How do you know when God is speaking to you? One of the things we as missionaries want to disciple our church in is how to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit. God does speak to us. Sometimes He uses His Word. Sometimes He used the words others speak to us. Sometimes He uses circumstances. Learning to recognize the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and acting upon them is what a walk of faith is all about.
The Passage: Luke 2:21-38
In these early chapters of the gospels, the theme the Lord has been impressing me with is faith. Both the faith of those involved, and the impact their faith has on those who witness their lives. The goal for which we started this study was, “Changed by Beholding.” As we observe faith lived out, and see the impact their faith has, may it change us as it did those who witnessed their lives. May we be inspired to live by faith also. There is clearly a correlation between living by faith, and depending on the Holy Spirit. As each of these characters have lived out their faith, the Holy Spirit has been involved!
- Zachariah and Elizabeth were both filled with the Spirit, and the actions that proceeded were so remarkable that their neighbors and family were inspired by their faith. Zachariah and Elizabeth both proclaimed God’s word when the Spirit filled them.
- Mary, in faith, and dependence on the Holy Spirit, believed the angel’s message and was willing to trust her future to God’s hands, no matter what that meant. Her decision had a great impact on those who witnessed her life.
- For Joseph, when he heard the angels message, he believed it by faith, and changed his whole perspective, The circumstances didn’t change, but they were no longer a controlling factor in the decisions he made.
- When the Shepherds heard the message by the angels, they believed, and in faith went in haste to see the thing. After seeing the reality of what they heard and believed, they proclaimed what they heard and saw to everyone they met.
- My eyes have seen your salvation!
- This salvation is for all people, he will be a light even to the gentiles.
- He will be the glory of your people Israel
Faith inspires action. Faith also results in a desire to proclaim what God has shown us.
In Luke 2:25-35 the story of Simeon is yet another example of walking by faith. This man walked with God. He clearly had a relationship with God where he talked with God and God talked with him. How? We don’t know. Was this a vision? Did he hear an audible voice? We don’t know. It may have just been the Lord laid upon his heart this promise, and by faith, he believed it? We do know that the message he received was given by the Holy Spirit, and he believed it! So, how does the Spirit come to impress something upon a heart? Here it says, he was righteous and devout. And in his devotedness, as he spent time with God, in faith he was eagerly waiting for the Messiah (NLT). And at some point, the Holy Spirit made it clear to him that he would not die before he saw the fulfillment of his hope! (Luke 2:25-26) That is what faith is, believing with confidence that we will receive what God has said, even when we can’t see it, then acting upon what we believe. Simeon followed the Spirit’s leading, and went to the temple. As Mary and Joseph come in with Jesus, Simeon picks Jesus up and declares: (Luke 2:27-28) This would have been a tremendous encouragement to Mary and Joseph, I would think. At the very least, a confirmation that they were doing the right thing.
(What was God doing? Why is this written?)
It’s incredible to witness the faith of these people. Simeon, righteous and devout. Through some avenue of communication, the Holy Spirit acknowledged his faith, and gave him a promise that He will not see death before the Messiah comes. Simeon sought the Lord. He continued to maintain his relationship with God. God honors him by revealing he will not die before God keeps His word in sending the savior.
(What can we learn from this? What is God saying to me and my life from this passage?
The walk of faith is believing what God has said, and acting upon it. Often it will involve speaking the truth God gives us also. When God uses our mouth to speak his words, it will inspire hope and encourage others to trust God too.
The Power; Declarations of Truth:
- I need to be sharing with others what God shows me
- God wants to use my mouth to inspire hope and encourage faith in others.