The Awesome Work Of The Spirit
Kathie Walters – Thursday, March 11, 1999
Kept by His Power
Striving, working, trying, qualifying, performing!!!! How come so many of us get into this when the Bible talks in Hebrews chapter four, about “Entering into His rest.” We all know that Jesus is the one who saves, redeems, sanctifies, keeps us by His power and according to Jude 24 “He is going to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding Joy.” Perhaps we forget what the work of the Spirit really is.
The Holy Spirit takes the things of God and makes them a reality in our lives. He translates us from a realm of head-knowledge to experience. Really- that’s what revival is. We see many people being made alive to God, why? Because suddenly all the things we have received religious information about suddenly become a reality in our experience.
The Reality of God
When we shop, often we gaze longingly at the new car in the showroom, but it is one thing to merely see and admire it – and another to drive it and make it our own. My husband recently bought a new car…when he saw it he loved looking at it..but when he bought it..wow. That’s a different deal. Now it’s HIS car.. He polishes it, looks at it very lovingly, drives it carefully, he treasures it. When the Holy Spirit brings you into the presence of God in a strong way, God becomes real, and everything we have “learned” takes on a new dimension. Jesus is not a doctrine! He’s a person. The Holy Spirit is not a teaching, He’s a person!.
We have received Christ as our savior and redeemer. We acknowledge that we cannot work our way to heaven, “All our righteousness is as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6) We are relieved that we no longer have to try and “qualify.”
Trying to “qualify”
What happens then, that after a while we begin feel that to please God, or to minister for Him, we somehow have to “qualify?” Haven’t you sometimes in the back of your mind seen a friend being used by God, or someone wanting to be useful in the kingdom, and you have found yourself thinking, “Well they don’t seem really qualified for this or that?”
“O foolish ‘American’s’ Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth?… received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit are you now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3).
We start out rejoicing that Jesus qualified for us, but then somehow we gradually revert to qualifying ourselves to ourselves. We perform in order to qualify ourselves in the eyes of others. Sometimes as leaders we try and make people qualify. “You don’t have the experience”. “You haven’t had the training or been to Bible School.”
We are His Workmanship
Well I have good news..”We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) ” Being confident of this very thing that He which has begun a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) and “Work out your own salvation, (used by the legalists who forget the latter half of the verse)For it is God that works in you – both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
Trying can be Trying
We struggle around trying to change ourselves and we cannot do it. My husband David often asks the kids at the church he preaches at the following question, “How many of you are trying to be Christians?” Many hands go up. Then he says, “How many of you boys are trying to be boys and how many of your girls are trying to be girls?” A confused look usually comes over the faces. Then one will shout out, “I already am a girl” Then he says, Exactly! Don’t try to be what you already are. If you have received Christ and been born again then you don’t have to try, just believe. Trying is very trying and it never achieves anything except weariness.” People that say, “I will try to make the meeting, seldom do. People who say, “I”m trying to lose weight or give up smoking never do, trying does not work.” David goes on to say, “How many adults keep the commandments?” No hands go up. He then asks, “How many of you try to keep the commandments?” Almost all hands go up. Since when does the Bible teach us to try not to sin or try not to commit adultery, or try not to steal etc. The commandments were never given that we might keep them, they were given to show us our impotantancy – that we might fly to Christ who is our righteousness. Even worse we try to change each other, how pathetic! When Jesus never said that He had come to change the old man. Rather, He came to crucify it (Romans 6: 1-8)), “The old man was crucified with Christ” – that’s a fact. By faith we walk in the new man (new nature). We will never be changed by struggling and striving.”What gets your attention – gets you” a pastor friend of mine once said.
If you have a problem with anger and you get all your attention on it, it gets stronger..it has your attention. But in 2 Corinthians, 3:18 it says, “As we behold the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image even as by the SPIRIT OF THE LORD.” The Holy Spirit – He is the changer and transformer. He causes us to, “Cease from our own works, and enter into His rest” ( Heb 4:9,10) But he is not transforming the old nature – No No – that’s why we’ve struggled. He transforms us by showing us the truth and revealing the beauty of Jesus. We cease from that old flesh life and learn to yield to the Spirit. He is the one who does the work, in us, through us, to us.
He does all the work- He gets all the glory. If you do some of the work then you are entitled to some of the glory..but we are not getting any glory..Jesus gets it all. Salvation is His from start to finish.. He will present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).. Not ourselves, not our friends. Not our husbands or wives, not even our pastors have that privilege He alone will do it..He is jealous over us and His divine work in us.
So then what? Do we just sit back and do nothing? – boring! As the kids would say. Then how do we do the works? “Faith without works is dead.”
He Does the Work
The Spirit is the one who does the works..our job is to yield to Him. He is the fruit bearer. That’s His nature…He can’t help it – everything He does bears fruit. So if He moves through you– and me, everything will bear fruit. Jesus said His yoke was easy, His burden, light (Matthew 11:30). Why then do we get into a heavy burdens and false-responsibility mind sets that take away our joy?
Oh we do lots of religious works. Good works, though often not God works. We are so geared to works – and we are self conscious instead of Jesus-conscious. We are need orientated. We automatically minister to needs..not listening to the voice of the Spirit at all. We get into flesh works. Good works maybe, but flesh works! From the flesh there is no eternal quality nor lasting fruit. Only the works so of the Spirit can create eternal things.
Jesus Simple Secret
There was a simple secret to the ministry of Jesus which I learned from a old friend, Arthur Burt. Jesus didn’t run around Jerusalem trying to meet all the needs.. His ministry consisted of only three elements. 1). He did what the Father told Him to do. 2) He went where the Father told Him to go. 3) He said what the Father told Him to say. That’s all Jesus did, that’s all His responsibility was. That’s all your ministry responsibility is, to ministry as unto the Lord.
In the Spirit there is no burnout because we are meant to minister out of rest. Remember – His yoke is easy – its not hard to serve God..I don’t mean that every situation is a piece of cake..but when we do the yielding- He does the working.. So instead of rushing try listening.. Instea
d of doing try yielding..let HIM do the doing through you.
Stay in the Spirit
In John chapter eleven, Lazarus – Jesus friend was dying. But Jesus stayed where He was. That’s a strange thing to do if your friend is dying. You or I would have gotten on the first plane or train and gone rushing over..But Jesus didn’t do anything! The people around Him must have thought “Some kind of friend, He doesn’t seem to care” Ring any bells? If you’re led by the Spirit those situations will arise from time to time. Jesus went to Bethany two days later and He already knew that Lazarus was dead!
He went when the Father told Him to go. When He drew near Bethany, Martha came to meet Him. “If you had been here this wouldn’t have happened, my brother would not have died.” There was a lot of condemnation right there! That’s how we will think if we are doing it all in the flesh. Fleshy good works is still flesh and not spirit. Often good can be the enemy of God for it keeps us in a lesser revelation. Remember the tree we were forbidden to eat from? (and we have never been given permission to eat of it, but the religious spirit makes us eat of that old tree). It was a tree of the knowledge of Good and evil.
Martha didn’t understand when Jesus told her she would see the glory of God. She was still in the religious head knowledge realm. Jesus was speaking to her in the Spirit. He was saying what the Father told Him to say. Everything in the natural was against His faith. His ears told Him; for they told Him Lazarus was dead four days. His eyes told him (they took him, and He saw the tomb). His nose told Him for they rolled back the tomb..a four days old body is really stinky!
But He wasn’t interested in all of that. He was only interested in what the Father told Him to do and say. When He spoke He spoke as the Father told Him. And He said “Lazarus – come forth”.
I bet Lazarus was glad that Jesus didn’t operate in the natural, religious mode. He was Spirit-led.
If we are Spirit-led it is not a heavy yoke, for His yoke is easy. Why? Because we are yoked to Him through the Spirit.
Entering into His Rest
When we rest in His work..the glory comes. The Spirit cannot move in our striving it’s contrary to His nature..if we could really see that and yield and believe, the glory that we are seeking will come down on our churches and cities. His is the work, His is the glory – what a wonderful Savior! What a wonderful and complete salvation.