''The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet ...." ~Rudyard Kipling.
Now that I have had time to simply stop, & think, my mind does what it always does, having sifted through the chaff & left the kernels of wheat behind to surface to the top. What has surfaced has rather surprised me. It is not that I do not know this. Rather it is what the Holy Spirit is highlighting saying, Pay attention here!
And what the Holy Spirit is highlighting is rather shocking because it is not that His people don't know, it is simply that we have not cared enough, as though having got to a certain point we stick fast in the mud with no forward progression. And trust me, I am majorly guilty of this because I am a thinker, not a doer.
And the issue is Salvation.
If I were to ask you what the first thing was that happened when you were saved I am sure most of you would answer, correctly, that you were sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of Redemption. This is true. This is God's mark saying you are His now & Satan has no claim on you. So far so good.
The trouble is we tend to think our salvation is all about us! It is not! And because we think that we get stuck in these little religious grooves where we go to church & we go to prayer meetings & we do our little daily devotions & we smugly look around at the unsaved world thinking how terrible it all is ~ because it is! It is shocking & devastating & ugly & a good part of it is the stuff of nightmare if you are at all squeamish, which I am. And God knows all about it. His heart aches over it. He felt strongly enough about the sad & sorry mess we had got ourselves into to do something about it ~ He sent His son! And His son felt strongly enough about it that not only did He die for it, He sent a helper into the world.
And here is where the Christian church has come unglued over the centuries. We haven't really understood the Holy Spirit. We haven't understood His nature & we haven't understood His purpose ~ & even when we have we haven't acted on it!
One of the first bible verses we teach children is this: God is Love. Three little words. Even littlies can master this verse in a few minutes. Now leaving aside the question of how little we understand the nature of love according to God come at this from a slightly different angle. God is Love. Whose spirit seals us unto the day of redemption? God's spirit. God's spirit is love. Therefore when we live & walk in the Spirit we live & walk in God's love & we think & act according to His nature ~ which is love. And love so loved the world He gave...
That alone is enough to have me screaming But what about ME...!
But the Holy Spirit is more than just a seal in us, marking us down as the Lord's. He is the 3rd person of the trinity, however you like to argue that doctrinally. He is God. Don't you know that you are a temple for the Holy Spirit? This is a reality. We literally have God living in us!
But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8
The Holy Spirit is given to empower us, not for our own selfish ends but so that we can do the works God planned for us from the foundation of the earth! In plain old English this verse says absolutely plainly & irrefutably that the Holy Spirit dispenses power to the believer. Power to live the Christ life, yes, but also, firstly, most importantly, power to witness for Christ because that is what the Holy Spirit does. He points continually to Christ, to the finished work of Christ, the love of Christ, the desire of Christ that none should perish. And every single one of us has that power if we are the Lord's.
Why does this even matter? Because we are running out of time, folks. We have been jogging along comfortably for centuries, 2 000 odd years, with no sign of the Lord's return & the church has got itself in a nice comfortable rut. Well, it's past time to dig ourselves out of that rut. It's time to get down & dirty with the Holy Spirit. It's time to ask God to help us clean up our act & to pick up our cross & live out the mandate we were given.
Salvation is ours that we can reach out with God's power to pluck the dying from the very clutches of Hell itself. This is the heart of God, the heart of Love itself because, The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. [2Peter 3:9]
Jesus has returned to the Father. It is we who have been left to carry on His work.