We ask again, Oh Lord, that in this very time, that same Holy
Spirit may be to us the Spirit of revelation, opening the eyes of
our hearts anew, and more widely, and showing us Christ... Let it
be so, even now, we ask in His Name, amen.
The Lord has led us, dear friends, in this season to occupy
ourselves again with something of the significance of the
Holy Spirit. We have seen that the Day of Pentecost was one of the
four great crises in the history of God's purpose and it was
indeed a great turning point. Now, in the very brief time that we
have this morning, we are going to look at but a fragment of this
Holy Spirit's significance. And I turn you to the Letter to the
Ephesians, chapter 1, at verse 13:
"In whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the
gospel of your salvation, in whom having also believed, ye were
sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our
inheritance, unto the redemption of God's own possession".
Chapter 4, at verse 13 also: "Till we all attain unto the unity
of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full
grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of
At verse 30 of that chapter, chapter 4: "And grieve not the Holy
Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption".
In these words of the apostle we have a great depth of meaning as
to the Holy Spirit. You will notice that there are three major
words in the passage that we read: "who is an earnest" the
Spirit is an earnest of our inheritance. Sealed
by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of promise. The three words are earnest,
sealed, and inheritance. They are interesting words
with a very significant background.
Having believed, you receive the Spirit as an earnest of
the inheritance. Today we call that a deposit. The earnest
was just something in advance betokening that all the rest would
surely follow. It was the guarantee of a completing of the
transaction. It was in itself a representation of all that
was promised. "The Spirit of promise" the Holy Spirit is
called. We have already seen what that means, from the Letter to
the Galatians; the promise made to Abraham, the promise of the
Spirit in Christ.
The promise to Abraham, as we have seen, was Sonship in Christ,
to be made good in the Holy Spirit, or by the Holy Spirit. That is
the inheritance. We are told that we are heirs of God, joint-heirs
with Jesus Christ. The Spirit is the Spirit of that inheritance,
of that promise. But it is not just a promise, He is the Earnest
of the promise; He is given as a present deposit, in which deposit
there resides all the potentialities,
all the meaning, all the values of the final
fullness of what God is yet going to do for those who believe. An
earnest of the inheritance.
Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise... another business
word. In those days, as in our own, a transaction was sealed.
It might be a document, when the business was concluded, it was
sealed. It might be a consignment; something to be sent away as an
earnest of what was to follow. It was sealed as it was sent and
the seal was the seal of the one to which it belonged. The seal
said: "This belongs to So-and-So. His name, his sign is upon it;
it is his. You must not interfere with that, it's not your
property, it's his. It's sealed unto him." The Holy Spirit
is said to be the Seal, declaring that we belong to the Lord. The
Lord has put the Seal upon us in giving us the Holy
Spirit. "The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that
we are children of God". So the Spirit is here seen in two of His
functions or meanings: He is an Earnest, or the Earnest of all
that is yet to be; and He is the Seal by which we are secured
unto all that. And then you notice, "unto the redemption of the purchased
possession" - that is an aspect of redemption that is
future. It is not that aspect which is in the past, "we were
redeemed, not with corruptible things as silver and gold", that's
the beginning of redemption; but this redemption is that to which
Paul refers in his letter to the Romans, the complete redemption
of the whole creation, and of ourselves included, the full
redemption of all things. That has been purchased, that has been
sealed, that has been betokened in the Holy Spirit - wonderful
meaning of the gift of the Spirit.
The gift of the Spirit then, is the authentication of
Sonship. "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of
His Son into our hearts" the authentication of Sonship, the seal
and the earnest of all that that Sonship is going to mean, as says
John, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us
that we should be children of God, and such we are". But, "it does
not yet appear what we shall be, but we know, that if He shall be
made manifest, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is".
What better and greater inheritance does anybody want than that!
The Spirit given is the earnest of that - the Spirit of Sonship.
The Spirit given is the seal of that. Now, right alongside
of that we have this exhortation and injunction, "Grieve
not the Holy Spirit whereby ye are sealed unto the day of
redemption", the full realisation of that which was given to you
in token when you believed.
"Grieve Not the Holy Spirit"
There are two things that very clearly emerge in any
consideration of the Holy Spirit. The first is that nothing is
possible apart from and without the Holy Spirit. That is
made abundantly and unmistakably clear. The Lord Jesus Himself
made that clear; nothing possible until the Spirit was come and
would not allow any attempt at anything even after His
resurrection, until they had received the Spirit. Everything,
everything depends upon the Holy Spirit. He has taken
over, indeed He has always been in charge from the creation, but
in a new way on the Day of Pentecost He took over. He took over
the commission to preach the Gospel in the whole creation. He took
over everything on that day, and He is wholly and alone in charge
of everything. Nothing can be without the Holy Spirit.
And the other thing is the Holy Spirit is always positive in His
attitude, in His mind, in purpose and object. That is, He is what
we may call "The Going Spirit", we borrow that from
Ezekiel, the "going" of the wheels and the cherubim, because the
Spirit was in them: going. The Holy Spirit, in His very
disposition, is the Spirit of going, of energy, of movement. And
there can be nothing more fatal than that the Spirit should stop
going in any life, in any place, anywhere. When the Spirit stops
going, then nothing more can be, just nothing more at all. It is
only as the Spirit is going that there will be anything at all.
not the Spirit, the Holy Spirit"; that could be put in another
way: Do not arrest the going of the Spirit. Do not allow
anything to come up or come in that will impede the
movement of the Spirit. Do not allow the Spirit, by any means or
in any way, to be obstructed. He is a going Spirit, and it is
fatal if He should be stayed.
And grieving the Spirit is just hindering the Spirit, obstructing
the Spirit, arresting the Spirit, delaying the Spirit. That is
what they did in the Wilderness. And as you know from the Letter
to the Hebrews, it is said, "Forty years was I grieved with that
nation... I was grieved..." - the Spirit who is ever a going
Spirit. There was a time when they could say, "We are marching
unto the Land which the Lord hath given us", but they grieved
His Holy Spirit it says. "I was grieved with that nation
for forty years." The result? The Spirit could not go through and
on, and death came in, as you know... just grieving the
We have, dear friends, no time this morning for trying to
indicate how the Holy Spirit is grieved. We can only warn
ourselves of the possibility and take to heart the
injunction: "Grieve not..." but were I to try to encompass
this in one way, I would put it like this. Grieving the Holy
Spirit is just allowing anything that is contrary to the nature
and the purpose of the Holy Spirit. If we just were to take
account of His nature, and of His functions, we should immediately
see what grieving the Spirit means.
First of all,
He is the Holy Spirit.
And to grieve Him is to allow, or persist in, some unholiness,
some unholy way, some unholy thing, in our lives, in our home, in
our business, anywhere. Something for which we have
responsibility, where, if we only applied ourselves with
diligence, we could make a difference. Something not holy. All
unholiness grieves the Holy Spirit - that which is contrary to His
He is the Spirit of Truth.
Wherever there is anything that is not true, not
true, that is false, that is a lie, that is an exaggeration... all
the forms of untruth... wherever there is anything like that, it
is contrary to His nature and it grieves Him. Anything untrue
will grieve Him, and He will stop, and say, "I can't go on, I
can't go on."
He is the Spirit of Unity.
That has been touched on this morning, it will be touched on more
fully probably later, the Spirit of unity in this very letter from
which we have read. There are the words, "Give diligence to keep,
keep the unity". Give diligence to keep the unity! It seems
that many people give diligence to break it, to spoil it. Give diligence
to keep it! Are you sure you are doing that? Giving
diligence to keep? Not seeking out, or taking up the things which
divide and making a lot of them; where you don't agree. Why not be
positive and concentrate upon the grounds of oneness and enlarge
them? And so we will get over the other. He is the Spirit of
unity. The unity of the Spirit... and where there is disunity and
division, He is grieved. And mark you, He'll say,
"I can't go on. I am stopped. I am arrested." He must have
that which answers to His own nature.
He is here in this letter called
The Spirit of Revelation.
Illumination. If the Holy Spirit shows something, gives some
light, gives some truth, gives some knowledge, and you and I do
not apply ourselves to it, to obey it, and to walk in it, the
Spirit is grieved; the Spirit of revelation. And He will say, "I
can give no more. I must stop giving; no more until what I have
given has been obeyed." He is grieved where He has given light and
it is not obeyed.
He is the Spirit of Grace.
I would like to enlarge that word, because it does mean this - He
is the Spirit of graciousness. It is true to the Word.
For, after all, is not the grace of God His graciousness? How we
lack graciousness, don't we? How gracious the Spirit is! All those
elements of long-suffering, and patience, and forbearance... what
we owe to the Spirit of grace! Brothers and sisters, we shall
reveal how much of the Spirit there really is in us by our
Make no mistake about it, a Holy Spirit adorned life and governed
life, will be a gracious life; patient, forbearing,
longsuffering, kindly, and courteous. And courteous... you know,
that's a New Testament word, it's not just a word in the book of
etiquette, it is a word in the New Testament. Be courteous! It's
an aspect of graciousness, being courteous. You must think about
what that means. Yes, there are such things as Holy Spirit good
manners, good taste, fitness in behaviour and in attitude.
He is the Spirit of grace and where there is not
graciousness or any of these things that are meant by 'grace', He
is grieved. He's grieved! If you and I should be ungracious,
discourteous, rude, the Spirit is grieved. You may have got very
big, high ideas of what it means to be baptised with the Holy
Spirit, but it means that, it means that! It may mean power in
service; it may be in being able to give addresses, it may
be in many of these public ways, but these you ought to
attend to, but not neglect the others. And the others are these:
kindly thoughtfulness, and courtesy. They are marks of the Holy
Spirit and where they are lacking, He is grieved.
He is the Spirit of Meekness.
Meekness... if we want another word for "meekness", we could well
employ the word "brokenness", because there is no meekness without
brokenness. It is in brokenness that our pride ebbs away. It is
through the brokenness that our conceits and our arrogance and our
self-importance go into the sand. It's in brokenness that meekness
is revealed. You may be very clever, you may be very able in many
ways, but the mark of the Spirit undoubtedly is in the meekness
of brokenness. Have you been really broken by the
Cross, really broken by the Cross? Are you a broken
spirit? Is there a fundamental brokenness in you as a brother or
sister in Christ? Really? A brokenness?
Remember: there is no
Pentecost until there is a Calvary. There is no Holy Spirit until
there has been a Cross, and if the Cross speaks of one thing, it
does speak of brokenness, doesn't it? He was broken. He was
broken! These men of the New Testament were broken men, broken
vessels and meekness adorned them because of that. And the Spirit
is the Spirit of meekness. Peter speaks about being adorned with a
meek and quiet spirit. Well, so we could go on, but this is
enough, surely, to indicate that grieving the Spirit is just
contradicting what He is in Himself, and in so doing, putting
something in His way so that He can't go on.
Grieve not the Spirit of God, whereby you were sealed unto all
that Sonship means. And Sonship means all these things that I have
mentioned in their
full development. Sonship sounds a technical word, I know,
and a very theological word, but if you think about it, after all
it is only all that Christ is in His fullness. And this creation
yet to be, when redeemed from the bondage of corruption, is thus
to be filled to the exclusion of all else, filled with what Christ
is, reproduced by the Holy Spirit in you and in me. That's
May we not put anything in the way of the Holy Spirit, grieve
Him. Give Him a way, a clear way, a full way, to remain in us
individually, and in us together. The "going" Spirit - always