Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Holy Spirit: Teacher of Truth

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. - John 14:26

I've been studying verse by verse through Hebrews lately.  I admit, Hebrews was once one of my least favorite books of the New Testament, along with Revelations, because I had such a hard time understanding huge chunks of it. Not long ago, I began delving deeper into both of these books longing for understanding and wisdom so I might better understand God's truths.  I am glad to report Hebrews is becoming one of my favorite books of the New Testament thanks to the Spirit's grace in giving me the understanding I asked for.

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:2)

As I read through it, I am filled with such deep adoration for God. It's hard to explain, really.  This giddiness just swells within me, and I literally feel like dancing.  It's too much for this little body to contain so it often pours out in songs of praise and joy- some which are made up on the spot, others which have been unintentionally memorized.

I would say, what I love about the Hebrews letter most is that it helps me understand the Old Testament better.  Here's another confession. I once tried to steer clear of the Old Testament.  Before I "came to Christ", I was a bible reader. I have been reading my bible since I learned to read but, of course, much of it was such a mystery to me because God had yet to lift the veil from my eyes. The OT seemed out-dated, so I didn't read it unless it was part of our group study, and even then, I did so with lackluster efforts. (Now I love it!! I did not understood how it pointed to Christ. I really was so clueless!)

After I submitted my life to Christ, I mainly focused on the New Testament. Even though I had been reading my bible nearly all my life, I had read it through a filter where much of the Scripture had been twisted.  I had put my trust in men to interpret it for me and, well, many of them had steered me wrong.

The amazing thing about walking in Christ is that the Holy Spirit becomes your teacher.  I begged God to remove my "filter" and wash away the false ideas and teachings I had accumulated over my lifetime and to fill me with His Truth as I read the bible with new eyes (and as a new creation in Christ).

That was five years ago, and I am still amazed by God's Word.  It seems this education takes a lifetime, and God is always revealing more and more to those who honestly seek Him and ask of Him!  While I love to listen to bold and biblical preachers and read articles and blogs written by those who walk in the faith, their words can never compare to the simple reading of the bible.  Does God open my eyes to things in His Word through others? Sure! Does He use others to convict me or encourage me? Most definitely! But it is actually those moments when I am alone with His Word that I am taught, convicted, and encouraged the most.

John 16:13 states, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [...]" How wonderful is that? What a blessing! What a gift!

Spurgeon, in his sermon The Holy Ghost- The Great Teacher, said, "There is no college for holy education like that of the blessed Spirit, for He is an ever-present tutor, to whom we have only to bend the knee, and He is at our side, the great expositor of Truth."

He definitely echos my own thoughts in this sermon... and I'd like to leave a larger excerpt with you:

This is none other than God, and this God is none other than a person. This person is "he, the Spirit," the "Spirit of truth;" not an influence or an emanation, but actually a person. "when the Spirit of truth is come, he shall guide you into all truth." Now, we wish you to look at this guide to consider how adapted he is to us.

In the first place, he is infallible; he knows everything and cannot lead us astray. If I pin my sleeve to another man's coat, he may lead me part of the way rightly, but by-and-bye he will go wrong himself, and I shall be led astray with him; but if I give myself to the Holy Ghost and ask his guidance, there is no fear of my wandering.

Again, we rejoice in this Spirit because he is ever-present. We fall into a difficulty sometimes; we say, "Oh, if I could take this to my minister, he would explain it; but I live so far off, and am not able to see him." That perplexes us, and we turn the text round and round and cannot make anything out of it. We look at the commentators. We take down pious Thomas Scott, and, as usual he says nothing about it if it be a dark passage. Then we go to holy Matthew Henry, and if it is an easy Scripture, he is sure to explain it; but if it is a text hard to be understood, it is likely enough, of course, left in his own gloom; and even Dr. Gill himself, the most consistent of commentators, when he comes to a hard passage, manifestly avoids it in some degree. But when we have no commentator or minister, we have still the Holy Spirit; and let me tell you a little secret: whenever you cannot understand a text, open your Bible, bend your knee, and pray over that text; and if it does not split into atoms and open itself, try again. If prayer does not explain it, it is one of the things God did not intend you to know, and you may be content to be ignorant of it. Prayer is the key that openeth the cabinets of mystery. Prayer and faith are sacred picklocks that can open secrets, and obtain great treasures. There is no college for holy education like that of the blessed Spirit, for he is an ever-present tutor, to whom we have only to bend the knee, and he is at our side, the great expositor of truth.

But there is one thing about the suitability of this guide which is remarkable. I do not know whether it has struck you—the Holy Spirit can "guide us into a truth." Now, man can guide us to a truth, but it is only the Holy Spirit who can "guide us into a truth." "When he, the Spirit of truth, shall come, he shall guide you into"—mark that word—"all truth." Now, for instance, it is a long while before you can lead some people to election; but when you have made them see its correctness, you have not led them "into" it. You may show them that it is plainly stated in Scripture, but they will turn away and hate it. You take them to another great truth, but they have been brought up in a different fashion, and though they cannot answer your arguments, they say, "The man is right, perhaps," and they whisper—but so low that conscience itself cannot hear—"but it is so contrary to my prejudices, that I cannot receive it." After you have led them to the truth, and they see it is true, how hard it is to lead them into it! There are many of my hearers who are brought to the truth of their depravity, but they are not brought into it, and made to feel it. Some of you are brought to know the truth that God keeps us from day to day; but you rarely get into it, so as to live in continual dependence upon God the Holy Ghost, and draw fresh supplies from him. The thing is—to get inside it. A Christian should do with truth as a snail does with his shell—live inside it, as well as carry it on his back, and bear it perpetually about with him. The Holy Ghost, it is said, shall lead us into all truth. You may be brought to a chamber where there is an abundance of gold and silver, but you will be no richer unless you effect an entrance. It is the Spirit's work to unbar the two leaved gates, and bring us into a truth, so that we may get inside it, and, as dear old Rowland Hill said, "Not only hold the truth, but have the truth hold us."

[Read the whole sermon here.]

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