- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2001

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. Larry Johnson at Covenant Bible Church in Oakton, Va.

It's so good to serve a God who gives you His best; not only His best resources materially, but His best resources in terms of the people He provides you with. One of the best things about being called to the ministry is you don't have to build your own platform, but people see what God is doing in you and want to join you.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes some very important statements about the Holy Spirit. In Chapter 14, verse 16, he says, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever." He, the second person of the Trinity, will speak to the first person of the Trinity to send us the third person of the Trinity.
Jesus said, "Up until now, you've asked nothing in my name; now ask the Father." Why pray in the name of Jesus? Because He's been given all authority in heaven and earth. Where does that leave us? If we are outside of Christ, we're really out. If we're in Christ, we have been given everything.
You can't explain the Trinity. The greatest Bible scholars can't explain how you can worship one God in three persons. But it's important to be aware of this simply because it's the Word of God. The Holy Spirit deals with people personally. He has feelings, exercises God's will and exercises determinations and decisions. He's not a force, but a person. If we were more aware of the person of the Holy Spirit, we'd give Him the same courtesy we give to other people.
Jesus said in John 16:7, "It's to your advantage that I go away." He was a man who actually knew God. The Pharisees claimed to know God, but once the truth came, people began to say, "Wait a minute. We've always guessed they're hypocrites, but now that this man is on the scene, it's pretty obvious what they're doing."
This man inspired faith in the hearts of people. Not only that, He met needs and solved problems. At the end of His ministry, His followers had dwindled to the 120 you see in the book of Acts. He told them, "It is better I go away." And they said, "Jesus, how is it better if you go away?"
He said, "I will send someone who will do things on a much grander scale and from the inside out. He is going to convince the world, just like I convinced you of sin, righteousness and judgment. He would understand the deepest needs of mankind, how sin has corrupted us and how to bring to us the very love of God we left in the Garden of Eden."
The spirit realm has to be more real because that is where we come from. Jesus was with His disciples, but when the Helper comes, He is in them. He is restoring man to the place he enjoyed in the Garden of Eden before he fell. The Holy Spirit has come to let us know all God has for us is not predicated on any favors we can do for Him. He'll give you favor with man if you have favor with Him.
You can't keep people from hurting you, disappointing you, turning their backs on you. People will hurt you, I am sorry to say. Without the love of God, you meditate on the hurt and disappointment and that eats away at you day in and day out. But God's love is a balm that soothes you. He will work with you in the crises of life, the tough places. You're a threat to the kingdom of darkness. If God puts you in the right place, He can use you to get people saved.
Deal with the sin of unbelief. If you preach the Gospel the way it is intended to be preached, you'll get the same answers they got in the book of Acts.
People want answers, they don't want playstuff. Stuff happens, folks, so get over it. We need to believe God. You need to find people who will stand with you and exercise faith toward God.

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