The Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God

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Series: The Kingdom of God; The Holy Spirit

Sun am 22 May  2016– Kobus Swart

Rom. 14:17-18; Isaiah 32:14-17; (2 Cor. 3:6); (John 4:24); Acts 2; Gen. 1:2; (Gen. 8:7-12); John 7:38-39; John 20:22-23; (Ps. 51:11); Rom. 8:2-11; (Col. 2:9); John 1:1, 14; Matt. 12:3-32; Eph. 4:30-32; 1 Cor. 14:18; 1 Cor. 4:15-20; Matt. 3:1-17; (Matt. 4:1-11); Acts 10:38; 1 John 3:8;John 3:3-5; (Heb. 5:8); Ezek. 36:25-27; Eph. 5:26; John 6:63; Joel 2:28; (Acts 19:1-6)

There is no Kingdom without the Holy Spirit. There is no true Christian without the Holy Spirit, and there is no born again or sonship experience without the Holy Spirit. These teachings should lead to a divine encounter and not remain just teachings.

Nobody can ever decode the mystery of the Trinity. We will look at Scriptures that will remove some of the confusion that has come in the last two seasons regarding the Holy Spirit. Hidden in Old Testament verses are pointers to the coming Kingdom of God (Isaiah 32:14-17). In a special way the coming of the Holy Spirit will virtually be identical with the establishing of the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit has always been there, but He came in a very special expression after the ascension of Jesus. Tozer says:  Satan has hindered us all he could by raising conflicting opinions about the Holy Spirit, by making Him a topic for hot and uncharitable debate between Christians.  It would help us if we could remember that the Spirit is Himself God.  … we know only as much of the other two persons of the Trinity as He reveals to us. It is His light on the face of Christ which enables us to know Him.  It is His light within us which enables us to understand the Scriptures.” You cannot understand the Scriptures without the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit the letter kills (2 Cor. 3:6). Tozer says: “Without Him the word of truth is only darkness.  The Spirit is sent to be our friend, to guide us over the long way home, He is Christ’s own self come to live with us, allowing Him to fulfil His word.  And Jesus said ‘Surely I am with you always’, even while He sits at the right hand of the Majesty in the Heavens.

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters (Gen. 1:2). It was God who was hovering over the waters. God is Spirit (John 4:24). He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:38-39).  God is Spirit. Tozer said: “These functions of the Spirit imply that nothing less than the personal activity of God is explicitly made synonymous with God’s own presence”

Is there a difference between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ? In Romans 8:2-11 Paul speaks interchangeably about ‘the Spirit’, ‘the Spirit of God’, ‘the Spirit of Christ’, ‘Christ’ and by implication, God. The Spirit is not a third entity. If we think that, we try to decode the Trinity on a human level. Yet God can manifest Himself as the Holy Spirit. God became visible to this world in His Son.  Tozer says: “The Spirit therefore is actually the first fruits and guarantee of the total transformation of the believer which will be completed when the body as well as the human spirit has become spiritual, that is open to the creative working of God’s Spirit in the pattern of Christ.” In Him the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. How can you separate Christ from God? (Col. 2:9). Yet Jesus did nothing unless He saw the Father do it (John 5:19). Let us not try on the human level to describe God.

In the genesis of the New Testament we read, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1:1). And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:14), all expressed in the Son in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily and in a generation called ‘Christ’ in the earth; the 42nd generation that will fill the earth.

There is a warning about the unpardonable sin. Jesus said, Therefore I say to you, Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matt. 12:31-32). “Blasphemy” means slander, or abusive language.  Blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. We have to take this very seriously. Eugene Peterson translates “if you reject the Son of man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you. But when you reject the Holy Spirit, you are sawing off the branch on which you are sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the one who forgives”. That is what happens when you sin against the Holy Spirit. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). Read the verse in context with the rest of the chapter.  What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit? Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Eph. 4:31-32). If you do not walk with a forgiving spirit, you are on dangerous ground.  Be tender-hearted; love one another because God has forgiven us.

During the Pentecostal and Charismatic seasons, a lot of confusion resulted about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is Biblical but what we need to see is the fruit of it.  What do we understand by the word “power”? For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power (moral power and excellence of soul) (1 Cor. 4:20-Amplified Classic). Eugene Peterson in the Message: God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life.  Are you a Kingdom citizen? Then let it show in an empowered life. Then read:  For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers (1 Cor. 4:15).  What does it mean?  We have too many teachers, all they do is talk. We do not need just teaching, we need an impartation from an empowered life; we need more than doctrine.

Read the different Gospels and see the same story about the baptism of Jesus, our pattern Son.  Read Matthew 3:1-17, Therefore, bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Repentance must bear fruit in the change of mind that we need.  Repentance means change the way you think. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” The Holy Spirit like a dove?  What does that mean?  That takes us back to Genesis 1:2:  The spirit of God was vibrating, brooding or hovering over the waters. Why?  Because there was a new creation ready to happen! Associate the dove this this: After the flood when the waters were subsiding and they were still in the ark, Noah let a dove go out. When did Noah know that the judgment was over and it was time for a new beginning?  When the dove came back with an olive branch! (Gen. 8:7-12)

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy spirit and with power … (Acts 10:38). Another explanation of His purpose, The Son of god appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Read this in the different Gospels.  When Jesus came out of the water of baptism, the Holy Spirit came upon Him and the Gospel of Mark says immediately He was impelled to go into the wilderness (Matt. 4:1). Christianity has become very powerless, very weak.  He paved the way, He is the pattern Son.  He was filled with the Holy Spirit and power, He was identified by His heavenly father “this is My Son”. Now being filled with the Holy Spirit, He was driven into the wilderness to encounter the devil. Why? His identity as a Son was challenged.  We talk about sonship, about the Kingdom, about the Holy Spirit.  Jesus, the Son of God is being declared the Son of God, is challenged by the devil, “If you are the Son of God …” (Matt. 4:1-11). Think about your own testimony.  How many times have you been under the dealings of God, challenged by the devil, and you doubt your identity as a son? The test of sonship is in the face of opposition, in the face of tragedy, in the face of satan challenging you to stand firm. The difference was when Jesus finally said “Satan, it is written…” and by implication, “I am the Word made flesh”, and satan left Him. Jesus was tempted in all things as we are.  He is the pioneer of our salvation. He is not asking us to go through things that He did not go through.  He paved the way. He learnt obedience by the things He suffered (Heb. 5:8).

Let us bring the two together: Holy Spirit and kingdom. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then you know that the kingdom of God has come upon you (Matt. 12:28). The demonstration of power by the Holy Spirit is a manifestation of the kingdom of God.

In your own experience, where are you?  It is not about coming to church every Sunday or reading your Bible when you have time or when you are in trouble you pray. Think about your own experience. You cannot be born again without the Holy Spirit. You cannot see the Kingdom of God; you cannot enter it without being born of the water of the Word and the Spirit (John 3:3-5). Water baptism in itself does not save you; it is a declaration that you have died with Christ and you are risen with Him. It is a declaration and it has power in your life. You have your own testimony. Water and the Spirit, see also Ezek. 36:25-27 and Eph. 5:26. Water is normally a symbol of the Word.  So you must be born with water and the Spirit; by the Word of God and the Spirit because the Word without the Spirit is just the letter, and the letter kills.  Jesus said “the words I speak are life and Spirit” (John 6:63).

There is yet a great outpouring coming (Joel 2:28). The Spirit of God was poured out in Acts 2, but also subsequently in the history of New Testament Church. Paul came to Ephesus where Apollos was ministering and many had been converted yet Paul sensed something was missing. They had not heard about the Holy Spirit and they had only been baptised into John’s baptism. Paul laid hands on them and they began to speak in tongues (Acts 19:1-6). Paul stayed there for a long time and talked about the kingdom of God. This is what is missing in the Church. My heart’s desire is for an impartation; to see transformation; to equip the saints for the work of service. A Word filled with life and Spirit leads you to an encounter with God and you change the world wherever you go.

I pray that your hearts will be impacted, that there will be an encounter like you have never had before. The manifestation is not the issue but that you will not sit passively but that you will absorb and let the Word become flesh and change your life.