Two spirits, one truth
Who shows us what God is really like? Who makes the Bible and the sermon a very personal matter? The Chief Apostle knows someone who can, and he also talks about someone who constantly gets in the way.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” This biblical passage from 1 Corinthians 2: 12 was the basis for a divine service on 8 March 2020 in Bremen in Germany.
The biblical text is taken from a letter which Paul addressed to the congregation in Corinth. There were divisions in the fledgling church at the time, which is why Paul wanted to teach them about the faith. In the process Paul speaks about the mystery of God, which only the Holy Spirit can reveal.
How the Holy Spirit works
“When it comes to the truth, it is always the same in the New Testament,” the Chief Apostle said: “God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. This is the wisdom of God.” But this wisdom can only be perceived through the Holy Spirit. “How does the Holy Spirit do that?” In three ways:
- through Holy Scripture: “Scripture was not written by the Holy Spirit but inspired by Him.” It says there: “Jesus Christ is God. He is the Redeemer. In the Scriptures we can find out what Jesus was like. We can discover His teaching, His nature, His life, and thereby get an idea of what God is like—as it is written.”
- through the proclamation of the gospel: “The Holy Spirit works through the preached word. For this He sent His Apostles. He gave them the authority to preach the word of God, the gospel. So it is not enough to simply read about it. It must also be preached by the mandated servants of God.”
- through the testimony in us: “He dwells in us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is constantly with us. The Holy Spirit thus actualises it all and makes it personal.”
What the Holy Spirit brings about
The Holy Spirit is opposed by the human spirit. The Chief Apostle explained how the powers of the one Spirit can conquer the weaknesses of the other.
- Trust rather than understand: humans always want an explanation. “We always think that the Holy Spirit must explain everything and always tell us everything. Why don’t we just listen to the Holy Spirit. He gives us an answer: He shows us what God is like. God is love. Trust Him, even if you do not understand Him.”
- Concentrate on the essentials: the human focus is on earthly life. “Why don’t we listen to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit says: God cannot take everything off your shoulders, but He can make sure that you will reach your goal and come to God in spite of all kinds of injustices, difficulties, and trials.”
- Listen rather than see: man judges everything in a human way. “Humans base everything on facts and judge everything on the basis of what they see and perceive. The Holy Spirit says: ‘Don’t trust what you can see, what is today’s reality, what you can perceive. Trust in the word of God.”
- Love rather than calculation: “Many people seek reconciliation, but even that is often mere calculation. People reconcile because they have realised that it is more advantageous for them to reconcile. The only motivation, however, should be: we forgive because we love our neighbour as God loves Him. It is simply an urge to be reconciled with our neighbour, just as it is an urge for God to have fellowship with you.
- Finding the balance: humans always have this need to talk about themselves. “Everyone has to know how good I am, how great I am, what all I do, how interesting my life is, what I think, and what my convictions are. The Spirit of God works differently. We can read that the Spirit of God will not speak of Himself and glorify Himself. He glorifies Jesus Christ. He proclaims what He hears at the throne of God. Let us therefore allow ourselves to be inspired more and more by the Holy Spirit.”
Letting the Holy Spirit work
At the end of his sermon, Chief Apostle Schneider emphasised what the Holy Spirit can accomplish: “If we allow the Holy Spirit to work within us, God will grant us grace. We can come closer and closer to God, and in the end He will give us all His grace, take away our sinfulness, and we can truly be like God.”