Howard Mooney - Holy Spirit - Apopka, Florida Convention - 1987

I have been noticing the work of the Holy Spirit Paul wrote about in the Epistle to the Ephesians. I don't know if you have ever noticed it or not, or if your attention has ever been called to it or not, but in that letter he speaks about the seal of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, and sword of the Spirit, and the prayer and supplication of the Spirit.

The church at Ephesus was one of the miracle churches in the New Testament. God took a group of people, from various backgrounds, and different walks in life, and broke down the middle wall of partition between them. They were now sitting together in the sweetest, closest fellowship that people can enjoy here upon this earth.

Paul was emphasizing the fact that it was bought about by the work of the Holy Spirit. What was true then is true today. When people ask me, "What is the main difference between your church and the others?" I tell them, "It is the Spirit."

God has given us a Spirit that is revolutionary. It is different from any other spirit in the religious world today. It is the Spirit that produces this miracle ministry. It is that Spirit that produces a marvelous fellowship that becomes sweeter to us with the passing of time. It is that Spirit that has given us every satisfaction, contentment and God's Holy Spirit. Paul referred to it as the eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14). One of the things revealed to us as we read the scripture, is that the Spirit has the same effect in every part of the world. It accomplishes the same work. It brings about the same wonderful results in every age when people obey the gospel. We rejoice over the fact that today we have everything that they had. The Holy Spirit is doing for us today the same miraculous work that it accomplished in the lives of those people.

In Ephesians 1:13, Paul mentioned when they obeyed the gospel, God sealed them with the Holy Spirit of promise. He was speaking there about the king's seal. The king's seal was stamped on the document. There was no other seal like the king's seal, and there is no other spirit like the Lord's Spirit. When the king put his seal on a document people, realized it had the approval of the king upon it, and the authority of the king behind it. Paul referred to God's Spirit as a seal. They were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Anyone looking upon their lives could see they had the approval of God upon them. Those people had the power of Heaven behind them. That is the way their lives were showing forth.

To understand the seal of the Holy Spirit, you would have to go back to the day of Pentecost. The people understood that, on the day of Pentecost following Calvary, God was going to pour out His Spirit in a dramatic manner, and that Spirit would indicate God's approval upon whichever group it rested.

When the day of Pentecost came, if you have been there in Jerusalem when that great influx came, you would have found the temple courts all filled with people. The synagogues were all filled with people. And of course, each group was sure that God was going to pour out His spirit upon them, which would indicate His seal of approval.

In order to eliminate any question in the picture, or any confusion, God caused His Spirit to come like "a rushing, mighty wind" (Acts 2:12). It roared right over the heads of the people in the temple court. They realized they had been left behind. It roared right over the roofs of those 480 synagogues in Jerusalem and left the people shocked. They realized they had been left behind. Then that Spirit came down and settled upon and filled the house where the disciples were have the Sunday morning meeting.

When God poured out His seal of approval upon that group that day, He not only placed His seal of approval upon the way in which they were worshiping (which was in the home as the Lord taught), but God placed His seal of approval upon the day in which they were worshiping, Sunday morning at 9 am, in the morning. That little fellowship meeting was going on, and God placed His seal of approval upon them.

We were working among some people a while back who were keeping the old Jewish Sabbath. They were contentious about keeping the old Jewish Sabbath. One of their challengers was, "You can't show us one place where God ever approved of the Christians worshiping on the first day of the week."

We took them back to the 2nd chapter of Acts, where it tells us so plainly, it was the third hour of the day (verse 15), which 9 o'clock in the morning, on the first day of the week, which was Sunday morning. On that occasion, God not only placed His seal of approval upon the way in which Christians were worshiping, but He placed His seal of approval upon the day, Sunday morning, the first day of the week. Pentecost always fell on the first day of the week. That is why we know that was a Sunday morning occasion.

If you would like to read the origin (I mean the inception) of Pentecost, you will find it in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus. I have found it very interesting and informative myself. If you will take time after this meeting to read verses 15 to 21, Leviticus 23, they were told how to determine the day of Pentecost, and how to observe it.

They were to number seven sabbaths after the first sheaves were brought in. At the end of the seventh Sabbath, the day after the seventh Sabbath, which would be the first day of the week, or Sunday, whichever you want to use, that was the day of Pentecost. They were to determine it that way every year. When Pentecost came, it came on the first day of the week, the first day after the seventh Sabbath.

There was never any doubt in the minds of the Lord's people from that time onward, but that this way of Jesus is the way. No doubt about it. The first day of the week is the God approved day. No doubt about it, because God placed His seal of approval upon it when they were having that Sunday morning meeting at 9 o'clock in the morning.

Some might wonder about the hour, the third hour of the day, but when we were helping out in Ceylon, we had the Sunday morning meeting at 8 o'clock in the morning, before the heat of the day set in. It gave the folks a chance to have a little time of fellowship and a chance to get home before the heat of the day. Well, those people were in a climate like that. It wasn't unusual that they would meet together before the heat of the day.

In Isaiah 61:9, the Lord, through the Prophet said, "When this takes place, all will know that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed." The Lord left no doubt in the minds of the people at Jerusalem at that time, this was the seed that He had blessed. He put His seal of approval upon them, and upon the way they worshiped on the first day of the week. There would never be any question in the mind of any child of God but that this is the day, and this the way.

The Ephesians heard and obeyed the gospel after Pentecost, and God gave them that Holy Spirit which He gives to everyone who obeys the gospel. Acts 5:32 says, "And we are His witnesses of these things and so also is the Holy Ghost whom God hath given to them that obey Him." That has the same effect. It is His seal of approval. It gives assurance to all who are looking on, that God has placed His approval on that person who obeyed the gospel. It also gives assurance of the fact that all powers of heaven and earth are behind that person now because His Spirit of approval is upon him.

John mentioned in his 1st Epistle some who were a little fearful about their future. They didn't know whether they had all that they should have as a child of God or not. I John 3:24, he said, "And hereby we know that He abideth in us by the Spirit which He hath given us." That is proof whether or not God dwells within us. If you really have that wonderful blessing that is found in the lives of the Lord's people, the proof of it is that He has given you of His Spirit.

In Ephesians 1:14, he mentioned that this Spirit was also the earnest of our inheritance. We have that. It is a down payment. It is a substantial down payment. It gives assurance to everyone that the person who made the contract will make the other payments when they become due. Paul said the Spirit that God has given to us is the earnest, or the assurance God gives to us that He wants to give us everything that He has promised.

When I think of the earnest of our inheritance, I think of that old man Joshua. I think he is one of the best examples of that in the scripture. In Joshua 23, of the book that bears his name, Joshua was facing death. He had come to the end of life. In verse 14 he said, "I am going the way of all the earth." That is what everyone will do. He was facing the grave. He said, "I am going the way of all the earth, and ye know in your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God, spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof."

Joshua had been walking with God sixty-four years when he gave that testimony. Looking back over the difficult experiences of the Red Sea, the wilderness journey, crossing over Jordan, winning victory over Jericho and other places, he had it all stacked in the back of his mind when he said to those people, "You know with all your hearts and with all your souls that not one thing that the Lord promised has failed to come to pass." Everything the Lord promised had been fulfilled to the letter.

That was a testimony of a dying child of God who had sixty-four years of wonderful fellowship with God. We read of Joshua dying as he said he would in Joshua 24:29-30 and they buried him in the city of Timnathserah, in the border of his inheritance. What a wonderful life. A man who had proved the Lord so fully for 64 years he was just inside the border of his inheritance. It would take all of eternity to enjoy the rest of it. Timnathserah, the place where he was buried, means "a portion of the remainder." For 64 years he had enjoyed a wonderful portion, but it would take all of eternity for him to enjoy the remainder!

I don't care how long a person professes, or how much he may put into it, or how hearty he may be in the things of God, or how much he may receive at the hand of God, the fact remains, folks, that when you die you will be just inside the border of your inheritance. It will take all of eternity for you to enjoy the remainder.

Paul talked about that in Ephesians 2:7 when he said, "That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." All the ages to come to enjoy the remainder! We look forward to so much, the remainder through all eternity for those who fear Him. We rejoice over the fact that we have so much to enjoy now. It is a lovely down payment, the earnest of our inheritance. To think that in this troubled world of distress and perplexity on every side, God has given His people an assurance in their heart that lasts day after day, and will last on into eternity. That is the story of our inheritance.

Ephesians 2:18, he speaks about the access of the Spirit. He said the Jew and Gentile both have access by the same Spirit to the Father. When I think of the Spirit being an access, I think of it being something that at any time, and as many times in a day as I want, I can go into the Father's Presence and get the benefit of the wonderful things that are found there.

That led me to another study. Maybe you would like to pursue it sometime for yourself. Look up things that are found only in His Presence. The Lord said to Moses, "My Presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest." (Exodus 33:14) That is rest, found in no place else but in His Presence. David said "In Thy Presence is fullness of joy." (Ps 16:11) A joy that is found in no place in all the world except in the Presence of God. In Isaiah 63:9 we read, "The angel of His Presence saved them." We could go on and on. It is a wonderful study. All these things are found in His Presence only, and to think His Spirit gives us access to them.

We have a friend in Portland, Oregon, who worked many years for the Greyhound Bus Lines. When he retired they gave him a wonderful pension, and along with that gave him a Lifetime Pass. That is the way it was labeled on the card, a Lifetime Pass, and it enabled him for the rest of his life, to go any place on any Greyhound Bus in the Country. When he told me about it, I didn't comment then, but I just thought to myself, "Isn't it wonderful that when God gave us access into His Presence, He gave us a Lifetime Pass for the rest of our life?" No matter how many years the Lord allows us to live, it is to the end of the journey. We have the privilege anytime, and as many times as we want to we can enter into His Presence and enjoy the wonderful things that make lasting and sweet fellowship.

In Ephesians 4:3, we read about the unity of the Spirit. It is a unity only God's Spirit can bring about. The church at Ephesus was a wonderful example. As we have said, they came from different backgrounds of life and there was a middle wall between the Jew and Gentile. It was a wall of hatred and other variances in the picture. The gospel came to those people and the middle wall of partition was broken down. They all received the same Spirit. Those people who once despised each other, were now sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus as Paul mentioned in Ephesians 2:6. It was a fellowship that was a little foretaste of heaven right here upon the earth. Only the Spirit of God could do that.

In Ephesians 3:3, Paul wrote about the mystery of that power. The reason it was a mystery to the world was because it had accomplished something at Ephesus by the power of the gospel, that had never been accomplished by other source.

The Roman Government had tried its best to break down that wall of partition between the Jews and the Gentiles. They wanted to do it for economic reasons. It would have facilitated the wealth of the Country, but they couldn't do anything about it. Many of the religious movements tried to break down that wall of partition, between those people for social reasons, but they couldn't do anything about it.

Then two servants of God went in there with the gospel, and there was a Spirit those people received when they received the gospel that broke down the middle wall of partition. It was the same Spirit, the same power that brought forth our Lord Jesus out of the grave. That Spirit broke down the middle wall of partition between those people and made them one. Paul could say, "There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6)

What a wonderful demonstration of unity which only the Spirit of God could bring about! That is why he spoke of it as the unity of the Spirit. It was a unity that only God can produce. The Spirit is such a mystery to people of the world.

Ephesians 3:20, Paul explained it. "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, unto Him be glory in the church of Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end."

The world tried to bring about unity by outward things. When Rome tried to break down the middle wall of partition between those people and bring them together, the Army was called out! They were going to force them to do it, but you can't force people to love each other. Then others tried to do it by legislation and traditional speaking and outward pressure, but you can't help people that way.

Paul said on another occasion, "It is God working in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." (Philemon 2:13) That is where the need is. Right down in the heart. The need is there and that is where the Lord works, breaking down the middle wall of partition. They are all members of one body now. Each member is supporting the other even though at one time there had been a spirit of enmity existing.

Sometime after this meeting if you will read through this Epistle, you will notice seven times Paul used the word together. That was just emphasizing again the miracle that had taken place and brought them together in a fellowship that was a little foretaste of heaven. It was all accomplished by the Spirit that was working in them.

There are three exceeding things mentioned in the Epistle in connection with this. In Ephesians 1:19-20, Paul referred to the exceeding greatness of His power. It was the same power that brought forth the Lord Jesus from the grave. That illustration is used frequently. It is good for us to remind ourselves that the power of God that works through the gospel today, the power of the Holy Spirit, is the same power that brought forth the Lord Jesus from the grave. Ephesians 2:7, "That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

When the word exceeding was used in those three verses, he was emphasizing the fact that God offers something that exceeds what the world has to offer. That is a foregone conclusion! The world can't begin to offer - it can't come within a million miles of giving you what the Lord gives you. Paul used the word exceeding, to emphasize the fact that it exceeds everything we had expected. This exceeds all we could ask or think. We never thought when we professed, we would have what we have today. I never thought when I went in the work that I would have such glorious privileges that God has given me down through the years.

Then He wanted to give them His Spirit to work in their lives; the exceeding greatness of His power working within the lives of His people. As a result of that they were enjoying heaven-sent fellowship, one body, one spirit, one heavenly Father, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and sitting together in heavenly places.

In Isaiah 11, we have the same picture given to us in metaphoric speech. It is in connection with the coming of Jesus. It mentions the Spirit would rest upon Jesus, and it speaks about what that Spirit would do in the lives of converts to be made and so on. He puts it in metaphoric language, but I am glad it is there because it helps us to understand, probably a little clearer, the miracle that takes place with the gospel.

Verse 6 says, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them." That speaks of a change of nature that anyone can see. A wolf, a lamb, and those other animals were natural enemies, sitting down, or lying down together in complete rest and enjoying the company of each other. That is a miracle!

It is a miracle, I see, as I look out upon this gathering today. I am looking upon people I don't know, but I know you come from all backgrounds of life. You had different kinds of natures until the gospel came and made you one in Christ. Now you are sitting down together in heavenly places and you are enjoying wonderful rest and peace that the Lord's people enjoy. "How sweet is the rest of God, safe in the Shepherd's fold."

In the next verse, he spoke of a change of appetite. Verse 7 says, "And the cow and bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." That is a change of appetite. It comes about when people obey the gospel. That is metaphoric language, but it seems to illustrate this wonderful point and it helps us to understand it.

There are three kinds of appetites mentioned in that verse. The cow is a herbivorous animal. She eats nothing but vegetation. The there is the lion. He is a carnivorous animal. He eats nothing but meat. And there is the bear. He is an omnivorous animal. He eats both meat and vegetation. It just represents the appetites of the Lord's people. At the end of the picture they are all sitting down feeding on the same thing, enjoying feasting together.

We are glad when we come together we don't need to have a special formula for some, and a special kind of bread for others, spiritually speaking. We all sit down and feed on the same thing because our natures have been changed and made alike. Our appetites have been changed and made alike. We are now sitting down in perfect fellowship together. That illustration in Isaiah 11 gives us a little better picture of what happens when we obey the gospel. God give us the Holy Spirit and the unity of the Spirit then takes place between us.

When we think of the religious world around us today, so torn, so distressed, and the Bride of Christ in such perfection! To think in the midst of all the division and controversy and distress, the Lord's people sit together four days and enjoy the sweetest fellowship and unity this human heart can know!

There is a lady and her husband who moved across the road from one of our conventions. He is gone away from home most of the time in some government work, but that lady took a wonderful interest in the sister workers at the convention. She would come over every morning and help prepare vegetables. She just wanted to be with them. She wanted to talk to them and to hear more about what they had and so on.

When the convention times came, she wanted to attend, and they said all right, so she attended three meetings each day for four days. The day after the convention ended she came back and helped with the vegetables again. She told them of the wonderful impression she got in the convention, and what impressed her most was that here is a group of people so satisfied with what they have, all they want is to get more of it! She said she was elected a delegate by her church to a convention on several occasions, and the whole time was spent in trying to find some means whereby they could improve on what they had. She thought it was wonderful that six or seven hundred people could sit together for four days with not one remark about adding to what they had! They just had appreciation for it and wanted more of it.

Sometimes we may take things too much for granted. Some of us have gone to conventions most of our lives. We know it is a miracle, but sometimes we don't realize that only the people of God, who have received His Spirit, can enjoy these things. The Spirit has brought a unity that all the Roman Army couldn't do, and no other force could make possible.

In Ephesians 5:9, it speaks about the fruit of the Spirit. It is fruit only the Spirit can produce. In Galatians 5 different expressions of the Spirit, as it reflects itself in the lives of God's people are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law. There is no law against that. No one is going to put you in prison because you of the love in your heart that you have today. No one is going to find fault with you because you have the peace and joy that you have today. There is no law against it. It is something that everybody has to admire when they see it working.

When I was thinking, first of all, about the fruit of the Spirit in this chapter, I thought of our older folks in particular. As we move amongst God's people, we often hear expressions of concern because they are old now. They can't do what they used to do. They are not able for the service they once were able to do, and loved to do. Sometimes they have a feeling, "I'm just no good anymore." We hear those expressions from time to time.

But the Psalmist said, in Psalm 92:12-14, "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon." Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God, They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.

The remarkable thing about the palm tree (the date palm) is the older that tree gets, the better quality fruit it produces, and the more fruit it produces. The Psalmist said the righteous are like that. Just like that palm tree. They are getting older all right, but they bring forth fruit in old age. They are drawing help from God, even beyond what they proved in earlier years when they were young.

We have often said to our older people, when they have been a little discouraged, "Well, if you can't do anything else, you can manifest the fruit of the Spirit. God has given that to you, and all you have to do is let the Spirit do its work."

Maybe you don't have a private home now, like you once did. Maybe you are living with your children, but you can bring a little of the fruit of the Spirit into that home. If you can do that, you will be doing a marvelous work.

Maybe you can't get to the Sunday morning meetings like you used to do. Maybe you don't get from the Bible to speak in meetings like you used to do. But if you bring the fruit of the Spirit into that meeting, you are going to feed the people because that is what feeds the people. It is no so much the words that are spoken, but the fruit of the Spirit that we bring with our testimony.

We would like to say to our older people in the meeting this morning who feel, "Well, I am old. I can't dry the dishes anymore. I can't sweep the floor anymore. I can't hoe the garden anymore. I'm not much good anymore." We don't want you to leave the convention with that feeling in your heart. We want to give you this assurance from the scriptures that only the Spirit of God can make you fruitful. This is why it is called the fruit of the Spirit. It is fruit that only the Spirit of God can produce.

I remember a few years ago, a sister worker from the platform kind of shocked everybody with the words, "I've wasted a lot of time praying." We don't usually think of prayer as a waste of time. It kind of shocked us all, but she went on to say that for a long time she had prayed that God would give her the fruit of the Spirit, but she said that lately it had dawned on her that it was the fruit of the Spirit. She said, "What I need is the Spirit. If God will give the Spirit to me, then the fruit will automatically begin to come." She mentioned how much it meant to her afterwards as a result of receiving the spirit of God. Now she has the benefits of it. Now she has love, joy, peace .. fruit that are produced only by the Spirit.

All of the things we were mentioning are of the Spirit. The seal of the Spirit, the earnest of the Spirit, the access of the Spirit, the Spirit of God can produce. That is why we appreciate it so much because it is given from God only.

In Ephesians 6, we read about the armour that the Lord has provided for His people. He spoke about the helmet to protect the mind. The breast-plate to protect the heart. The shoes to protect the feet. The shield of faith an auxiliary protection, and all that was given to the Lord's people.

Then he spoke about the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. That is the provision God has made whereby we can reach out through the gospel and set the captives free. It is the word used, the Spirit of God, which is the word of God, that can overpower Satan at every turn of the road.

Think of the times that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and Satan came at Him with his great onslaught. Jesus defeated him with the word of God. He said, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." He defeated him with a portion from the scriptures. That is what the Spirit will do. We are conscious of that fact. That is why we feel our need of acquainting ourselves with the scripture. That is still the sword. It is the sword that the Spirit uses in defeating the enemies of the Lord's people and also setting the captives free. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Then he mentioned prayer and supplication in the Spirit. I have often thought of prayer as being like the supply line for the Army. He spoke of the help from God the Army has, but when I think of prayer and supplication, I think of it as the supply line that God has provided whereby His people, His soldiers, can be renewed day by day.

One of the tactics of the enemy is to cut off the supply line. That is true in natural warfare. One of the greatest efforts of the enemy is to cut off the supply line. If they can do that, and the Army can't receive any fresh supplies, they are done! The devil knows that, and if he can do anything to keep you from praying, he is going to do it, because he knows that is your supply line. That is the means God has provided whereby fresh supplies can be bought to you.

In the last World War, the deciding factors of that War were fought in North Africa. Some of you older folks may remember that. In fact, I told this awhile back, and a man there in the congregation had been through the experience that I want to mention.

General Rommel of the Axis Forces, was Field Marshall of the German Army over all that Division, and over the Mediterranean and North Africa. When they heard that Rommel was coming over there, at first they thought he wouldn't be able to stand that. Going over from Europe to that hot climate, with temperatures up to 130 degrees! But when Rommel heard it was a hot climate, before he went over, what did he do? He equipped all those tanks with refrigeration units, so those men could sit there in living room comfort, while everyone around them was more or less roasting!

General George Patton, who was the General of the Allied Forces, knew what Rommel had done before he went over there. Patton knew there is a Pass, called Kassarine Pass, and he knew if he could get Rommel's Army through that Pass, and cut off that man's supplies, he had won the battle!

So Patton led his Army through the Pass, and Rommel went thundering right after him with all his tanks and powerful war equipment. Patton waited until the last piece of equipment went through the Pass, then he swung around and cut off the supply line!

It was just a few hours and the tanks were immobilized. The soldiers were out in the field with no ammunition. No food to feed them. It was a marvelous victory. It was the turning point in that sector of the War and it was brought about because General Patton cut off the supply line of the opposing forces.

We are conscious of the fact that Satan wants to do that to God's people. Nothing would please him more than to cut off the supply line. He knows we need that to win the final battle.

Remember he spoke about prayer and supplication of the Spirit. The word "supplication," the original meaning meant to ward off. That is why prayer and supplication are connected. Prayer is the avenue whereby I get from God the things I can't get along without. And supplication is the avenue whereby I ask God to ward off the things that I can't fight alone.

I like to think of Esther when I think of prayer and supplication. Remember when Mordecai went to Esther with regards to that crooked Haman? Esther went before the King, and the Lord's people were spared. She went to the one who could do something about it.

Read the Epistle to the Ephesians, and notice what God has given us by His Spirit; seven things. They are: the seal of the Spirit; the earnest of the Spirit; the access of the Spirit; the unity of the Spirit; the fruit of the Spirit; the sword of the Spirit; and the prayer and supplication of the Spirit.

In Luke 11, we have Jesus' prayer, giving us access through His Spirit. May we keep this before us and seek help from the One who is able to help us unto the end for His Name's sake.