Edited Sermon Transcript
Jon W. Brisby; 3-4-00
Church of God, The Eternal has twenty-six fundamentals of belief. As I have said before, the first twenty of those fundamentals are exactly word for word, the original fundamentals of the Radio Church of God written by Mr. Armstrong, to which we have added six additional fundamentals which address issues that became a problem and a concern in the last-day Church. Those things that were always contained in the teaching of Mr. Armstrong in the church, yet were not spelled out necessarily, specifically within the key doctrines—the fundamentals. They have become incredibly important and significant because of the departures that have occurred, even in the last decades. We will get to those in time.
We have gone through the first two fundamentals: fundamental number one speaking about who is God—the nature of God, and fundamental number two, which focused on Jesus Christ, His identity and who He is. Last time, we had the first sermon on fundamental number three concerning the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, this afternoon we are going to complete, with this second sermon, fundamental number three on the Holy Spirit.
Fundamental number three focuses on, “what is the Holy Spirit?” This fundamental allows us to identify exactly what it is and what it is not. I will try to avoid getting too much into the application of the Holy Spirit in our lives, only because that is what is covered in one of the later fundamentals—when we get into the subject of baptism and receipt of the Holy Spirit and what that Holy Spirit does for us, in working with our minds. It is almost impossible to avoid getting into that in some way because any discussion on the Holy Spirit involves applying it in some way to how it affects us personally. Fundamentally, we are trying to cover the essence, the nature, and the definition of the Holy Spirit. Fundamental number three reads as follows:
We believe in the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of God and of Christ Jesus; the power of God with which all things were created and made . . . .
This, we went through last time. Now, we want to pick up the second half of this fundamental and I am calling this, “The Attributes of the Holy Spirit.” The first portion of this fundamental as quoted, really goes to defining what the Holy Spirit is. The second half, that we are going to cover this afternoon, involves the attributes, the characteristics of that Spirit.
. . . that thru the Holy Spirit, God is everywhere present; that the Holy Spirit is divine Love, Faith, Understanding, Power, Joy and all the attributes of God—the Spirit of life eternal.
Let’s look at some of those definitions, those attributes listed in this fundamental. The first element, that “thru the Holy Spirit, God is everywhere present.” What are we speaking about? We are speaking about the omnipresence of God. Notice it with me in Psalms 139:3–10. We will find out about the presence of the living God.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O [Eternal], thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
Then, notice verse 7:
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
There is not place in heaven or in Earth that we can escape the presence of God. We serve a consuming God; he is omnipresent. What is the source of His omnipresence, His ability to be everywhere, to know all things? It is through His Spirit, it is His Holy Spirit, that power which is the essence of God, which permeates all things. Not in the way that the heathen classify God, in a pantheistic manner, to say that God is in all things and all things are a part of God, not a bit. No, the power of God, His Spirit, is ever-present. There is no way to hide from that Being. There is no place that we can run and there is no place that we can escape from him.
Am I a God at hand, saith the [Eternal], and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the [Eternal]. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the [Eternal].
Yes, He does fill heaven and Earth and it is through that Spirit, the essence of God, that Holy Spirit, that He performs His work. What else do we believe about the Holy Spirit and its attributes? We believe “that the Holy Spirit is divine Love.” Why do we believe that? Turn with me to 2 Timothy 1:6–7:
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
That Spirit came upon every one of us who were baptized, who laid down the old self, crucified the flesh symbolically by that baptism—took on instead, the nature of Christ and a new mind that was the perfect mind of Jesus Christ, through His Holy Spirit. It is a Spirit of Love. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear.” What Spirit did we receive if our baptism was legitimate? ” . . . hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit] which is given unto us.
What is that gift that God gave to us? ” . . . the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit].” That Holy Spirit is divine love. It contains the essence of the very attributes of the living God. That Spirit is not just the power, not just the ability to perform the works, the creation, it is God’s perfect righteousness contained within that Spirit. It is by the Holy Spirit that we have an opportunity to participate and to share in the very divine nature of God, to share that perfect love.
Are we experiencing love—true love? Not this false sense of love that is preached in the world, even among our former brethren who want to discount the doctrines of God, the commandments, the statutes and the judgments—those things that God gave perfectly, that are defined by Jesus Christ, the Word. We are not talking about watering down doctrine in order to have a sappy concept of love. We are talking about God-defined love, divine love, which is perfect. It is an outpouring of personal sacrifice, not a watering down of doctrine, but a desire, an outpouring. As Mr. Armstrong used to say, the way of giving, of sacrifice, of an offering for brothers and sisters, to subjugate the self, not to be concerned even about my own feelings. Preferring instead to do anything that is necessary in order to help others. The kind of love that was demonstrated by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
What better example could we ever have had of perfect love through that Holy Spirit except the very sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are going to go through some of those things at the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread this year. I will be here in the Eugene area and we are going to talk about that sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I think it is all to easy for us to forget the significance of that sacrifice and what it meant for that Father to give up His Son and what it meant for Jesus Christ, God of the second part, to be willing to divest Himself of His divinity because He loved us and because that family wanted the expansion of that heavenly family.
What was that sacrifice and what is our sacrifice in comparison, brethren? What are the things that we are holding onto that we are not willing to give up and we are not willing to sacrifice? If we are being led by the Holy Spirit, if we are receiving an increasing measure of the Holy Spirit working within our minds and our hearts, brethren, then we are receiving an increasing measure of divine love. That Holy Spirit is divine love and it is manifested in our behavior, our actions and our reactions.
1 John 4:15–16:
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
How is it that this God, who is defined as love, can dwell in us and how can we live and dwell within and have a part of a God who is defined as love? It is when we share His Holy Spirit. It is that Spirit that gives us the link, the bridge to partake of the essence of, the very nature of, God working upon our minds. The perfect nature of the living God, who is Himself love and therefore, through His Spirit shares that essence of His perfect righteousness with us, when that Spirit lives and dwells within our minds.
Galatians 5:22–23: Here, we find the list of the fruits of the Spirit. A succinct summary of the attributes of that Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The fruit of the Spirit is all of these things and more, brethren, because the Spirit is and contains all of the attributes of the perfect character of God. So, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” and we are going to look at a select few of these as they are specifically listed in the fundamental of belief.
Mr. Cole did a very long series, years ago, on the fruits of the Spirit. Many, many dozens of tapes going into great detail on each one of these characteristics. We want to stick just to an overview of the summary for purposes of understanding what that Spirit is and what its function is. Let’s look at the next part of the fundamental: We believe “that the Holy Spirit is divine Love, Faith, Understanding, Power, Joy and all the attributes of God.” Well, let’s look first at Faith. Just a couple of scriptures that clarifies why we believe that the Holy Spirit is Faith.
2 Corinthians 4:13: “We having the same spirit of faith.” Here, the Apostle Paul calls it, “the spirit of faith.”
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.
The Holy Spirit, brethren, is the source of real faith; it is the source of legitimate confidence. Hebrews 4:2—one of the scriptures that tells us why ancient Israel failed, in spite of the fact that they were given all of the promises of God. They were set apart as a holy nation. God made a covenant with them and he said, “If you obey me, I will bless you and I will protect you and I will keep you.” He gave them the Promised Land and they accepted the covenant and they said, “All that you have said, and all that you have commanded, we will do.” I’m sure they were very sincere at that moment and yet, they failed to live up to it. They failed to live up to the opportunity to have the incredible blessings as a nation of God. Why did they fail?
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: [that ancient nation] but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
The problem, brethren, was that they had no faith. Why did they not have faith? They did not have the opportunity to have faith because faith comes from the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit, as a gift, which for the first time, gave men—human beings—an opportunity to truly fulfill the will of God and to live His way. That nation of Israel wrote the lessons for us, to prove that no matter how great you are as a people, no matter what capabilities you have of mind, and even of heritage; being set apart, without the Holy Spirit dwelling within your mind and your heart granting you the power of faith, you cannot succeed and you cannot serve God.
The day is coming when Jesus Christ returns to this Earth and establishes His government and His kingdom on this Earth. All of these examples that have been written will tell the story, lest anyone in that day begins to look back and tries to rewrite history and say, “Why did you not, Father, just give us the truth? Why did you blind us all of this time? Why did we have to live our lives breaking your laws, paying the penalty for sin when we could not have done anything else without your spirit? If we had only known the truth, surely we would have valued it and would have obeyed.” In that day, Jesus Christ and that family of firstfruits will be able to say, no, look at ancient Israel, they were a people who were absolutely given the opportunity to obey. They were given a special privilege of knowing the truth—the truth that was preached through Moses—that very truth that was revealed through all generations in the time of God’s work, even in the last days. But because they did not have the Holy Spirit, they were incapable, in and of themselves, of obeying and living up to it.
Israel wrote that lesson and that lesson will be important and valuable, not only in these last day generations, but in the generations that will come, even into the Millennium. It is the substantiation that God needed to prove to mankind that without His Spirit, that without the indwelling presence of the very mind of God through that Holy Spirit, human beings cannot and will not be successful, because the just will live by faith and the Holy Spirit is faith.
What else is the Holy Spirit? Another attribute of the Holy Spirit is Understanding. The Holy Spirit is Understanding because God is an understanding God. He is a merciful, incredibly understanding Being. Part of His divine love is defined in His mercy and His understanding. Notice it with me in Romans 8:26–27:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
It is that Spirit, brethren, which gives us an opportunity to come before the throne of God, even at those very moments when we don’t know what to ask for or how to speak to that heavenly Father. It is the Holy Spirit of understanding which intercedes for us when words cannot define and cannot express. Yes, it is a Spirit of understanding. “. . . but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” No, words cannot even express it and yet, there is an understanding.
And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
When you think about the depth of the attributes of the Spirit of God, you come to an appreciation, brethren, of what that nature of God really is like and how wonderful and how perfect and righteous that God is. Think about the fact that such a great and powerful Being, who is creator of heaven and earth and all that exists, perfectly righteous in every way, is willing to share the beauty of His own perfect nature with us through that Holy Spirit. Can our minds even grasp what that gift is? Keep it in mind as we move forward because I am going to ask certain questions about to what extent we are using that Spirit. Are we really inviting that Spirit to live more deeply within us or are we quenching that Spirit? But I will not get ahead.
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the [Eternal] shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
That Spirit of the Eternal, that YHVH, that Being who was God of the second part, who became the Son, who was the Word made flesh. That Being and His Spirit, which is “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the [Eternal]” is the Spirit that He has offered to share with us.
What else is a part of the attributes of that Holy Spirit? Joy, the Spirit is Joy. Let’s notice it in Romans 15:13:
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy [Spirit.]
How is it that we receive that hope? How is it that we receive that joy? How is it that we live joyous lives of competence? It is only if the Holy Spirit of God is dwelling within us.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy [Spirit].
Another way to evaluate ourselves, brethren, is, to what extent that Holy Spirit is dwelling within us is the extent to which we can say we are experiencing joy. You ever thought about that? Do we ever think about the Spirit as being the source of joy within our lives? Is it not a very telling measurement that we can use to evaluate to what extent that Spirit is leading and guiding our minds? Can we not tell, pretty quickly, if we do a self-evaluation, “Am I joyful? Can I say that in my current state of mind, I am joy, I am experiencing joy, I exude joy?” If that is one of the definitions of the Holy Spirit, should it not be something that emanates from us if that Spirit is dwelling within us? Are we joyful? Romans 14:17: “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy [Spirit].”
What about those that say, Yes, but I have such trials and I have so many problems in my life right now that are beyond my control. I have health problems and have difficulties of circumstances with which I am faced. How can I be joyful, how can I be joyful when I am under this amount of pressure and this stress? I don’t want it to be that way, I want to be joyful, but certainly I can’t be expected to be joyful, can I, under these circumstances? What did Paul say? Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 7:4:
Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
Paul did not say he was exceeding joyful just when all things were going right. He didn’t say that the source of his joy was always experiencing every great blessing, physically. Who more pictures trial, and the experience of trial, than the Apostle Paul in those things that he experienced in the service of God. All that he went through in his sacrifice, to teach that gospel and to serve the people that God called. All that he endured at the rejection of those whom he loved, just as Jesus Christ was rejected by those that He loved and said that all those who would follow would experience the very same things that He did.
If anyone had a “right” to be melancholy or to have a “woe is me” attitude, to think about the hardships, trials, difficulties, and the afflictions, it was Paul. Paul even had some sort of a physical affliction. Speculation is that it had something to do with his eyes. In spite of all of those things: having been stoned and shipwrecked and ridiculed and abused and thrown into prison yet, he was joyful. “I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.”
How could such a man be joyful in tribulation? How could any human being be joyful in tribulation, except that we are dealing with something supernatural? We are talking about the source of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit dwelling in the mind and the heart. It gives us the power and the strength to see the big picture with vision, to understand the purpose and the will of God. So, in spite of the challenges of the flesh that we go through in this world, no matter what occurs, no matter what burden we are forced to bear, God gives us the resource, the opportunity yet, to have joy.
It is the kind of joy, brethren, that is not easily swept away, it is not joy that dissipates when we run into a negative situation, a difficulty, a problem. No, that is the kind of joy that is temporary; that comes out of our own human minds. The joy that comes from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is that which is real and it is lasting. As long as that Spirit continues to be the source from which we draw our strength.
How much joy can we say we are experiencing? What is your joy quotient right now, in heart and mind? Is it telling of the amount of the Holy Spirit which we possess?
What is another attribute of the Spirit? I am going to digress now, and I am going to do it intentionally. The power of that Holy Spirit is that which is given to all of those that are called. That Spirit is offered to those who accept Christ. When we accept Jesus Christ in baptism, he offered a down payment, an earnest of the Holy Spirit to guide us. That Spirit was only given in special measure to the servants that God called out as a part of the ministry. In the course of preparing these notes I ran across some interesting scriptures. Let me start with Luke 24:49:
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Here was the promise from Jesus Christ, to give that Holy Spirit. Yes, it was a promise that applied to all that he would call, but it also included and maybe even especially included, those particular servants that were called out to be ministers. Those that would teach the people.
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, [speaking to his disciples] after that the Holy [Spirit] is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Somebody was going to be commissioned. Those whom Jesus Christ taught, who were called out, who followed Him for three-and-a-half years and saw those works—even the Apostle Paul, born out of due season, who was taught in the wilderness, directly by the mouth of Jesus Christ for three-and-a-half years. Were those servants guided by the Holy Spirit? By what power were they operating and fulfilling the will of God?
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy [Spirit] hath made you overseers.
We referenced this scripture last time in showing who it was that was the head of the church. It was Jesus Christ and yet, here it says the Holy Spirit was the one who made those particular servants the overseers of the body, for their benefit and edification. We saw that the Holy Spirit was synonymous with Jesus Christ. Many scriptures in the New Testament show that reference to the Spirit became synonymous with reference to the risen Christ. When you are speaking about the Holy Spirit, you are talking about the very mind and the Being of Jesus and of the Father.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy [Spirit] hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
He does not take that commission lightly, brethren. That Church is incredibly priceless and precious to Him—all of the sheep, the flock that He has called out and set apart for special purpose. Here is the scripture that struck me, Hebrews 13:22–23.
And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words. Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
He said, “And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation.” What can that have to do with the Holy Spirit? The interesting thing, brethren, is that when I looked up that word “exhortation,” and I can’t tell you why, but I was curious about it, I found that it is the Greek word, paraklesis. It is the Greek word, paraklesis. Paraklesis is, by definition, “imploration, hortation, solace, comfort, consolation, exhortation, entreaty.” Its definition includes comfort. It reminded me of the term we went through in detail last time, parakletos. I found they are only one number apart from each other in Strong’s. I also found, without the time to go into great technical study, they don’t, in Strong’s, have a direct relation to the very same root word. Yet, when you look at the definition of parakletos, which is, “the comforter, the advocate,” which was the Holy Spirit, which was who Jesus Christ was, you find out that the very same concept is involved.
Exhortation is someone acting to try and get a response, an action, a proclamation of some kind, an entreaty, as we read in the definition, “consolation, a comfort.” It is exactly what a comforter, exactly what an advocate, does. That word parakletos from last time, the definition was, “intercessor, consoler, advocate, comforter.” That is what the Holy Spirit is. It is the source through which we are entreated. It is the power, which God uses to exhort us. When Paul said to the Hebrews, “And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation:” what was he saying? Was he not claiming that he was a representative of Jesus Christ, through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, a commissioned servant of God? He was saying, “Hear what I am saying to you, because its source is that Spirit.”
2 Timothy 4:2: Paul is speaking to the young evangelist, Timothy. Giving him instruction on how he is to serve the people and fulfill his commission as a commissioned minister of God.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort [parakleo] with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Whether we link parakleo and paraklesis directly to the same root or word origin in the Greek as, parakletos, the relationship is undeniable, brethren, they speak of the same topic.
John 14:16–20: This is where we found instructions concerning the comforter, the advocate.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, [parakletos, what was that Comforter? It was the gift of the Holy Spirit.] he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless . . .
Christ said, “I will not leave you comfortless,” the Greek word, orphanos. He would not make us orphans, He would not leave us parentless, He would not leave us fatherless. Through that Holy Spirit, He would provide the means for us to have that relationship with God.
. . . I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
How can Christ be in the Father and the Father in Christ? How can Christ be in us and we be in Christ and in the Father? Only if we share the same Spirit, the essence of God, the Holy Spirit.
What did the Apostle John say in 1 John 2:1–2?
My little children, [John addressed the flock, the church, those whom He had called out and assembled and made part of the body of Christ, he addressed them and said] My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate [parakletos] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Christ was that advocate, He was the Comforter, He was the one who exhorts as well. It is through an exhortation of the Spirit through chosen servants, that we receive that sustenance as the Body. How did John address them? He addressed them as, “My little children.” Notice what Adam Clark’s Commentary says about that very phrase that John used. “My beloved children; the address of an affectionate father to children whom he tenderly loves. The term also refers to the Apostle’s authority as their spiritual father and their obligation to obey, as his spiritual children.” Either John was incredibly arrogant in addressing the church with a phrase and a terminology that depicted a relationship of authority, or else God absolutely gave him that authority. I wonder which it was?
Notice, we are not talking about the kind of human authority that is intended to abuse and to take advantage of the people. No, the term, “my little children,” not only includes authority and responsibility over the Body, but as we saw in Adam Clark’s definition, “the address of an affectionate father for children whom he tenderly loves.” How many examples do we find in the Bible—that we don’t have time to look at this afternoon—of the comparison of the love for God’s people from the Father and from Jesus Christ to the way a father loves a child? A father does have authority over that child, but it is not an authority that is there in mind or in heart, in order to abuse, or to take advantage, or to merchandise. It is there for the benefit of that child.
Jesus Christ is there, as the head of the Church, for the benefit of the Church and for the Body. We, who have been called and have accepted that way of life, who have laid down our old lives in baptism, and have received the down payment of the Holy Spirit within our lives, are those children that He loves. Yes, He is nurturing us and He is trying to bring us along in the expectation that we will grow and that we will take on more of that Holy Spirit, that we may have an increasing measure of the mind of God to share.
How will we have an increased measure of the Holy Spirit if we will not be taught? What does it mean to quench the Spirit, brethren? From where are you deriving, as a member of the Body, an increased measure of the Holy Spirit? You receive it in your prayers, when you ask God to help you see. We each ask him to help us see our sins and our faults and our frailties. As we crucify the self more completely and we make room within our minds and hearts, Jesus Christ can fill us more with His mind through that Holy Spirit, but only if we are changing, to put out more of the natural mind, that which is pictured even by the upcoming Holy Days—Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
There is no more room for an extra measure of the mind of Christ if we don’t make room by putting something else out. See, the house is full, brethren, the houses of our minds and our hearts are full. It’s just a matter with what they are full. How much of it is the Holy Spirit and how much of it is the presence of our own carnal natures taking up that space?
Hebrews 12:25: “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.” The other way, brethren, that you receive the influence of the Holy Spirit is when you hear and pay attention and listen to the servants whom God has sent to teach.
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.
Who is it that is speaking from heaven? Is it not Jesus Christ? How is it that Jesus Christ is speaking to each one of us on Earth? He gave a ministry and He gave teachers and He gave servants with that commission. No, not as a way of putting a breach in between the flock and God. I heard that when I was in Ambassador College, after the time of the apostasy, when I was there. Yes, I heard and I even saw diagrams printed of this hierarchy with God and then a minister and then more ministers and then eventually you get down here and what was basically said outright, by that point, is that you have no influence, you have no direct relationship to God, it’s only through what you are told by a minister. That was wrong because you do have an opportunity to hear and to receive inspiration from the Holy Spirit in your prayers.
The influence of that Holy Spirit, if we are making room by crucifying the self, is that we receive more of the mind of God, which helps us to see the things that we need to change. And you know what else? That Spirit helps us to do it, helps us to hear the human servants that God gave to teach us. A very, very, key, important part of the way that God decided to choose to work with us as a Body and a Church, was through the foolishness of preaching; out of human mouths. It wasn’t by my design, it certainly wasn’t by the design of Raymond Cole. It is what God chose to do, but He said there would be servants and they would be led by the Holy Spirit and He admonishes us to hear the exhortation because that exhortation, brethren, is from the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:14–19:
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.
Quench not the Spirit, brethren, in your own relationship with God by sacrificing your prayer, your study and your fasting. Quench not the Spirit also by rejecting the teaching that comes through God’s faithful servants.
Are we willing to be taught? I am not asking you to do anything, brethren, that I have not had to do myself. I look back upon my own life and from the time I was a young man, there were many things I had to learn. I was very bright and I was very capable in mind. I have never been accused of being dull and I have always had a pretty quick mind. With a quick mind comes all kinds of philosophies. Yes, I was a good philosopher and I came up with all kinds of ideas that made sense to me. I grew up in the church so I knew the truth, but you know what—I still had a few philosophies that I intertwined within the truth that made sense to me. If I had not been willing to be taught and to reexamine some of those things, that the exhortation, especially of Mr. Raymond Cole would do, I can tell you, I wouldn’t be here today.
I am not asking you to do anything that I have not already had to do, but you know what, Mr. Cole is not asking you to do anything he hasn’t had to do either. How many times have you heard the stories of his fighting in mind, even with Mr. Armstrong concerning technicalities of certain issues that he couldn’t understand at the time? He was exhorted by the last-day servant, who claimed by the authority of God, to be representing Jesus Christ, that he should accept those things on faith and because they were absolutely consistent with the things he could prove. Yet, he ultimately faced a decision: “Am I going to accept this on faith because I recognize the source and believe that the Spirit is leading him or am I going to reject it and hold onto my own orientation of mind?” The reason that you have had a faithful servant for over 50 years is because he made the right decision and he was teachable.
I went through that, just as all of you that have the right orientation towards the truth, have gone through it. Are we still teachable? When have we proved that we are teachable and that we are ready to hear and willing to hear the exhortation that comes through the Holy Spirit?
2 Corinthians 7:2–3: Paul defending himself against the accusations of those who would accuse him of watering down or changing the truth, when he was absolutely faithful. Paul saying to the Corinthians:
Receive us; [This was the church that he raised up. It was through his efforts and his ministry that that church even existed.] Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.
So, I tell you brethren, in the very same way that the Apostle Paul did, that our commission to serve the faithful sheep is not so that we can take advantage of you. As Paul said, “I want not yours, but you. I am not after what you have, your things, your money. I am not even after glory.”
There is a whole lot more glory to be had, brethren, in the world, I can tell you that. Raymond Cole forewent all of that kind of glory in order to sacrifice himself over all these years. I don’t even begin to compare my sacrifice to that, but if anyone questions what my orientation is, at least by the world’s standards, I don’t think there are very many other people that would sacrifice a career at the very height of their productive work years, to take more than a two-thirds salary cut to come and serve this body. That is either because you have a ministry who is serving you, who loves the way of God, fears Him and desires for each one of you to make it and to be successful, or else we are the most foolish of all men.
1 Corinthians 2:1–5:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
We are not asking you, brethren, to accept us as men or anything to do with physical parlaying of human beings. No, we are asking you to accept, by our fruits, that we are the servants of God, here, to sacrifice ourselves to help you. Part of that help is absolutely in the exhortation which comes from the Holy Spirit. That’s who we claim to be.
It is the same spirit leading those servants that is offered to each one of the chosen flock to use in self-evaluation, self-examination, to identify where we falter in relation to the perfect characteristics of that Spirit. That Spirit that is divine love, understanding, longsuffering, peace, mercy, joy.
What is the very last part of fundamental number three?
We believe in the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of God and of Christ Jesus; the power of God with which all things were created and made; that thru the Holy Spirit, God is everywhere present; that the Holy Spirit is divine Love, Faith, Understanding, Power, Joy and all the attributes of God [and finally] the Spirit of life eternal.
Turn with me to John 7:37–39.
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, [that very Holy Spirit that we have been talking about, brethren] which they that believe on him should receive: [all of us, brethren, who accepted that way of life] for the Holy [Spirit] was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.
Yet, we know it descended upon that Church on the first Pentecost, after His ascension. “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”—a promise of Jesus Christ. Who is the fountain source of those living waters? Turn with me to Jeremiah 17:13:
O [Eternal], the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the [Eternal], the fountain of living waters.
Who is the source of the living waters that Jesus Christ promised would flow out of all of those that were called and who accepted that way of life? It is Himself, the YHVH, of the Old Testament, the Eternal, the YHVH, the fountain of living waters. It is that very Being who became our Savior.
Notice also with me John 4:13–14:
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
What then was that water that Christ promised would flow out, that was defined by Himself, as the source of that fountain? It was the source that leads to everlasting life. Is that Holy Spirit the Spirit of life eternal? You better believe it is! It is through that Spirit that we have an opportunity to share the very mind of God. It is the Spirit that leads to eternal life you see, because God is eternal. What is this source of God’s eternity? It is found within the essence that makes up God, and that is His Spirit. Without that Holy Spirit, God would not be eternal. It is the Holy Spirit which is the essence of His own eternity. It is that very essence of God that he offers to share with us, that can flow out of us like a river if we are only willing to make room for it.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. [That everlasting life, defined by the Spirit, must dwell in us. And it is only if Christ is dwelling within us that we have that relationship. It is only through the Spirit that we can have Christ because they are one in the same.] And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
That means the Spirit is eternal life because of spiritual righteousness, not the righteousness of men. We are talking about the righteousness, the attributes that define God, which we have already gone through, which are divine love, peace, understanding and all of those fruits of the Spirit.
Finally, brethren, in closing turn with me to John 4:23–24:
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
That Holy Spirit is not a third person of a trinity. It is not a separate entity. It is the very power of God, the very essence of the Being of the Father and the Son, the very essence of their eternity, their mind, which they have shared with us. They have offered to share in greater measure if we will only make the way and open our lives, our minds and our hearts. Crucify the flesh. Make room by casting out the remainder of that leavening and that wretchedness that we hold onto. Make room, that we may have the fulfilling of all that God desires for us. We were given that down payment. We were given the opportunity to have that which Jesus Christ never offered to ancient Israel. We can have the fulfillment of real joy if we understand the value and the purpose, the nature and the attributes of His Holy Spirit.