by Mike Ratliff
11 b “I baptize you with water c for repentance, but d he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you e with the Holy Spirit and f fire. (Matthew 3:11 ESV)
In yesterday’s post we looked at the necessity of lectio coninua for the continued health of a local church. Through our discussion, however, it was also made clear that it can be misused and not do what God intended if the Pastor does read through the Bible, but does not preach according the moving of the Holy Spirit, but instead, according to man focused topics and outright false doctrines. The only way it is effective and works as God intended is if the Pastor follows the leading of the Holy Spirit, the Spiritus Sanctus.
Christians should be salt and light in this lost and dying world, but if their doctrines and walk become contaminated with the ways of the world then they lose their saltiness and become worthless in the Kingdom. Likewise, when a Pastor does not follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in his ministry then his church will suffer and become man-focused instead of God glorifying and a lighthouse in the darkness.
When Christians are deprived of hearing godly preaching based on lectio coninua then they suffer spiritually. They are not placed in position to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Instead, they follow the leading of men who are following other men who are following their own desires rather than serving and obeying God. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is vital to the Church. The following prayer from the Valley of Vision expresses the right heart we should have toward the Holy Spirit and his ministry. If we do not have this then we quench Him in our lives and suffer much from being spiritually deprived.
O Holy Spirit,
As the sun is full of light, the ocean full of water, Heaven full of glory, so may my heart be full of thee.
Vain are all divine purposes of love and the redemption wrought by Jesus except thou work within,
regenerating by thy power, giving my eyes to see Jesus, showing me the realities of the unseen world.
Give me thyself without measure, as an unimpaired fountain, as inexhaustible riches. I bewail my coldness,
poverty, emptiness, imperfect vision, languid service, prayerless prayers, praiseless praises. Suffer me not
to grieve or resist thee.
Come as power, to expel every rebel lust, to reignsupreme and keep me thine;
Come as teacher, leading me into ALL truth, filling mewith ALL understanding;
Come as love, that I may adore the Father, and love him as my all;
Come as joy, to dwell in me, move in me, animate me:
Come as light, illuminating the Scripture, moulding me in its laws:
Come as sanctifier, body, soul and spirit wholly thine;
Come as helper, with strength to bless and keep, directing my EVERY step;
Come as beautifier, bringing order out of confusion, loveliness out of chaos.
Magnify to me thy glory by being magnified in me, and make me redolent of thy fragrance.
The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to direct our hearts to Christ, to pray with us in ways that we do not understand, and to help us obey the Father in our humility and helplessness. He illuminates the Word of God so that we can understand it. I can tell when as I am debating someone whether they are listening to the Holy Spirit or not. If they are then they are focused on the Word of God, God’s glory, and getting it right in that context. Debate then is short and sweet as the Holy Spirit brings us to a quick agreement on the truth. On the other hand, when the person I am debating is religious, but is not led by the Spirit, their focus will be human common sense and rebellion against what God’s Word says. The Holy Spirit would never lead God’s children to that position and it becomes very obvious quickly that true debate is impossible with them. Instead, all that happens is fruitless arguing.
The Holy Spirit leads God’s people into a form of unity that is totally different from the view held by many professing Christians in that we should all be unified regardless of doctrine, et cetera. That is not true Christian unity. The Holy Spirit should unify us as we are in agreement with each other and God on His truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!