We are going to look at three truths from God’s Word! To understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the last three books the apostle Paul wrote (pastorals), we need to look at –
The incredible work the Holy Spirit had done in Paul’s life:
- saved: Acts 9 at 25-30
- done: 2 Timothy 4 at 60-65
- midpoint: 2 Corinthians 11:23-28trial at 50 or so
He was directly ordered by God to be an apostle. This call ever drove him on. From the dust of the Damascus trail where in Acts 9 we find him fallen to the ground blinded by the glory of the risen Christ to the damp dungeons of Rome where he lived his final hours: Paul was a man under orders from on high. Between those two events – his conversion at about 30 years old to his death at about 62, we find a life of continual hardship.
The Man: Paul
For just a moment let’s trace the life of Paul across the pages of Scripture. As we saw he was converted somewhere between 25-30 years of age. Only 20 years later at about the age of fifty he gives us a brief look at what missionary life was like in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.
His testimony of suffering is beyond belief!
Paul had been treated as a common criminal. He had been brutally punished and that was done in public. To the people in Corinth, they knew what ’40 stripes save one’ meant. It means that five times Paul was beaten nearly one blow short of death.
“Ancient justice was experienced in such things.” Three times he had been scourged. To them the vivid memories of scourgings they may have seen. Skin was ripped from the body as the metal and glass imbedded whip dug deeply into the back. The victim was then scarred for life if he survived and would never be able to escape the eyes of all in the public baths. And of course the infection and even gangrene that came with it.
Then stoning, one of the cruelest forms of death reserved for the worst offenses. It was a slow and agonizing way to die, slowly crushed to death. Paul continues to speak of “3 times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea.” Behind these words also is nearly an unimaginable form of suffering. To tread water and cling to something for 24 hours floating out in the ocean somewhere is an amazing accomplishment of endurance and on and on. Paul was a man very acquainted with suffering.
1st Truth: Paul was an incredible portrait of the work of the Holy Spirit
2nd Truth: Paul made an incredible promise about the work of the Holy Spirit!
What is the promise? Look at 1 Timothy 1:1
The Mandate: The Gospel Of Hope
Remember that this is no vacation Paul has lived. He was in an immoral, Godless society filled with vices of the most indescribable nature. Poverty, slavery, divorce, sodomy (or homosexuality) and cults were rampant. People were paying a price to be a Christian and especially so was the ambassador Christ had sent out – Paul. Scarred from the sufferings of nearly 30 years of being a Christian the apostle must have looked much older than his 60 years of age. All this would have made the Gospel very unappealing if it were not the Gospel of the “Lord Jesus Christ Who Is Our Hope.”
What did that message of hope hold for those who will listen both then and now? Let me share with you how the Gospel translates into hope for the living whether in Imperial Rome and its vast empire or in rural America.
- VICTORY OVER THE UNBRIDLED LUSTS OF THE FLESH.
- VICTORY OVER THE UNHAPPY GLOOM OF CIRCUMSTANCES
- VICTORY OVER THE UNCERTAIN (TY OF DEATH) DESTINY
So – Paul made an incredible promise about the work of the Holy Spirit.
3rd Truth: Paul shares how to tap the incredible power of the Holy Spirit.
You see – His life portrayed it and the Holy Spirit promises it. Ready?
Let’s go backward from Titus 3 to 1 Timothy 1 just to keep you on your spiritual toes.
Six Facets of the Holy Spirit’s Power
v MAKING US NEW – Titus 3:5-7
- 2 truths: v. 5 – mercy, v. 7 – grace
- God is making us new by the Holy Spirit via mercy and grace.
What is Grace? A man in India described it once vividly. He put an earthworm on the ground and poured hot coals about it – no way to turn – it curled up – he plucked it out. That’s Grace
What’s mercy? God gave us the way to not just escape wrath but approach Him!
The Old Testament Tabernacle was a Picture of Mercy
First 2 objects :
- Altar of burnt offerings = Christ’s sacrifice for sin
- The Laver = cleansing regeneration of the Holy Spirit
- You can’t get to heaven with out new heart! And the Holy Spirit gives new freshness to this stale prison of trash!
- Some folks may run around the prison but none escape death! But us – we get a fresh supply of hope all day – when needed!
v BREATHING US THE TRUTH 2 Timothy 3:16
- The Holy Spirit is also breathing us the truth of God.
- He is not just making us new – He’s keeping us right by breathing truth to us
V KEEPING US SAFE 2 Timothy 1:14 –
- 2 realities: He keeps our soul
- He keeps His truth
v GIVING US GIFTS 2 Timothy 1:6-7 – Giving us Gifts
- power + love
v WARNING US OF DANGER 1 Timothy 4:1 – Warning us of danger
- When a storm is coming we sit near the radio. With danger coming isn’t fellowship at the house of God imperative over all else: social – recreation – sports – rest?
v WITNESSING TO US ABOUT CHRIST Finally, incredible power – the Holy Spirit is seen as He is (1 Timothy 3:16). witnessing to us about Christ. He says:
- Baptism – Christ is God’s Word
- Temptation – Christ is God’s triumph
- Miracles – Christ is God’s power
- Cross – Christ is God’s sacrifice
- Empty Tomb – Christ is God’s hope
- Today – Christ is God’s answer to all your questions
So, Paul says here is an incredible promise:
- Victory over unbridled lust of the flesh –
- How? Holy Spirit + Word of God = Sword (HS + WOG = Sword)
- Victory over unhappy gloom circumstances
- – How? Holy Spirit + Word of God = Light (HS + WOG = Light)
- Victory over uncertainty of death
- – How? Holy Spirit + Word of God = Life (HS + WOG = Life)
Take hold of His promised power and let Him give you the gospel of hope