Tonight I want us to begin considering the Holy Spirit and His relationship to the Bible. To help us better understand, we will build our study around three important words:
Tonight we will consider the word – Revelation.
We all know that the last book of the Bible is the book of Revelation; yet the entire Word of God is His revelation. Through the Bible, God reveals much about Himself as well as His creation. He reveals how it all began and how it all will end. He reveals why there is sin, death, pain, and sorrow. He reveals the depravity of the human heart. He reveals our inability to obtain righteousness by following rules and regulations. He reveals His perfect plan of salvation which required Him sending His Son, the Lord Jesus, to become a man so that as a man He might become God’s sacrifice for our sins. He reveals the struggles we will have in living the Christian life, yet the power that is ours through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. He reveals what a life can be like if one will walk in the Spirit and in obedience to His Word. He reveals what will happen at the end of time and how the non-believing will spend eternity in hell, while the believing will spend eternity in heaven. He reveals what heaven will be like. He reveals what hell will be like.
Though there may be many things we don’t know, God has revealed to us much about Himself and His will for our lives. Paul tells us in the book of 1 Corinthians –
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
A. How Has God Revealed Himself to Man?
The opening verses of the book of Hebrews tells us that God has revealed Himself at a variety of times in a variety of ways. Some of these ways include:
1. Through Creation
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Creation itself is one of God’s most powerful means of revelation. It reveals to us that there has to be a Creator of the universe. Though skeptics and atheists try to explain away the necessity of God in the origin of the universe, there is no other feasible explanation for our existence other than an eternal being that has the power to bring something out of nothing.
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God… One cannot look into a starry sky and not be in awe.
Psalm 50:6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness… Simply put – creation is accountable to its Creator.
2. Through an Audible Voice
A great example of this is when the boy Samuel heard God calling his name during the night. Apparently Samuel heard an audible voice for he at first mistook it to be the voice of Eli. There are many others in scripture who heard God’s voice. Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.
3. Through Dreams
Genesis 20:6 And God said unto him (Abimelech) in a dream …
God has used dreams to speak both to the believing and the non-believing. God used a dream to reveal to Joseph that the child Mary was carrying was of the Holy Ghost. God also used dreams to reveal things to non-believers such as: Abimelech, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and the wife of Pilate.
4. Through Visions
A vision is somewhat different from a dream in that the recipient may or may not be asleep and often is an active participant.
Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
5. Through Angels
Both in the Old and in the New Testament, God has spoken to men by the means of angels. The title ‘angel’ means – messenger, and the book of Hebrews tells us that they are ‘ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation.’ (Heb 1:14)
6. By the Lord Jesus
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son (NKJV) John opens his gospel by saying – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) What is God saying to us through His Son? God is saying that – He is the way, the truth and the life and that no man will come unto the Father but by Him.” (See John 14:6)
7. By the Word of God
During the chapel services of Tennessee Temple, we used to recite the school’s confession of faith. It began with this –
‘We believe in the verbal inspiration and authority of the Scriptures. We believe that the Bible reveals God, the fall of man, the way of salvation, and God’s plan and purpose in the ages.’
Though God has used a variety of means to reveal Himself to man, primarily all that we know about God comes through His written revelation.
8. By the Holy Spirit
There is one additional way God reveals Himself and His will to us. He does so through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
2 Samuel 23:1 Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; Thus says the man raised up on high, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel: 2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit is involved in every way God reveals Himself to men. Yet the Bible teaches us that the primary way the Spirit speaks to us is through the Word of God. Jesus said to His disciples –
John 16:13 When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
B. Does the Holy Spirit Speak?
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
The Spirit spoke as He inspired men to write the Bible. The Spirit continues to speak as He guides us with the Bible.
Revelation 2-3 ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’
In addition, the Spirit is able to speak specifically concerning specific matters.
Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
I read no verse in the Bible that said, “Terry Covey should become the pastor of Twin Oaks Baptist Church.” For that matter, I found no verse that said – ‘Terry Covey should become a pastor.” Yet I believe very definitely that the Spirit called me into the ministry and that He called me here. The verse of scripture that He used to call me was – “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) A whole church full of people heard our pastor preach on that verse that night, yet I’m the only one that went forward to surrender to the call to become a pastor. Why? Because the Spirit spoke to me that night with that verse of scripture. Whenever the Spirit makes a particular verse of scripture personal, we call it Rhema. Rhema is when the Spirit takes what has been inspired and illuminates it for our understanding so that it can give to us a portion of God’s revelation.
C. Is the Spirit Qualified to Reveal Things From God?
1. He is God
1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
2. He is Omniscient (All-knowing)
Isaiah 40:13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
3. He Has Foreknowledge
1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
4. He Speaks the Mind of the Godhead
John 16:13 “… for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
5. Descriptive Titles
Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
a.The Spirit of Wisdom (Skilfulness) (Is 11:2; Deut 34:9)
b. The Spirit of Understanding (Discernment) (Is 11:2)
c. The Spirit of Counsel (Advice, guidance) (Is 11:2)
d. The Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of the LORD (Right understanding of who God is) (Is 11:2)
f. The Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 5:6)
D. What Does the Spirit Reveal?
1. Nothing that is ‘anti-biblical’
The Spirit is never going to lead someone to do something that is contrary to the Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
I like the way Warren Wiersbe explains the four benefits of scripture:
- Doctrine – Deals with what is right,
- Reproof – Deals with what is not right,
- Correction – Deals with how to get right,
- Instruction in righteousness – ‘Deals with how to stay right’
2. Nothing that is ‘extra-biblical’
2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
We at Twin Oaks do not believe that the Holy Spirit is today giving to people ‘extra-biblical revelation’, or in other words – revelation in addition to scripture. The reason some groups, that claim to be Christian yet are considered by most to be cults, is because they follow what they consider to be extra-biblical revelation. A perfect example is the Mormons who hold the writings of Joseph Smith to be equal with God’s Word.
“The Book of Mormon serves as another testament of Jesus Christ and confirms the truths found in the Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon does not replace the Bible; rather they are companion works that together teach about God and Jesus Christ.” (http://lds.org/topic/book-of-mormon/)
We do not believe that. We do not believe that God is giving extra-biblical revelation – either through another book, a prophetic word, or an individual. What we need to be complete and throughly furnished unto all good works is found in the 66 books God has already given.
Someone told me that there’s a billboard on Rt. 220 that says that Jesus is returning on May 21, 2011. That date has been set by a man named Harold Camping. What’s amazing is that this is not the first time Harold Camping had predicted the rapture.
Type in Harold Camping into Google and you will find dozens of websites that will say something like this –
“On Sept. 6, 1994, dozens of Camping’s believers gathered inside Alameda’s Veterans Memorial Building to await the return of Christ, an event Camping had promised for two years. Followers dressed children in their Sunday best and held Bibles open-faced toward heaven. But the world did not end. Camping allowed that he may have made a mathematical error.”
Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
3. All that is – ‘thoroughly biblical’
What the Spirit is doing today is often called ‘Illumination.’ He is illuminating our hearts and minds so that we can understand what God Word says and how we should apply it to our lives. He makes the revelation of God understandable and applicable.
What God wants us to know tonight is that the Bible we hold in our hands is His divine revelation and that it is applicable to every part of our lives. Though there may not be a specific verse of scripture for every detail of our lives, there are biblical principles found in God’s Word that the Spirit will use to give us His guidance. Therefore it is of utmost necessity that we
“Study to shew ourselves approved unto God, workmen that needeth not to be ashamed, but rightly dividing the word of truth.” (adapted from 2 Tim 2:15)