Conviction 11th Feb.
Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
One of the things I speak of most often is the F.O.G. – because it seems to me that when we read through the book of the Acts of the Apostles – [and it is a book of action – the things the Apostles DID, their ACTS after they were empowered by the Holy Spirit.] But their Acts are preceded by some very significant things --- firstly – the very first thing was the apostles preached Christ crucified – and risen from the dead – with power.
Ac 2:22-24“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
As the Apostles preached in the Power and unction of the Holy Spirit – the whole atmosphere was charged with the Presence of God – there was such conviction that those listening – [many had actually been there when Jesus was lifted up] – they had believed Him a traitor and blasphemer – had probably called out with the rest “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” captured by the mobs corporate personality – there is such a power in agreement (good/bad) i.e. riots
Ro 1:4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
But the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Holiness – is in fact so holy that these men were cut to the heart – they were pierced with such a conviction that it was like a physical pain, an impact – they felt scared and cried out – “What shall we do?”
Ac 2:38-39 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
This is the beginning of the church, the birth and it gives us the pattern, the example – when we speak of revival it is returning to this – it is experiencing this – and we must see this clearly it began with conviction – deep, powerful, overwhelming conviction – conviction that cut to the heart and made them cry out – I imagine some of them fell to the ground, some of them shook and trembled – I am sure they wept – and held each other ---
The Spirit of Holiness was there, attesting to the glory of God in Christ Jesus – it was the birth of the church – it was laying the foundation – upon this everything has been built – and see this, because it is important – Peter did not rebuke them, this ambassador of Christ, did not condemn them, even these who had killed his Lord – [I’m sure Peter would have recognized some of them as having been there at the crucifixion] --- but he did not condemn.
They cried out what shall we do – and he offered them a gift!! Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. – Can you imagine how this must have pierced even deeper – they were used to the law, to consequences, judgment, punishment – now standing convicted that “we have killed the Messiah” and Peter in the power of the Holy Ghost offered a gift!!!
He said – the Promise is for you! Then it is for your children – the next generation. That is to say, exactly what is happening here is going to be carried on, it is not only for you here on this day. This is the beginning of what God has ordained for the church age – and all who are far off and as many as the Lord our God will call – right down until Christ comes a second time.
So what was to be carried on and imparted, made available to every generation from that moment on, was exactly what was taking place then. But it began with being cut to the heart and a cry for salvation – it began with the conviction of sin and sinfulness and a revelation that they could do nothing about it themselves – that they were powerless and that the only hope for them was the Grace of God in Christ Jesus. To respond to Peter’s/Gods offer
Ac 2:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
Because of the power, the Spirit of Holiness, the unction, the salvation they had received they Revered God – they were in awe and wonder and they never wanted to turn back. – As we see in Acts over the next 20 yrs or so that fear grew and grace was multiplied and the church prospered - over and over again the Holy Spirit was poured out – they were continually filled. And great signs and wonders were done by the Apostles. God was glorified in Christ.
Jesus had taught that this would happen, right from early in His Ministry He began to teach this
Jn 3:5-8 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Jn 7:38-39 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
You cannot be born again without KNOWING it – there has to be an evidence – the Holy Spirit like a wind breathing upon the heart – blowing however He wishes over our souls. Like the wind we cannot tell where it comes from – it cannot be analysed, worked out – you cannot see it – but you know its influence and affects – you see the results of it’s presence. So the Spirit of God in our hearts – welling up within us until we cannot contain Him ---
He cannot overflow a vessel that is not filled beyond it’s capacity to contain. What a wonderful picture – being so full of the Holy Spirit and so aware of His Presence that out of our hearts flow rivers of Living Water – quenching a thirsty and dying world. These first disciples KNEW this truth – this reality this Promise of God who cannot lie!
Ac 2:46-47 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
They were caught up in the Spirit, led by the Spirit and the Spirit flowed out of them – they worshipped in Reverence and Holy Fear – they were drawn together, for where the Spirit of the Lord is there is unity. They loved God and His Christ, and soon that same Spirit began to flow over the people they talked with, lived with, and came in contact with – they had favor with all the people and as the Holy Spirit in them touched the people – they too were cut to the heart.
Jn 16:7-11 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Jesus had told them this is exactly what they could expect and although they had not understood it at the time – He had expounded all the scriptures to them on the road to Emmaus and now it was all fitting together – the evidence was clearly before them, and of course they KNEW it in their own hearts – they had been convicted, they had been cut to the heart – they now understood not just their sins – but their sinful nature inherited from Adam –
They understood that there was no way of escape save through this Jesus Christ – They experienced true repentance from deep conviction that produced a sorrow – an overwhelming heart aching sorrow – a sorrow so deep it opened a way for the Spirit of God to get in, as it were, – to inhabit and come as that Divine Unction – to take up residence – like it says : --
2 Co 7:10-11 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
It was this conviction of sinfulness, this cutting to the heart that prepared the way for the Divine Enabling – it was this conviction that produced sorrow and then Glory – conviction that so quickly became Reverence and then the F.O.G. - Holy delight, exalting His Majesty - as their sin was revealed and their salvation secured they saw God – they saw His Glory in Christ Jesus – they saw their hope, their eternity, His magnificence – and they turned towards God –
We fall into the trap of thinking repentance is about giving up, and changing our lifestyle and not doing – that it is about turning away from – and of course it is all of that – but when you turn away from something, you are then facing in another direction – you are now seeing other things – things you have not seen before – repentance is not so much a turning away from, it is a turning towards – a turning towards the light and life and hope that is in Christ.
It’s embracing the hope of eternal life and all that lies ahead for everlasting upon everlasting. They did not fear conviction, they didn’t try to escape the piercing of their hearts they turned and faced the other way and began to see Jesus – the author of their faith!! -- Now all of this was by the Holy Spirit who was poured out on the day of Pentecost upon them, and then their children, and then on those afar off, and then on US those whom the Lord has called!!
And He is the same today as He was then – He is God unchanging – every single aspect of the Holy Spirit is as though we were living then! – His nature has not changed, He is no more tolerant – He is no more Holy – He is simply Holy as God is Holy there are no degrees of holiness in God – He is still the same all seeing, everywhere present, all powerful Spirit of the Living God the Spirit of Christ and He searches the deep things of God –
In His seamless, timeless eternal life, the Holy Spirit can still see Pentecost and still hear the cries of those cut to the heart – even while He is looking at us – us, those who are afar off, as many as the Lord Our God will call – He has called us to this same Holy Spirit unction, to this same Holy Spirit witness – He is God and He changes not!! But He does not hear us calling out and He knows we are not cut to the heart – that this conviction escapes us!!
Why is this? – Why do we not REVERE God and Fear Him? – Why is it we have no fear of Hellfire and no longing for heaven? Why do we not weep for the lost if we have received so great a salvation? – Why are we not in travail of soul at the revelation that there is eternal torment for those who know not Christ Jesus? – And yet of far greater mystery is this – that we actually know all of these things, acknowledge them, and yet do so little about it?
Yet we have the Spirit of God the same Holy Spirit indwelling us, who grieves and longs for the lost. He is the Spirit of Christ and Christ would have that NONE are lost! He gave His life for all! This picture, the scripture, the example, the Holy Spirit coming upon all flesh at Pentecost is the revival we long for and need - YET it is the same Holy Spirit and we do not know this conviction. We resist it – we resist Him!
We must, for He is the same yesterday, today and forever. And His delight is in the Fear of the Lord! -- So why do we resist this Holy Spirit conviction?
In fact more than resist, I think our hearts are closed to Him in this area – if that is possible?
Shut up -- by humanism, materialism, prosperity and a gospel that has become so man centered it does not need Christ or the Spirit of God except to further our own ambition!
We have been seduced by doctrines that promote our great advantage in this life and forget eternity – doctrines of our own comfort!
2 Ti 4:1-5 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Doctrine of the Father Heart of God – whole ministries exist to preach, teach and minister on this doctrine. (Counseling) Scripture tells us God is our Father – even to call Him Abba, Papa a term of intimacy and closeness. But God always remains Holy – He cannot be anything else.
But we have formed a doctrine where we have brought God down and made Him the Father of our own image. – I think this is powerful demonic wisdom.
To talk to Him and approach Him as if He were the human Father many of us never really knew – to attribute to Him the personality, behaviors and acceptance that we would really like from our fathers – or that we would like to be as fathers – I have done this myself. It allows a compromise, an acceptance of things that are unacceptable to God as God – but that we somehow think He might tolerate as Father!
- Do we think our holy Father will accept anything that His Son died to remove, to forgive??
- We are deceived if we think the Grace of God allows us to carry on in that which His Son died to remove so we could come to Him -- doesn't this actually dishonor Him, even blaspheme Him?
- Do you think it is the Love of God that He would allow us to carry on in something that will prevent us entering into heaven? Or make us sit in a lower place as it were -- beneath our calling and grace?
- Do you think it is love that would allow us to be robbed of our rewards?
- And we, as parents do we think it is love if we do not bring our children into this, if we allow and tolerate their sin - remembered Lindah Cowan yesterday -- what if they were taken so quickly??
- Eli loved his sons so much as a father that he allowed their sins -- he would not confront their sins and they died in them -- and so did he!!
- Eli confused his own unwillingness to confront with love -- and the consequences are always death. ---- Like David and Absalom.
Even Jesus called Him Holy Father – and taught us, In this manner pray – Our Father who art in heaven – hallowed be Thy Name. – God is our Father and He loves us so much He gave of His own life! – But He will not love us to death – but to life! The life that is in Christ Jesus by this Holy Spirit --- O that we might KNOW CONVICTION and turn.
Eph 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
If God is our Father – we must honor Him for things to go right.
Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: