Sunday, May 18, 2008 -
Remember the central thesis of this Sunday night series: while there are many different signs of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, not all signs are as telling as others in terms of identifying the Spirit’s work. Some signs are more accurate diagnoses of the Spirit’s work because they pinpoint things that only the Holy Spirit can do. These are the certain works of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our church.
We will continue with the same format as last week. We will examine some signs that may be the work of the Spirit, but may not as well. Then we will close our study time looking at a sign of the Spirit’s work that positively proves His activity.
1) IT IS NOT NECESSARILY PROOF OF THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT PEOPLE ARE MOVED TO SPEND MUCH TIME AND PASSION IN THE PRACTICE OF THEIR RELIGION
Several things need to be remembered here:
a) Certainly the Holy Spirit does produce a rise in zeal and affection and involvement in the worship of God through Christ Jesus:
i The Holy Spirit promotes a love for fellowship with fellow believers - Acts 2:46-47 - “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
ii The Holy Spirit will draw the soul into the practice of prayer - Ephesians 6:18 - “....praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints....”
iii The Holy Spirit will birth a love for the Word of God in my heart - Psalm 119:48 - “I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.”
So clearly, we can see from God’s Word, the Holy Spirit does do all these things. But consider some other things we can see in God’s Word:
b) People can find some of these same signs in their lives without the Holy Spirit being the cause of them:
i False religion can cause people to be loud, earnest and persistent in prayer - 1 Kings 18:27-29 - “And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened."  And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.  And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.”
We know the Holy Spirit isn’t birthing this prayer meeting because the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead people to pray to the idol Baal. See also 1 John 4:1-3, 13-15.
ii People can love to hear God’s Word when they have no interest whatsoever in the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives - Ezekiel 33:31-32 - “And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain.  And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.”
2) IT IS A CERTAIN SIGN OF THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK WHEN WE ARE DRAWN TO LOVE AND SAVOR THE MORAL EXCELLENCE AND HOLINESS OF GOD ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE IN LIFE
You don’t have to be spiritual to love God’s mercy. You only have to be guilty to love mercy. You don’t have to be spiritual to recognize God’s power and might. You only have to be observant to see these qualities. Demons know God’s power, says James, and they tremble at it. But it takes a definite work of the Holy Spirit to create a love for God’s holiness. The Apostle John says we don’t have a natural love for the holiness of God - John 3:19-20 - “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
We can know for certain the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives when He changes the natural state of our affections. We don’t just see that we should be holy. We actually begin to tire and sicken of unholiness. Let me close with some Scriptural examples of this:
Psalm 119:7-9 - “I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.  I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!  How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Also, compare Isaiah 6:1-4 with James 2:19.