Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
[include file=/StatCounter-AllPages.txt] [include file=/StatCounter-SCM.txt]
GOD: THE HOLY SPIRIT His Power
Open your Bible with me to Ephesians chapter one, and in this first chapter of Ephesians we have set forth the Trinity in three portions of this first chapter. Ephesians 1 beginning at verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ [Notice that this section begins with a reference to God the Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the first One in the Trinity. Then it goes on to speak about Him that He has chosen us in Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved [literally, the Beloved One].
Now in the next section, you have a section relating to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Beloved One, In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him [This portion centers in the Lord Jesus]: In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Now the next section relates to the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth [or literally, having heard the word of truth], the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed [literally having believed], ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest [or the downpayment] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. Notice in this first chapter of Ephesians: reference to the Father, then to the Son, and then to the Holy Spirit. Now in the section that follows, there is a prayer on behalf of the Ephesian believers, and I believe for us as well, Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you [Now notice] the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him... Now there is some question whether this should be capitalized or not, whether or not that should be capitalized as we indicated before. In the original Greek, everything was in capitals. Consequently, you could not tell from the original whether something was to be capitalized or not. Now it is of course, the Holy Spirit Who enlightens our spirit, and I believe therefore which ever way you want to translate this, more than likely it may just be a small s our new spirit that we receive when we believe on Christ, in which the Holy Spirit dwells, the throne-room of our heart the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him [that is, in the knowledge of God the Father]: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of His inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead...
Im going to stop right there for a moment and point out that this power is indeed, the power of the Holy Spirit. If you turn back to Romans chapter 8, you will find this set forth herein. In Romans chapter 8 and verse 11, If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Thus clearly, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Power; and as we study the Word of God, we see that He is the One Who enables us now the word for power here, both in Ephesians and back there in Romans 8 passage, is the Greek word Dunamis from which we get the word dynamite. Now unfortunately, we used up the word dunamis on dynamite before atomic power ever came along, and so now we dont have it left for that. But, it also not only has the meaning of that kind of physical power, but it has the meaning of inner resource power, such as dynamic that we talk about, which you can have in your personality or something like that. Now I want to emphasize this evening from the very outset, that the Holy Spirit is the dynamic of the Christians life. He is our dynamic, our power in saving us. He is our dynamic, in sanctifying us. He is our dynamic, thirdly, in strengthening and sustaining us. Saving, number one; sanctifying, number two; three, strengthening and sustaining. Now just so that you have an idea where were going after tonight....you say, Where are you going tomorrow night with that performance idea? Well, were going to consider the distribution of the gifts of the Spirit, tomorrow night in His Performance in relation to believers and gifts of the Spirit. And then on the Lords Day evening, in His Practice Its going to be His Practice on behalf of believers, five things that the Holy Spirit does for every believer at the time of salvation and then, what He does in and through the believer after he has been saved. So, that will be the Practice: Practice for the time of salvation, Practice after salvation. So, we will not be overlapping on the messages; and tonight were moving into this section and the subject The Holy Spirit His Power.
His Power to save. Now its interesting that His Power to Save is always in relation to the Word. Its in relation first in salvation: to the Written Word, then its in relation to the Living Word, and thirdly its in relation to the Word of Assurance that He gives us within our heart when we believe The Written Word, the Living Word, the Assuring Word!
In John chapter 3 the Lord Jesus, confronting Nicodemus, tells him that he must be born again; and in verse 5 he says, Verily, verily [By the way, do you know what that reads in the Greek? Amen, Amen! Thats exactly what it is, in the original [Amen, Amen], I say unto thee... Amen is the strongest way to say Yes in the Greek, and so it is translated, Verily, verily or Truly, truly, but in the original it is Amen, Amen, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. Now, there are various interpretations of this expression, water here. There are some that say that this water means the first birth, which is of water in a sack of water; and then the second birth is of the Spirit. Others say and much of christendom teaches that water here is water baptism, especially the sprinkling of infants or something like that so that they are first sprinkled with water and then later on they encounter the Holy Spirit and get saved. Well, I take the position along with some others who believe that the term water here refers to the Word of God, the Written Word of God. There are a number of verses that would seem to indicate this in confirmation. For example, in John 15:3, Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. Then Ephesians 5:26, That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. So, there the washing aspect is by the Word. In Psalm 119:9, Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word. And, in I Peter 1:23 it is made very clear that we are born again, says, Being born again [and the Greek says [Having been born again], not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. Thus, whether you have it there in John 3:5 or not, and I think you do, you do have it clearly in these other passages that the Spirit of God uses the Word of God, the Written Word of God to bring about the New Birth so, that people are born into the family of God by believing what God has said in His Word. I Peter 1:25, But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. [By the way, thats our Schools verse at Lancaster Bible College Its on our School seal, on much of our literature, we have it across the bottom of our stationaryThe Word of the Lord endureth for ever. But notice what immediately follows: And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you. And, I want to say forcefully, that I do not believe that anybody is ever born again apart from the knowledge of the Written Word of God. Now obviously, they may not know the whole Word of God, in fact there is nobody living that does know the whole Word of God now, but they must know enough of the Written Word of God to know what the gospel is that is, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried and rose again, and that by believing on Him and on Him alone, we can have eternal life. This is the great central theme and message of the Written Word of God.
That brings me to the second point. The Power of the Spirit is to take the Written Word of God and reveal the Living Word of God! Turn to II Corinthians chapter 4, you will find that it is the power of the Adversary to blind mens minds to the truth of the gospel. II Corinthians 4:3, But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them [or in them] that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord [By the way, heres another reference to Christ as Lord, and indeed that is what the structure of the Greek is there Christ Jesus as Lord, indicating that He is God. This is why we emphasize this morning in regard to Herbert W. Armstrong and in regard to Jehovahs Witnesses yesterday if youre going to be saved, you must acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, meaning He is genuinely and truly God]; and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake. For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. Now this power is the power of the Holy Spirit.
Notice II Corinthians 3 verses 17 and 18, Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [or a mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. So it is the power of the Spirit of the Lord that opens blinded eyes to see the truth of the Word of God and brings about new life within and then continues that life by the power of the Spirit.
Ive had the privilege for many years of teaching a course in apologetics, and Ive always told the students, not once but several times and then especially when it comes down toward the end of the course,.....I tell them remember, it is our responsibility as believers to present the Written Word of God as clearly and convincingly and comprehensively as we possibly can. But, we by our own efforts can never save anybody. It is the work of the Holy Spirit alone. He must take this Word and open blinded eyes so that they will see. Then and then only will they see Jesus Christ; for it is the power of the Holy Spirit that opens blinded eyes. So, His power in saving.
But beyond that, He gives the Power of the Inner Assurance. In II Corinthians 5:19 theres a very interesting word. Notice verse 18 for background, All things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation [thats the privilege of sharing the truth of the gospel with others]; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them [and by the way, the Holy Spirit makes that truth real to us]; and hath committed unto us the Word of reconciliation. Many have emphasized that this expression the Word of reconciliation is the Word of Assurance. Some even translated it, The Titled Deed of Reconciliation. The fact that when we have believed on Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit seals this truth to our hearts and assures us eternally of this Word. In Galatians 4 theres some indication of this.
Galatians 4 verse 6, And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Now one of the things that we are going to see on Saturday night that the Holy Spirit does for every believer, immediately at the time of salvation is that He seals us unto the day of redemption as Ephesians 4:30 indicates. So, He reveals to us the Written Word. He reveals to us the Living Word in that Word and then places within us the Word of Assurance and seals it to our hearts so that we know genuinely, beyond the shadow of a doubt: that we belong to God, that we are sons of His, and heirs of God through Christ. So it is the power of the Spirit to save that does that for us.
Secondly, it is the power of the Holy Spirit to Sanctify. This word sanctify, and I touched upon it in one of the messages this week on the radio is a word that means to make holy. Now theres such a thing as immediate positional sanctification, which happens immediately when we believe, when we receive Christ as our Savior, we are in the sight of God declared to be positionally holy. In fact, a term used in the plural of believers more than any other in the New Testament is the word translated in English, saints. Now the Greek word there is Holy Ones. In fact, its just holy in the plural [and it doesnt translate too well translated holies, so we say, Holy Ones. So that believers who have trusted Christ are immediately declared to be Holy Ones, in the sight of God. But, there is that development in holiness in the practical, progressive demonstration of it, that is, the work of the Spirit of God.
In I Peter 1 and verse 2, Peter refers to believers as, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ... Now many feel this reference here is to the initial act of the Holy Spirit whereby He sets us apart unto God positionally, and that probably is the immediate interpretation of that. But, lets not forget that we cannot grow in holiness until we have been placed into holiness; and the Holy Spirit sets us apart unto the Lord in order that we might be practically set apart day by day.
Now one of the means of to sanctify or sanctification is to set apart. Some time ago I heard Dr. Theodore Epp talk about this, [and I thought it was rather unique and unusual way to refer to sanctification] he said, We sanctify our toothbrush. Now, what do you mean by that? You set it apart for your own particular use. Your toothbrush is sanctified. It is set apart for a particular use and by a particular person. Now, may I say that the particular Person to Whom you are set aside for His use is the Holy Spirit that He might use you in your growth in grace and then in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In II Thessalonians 2:13 theres reference to this matter of sanctification of the Spirit, Were bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Here again it is more than likely refers to the initial aspect, but also has some implications for the progressive aspect of our salvation. Jesus indicated that when the Holy Spirit had come, He would perform a ministry on behalf of believers.
In John 16, verses 7-11, he indicates the ministry that he would perform on behalf of unbelievers, that is, to convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment. But on behalf of believers [in verses 12-15 of John 16] he says, I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself [or from Himself]; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. Now this passage in John 16:12-15 is a preauthentication, that is an indication in advance and Christ putting His seal upon New Testament writings. You see, when II Timothy 3:16 and 17 were written, the New Testament was not yet completed, that it was not available. And so, when it referred to all scripture there, technically it was referring primarily to Old Testament scripture. But here, Jesus indicates that the Spirit of God is going to come and guide us into all truth.
Similarly, Paul indicates this in I Corinthians chapter 2 in regard to the Holy Spirit guiding us in regard to the deep things of God. I Corinthians 2 beginning at verse 9 where Paul says, 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: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
I find that Dr. Wiests teaching on this passage is that he believes that this primarily refers to the written communication of the Bible, and that the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible to reveal the deep things of God to us. Now, while I can agree with that, I dont think it also rules out the fact that the Holy Spirit teaches us now from the Bible. In fact, I personally believe that in regard to II Peter chapter 1 and verse 20, Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. There are two interpretations of that word interpretation. The Greek word there is simply unloosing, and some argue that means the unloosing back there when the Holy Spirit unloosed the truth to and through the scripture writers. Others say, No. It means just the way the translation is here, interpretation; and it refers to the unloosing of truth to the one who studies the Word of God now. Well, Im not just trying to be a mediator here, I frankly think its both. I think that it refers to the original unloosing. In fact, verse 21 would seem to bear that out when it says in II Peter 1:21, For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. But, I believe that the same Holy Spirit Who guided these men in their writing down of the Word of God, which the Lord Jesus indicated that they would do here in John16:12-15, which Paul indicates in I Corinthians 2:9-16, that they would also be doing through the end of the chapter there. I believe that same Holy Spirit is the One Who unlooses the truth of scripture to us right now. I think that we need some emphasis on that right now. I believe the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us right now, but its from the Written Word of God. And, I want to stress that, because I do not believe that people are sanctified by just tremendous emotional experiences. People are sanctified by understanding the Written Word of God as the Holy Spirit reveals the Son of God through the Written Word of God. Just as the Lord Jesus is revealed to us initially in salvation through the Written Word of God, so in sanctification, it is through the Written Word of God that the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. And, I want to emphasize this point. There is no one who really grows in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and increases in sanctification without studying and applying and believing the Written Word of God! What we need in our day, are men of God who are men of the Book, and that includes men and women who study the Written Word of God, and believe it, and apply it in their hearts and lives. So, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. Never allow experience to dominate over or determine exposition. Rather be sure that your experience is always in line with proper exegesis and interpretation of the Written Word of God.
I like what my good friend, Malcom Cronk said about holiness in its progressive aspect. He said, You dont get holy in a hurry. And thats true. And you dont become sanctified, except for the positional aspect, in a hurry. Its a process. Now, I was talking to him privately about this one time, and then later he stated it in public. I said, Well, do you think that sanctification may have certain spurts? He said, Yes, I do. He said, If you ever watched a child grow. Sometimes they grow along very steady, and sometimes they almost seem like theyre standing still, and all of a sudden they go up, and then theyll level off. And he said, I think thats true with Christian experience. And friends, I think that that can be true in your experience. There may come times when God will so impress you with some truth from the Written Word of God that youll take a real surge forward. Now, dont just fall back afterwards and then maybe just level off for a while and then move on again. But always and invariably, it will be in relation to the Written Word of God.
Im right now preparing a message for my faculty and staff this Tuesday. I give them a challenge every year, and after you get around to number fourteen which is coming up now, you sort of wonder about what challenge to give. Now I like to be a little bit illiterated, as all my people know, and Ive chosen my subject for Tuesday. Its this Being basically and blessedly Biblical. Being basically and blessedly Biblical! Now what has triggered this in my own thinking is that we had a seminar with Dr. Jay Adams on Campus this summer and a tremendous time. One thing that he pointed out is that we have turned over too much of our counseling to the ungodly, when in fact we as believers, and especially ministers, are more confident to counsel than anybody else, because we have the knowledge of the Written Word of God. Now what I want to challenge my faculty and staff with, is Being basically and blessedly Biblical! Now we have BIBLE right in the center of our name of the School, but Ill let you in on a secret We dont always do everything, Biblically!......And, do you? You know, I really believe that if we were more Biblical in our day by day orientation, I think that we would be much more blessed! Now, Im not going to give you the message that Im going to give them. But this thing has really become a burden to me; and I want to tell you, that I believe that one reason God has blessed and prospered my own life, in Him, is because there are certain verses from the Word of God that constantly pass through my mind. I may have shared my three life verses with you: Psalm 34:3, O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together!Thats my purpose. Then second, my practice I Corinthians 4:2, Moreover it is required in stewards [I can make that personal....Stuart], that [he] be found faithful. Thats my practice. (Life is hard by the yard; but by the inch, its a cinch.) One step at a time! And then my provision Romans 8:32, He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things. Thats provision. So....I have three verses constantly go through my mind. Theyre My Purpose. Theyre My Practice and My Provision verses: Psalm 34:3, I Corinthians 4:2, Romans 8:32! I believe that my growth in grace depends upon my obedience to the Written Word of God.
Now finally, The Holy Spirit His Power to Strengthen and Sustain Us. In Ephesians chapter 3 beginning at verse 16, That [God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith [I like the translation that reads of verse 17, That Christ may settle down and be at home in your hearts by faith.]; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. You know, I must confess that there were times in my life when I sort of felt, Well, Christ could live the life He did, because He was God, and Im not God, Im just a man; and so I will make mistakes and I will fail and falter and all the rest of this, and God will understand. Well, you know what folks? I didnt understand. I didnt understand that we are filled with all the fulness of God and to take that other route is simply a cop-out, because we have available to us all the resources that were available to Him by the Spirit of God. Thus, Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us [Thats the power that strengthens and sustains us.], Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Now Im not going to develop these points, but Im just going to give them to you. He will strengthen us for warfare Ephesians 6:10-17. He will strengthen us for the walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:16 and 25; and He will strengthen us for witness Acts 1:8 and Luke 24:49, ...Tarry ye....in Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And that power is the power of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Now, we already have the Holy Spirit. What we have to do is to utilize that power for witnessing.
Ill be saying something Saturday night in regard to the filling of the Spirit; but I use an illustration from the radio in regard to empowering the house. When you build a house, you put in all the power and you run all the lines into the rooms, and closets, and the attic, and the basement, and all the rest of it but the only way that power becomes effective, is when you throw the switch...in each room....for each section of power. And the only way the power of the Spirit of God becomes effective, in our lives, is when we throw the switch! We dont have to pray, Send the power. We already have the power. What we need to do is just turn on the switch, and the power then flows through to each area of our life that we yield to the Spirit of God. I trust that as the result of our study tonight that you will throw the switches of your life, in any area where you have not allowed the power of the Spirit of God to be effective. Power to Save, Power to Sanctify, Power to Strengthen and Sustain You! This is the Power of the Spirit of God!
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
Ocean City Baptist Church, Ocean City, NJ
Ocean City Summer Bible Conference
August 16, 1974