Charles Stanley – The Guidance of the Holy Spirit

Charles Stanley

How does the Holy Spirit guide us? How much does He control our actions? Does He still speak to believers, or was personal communication only for Biblical times?

God does not want us to be confused about this vital area. In talking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13, emphasis added).

Let’s consider four key truths about the leadership of the Holy Spirit:

1. The Holy Spirit will guide us.

Jesus doesn’t promise that the Holy Spirit will control us. He says He will guide us.

Granted, there are times when I wish the Holy Spirit would control me. For instance, when I am tempted. Or when I become so task oriented that I become insensitive. Or when it’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I need to study, but everything in me wants to grab my camera and head for the mountains. Life would be much easier if the Holy Spirit would take control of me.

But He is our guide, not our controller. We never lose our ability to choose to follow His leading. As a result, we are always responsible for our words and actions.

2. The Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, helps believers discern between what is true and what is not; what is wise and what is foolish; what is best and what is simply OK. Each day is full of decisions. Most of our decisions concern issues not clearly spelled out in the Scriptures, for example, where to attend school, whether to hire a particular applicant, how much to budget for vacation, on and on it goes.

As you are inundated with the details of everyday living, the Holy Spirit will guide you. He will give you that extra on-the-spot sense of discernment you need to make both big and small decisions. As you develop a greater sensitivity to His guidance, you will worry much less about the decisions you make. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.

3. The Holy Spirit is God’s mouthpiece to believers.

The Holy Spirit does not speak on His own. Like Christ, this member of the Trinity has willingly submitted to the authority of the Father. Everything He communicates to us is directly from the Father: “He will not speak on His own initiative” (John 16:13).

Our heavenly Father has chosen to communicate to His children through the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:12). He is God’s mouthpiece to believers. When the Father chooses to speak directly to you, it will be through the Holy Spirit.

When you think about it, this really makes perfect sense. After all, where does the Holy Spirit reside? In you! And in me! Therefore, He is the perfect candidate for communicating God’s will to Christians. Living inside us, He has direct access to our minds, emotions, and consciences.

4. The Holy Spirit speaks.

The question of whether God still speaks today is one that has spawned numerous books, articles, and lectures. It is not my purpose to present a tightly woven argument about why I believe He still speaks today. Suffice it to say, I do believe God, through the Holy Spirit, communicates directly with believers. No, I don’t write these revelations in the back of my Bible and call them inspired. Neither do I run around telling everybody what “God told me.”

My experience is that the Holy Spirit, at the prompting of the heavenly Father, still communicates with believers today. How does He do that? The Holy Spirit indwells me. He doesn’t need my ears. What He needs is a listening heart and a renewed mind.

The book of Acts records several occasions when the Holy Spirit spoke to Paul and Peter (11:12; 13:2; 16:6; 20:23). It can’t be denied that those men had a special gift and call on their lives. But the same Holy Spirit who indwelt those men indwells every believer. Just as they needed divine direction at critical times in their lives, we need it today.

In his letters to the Christians in Rome and Galatia, the Apostle Paul refers to believers as “led by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18). If we are going to be led by the Holy Spirit, we can only assume that He is willing (and able) to communicate with us.

How does God communicate with us today? The Lord speaks through the voice of His Spirit, who resides within us. We may have to seek His face for a season; other times, we can sense His direction immediately. No matter what, the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.

Adapted from “The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life,” by Charles F. Stanley, 1992.

 

Related Resources

Related Video

Our Constant Companion

We all need a companion—someone who helps when we’re in trouble, laughs with us in good times, and weeps with us through pain. This is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter. In this message, Dr. Stanley shares how the this third Person of the Trinity works within us. (Watch Our Constant Companion.)

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Serious Fear

Our Daily Bread

Luke 2:8-20

Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy. —Luke 2:10

After weeks of preparation by the children’s choir, the night had finally arrived for our annual Christmas musical in 1983. The costumed children began filing into the auditorium when suddenly we heard a ruckus at the back door. My wife and I turned to look and saw our own little Matt. Sobbing loudly and with a look of sheer terror on his face, he had a death grip on the door handle. He refused to enter the auditorium. After much negotiating, the director finally told him he didn’t have to go on stage. Instead, Matt sat with us, and soon his fears began to subside.

Although we don’t usually identify Christmas as a time of fear, there was plenty of it on the night of Christ’s birth. Luke says, “Behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid” (Luke 2:9). The sight of the angelic messenger was more than the shepherds could process. But the angel reassured them: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (v.10).

In a world full of fear, we need to remember that Jesus came to be the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). We desperately need His peace. As we look to Him, He will ease our fears and calm our hearts. —Bill Crowder

Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Sun of righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings,

Risen with healing in His wings. —Wesley

God incarnate is the end of fear. —F. B. Meyer

Bible in a year: Daniel 8-10; 3 John

 

Alistair Begg – Walk With Christ in White

Alistair Begg

Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

Revelation 3:4

We may understand this to refer to justification. “They will walk in white”; that is, they will enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they will understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen snow.

Again, it refers to joy and gladness, for white robes were holiday dress among the Jews. They who “have not soiled their garments” will have their faces always bright; they will understand what Solomon meant when he said, “Go, eat your bread in joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white.”1

The one who is accepted by God will wear white garments of joy and gladness while they walk in sweet communion with the Lord Jesus. Why are there so many doubts, so much misery and mourning? It is because so many believers spoil their garments with sin and error, and as a result they lose the joy of their salvation and the comfortable fellowship of the Lord Jesus; they do not walk here below in white.

The promise also refers to walking in white before the throne of God. Those who have not soiled their garments here will most certainly walk in white in heaven, where the white-robed crowd sings perpetual hallelujahs to the Most High. They will possess joys inconceivable, happiness beyond a dream, bliss that imagination knows not, blessedness that even the stretch of desire has not reached.

“Those whose way is blameless”2 shall have all this-not of merit, nor of works, but of grace. They shall walk with Christ in white, for He has made them “worthy.” In His sweet company they will drink from the fountains of living waters.

1 Ecclesiastes 9:7-8

2 Psalm 119:1

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The feast of the Lord

CharlesSpurgeon

“The governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” John 2:9-10

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 73

If the Christian has the best wine to come, why should he envy the unbeliever? David did; he was discontented when he saw the prosperity of the wicked, and you and I are often tempted to do it; but you know what we ought to say when we see the wicked prosper, when we see them happy and full of delights of sinful pleasure. We ought to say, “My good wine is to come; I can bear that you should have your turn; my turn will come afterwards; I can be put off with these things, and lie with Lazarus at the gate, while the dogs lick my sores; my turn is to come, when the angels shall carry me into Abraham’s bosom, and your turn is to come too, when in hell you lift up your eyes, being in torments.” Christian, what more shall I say to you?—though there be a thousand lessons to learn from this, the best wine is kept to the last. Take heed to yourself, that you also keep your good wine until the last. The further you go on the road, seek to bring to your Saviour the more acceptable sacrifice. You had little faith years ago: man! Bring out the good wine now! Seek to have more faith. Your Master is better to you every day and you shall see him to be the best of all Masters and friends. Seek to be better to your Master every day; be more generous to his cause, more active to labour for him, more kind to his people, more diligent in prayer; and take heed that as you grow in years you grow in grace, so that when you come at last to the river Jordan, and the Master shall give you the best wine, you may also give to him the best wine.

For meditation: In which direction is your Christian life going at the moment—forwards (Philippians 3:13), backwards (Galatians 5:7) or nowhere (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)?

Sermon no. 226

8 December (Preached 28 November 1858)

 

John MacArthur – Christ’s Radiance and Representation

John MacArthur

“He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3).

Just as the rays of the sun give light, warmth, life, and growth to the earth, so Jesus Christ is the glorious light of God shining into the hearts of men and women. As “the radiance of God’s glory,” Jesus expresses God to us. No one can see God in HIs full glory; no one ever will. The radiance of that glory that reaches us from God appears in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Just as the sun was never without and can never be separated from its brightness, so God was never without and cannot be separated from the glory of Christ. Never was God without Him or He without God, and never in any way can He be separated from God. Yet the brightness of the sun is not the sun, and neither is Jesus exactly the same as God in that sense. He is fully and absolutely God, yet as a distinct Person within the triune Godhead.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). As the radiance of God’s glory, Christ can transmit that light into your life and mine so that we can radiate the glory of God to a dark world.

In using the term “exact representation” to describe Christ’s relationship to God’s nature, the writer employs terminology usually associated with an impression reproduced on a seal by a die or stamp. Jesus Christ is the reproduction of God–the perfect, personal imprint of God in time and space.

How wonderful to realize that Jesus Christ, who is both the full expression of God and exact reproduction of God’s nature in human history, can come into our lives and give us light to see and to know God! His light is the source of our spiritual life. And His light gives us purpose, meaning, happiness, peace, joy, fellowship, everything–for all eternity.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Thank God that He determined to become a man so we could know what He is like.

For Further Study:

Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 and note who allows people to see or not see spiritually.

 

Joyce Meyer – Honor God’s Voice Above All

Joyce meyer

[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.—Jeremiah 17:7

One attitude that welcomes the presence of God into our lives is the attitude that honors Him above everyone and everything else. Our attitudes need to say, “God, no matter what anyone else tells me, no matter what I think myself, no matter what my own plan is, if I clearly hear You say something and I know it’s You, I will honor You—and honor what You say—above everything else.”

Sometimes we give more consideration to what people tell us than to what God says. If we pray diligently and hear from God, and then start asking people around us what they think, we honor their human opinions above God’s. Such an attitude will prevent our being able to consistently hear God’s voice. If we are ever going to develop an ability to hear from God and be led by His Spirit as a way of life, we have to stop listening to so many opinions from so many people and begin trusting the wisdom God deposits in our hearts. There is a time to receive good counsel, but needing the approval of people will keep us out of the will of God.

The devil wants us to think we are not capable of hearing from God, but God’s Word says that is not true. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of us because God wants us to be led by the Spirit in a personal way and to hear His voice for ourselves as He leads and guides us.

In the verse for today, God says we will be blessed when we look to Him. According to Jeremiah 17:5–6, severe consequences come to those who trust in the frailty of mere men and women, but blessed are those who trust in and honor the Lord. Good things happen if we listen to God. He wants to be our strength and we must honor His Word above all else.

God’s word for you today: Hear what others have to say, but listen to God.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Will Preserve Me

dr_bright

“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18, KJV).

Do you and I have that same kind of confidence in God?

Note that the apostle Paul did not mention the word deathhere, for earlier verses in this chapter reveal that he expected to die – and he was ready. But he was assured that God would keep Paul from apostasy, and from displaying an improper spirit at the time of his death.

In the same way, we can ask the Lord today, in faith believing, for that inner peace we need to face up to all that He allows to happen in our lives. His perfect peace is sufficient for every testing and trial and trouble and temptation.

By keeping us from every evil work, He likewise enables us to reach His heavenly kingdom.

An appropriate time for praise to God is when a person knows he is about to be brought to heaven, and Paul introduces such a doxology here: “to whom be glory for ever and ever.”

The truth is clear: we are protected on every side, and even at death we can sing the doxology, for we are about to meet the altogether lovely One in His heavenly home. To remain in constant fellowship with our heavenly Father will maintain a spirit of joy, love and peace in our lives that nothing can shake.

Bible Reading: Psalm 3:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Like the apostle Paul, I will confidently expect God to protect me from every evil work and enable me to live the supernatural life for His glory.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Prioritized Place

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Do you ever wonder why it seems like you’re always facing one problem or another? Perhaps temptations get the better of you, or you’re driven to anger and bitterness because prayers seem to go unanswered. Could it be you’re not spending enough time reading your Bible?

The word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

I John 2:14

Today’s verse reminds you of one of the benefits of letting God’s word abide in you – you will overcome evil. Yet Scripture will only take up residence in your life if you let it in, and the only way you can do that is to prioritize it and give it the rightful place it deserves at the top of your daily routine.

During this holiday season, develop a new habit by setting aside specific time to saturate yourself with the gift of God’s love as found in His Word. Allow the abundance of His grace to flood into your soul. Memorize something new. Enjoy spiritual songs. Play a Scripture CD in your car. The more you abide in the Word, the more it will abide in you!

In a nation where many have lost their way, pray that this will be a season of discovering Jesus for who He really is – Savior, Lord and friend. Ask for this same discovery to happen among your nation’s leaders as well.

Recommended Reading: John 15:7-14