6. A DEVOTED PERSON REV. 1:4 Part 6
THE MASTER Grace be unto you, and peace…
GOD THE SPIRIT and from the seven Spirits
which are before his throne
The San Jose mine, in Chile, trapped 33 miners beneath two thousand feet of solid rock. The main tunnel collapsed and for two months of desperation they sat confined in an earthen tomb. They ate two spoons of tuna, a sip of milk, and a morsel of peaches every other day. For two months they hoped for deliverance.
On the surface above, the Chilean rescue team worked around the clock. They drilled, first a communication hole, then an excavation tunnel. There was no guarantee of success. No one had ever been trapped underground this long and lived to tell about it.
No one could rescue himself; nothing they did would get them out. They were ensnared, entombed and hopeless. Only outside help, assistance from above was all that could reach them. They needed someone to penetrate their world and pull them out.
On October 13, 2010, rescue tunnel was finished. A capsule was lowered and the men began to emerge. They had been lost, ruined but now saved.
John is calling to the Churches, and John is calling to us in our trapped condition. We constantly need daily release, we’re stuck in collapse and broken helplessness.
The call of help is Grace and Peace from God, the triune God.
Our trust in the trinity separates us from all other religions. Islam rejects the trinity, Judaism rejects the trinity, and all cults and religions reject a triune God.
In the Athanasian Creed, it is declared “that we worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity; neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance; for there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit; but the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one; the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; and yet there are not three Gods, but one God”
God the Spirit is one Spirit but here His symbolic name is “the seven Spirits before God’s throne”. This isn’t some spooky reference to seven beings that are each spirits. This is an allusion to His complete manifesting of God in all His persons perfectly and wholly or seven fold. There’s no future on getting hung up on symbols as they are meant to form a picture and illustrate to our mind the multiple facets of truth. Seven Spirits is a symbolic title expressing His perfection and complete deity.
Seven Spirits is a name that can also symbolize features and aspects of God the Spirit. We don’t want to trip up from the oneness of God the Spirit, the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father. The features and characteristics of God’s being are shared in each person in infinite triune harmony. The Spirit works in a variety of operations and activities.
William Tyndale (1494-1536) writes: our problem is with our hearts, the Spirit gives us new birth into a new life precisely by giving us a new heart Ezek. 36:26; Jn. 3:3-8. The tool he uses is Scripture (1 Pet. 1:23; Jas. 1:18)
We are feeble in our understanding of the Spirit and shabby in identifying His constant presence. We need constant reminders of His desire to fill and lead us in an uninterrupted relationship with Jesus.
There is no limit to God’s Spirit. He is infinite, all-powerful, all knowing, and all-present. His revelation of Himself is without limit of seven or any number. In listing a few patterns of seven the intention is to share the activities of His person.
There are seven things revealed about the Spirit in Isaiah 11:2
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
1. The Spirit of the Lord. He manifests God for He is God.
2. The Spirit of Wisdom. He is the source of all true wisdom.
3. The Spirit of Understanding. He gives comprehension.
4. The Spirit of Counsel. He is our comforter and counselor.
5. The Spirit of Might. He empowers us in each challenge.
6. The Spirit of Knowledge. He guides in relationships with God.
7. The Spirit of Fear of the Lord. He guides our worship.
THERE ARE SEVEN SYMBOLS REVEALING THE SPIRITS INVOLVEMENT.
1. He comes as Rain
Rain is for refreshing restoration. His torrent is an outburst unrivaled in history. He brought new revelations to the Apostles and the New Testament was composed. Acts 2:16-17 this is what the prophet Joel speaks; I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh:
2. He comes as Rivers of Living Water
The living water of the Spirit satisfies our inner thirst. He is an overflowing stream of life, and love to touch others through our lives. Psalm 42:1 as a deer pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God.
John 7:37-39 Jesus cried out, If anyone is thirsty…come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me…will have streams of living water flow from deep within him. He said this about the Spirit
The satisfaction we crave is accessible, Jesus said, come to Me to drink, is believing. The living water of His Spirit is our spiritual life.
3. He Comes as Wind
Jesus said in John 3:8 the wind blows where it likes, John Phillips writes: “The wind has its own laws. It is not answerable to human demands and dictate. Its paths are mysterious, its direction apt to change without notice”.
We hear the sound of it, but can’t tell when it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The wind is invisible. It can blow gently or with hurricane force. The end results of the winds are that things move. The Holy Spirit is dynamic, irresistible, and unstoppable. He is forceful, overwhelming and relentless. But He asks for our helpless response. He wants us to recognize that we are trapped without His grace and peace constantly reaching us.
4. He Comes as Oil
He anoints our life like oil. 2 Cor. 1:21-22 Now he…has anointed us…Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
His anointing makes us sensitive 1 John 2:20 But we have an anointing from the Holy One, and we know all things. He makes us perceptive to truth in His Word. His oil makes the Word smoothly applicable and practical to us in the daily circumstances of life. Oil encourages efficiency where there is friction.
The Spirit gives us an ability to speak words of comfort, sensitive counsel and even urgent appeals. Oil lubricates from wear helping us to be fresh so we’re not stale, formal, and boring. Oil loosens in the stress points allowing confident relationships to interact effectively with each other. Where there is sorrow and grief we need the oil of rejoicing and refreshing.
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my
enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
5. He Comes as Wine
Ephesians 5:8 be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. J.B. Phillips renders this: Don’t get your stimulus from wine (for there is always the danger of excessive drinking), but let the Spirit stimulate your souls.
Jesus taught in Luke 5:37-39 no man puts new wine into old wine skins; else the new wine will burst the wine skins, and be spilled, and the wine skins will perish. But new wine must be put into wine skins; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine desires new: for he says, the old is better.
R. Kent Hughes writes: The new wine of life can’t be restrained by old, unyielding structures. Old wine skins are brittle. Their inflexible condition would cause them to burst, and both wine and wineskins would be lost. New wine need new wine skins so their natural elasticity and strength would allow the new wine to expand. Donald G. Barnhouse calls this the expulsive power of a new affection.
When Christ fills our lives with His Spirit, the swelling life within expands us. The inner life expels unneeded things and fills every aspect of life. John 1:16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
Everyone receives common grace. The only way anyone exists is by God’s common grace of air, sunlight, food and water. But to receive special grace is grace upon grace. This is the life of Christ Spirit poured into us. Jesus Christ moves in when we receive Him, takes up residence in our life. This expulsive power of His Spirit affects our thinking, our feelings and our decisions. The Spirit, like fermenting wine increases our spiritual capacity. The more we receive, the more we are able to receive.
Those that drink old wine and don’t desire new wine are any who reject the new wine of the Spirit in Jesus Christ. They want the old wine, it works for them and they don’t trust what is new. They’re determined not to try it because what they have what they think works for them.
Bill MacDonald writes: this is the natural reluctance to abandon the old for the new, Judaism for Christianity, law for grace, shadows for substance. The natural tendency is to stay with the world’s way of doing things, stay with the flesh and don’t let the Spirit in. We don’t allow Christ to make us a new person. It is just easier to stay on the old juice.
To get new wine Jesus needs to change our person by a new birth spiritually. The problem is not that various stimulants are wrong. The solution is not being insulated from the world. The reality is that the old is not the best source of stimulation, joy and peace.
So what does it take to excite our life? The problem isn’t just alcohol; the issue is, how much of what the world offers does it take to get us going? Acts 2:13 states that those that watched mocked saying: These men are full of new wine.
Wine is a source of tension release and even sensations of joy just like a number of other intoxicants. The Spirit of Christ is the real wine and the real source of joy. Nehemiah 8:10 remarks: This joy gives us strength for the joy of the Lord is our strength.
6. He Comes as Fire
Fire probes, penetrates and refines. When the three in Daniel, were thrown into the furnace of fire, their lives were spared and their clothes didn’t burn. But the ropes holding them in bondage burned.
The Spirit comes like fire and burns away any binding grip that the Enemy has imposed on us. The Spirit probes our inside nooks of life to refine us as gold is refined. The fire that probes and flushes out the inner thoughts and motives of our life are not a relaxing thought. We need grace and peace from the seven Spirits.
“He makes His ministers a flame of fire. God deliver me from the dread asbestos of ‘other things.’ Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is transient, often short lived. Can you bear this, my soul – short life? … Make me thy fuel, Flame of God.” Jim Elliot
L. S. Chafer in Vol. 6 of Systematic Theology writes: Fire can represent God’s presence. He was as a “pillar of fire” to the children of Israel for illumination and defense Ex. 13:21. He promises to be a “wall of fire” about His people Zech. 2:5.
Fire is a simile of His discipline and testing. When the Lord purifies the sons of Levi, He does it as a refiner purifies gold, by the action of fire Mal. 3:3; and when Christ searches the seven churches, His eyes are described as “a flame of fire” Rev. 1:14
We are reminded “the trial of our faith” is “much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire” 1 Pet. 1:7 “Our God is a consuming fire” Heb. 12:29.
God’s Word is fire igniting and warming. Jeremiah was told, “Behold I will make my words in thy mouth, fire”; when the prophet resolved not to speak the Word, he had to confess, “I said, I will not make mention of Him, or speak any more in His name. But His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones…and I could not stay” Jer. 5:14; 20:9.
The Holy Spirit is compared to “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne” Rev. 4:5
7. He Comes as a Dove
Does the dove find a place to rest in us? The Spirit brooded over chaos in the beginning in Gen. 1:2. The allusion of a dove is a picture of gentle hovering in grace looking for a response of reception. Noah released the dove after the devastation of judgment that took the world in a flood. The dove will soon stop brooding over the world, as final judgment is about to be unleashed.
Doing something special does not attain Grace from the Spirit. Its not gained by a set of steps taken or earned through any performance achievements.
God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Does that mean we earn grace by our attempts at humility? No. We are all like the miners in Chile. We are caught deep in a total cave- in. No attempt at digging, drilling or clawing will get us out of our tomb of hopeless impossibility. Jesus has come to rescue us by placing His Spirit in us to fill us with His grace.