Emblem: Work of the Holy Spirit
August 1st, 1965 @ 10:50 AM
EMBLEM – WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
8-1-65 10:50 a.m.
Now the sermon this morning, following these series of messages on the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, the sermon this morning concerns the work of the Holy Spirit within us and the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon us. And on the radio and on television you are sharing the First Baptist Church in Dallas morning hour service.
In the Bible, as in most every other area of life, it is hard to speak without using similitudes, similes, metaphors, illustrations. For practically all of the things that really affect us are intangibles: God is one; love, devotion, affection is one. And when we speak of the Holy Spirit we would expect the sacred writers to use similitudes to present the truth of the presence of the Spirit of God. So in these emblems of the Spirit – and this is the last and concluding message on those emblems – there are three of them that have to do with the work of the Holy Spirit in us. It concerns this world and this time and this age. Then there are two of them that concern the blessings of the Holy Spirit in the world and the age that is yet to come.
So we address ourselves first to the emblems of the Holy Spirit describing His work within us in this life, in this age, in this world; and the first one is wind. "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" [Acts 2:1-2]. That’s the word for "spirit": in the Hebrew, ruach, "wind, breath, spirit." That’s the same way that the Greeks presented it: pneuma, like a pneumatic tire, pneuma, "wind, breath, spirit." And of course, the Latin word is spiritus. The wind, the wind as a type of the Holy Spirit of God, and it is used because of its invisible essence: you can’t see it.
When the Lord spoke to Nicodemus about being born again, Nicodemus said, "I do not understand. I am an older man, and how can an older man be born again? The thought is inconceivable that he enter again into his mother’s womb and be born" [John 3:3]. And then Jesus in explaining it, said, "The wind, the pneuma, bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the pneuma" [John 3:8]. And the first word, first use, translated "wind," the pneuma, "The wind bloweth where it listeth," you can’t see it, you don’t know where it comes from or goes to, "so is everyone that is born of the," and here it is translated, "Spirit" – wind, breath, spirit. And of course, the similitude lies in the fact that the power and the presence is invisible.
To us who are living in this modern world of science, such an idea is not impractical at all: for we are made to realize in our day and our time the power of the invisible, the essence of what cannot be seen. We’ve been introduced to the world of molecules and viruses that cannot be seen, even under the strongest microscope; the world of atoms, and electrons, and protons, and neutrons, and the latent power almost unbelievable, yet unseen! No man ever shall see an atom. The Spirit of God likened unto wind because it’s invisible, yet powerful!
We live in the world of ether waves. This whole atmosphere filled with songs and music and pictures, shooting them up, laying them in the dust, law! the things that are in this atmosphere, right here, I just, I put my arms around it. And yet if you didn’t know what I was talking about, you’d say, "That man has lost his equilibrium. You mean, in his arms there are pictures and symphonies, and shoot them up, and Indian hunters?" – I don’t know why I got that on my mind, but I got it – all of it right here. The air is full of it, full of it. We are conversant with the world of the invisible, the ether wave upon which the radio signal and the TV picture follows and rides.
The invisible world – take a prism and let a ray of sunlight shine through it, and you will get the spectrum, the rainbow, the seven colors starting at red, coming on down as the wavelength lengthens to violet. But in so fast a wavelength that our eyes can’t see it, there’s an "infrared," and so long a wavelength that our eye can’t see it again, there’s an "ultraviolet": colors on either side of the spectrum that we can’t see. They are invisible; but they are very plainly there – the world of the invisible.
Walking along the shore on the Pacific side of Panama, the tides there come in twenty, twenty-five feet high. And if there’s not a tremendous shelf of the seashore there, that tide will go in for miles and miles. And if the sand is built up a shore, you walk down there by the side of the water, and the seashore looks like a great wall twenty-five, thirty feet high. What pulls that vast Pacific Ocean pulled twenty, thirty feet high? By the invisible power of the gravitational pull of the moon! And what, if this earth is a globe, and these oceans are here and here, what pulls those great oceans together? An invisible power: gravity! When these men swing out into orbit, according to those mathematical laws of that invisible power, they go around the world, they someday will go around the moon, they’ll someday reach some of these planets in outer space. And yet every law and every mathematical formula that lies back of it is unseen and invisible! So with the divine Spirit of God: God is pneuma, God is breath, God is wind, referring to the invisible essence and nature of the powerful presence of God.
Second, an emblem of the Holy Spirit’s work here with us: fire, fire, the burning. As Isaiah 4:4 refers, "the spirit of burning": the zeal, and the devotion, and the consecration, and the quickening, and the life, the consuming burning of fire! "When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all of one accord in one place. Suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a rushing mighty wind. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each one of them" [Acts 2:2-3]; fire.
In the glorious Apocalypse, when John saw the throne of God, before the throne were set seven lamps that burned with fire. And John says they are the seven Spirits of God [Revelation 1:4]. Not that the Holy Spirit is seven, but the word "seven" refers to the plenitude of the Spirit of God, the presence of God in the earth. The God that brooded over the face of the deep, the God that moves in power whether physical, material, or spiritual in this earth – fire, fire, the burning of the presence of the Spirit of God. And He came upon the tabernacle, and it looked in the daytime like a pillar of cloud [Deuteronomy 31:15]; and it looked in the nighttime as a pillar, like a pillar of fire [Exodus 13:21]. And when the temple was dedicated, the shekinah glory of God, the light of God, the burning fury of God came down, and the priests could not even enter into the glory [2 Chronicles 7:2-3] – like a fire: the burning of God, the consuming power of God, the zeal and the consecration and the dedication of the quickening power of God.
In preparing this message, I read a story, and it had a point. And the story is this: there was a man who owned a factory, and he was surveying his factory. And while he was a’looking at it, a man came by and said, "Is this your factory?"
"Yes," he said.
"Well, what does it make?"
"It doesn’t make anything."
"Well, why doesn’t it make anything?"
"Because it won’t run."
"Well, why won’t it run?"
"I don’t know," said the factory owner, "it just won’t run."
"Well, I tell you what you do," said this man, "you get you an exhorter. And you get you a long hook-nosed oilcan, and you put that can in the hand of that exhorter, and you let him go around and grease all of these axles and all of these wheels and all these bearings, and you get that exhorter to exhort those wheels to turn, and that factory to move and it will produce."
So he got him an exhorter, a preacher, and he got him an oilcan. And the exhorter, the preacher, went around greasing all the bearings and all the wheels, and exhorting them to turn. And the thing didn’t move, didn’t move.
So the factory owner was out there looking at his factory. And another man came by, and he said, "This your factory?"
"Yes," said the man.
"Well, what do you make here?"
"Nothing," said the man.
"Well, why don’t you make something?"
"Because my factory won’t run."
"Well, why won’t it run?"
"I don’t know," said the man. "Oh, I tell you what you do," said that second fellow. He said, "You get you a beautiful artist, and you fresco all the walls and the ceiling, and you paint barefooted angels all over the ceiling blowing trumpets, and that factory will produce." So he got him the finest artists, and they frescoed the walls and the ceilings, and they painted barefooted angels blowing trumpets. And when he got through, the factory still wouldn’t run.
So the man was out in front of his factory looking at it, and another fellow came by. And he said, "Is this your factory?"
"Well, what you make here?"
"Well, why don’t you make something?"
"Because it won’t run."
"Well, why won’t it run?"
"I don’t know," said the man.
"Well, I’ll tell you what you do: you get you some beautiful stained-glass windows, and you put it in the sides of that factory. And you get you a glorious paid quartet, and a marvelous choir to sing anthems. And you get you a marvelous organ to play. And that factory will run." So the man got him the finest organ and put it right there. And he got him the finest choir, and he put it right there, and the prettiest stained-glass windows and put them right there. And looked for it to produce. And sure enough, not a wheel turned.
And he was standing out in front of his factory, and a man came by, and he said, "That your factory?"
"Yea," said the man.
"Well, what you make here?"
"Don’t make anything."
"Well, why don’t you make something?"
"Because the factory won’t run."
"Well, why won’t it run?"
"I don’t know," said the man, "I don’t know. Fellow came by and told me I ought to get a preacher with an oilcan, and I got him. And a fellow came by and said I ought to fresco the walls, and said look at those barefooted angels blowing trumpets up there on the ceiling. Another fellow came by and said I ought to get an organ, I got that; get the stained-glass windows, I got that; and just listen to that choir running the anthem, all of them down the chromatic scale, just listen to them." And he said, "My factory won’t run."
And the man replied, and he said, "Now listen, I don’t know anything about chromatic scales, and I don’t know anything about stained-glass windows, and I don’t know anything about barefooted angels blowing trumpets, but I tell you what I do know: I know something about furnaces, and I know something about steam, and I know something about fire, and I know something about coal. Now, mister, would you give me a chance?" And the factory owner said, "Listen, anybody that can help me, come." And that man took off his coat, and rolled up his sleeves, and went down there to the boiler room, and he opened the door, and he made him a little fire. And then he shoved on a shovel of coal. And then he put on another shovel of coal. And he put on another shovel of coal. And then he put another shovel of coal, and the fire began to burn! And pretty soon that gauge on the steam began to rise and rise, and finally whistle and that fellow went over there, and he pulled back a throttle, and the steam hit the piston, and the piston began to tremble, and to move, and the great wheel began to turn. And that guy shoveled in more coal, and more coal. And the wheels began to turn, and the factory began to produce.
How many churches are like that? Marvelous frescos, marvelous music, glorious stained-glass windows, incomparable cathedral architecture, and as dead as a mausoleum: couldn’t produce anything. The Holy Spirit is like fire: it burns, it consumes, it energizes, it quickens, makes a life [Matthew 3:11; Acts 2:3].
A third thing: like clothing, like clothing. Not only like wind, not only like fire, like clothing. "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city. . . until ye be endued, enduo, with power from on high" [Luke 24:]. Now that word enduo is a plain, simple, ordinary word that means "put on clothes, put on clothes." "You wait," said our Lord, "in Jerusalem, until you be clothed with the power from on high" – clothing.
There are two instances I have found here in the Hebrew of the Old Testament. You look at this. "But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew the trumpet." You know what the Hebrew of that is? "But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Himself with Gideon" [Judges 6:34]. Isn’t that a magnificent idea? "The Spirit of God clothed Himself with Gideon, and Gideon blew the trumpet." I found another instance of that in the Second Chronicles, twenty-fourth chapter; "God sent prophets to them; and they testified [2 Chronicles 24:19]. And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoida the high priest" [2 Chronicles 24:20]. And there is that same thing again: "And the Spirit of God clothed Himself with Zechariah" – the Holy Spirit coming upon a man, just clothing the man, and the Holy Spirit of God clothing Himself with the man: the quickening power of the presence of God in a man’s soul. "It is like fire," said Jeremiah, "in my bones"; it is like a hammer that breaketh [the rock] in pieces" [Jeremiah 23:29]. It is like the wind, the invisible presence and moving Spirit of God [Acts 2:2].
I could not conceive of the presence of God among people and the thing be dead, and inert, and indifferent, and decadent! I couldn’t conceive of it! For where the Lord is, there is life, and burning, and a fury of consuming [Deuteronomy 4:24].
Now there are two of these glorious similitudes that refer to the blessings of the Holy Spirit upon us in the world that is yet to come, and those two are a seal and an earnest. Three times in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is referred to as a seal. One is in the second Corinthian letter, the first chapter and the twenty-second verse: "Who also has sealed us, with the Holy Spirit in our hearts" [2 Corinthians 1:22]. The second instance is in Ephesians, the first chapter, the thirteenth verse: "In whom ye also trusted in our blessed Lord, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" [Ephesians 1:13]. And the other is in the same Book of Ephesians, the fourth chapter: "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" [Ephesians 4:30].
Now a seal, a seal: and what is the purpose of presenting the Holy Spirit to us as a seal? Well, the reason is this: when we are redeemed and saved and washed in the blood of the Lamb – that happened to me forty-five years ago; I was washed, and cleansed, and forgiven, and saved, and regenerated, and born again, and I became a Christian when I trusted Jesus forty-five years ago. But I’m not done with this pilgrimage yet; I’m still in it. And how do I know and what assurance do I have, even after I’ve been redeemed, and blood-bought, and saved, and regenerated, and forgiven, what assurance do I have that I’ll make it? Satan’s out there in front of me, and the world is out there in front of me, and the years with their pitfalls are out there in front of me, how do I know that I’ll make it? I may not. I may not. What assurance do I have that I’ll see heaven and see the face of Jesus, and ever go through those pearly gates, and ever walk on those golden streets? What assurance do I have? Well, the assurance I have is the sealing of the Holy Spirit of God.
Now what is a seal among men? A seal among men means two things. One, a seal refers to ownership: this is marked out as belonging to that man. In the thirty-second chapter of Jeremiah, when Jeremiah bought the field of Hanameel, he sealed it with a seal in the presence of witnesses, and then weighed out for him the shekels of payment. It is a mark of ownership: this belongs to that man; it is sealed [Jeremiah 32:9-14]. All right, the second purpose of a seal is security. When they put Jesus in the tomb, the Roman governor sealed it with the seal of the Roman Empire to see to it that Jesus would stay in the tomb [Matthew 27:64-66]. Isn’t that an amazing thing? The attitude of the world about God and about Christ and about religion; as though a Roman seal and as though a rock could keep Jesus inside a sepulcher. They sealed it for security. In the twentieth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, when Satan is seized by the strong angel from heaven and thrown into the bottomless pit, the Book says, "And the angel sealed the entrance into that pit" [Revelation 20:1-3]; sealed it, security.
Now those two things are used with reference to us in the sealing of the Holy Spirit of God. First of all, ownership, ownership: we belong to God; we are the Lord’s. Remember that famous and great and oft-quoted verse in 2 Timothy 2:19: "For the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His." They may be dead and buried in the ground, and their dust may be blowing with the wind, or they may be in the bottom of the sea, but wherever God’s children are they are sealed with this seal: God knoweth His own! As the Lord said in the tenth chapter of the Book of John: "I know My sheep, and I call them by name [John 10:3]; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of My hand. My Father, who gave them Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand" [John 10:28-29]. How do you know you’re going to get to heaven? What assurance do you have that you won’t fall into a thousand ways that deviate? Why, you’re sealed, and the Lord knows you: you belong to Him.
Now the other one was security, security, sealed. "These are Mine," and the Lord keeps them. Do you remember my reference in preaching through the Revelation, to the seventh chapter of the Revelation: "And the Lord said to the angel that held the four winds, hold back the winds that they do not destroy the earth, until first I seal My servants in the earth [Revelation 7:1-3]. And twelve thousand were sealed from Judah; and twelve thousand were sealed from Reuben," and twelve thousand till the whole 144,000 were sealed [Revelation 7:4-8]. And then after the sealing of that 144,000, those winds were loosed, and the awful days of the tribulation came upon the earth [Revelation 7:9-14]. Then in the fourteenth chapter of the Revelation you have a roll call, you have an appearance, you have a presentation before the Lord on Mt. Zion. And of the 144,000 sealed in the seventh chapter of the Revelation [Revelation 7:4], there are 144,000 standing with the Lamb on Mt. Zion in the fourteenth chapter of the Revelation, after the fury of the revelation has passed [Revelation 14:1]. Not 139,999, but 144,000: the Lord never lost one, not one. And that’s our assurance of heaven: the sealing of the Holy Spirit [2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:33, 4:30].
He Himself is the seal: not something He does; He is the seal. And when you are regenerated, when you are born again, when you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes to make His home in your heart [1 Corinthians 6:19]. And that’s the seal of ownership. You belong to God, and God has marked you out for His own. And that’s going to be the great assurance that someday we make it to heaven.
Now the other one – and we must hasten – and the other one is an earnest: a seal and an earnest. What is an earnest? An earnest is a down payment, a promise to pay. When a man buys a piece of property, they’ll put something in escrow in a bank somewhere, earnest money you’d call it, earnest money; and it’s a pledge that the rest of it is going to be paid. "I give you this much as a token, as a pledge that the rest of it I’ll pay later." That’s earnest, that’s earnest money. Now, the pledge, the earnest of our final salvation is the gift of the Holy Spirit. You look at it. Three times here in the New Testament, three times the Holy Spirit is used with reference to a seal; three times the Holy Spirit is used in the similitude of an earnest.
Now in 2 Corinthians chapter 1: "Who also hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" [2 Corinthians 1:22]. And in the same second Corinthian letter, chapter 5: "Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit" [2 Corinthians 5:5]; the down payment, the pledge. Now it’s used in one other instance, in this passage in Ephesians, where it says, "You were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession and to the praise of His glory" [Ephesians 1:13-14]. The Lord has purchased this whole creation, all of it: not only my soul, not only my heart, not only the hope I have in this life, but God hath purchased the whole possession. And God’s going to redeem the whole possession: my body that is decaying, that is wasting, getting older, finally to die if the Lord delays; my body is to be redeemed, the whole purchased possession. And this decaying world filled with disease, and woe, and sorrow, and suffering, and war, and dread, and foreboding, this whole world is to be redeemed, all of it. Government to be redeemed, life to be redeemed, everything to be redeemed. And these dead planets out in space that have been cursed by sin in this universe, they are to be redeemed. The whole creation is to be redeemed, all of it: our bodies as well as our souls, and the world in which we live, and the heavens above it. All of it is to be gloriously redeemed.
Well, how do you know? And what assurance do you have? The Book says the earnest of that inheritance for the redemption of the whole purchased possession is the Holy Spirit of God in our souls. That’s God’s down payment of what is going to come.
It’s like Paul writes in the first Corinthian letter and the second [chapter], "Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things, the great, good, godly, precious things, the marvelous, incomparable, wonderful things which God has prepared for those who love Him" [1 Corinthians 2:9]. But what’s the next verse? "But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit" [1 Corinthians 2:10]. I can see them by faith. No other way to look at it.
As far as human history goes, this world, as long as the human race lives, is involved in death, and war, and suicide, and murder, and violence, and blood. That’s human history. And as far as the scientist can see with his natural eye, this whole universe will stay just as it is until finally the sun burns out and the planets fall into it like cinders. That’s what they say. But what does God’s Book say? God’s Book says that we’re to have a new heaven, and a new earth, and a new body, and a new fellowship, and a new glory [Revelation 21:1-5]; and the earnest of it is the Spirit God hath placed in our souls [2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14]. And by the Spirit we are enabled by faith to see these wonderful things, and to accept them, and to believe in them, and to rejoice in them.
Our problem lies, we don’t recognize them as such. Like two gentleman walking down the street, and they met a man, and the man spoke to them, and one of them spoke back. And after the two gentleman walk on down the street, one of them said to the other one, "Did you see our friend so and so?" And the other one says, "Why no, I didn’t see him."
"Why," said the man, "you just met him. And he spoke to you."
"Well, well, I didn’t see him. I didn’t see him."
That’s the way with us: right here, and with us, and in our hearts, and the earnest of all God has for us, and we don’t recognize it, and we don’t see it, and we don’t understand it. Oh, but my brother, my friend in Jesus, if you’ll come into the wisdom and into the knowledge of what God hath said to us in the Holy Scriptures, and just let the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see; like that young man at Dothan, frightened, surrounded by an army, and Elisha said, "Lord, open his eyes." And the Lord opened his eyes, and the mountains were filled with chariots of fire round about Elisha [2 Kings 6:17].
O Lord, open our eyes, and let us see. And when the eyes of your soul are opened by the earnest, the pledge of the Holy Spirit in your heart, when the preacher preaches about heaven you can just look on the inside, you can just see it. Oh, that beautiful city, and the golden streets, and the gates that swing in solid pearl [Revelation 21:21], and the palace of the great King, and the crystal river of everlasting life [Revelation 22:1], and the throne of the Lamb and of God [Revelation 22:3], and the fellowship of the saints adoring the Savior world without end, forever and ever.
And when you have the Spirit in your heart, the earnest of the promise of God, when you stand by the side of your mother, and she lies so silent in death – and as this last week, oh, you stand up there and open the Bible, and you tell that bereaved and sorrowing family, as I did last Friday, tell them about God, and about Jesus, and about the heavenly home, and the new city, and the glorious world that is yet to come; just read it out of the Bible, and those who are Christians and those who have been saved, whose hearts are homes for the Holy Spirit, when you talk about Jesus and heaven and home, beyond their tears there comes a welling up of faith and hope and promise unspeakable! Can’t see it with our eyes, don’t hear it with our ears, but the Spirit reveals them unto us, He who is the earnest of their possession in our hearts.
Amen. And praise His blessed name, and forever.
Now we’ve gone beyond the time. I meant to speak briefly today, but oh, the words of the Book are so precious and so meaningful.
While we sing this hymn of appeal, "My Faith Looks Up to Thee," while we sing this hymn of appeal, somebody you giving your heart in trust to Jesus, come and stand by me. I’ll be standing right there on that side of our communion table; come and stand by me. "Pastor, I give you my hand, I give you my hand; I have given my heart in trust to God, and here I am, here I come." A family you, a youth, a child, one somebody you, while we sing our song and while we make this appeal, come now. Make it now, while we stand and while we sing.
WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
I. Here in this world
A. Breath, wind
Invisible in essence, but no less real (Acts 2:1-2, John 3:1-8)
Our modern scientific world makes us conversant with the idea
1. Spirit of
burning (Isaiah 4:4)
2. Tongues like
as of fire (Acts 2:2-3)
3. Seven lamps
4. Shekinah glory
upon tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38)
– be clothed (Luke 24:, Judges 6:34, 2 Chronicles 24:20, Jeremiah 23:29)
II. There in the world to come
Holy Spirit as a seal of the believer’s redemption (2 Corinthians 1:22,
Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30)
a. A seal among men
i. Ownership (Jeremiah
ii. Security (Matthew
27:66, Revelation 20:3)
b. The sealing of the
i. Ownership (2
Timothy 2:19, John 10)
ii. Security (Revelation
payment, promise to pay (2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5, Ephesians 1:13-14)
2. Of what is the
Holy Spirit in earnest?
a. Our inheritance (1 Corinthians