Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Aim of the Holy Spirit

On the night of His betrayal and arrest, Jesus said a lot about the Holy Spirit. The Farewell Discourse (John 14-16) contains at least four passages on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus wanted to ensure His troubled disciples that the Spirit of truth would enable them to accomplish all that He commanded them to do.

And, of all that Jesus said about the Holy Spirit, one particular aspect of the Spirit’s work stands out. Jesus said, “He will glorify me” (John 16:14) and “He will bear witness about me” (John 15:26). This is the Holy Spirit’s primary ministry. The Spirit glorifies Jesus. The content of the Spirit’s witness is the glory of Jesus Christ.

Clearly, this is not all that the Spirit does. The New Testament is full of references to the person and work of the Holy Spirit. However, in everything that the Spirit does, this is His aim. When the Spirit is at work, the Savior is exalted.

Charles Spurgeon said, "It is the CHIEF office of the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ. He does many things, but this is what he aims at in all of them, to glorify Christ. Brethren, what the Holy Ghost does must be right for us to imitate: therefore, let us endeavor to glorify Christ. To what higher ends can we devote ourselves, than to something to which God the Holy Spirit devotes himself? Be this, then, your emotional prayer, "Blessed Spirit, help me ever to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ!"

In his book, Keep in Step with the Spirit, J.I. Packer compares the Spirit’s work with that of a floodlight. A floodlight aims to illumine whatever it is directed toward. When floodlighting is done well, you cannot even see the floodlight. You are not supposed to even notice where the light is coming from. In the same way, the Spirit is shinning on Jesus Christ. The Spirit points men and women to behold the Savior and find their deepest joy in Him.

Think of the implications of this truth. We can say with confidence that whatever does not glorify Jesus Christ is not of the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit does something, it will inevitably glorify Christ.

We should learn to test everything by this truth. How many churches claim to be “Spirit-filled,” who do not make much of Jesus Christ? How many ministries claim to be depending on the Spirit, who take up 100 causes without reference to the Savior?

Perhaps this is one of the greatest weaknesses of churches today. We try to accomplish God’s work in our own strength. We divorce the mission of God from the empowerment of the Spirit of God.

If we want to be in step with the Spirit, we must keep in step with the Spirit’s aim. How can we expect the Spirit’s power if we are not passionately engaged in the Spirit’s work? Spurgeon’s question is powerfully convicting: “To what higher ends can we devote ourselves, than to something to which God the Holy Spirit devotes himself?”

For the Glory of Jesus,
Pastor Justin

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