Audio Sermon “God's Miniature”



Jan 1, 2017
Japanese and English Joint Service:

“The Spirit that Remains in Us" by Rev. Toru Asai
Hag 2:5, Ps 133, etc.




Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:1-2)



Summary
                 

This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear (Hag 2:5).

When this universe was still in a state of chaos, order was produced by the Holy Spirit, and a universe was formed and created. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that everything in it is held together and maintained. It is because of his life that we living beings live, and it is through his utterance that we speak languages. It was through his inspiration that the Bible was written, and it is with his wisdom that we understand God's word and know him.

A river flowed from Eden watering the Garden of Eden, from which it was separated into four rivers watering the whole earth. The water is the Holy Spirit, and the garden is the temple where Adam served God as a priest wearing the priestly garments. When Adam sinned, he was stripped off, and kicked out of the garden. Sin stopped the flow of the Holy Spirit in man, and forced him to walk in the flesh—the spiritual death, or the lifestyle of death. This happens according to "the law of sin and death." But Christ came to overturn it with another law—"the law of the Spirit of life." With this law, "the Spirit of life," who raised Christ from the dead, begins to live and flow in us so that we may live as children of God freely doing his will.

The work of the Holy Spirit, who never brings himself forward doing or speaking anything on his own, is always hidden, and it is seldom expressed openly in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. Yet, it was by the Holy Spirit that the people and the nation of Israel came to exist. The pillar of cloud and fire that began to appear for the people of Israel since the time of the exodus was the Holy Spirit (Exod 13:21-22, 14:19-20). The cloud stood and kept them away from the Egyptian army when crossing the Red Sea. When God came down to Mt Sinai, "a thick cloud" (also means "cloud of glory") appeared together with a loud trumpet blast (19:16). Moses spoke with God face to face as the pillar of cloud stood at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting (33:9-10). It was the same pillar of cloud that led the people of Israel to the Promised Land (Num 9:15-23, 14:14). At the completion of Solomon's temple, as the ark of the covenant was carried into the Holy of Holy, a cloud filled the temple so that the priests could not stand to serve there (2 Chr 5:13-14). All these clouds were the same Holy Spirit.

Haggai 2:5 says that God's spirit has been working among you ever since the time he covenanted with them "when Israel came out of Egypt." The promise he made with that covenant was that he would dwell among them (Exod 25:8, 29:45-46). Since that time, the Holy Spirit dwelled, and remained among them. To remain literally means standing ('amad), and he literally stood as the pillar ('amud) of cloud and fire. Even when the temple was destroyed and burned, the Holy Spirit did not leave, but kept standing and brought the Jews back to their land from captivity. Hope was maintained because of him, and as they returned from Babylon to their land southbound passing Mt Hermon, they sang dancing:

How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron's beard,
down upon the collar of his robes.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore (Ps 133).

The same Holy Spirit now lives among the people of spiritual Israel in Christ. He anoints us with the oil of sanctification and joy so that we can serve as priests praising God, and waters us with life so that we can bear fruit loving one another. We are together a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God: living on Mt Zion, we are proclaiming the praises to God and shining over the whole world with his wonderful light.





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