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On Our Need to Continually Call Upon the Spirit and Listen

On Our Need to Continually Call Upon the Spirit and Listen
“God hardly gives His Spirit even to those whom He has established in grace, if they do not pray for it on all occasions, not only once, but many times. 'God does nothing but in answer to prayer; and even they who have been converted to God, without praying for it themselves (which is exceeding rare), were not without the prayers of others. Every new victory which a soul gains is the effect of a new prayer.” (Wesley: A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, 1725-1777.)
 
"Come Holy Spirit" (prayer uttered by Lonnie Frisbee on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11, 1980.
 
Our reliance on Jesus is not divorced from our reliance and dependence on the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us in John 15 that "apart from [him] we could do nothing" - this dependence on and "connectedness" to Jesus would require the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost. Jesus told his disciples at the same time that "[the Spirit] will bring glory to [Him] by telling you everything he receives from me" (John 16:14, NLT).
 
Wesley understood this. Although we are "established in grace" and have the indwelling Spirit -there must be a continual submission to the Spirit by "pray[ing] for the [Spirit] on all occasions." It is empirically clear that a person can be saved and yet resist the Spirit. I have been guilty of this many times. Else why would Paul say to the Thessalonians "do not quench (stifle, extinguish, or turn away) the Spirit?" (1 Thessalonians 5:19, various translations). Or why would Jesus repeatedly admonish the churches of Revelation 2 and 3 to "...hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches" (Rev. 2:7;29; 3:6,22, etc?)
 
This made me wonder about how much of what the Spirit is saying I actually hear. I don't think Jesus stopped speaking to individual disciples in AD 90. And I don't believe that the promise of John 16:14 is limited to the Apostles and disciples who were present with Jesus as they celebrated His final Passover with them. But I believe the call to listen is not just an appeal to believers as individuals. In fact - Jesus' words are directed to the "churches" in Revelation - the gathered assembly. In 1 Corinthians 14:26 - the call to "tell special revelations" from God is given to the gathered assembly - on Sunday!
 
This is why we always want to make a place for the Spirit and to listen to what the Spirit is saying to us when we gather. What more perfect time than immediately following the celebration of the Eucharist? Yesterday, for instance, God spoke to us through several of our members. And we listened. In the coming days and weeks, let's continue to pray about the things the Spirit led us to do and pray.
 
Many blessings,
 
Pastor Ralph

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