Today is Communion Sunday & we have been seeing expressly over the last few Sundays how central to our faith communion with the Holy Spirit is. Over these next few weeks we are *counting the omer* to Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out onto all people.
Many churches use 2nd Corinthians 13:14 as their benediction. It reads like this:
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, & the love of God, & the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
It is a wonderful verse but there is something interesting here. Grace is a free gift. Love is a free gift. Fellowship is an opportunity.
Last week we looked at the Greek word koinonia. Remember it means partnership & the way the Greek is construed it means very specifically partnership with the Holy Spirit. Partnership requires at least 2 participants. Partnership requires agreement.
What I want to do today is begin to show you what fellowship with the Holy Spirit looks like & what it means for us as believers & tie that back in to the communion meal.
I am going to start with Jesus because Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith. It is his death that cleanses us from sin, his resurrection that gives us assurance of eternal life, yet note something very specific: Jesus was 30 or so years old when He began His ministry & He did not begin it without the unction, the benediction, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Please come with me to John 1:29~34
29The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
If Jesus, The very son of God, could not function in the supernatural & do the will of the Father without the help of the Holy Spirit, how much more do we who are merely human, need the fellowship & partnering of the Holy Spirit.
In John 5:19 Jesus says: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. And again in 12:49~ I don't speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.
The first Christians did not call themselves Christians. It was a derogatory term first used at Antioch. What Christians called themselves was *followers of the Way* based on Jesus saying He was the Way, the Truth, & the Life. They followed so well others referred to them as being the slaves, or followers of Christ.
As Christ followed the father His disciples followed Him. You see the pattern. So what has gone wrong? Why do so many Christians look exactly like the world? Why do they talk like the world & walk like the world? I believe it is because we have forgotten how to partner with the Holy Spirit. It is He who leads us into all Truth. It is He who gives us understanding & revelation. It is He who illuminates the scriptures so that we might fully know the will of God & it is He who helps us to obey!
So I would put to you there are 2 main components to a successful partnership with the Holy Spirit.
James 4: 8 says: Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. The first part of this verse gives us an instruction ~ Draw near. The second part tells us what is preventing us from drawing near. We need to develop the single eye, the undivided heart & the Holy Spirit will help us to do that if we so desire it but He will not force Himself upon us against our will because right at the very beginning God gave mankind free will.
The 2nd thing is Obedience. John 14:23 says : "All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.”
Knowing God, Knowing Jesus, knowing the Holy Spirit is a developmental thing, just like any other friendship. The more time you spend with them the better you will begin to know them. The better you know them the easier it is to discern their voice from the rest of the voices in our world.
Now we are given 2 specific commands with regard to the Holy Spirit & both are in the negative.
Ephesians4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God or as the NLT puts it, do not bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit by the way you live… & Thessalonians5:19 Do not quench [stifle] the Holy Spirit.
I said last week that we needed to be very careful in our dealings with the Holy Spirit because it is a very serious offence in the Father’s eyes to deliberately offend the Holy Spirit. I am going to list for you some of the things scripture very clearly says we are to avoid.
Hebrews 10:29 Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God's mercy to us.
Acts7:51 ~ "You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you!
Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled against him and grieved [or vexed] his Holy Spirit. So he became their enemy and fought against them.
Acts5:3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.
Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years
Acts 5:9 And Peter said, "How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this?
And the worst of all is to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Matthew 12:31~32
The Old Testament records the dispensation of the Father & was revealed through the Law. The Gospels reveal the dispensation of the Son through the Grace of God but now the Son sits at the right hand of the Father. Before He left He promised us one who would be just like Himself & He would remain with us forever, even until the end of the Age. We live in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit.
The Father said, This is what I want. Jesus said, This is how you do it. The Holy Spirit says, Let me help you. Jesus even calls him the Helper.
Now we bandy words about & we have heard them so often & said them so often we have rendered them meaningless. Just what do we mean by *helper* & with what is the Holy Spirit meant to help us?
1 Corinthians 1:9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 John 1:3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
What the Holy Spirit has primarily been sent to do is to bring us into fellowship with the Father & the Son. For this to happen we have to agree to accept the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives, heeding His directives, advice & correction, obeying His commands because He will always highlight the work of Jesus in our lives, what He has done for us, the price He has paid for us, the love he has for us ~ & Jesus will intercede for us with the Father so that just as the 3 are one, we too become part of their fellowship, united by the work of Christ & the communion of the Holy Spirit.
What does that look like?
I find long car drives when I’m not the designated driver really good for meditating. I was thinking about the finished work of Christ on the cross & thinking how devastating it must have been for Jesus the moment our sin blotted out His relationship with the Father, separating them from each other for the first time since the world began! And as I was thinking about that the Spirit rose up in me & said, *And God lost a son that day.*
Ouch. As a parent the thought of losing a child is the worst imaginable pain. I’ve seen what it has done to my mother to lose her youngest child.
So you see when we come to the communion table & we remember Christ’s sacrifice, The blood poured out for us, the body broken for us, the stripes inflicted for us, the suffering endured for us we cannot forget the One who gave His only begotten son for our sake. This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He makes real to us the things of the Spirit.