I remember saying that as I continue typing a thousand words a day that I would exclude whatever thoughts I had for my messages every Sunday… but I seem to be playing catch-up right now, and I don’t know if it would be feasible to separate one task from the other. I honestly want to hit two birds with one stone – not necessarily typing my actual message, but to use this time of meditation by way of typing to determine the key points of what I will be talking about tomorrow.
To that end, I think it would be nice if I go far beyond a thousand words today, and if I actually hit two thousand it would be, as Jordan Peterson would say, good. It would be good.
February 28 is crucial. It’s the day to wrap up anything that needs to be set up as March starts, and whatever has already been set up for Mach will be put into implementation on that Monday, so I’m not fully overwhelmed come March 1.
Tomorrow is as crucial as as well, only because February 27 is the last Sunday of this wonderful month.
Ever since we started this month, we’ve sort of come to the perspective that the Holy Spirit sings to us. As one writer would exhort in the seventh verse of the thirty-second Psalm, (God) literally surrounds us with songs of deliverance, shouts of victory and triumph.
First, we dove into how the Holy Spirit sings to us, even when we have no songs to sing or words to say, that God’s love endures forever. We also talked about how the Holy Spirit sings to us of one perspective of what God did – Because we were infected in sin and thrown into a downward spiral which ends in death and total oblivion, the act of Christ being born into this world and laying His life down for us expresses that He loved us first.
The Holy Spirit sings to us, His love endures forever, and He loved us first. And it didn’t stop there, because last week we talked about how the Holy Spirit doesn’t just sing to us, but He sings to those who do not believe, and He also sings to the darkness. We focused on John 16:8, where we see that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and judgment – Of sin, because of those who do not believe in Christ, and of judgment, because ‘the ruler of this world is judged’.
But look! Here the Holy Spirit sings of righteousness, ‘because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer’; Friends, because our senses may not perceive Christ, we know that He is with us – how? Because the Holy Spirit reminds us in the body of Christ – NOT of sin, NOT of judgment, but of RIGHTEOUSNESS. If the Holy Spirit ministers to us, if the Holy Spirit sings to us, He not only sings of God’s love that endures forever, of His loving us first, but He also sings to us that we are righteous.
So here are songs in God’s playlist for each and every one of us in the body of Christ: His love endures forever, He loved us first, and He made us righteous.
Now friends, as we come to the end of February, I saw it fit for us to also put a hold on this series of finding these love songs of the Holy Spirit. I say we place a hold on it because obviously, there are many more songs for us to discover, as we read through the Word, and also as we live our lives with the Living Word.
In my looking for more songs to share with you, an obvious place for me to look was the Book of Psalms. But here’s what I discovered. These were Psalms mostly dedicated to the Lord. These were songs which were obviously meant to be sung BY us, TO the Lord. We talk about a soundtrack of songs of the Holy Spirit to us, but if you want a whole volume, a whole series of albums of songs we can sing, as Israel Houghton first quoted, ‘from (our) heart to the heavens’, look no further than the Psalms.
Of course, given enough time, study and inspiration by the Living Word, we would probably be able to ‘flip the coin’ on all of these Psalms. By ‘flipping the coin’, I mean eventually we would also be seeing these Psalms, appreciating God’s love to us versus our love for God. But, I’ll be honest, I saw some of them, and I figure I’d have a harder time on them than most.
Take Psalm 119, for example. Having 176 verses, it is famous for being the longest Psalm in the entire book, perhaps even the entire Bible. It’s an acrostic-type Psalm that starts each portion off with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, starting with Aleph and ending with Tov. Going through the entire Psalm and you get this overall theme – the writer is certainly dedicated to following the Law of the Lord, and he expresses it so elaborately, leaving no detail regarding his commitment and his devotion.
Take a look at the first and last couple of verses in the Psalm –
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart.
Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.
Psalm 119 gives us a very clear angle of how the nation of Israel was at the time – They were committed to studying the law of the Lord, and they were devoted to following the Law of the Lord.
So it is in Psalm 119, as it was in Exodus 19:8, where even before the Ten Commandments were given to them, they answered the Lord together, saying “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do.”
Israel was all about working for the Lord, and in the Psalms, they sung about it. Unfortunately, for all their effort and good intention, it was only a matter of time until they ended up burned out, as Malachi pointed out in the final book of the Old Testament. Let’s read from Malachi 1:6-10 –
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.”
After hundreds of years of suffering the consequences of disobedience by way of conquest and afflictions, their priests have come to a point that they didn’t care about the offerings quite as much as they used to.
Let’s take a look at Romans 5:18-19.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
What was this ‘one trespass’? It was Adam and Eve disobeying God, by way of eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And for all our obedience, we could not do anything from our own strength to get rid of the condemnation meant for us.
But praise God, because all that was needed was one act of righteousness, one man’s obedience. Friends, it was CHRIST’S act of righteousness, CHRIST’S obedience, CHRIST’S finished work that guaranteed that not only was our status of being a sinner was taken away from us, but, as it says, ‘many will be made righteous.’
And we talked about how, because we are righteous, we have been brought into full favor with God; But it means much more than that! See verses 20-21:
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our obedience leaves us burned out. And for all our efforts and works by our own strength, the best we can hear from God is, again, “I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.”
As we see in verses 20-21, Christ’s obedience made us righteous, and because we are righteous, grace reigns in all of our being, and more importantly, we are righteous unto eternal life!
Let’s end with this. 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 goes as follows:
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Look at it this way. The order of the songs the Holy Spirit has been singing to us, has not been presented to us by accident.
We began by talking about how God’s love endures forever. This is to say that God’s love existed before creation, in eternity before time began, in infinity before space was formed. We were created to enjoy such love but, again, by one man’s transgression, all this changed.
We couldn’t reach God, but we rejoice and sing! Because it wasn’t about us reaching to God, but it was because He loved us first – and how do we know this? We know He loved us first, because it was Jesus Christ who came to us.
Because Christ lay down His life, so we were reconciled, and because Christ rose again, so we were made righteous! Now we may not see Jesus, but it is the Holy Spirit who reminds us, who SINGS to us – He calls us ‘RIGHTEOUS!’
We have the Spirit who convicts us of righteousness, and He doesn’t stop there – for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!
And do we stop there? There’s much more! See,
“…we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.“
We have the Holy Spirit, who calls us righteous, who has set us free, and as we see God’s glory, we ourselves are being changed from glory to glory!
Let me end with this verses 2-3 in the same chapter:
You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Friends, you are letters from Christ to be known and read by all. You may still feel burned out, sure, but know that even in your lowest of times, unlike in Malachi, God takes pleasure in you.
The world will see your success and see that God takes pleasure in you.
The world will see your troubles, but even then they shall see, because you move from glory to glory… God takes pleasure in you.
I could think of no better way to end this year’s edition of the Holy Spirit’s soundtrack for your life, but to say this – that you are not just messages from Christ, you are not just emails from Christ, not just letters from Christ… (I need to channel the famous worship leader, Martin Nievera, for this one)
You are the song
Playing so softly in my heart
I reach for you
You seem so near
And yet so far
I hope and I pray
You’ll be with me someday
I know down inside
You are mine & I’m your true love
Please, no more dreaming
How can I
Each time I try, you say goodbye
You were there
You look my way and touch the sky
We can share tomorrow and forevermore
I’ll be there
To love you so
You are my song
His love endures forever
He loved you first
He calls you righteous.
and because of this..
You are His song.
I know this was all Martin Nievera, but I’m pretty sure Regine Velasquez was doing the second voice.
What does the soundtrack of your life sound like? Is it Jazz, Heavy Metal, Country, Soundtracks For Series, Classical, or a twisted combination of everything?
Christ’s work has guaranteed that not only can you sing TO the Lord, but that you can sing WITH Him.
What songs will you sing?