THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT

THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The work of the Spirit can be divided into two main categories: furnishing power to the work of the ministry, and forming Christ in the believers. The first category is that of the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh. The purpose of this is to revive the purposes of God in the churches and also to bear witness to the nations of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God. Signs and wonders, healings, miracles, the gifts and ministries of the Spirit, come under this category.

The second category is that of the moral transformation of individual believers. The first category is the means. The second category is the end product. The purpose of the outpouring of the Spirit is to produce moral transformation in the Christians so they may govern the members of the nations who have repented and turned to God.

Table of Contents

Introduction

The Outpouring of the Spirit on All Flesh

The Moral Transformation of the Christians

Conclusion

THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28,29)

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, To prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Introduction

The work of the Spirit can be divided into two main categories: furnishing power to the work of the ministry, and forming Christ in the believers. The first category is that of the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh. The purpose of this is to revive the purposes of God in the churches and also to bear witness to the nations of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God. Signs and wonders, healings, miracles, the gifts and ministries of the Spirit, come under this category.

The second category is that of the moral transformation of individual believers. The first category is the means. The second category is the end product. The purpose of the outpouring of the Spirit is to produce moral transformation in the Christians so they may govern the members of the nations who have repented and turned to God.

The new Jerusalem, which is the Lampstand of God, the eternal Witness of God, is produced by the miraculous working of the Spirit. It is termed the "holy city" because of the moral transformation of the Christians, which also is produced by the Holy Spirit.

The gifts and the fruit of the Spirit are both necessary if an effective witness is to be borne. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to produce the fruit of the Spirit. We see the fullness of the power of the Spirit, and the fullness of the fruit of the Spirit, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ—the Greatest of all the witnesses of God.

For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. (John 3:34)

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. (Revelation 3:14)

If Christ had demonstrated supernatural power but had not been morally pure, we would never believe He was of God. If Christ had been morally pure but had not demonstrated supernatural power, we would regard Him as a philosopher. It requires both the power of the Spirit and the moral purity of Christ if the Divine witness is to be borne.

The two categories of the work of the Spirit are presented in the Book of Revelation, Chapters Eleven and Twelve. There is the Holy-Spirit-inspired witness of the Kingdom of God, in Chapter Eleven; and then there is the birth of the Ruler of the ages to come, in Chapter Twelve.

The final witness of the coming of the Kingdom is represented by the two lampstands of Revelation, Chapter Eleven. The double portion of the Holy Spirit is portrayed by the two olive trees.

The forming of Christ in the believers is represented by the male Son of Revelation, Chapter Twelve. The same group of people will participate in the end_time witness and in the inner formation of Christ.

During the closing days of the Church Age the Holy Spirit will empower the saints to bear witness with unprecedented power. At the same time Christ, the Ruler of the following age, the Kingdom Age, will be being formed in the saints.

We understand, then, that the first category of the work of the Holy Spirit is that of furnishing power to the ministry and of bearing witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The second category of the work of the Holy Spirit has to do with bringing each member of the Body of Christ to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

These two categories must be kept in balance. If we overemphasize the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh, then we lose sight of the Divine goal. In times of revival it is not difficult to forget the goal and profit from the present blessings: the multitude of people; the miracles of healing; the prominence of the ministers who are involved; and so forth. People are excited and enjoying what is taking place.

We must pray for the outpouring of the Spirit. If we do not have more of the Holy Spirit in the churches in America our nation may be destroyed. The only hope we have of survival is that the Holy Spirit will be poured out on us so there will be the power needed to perform the work of the ministry.

We must keep in mind, however, that God’s goal is righteous behavior throughout His creation. It is easy to forget this in times of revival because of the exciting events taking place. This especially is true of Divine healing. When an afflicted person is healed, there is such joy on the part of everyone that healing becomes an end in itself. Supernatural healing is a sign that points the way toward righteous behavior. When we make the sign the destination, the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit soon are withdrawn.

The Outpouring of the Spirit on All Flesh

According to the Scriptures there is to be an outpouring of the Spirit before the Church age comes to an end. This outpouring is termed the latter, or spring rains. The spring rains of the land of Israel are mentioned six times, sometimes with prophetic significance.

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— Then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. (Deuteronomy 11:13,14)

They do not say to themselves, "Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest." (Jeremiah 5:24)

Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. (Joel 2:23)

Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. (Hosea 6:3)

Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone. (Zechariah 10:1)

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. (James 5:7)

The spring rains will furnish the power necessary for the great end-time witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24;14)

The end-time witness of the Kingdom is portrayed symbolically in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation.

And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)

The two witnesses are Christ and His Body. These are the two Lampstands of God. The second Lampstand is being prepared now, as the Spirit of God moves through the Christian churches and purifies those who are determined to do the will of the Lord Jesus.

Notice that we are encouraged to "ask the Lord for rain in the springtime." This is the harvest rain that will come at the end of the age, the rain the "Farmer" is waiting for.

The time of the spring rain is now. If we will pray, God will send the rain of the Spirit on us. The Christian churches need the rain of the Spirit. Our nation needs the rain of the Spirit. We must beseech the Lord earnestly and continually about this.

There are at least two things we must do if we are to receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The first thing we must do is to be strictly obedient to God. When we pray for revival, God may show us things in our life that need correcting. We must correct them immediately if we expect God to give us of His Spirit.

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:32)

"God has given to those who obey him."

It is fashionable today to pray to the Holy Spirit, or to attempt to direct the Holy Spirit. We are not to do either of these things. We are to obey God. When we obey God, God will give us more of the Holy Spirit.

The second thing we must do if we desire more of the Holy Spirit is to ask. We must ask, and keep on asking until we receive. We are to seek, and keep on seeking until we find the Spirit. We are to knock, and keep on knocking until the Lord opens the windows of Heaven.

So I say to you: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11:9,10)

We must ask God to give us the desire and the strength to pray until Heaven is opened and the Spirit is poured out on us.

Many Christians know of the great outpourings of the past, such as that in Wales and also at Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. Those were marvelous days. God wants the same outpouring to take place in our day.

Ordinarily, though not exclusively, the outpouring of God’s Spirit occurs after one person or a number of people pray persistently. We must ask and keep on asking. We must be persistent, knowing that God will not give us something harmful. He will send His Spirit to us.

There is only so much we can do with our diligent efforts. In order for the fruit of the Spirit to come forth there must be the rain of the Spirit.

Our nation is in grave danger at this time. We desperately need an outpouring of God’s Spirit to fall upon us.

It is interesting that Jesus and the Spirit could not be here at the same time. The Lord had to return to the Father so the Spirit could come.

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)

Why couldn’t the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit be on earth at the same time? They shall be on the earth in the future, when the Lord comes. I think the reason they both could not be here at that time has to do with the fact that Christ had to be crucified, and then His body and blood made available to us so the Spirit could use the body and blood of Christ to build the Church.

The Kingdom is internal before it is external. Christ could not install the Kingdom of God in us before He was crucified and ascended to the Father. Now Christ comes through the Spirit and feeds us with His body and blood. In this way the Kingdom is formed in us.

The Lord Jesus is in Heaven with the Father. He is willing to pour out His Spirit on us in order to further the witness in the earth. But we must be absolutely obedient if we are to receive the Spirit. And we must ask! ask! ask! and keep on asking until we receive.

I think the Lord is ready and willing to pour out His Spirit on us. But first we must be ready to receive.

There must be no more glorifying of man when God moves in power. It is to be a sackcloth ministry, as we read in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation.

Today there is a tendency toward making a business out of what is supposed to be the work of the Holy Spirit. We hear of marketing techniques being applied. The emphasis is on larger and larger numbers of people.

We excuse our fleshly efforts by saying we want to get people saved. This may be true in some cases, but too often ministers and denominations are building their own kingdoms.

The building of the Kingdom of God is not a business. It is not to be operated by business techniques. It is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord. We need the fire of God’s Spirit and His holiness more than we need demographic studies.

Today in the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement we are attempting to finish in the flesh what was begun in the Spirit. We have our hand on the Ark, and we are dying as a result. All the management techniques in the world are only going to bring confusion and destroy the work of God.

One thing is needed, and that is for Christian people to humble themselves and repent. If we will turn from the church-building techniques and seek holiness, seek righteousness, seek obedience, I believe God will hear us.

The Lord Jesus Christ has a plan for our day. After all, it is He who builds the Church, not well-intentioned religious man. We cannot hear His voice when we are running about with our computers and demographic profiles.

The Lord is calling for repentance today, while we are seeking ways to bring more numbers of people into the churches. The people we have now, for the most part, are babies. Many of them are distraught emotionally because of the pressures of the American culture. The believers do not know how to take up their cross and follow the Lord. So our effort to add more babies may make sense in some areas, but in others it is counterproductive. We need to build up the believers already present.

The Lord Jesus is always able to add to the churches those who are to be saved. But how can we expect Him to do this when we are not building up those already present?

Another massive problem we are facing when we are seeking God for an outpouring of His Spirit is that of our doctrine. It is incorrect. We are teaching people that we are "saved by grace," interpreted to mean God does not see our behavior. As long as we profess belief in Christ we will go to Heaven when we die, regardless of the kind of life we have lived.

How can we expect God to pour out His Spirit when He knows His effort is not going to result in righteous people? We must turn away from our vain, unscriptural traditions and start teaching from the Epistles. The epistles of the New Testament emphasize righteous, holy behavior, apart from which we cannot possibly inherit the Kingdom of God. The issues of the New Testament are the Kingdom of God and eternal life, not residence in Heaven.

Until we start teaching scriptural doctrine, it is useless for God to grant us a spirit of repentance. As soon as people repent they will be taught they can turn again to their sin for they are "saved by grace."

In order for there to be effective, lasting revival in the United States our doctrine must be changed from the traditional grace-rapture-Heaven emphasis to that of presenting our body a living sacrifice; to that of denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Christ wherever He leads us.

We need an outpouring of God’s Spirit if America is to survive the terrible judgments we are going to experience in the future. We need an outpouring of God’s Spirit if Christian people are to be renewed in righteousness and if they are going to be able to help their neighbors when millions of our citizens are being killed by nuclear disasters, poison, and whatever other destructive devices the terrorists are able to employ.

Because of our immorality the Hand of protection is being lifted. In addition to the efforts of the terrorists we shall experience natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

The Lord Jesus desires to use His disciples to assist the unsaved people in the days to come. But we will not be able to help our communities satisfactorily unless we have a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit.

If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to 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. (John 14:15-17)

We realize as Christians we have the Holy Spirit in us. When speaking of the outpouring of God’s Spirit in revival power I am not referring to the abiding of the Holy Spirit in us. I am pointing toward a rushing, mighty wind from Heaven that will bring new spiritual life to every aspect of Christianity.

But, as Jesus said, we must obey His commandments. We are not doing that today. We are saying the commandments of the New Testament were given to us so we might realize our helplessness. What is the source of this concept? Maybe it came from the Bottomless Pit.

We have been given commandments in the New Testament so we will understand how to live righteously. If we will pray and seek the Lord He will send us the wisdom and strength necessary for obeying His commandments and those of His Apostles. According to the Great Commission, we are to make disciples and teach them to obey the commandments of Christ, not tell the new believers that the purpose of the commandments is only to show them their need of a Savior.

I have stated that there are two major categories of the work of the Holy Spirit. I have just described the first category. It is that of furnishing power for the work of the ministry.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

We will pass now to the second major category, which is that of perfecting the work of God in the saints.

The Moral Transformation of the Christians

Unless I am mistaken, we are not balanced in our efforts as pastors and teachers. We are placing an unscriptural emphasis on numbers, numbers, numbers of people. There are several churches in the United States, for example, that claim to be the fastest growing church in the country. How do you think the Lord feels about this kind of boasting?

Those of us who have been around the Lord’s work for many years know that a church that is growing rapidly in numbers may not be putting the demands of Christ on the people. If this is true, how, then, can numbers be a sign of success or of the Lord’s approval? This is more of the marketing concept that I mentioned previously.

Part of the problem is our idea that what God wants is for an individual to confess his or her need of Christ. Now the believer is on his way to Heaven. His main task is to tell others about the free trip to Heaven.

Of what possible use is such a proselyte to God? Can he return with Christ and install the Kingdom of God on the earth? Can he serve as a member of the Body of Christ when he has never learned to obey the Head? Can the Lamb be thrilled with such a bride when her only beauty is that which is imputed?

It seems to me we are in a grand mess today. How do you feel about this? When God pours out His Spirit we seek to use Him for our own aggrandizement. We then go forth and tell people that if they will slip up their hand they now have a free trip to Heaven, and to tell others how easy it is to escape Hell. It is no wonder that the Hand of protection is being lifted from our nation!

The secret of the Christian life is to be filled with the Spirit of God at all times. This means we are to pray continually, to meditate in the Scriptures, to confess our sins when the Spirit points them out to us, to gather with fervent disciples, to give, serve, and do all else associated with wholesome Christian living.

We are freed from the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments, by counting ourselves crucified with Christ. Now we have a new law. Our new law is the Holy Spirit Himself.

But a new Christian is not skilled in knowing what the Spirit is telling him or her. Yet he is not under the moral Law of Moses. So what keeps him from sinning?

What keeps him from sinning are the numerous commandments found in the Gospels and the Epistles. All the Ten Commandments in enhanced form are found in the Gospels and the Epistles.

How then is he to keep commandments that are more demanding than the Law of Moses? He keeps them by praying and seeking help from the Holy Spirit.

Then what happens? If he faithfully follows the Holy Spirit in keeping the commandments of the New Testament, Christ is formed in Him. A new creation of righteous tendencies is formed in his personality. He has kept the commandments. Now the commandments are beginning to keep him. This is the new covenant.

God has given us the body and blood of Christ, the born-again experience, the Holy Spirit, and the epistles of the Apostles to enable us to keep the commandments of the New Testament. When we keep these diligently and faithfully, Christ is formed in us. When Christ is formed in us, the Father and the Son come and make Their eternal abode in that which has been formed in us.

We pass through the Judgment Seat of Christ now, today, as we confess our sins and turn away from them.

If we faithfully follow the Lord in getting rid of our sins and in having Christ formed in us, when the Lord comes He will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones with our body from Heaven, a body fashioned from the Holy Spirit.

The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is dwelling in us. If we have been faithful, when the Lord comes He will make alive our mortal bodies by His Spirit who today is dwelling in us as a guarantee of the future redemption.

We are to live in the Spirit, act in the Spirit, think in the Spirit, listen carefully to the Spirit in all that we are thinking, saying, and doing. The Spirit yearns over us with a godly jealousy that He might present us as a chaste virgin to Christ.

The Law of Moses served as a slave to bring us to the school of Christ. Now we are being instructed and empowered each day by the Spirit of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our Resurrection and our eternal Life. He is these because Christ is the Embodiment of God’s Spirit. God has given Christ the Spirit without measure.

There is no aspect of our life that is not to be filled with the Spirit of God.

The Spirit-filled life is one of righteousness, peace, and joy. This is the Kingdom of God.

There are only two ways in which an individual can live. One way is in the animal, sinful nature. The other way is in the Spirit of God. It is God’s will that every saved human being live in the Spirit for eternity.

Because of disobedience, the abiding Presence of the Spirit of God left the Garden of Eden. Thus man died and all nature with Him. The promise made to the Seed of Abraham is that the Holy Spirit shall be restored to the earth. The earth shall be filled with the Glory of God as the waters cover the sea. The sea is mankind.

Part of our inheritance as saints is to live in waters to swim in; to be immersed in the Spirit of God at all times. In addition we have our place in the Center of God’s Person and will, and rulership over the saved nations of the earth.

It was the Spirit who was lost. It is the Spirit who is to be regained.

Conclusion

And so we have the two major categories of the work of the Holy Spirit. The first is the work of ministry that takes place when the Spirit is poured out upon us from Heaven. The second major category is that of creating the new, righteous, holy, sternly obedient personality that is in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Both of these categories are necessary if the great Lampstand of God, the new Jerusalem, is to be fashioned and then located as the capital city of the new earth.

There are churches that emphasize the activities associated with the Holy Spirit but who do not place the demands of discipleship on their congregations.

Then there are churches that emphasize the inner working of the Holy Spirit but do not pray for the enduement of power from on high that will cause the work of the Kingdom to move forward.

If I am correct in my assessment, we need both emphases in all our churches in America. We need to pray persistently for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our churches and our nation. Then we need to return to scriptural teaching so as to produce saints who are pressing toward the stature of the fullness of Christ.

It is my personal opinion that the Lord Jesus is ready and more than willing to pour out on us an unprecedented measure of God’s Holy Spirit. But He wants godly results. He does not want the blessing dissipated by personal aggrandizement, the building of huge churches, the worship of the ministry, the exclusive emphasis on miracles, or any other form of idolatry, boasting, or personal advantage.

It is to be a sackcloth revival, characterized by humility and repentance. It is not to point toward any church or denomination but only toward the Lord Jesus.

The eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation reveals that not only will the usual Christian blessings be brought to the world, but terrifying judgments will support and validate the message of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Because the saints will bring judgment upon the nations, those who bear the last-day witness must themselves first be judged, as we see presented symbolically in the first two verses of the eleventh chapter of Revelation.

After the witness has been borne, God will permit Antichrist to overcome the witness and drive it from the cities of the earth. God’s purpose in this is to permit the work that has been accomplished to be tested.

Numerous people will confess Christ because of the power of the end-time witness. But then God will permit wickedness to increase, and the love of the majority will grow cold. These will be the days of Antichrist and of tribulation.

When God is satisfied His great lesson concerning the rebellion of the angels and of mankind has been presented completely, He then will revive the witnesses and catch them up to meet the Lord so they may descend with Him and install the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Let each Christian in America now humble himself or herself and confess his sins, turning away from them, obeying God implicitly, and crying out for an outpouring from Heaven. Let each pastor and teacher now turn away from the overemphasis on forgiveness and begin to insist on stern, cross-carrying obedience.

If we will take these two steps, I believe it will not be long before we see the Glory of God in our midst.

Concerning America of the twenty-first century:

LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2)

"In wrath remember mercy"!

Amen.