The Holy Spirit is not a nameless force or abstract part of a church's dead theology. He is GOD, the third person of the Trinity actively working in man's affairs since creation. He brings the life of God into our lives to change us from glory to glory. The coming days ahead will require the church to be in tune with the Holy Ghost more than ever before. He must conform us to Christ's image. That is the ultimate ministry of the Holy Spirit - to convict of sin, convince of righteousness and to judge Satan as defeated in our lives. Only the power of the Cross can do that cause it was at the Cross (the Finished work of Christ) where the powers of darkness were destroyed. Sin will not have dominion over us as believers because of the breath of God's life in us through the person and work of the Holy Spirit as He points us to the only place of our victory - the cross of Christ.
By Chris McDonald
14:26 - But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in
my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your
remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Paul the apostle warned us that one of the earmarks of the last day would be a "falling away" from the foundations of the faith by a corporate unit of the church. I know saying "the church" can mean several things. There is a "professing" church that knows very little about God in the earth today that encompasses millions of deceived people, who sadly, in some cases, are not even born again. These people are led by shepherds who have sold them a false Jesus, driven by another spirit, laid out on the table through the words of a false and other gospel.
I really don't think Paul had "that" church in mind when he wrote to young Timothy, warning him the days would come where men would literally "depart" from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Perilous times will come, he said, causing the love of many to wax cold and lose the foundational stone of their faith - Christ and Him crucified.
I write this journal today with a broken heart to be frank. I write as a pastor would write to his flock. Even though I don't have a church at the present, I feel the Lord is leading us eventually back into pastoral ministry and I take that call very seriously. I have had tremendous battles over the years spiritually, some that have turned out for the best, others that have not. There has been failure at times and to that all I can say is that Chris McDonald is as clean as the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ makes me. I claim no other right to say the things I am going to say in the these next few paragraphs other than I feel a burden for the millions, yes millions, of unchurched American Christians who for what ever reason have decided it best to stay clear of organized church and fellowship. Many of these have felt the need to leave their respective churches because of the gross false doctrine and teaching so many preachers preach and teach today. That which I speak of is actually from a recent poll taken earlier this year (2004) where nearly 12 million American Christians stated they did not have a church to call home.
Out of that 12 million it was discovered that while yes, there were certainly those in that number who were probably backslidden and not where they needed to be with God, a good number and majority of this 12 million were people who WERE where they needed to be with God. Those who stated they loved the Lord with all their heart said without hesitation in this survey that the reason they left the organized church was to STAY close to God. In other words, leaving church was not because they were backslidden, leaving church for them was to keep them FROM backsliding. That's a sad indictment on the American scene of what we know as Christianity.
I know some reading that already takes offense and throws up Hebrews 10:25-26 that says we are not to "forsake the assembling of ourselves together."
Heb 10:25 - Let us not give up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the
more as you see the Day approaching.
We love using that term "assembling together," and always define it as coming to a building at 10:30 AM and 6:00 PM on Sunday nights and 7:00 PM Wednesday nights. If people don't do that, then we assume they are "not assembling themselves" together and something is wrong with them. What most don't pause to realize and think about is that the FIRST CHURCH in the book of Acts didn't meet twice a week - they met DAILY in homes. It was not a set time to meet and worship God, it was a daily occurrence, the Lord adding DAILY to the church as such the number who would be saved. Church growth in the New Covenant church was not about shifting saints and all this political mumbo jumbo we see today. It was not about the "purpose driven" view of seeker friendly congregations we see today either. It was about a body, working together, filled with the Holy Spirit - uniting in love, operating in the gifts, submitting to one another, submitting to the ministry gifts the Lord placed within each body with one purpose and one purpose only - LOVE JESUS. Notice, I said "LOVE JESUS," not even "win the Lost."
The first church KNEW that if they did not have the right love for Jesus and a heart that was single in purpose towards HIM, all of their witnessing efforts would be in vain. If they did not have CHRIST formed in them, ALL their efforts would be a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. Their focus was on the FIRST commandment FIRST - "love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul and mind," then love your neighbor as Yourself. It was a church built upon the foundation of the CROSS. The doctrinal message of the first church was "Christ and Him Crucified." Notice, I said "Christ CRUCIFIED," NOT "Christ resurrected," which I will deal with more in a minute.
Acts 2:42- 47 - They devoted themselves to
the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking
of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many
wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers
were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their
possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every
day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke
bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47
praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the
Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
It was a church where there was such intimacy with the Lord, that intimacy with each other existed in such a way they had "all things common." There were no big superstars in the first church. ALL worked together for the sake of the gospel and the Kingdom of God. I heard one person say the other day that had the early church had television like we do today they probably would have had the same issues then we do in the ministry now. I'll leave that one alone but I will say this about today's group of ministers. Christian television today has done more to draw people away into apostasy I'm afraid than any other medium on the face of this earth. That is not a blanket indictment on every single television ministry. Without a doubt there are men of God still preaching the Word of God without fear or favor, pointing sinners to the Cross of Christ, not to the psychologists chair. There are still men and women of God who get on television and point those lost in sin to CHRIST, not to their little group with all it's allurements and promises of blessings.
That's why Paul told Timothy to PREACH THE WORD, and not be carried off into fables. The preaching of the cross of CHRIST is STILL the only remedy for sin today.
1 Cor 1:17
The preaching of the cross is STILL the POWER OF GOD unto Salvation. It is STILL man's only hope for victory, deliverance and to be set free from the chains and the shackles of sin. It is STILL the believer's ANCHOR and place where ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN TO GODLINESS and SPIRITUAL GROWTH can be found. We can't move "beyond the cross." And that is the subject of this journal. I want to look at three things the Holy Spirit will help us do during this day of apostasy. He is called the "helper." Some think He is called to just help us speak in tongues and see miracles. Others think He is called to help us find ways to get rich and increase ourselves with goods. Others think the Holy Spirit's help has to do with a myriad of other issues that, while are important to a degree, do not pertain to ETERNAL matters.
Let me state it this way. The apostasy foretold by Paul and John is no longer coming, it is HERE. The modern church of the 21rst century, especially here in America, has succumbed to following another Jesus, listening to another gospel and following another spirit.
The Holy Spirit's help is given to us to do three things:
That Christ May Be Formed In You
Gal 4:17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. 18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
The only way for Christ to be formed in us is by the power of the Holy Spirit! That is what He has been given to the believer for in the sense of helping. No other source can produce Christ in us but the Holy Spirit. Paul said he "stood in doubt of you," which indicates that these people were not lost, but were individuals who were born again, yet struggling with their salvation. The Lord Jesus was resident in their hearts. But there was little of His beauty in their lives. The word "again," tells us that at one time He was clearly and abundantly evident in their experience. But now He ceases to be seen in their lives at least as He should have been.
The reason is found in the fact the Judaizers in placing the believing Galatians under Law, or rather getting them to revert to Law, had caused them to substitute self effort in an attempt to obey a newly-imposed Law, for their previous dependence upon the Holy Spirit for the production of a Christ like life in and through them. In fact, this is tremendous problem in the heart and lives of many, if not most Christians presently.
The phrase "Until Christ be formed in you?" presents the work which only the Holy Spirit can do. If we resort to anything other than allowing the Holy Spirit to form Christ in our lives we fall from Grace. Law cannot justify man at salvation and Law cannot keep man saved. If we resort to Law, whether the Mosaic Law which the Galatians were doing, or laws of our own making, which are generally is the case in many modern circles, Christ will definitely NOT be formed in us. This can only be done by the HOLY SPIRIT, and He will only do such within the confines of our Faith in the legal requirements of the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. In other words, it is our Faith in what Christ did at the Cross, and even on a daily basis, which guarantees the help of the Holy Spirit, which is always successful.
Paul was MOST concerned about Christ being formed in the Galatians. This is something that cannot be repeated too much. His concern for them was not spiritual gifts, speaking in tongues or even being Pentecostal. He was actually talking to a spirit-filled church. Galatia was a church where the gifts of the Spirit operated. Miracles took place it seem on a fairly regular basis. Yet there was little of the nature of Jesus in them, and thus, the church has descended into witchcraft, control and manipulation. ANY CHURCH that does not make the Lordship of Christ it's main goal and purpose always does. What should be the greatest concern in modern church today is the least concern. What the major emphasis of our teaching, preaching and worship should be is always the least. We have fallen from Grace friend, and the apostasy has set in without measure in many parts of the Body. Truth is crying in the street to return to our foundation and first love. Truth is crying to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church in these last days.
This is the "battle" we face, but in reality it's a battle already won by Christ through His finished work at Calvary. Most Christians fight sin in their lives never realizing the Sacrifice of Christ at the cross is the core of all faith - even after we get saved. Faith in the atonement of Christ not only deals with our PAST salvation experience but also has just as much to do with our everyday walk before God. When we get our faith right, the HOLY SPIRIT then "HELPS" form Christ within us. He can give us the help that guarantees victory. This is not a formula, it's the TRUTH of the word of God that can set some reading this journal free. We need the TRUTH far more than we need a touch. We love the touch and I'm not telling you it's wrong to get a touch, but when it comes to cases and the rubber hits the road about our eternal soul, friend you'll need more than just a weekly 'buzz' to get you through this walk of Christian faith.
Many believe the lie of darkness we can sin a little bit everyday and it's ok in the sight of God. No, I'm not saying we will ever be sinless or perfect, but maturity in Christ is a process where sin no longer has dominion over us. John didn't say "when" we sin, but "if" we sin. There's a BIG difference. A true child of God does not want to sin against His Lord or do anything to bring reproach to the Body of Christ. A true child of God weeps when he fails the Lord. He hurts deeply when he realizes he has unconfessed sin in his life. To be frank, the most miserable person in the world is a believer with unconfessed sin in his/her life. Believe me - I've wrote a few chapters in that book over the years God has given me here on this earth.
Our sin natures are rendered powerless by the Cross. Paul himself declared the answer to this question to "shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" when he screamed: "God forbid."
Another area where Christians turn to for victory is psychology. Most churches today of any size have church counselors on staff looking to help the believer out of every morass of problem there is. This will only keep the believer from taking his problem to the real source of his/her answer - CHRIST.
Many believers think they can overcome whatever Satan brings against them by using their willpower. Of course, they keep falling and failing, because willpower is not as strong as Satan, and the Holy Spirit never works from the premise of giving us a stronger willpower. Nevertheless, despite continued failures, many believe that ultimately their willpower will win out. They have been taught, erroneously, that Satan cannot override the willpower of the believer. Paul shows us however in Romans 7:8 that if we don't follow God's prescribed order of victory in opening our lives to the Holy Spirit's help, we will will find out really quickly that Satan can do more than just "roar" as so many preachers flippantly tell their congregants.
In meeting after meeting during the fall of 1993 we saw manifestations that I have never seen in my entire life. Yet in the midst of all this I had the character and nature of a goat. All the laughter in the world could not deliver me from the sinful nature that still reigned in many areas of my life. Up until 18 months ago this struggle has taken a heavy toll on me beyond anything I'd want to share on these pages. But my struggle is not new to the Body of Christ. MILLIONS of Christians share the same struggle. What has happened though with so many Christians succumbing to the sin nature, the church's answer to the fallen is either psychology, stupidity, or judgment. NEITHER will set men free.
In many church leadership arenas, there is a thought process that says if we have members in our congregation with behavior issues, the best thing to do is send them to a counselor. That is the modern church world's "solution," and offer of help to believers struggling with their sin nature. Friend, this is not something to snicker at or blow off believe me. MILLIONS of sincere believers are battling pornography, alcoholism, bad tempers, jealousy, envy, selfishness, PRIDE, EGO, religious demons, evil desires, etc. and no one has the answer to their problem other than our little clichés' such as "get over it," "move on to a new level in God," and/or "you just need to confess your way out of it."
NEIGHBOR, this foolishness will not set one single solitary person FREE. The only answer is the cross. Every need we may ever have was addressed at Calvary and that not only means our initial salvation, but our sanctification and continued victory. The Holy Spirit's work of forming Christ in us is the reality of this work of Calvary. There are not ten, four, two, three or thirty ways to victory or having Christ formed in us - it's just ONE - the HOLY SPIRIT and the Holy Spirit only works when we place our faith in the Cross of Christ.
There are many believers who from all outward appearances seem to not have any difficulty whatsoever in this capacity, but yet are secretly fighting something that is threatening their destruction. If one is fighting and winning, after a while the struggle will become so intense that one will fight and ultimately lose. That's really what the church's answer to all the struggle is - "fight it," "don't give in to it," "be strong," "you can beat this." The truth is that YOU Can't BEAT IT. The answer is not fighting something that Jesus has already addressed and won at Calvary. The answer is trusting in what He has already done.
Paul said he travailed for the Galatians that "Christ be formed in them." The Holy Spirit's work as helper is to do just that.
Number Two: The Spirit Has Been Given To Lead Us Into All Truth
John 16: 13 - Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come
The second area where the Holy Spirit helps us is that He will guide us, or lead us, into all truth. This is extremely important for us to grasp for several reasons. Notice, John says that the Holy Spirit would GUIDE us into all truth, not originate truth. This is why the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have gotten off into such utter foolishness when it comes to doctrinal matters over the past several decades. We've looked to the Holy Spirit to originate truth for us instead of allowing Him to LEAD us to the truth.
What I mean by that is this. Any doctrine that has the Holy Spirit as it's base and not Christ will always lead us into error. The Pentecostal world wants the Holy Spirit without the Cross which will 100 percent of the time generate heresy. It is from this thinking that we have had such doctrines over the past few decades as the "word of faith," movement, the "possibility thinking," "power of positive thinking," "name it and claim it," and all sorts of other doctrines that put man on a path to death and not life. It's from this same root that the prosperity doctrine has gotten people literally thinking that if they don't own a Mercedes they are not where they need to be with God. It's from this same root that the doctrine that states Jesus died spiritually springs from. It's from this same root that faith has taken on a meaning in the modern church world that we have the "right" to command God and tell Him what to do and He's obligated to do it.
It's a false doctrine that is bred by another spirit. This spirit always leads us to another Jesus and breeds another gospel. And as A.W. Tozer wrote many years ago in one of his messages about the failure of modern Christianity, he said this type message is "cruel to the hearers and deadly to the souls of those bearing up underneath its shame."
2 Cor. 11:1-4 - Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
What is truth you may ask. What is THE truth, I guess, is a better question. We know from scripture that Jesus is the Truth:
John 14:6 - Jesus
saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me.
John 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Paul tells the Ephesians that ALL truth is IN Jesus:
Ephes. 4:21 - If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Those three sources of truth are three sources we little look to in the modern church world. As result we have fallen into an abyss of heresy and false doctrine today that is leading millions to hell.
What is Truth?
John 18:38 "What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him.
the question "what is truth?" even though the TRUTH stood before Him. All
Jer 9:3 - "They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me," declares the LORD.
The word "formed" in the passage in Galatians comes from the Greek which means to "give outward expression to one's inward character." This means that the TRUTH in the person of CHRIST indwelling the believer's heart, does not express Himself, does not manifest Himself, in and through the life of that Christian. He has given that ministry over to the HOLY SPIRIT who is the agent who takes of the things of Christ and manifests them TO us and THROUGH us. John said the Holy Spirit would "GLORIFY ME," meaning Christ. The original language says, "THAT ONE shall glorify ME." The Lord says in effect, "I will not glorify Myself, but I will allow the Holy Spirit to do that office for Me."
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to take of the things of Christ and show them to the believer, leading the believer to the truth that will ultimately set them free.
John 8:32 - And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.
That should be the pursuit of our knowledge. We try so hard today in the modern church to learn the "deeper" things of God when the one thing the Holy Spirit has been sent to help us do is teach us MORE OF CHRIST. HE should be the ultimate pursuit of our knowledge. When we are pursuing HIM, all doctrine and power will be revealed to us through His loving embrace of teaching. He WANTS us to know all we can about HIM. What He does NOT want is a believer full of head knowledge but a heart void of His presence and love. Paul warned the Corinthians about this spirit saying that head knowledge only puffs us up, but love edifies:
1 Cor. 8:1 - Now as touching things offered
unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but
Rev. 5:6 - And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of
the throne and of the four beasts, and
in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven
horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the
This is proven constantly throughout the Word of God but perhaps no where better than the excellent illustration in Revelation 5:6.
First of all, we see here Jesus portrayed as the Lamb, which signifies His Death on the Cross:
Then we see the emblems of the Holy Spirit, which are so closely intertwined with the Lamb, that both are seen as one. The number "seven" here speaks of completion, and is looked on as God's number. "Seven horns," represent "rule," even as horns speak of total subjugation and power. "Seven eyes," speaks of total illumination. The "seven Spirits of God," doesn't mean that there are seven Holy Spirits, rather the totality and perfection of the Spirit of God. We are told in Isaiah 11:2 just what those attributes are:
Isaiah 11:2-3 - 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; Isaiah 11:3 And shall make him of
quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the
sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
1 Peter 1:2
As we close this journal let me remind you of something vitally important when it comes to living for God. If God could have redeemed us and sanctified us any other way than through the death of His Son believe me, He would have. Sin's debt brought on a horrible price and only blood could secure eternal salvation. The Holy Spirit is our "helper" in our walk and growth in this glorious salvation process. If you're struggling today hear what I say to you. Jesus is speaking to YOU right now, "come unto Me, ALL You who are heavy laden and I will give you REST." His ways will bring rest and refreshing. Law and the ways of the enemy always bring condemnation and greater frustration. This process of sanctification unto glorification takes time. God is not into temporal fixes with us - He's into ETERNAL ones.
Rest your faith today in the cross of Christ and see the Holy Spirit's work come on the scene to help you as He has never has in the past. He wants to help you. He is not against you. His conviction upon our hearts and souls is for OUR good, not bad. That's the love of God reaching to us so we can stay on the path of life. The particular degree of success the Holy Spirit has in this process is dependent totally and completely upon you and I as believers. The only way it can be successfully carried out within our hearts and lives, is that we as believers exhibit faith in the finished work of Christ at all times. It's not a new message, but it's one that sounds new because the enemy has taken away from the foundations of our faith. Return today in spirit to the cross of Christ. It's where ALL things that pertain to godliness and grace can be and will always be found. When we have our faith anchored here - we can be sure the Holy Spirit will truly become "the helper." Praise God.
Hebrews 6:18 -20 - That by two immutable things, in
which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who
have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have
as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that
within the veil;
From "Psalms and Seasons Volume 1"
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