man's wisdom" is a poor guide and if we follow it, we'll be lost. Not just while traveling through life, but lost eternally. Basically, we could say that there is no "comfort" in following the lead of man because the ways he guides us may look alright, but at the end of the trail we'll find that he's led us into "the ways of death." (Prov. 14:12)

Okay, here's the simple culmination to our simple lesson on the Holy Spirit. We have the choice of following whatever guide we want to follow. We can follow ourselves, but if we do so we'll find that we have no way of finding our own way to heaven. We're a poor guide and heaven help us if we are so presumptuous as to try to lead others there by our reckoning. (Remember the "blind leading the blind?")

If we choose to follow some other guide who may tell us they know the way, just understand that they are no better as a guide than we are. We're still going to be lost in the "wilderness of sin." The only reliable guide we can have to lead us to the place of eternal safety, and be our Comforter on the way, is the Holy Spirit. That's why Paul told us in Romans that those who "are led by the Spirit of God" are children of God. (I encourage you to also read verses 1-27 in Romans 8 regarding my presentation of the Holy Spirit.)

And here's the final thought we can derive from Paul's statement there. In hunter's terms, God only has one "licensed guide" and that is His Holy Spirit. Thus, those following "unlicenced guides" cannot and will not be His Children. Again, it's a matter of choice and should we so choose, just be forewarned that there will be no comfort either on the journey or at the end.

Ron Covey

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