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The Guidance of the Holy Spirit


The apostle Paul experienced the leading of the Holy Spirit in his daily life. He saw a great spiritual principle in the Christian life. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14).

How has God been leading you lately? Is the Spirit of God taking you deeper and deeper into the love of Christ? Has He illumined your mind and heart to a greater longing for God’s righteousness? Has He led you to individuals hungering and thirsting for the righteousness of God? Has He brought into your life unbelievers with whom to share the saving grace of God?

It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to take sinners and sanctify them. He sets them apart for God's unique purpose.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of holiness and He can only lead and guide holy people. He can lead us into nothing else than the very holiness of God.

There is a place in which the unsanctified mind and heart cannot enter. There are hidden recesses of the heart, deep down in the unseen realm of the human life, where the Holy Spirit dwells and where He teaches us right decisions and sanctified purposes. It is in this hidden sphere of activity in the inner life that the Holy Spirit takes up His residence and there He moves and impels us to become filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Spiritual understanding comes only with the growth of the spiritual person. One who wishes to know the leading of God must yield himself completely—mind, heart, will, imagination, personality—to the control of the Holy Spirit. The Christian must open up his life to the continual abiding presence of the Spirit of holiness and power.

“An angel of the Lord” told Philip the evangelist to go down a “desert road” (Acts 8:27). In obedience “he rose and went” and along the way he met a court official to the queen of the Ethiopians. God had prepared the official’s heart as he sat in his chariot reading Isaiah 53. The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot” (v. 29). Philip explained the meaning of Isaiah 53:7-8, “and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him” (v. 35). Guided and directed by the Holy Spirit Philip “kept preaching the gospel to all the cities, until he came to Caesarea” (v. 40).

The Holy Spirit is the administrator of world missions. He chooses the people and the places where He wants us to serve. He puts the right person in the right place at the right time to share Jesus Christ with the right person. He leads, guides, opens and closes door at just the right time—His own perfect timing.

The apostle Paul was on his second missionary journey revisiting churches that were planted on his previous missionary trip. Paul, Silas and Timothy were passing through cities, strengthening the churches in the faith, as well as seeing daily increase in people being saved (Acts 16:4-5).

“They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and when they came to Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas” (vv. 6-9). It seemed that everywhere Paul and his team tried to enter to preach the gospel the door was closed after they left Galatia. Did Paul give up? No. He “kept on trying, attempting” to go into Bithynia. He was not being disobedient. Paul was searching to see where God was at work and in the process it became evident the Holy Spirit was the one doing the forbidding. The Administrator of missions closed the door. That is not where He was at work. “The Spirit of Jesus did not permit them” (v. 7).

Paul and his missionary team were in Troas, “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us’” (v. 9). Dr. Luke who wrote Acts gives us the impression that he could have identified the man if he wanted to. Perhaps it was Luke the beloved physician who was the man in the vision. Paul saw the vision and “immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (v. 10). Paul shared the vision with Silas and Timothy and “immediately we sought to go into Macedonia.” Their hearts were united as they sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

In obedience to His leading they, “Therefore put out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course . . .” (v. 11). “We ran a course.” “We—the author joined them at Troas. We will not know until we get to heaven who that “man” was, but I suspect he has already subtly informed us.

The Holy Spirit led Paul to Philippi (v. 12), and a prayer meeting down by a riverside (v. 13). That is where God was at work and the place He wanted His messengers to proclaim His message of sovereign grace.




Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006





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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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