Friday, April 21, 2006

A Conditional Promise

Like most children Andy loved dessert. He always looked forward to eat dessert. He especially loved ice-cream. But, his parents had a rule and were insistent on it. The rule was that he ate all his vegetables before he could have dessert. He did not like vegetables as much as dessert. In fact if he could skip vegetables to eat dessert he would be very happy. But, his parents never let him. They were very strict about their rule. Andy of course, thought that if he could skip vegetables he could eat more dessert. He thought that his parents were just giving him a hard time. One day Andy decided to defy his parents. He would not eat vegetables. They insisted, but the more they insisted the more Andy defied them. After a while they left him alone. And he thought, “I won the battle.” Soon every one at the table was ready for dessert. They took the plates away, including Andy’s plate with vegetables. After this, every one in the table received a bowl of ice-cream. Andy, thought, “Yeah, now I can eat a lot more than usual because the tummy is not full.” But, to his surprise they gave him no bowl with ice-cream. So he asked, “Where is my ice-cream?” Daddy looked at him with a very stern look, “You refuse to eat your vegetables, so therefore you get no ice-cream.” Andy did not know the exact meaning of therefore, but he understood what his Daddy said. So he asked, “If I eat my veggies now, will you give me some ice-cream?” His mother answered, “What veggies will you eat, Andy?” He looked at the table and realized they had taken away his plate. It was too late for Andy. He was very sad that day. He learned a very hard lesson. Andy’s parents would onlt fulfill the promise of ice cream to Andy, if he ate his vegetables.

The title of this week’s lesson is “The Promise of the Spirit.” We see in Scriptures that He was promised to us. Yet, we see no indication that God has fulfilled His promise. Has God not kept His word? Or is it that we as Andy have not fulfilled a condition for God to keep His promise. Hebrews 1:9 – which has the word therefore - can give us the answer. This verse says about Jesus,

Hebrews 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

This verse is a perfect example of cause and effect. The word “Therefore” means: For that reason or cause; consequently or hence. What this means is that the first clause of the sentence causes the second clause. So we could rewrite the sentence, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; for that reason God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” We know that oil represents the Holy Spirit. And the term - fellows - refers to the partners of Jesus – meaning us. In other words, Christ was anointed with the Holy Spirit farther more than us, because He hated iniquity and loved righteousness. Not because He was God, but because as the Son of man, who assumed the likeness of sinful flesh, He hated iniquity and loved Righteousness.

This implies that the reason why we have not been anointed or filled with the Holy Spirit, as much as Jesus was, is because we love iniquity and hate righteousness. In other words we yield to our Sinful desires and resist the Holy Spirit’s prompting to convict us of Sin. This may answer why God has not answered our prayer for the pouring of the latter rain. If He were to fill us with the Spirit while we are still cherishing Sin, we would be consumed or killed. Remember no sinner can see God and live.

How about the disciples? Were they not anointed with the Spirit and fire? Yes, they were. Were they not sinners too? Yes, they were. However, during the days they spent tarrying in the upper chamber, they poured themselves over the scripture, prayed, and as they were convicted of Sin, they yielded to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. As they yielded to the conviction, they confessed and repented. The more they yielded to the Spirit’s conviction, confessed, and repented, the more the Holy Spirit would dwell in them and they in the Spirit. This process continued until the Spirit filled them with His presence so much, that they virtually became one with the Spirit as Christ was one with the Father. Once they were one with the Spirit they became corporately united themselves. They abandoned all selfish, self-centered, and self-aggrandizing desires. Once they allowed the Spirit to show them all things from the perspective of the Cross, like Paul, all things became rubbish and Christ became their all.

Should we pray for the fulfillment of the promise of the Spirit? Not unless we want to die. What should be our prayer? It should be that we yield to the Spirit’s prompting of convicting us of Sin. It should be that we confess Sin and repent. As with the disciples the more we do this, the more the Spirit will dwell in us. And, it will be that one day we will be so filled with the Spirit that we will be one with Him, and He one with us. And, therefore we will be one with those who are one with the Holy Spirit.

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