Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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GOD: THE HOLY SPIRIT His Practice
The men this evening sang, All Gods Children, Theyve Gotta Be Born Again. Thats the first point of my message tonight, and I want to talk in regards to The Practice of the Holy Spirit; and of course, the passage we want to begin with is in John 3. First, the Practice of the Holy Spirit, initially to the believer at the time of salvation. I try to keep things in a way so that we can get they to hang together.
I remember in my first year of Bible School we had a course on the Old Testament, and we had the Offerings there in Leviticus; and I had the awfulest time trying to remember the order of those offerings; and right before the exam, the fellow next to me said, Dont forget, Stuart, just BMPST: Burnt Meal, Peace, Sin, Trespass. Ive never forgotten that, and thats twenty five years ago. And so if you just get some things that sort of hang together or move together, you can remember things a long time. Now a number of years ago we had Dr. Clarence Didden on Campus, and he brought a series of messages on the Holy Spirit; and he didnt even point out the key to remembering this, but I discovered it afterwards. It goes BBIAS. So I say that you should have a Biblical Bias about the Holy Spirit. Now if you remember BBIAS, youll remember the five points in relation to what the Holy Spirit does in and for each believer at the time of his salvation. Let me recite them to you: Every believer must be Born of the Spirit. Every believer at the time of salvation is Baptized in the Spirit. Every believer at the time of salvation is Indwelt by the Spirit. Every believer at the time of salvation is Anointed by the Spirit, and every believer at the time of salvation is Sealed with the Holy Spirit. So Born, Baptized, Indwelt, Anointed, Sealed just as simple as the five fingers on your hand, and it forms a Biblical BBIAS that you ought always to have in regard to the initial work of the Holy Spirit on behalf of every believer.
I must confess that its only since I came down here and was studying over this again, that I discovered something that were going to work out in the second part of the message; and that is that The Progressive Work of the Holy Spirit follows out from each of these five positional things that happen at the time of salvation His Progressive Work follows forth from each of those.
But, lets get the Positional Things first Born of the Spirit. In John 3:5-6, Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water [My own position on that is that the water there refers to the Written Word of God. I developed that in a previous message, and Im not going to develop it here] and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to bring about the New Birth, so that an individual by faith in Christ, in what Christ has done for him, then is Born of the Spirit. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Now I dont know how much youre interested in your earthly pedigree. [I had a Mother-in-law that was very interested in pedigrees and she was able to trace all of our lineage back, back, back and she did paint a coat-of-arms for every one of our families; and we have seven coats-of-arms at our house, as you ascend the stairway to our second floor, youll find a coat-of-arms for Lease, Loucks, Rudisill, Little, Bitinger, Brown....right up the stairs. Notice LEASE is at the bottom of the stairs!.....But frankly, Im not too much concerned about my earthly pedigree; but I am concerned that I have a spiritual, heavenly pedigree that Ive been born into the Family of God! Now unless and until you are born into the family of God, this blessed Book which was written by the Holy Spirit, as He through men communicated Gods message to men This Book has nothing for you. You say, Well, I thought the Bible is for everybody. Well, it is in its message of salvation; and anyone can be saved through understanding what the Word of God teaches indeed, thats the only way you can be saved. But, so far as the promises and provisions of the Word of God, they are only and just isolated to the children of God. You know this Book is Gods last will and testament to us, and all the great provisions and promises of God are only and exceptionally for the children of God. So, the first and foremost thing that the Spirit of God does, is that He regenerates us. We are born into the family of God! Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us... [And this is something of those tender mercies of David that we get in on, as was emphasized this morning. Titus 3:5 is that reference I just gave.
Secondly, every believer at the time of salvation is Baptized (by or) in the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ I Corinthians 12:13. Notice verse 12, For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit [and there is a debate whether its by or in Im not going to argue that. It is the Spirit of God Who takes us and baptizes us] into [that] one body....Jesus Christ....whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
For a number of years I was an independent. I have an independent ordination, and I guess maybe sometimes Im very independent in my thinking; but in more recent years Ive been associated with a Baptist church, and Im aware of the emphasis upon baptism in a Baptist church, water baptism. But Im not talking about water baptism here, were talking about the baptism of the Spirit! Now the word baptize comes from the Greek word, baptizo and its just a transliteration over into the English. Its not a translation. One of the original meanings of baptize, one of the early meanings and there are a number of them....and this is why we have so many arguments in regard to baptism, because the word itself had a number of meanings or ancient meanings....but, one of the meanings of baptize was to take something....and like a garment that you wanted to dye or color it....you would take it and place it into a vat of dye and you would leave it there until it acquired all the characteristics of that which surrounded it. Now I dont know of any Baptist church that practices baptism like that, but it takes somebody and leaves them there. (Theyd really have a very small membership; in fact, theyd end up with no membership.)
I heard a talk on giving recently, and they were emphasizing the matter of giving. I said, Well, a few years ago there was a pastor in a Southern Baptist church that would baptize only those who tithed. He insisted only in having tithers in his tank. Well, you dont have to be a tither to be baptized into the body of Christ. You dont have to have water to be baptized into the body of Christ. But, you do have to be born of the Spirit, and at that time, you are by the Spirit of God or in the Spirit of God (which ever you want to argue there, you may) placed into and left in the body of Christ. Thank God, were not put in and then taken out. Now there are some friends that feel that way. They feel you can loose your salvation and the Holy Spirit can place you in, but then you got to keep yourself in there. In fact I was raised in a church where we were taught that while no man could pluck you out, you could jump out on your own, if you didnt keep on believing....then you would jump out of the hand of God. Well, Im not here to stress eternal security or whatever you want to call it tonight. A dear friend of mine said, Just call itthe Faithfulness of God!.....And I believe that that is something we need to stress the Faithfulness of God. But, I do believe that when we are placed in, we are left in. And, this matter of baptism has to do with union with Christ, not necessarily with communion that follows with and after the union. So, we are baptized into the body of Christ, placed eternally in His Body!
Thirdly, we are Indwelt by the Spirit of God. In John chapter 14, and the basic verses there are 16 and 17, the Lord Jesus saying there, I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter [Theres one of your Trinity verses of course I (the Lord Jesus) praying the Father and He shall give you another Comforter (the Greek word- Paraclete, there called along side] that He may abide with you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you [and that was prior to Pentecost] and shall be in you [We dealt with that dispensational aspect last evening and also in regard to the gifts of the Spirit but to emphasize that the unique relationship of the Spirit of God in the Age of Grace, the church Age, is that He comes not to just be with or upon a believer, as in the Old Testament economy, but that He comes, literally, to dwell in us. Thus in this Age, God does not dwell in tents or temples as in the Old Testament Age, but He dwells within the bodies of children of His. I Corinthians 6:19 and 20, What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods. And, also in II Corinthians chapter 6 and verse 16, What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. God indwells the child of God, by the Holy Spirit.
In trying to illustrate or clarify this matter to students, I sometimes said that the Lord Jesus is the Head of the body, and the Holy Spirit is similar to the nervous system that takes the mind or the message from the mind and communicates it to each member of the body. The Holy Spirit never acts in contradistinction to the Lord Jesus. He always communicates the mind of Christ. So. when we are indwelt by the Spirit, by the same token we are indwelt by the Lord Jesus; and since He has come to reveal the Father, we are also indwelt by the Father; and the Holy Spirit makes all this possible because of His indwelling within us.
Now fourthly, and I find some theologians and Bible teachers either ignore or omit this fourth one, and that is Anointed by the Spirit. In II Corinthians 1:21 there is reference to the fact that we are anointed by God, Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. And when you go back to I John, youll find this referred to in I John 2. Now the word there in I John is not at least in the first reference translated anointing, but it is that from the original. I John 2:20, But you have an unction [That word unction there could be better translated, an anointing; and indeed down there in verse 27, it is so translated. The anointing which ye have received... But back in verse 20, You have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
On the message that I have given on some Christian college campuses and I like to use a little bit of illiteration, and I call the title of the messageSeveral Significant Scripture Suggesting Students Should Stop Studying. Got that? They like that. It really turns them on, because one thing that students like to stop doing is studying. And one of the verses I use, is this one. You have an [anointing] from the Holy One, and you know all things. So, if you know everything, you dont have to study anymore! Someone I know said that his verse was taken from Psalm 119:99, I have more understanding than all my teachers... and I might say that he didnt last too long! But this doesnt teach that you already actually know everything. What is means is that you now, since you are indwelt by the Spirit of God, have the ability, the potential, to know spiritual things, things that previously you could not know. Notice in verse 27, The anointing which you have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you [You say then, Well, then you dont need any Bible teachers. What this means is man, as man with human wisdom. ....but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him. And to clarify this, you might turn to I Corinthians chapter 2 to verse 9 that is often quoted as relating to heaven, But as it is written, 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. And we sometimes say, Well, that means that were going to see things and hear things that we never heard when we get to heaven. But notice verse 10, But God hath [He has already] revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things. yea, the deep things of God.
Now prior to the New Birth, ....the natural man, according to I Corinthians 2:14, receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But [then, by way of contrast] he that is spiritual [that is, the one who is indwelt by the Spirit of God and yields himself to the Spirit of God] judgeth [or literally, discerneth] all things, yet he himself is judged [or discerned or understood] of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ communicated to us by the indwelling of the Spirit of God in His anointing function.
Then fifthly in regard to the initial work of the Holy Spirit, we are Sealed by the Spirit of God unto the Day of Redemption. In Ephesians 4:30, Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the Day of Redemption. And back in Ephesians 1 verses 13 and 14, In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye 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 of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
At the time of salvation we are sealed with the Holy Spirit just like our mother used to do when canning. [They dont do much of that anymore.] But, I remember Mom used to often say, We got to be sure its sealed right; because the only way something would be properly preserved is if it was properly sealed.] Now I believe God properly seals us at the time of salvation with the Holy Spirit, thus assuring the eternality of our salvation. Now were going to be released at the Day of Redemption when the Lord Jesus returns, because this is an earthly thing that we need while were here upon the earth.
Now I must confess that some people look like theyve been pickled rather than preserved. Theres a song thats rather popular right now. Its called Sweet Holy Spirit. Well, Im not so sure how theologically correct it is in every point, but I think the Holy Spirit is a sweetening influence and not a souring one. I believe we ought to look more like were preserved than pickled when we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Very quickly, sealing in the Word of God indicates three things [and Im not going to develop these]. It indicates Authority. The kings of ancient days would put a seal on something, indicating that their authority was on it. Remember at the tomb of the Lord Jesus, the seal was put upon it. Second, a seal indicated Ability. That meant you were not only entrusted with authority, but you had the know-how to carry through with it. And thirdly, it indicated Assurance. You knew it was the real article when it had the proper seal upon it. And so with the child of God, you know hes the real article when you know hes been sealed with the Spirit of God.
Now I know that theres always a question in regard to someone you knew, and I could name many of them that at one time walked with the Lord, and now they dont walk with the Lord, or they repudiated everything that they ever taught or believed or something like that. And I have people say, Are they saved or lost? Well, I must tell you the truth, Im glad that thats not my problem. In II Timothy 2:19 I believe is the answer, Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal [and I believe that its the seal of the Spirit of God], The Lord knoweth them that are His. Now the Lord, by the Spirit, knows who are His and who arent His. I sometimes say that while that does give an inner witness, it also gives a witness concerning those out there whom I dont know whether you are His. But, The Lord knoweth them that are His! But the side of the seal thats toward me is very clear. It says, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. You and I who bear the seal of the Spirit of God, have a commission here to be pure in heart and life to depart from iniquity.
Now very quickly, growing out of these five things, is Progressive Sanctification in building upon these. First, having been born of the Spirit, were expected to function in the Spirit, that means well Live and Walk in the Spirit. In Romans chapter 8, the truth of Living in the Spirit is clearly set forth. Beginning at verse 2, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. You see, prior to your salvation you cant function in the spiritual realm. Youre in the realm of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God [that is, those who are simply flesh dominated]. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. Thus the Spirit of God indwelling us gives the life of God to us, and we are to live within the power of the spirit of God; and as this passage also indicates, we are to Walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-18 sets forth a similar truth, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. And then it sets forth, For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Then it goes into the works of the flesh. You see, one of the heresies of modernism, and modernism is not new....its an old thing. It came all the way back from the garden of Eden....is that you could walk spiritually without having the Spirit, that you could do your own thing and God would put His seal of approval upon it. But, God has only ever put His seal of approval, final approval upon one life that was lived here upon the earth That was the life of the Lord Jesus; and that life was accepted as the ultimate sacrifice. Now when we receive Him, then we receive the Spirit of God, and we are born into the family of God. And friends, you cant walk unless and until you have been born; and one of the old heresies was that you just walk, you follow Jesus; but you cant follow Jesus until youve received the Spirit of God within you and are born of God. Galatians 5:25, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Secondly because we have been baptized into the body of Christ, and we have union, in the same fashion as John 15 which indicates He is the vine, we are the branches, so we are to bring forth fruit. You cant bear fruit unless youve been baptized by the Spirit which takes place at the time of salvation; and then you have the blessed privilege of bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 and 23, The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Now these things are essential, and each of these could bear a message in itself. Im just suggesting them tonight.
I want to move to the third point Because we are indwelt by the Spirit, we should be being Filled with the Spirit. In Ephesians 5 beginning a verse 15, See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And I believe that the will of the Lord is set forth in verse 18, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled [or be being filled in a progressive sense there] with the Spirit. Now I think one of the problems is that we think of this word filling in the sense of filling a container, and we think of filling it up with milk or water or juice or something; and if you want to use that analogy, its not the best one. It is true however that youll never give out anything until youre filled to overflowing. Thats one thing that is true. But, I think probably a better analogy here is that when the Spirit of God indwells us, we are empowered by the Spirit of God; and I heard this illustration just recently when Dr. Paul Smith was speaking on this. He gave an illustration on this. Afterward, he said that it wasnt very good, but a lady gave him another one in the afternoon. So he shared that at night, and he said the one that he thought was better was the wiring of a house that when you build a house, you put in complete electrical service into every part of the house. But that electrical service only functions as you throw the switch in each location. Now I think that thats probably a good analogy for the filling of the Spirit. Weve already been empowered by the Spirit because were indwelt by the Spirit. The power is there, and I dont even know that we have to pray for the power its there! I think that we have to yield to the power by throwing the switches; and as my pastor likes to say and its a good saying, The yielded life is the wielded life. And as we yield to the Spirit, as we give to Him the control of our lives [and the word filling there does better mean, control], we give to the spirit of god the control of our lives then, He wields us as a sword and uses us. Some say that in every believer, the Holy Spirit is resident, but He is not president in every believer. But, we do have an all powerful Person indwelling in us, the Holy Spirit; and He delights to control us.
Now fourthly, and I only have time to suggest what comes out of this matter of being anointed by the Spirit; but that is, that we should follow the leading and guidance of the spirit being taught of the Spirit. In John 14:26, But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send on my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. And it is this blessed teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit that is so precious to the child of God. Because we are anointed at the time of salvation, we have that ability to understand spiritual things; then we ought to delight to be taught by the spirit. Now the Holy Spirit did not teach, what we call direct revelation. He did in the early church before the scriptures were completed. But now, it is this Book that He delights to communicate Himself and His truth to us in and through this Book.
Ive used this admonition many times, and I dont even apologize for using it anymore. When my brother and I went to Bible School, my dad gave us some very good advice. He said, Boys, when you go to Bible School, get all you can and can all you get. My mother did a lot of canning, and I really believe, friends, we ought to do more of our canning laying up, storing up the Word of God in our hearts, being taught of the Spirit of God. Now you can be taught directly from the Word, you can be taught by others as they teach you; and I like to say to people, All my material is copyright material. You can copy right out of it anything that you can use; because I dont have anything except what Ive received and I only delight to share whatever little bit the Lord may have been able to get through to me in these years of study in the Word of God. John 16:13, When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself;but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me [the Lord Jesus says]: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. The Holy Spirit will unfold unto you all the fullness of God as you study the blessed Written Word of God. It is His delight, because you are a child of God and a son of God to guide you. In Romans 8 and verse 14, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. It is the Spirit of God that bears witness with our spirit that we have been born of God. Born of God and then joint heirs with Christ, and even though we suffer with Him, we will be glorified together with Him. So, we follow the Spirit in our study, in our service, and in our suffering.
Finally, because we have been filled with the spirit of God, there is the ultimate function of the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to us, in us, and through us. As we saw in the John 16 passage that we just read, he will take the things of Christ and reveal them to us. But a blessed truth even beyond that is that the Spirit of God will reveal Christ in us, indeed Christ will be formed in us. II Corinthians 3:17 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 [thats a mirror, the Word of God] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory [thats sort of the polishing process of the Spirit of God, as we see the Lord Jesus in the Word of God and we become more and more conformed to the image of the Son of God this is all done],.... by the Spirit of the Lord. He reveals Christ to us. He reveals Christ in us to such an extent that people ought to see Christ in you the hope of glory.
And then, and by the way this goes back to primarily He wants to reveal Christ through you. In Acts 1:8 at the very promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit, Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you [Now dont say that that applies to you today. He came at Pentecost and Hes here, and Hes resident in every believer who has believed, and we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit] But because of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Ye shall be witnesses....unto me. The Holy Spirit delights not only to reveal Christ to you, to reveal Christ in you, but to reveal Christ through you as a witness for Him! My pastor says that every believer is a witness. Hes either a blight or a blessing, but not a blank. Now I realize that some people may not know you, you may be a blank; but the people who know you and theyve lived with you and theyve heard you, youre either a blight or a blessing.....and you are a witness in that way concerning the Lord Jesus and what He means to you and what He has done for you......when the Spirit of God, by His power enabled that you would be Born of the Spirit, Baptized of the Spirit, Indwelt by the Spirit, Anointed by the Spirit, and Sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the Day of Redemption. All these other things flow out of that initial experience of the Spirit of God in His Practice on your behalf.
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
August 18, 1974 pm
Ocean City Baptist Church, Ocean city, NJ
Ocean City Summer Bible Conference