Howard Mooney - "Difference is Spirit" - Pukekohe, NZ - 1980

Sometimes people ask, what is the main difference between your church and the other churches? I used to start off by telling them of the difference in the ministry. It is a big difference, and then I would tell them the difference in the worship which is a big difference, and then I would tell them of the worship in the fellowship, which is a big difference. I began by telling them, the difference is the spirit that God has given to His people. A spirit that is revolutionary different from any other spirit in the religious world and it is this spirit that has produced a miracle spirit. It is His spirit that has produced this miracle we enjoy, we worship!

Before we go into the letter to the Ephesians, I would like to mention two statements he made. He introduced the work of the spirit in Isaiah 4:4. When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. He said, "It is a spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning. It is a spirit of judgment because it shows us what to do and it is a spirit of burning because it gives us a burning desire to do it." That is a secret of the workmanship of God. When Paul later on wrote to the Philippian Christians, he said, "It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure, or it is God who worketh a willingness to do His good pleasure in your heart." One minister said to us, "I cannot understand it, but your people enjoy doing what we cannot force our people to do." We told him, "No power on earth could force people to do this, and we are glad God does not force His people to do it. But He gives us His spirit, and in that spirit is willingness to do His good pleasure, the spirit of His Son." He said, "I delight to do Thy will oh my God, so the spirit that God gives to His people, is the spirit of judgment that helps us to understand the truth and what to do, but it is also the spirit of burning because it gives us a burning desire to do it."

32nd Chapter of Isaiah speaks of the lives being empty and desolate like a waste, a howling wilderness until the spirit be poured out from above and then a tremendous change took place, and the wilderness became a paradise and the land that was wasted became like the Garden of Eden. But that only happened because the spirit was poured out from above. A person could have cultivated that wilderness ground naturally speaking for all you are worth, but it would not have done one bit of good if it were not for something that God gives from above. The same is so with us today. It is a spirit that God poured out upon us from above that changed our lives from a lonely waste, a howling wilderness into the paradise of God that we are enjoying today. That verse is found in chap. 42:13 of the book of Isaiah 42:13, The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. It is in Ephesians that Paul spoke of the seal of the spirit.

Ephesians 1:13. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. When they had believed, God sealed them with a promise; He had promised them from the beginning of the Old Testament. He was not referring in the sense of sealing an envelope, but he was speaking here of a king's seal stamped on a document. When people saw that document with the king’s seal upon it, it gave then the assurance that this had the assurance of the king upon it and the authority of the king behind it. Paul said that this spirit that God gave to us when we first professed and accepted Jesus, was just like God's seal, it was an indication to the world and to us ourselves, that God had put His approval on us and accepted us among the beloved.

 This took place in a very dramatic manner on the day of Pentecost. The reason why it took place in such a very dramatic manner was that it had been prophesied that it would, and the people accepted it. The people understood from the Old Testament scripture that the promised Holy Spirit would be given in this dramatic manner on the first Pentecost after Calvary. When Calvary took place, and this Pentecost took place, the historians say the city was filled with the glow of excitement and the temple courts were filled with the people who worshiped there, and they thought God will pour out His spirit upon us. They knew that whoever the spirit was poured out upon, God would accept that group. The people felt because of that, God would put His seal of approval on the people in the temple courts. The Pharisees felt the same way, and the Sadducees and the others felt the same way about it, and their places of worship were filled to overflowing that day, and to leave any doubt out of the picture for ever, God caused the spirit to come like a hurricane, a mighty rushing wind. They could hear it before it got there and after it left, and that spirit, that wind, roared right over the heads of those people in the temple courts, and it left them speechless, and it roared right over the roofs of the 420 Synagogues in Jerusalem and left them gasping, realizing it has left us by, and the hurricane came and settled on a home where the Christians were having their Sunday morning meeting, and it gave assurance to those on the inside as well as the outside. It says the spirit came and filled the house wherein they were speaking.

We see how God proved in this dramatic manner that He had put His seal of approval on this way of worship. These people who were meeting there in that Sunday morning meeting. Not only did He put His seal of approval on the way in which they were worshiping, but He also put His seal of approval upon the day in which they were worshiping. Sunday morning. Pentecost means 50. It was the 50th day after the first sheaves were gathered in and they were to remember the seven Sabbaths after that, and on the 50th day, the day after the 7th Sabbath, was the day of Pentecost, that is why it was called Pentecost, or the 50th day. It was on the 50th day, or the first day of the week, the day after the 7th Sabbath, that the Christians were coming together having their Sunday morning meeting, 9 o'clock in the morning, when God put His seal of approval on that group that day. God not only put His seal upon the people that day, He put His approval on the way in which they were worshiping, and on the day on which they were worshiping, Sunday morning.

I do not know if you have any Sabbath keepers in New Zealand. We have several groups in America; they feel you should keep the old Jewish Sabbath. One of their challenging statements is that you cannot show me one place where God put His approval on a Sunday service. And we are glad to take them right back to this event at Pentecost, that this was a Sunday morning meeting, 9 o'clock in the morning, on the first day of the week, that God poured out His seal of approval. Not merely upon the way in which they were worshiping, but also upon the day in which they were worshiping.

Maybe you would like to keep that in mind, because in future days you may come in contact with these Sabbath worshipers. We can take them right back to this great and notable event and show them that place there. When Joel spoke of it, he said, “The great and terrible day of the Lord.”  When Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost he told the people, what we are doing is the fulfillment of what Joel has prophesied. He spoke of it as the great and notable day of the Lord. He wasn’t misquoting the scripture. For the religious people, it was a dreadful day. A terrible day.  It had awakened them to the fact that they had missed everything. To them it was one of the most terrible experiences they had ever gone through, to realize that; with all our zeal and sacrifice, we are left outside of the will of God. It was a great and terrible day for them. To the Lord’s people it was a great and notable day. That was a day they never forgot. A day God proved to everybody.

This is the way that the Lord has blessed and it was prophesied right back in the book of Isaiah. What took place then was only for that occasion and proved that point, so it was never repeated. The point remains, that when mankind, down through the ages since then, obeyed the Gospel and submitted to God's will, God put the same spirit and same seal of approval upon them individually that He did upon this situation collectively, so that you and I look back upon a great and notable day in our experience. That day when we obeyed the gospel, and God put that seal of approval upon us by giving us that Holy Spirit of Promise.

The 17th day of June is a great and notable day for me. Because it was on the 17th day of June 1917 at 3:30 in the afternoon that I stood on my feet and professed and was conscious before I left the meeting that day that God had put His seal of approval upon this young life of mine. That is a great and notable day in my experience. There isn’t a one of us in this meeting this morning who are naming the name of Christ, but you will have known that great and notable day. When you gave up struggling and believed and obeyed, and God sealed you with that Holy Spirit He promised to give to His people, His seal of approval, He promised from way back, from the beginning of time, not only is this promise of God His seal of approval, but it is 14 verses of this chapter. He said, "This Spirit of God that we have received, it is the earnest of our inheritance." The foretaste. The down-payment, the beginning. A something we would continue to enjoy through all eternity.

I would like for a few moments this morning, if God gives me the help to give it, I would like to impress upon you the importance of this great inheritance to which you have been called, because if we can just give you a greater understanding of the greatness of this thing, nothing will be able to separate us from it, or to hinder us from putting our best into it.

What we have today, what we have received by the Spirit of God coming into our life, and that is why I want to speak about these statements, that emphasize that. What we have received is too good to be true. Wonderful though it is, it is just the beginning of something that will take all of Eternity for us to appreciate the full content of it, and that is not my talking. That is mentioned in the 2nd chapter of this letter. It will take all the ages for us to show the exceeding greatness of His grace and all that has been provided for us. What we have today is the riches of His grace. It will take all the ages to cone, to show to us all the exceeding riches of His grace. It is something that we begin to measure in this life. It will take all the ages to come to show us or to enjoy the fullest breadth of it.

There are three exceeding things mentioned in this letter that I may mention right now in passing. Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. There is the exceeding greatness of His power that is mentioned in v.19 and 20 of the 1st chapter. The same power that God used to raise Lazarus from the dead, the exceeding greatness of that power. In Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

He speaks of the exceeding satisfaction. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. That is exceeding satisfaction. Exceeding reward that will be ours to enjoy throughout the endless ages of eternity. When Paul used that word exceedingly in these instances, he wasn’t referring that this exceeds what the world has to offer. The world cannot come in a million miles of what you are enjoying in Christ today. It never could, and it never will.

What he was referring to was not exceeding the things the world has to offer, this is a foregone conclusion. But he meant this exceeds everything you expect in this life. Isn’t that true? When you first gave your life to God, you never expected to get from the lavish hand of God what God intended you should have. It becomes infinitely better with the passing of time. It will take us all the ages to come, to enjoy the full benefit of it. It exceeds our fondest expectation; it is something away beyond what we would think. It is the only thing in the world that turns out to be better than you expect. That statement covers everything. This is the only thing in the world that turns out to be better than we expect. It exceeds our fondest expectation.

Just to help you grasp the full meaning of this, we have received the down-payment. Joshua, when he came to the end of his life, after walking with God for 64 years, and entering deeply into his inheritance, but after walking with God for 64 years, he said to the people, "I am going this day the way of all the earth." This is the day he died, and he said, "You know in all of your souls and all of your hearts that not one thing has failed of all the good things that the Lord spake concerning you. All had come to pass and not one thing had failed thereof." Isn’t that a wonderful testimony to give at the end of 64 years of close fellowship with God?  Not one thing had failed of all that God had promised to do. That is found in Chapter 23:14 and Chapter 24:30.  Joshua died that day like he said he would, and when he died, they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah. Can you grasp the magnitude of that this morning my brother, my sister? For 64 years he had been enjoying the abundance of his inheritance, and yet when he died, he was buried just inside the border. It would take all of eternity for him to enjoy the rest of it.

Timnathserah, means a portion of the remainder, the place where he was buried. For 64 years he had been enjoying to the full a portion of this thing, the earnest of his inheritance, but it would take all of eternity to enjoy the remainder. I do not care how long you have been professing, I do not care how deeply you have entered into this thing, the fact remains that when you die, you will just be inside the border. It is so far beyond human comprehension, that when you die, regardless of how many years you have put into it, you will find yourself just inside the border. It will take all of eternity for God to show you the rest of your inheritance, but while we are waiting for the rest to take place, God has given us the earnest to enjoy now, and a full assurance to your heart and mine, that the rest will be ours when the time comes for God to share it with us.

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. He speaks of the access of his spirit. He mentioned that through Him we have access by one spirit unto the Father. The access of the spirit. I like to think of this in the term of a ticket. If you were going to some public function that required a ticket to get in, and you came to the man at the door, he wouldn’t  ask you who you are, or what you are, he will say, where is your ticket. That is what will get you in. If this isn’t too crude an illustration, that is what the Holy Spirit is to you and to me, it is that something that gives us access to the Father, and as many times a day as we wish, we can go into the presence of the Father, and there find something that is found no place else apart from in His presence. I do not have access to the Father today because of who I am or what I am by nature.

That is, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing. There is nothing about our natural make-up that would have given us access to the Father, that would have given us access to Him as His children. The spirit that He has given us, gives us access to His presence. If you have never done so, I would encourage you to make a study of the things that are found only in His presence. No place else are they found other than in His presence. I will give you a couple of them. Maybe that will intrigue you to look up the others when time comes. The Lord said to Moses, Ex 33:14, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." That is found in no place else but in His presence. Isaiah said, "It is not in the stormy world. The wicked are like the troubled sea that cannot rest, driven back and forth by the tides of time." Situations they cannot control. There is no rest for the wicked. Always cooking up something and bored. Jesus said, "You come unto me, and I will give you rest."  In all the religiosity they had, they never found the rest that was found in His presence. The Psalmist said, "In thy presence is fullness of joy." Where else could you find it? We read of the times of refreshing together in the presence of the Lord. We read in Hebrews, Jesus is now in the presence of God making intercession for us through His blood.

If you would like to study an interesting subject, I would encourage you to look up the different places in the Bible where it speaks of these things that are found only in Gods presence, and think that every day of your life. As many times during the day as I wish I can go into His presence and lavishly enjoy all those wonderful things that are only found there, because I have His spirit and His spirit is what gives me access to it. There are times when I have gone into the room and got down on my knees beside my bed and I have never said a word and I have never heard a word. There are some moments that cannot be put into words. There are times when I have gone into the room and got down on my knees intending to pray and I was so conscious of the closeness of the Lord’s presence that the atmosphere was too sacred to speak and some of those moments are moments that you wish would never end.

There is something about being in the presence of certain people means much to you and you do not have to say much. Just to be in their presence means so much to you. In time of need I go into His presence, but oftentimes when I am not in need I go into His presence and get down on my knees and just in silence enjoy the sweetness of fellowship and the spirit of peace and joy and what I am talking about is something you have experienced time and time again yourself, but let us keep the thought in mind that it is only the spirit that gives us access into this glorious presence.

Our old brother Willie Jamieson, whom some of you have known, who has now gone into eternity, he used to say that the greatest mistake that any child of God would make would be in taking credit for what you have in Christ. He said this is the gift of God. We wouldn’t want to think of just what I am and because of the life I may have lived. It is the spirit. It is the spirit that God gave us the day we obeyed the gospel, and He put the seal of His approval upon us. That is the access that enables us to enter into His presence and there, in His presence, receive the sweetest fellowship that the human heart could ever know, and from His presence receive things that are found absolutely in no other place apart from in His presence.

Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. v:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; v:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, v:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Unity of the spirit. The spirit that brings about this wonderful unity and fellowship among God’s people. He speaks about the unity of the spirit and of the unity of the faith. They had all put their faith in the same God and God had given them all the same spirit and it was a double bond that had united them in Christ.

This church, this miracle church to whom Paul had written this letter, was a wonderful example of the unity that only the spirit of God could bring about. I do not know of any group of people in the Bible who had more diversity of backgrounds than what these people had who made up the Church at Ephesus. When Timothy came with the gospel, the first 12 they met were men that had been baptized into John’s baptism. I do not think they ever met John, because every time John baptized a person, he said, "I baptize you with water, but there is one coming after me that is greater than I." He said, "We have not heard of any Holy Ghost, but anyway, they had been brought to repentance." They had turned their back on what was wrong, but they hadn’t found what was right until the servants of God came across their pathway and these became the nucleus of the little church of Ephesus. And there were Jews who believed too. Some were Pharisees and Sadducees and then there were some Gentiles that professed and they all had this spirit of God. The same spirit. They received the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, that spirit working amongst them broke down the middle line of partition between them, it brought them into fellowship to the same Father who in turn helped them to have fellowship with each other. And now this group here, so diversely divided with such a spirit of bitterness. There never was a wall of hatred greater than the wall of hatred that existed between the Jew and Gentile. The coming of the Gospel broke down that wall between them and made them one in Christ.

Verse: 4 You who were so diverse in your background, you are all one in Christ. Now you are one body and one spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one body, one God and Father of you all, Who is in you all and through you all. A wonderful example of the unity of the spirit and what the spirit can bring about when men and women were under the control of that spirit. Did you ever notice three times in that letter Paul used the word together? This word together seems to be the miracle that took place at Ephesus. God has called us together, and raised us up together and made us sit in Heavenly places, so that there is a paradise of Heaven upon this earth. You are now like a building fitly framed together, you are growing up together as an holy temple in the Lord. You are like a body that is fitly joined together.

Chapter 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him. He said, "There is a time in the fullness of time when we will all be gathered together as one in the great family relationship." The family of God is divided today. Some have already gone to be with Christ which is far better and the rest of us are still representing the work of God upon the earth and there are probably lonely hearts in this meeting this morning because of that. One soul, probably the closest and dearest to you on earth being already taken from the scene and you rejoice in the fact they have gone to be with Christ which is much better.

In that 1st Chapter we were reading of the time of fullness when this old world is no longer needed and time on earth is no more and God will draw together His people, those who are on earth and in Heaven in Christ and all gathered together. I like to think of this great family relationship that will never end or we can use this vernacular, the great convention that will never end. There is only one thing I do not enjoy about convention. I grew up in convention. I went to my first convention in my parents' arms. The highlight of the year as a boy growing up was going to convention; I always enjoyed it so much. There is one thing about convention I never enjoyed and I still do not and that is the goodbye. You have four days of fellowship together and your hearts become so warmly knit together and you say goodbye and pass your different ways and realize I will never see them again here upon this earth, and that is the part of convention I do not enjoy. It is sometimes terrible to think of this part of convention. The 4th verse of this Chapter tells us there will be no ending, no parting.

Throughout the countless ages of eternity we can sit down and enjoy together a family relationship that will never end. This is all made possible because of the unity of the spirit, that spirit of God that has brought a unity that is found no place else on the face of the earth. That is why people ask us what is the main difference between your church and any other church, and I start right in by telling them it is the spirit, because it is the spirit that has made all these things possible that we are talking about this morning.

Chapter 5:9 The fruit of the spirit. The fruit which only the spirit of God can produce. The fruits of the spirit Love, joy, peace, etc... That is what makes our fellowship what it is. Those fruits are triumphant in our Lord Jesus. Over in the state of South Dakota at a convention, a sister worker got up on the platform and she said, "For a long while I have been praying that God would give me more of the fruit of the spirit, but I finally came to the conclusion and the realization of the fact that I was praying for the wrong thing. Then I began praying that God would give me more of the spirit because the spirit is like a tree. If you have the spirit the fruit will automatically come and it cannot get fruit from any other source. The only way you can get an apple is from the apple tree." That is the only way God planned apples can be brought into this world. The fruit of the spirit only comes through the spirit of God. I would like to emphasize this in passing. There is no end to what you can possess of the spirit. God gave His spirit without measure unto Jesus. It is something that can be given to us without any limitations if we do not put the limitations on it ourselves. The more we possess, the more of the fruit of the spirit is going to glow forth to make glad the hearts of others.

When Jesus was talking to the people at the Jewish feasts. He said, "If anyone thirsts, let him come unto me and drink." This is the promise of the scripture. Out of Him shall flow rivers of water. In other words, you come to Him and drink of the spirit and that will be magnified to such an extent, when you pour out the benefit to others, it is like a river of water pouring forth bringing wonderful flavor with it. Can you think of a greater mission or privilege that wherever you go, in your home, in place of business, in your fellowship meeting, wherever you go, to be able to bring the fruit of the spirit within the reach of needy people. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. It is all a product of the spirit and Jesus tells us in Luke 11, God gives that spirit, renews that spirit every day to those who take time to pray for it. It was given to us when we accepted the gospel. Jesus said, you can get an additional supply every day by praying for it. Going to the Father and asking Him for the benefit of it. Although the outward man perish, that inward man is renewed day by day just as we were hearing. There is no limit to what God can give to us as far as the spirit is concerned. The only limitation is what we might put upon it ourselves. If you would like to have a little more of the spirit, you just pray and God will give you a little more of the spirit itself. The fruit will automatically come.

May I just speak a few words again to our old folks in this meeting, before we separate. As we mentioned yesterday, there comes a time in the experience of older folks that you feel you cannot do much, cannot do anything anymore. Maybe you cannot dry dishes and sweep the floor or mow the lawn any more, maybe you cannot do things like that anymore, but you can still produce the fruit of the spirit. Remember that there is nothing to hinder you from producing the fruit of the spirit, even though your outward man is perishing and becoming more feeble. Do you think for a single minute that you are on limited rations if you can bring more of the spirit to that home where you are living? If you can bring more of the fruit of the spirit into the Sunday morning meeting, do you think you are on limited activity? You are not. The scripture says the righteous person is like a palm tree they bring forth fruit in old age and they are fat and flourishing. That is a peculiarity of the palm tree. The other trees pass their zenith when it comes to bearing. They bear until they reach their particular years, and they then face a decline. But not a palm tree. Every year of its life, the palm tree gets better and gives more fruit. A palm tree lasts 100 to 125 years and the best fruit the tree produces is produced at the end of its life. The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree. They will bring forth fruit in old age. It is not a case of passing the peak of your performance and then settling down into a decline. Not so.

That is why the older people like we said yesterday, represent an inspiration to us coming on, because in their lives there is a fruit produced, there is something existing there and it encourages us younger ones to attain to it too. Do not be discouraged by the fact that you cannot dry dishes or sweep the floor or mow the lawn or drive the car any more. Remember, you can still produce the best fruit you ever produced and that is the thing that contributes to the welfare of the Kingdom and the hope of a perishing world. It is wonderful God has planned it that way, so that no child of God passes the zenith of their usefulness.

6th Chapter. We read of the army. The good soldiers of Jesus Christ equipped with weapons of war, enabling us to stand in the evil day, and having done all to stand in victory. He speaks of the helmet to protect the mind and the breastplate the heart and shoes to protect the feet and the shield of faith which is the auxiliary weapon to protect us from various angles and taking the sword of the spirit which is the word of God and may I emphasize in closing this meeting, that the word of God, it is the only sword that the spirit uses. That is all that is necessary. We have everything in the Word of God to win the battle.

When Jesus faced Satan in the wilderness and faced those temptations there, all that He needed was the sword of the spirit, the word of God to put Satan to flight. But the folks here, many of you will remember our old brother, Stanley Watchorn. He came from your field and he was a tremendous help to us in our early years of professing and established my early years in the work. He was a wonderful help to me because of the fatherly help he gave to us young workers. One day I was visiting a convention in Europe like this, and two young brother workers came up and joined the circle. In the course of conversation they said, "Uncle Stan, can you tell me of any encyclopedia or Bible Dictionary or anything that would help us understanding the Bible?" Stan looked at me with those kindly eyes that some of you may remember and he said, " Son, the only help I have ever understood in understanding the Bible is a bended knee." He said, "You get down beside your bed with your Bible open before you and God will give you things you will never understand in any other book. You can get some historical facts or learn about the customs of the land, that is all right, but if you want to get the food for your soul, and food for the souls of your brethren, the only way you can get it is on the bended knee."

You get it on your knees at your bedside and you open your Bible before you and God will give you things you will never find in any other book and that is the eternal truth. What you have been hearing from this platform the last meetings you have had together are things that are not heard from any other book. They have only come from God's word on a bended knee. Remember the sword of the spirit is the Word of God. That is what it says, the sword of the spirit is the Word of God. That is the only sword the spirit of God uses and it is the only sword the spirit gives. He can overcome the wiles of Satan and set at liberty the captives.

Everything is provided for us in this word of God and the Spirit of God is there to help us to get the benefit from it. I hope we will appreciate the fact that this Spirit of God that works so triumphantly and brought about the wonderful results of the people of Ephesus, what happened to them happens to us also. Our only desire, our only purpose is that we will avail ourselves more of this, so that more of this wonderful word can be accomplished in our lives and I pray that this may be so.

Howard Leslie Mooney

Born: June 23, 1907  Chesaw, WA

Died: January 21, 1999  Portland, OR

 Howard and Rose made their choice in the same home meeting in their parents’ home on June 17, 1917 when Howard was 9 years old. They were both baptized in July of the same year.