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WHOM DO WE GLORIFY IN THE SPIRIT OF GOD?
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
23 APRIL 1989
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation Verse: (John 16:13)
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come."
Old Testament Lesson: Malachi 3:1-6
1. "Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the Lord of hosts.
2. "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when he appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.
3. "And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.
4. "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord, as in the days of old and as in former years.
5."Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien, and do not fear Me," says the Lord of hosts.
6. "For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."
Who is this messenger that God is sending to His people, and what is the purpose of his coming?
The messenger of this prophetic passage is most likely John the Baptist, and the one who is speaking is Jesus (God-Messiah).
And Jesus, speaking through the prophet Malachi, is saying that John the Baptist is coming to glorify Him before others, so that they might also glorify the Lord.
However, in order for this message to be heard fully, so as to bring forth the glory, we must be clean.
Therefore, as part of proclaiming the coming of the Lord, John the Baptist was calling sinners to repent and be baptized.
We must have our sins washed away.
So in all of God's grace and patience, He sends the messenger with a convicting message that is intended to make us aware of our sins.
Then in grace upon grace, He sends along a Laundryman to wash us clean, if we are willing.
And that Laundryman is also Jesus Christ, who will wash us clean with the blood He shed upon the cross for all repentant sinners.
This also means that there will be no "need" to shed the blood of any animal ever again.
God judges all people, but repentant ones have their sins washed away so that their sins can not be seen by God; thus the burden of our sins is removed, and we are free to glorify Jesus by our lives.
But all who don't repent are swept away.
God will constantly refine us, as one refines metal, by removing the bad parts and leaving only the pure bright metal that reflects all that is around it.
And as God refines us, we reflect back more of His holiness and righteousness, thus glorifying Him.
But all this didn't end with John the Baptist, for as we said, it continues today.
Today, however, there is not just one messenger, but many.
The main messenger is the Holy Spirit, who convicts all of us.
Likewise, all others who proclaim, and most importantly live the true word of God are messengers, for they also clear the way for Jesus Christ to enter lives.
The work of the Holy Spirit is to comfort all true believers and to glorify Jesus Christ through their lives.
This is the way we bring our Father's heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven, where there is no pain or mourning or death.
The Spirit seeks no glory for Himself, but only for Jesus.
And it must be that way for all of God's other messengers, as well.
He who seeks glory and honor for himself can never glorify and honor Jesus Christ.
But when we truly seek the Lord, and desire to glorify Him, the Holy Spirit becomes an ever Presence in our lives – reviving us, filling us with His love, and pouring upon us blessings and true peace and joy.
God does not give up on us easily, but desires that every one of us would come to know that sweet, sweet Spirit of his Presence.
Hymn: Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Yes, there is a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place; but to some He may be a convicting and not so sweet Spirit.
Have you ever been with a very close friend or a loved one, whether human or animals, and accidentally stepped on their foot?
And the instant we become aware of it, we pull our foot away and say we are sorry; but with little children and animals, we most often have to comfort them in addition to saying we're sorry.
However from adults, the response we receive is usually quite gentle as well, maybe even coupled with a little humor: "That's all right; I walk on the other side."
And we smile at each other, and continue where we left off.
This is how our relationship should be with the Holy Spirit.
When we sin, it is like stepping on His foot; so we should respond in the same way as we do when we step on someone else's foot, and then we will continue in the sweet, sweet relationship with Him.
However, if we deliberately step upon the Holy Spirit's foot, or don't get off after we step on it with our sin, He will respond in much the same manner as a human person with a much harsher response, and the blessings will be removed because our witness is bad.
Remember – the sweet, sweet Spirit of the Holy Spirit is the result of our relationship with God and the degree in which we glorify the Lord Jesus Christ through the life we live.
It is not the result of the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit.
The power of the Holy Spirit comes to us so that we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
And the more we learn to truly stand firm and do the heavenly will of the Lord in all things, the greater is our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
But the whole purpose is that we glorify Jesus Christ in our lives.
Listen to what Jesus tells us in Acts 1:6-11, in response to the apostles' question:
6. And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the Kingdom to Israel?"
7. He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
8. but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
9. And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them;
11. and they also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."
Even today we wonder at the signs of the times, and consider whether it is the time for Christ's return.
Our church has become very weak, as have most of the churches across our country, and we are very much like ancient Israel.
And those who truly believe, look at all the apostasy and cruelty in the world that is committed against millions of of fellow human beings and billions of animals, and pray for the Lord's speedy return.
Many are seeking the power of the Holy Spirit, so that they may perform many signs and wonders in our churches and before fellow believers.
But for the most part, these people's lifestyles are not like that of Jesus, for they do not live this life outside the church, and in the world.
The power begins and ends with God, as Trinity, and not only with the Holy Spirit.
There is true power in the love of God who sent His own Son to die for our sins so that we might live.
And for what purpose?
That we might glorify the Son, Jesus Christ, through our redeemed life.
And there is power in the blood of Jesus Christ, for it has taken away the sins of the world, once for all time, for all who repent and accept Him.
For what purpose?
That we might glorify Jesus Christ through our changed lives.
And when we are born again, we receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
For what purpose?
That we might glorify the name of Jesus Christ with boldness through our new life in Christ and by the power of the Word of God.
Yes, the Holy Spirit operates within us to bring forth the Word of God in our lives, so that we would live according to His word.
And He operates within us to proclaim the Word of God to others, with boldness; and if our lifestyle so reflects it, it will be believed.
The power of the Holy Spirit in not in some unintelligible language that others can not understand, but in the word we proclaim and the life we live.
This, all people can understand!
Note what Jesus tells us in John 16:13-15:
13. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
14. "He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.
15. "All things that the father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you."
All who are truly born again are the Lord's.
And to all of those, the Holy Spirit will disclose what has been told to Him for our benefit.
So that Jesus Christ is glorified.
The Holy Spirit will also convict the unbelievers and disclose some things to them, in order that they might come to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, so that He might be glorified through their conversion.
This conversion is not for the glory of man, who may have spoken the words of God, nor for the glory of the Holy Spirit, who stirred the person's heart to hear. It is to the glory of Jesus Christ.
And in glorifying Jesus Christ, we should have true joy.
It is by the power of His blood that all this has been set in motion, that we might be forgiven of our sins and thus proclaim the power to others, for the glory of Jesus Christ.
Hymn: There Is Power in the Blood
Did you hear the words of this hymn?
In order to receive the power of the blood, and thereby glorify Jesus through our changed lives, we are asked a series of questions.
How did you answer them?
Did you answer them honestly?
Were any of your answers, "No"?
If they were, then you haven't received the full power of either the blood of Jesus Christ, or that of the Holy Spirit.
Let's take another look at these questions:
• ''Would you be free from the burden of sin?"
Sometimes we seem to actually want to carry around the burden of our sins, and we don't really want to get rid of them.
We even may say that they aren't sins, or make some other excuse; but we know deep down in our heart that they really are sins.
And without being willing to free ourselves of these sins, there can be no glorifying of Jesus Christ, no matter how pious we act on Sunday morning.
But there is power in the blood that can remove this burden.
Perhaps we are saying that it is too hard, so we are asked a second question to encourage us:
• "Would you over evil a victory win?"
If we stop "copping-out" and truly want to have victory over the evil in and around our lives, we can; for there is power in the blood.
And when we win the victory, we glorify Jesus Christ; and the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit will help us maintain the victory.
But sometimes our passions and pride get in the way, and we cease to bring glory to the Lord, so we are asked another question:
• ''Would you be free from your passion and pride?"
If we truly want to be free, we can; for there is power in the blood.
And then we are encouraged to "Come for a cleansing to Calvary's tide."
If we do not come, there is no godly power working in us, no matter how hard we protest otherwise.
We constantly have to return to the cross, to retain that power and be cleansed.
But how much cleansing do we need?
Thus we are asked another question:
• ''Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?"
That's how clean the Lord wants us to be, so that our entire life, both in and out of church, will be seen as being clean, and thus bring glory to Him.
But some think that their sins have stained them so badly that they can never be cleansed; but they are wrong.
Thus we have another encouraging statement: "Sin stains are lost in its life-giving flow."
The power in the blood will remove any sin stain, no matter how bad it is, if we truly want it removed; for there is power in the blood.
And if we have done all of this, then the Lord wants us to be truly committed to Him, that we continually glorify Him in all that we do; thus we are asked another question:
• "Would you do service for Jesus your King?"
Not for other people.
Not for ourselves.
Not even for the Holy Spirit or the Father.
But for Jesus our King.
For by glorifying the Lord Jesus, we bring glory to the entire Trinity.
And then to make sure that we are not going to do this just sometimes, but always, we are asked the final question of this hymn:
• ''Would you live daily His praises to sing?''
If we truly want to, we can; for there is power in the blood, and there is power in the Holy Spirit, and there is power in our praising and thanking the Lord, so that we can overcome all things and continually glorify Jesus.
All things in our lives are to continually bring glory to Jesus.
Nothing is to turn us away.
And in order to live this way, we must come to realize that we need Him every hour.