Personal experiences of the Holy Spirit seem to be essential to becoming a serious believer in Jesus Christ. This is consistent with the message of the whole Bible and what Paul teaches in Romans 8.9. In the Gospel Reading Jesus is using the parables of the Mustard Seed, Hidden Treasure, pearl of Great Price and Net to teach us how difficult it is and how important it is that we come to Him and ensure we are justified or made right with God through faith in Him. The Good News as Paul explains to us is that we can all have a spiritual life in Christ if we really seek Him and cry out for the help of the Holy Spirit.
The bad news is in the parable of the Net. The “bad fish” represent the “wicked” that have a destiny of torment because they were not “righteous” or in right relationship with God. They are the ones who have been deceived or tempted and chosen to do their own thing:
· Fell into sin and polluted their personal spirit
· Polluted spirit would be like a can of gasoline in the holy fire of God’s love.
· God weeps because they cannot be in His presence.
· This is the challenge of God giving us free will and the ability to choose to love Him – or rebel and walk away.
The Good News of the parables is that those who decide to come home and really seek God’s face will be greatly rewarded:
· Smallest faith can grow into the greatest faith
· Hidden treasure can be found
· Valuable treasure can be purchased
2. Paul Explains How We Get Into the Kingdom
Romans 8.29-30 has sadly been taken out of context, intellectualized into the doctrine of predestination and interpreted to mean God only calls, justifies and glorifies pre-selected individuals. This has been used to create divisions in the Church including the popular “Prosperity Gospel”.:
· Good for Capitalism as individuals work harder to attain the “prosperity” they assume is a sign of being chosen.
· Satan’s plan to distracted people into thinking they may not need Jesus or the Holy Spirit
· In conflict with God being “all loving” and giving us free will as a sign of that love
· Romans 8 is actually about “Life Through the Spirit”
· “Predestined” should be interpreted generally and not individually (Holy Spirit later rebuked me for not sharing Him as the source of this interpretation)
· We are all are called to be justified (made in right relationship) and glorified (share in God's glory) through Jesus life and sacrificial death
· Problem is we are human and easily fooled, tempted and deceived into giving up our birthright as children of God
· We need the help of the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and guide us so we can see the truth
3. We All Need Experiences of the Holy Spirit
My own experiences of coming home – and that of most people I have met in 30 years of ministry is that we are all wounded and sceptical. We need more than head knowledge to believe the Good News of eternal spiritual life is true. The usual pattern is:
· Get into a desperate situation
· Read the Bible, pray and cry out to God for help
· Jesus sends Holy Spirit to heal us and guide us
· Holy Spirit heals us and guides us in prayer and Bible study deeper into our justification and glorification
· Personal effort and experience of the Holy Spirit is essential to this process