"For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him." (Acts 13:27)
The dispensation of the Holy Spirit began in the book of Acts and continues through the present time. Dependence upon the Holy Spirit requires us to stay completely free from everything set in our minds, from every conclusive position, except the fundamental facts of our faith.
The religious, traditional mentality we received through teaching and training from infancy, has to give way to the revolutionary. We must be willing to move out of our religious comfort zone, to a place where the Lord is free to do His revolutionary work and revise our thinking.
If we refuse to make this change, we are like those in Jerusalem and their rulers. We neither recognize God, nor what God is doing. In the process, we condemn His influence in our lives.
The place to which the Holy Spirit brings us is not contradictory to God. It is a place where He gives us fuller meaning in all we know about His word. He has more light and truth to bring us. We discover that what we already know seems as nothing.
If we are unwilling to submit to this radical turn of events, God orchestrates crises in our spiritual walk that bring us to a standstill. We find ourselves in tremendous conflict with the Holy Spirit because He opens our eyes to something unthinkable in our religious mind-set.
Consider Peter on the housetop in Joppa (Acts 10). If Peter had said, "Get behind me, Satan, I know such a vision isn't from God because it doesn't line up with my beliefs," he would have missed God.
Peter wasn't the only one to set aside preconceived beliefs. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. (Verse 45)
And what about Saul of Tarsus? Saul was acting on the basis of Old Testament Scripture, cleaning the house of God of unwanted leaven. He thought he had the full support of the word of God for what he was doing. After his encounter with the Spirit of Christ on the road to Damascus, he had to go away to Arabia for a couple of years to reconcile the Old Testament with his new experience.
If we look closely at the book of Acts, we find that the prophets are being reinterpreted. The inner meaning of their prophecies are brought to light by the Holy Spirit.
Peter began that reinterpretation on the day of Pentecost, when he said, "This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel..." (Acts 2:16) He continued with other Old Testament quotations that pointed to that time.
Christ came to fulfill the Law and the prophets, but He didn't move in predictable ways. He still doesn't.
As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven...things into which angels long to look. (1 Peter 1:10-12)
The Holy Spirit came from heaven as a testimony that the old order was finished and a new order begun, a new interpretation of the prophets, and a new spiritual birth to replace the Law. The Holy Spirit becomes our enemy when we try to re-instate law and order and form and ritual to our walk with the Lord.
He relieves us of the responsibility of order. We are to become like an orange tree in a grove of orange trees. We produce oranges without worrying about how we should produce oranges. We just produce our fruit as we yield to the life process brought in by the Holy Spirit.
The first churches were birthed out of spontaneity, constituted from heaven by the Holy Spirit. Man did not bring his form of church and church government, his mold, his concept and say, "This is how the church should be." The churches came as a product of life, the same as oranges on an orange tree.
As the Holy Spirit was allowed to work, the church took the form of Christ. "...I will build My church...," said Christ (Matthew 16:18), and the Holy Spirit took responsibility.
Once more, Jesus is rebuilding His church, and purging the unholiness from it. Unholiness has arrested the mighty purpose of God. The result of that tragedy is reflected throughout the earth. The Holy Spirit is treating unholiness as He treated Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).
Ananias and Sapphira deliberately planned to give the Lord only a part of the proceeds of their sale, but represent it as being the whole. Satan filled their hearts to lie to the Holy Spirit.
When King Saul disobeyed God, he missed God's purpose for his life (1 Samuel 15). It is the same with us. Our personal ministry may be set aside if we persist in something the Holy Spirit has spoken to us about but we have refused to receive or to deal with. We condemn Christ within us and Christ within the church if we insist upon having our own way, if we refuse to submit in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When those in Jerusalem remained ignorant of the voices of the prophets, they were set aside, and the Gentiles were selected to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom.
We are faced with the same dilemma. Should the Holy Spirit deal differently with us? Are we any more special than the children of God? We may not lose our salvation, but what about our vocation? What about the will of the Father, the reason He breathed life into us and formed us in the womb?
The Holy Spirit is pointing to something much greater than we have ever seen before in the church and in the world. We are on the threshold of the nature and character and purpose of the dispensation in which we live.
Let's step across the threshold, let's give the Holy Spirit full reign, let's abandon the comfort of the carnal and allow ourselves to be led into the spiritual. Let's begin to produce oranges the natural way!
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Am I really submitted to the Holy Spirit?