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Luke recorded for us:  As the time approached for Him to be taken up to Heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.  And He sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for Him; but the people there did not welcome Him, because He was heading for Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do You want us to call fire down from Heaven to destroy them?”  But Jesus turned and rebuked them.  And He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”  And they went to another village.

It is one thing to know what the Holy Spirit’s work is and who He is even… but to know what kind of Spirit He is is another thing.  One of our problems that we have in common with the twelve is that we do not know what kind of spirit we are of.

You see, the twelve had been sent out earlier in Luke 9.1, and with the authority Jesus had given them they were able to heal the sick and drive out demons… and Jesus said to them, “If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.”  However, He did not say, “Call down fire from Heaven to destroy them.”  Just because Elijah could do it and did it does not give us the right.  However, look at the victims of Elijah’s fire… they were all soldiers of Israel, that is, his own people from his own religion, but the Samaritans who opposed Jesus… they were not Jews and neither were they former disciples who had left Jesus. 

So the fire that came down from Heaven by Elijah’s word destroyed those who belonged to God through the Levitical covenant, but James and John had no right to use that same strategy against those who did not belong to the same covenant.  Indeed, they were not permitted to do anything… for they did not do what they had been told.  Instead they got a rebuke from Jesus, which unfortunately is not included on the main page, but at the footnote only.  You see… they were told, “…shake the dust off…” not call down fire from Heaven.  Just because it was alright for Elijah does not mean it was alright for them… after all, they were under a different covenant… one covenant was blessing through obedience of the law and the other is salvation through the forgiveness of sin.

Likewise, as it was for them… so it is with us.  Those words of the Lord apply to us so often that we need to be aware, for truly we do not know what kind of spirit we are of.

Not only do we not know our spirit, but worst of all, we do not know what kind of Spirit the Holy Spirit is… and as such, that verse of Jesus carries two meanings.  It carries the meaning of us not knowing our spirit, and the second meaning is that we do not know what kind of Spirit our spirits have been born again of.  Just because the Lord said, The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him,” does not mean that we should not or must not know Him.  Indeed, Jesus said, “But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be [is] in you.”

The truth is… the early church did not really get to know Him, the Holy Spirit.  They knew He was in them and was with them… but knew Him?  Note Acts 10.45:  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.  And Acts 11.1-3:  The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.  So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”  If by Acts 10 the early church had come to know the Holy Spirit better, then Peter would not have suffered criticism. 

That is the problem… we know there is a Holy Spirit; some of us are baptised with Him and know of His gifts and fruits because of Paul’s letter… but from the evidence presented by Luke from Acts 1-11, the early church did not really know the kind of Spirit He is.  If those circumcised believers who criticized Peter in Acts 11.2 did not know what kind of Spirit they were born again of, then the fault and blame of that ignorance lay with the teachers and the disciples.  As mentioned in the Book of Absolutes, the failure of the eleven to repent absolutely of their Jewishness meant that the early church still held onto more Jewish traditions than they should.  Had those believers been discipled properly into the complete meaning of having faith in Jesus to eat His flesh and drink His blood, they would not have objected, saying to Peter, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

If you look at the twelve titles of the Holy Spirit – Spirit of Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Power, Counsel, the Fear of the Lord, Truth, Life, Holiness, Grace, Revelation and Glory – as well as His twelve gifts and His twelve fruits, you will begin to see the kind of Spirit He is, and knowing the kind of Spirit He is, the Holy Spirit will allow you to know what kind of spirit you should be of and are of.

That is why I say again, if they really knew the Holy Spirit, they would never have written in the letter of Acts 15.28-29… It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:  You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.  Because once you know the Holy Spirit, you will know that He will never approve of any teaching, doctrine or judgment that goes against the words the Father gave Jesus for us. 

You would immediately understand why it was the Spirit who said to Simon, “Simon, three men are looking for you.  So get up and go downstairs.  Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them,”  and who could not wait for Peter to finish his sermon before He came on all who heard the message so that all the believers heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.  It is obvious the Holy Spirit searches the heart of a man and not his external religious appearance.  It is also obvious from Acts 10 that the Holy Spirit is more interested in drawing men to Jesus than the men of Jesus are interested in reaching out to men.

There is only one thing that seems good to the Holy Spirit… and that is to glorify God for the testimony of Jesus by confirming the Gospel with signs and wonders following.  So as Jesus said, “And these signs will accompany those who believe:  In My Name… they will speak in new tongues…” the Holy Spirit came upon the household of Cornelius and allowed them to confirm the words of Jesus before Peter was finished.

As such, every congregation that does not hold its ability to hear what the Spirit is saying has cut itself off from the One who is here to ensure the church fulfils the purpose God has for it.  And if you do not know what Spirit the Holy Spirit is… then you will find that like the twelve, your prayers, proposals and declarations will betray you.  When you look at the titles, gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, you will begin to see what kind of Spirit He is… and what He is not.  He is not a harsh, malicious, cruel spirit that calls down fire from Heaven at the first sign of opposition… and therefore, He is definitely not the spirit that condones torture to make a person relent of their belief, nor a murderous spirit that would lust after the gold of the pagans for his altars, nor a narrow minded, religious spirit that would withhold himself from uncircumcised men and women. 

Indeed, if you look at Acts 10, He is not a spirit that stands on ceremony, for He did not wait for Peter to stop speaking before He came on those gathered, knowing that the manifestation of the gift of tongues from Cornelius’ household would disrupt the sermon.  He is not a spirit of fear, powerlessness, ignorance, superstition… whatever are the opposite of His titles, gifts and fruits, He is not.  Above all else, He is the Spirit of Sonship… which means He is not the spirit that leaves the believers of Jesus as orphans.  He is not the spirit that left at the end of the first century with the death of John as some have taught.  He is not the spirit that leaves Christians ignorant of their Father whilst giving them doctrines and traditions to practise that replace relationship with the Father with a religion that claims to have a monopoly with God.

Had the forty days that Jesus spent on Earth after His resurrection been spent with Jesus introducing the Holy Spirit to the disciples so that not only did they know the Scriptures, but they would know Him… how different things would be.  It is because we do not know what spirit we are of that all sorts of errors and mistakes have been made, even when the motive had been right.

The two may have been zealous for Jesus that they wanted to call fire down from Heaven, or perhaps they wanted to show off and ensure their places at the right and left hand of Jesus… to show Jesus they had the faith to do something.  Whatever they had in mind… God knows, but whatever it was, it was unacceptable to Jesus, so unacceptable that Jesus said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of…”

A basic innovation for the Galilean congregation is this:  Not only is the Person of the Holy Spirit recognized and His gifts and fruits practised and produced… but every member of the congregation must himself come to know what kind of Spirit He is.  It is not enough to speak in tongues and do miracles by His power or know the Scriptures by heart… for the Galilean congregation must go the extra mile and come to know what kind of Person the Holy Spirit is.

It is one thing to work with the Holy Spirit and to receive Him, to honour Him with praise, make mention of Him, and even say, “Amen,” to His prayers… that is what is commanded, but to come to know Him for the Person He is… that is true honour.  For after all, it is the Lord who sent Him to us to be our Helper and our Counsellor.  Coming to know the Person the Lord has sent us is the best way to appreciate the love that God has for us.  And since the Spirit is One with the Father and the Son, coming to know the Holy Spirit for the Person that He is is the surest way of manifesting eternal life that belongs to those who believe in Jesus.

It is also the safest way in ensuring that you do not grieve Him and insult Him, and to avoid blaspheming Him and speaking against Him.  Although speaking against the Holy Spirit is extremely rare… speaking on His behalf in ignorance is much more common.  We do this when we presume on the Holy Spirit and say and do things on His behalf that He Himself would never think of saying or doing, being the Person that He is.

As an example:  If you know the kind of Spirit the Holy Spirit is, you would know that in the coming days of distress He would not be speaking about those days with fear, nor would He be preparing to evacuate the church before the disasters strike.  But rather, He would be preparing those who would listen to Him and teach them how to practise the words of Jesus in such a way that when the torrent of disasters strike, not only would they remain standing, but they would be able to protect and provide for all who have not yet heard the Gospel well enough to repent… while at the same time allowing those who have heard the words of Jesus, but have not practised them, to be swept away by the torrent unless they too repent… and He would permit those who have practised the words of Jesus diligently enough to be entrusted with power to also protect and provide for them until Jesus comes.  For the Holy Spirit is not a spirit of fear that He would remove His children to safety when it is by His power that the wind can blow, the rain can fall, the river can rise and the torrent can strike.  Neither is He the spirit that is not a father… like those angels who married women to breed Nephilims and showed them no love… but rather, He is the Father of the spirits of those who are born again… a good Father who gives His children what is good for them, and also trains them to be like Him – fearless, courageous, powerful and above all else, God honouring and God glorifying. 

The study of what kind of Spirit the Holy Spirit is must begin with you, and although it begins now, it will never end.  So this chapter is not a definitive lesson that has a beginning and an end, but rather, the study of coming to know what kind of spirit you are of has only a beginning but no end, for if you are born again of the Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ, then you are of the Spirit who is the Holy Spirit, and there is no end to getting to know Him, for He is God. 

Amen Holy Spirit.

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