Sermon 2074. Intimate Knowledge of the Holy Spirit
DELIVERED ON LORD'S DAY MORNING, MARCH 10, 1889,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him; but you know Him, for Hedwells with you and shall be in you." John 14:17.
THE part of the text on which we shall meditate is this-"The Spirit of Truth, you know Him, for He dwells with you and shallbe in you." Observe that the Holy Spirit is here called the Spirit of Truth. There is much meaning in this expression. Heis the Teacher of the Truth of God, unalloyed Truth, practical, divinely effective Truth of God. He never teaches anythingbut the Truth of God. If it comes from the Spirit of God, we may receive it from Him without any hesitation. It is He thattakes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us. And these things are true and He thus proves Himself to be the Spiritof Truth.
He is the very Spirit and soul of Truth, the essence, the life and power of it. Divine Truth, when merely heard, takes noeffect upon the mind until the Spirit of God enlivens it, and then it becomes a quickening force. He makes the Truth of Goditself, in its reality and substance, to enter the soul and affect the heart. He is the Teacher of Truth and He is Himselfthe active power that makes Truth to be Truth to us in the assurance of our inmost souls. He is the Spirit of Truth in thissense, too, that He works truthfulness in His people. In those with whom the Holy Spirit works effectually "there is no
They are open-hearted, honest, sincere and true. They have an intense affection for the Truth of God and a zeal for it. Theyare by His truthful influence preserved from deadly error. If it were possible, false teachers would deceive even the elect.But where the Spirit of God dwells, He detects for us the false from the true and He gives us the spirit of a sound mind bywhich we reject that which is false and cleave only to that which is revealed of God. In this sense He is the Spirit of Truth.And as He works truthfulness in His people, so the work that He does is always true and real work.
You may get up an animal excitement and your converts will, in due time fail-but the Spirit of God works true conversion,sincere repentance and saving faith such as no sun of persecution can dry up and wither. He works deep conviction of sin andsimple faith in the Lord Jesus. And these things abide in the heart. The new birth, as He works it, is not after the fanciedmanner of baptismal regeneration but after an effective spiritual manner so that a Divine life is imparted and the man becomesa child of God. He produces real sanctification-not the pretense of perfection but the reality of holiness. Everything theSpirit of God does is substance and not shadow. The baseless fabric of a vision is the work of man. But the eternal, abiding,everlasting work of Divine Grace is wrought by the Spirit of Truth alone.
As He is the Spirit of Truth, we may be sure that whatever He sets His seal upon, is true. He will only bear witness to theTruth of God. He will not assist in maintaining error. Mark this word-careful observation will show that in proportion asthe nominal Church of the present day has departed from the truth of God, the Spirit of God has departed from her. He cannever set His seal to a lie. The testimony of His sacred operation in "signs following," is borne only to the Truth of God.If I preach to you that which is not the Word of the Lord, it will not be followed by the work of the Spirit of Truth. Therewill be no conversions among sinners and there will be no edification for the people of God.
It is by the Truth of God as His instrument that the Spirit of God works. And we must be very careful that we do not bringforth any other instrument. Let us not talk, as some do, as if Scriptural doctrine were of little or no consequence. For wherethe doctrine is not of God, the Spirit of Truth is grieved and He will depart from such a ministry. Except we keep close tothe Words of the Lord Jesus and the Revelation of the inspired Book, the Spirit of Truth will show His displeasure by refusingto use our utterances. In vain your music, your architecture, your learning and your "bright services" if the Truth of Godis given up. Farewell to the witness of the Spirit in the hearts of men when men are taught the inventions of men in the placeof the Revelation of God.
If the Holy Spirit is bearing witness in your spirit that you are the children of God, then you are truly born of God. Thepresence of the Divine Paraclete is the seal of your adoption. If He dwells in you, this is the token of your sonship. ForHe does not dwell in the unregenerate. If He helps, strengthens, comforts, guides, illuminates and sanctifies you, you havea seal which you need not question-the seal of God upon you-that you are His chosen and shall be His in the day when He makesup His jewels.
This brings me to the doctrine upon which I shall enlarge this morning. This is the distinction between the men of the worldand the disciples of Christ. The world knows nothing of the Holy Spirit. But the disciples of Christ know Him. For the LordJesus says, "He dwells with you and shall be in you." There are a great many distinctions in the world of a religious kind-oneman wears his phylacteries, another is girt with camel's hair. One man comes with multiplied ceremonies, another with noneat all. You cannot judge who are the people of God by these external things.
Forms of Church government and modes of worship may be important in their own place-but before the Lord the infallible testis this-do you bear the fruit of the Spirit of God in you? Does He indwell you? "If any man has not the Spirit of Christ,he is none of His." But he that has the Spirit dwelling within his soul, he it is that is a true born heir of Heaven.
We have raised a solemn question to begin with, have we not? But, dear Friends, I do not desire it to remain a question. Ipray that it may be no question with anyone of you but that you may know that it is so and may go on to enjoy the blessedprivilege of being on intimate terms with the Holy Spirit-"But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you."
I. To come close up to my subject, the first head will be BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST KNOW THE HOLY SPIRIT. They know Him, tobegin with, by believing what has been taught them concerning the Comforter by the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ hadtaught His people concerning the Holy Spirit and they had received His teaching, He said, "You know Him. For He dwells withyou and shall be in you." If they had refused the sayings of Christ, if they had possessed no love, if they had not kept HisCommandments, if they had arrogantly resolved to find out this mystery for themselves by their own thinking, apart from theinstruction of their Master, they would not have known the Spirit of God. We must begin our acquaintance with the Spirit bysitting at the feet of Jesus and accepting His testimony as sure.
But more than this-we know the Holy Spirit by knowing our Lord Jesus and by Him knowing the Father. There is such an intimateunion between the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the Son, that to know the Holy Spirit we must know the Son of God, and knowthe Father. If we know the Lord Jesus, we have the Spirit of God. For by no one else could the things of Christ be revealedto us. Beginning then, at the very beginning-do you know the Lord Jesus Christ? You know something about Him-but do you knowHim? Is He your friend, your acquaintance? Are you on personal terms of fellowship with Him?
If so, then you see the Father in His face. Jesus says, "He that has seen Me has seen the Father." And He tells His people,"From henceforth you know Him and have seen Him." You are, therefore, acquainted with God the Father through Jesus Christthe Son. And you have seen the glory of His Grace beaming in your Savior's face. In this way you have become acquainted withthe Holy Spirit who is not divided from the Father and the Son. As you know the Son you know the Father, and in this way youcome to know the Holy Spirit. No man comes to the Father but by the Son, and he that comes to the Father receives the Spirit.
We know the Holy Spirit, next, by His operations upon us. We not only know about His operations but we have been the subjectsof them. All those who are true disciples of Christ have felt a divinely supernatural power working upon them. First, theHoly Spirit operates to our spiritual quickening. There was a time when we were dead in trespasses and in sins-holy feelingwas unknown to us and the life of faith was far from us. At that time we did not desire nor even know spiritual things-wewere carnally minded and the carnal mind knows not the things which are of God.
The Spirit of God came upon us and we were awakened and made to live. Do you remember that? Many of us can distinctly rememberwhen we passed from death unto life. With others, the visible life may have been made manifest more gradually, but even inthem there was a moment when the vital force entered the soul and they can now rejoice that they have been quickened who wereonce spiritually dead. You know the Spirit in measure when He breathes upon your dead heart and it begins to throb with theheavenly life. In connection with that quickening there was conviction of sin. In what a powerful light does the Holy Spiritset our sin!
In my discourses to you about sin I try to show you how heinous it is and how terrible are its consequences. But when a singlebeam from the Spirit of Truth shines upon sin, it makes it appear "exceeding sinful." I remember how Mr. Bun-yan said, whenunder conviction, "I thought none but the devil himself could equal me for inward wickedness and pollution of mind." Whenthe Spirit of God revealed him to himself he would have willingly changed places with toads and serpents for he esteemed themost loathsome objects to be better than himself. This revelation of darkness is the effect of light-the light of the Spiritof God. And when He convicts us of sin we begin to know Him.
After having convicted us of sin, He leads us to repentance and to faith in Jesus Christ-then we know Him! How many a promisedid some of you hear but you could not receive it! How many a comforting discourse did you listen to and yet it did not comfortyou! But when the Spirit of God came-in a moment you saw Jesus as the Consolation of Israel, the Friend of sinners, the atoningSacrifice, the Surety of the Covenant of Grace-and sweet peace came streaming into your soul! At that time you did not onlyknow that the Holy Spirit leads to Jesus Christ but you knew that He was leading you. In that respect you knew Him by an experimentalacquaintance which is the best of knowledge.
Since that time, beloved Brethren, we have known the Holy Spirit in many ways-restraining from evil, stimulating to good,instructing, consoling, directing and enlivening. He has been to us the Spirit of reviving-we have grown dull and cold andsleepy, till that verse of the hymn has been verified-
"In vain we tune our formal songs, In vain we strive to rise, Hosannas languish on our tongues, And our devotion dies."
But no sooner has the Spirit visited us than we have felt all alive-bright, cheerful and intense. Then our whole heart hasrun in the ways of God's commands and we have rejoiced in His name. How true is that word, "He restores my soul"! Thus havewe known the Holy Spirit by His operations within us.
Oftentimes He has acted as an illuminator. A difficult Scripture or mysterious doctrine has been before me-I have looked atthe original and I have examined what the best Biblical students have written upon it. And yet, when I have thus used allthe helps within reach, the point has remained in the dark. My best aid has ever been to resort to the great Author of thesacred Word-even the Holy Spirit Himself. He can, by blessing the means which we are using, or by directly leading the mindin the right track put an end to all difficulty. He has the clue of every maze, the solution of every riddle. And to whomHe wills, He can reveal the secret of the Lord.
Dear young Believers, you who wish to understand the Scriptures, seek this light from above for this is the true light. Otherlights may mislead but this is clear and sure. To have the Spirit of God lighting up the inner chambers of truth is a greatgift. Truth of the deeper sort is comparable to a cavern into which we cannot find our way except by a guide and a light.When the Spirit of Truth is come He pours daylight into the darkness and leads us into all Truth of God. He does not merelyshow the Truth but He leads us into it so that we stand within it and rejoice in the hidden treasure which it contains. Thenwe know Him as our sacred Illuminator.
I especially note that we also know Him as the Comforter. Alas for the disturbance of heart which we receive in the world-perhapseven in the family! Few things, it may be, are as we could wish and therefore we are sorely troubled. But when the Spiritof God comes, peace flows to us like a river and Jesus breathes on us and says, "Peace be unto you." Do you know that peace?Many saints of God have enjoyed a heavenly calm upon their sick beds-when pain should have distracted them. The Spirit ofGod has rested them in Jesus. I have heard of one saint, near his end, who asked, "Is this dying? Then I should like to keepon dying forever."
He felt so much comfort-such a flood of joy which the Holy Spirit creates-that death itself had not only lost its sting buthad even become a joy to him! The comforts of the Holy Spirit take bitterness out of wormwood and gall and the sting out ofthe last enemy. May God give us His Grace to know the Holy Spirit as our Comforter! Happy knowledge! I trust that we haveoftentimes known the Holy Spirit as guiding us in various ways. I will not speak largely on this for some might not understandit. But I know for sure that the Holy Spirit does give to His favored people hints as to things to come. I say not that anyman is inspired to tell the future. But I do say that choice saints have received preparations for the future and foreshadowingof their coming experiences.
When Believers come into difficult circumstances they bow the knee and cry for guidance, even as David said, "Bring here theephod." The oracle is not dumb, but in some way, not always to be explained, the Spirit of God guides our steps
through life if we are willing to obey His monitions. Is it not written, "Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, Thisis the way, walk you in it"? The Divine communications of the Holy Spirit are the precious heritage of true saints. But theyare a peculiar voice to their own souls and are not to be repeated in words.
If you know these Divine workings, as I am sure many of you do, then through His operations you are made to know the HolySpirit-that deep calm-that peace which only He can give. That exhilaration, that superlative joy as of Heaven begun belowwhich only the Lord can work. That steadfast courage, that holy patience, that fixedness of heart, that gentleness of mannerand firmness of purpose which come only from above-these all introduce you to the wonderworking Spirit who takes pleasurethus to operate upon the minds of the heirs of eternal glory. Thus we know the Holy Spirit by His works and gifts and revelations.
But I do not think we have entered the center of the text even yet. "You know Him," says the text-you know not only His workbut Himself. I may know the great achievements of an artist in marble but I may not know the sculptor himself. I may knowa man's paintings and therefore I may guess somewhat of his character but yet I may not know the man himself. "You know Him,"says our Lord. And truly we know the Holy Spirit as to His personality. If the Holy Spirit were a mere influence, we shouldread, "You know it." Let us always shun the mistake of calling the Holy Spirit "it." It cannot do anything. It is a dead thing-theHoly Spirit is a living, blessed Person and I hope we can say that we know Him as such. Others may doubt His personality.But we believe in the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and behold, in the names given to Him, the emotions ascribed to Himand the acts performed by Him, abundant proofs of His sacred personality. In our hearts we know HIM.
As we know His personality so we know also His Divinity because the Holy Spirit work in us effects which none but God couldwork. Who can give life to the spiritually dead? Who but the Lord and Giver of life? Who can instruct and illuminate as theHoly Spirit does? Only because He is Divine can He guide us into all Truth and purify us unto perfect holiness. There havebeen things worked in us-in our experience-in which we have beheld not only the finger of God but God Himself working in ourhearts to will and to do of His own good pleasure. Oh, worship the Holy Spirit! The greatest crime of sinners is to blasphemethe Holy Spirit-and the greatest fault of saints is to neglect the Holy Spirit. Let us adore Him, yield to Him, confide inHim-and pray that we may know Him to the fullest.
So it comes to this-that as we know the Holy Spirit's personality and Godhead we come to know Him. I mean this-that thereis now a personal relationship between the Believer and the Holy Spirit, a conscious and clear fellowship and communion. Thecommunion of the Holy Spirit is one of the three choice blessings of the great Benediction. Do we not enjoy it? We speak withHim and He speaks with us. We trust Him and He puts us in trust with many a precious Truth of God. We are not strangers now.We do not talk of Him as a personage a long way off of whom we have heard- a Divine mystery with which Prophets and Apostleswere acquainted in remote ages-but we know Him.
Come, let me look into your faces, my Beloved in the Lord, and let me ask you, Is this true or not? If you are obliged tosay, "We do not know whether there is any Holy Spirit, for we are utter strangers to Him," then I pray the Lord to deal graciouslywith you and manifest His Son Jesus Christ to you by the power of that same Holy Spirit of whom we speak. The Spirit of Truthis to those of us who trust in the Lord Jesus our present help. He is more familiar with us than any other Person. For Heenters within, where none else find admission. "You know Him. For He dwells with you and shall be in you." Thus much uponour first head. Now I will take you to another exceedingly important and interesting. May the Holy Spirit help me.
II. The second head is this-BELIEVERS KNOW THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH HIMSELF. Let us read the text again-"You know Him, forHe dwells with you and shall be in you." It is not, "You know Him for you have heard gracious preaching." Nor, "You know Himfor you have read about Him in the Scriptures." No-"You know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you." The moon cannothelp us to see the sun nor can man reveal God. God can only be seen in His own light. No one can reveal the Holy Spirit butthe Holy Spirit.
I thought this morning, coming along-I have to preach about the Holy Spirit. But what can I do without the Holy Spirit Himself?I can only preach aright concerning Him by His own Presence with me. And if He is not there, I shall only darken counsel bywords without knowledge. Why is it that we know the Holy Spirit only by the Holy Spirit? I answer first, on account of theinadequacy of all means. By what methods can you make a man know the Holy Spirit? He is not to be discerned by the senses,nor perceived by eyes or ears. What if the preacher should be as eloquent as an angel-in what
way would that make you know the Holy Spirit? You would probably remember more of the man than of his Subject. Nothing ismore to be deplored than a hungering after mere oratory.
It would be infinitely better to speak with a stammer the Truth of God than to pour forth a flood of words in which the Truthis drowned. Words are nothing but air and wind and they cannot possibly reveal the Holy Spirit. No outward ordinances canreach the point any more than human speech. We greatly rejoice in the Baptism of Believers and in the breaking of bread inwhich the death of the Lord Jesus is set forth before us. But in what symbol could we fully see the Holy Spirit? If He wereeven to descend upon us as a dove we should see only the visible shape-we would not necessarily discern the Spirit. The SpiritHimself must reveal Himself.
Beloved, there is no chariot in which God can ride to us-the axles of creation itself would break beneath the enormous loadof Deity. It is not possible for God to reveal Himself fully by His works-He is seen only by Himself. Therefore the Son ofGod, Himself, has come to us as "God with us." In Him we see God. The Holy Spirit must Himself come into the heart to whichHe would make Himself known.
This is even more clear from the inability of our nature to discover the Holy Spirit. We are dead by nature and how can weknow anything until He makes us alive? Our eyes are spiritually blinded-how can we see Him until He opens our eyes? We arealtogether without strength by nature-how can we run after Him until He first comes to us and gives us the power to do so?We are unable to perceive the Holy Spirit-the carnal man knows not the things which are of God for they are spiritual andmust be spiritually discerned. We must be endowed with a spirit before we can discern the great Spirit. Flesh cannot transformitself into spirit. No, it is the Lord Himself who must come and breathe into us the Spirit of life and then we perceive Himwho is the Spirit of Truth.
The Holy Spirit must reveal Himself to us if we are to know Him-this is clear from the nature of the case. How do I know aman but by the man himself appearing to me and speaking to me and manifesting himself to me? You cannot with accuracy judgeof a man by his writings. It is a curious circumstance that Mr. Toplady, who wrote very bitterly on behalf of the Truth ofGod, was, in temper, the sweetest of men. On the other hand, Mr. Romaine, of Blackfriars, who in their writings seem to bethe gentlest of beings were by no means free from harshness. You must see a man. No, more-you must live with a man in orderto know him. You must live with the Holy Spirit and He must dwell with you and be in you, before you can speak of knowingHim at all.
The facts of the case prove this. I shall put it to any Believer here who can humbly say, "I know Him, for He dwells withme and is in me." How do you know the Holy Spirit but by the Holy Spirit? Did you learn your religion from me? Then you haveit all to unlearn. Did you learn it out of a book? You have need to begin again. Did you inherit it from your parents or borrowit from your friends? Then you are still ignorant of the vital point-God is only known through Himself. The Holy Spirit bythe holy Spirit. Have you not found it so in your own case? Why, you have sat and heard a sermon which was in itself cheering,comforting and quickening, for your neighbor said, "What a happy time we have enjoyed!" Alas, you thought you had never feltmore stupid and lifeless. Have you not gone down the Tabernacle steps and said to yourself, "I am as hard as stone and ascold as a winter's fog? What shall I do?"
Thus are you without the Spirit of God. But when the Divine Spirit comes upon you, such complaints are at an end. Then doesthe lame man leap as an hart and the tongue of the dumb is made to sing. Then are you full of living joy in listening to theGospel-every word you hear seems to be on wheels. And towards you the cherubim fly swiftly bringing live coals from off thealtar.
III. My third head is BELIEVERS ENJOY A SACRED INTIMACY WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD. I am not going
to withdraw that word intimacy. It is warranted by the language of our Lord. For He says, "You know Him, for He dwells withyou and shall be in you."
First, He says, "He dwells with you." Is not that a wonderful sentence? The Holy Spirit is God, and therefore the Heaven ofheavens cannot contain Him-and yet behold the condescending fact-"He dwells with you." The Holy Spirit is now upon earth,the vicar and representative of the Lord Jesus Christ who said, "I will send you another Com-forter"-that is, another Helperand Advocate like Himself. Consider how our Lord dwelt with His disciples. After the same fashion, the Spirit of Truth dwellswith us. Jesus permitted His disciples the most intimate communion with Him-self-they ran to Him with their troubles, theytold Him their difficulties, they confessed their doubts.
He was their Master and Lord, and yet He washed their feet. He ate and drank with them and permitted the freest conversation.You never find our Lord repelling their approaches or resenting their familiarities. He did not draw a ring round Himselfand say, "Keep your distance." Now, in the same manner, the Spirit of Truth deals with Believers. "He dwells with you." Youmay go to Him at any time, you may ask what you will of Him, you may speak to Him as a man speaks with his friend. You cannotsee Him, but He sees you, which is much better. You cannot hear His voice, but He hears yours. No, He hears your thoughts.He is most near to those who are in Christ. "He dwells with you."
Dwelling with us, He is in our assemblies. It is He who fulfils the promise of our Lord, "Lo, I am with you always, even untothe end of the world." It is by the Holy Spirit that the Lord Jesus is with us. That we might enjoy that sacred Presence,it was expedient for our Lord to go away. Beloved, what a mercy it is when the Holy Spirit is in our assembly! What a drearybusiness it is when the Holy Spirit is gone from the congregation! The people come and go and perhaps there may be fine music,splendid millinery, admirable eloquence, a vast crowd, or a wealthy congregation. But what of these things? They are a bagof wind! If the Holy Spirit is not in the congregation, it is gathered together in vain. Behold, the people spend themselvesfor very vanity if the Lord is not among them. But the Comforter does come into our assemblies. For it is written, "He dwellswith you."
He also comes into our homes-"He dwells with you." Where do you dwell, O true Believer? Is it in a very poor lodging?-"Hedwells with you." It may be, dear Friend, you live on board ship and are tossed upon the sea-"He dwells with you." Perhapsyou go to work in a mine far beneath the surface of the earth-"He dwells with you." Many choice saints are bed-ridden butthe Spirit dwells with them. I commend to all of you who love the Lord these gracious words-"He dwells with you." The firstdisciples said to the Lord Jesus, "Master, where do you dwell?" He answered, "Come and see." So I bid you note where the DivineSpirit chooses to dwell-behold and wonder-He dwells with His people wherever they are! He does not leave them alone but Heabides with them as a shepherd with his flock.
Well may we know Him for He takes up His abode with us. And He does this, not as a latent, inoperative influence but He worksin the place where He dwells. He makes our members instruments of His working and sanctifies the faculties of our nature asvessels of a temple wherein He dwells. He perfumes every chamber of the house of manhood and consecrates every corner of ourbeing. O Believer, "He dwells with you" in all the might of His Godhead and you are made strong in the inner man by His strengthening!Fall back upon the Holy Spirit in the moment of your weakness.
Alas, my Brethren, are there any moments when we are not weak? Fall back, therefore, upon the Holy Spirit at all times. Evenin the prayer in which you seek strength, ask that the Spirit may help your infirmities. Even for the faith which brings youall Divine Grace ask for the Spirit of God to work faith in you. "He dwells with you," for you are unable to live withoutHis constant presence and you need not attempt the perilous experiment.
The second sentence runs, "He shall be in you." This is a greater marvel. "Know you not that your bodies are the temples ofthe Holy Spirit?" Take care of them, never defile them. Let not the idea of drunkenness, gluttony, or lust come near you.For it is written, "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy." With what reverence should we look upon thebody now that it has been redeemed by the Lord Jesus and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit! The Spirit also dwells within yourminds. We possess Him and He possesses us. "He shall be in you," as a king in his palace, or a soul in its body. I am afraidthat many professors know nothing about this. I must be talking nonsense in the esteem of some of you-if it seems nonsense,let that fact condemn you. You cannot be right before God unless the Spirit of God is in you, in your mind, your heart, yourdesires, your fears, your hopes, your inmost life.
The Spirit must permeate your entire being, filling it full with His floods, even as the waters cover the channels of thedeep. "He shall be in you." It is a wonderful fact. The Spirit shall be in you as the source of your life and the force ofyour life. What cannot a man do when the Holy Spirit is in him? His weakest endeavor will prosper when the Holy Spirit ispouring His life into him. For he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth his fruit in his season.His leaf also shall not wither. And whatsoever he does, shall prosper. But without the Holy Spirit, what barren and witheredtrees we are! May we never know the awful drought which comes of the absence of the Spirit!
Brethren, when our Lord Jesus Christ came upon the earth and was beheld as God in human flesh, that was to us the pledge ofthe indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us-for as God dwelt in the human Person of the Lord Jesus Christ-even so does the Spiritabide in our humanity. Our Lord's life on earth was the picture of the Spirit's indwelling. As He was anointed of the Spirit,even so are we in our measure. "He went about doing good." He lived consecrated to God, loving the sons of men. And thus willthe Spirit of God within us cause us to live-we shall imitate the Christ of God through the Spirit of God.
The death of Christ was the way by which the Spirit was enabled to come to sinful men. By His great sacrifice the stone isrolled away which once blocked the road-
"It is through the purchase of His death,
Who hung upon the tree,
The Spirit is sent down to breathe
On such dry bones as we."
When our Lord rose from the dead, we had the guarantee that even so the Spirit of God would quicken our mortal bodies andrenew us into newness of life. But it was when our Lord ascended up on high, leading captivity captive that the Holy Spiritwas actually given. When our Redeemer returned to His Father's Throne, He scattered the largess of Heaven-He gave the HolySpirit to men of various offices and to His whole Church. Then were the days of refreshing by Divine visitation. Your ascendedLord gives you this token of His love-the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in you-prize it above all things. Do you know it?It seems like an impertinence for me to put this question to some of you who are gray-headed, and yet there is need. I trustyou knew the Holy Spirit before I was born. But yet I cannot help pressing the enquiry, for you may not know Him even now.
I have urged the question upon myself and therefore I urge it upon you. Does the Spirit of Truth dwell in you? If not, whatwill you do?
IV. I come to a conclusion with one more observation. BELIEVERS SHALL HAVE A CONTINUANCE AND AN INCREASE FOR THE SPIRIT'SINTIMACY. "He dwells with you and shall be in you."
Mark well the increase. Is it not a blessed step from "with" to "in"? "He dwells with you"-that is, a Friend in the same house."And shall be in you," that is, a Spirit within yourself. This is nearer, dearer, more mysterious and more effective by far.The bread yonder is "with" me. I eat it and now it is "in" me. It could not nourish me until it advanced from "with" to "in."What a distinct advance it is for the child of God when he rises from the Spirit of God being with him to the Spirit of Godbeing in him! When the Spirit of God helped the Apostles to work miracles, He was with them. But when they came to feel Hisspiritual work in their own souls and to rejoice in the comfort which He brought to them, then He was in them. Even if youcould obtain miraculous gifts, you ought not to be satisfied to speak with tongues, nor to work miracles. But you should presson to know the Spirit with yourself-indwelling, communing, quickening you.
"He shall be in you." Notice that in consequence of this, we know Him. If a person dwells with us, we begin to know him. Butif he dwells within us and has become intertwined with our being, then we know him, indeed. "He shall be in you" is a highdegree of intimacy. As we have noticed the increase, so remark the continuance-"He shall be in you." There is no period inwhich the Holy Spirit will have finished His work so as to go away and leave the Believer to himself. Our Savior says of theComforter, that He "shall abide with you forever." Grieve not the Spirit of God, I pray you-quench Him not, resist Him not-butcarefully cherish in your hearts this Divine word, "He shall be in you." What comfort is here!
You dread the days of age and infirmity, but "He shall be in you." You tremble before that trial which threatens you, but"He shall be in you." You do not know how you will answer the gainsayer-take no thought what you shall speak-it shall be givenyou in the same hour what you shall speak, for He shall be in you. And when the last moment approaches, when you must breatheout your soul to God-the living Spirit who dwells with you, even as the nurse sits at your bedside-shall then be in you andby His living power within shall transform death into the gate of endless life. "He dwells with you and shall be in you."O child of God, your Comforter will not leave you! He will continue still to take up His residence within you until you shallbe taken up to dwell where Jesus is forever and ever.
This is our great reliance for the future upholding of the Church as a whole and of each individual Believer-the Spirit ofGod dwells with us and shall be in us. The Church of God will never be destroyed. The gates of Hell shall not prevail againsther. For the Holy Spirit dwells with us and shall be in us to the end of the world. This is the reliance of the child of Godpersonally for his perseverance in Divine Grace. He knows that Jesus lives and therefore he shall live. And the Holy Spiritis within him, as the life of Christ, which can never die. The Believer pushes on despite a thousand obstacles, knowing thatGod gives him the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ-out of whose hand none can pluck him.
I have done. And yet I have done nothing unless the Spirit of God shall bless the word spoken. Oh, that some of you who havenever known the Spirit of God may feel His power coming upon you at this moment! You may be sitting in the pew very careless,even now, and yet before you leave He may descend and soften your hard heart. The other day the ground was hard as iron andthe water was turned to ice. But there came a breath from the south and soon a thaw set in, the snow vanished and the icewas gone-even so the Holy Spirit breathes on us and our inward frost disappears at once.
Come, Holy Spirit. Come even now. Let us implore His Presence and power. Pray for a closer, clearer knowledge of Him, O Childrenof God! Pray that sinners may be met with by His Grace. The first token of the Spirit's work will be that they will beginto feel their sin and cry for mercy-and when that is done, the glad tidings of pardon are for them. To them we say, "Believeon the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved and your house." The Lord make the word effectual, for Jesus Christ's sake.Amen.