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« on: February 03, 2010, 05:11:29 AM »

THE HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK

BY

S. Franklin Logsdon

"It is expedient for you that I go away . . . I will send him unto you"

Copyright @ 1960

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

THE SPIRIT ENLARGES VISION

"The Spirit lifted me up . . . and brought me"

ONLY THE HOLY Spirit can properly emphasize the importance of the imperative. Time and again He employs the word must which allows for no alternative. What He cites as mandatory is always fraught with seriousness.

The musts in the New Testament fall into seven general categories:

1. The imperative of the Saviour. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up" (John 3:14). This is the must of SACRIFICE.
2. The imperative of the Sovereign. "For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet" (I Corinthians 15:25). This is the must of SUPREMACY.
3. The imperative of the sinner. "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). This is the must of SALVATION.
4. The imperative of the saint. "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). This is the must of SUBMISSION.
5. The imperative of the suppliant. "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews  11:6). This is the must of SUPPLICATION.
6. The imperative of the servant. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body" (II Corinthians 5:10). This is the must of SERVICE.
7. The imperative of Satan. "And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him . . . and after that he must be loosed a little season" (Revelation 20:3). The implication in "a little season" is that he must be disposed of forever. This is the must of SUBJUGATION.
8. The imperative of the sinner (No. 3 above) is primarily dispensational in meaning. The Law was about to change and the Grace order was soon to begin. However, a personal application, supported by New Testament church truth, may be made with profit. "He [Christ] must increase, but I [the believer] must decrease." This is the principle of the diminishing self through the magnification of Christ—something of a dispossession by preoccupation.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit in accomplishing this end is illustrated, as perhaps nowhere else, in the experience of Ezekiel.
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 05:12:34 AM »

THE INLOOK

"And the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem . . . where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy" (Ezekiel 8:3).

Carnality

Thirty odd times Ezekiel testifies, "He brought me." This denotes Spirit leadership and servant obedience, constituting a most interesting study.

The first place to which he was brought presented an unsightly object, as do the several that follow. The "image of jealousy" was monumental to the fleshly desires of the people, a display of lustful propensities. In New Testament terminology, it was carnality in its unsuppressed manifestation.

Futile Endeavor

"And he brought me to the door of the court . . . So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall around about. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients [elders] of the house of Israel" (Ezekiel 8:7, 10, 11).

You may look where you will in the Scriptures, but you will fail to find any warrant for such procedure. The caricatures on the wall, from God's point of view, were "abominable." Carnality robs people of spiritual discernment, obedience and enjoyment. They failed perceptibly, as do we, to appreciate the fact that what God does not authorize He cannot approve; what He cannot approve He will not accept. The artistry may have been the best, their intentions good, their sincerity deep and their unanimity impressive, but it was profitless and provocative as far as the Lord was concerned.

Empty Emotion

"Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz [the Greek Adonis]" (Ezekiel 8:14). Having departed so far from the true and living God as to acknowledge and worship the queen of heaven (Jeremiah 44:17), they now have accommodated themselves to the incidental idolatries—the fetishes of the heathen. Ezekiel beheld women with a godly heritage engaging in heathen rites. They wept when Tammuz was lost; they rejoiced when he was found. Pretense can never be more childish. There is no queen of heaven; therefore, she could not have a son to occasion such emotional displays.

Vile Substitution

"And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun" (Ezekiel 8:16).

When people turn their backs to "the temple of the Lord" they are deceptively moving toward the unreal, the unauthorized, the unsatisfying. They turn from the Creator to the created, from the Saviour to the sun, from the holy to the profane. How far they went afield in their perverted minds is seen in the following verse: "They commit the abominations . . . they have filled the land with violence . . . lo, they put the branch to their nose" (8:17). More literally, God is saying, "Look, they are thrusting the branch into my face!" This was the lowest form of moral degradation.

Dissension

"Moreover, the spirit lifted me up, and brought me into the east gate of the Lord's house . . . and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men . . . that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel" (Ezekiel 11:1, 2). Satan has from the beginning sought for the internal deterioration of God's people. Those who play into his hands are unaware that they are mischief-makers.

They are found in every church. Their methods are multiple. They find an outlet in gossip, innuendo, misrepresentation, aspersion, exaggeration, anonymous letters, blackmail and open contention. They said of Jeremiah: "Come, let us devise devices against Jeremiah . . . let us smite him with the tongue" (Jeremiah 18:18).

Captive Believers

"Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me . . . into Chaldea to them of the captivity" (Ezekiel 11:24).

These people of God were captives before they fell into the hands of the Chaldeans. They were fettered by unbelief, rebellion and idolatry. All the foregoing conditions which the Holy Spirit revealed to Ezekiel transpired in or with regard to the place of worship. One cannot but wonder what the all-seeing God discovers in a congregation of people who assemble ostensibly to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. We today lack fervency of spirit, compassion of heart, power in prayer, effectiveness in witness and favor with God—all because we are bound by weights and the sin which doth so easily beset us (Hebrews 12:1).
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2010, 05:13:18 AM »

THE UPLOOK

The Progressive Revelation

If Christ is to increase, it should be apparent to even the least informed that the despicable things of the flesh must be eliminated. But how can they be eliminated? All anti-spiritual matters are things of darkness. Darkness is dissipated by the presence of light. Likewise, as Christ is magnified self is minimized. As He becomes formed in us (Galatians 4:19) carnality becomes foreign to us. Again, it is the principle of dispossession by preoccupation.

Returning to Ezekiel for our descriptive illustration of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this regard, we will note the resumption in chapter 40 of the expression, "He brought me." It occurs nine times in this chapter and ten times in the five following chapters. These constitute a Spirit-conducted exploration or examination of the (future) temple. The Spirit brought him in a vision to the various aspects of this glorious edifice. Since in every detail this temple, like its predecessor (and the tabernacle) portrayed the Lord, this rich experience was an upward, purifying look. It was a definite progressive turning from the unholy to the sublime. And this is the vision so prominently emphasized in the New Testament (Luke 21:28; Hebrews 12:2).

The Personal Application

The Holy Spirit said to Ezekiel: "Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show thee" (Ezekiel 40:4). Compare these words with those found in I Corinthians 2:9, 10: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit."

Since it is the Holy Spirit's ministry to take the things of Christ and to show them unto us (John 16:14), any dedicated Christian may experience in his life what Ezekiel experienced in a vision—a knowledge of the Lord in the purity of His being, the precepts of His wisdom, the power of His resurrection and the prospect of His glorious return.

The Practical Presentation.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit in taking Ezekiel in a vision to the various details of the temple is clearly stated: "Declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel" (40:4). Experience makes declaration more meaningful and more effective. When Paul said, "I declare unto you the gospel" (I Corinthians 15:1), he employed a word seldom used. It is a composite of gnoridzo and ginesko, meaning to proclaim what is personally experienced. This is the equipment the Holy Spirit gives to His servants for their proficiency in ministering. But this was not all the practical instruction given to Ezekiel.

"Thou son of man," said the Spirit, "show the house [the temple that he was shown] to the house [people] of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let their measure the pattern" (Ezekiel 43:10). What else could have convicted those at the "image of jealousy" (8:3), and the seventy elders before the abominable creatures on the wall (8:10, 11), and the "women weeping for Tammuz" (8:14), and the twenty-five men worshiping the sun (8:16), and the perpetrators of mischief (11:2)?

As the temple was Israel's pattern for holy living, even so is Christ the Christian's standard of godliness. To "measure the pattern" is a form of introspection in the light of God's holy precepts. It is to examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5). It is to walk in the light as He is in the light, that we might enjoy fellowship with God and with His people (I John 1:7).
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2010, 05:15:11 AM »

THE OUTLOOK

In Ezekiel 47, we come to a climactic note in the Holy Spirit's ministry in and for the believer. "Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward" (47:1).

The Saviour's Provision

That these waters have to do with life is clearly indicated in verse 9: "Everything . . . whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live."

 This is the "water of life" (Revelation 22:17).
 This is the effectual flow which the Saviour made available through His work on the cross.

He is the One who will fill this future Temple as the glory of the Lord filled the former one (I Kings 8:10, 11). All that hear (believingly) His voice shall live (John 5:25). He came that we might have life and that we might have it in greater abundance (John 10:10). As the Holy Spirit is honored and obeyed in the application of the Saviour's provision, "Out of his belly [inner being] shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).

The Spirit's Challenge

Now the Holy Spirit does a most unusual thing. He gives to His servant a striking vision, both graphic and challenging. Here is Ezekiel's description of it: "He brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles . . . [He] brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees . . . [He] brought me through; the waters were to the loins . . . and it was a river . . . waters to swim in" (47:3-5).

Keeping in mind that the "waters" symbolize "life" (47:9), spiritual life, salvation of the Lord, it is not difficult to see this progressive operation of the Spirit in a believing human heart.

- One who is in the "waters," though only ankle deep, has experienced salvation. It is only a beginning however. Such. are termed "scarcely saved" (I Peter 4:18).
- To be knee deep speaks of advancement and typifies a praying, devoted believer (Ephesians 3:14).
- To be hip deep in the things of God would indicate preparation for action as the Easterner in ancient days gathered up his flowing garment to the waist for greater freedom of motion.
- To swim is to reach that experience where, as waters buoy the swimmer, one is borne along by a power external to himself. It reveals the more abundant life, the Spirit taking control (Galatians 2:20).

Herein is illustrated the principle of the diminishing self.

- Ankle deep allows much of the body to be seen;
- Knee deep less;
- Hip deep still less.

But to swim obscures almost the whole. The spiritual application is apparent. Perhaps we could paraphrase a familiar hymn by stating,

"Rivers of blessing, rivers of blessing we need.
Ankle-deep waters are precious, but for the rivers we plead."
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2010, 05:15:37 AM »

The Saint's Decision

God never designed that man should be an automaton.

The Spirit will not force one into the deep waters. He may allow circumstances to induce a desire or to dictate the move, but man may believe or not believe, he may possess or lack the things divinely provided for life and godliness (II Peter 1:3, 8, 9). Thus, the experience of Ezekiel has another important aspect: "He brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river" (47:6).

Here is disclosed the important fact that the Holy Spirit will give the vision but man himself must make the decision.

- No one can get even ankle deep in salvation by himself, for the believer "is born of the Spirit" (John 3:6).
- He cannot become knee deep in his own strength for man does not know how to pray as he ought. "The Spirit . . . maketh intercession for him" (Romans 8:26).
- He cannot prepare himself for productive action, for "it is the spirit that [who] quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6:63).

Thus, after the Spirit brought Ezekiel out to where he could see the deep waters, He returned him to the shore. Now it was incumbent upon him as to whether he would plunge into the deep waters. It is likewise the decision of the believer today as to whether he will cleave to the Lord with purpose of heart (Acts 11:23), by being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and yield himself wholly to the Lord (Romans 12:1). Nevertheless, the imperative of the saint stands out in broad relief.

"He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).

~ end of chapter 13 ~

CHAPTER 12. THE SPIRIT CONVINCES OF SIN

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