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Thursday, March 9, 2017

The same Spirit dwells in young and old.

Saul had the outward appearance of a repentant person.  But he had not.  He wasn’t sorry that he had done wrong.  He was sorry that he got caught.  More than that, he wasn’t interested in reconciling with God.  He was concerned about how he looked in front of the people.  Remember what he said?

Then Saul pleaded again, "I know I have sinned. But please, at least honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel by coming back with me so that I may worship the LORD your God." (1 Samuel 15:30 NLT)

The LORD our God is willing to forgive, but it is only offered to those who want forgiveness.  God leaves the door open to home, but we need to return home to pass through it.  Saul did not return home with God.

Then Samuel went home to Ramah, and Saul returned to his house at Gibeah of Saul. Samuel never went to meet with Saul again, but he mourned constantly for him. And the LORD was sorry He had ever made Saul king of Israel. (1 Samuel 15:34-35 NLT)

The LORD rejected Saul, but only because Saul rejected the LORD.  The LORD wanted Saul to be king.  The LORD wanted Saul to be a good king.  The LORD was willing to forgive Saul and reconcile with Saul to help him be king.  Saul, however, was more interested in being his own king…without God.

Now the LORD said to Samuel, "You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be My king." But Samuel asked, "How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me." "Take a heifer with you," the LORD replied, "and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the LORD. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for Me." (1 Samuel 16:1-3 NLT)

The LORD, then, moved on.  God would choose the next king of Israel.  Once again, Samuel, the man of God, would be the instrument through whom the LORD confirmed this new king.  The LORD sent Samuel to Jesse to meet all of Jesse’s sons.

Then Samuel asked, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," Jesse replied. "But he's out in the fields watching the sheep and goats." "Send for him at once," Samuel said. "We will not sit down to eat until he arrives." (1 Samuel 16:11 NLT)

The youngest son, merely a boy, was chosen by the LORD to be king.  The transition in the LORD’s eyes would take place immediately.

So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:13 NLT)

Why do I say that the transition took place immediately?  Simple. David received the Spirit of the LORD.  The LORD’s Spirit was only given to those who needed God’s Spirit to fulfill their part of God’s Plan.  In this case, the Spirit of the LORD was given to David so that he would be king.  “Now the Spirit of the LORD had left Saul…” (1 Samuel 16:14 NLT) because he was no longer king.  Back then, the LORD only offered His Spirit to specific people at specific times for specific reasons.  That all changed on the day of Pentecost.

The Apostle, Peter, was preaching to a crowd and they were seeing all kinds of miraculous signs and wonders taking place.  He explained to them what was happening:

[Y]ou see [what] was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: 'In the last days,' God says, 'I will pour out My Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out My Spirit even on My servants--men and women alike--and they will prophesy. (Acts 2:16-18 NLT)

Remember what they were promised at the end of that sermon?

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39 NIV)

They tell us that those who accepted this message were baptized and three thousand were added to their number that day.  That means that three thousand people received the gift of the Holy Spirit that day.  The Holy Spirit was being poured out on all nations.  This is the same Spirit that empowered Saul to be king, David to be king, and Samuel to be a powerful prophet and judge.  It is the same Spirit that is offered to you and me.  The same promise is still true today.  When we repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, we receive forgiveness for our rebellion and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price… (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV)

God gives the Holy Spirit to specific people at specific times for specific reasons.  Now, God pours out His Spirit on all nations – everyone who will accept His offer.  His Spirit is still being given for specific reasons to all of us.

But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:10-11 NIV)

His Spirit will empower and equip us to live a life walking together with God.  The Biblical term for this is “righteousness.”  We are empowered by God to walk with God and to fight off anyone and anything that tries to pull us away from God.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NIV)

His Spirit also empowers us with a gift or gifts that are specific to us.  Those gifts give us what we need to do our part of God’s Plan.  They will be different and specific to us, just like the empowering work was specific to Samuel, Saul, and David.  They all come from, however, the same God who created the heavens and the earth and still holds all things together.  Also, these gifts all have a common purpose:

…to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13 NIV)

When you and I come home to the Father through the Son, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  That Spirit gives new life to our mortal bodies so we can walk together with God.  That Spirit gives us gifts so we can empower, equip, and encourage one more to walk together with God.

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Colossians 3:11 NIV)

David is a boy and now he is king.  He does not have the ability to be king on his own, but through the Spirit of the LORD he is empowered to be king.

How about you?  Have you come home to the Father, through the Son, and received the Holy Spirit?  Do you see the power of God giving life to your mortal body?  Are you using God’s Gifts to the glory of God and to build up His People?  Are you changed by the Spirit of God?