Summary: The Holy Spirit does the hands-on work in the Bible: creating, inspiring, empowering, communicating the Word. Jesus left Him to direct the church. Are we ignoring Him or are we seeking Him and cooperating with Him?
DOES OUR CHURCH WELCOME THE HOLY SPIRIT?
Mt.3:16; Gen. 1:1-2; 8:8-11
A. HUMOR: THE KNOWLEDGE THEY LACKED
1. Three men, a Texan, a N. Korean, and a New Yorker were standing on a sidewalk when a reporter approached them and said, “Excuse me, could I get your opinion on the current grain shortage in Ukraine?”
2. The Texan said, “What’s a shortage?” The N. Korean said, “What is grain?” And the New Yorker said, “What’s ‘excuse me’?”
Gen. 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
Gen. 8:8-11, “[Noah] also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. 9 But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot….10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11 Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf (new life) was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.
Matthew 3:16, “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.”
1. Anyone who’s read the Bible knows the universal working of the Holy Spirit in both the Old Testament and the New. The Holy Spirit did the ‘hands-on’ work in Creation, He inspired & empowered the prophets & Judges (& N.T. Christians), He communicated to us the Word of God, He makes us new creations & sanctifies us, and He is the Administrator of the church until the Rapture.
2. Nothing lasting can be accomplished without His assistance. Therefore it behooves us to seek His favor and to accommodate His working among us. Think: should we ignore the One Jesus appointed to assist us in His absence? God forbid! Therefore we should seek Him out!
3. At Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a Dove. This was not wholly a new concept, for the Holy Spirit’s “hovering” over creation (Gen. 1:2) used the same terminology as of a used in Deut. 32:11 of a mother bird hovering over her young. The Dove of Noah also symbolized the Holy Spirit in many ways.
4. The Lord spoke to my heart asking the question, “Does Your Church Welcome the Holy Spirit?” In other words, if the Holy Spirit is like a Dove, am I setting the right environment for the Holy Spirit to feel welcome to come and assist my efforts?
5. After reading literature about Doves, I’d like to observe 7 characteristics about doves that we should consider in preparing to welcome the Holy Spirit.
I. THEIR PURITY
A. CAN NO LONGER BE PART OF UNCLEAN THINGS
1. If you tried to get a Dove to land on anything unclean, like a carcass, it would plainly refuse! That’s why the dove returned to the Ark.
2. Contrast this with the raven, which is a carrion bird. It didn’t come back, because it didn’t have a natural revulsion to eating dead animals, Gen. 8:7-9.
3. That’s very similar to a person who becomes a Christian; they can no longer “feast” on the unclean, perverse entertainment, dirty jokes, sensual behavior, and unholy thoughts.
4. Once the Dove of God comes, we can no longer be part of that old world we left behind! Purity comes naturally to us
B. A CREATURE OF VOWS
1. Doves, say the avian scientists, are also strictly monogamous birds. Once a Dove chooses its mate…it’s till death do us part. Sacred vows comes into effect immediately.
2. Similarly, we must have hearts of faithfulness & fidelity in our vows with God, if we would please the Holy Spirit. Scripture says the righteous “keeps an oath even when it hurts!” Ps. 15:4.
3. We must be faithful to our vows to our spouses and to the Lord! HUMOR. Doyle Jones told me about the a wedding where the 2 antennas got married. The wedding wasn’t much but the reception was great!
A. THEIR SYSTEM HAS NO GALL
1. Anatomical studies of Doves reveal that its body does not produce gall. The gall, say acclaimed naturalists, is the source behind a contentious and a bitter attitude on the part of birds.
2. It follows that in the absence of gall, this bird is uniquely gentle. The Lord Jesus said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” Matt 10:16. Have you ever seen doves fighting over food, like crows do? NEVER!