He Wrought His Work on the Wheels (continued)
But when we have said that, we have to realize that there is an all-inclusive work of the Holy Spirit. However many aspects there are, there is only one purpose, and that has two things in it. In all His different works the Holy Spirit just moves along two lines, and these two lines ought never to be separated. The one line is revealing Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit came for this precise purpose. Jesus said so. He is here for the specific and inclusive purpose of revealing the Lord Jesus. Now there is a peril associated with that word "revealing." Many people think that they just have to sit down and let something come to them. Sometimes the Holy Spirit does show us something while we are praying or are meditating quietly, but most of you have not the time to become monks or nuns. We have not the time nor the opportunity to be recluses. This does not mean that we must not have our times of prayer, because while we talk to the Lord in prayer, it ought to be a time when the Lord talks to us, but in these days of so much busyness and activity, it is very difficult to be quiet and meditate. Many of the Lord's people do not hear Him speaking because they do not give Him an opportunity. They are too busy to listen to Him, so we cannot put too much emphasis upon the necessity for being quiet sometimes.
When we have said that, and said it very emphatically, for there is no real substitute for prayer and there is nothing that should be allowed to take the place of the Word of God in our lives, we must recognize that the revealing of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit is a very practical thing.
Many of you will agree with me when I say that we have learned more about the Lord Jesus by experience than in any other way. If we have committed our lives entirely to the Holy Spirit, we must realize that everything that happens to us has a lesson in it. Each of our experiences is intended to teach us something. You see, we come back to our favorite text: "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). There is no experience which can come to us as children of God that is not capable of teaching us some lesson. The very sovereignty of the Holy Spirit demands that it should be so. Our going out and our coming in under the Holy Spirit will teach us something. There is sovereignty over all the ways in the life of a child of God. That does not mean that our ways are right, but if they are wrong the Holy Spirit can teach us something. However, the point is that the revelation of Jesus Christ comes very largely through experience. We come to understand the mind of the Lord by experience, and that s one of the Holy Spirit's main methods of revealing Christ. We ought never to take a holiday from the Holy Spirit.
The other line of the Holy Spirit is conforming us to the image of Christ. You can see these two sides in the potter's house. The clay on the wheel is going through experiences, and they may be very difficult for it to understand. The potter may give it a hard blow, or he may use the strength of his hands to bring pressure upon it, or he may gently work it with his fingers. The clay goes through many experiences. Well, the experiences are not everything. You may not understand them, or know what the potter means by these various activities. Many of them seem to be difficult, but the potter is not just doing this because he wants to. He is not doing something hard just because he wants to be hard. Be patient and watch, and you will see that something is taking shape: a vessel is being formed. In the end there will be something which has a design in it. "He wrought his work on the wheels." He did not just put some clay on the wheels and knock it about - he wrought his work.
To use a New Testament phrase, the Lord is "working in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight" (Hebrews 13:21), and you all know so well what is the design: "For whom He foreknew, He also foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29) - the revealing of His Son by the Holy Spirit, the working of the Holy Spirit by experience and the perfecting of the vessel which is the image of God's Son.
(continued with # 9)