home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 > April 8th > THE WIND BLOWS WHERE IT WISHES – SO IT IS WITH THE SPIRIT

The Wind Blows Where it Wishes - so it is with the Spirit
This week I have heard of yet more stories of people who had no knowledge of Christianity as they grew up, yet had an almost sudden conversion to Christ. This has included the stories of several Muslims (now ‘former Muslims’) who knew nothing to very little about Christianity, and had always been taught that Islam was the one true religion, who then heard a Christian explain the gospel and were then supernaturally converted. (Several of these Islamic converts to Christ also had supernatural dreams where they claimed that Jesus appeared to them!) I also heard of an atheist scientist who been taught that science could explain away the need for a God/god, who then heard the gospel and was resoundingly converted. The other story I heard this week was closer to home and involved a young lady who had grown up in an ‘atheist home’ where her parents were actually hostile to religion and particularly forbad her from anything to do with Christianity. Years later, her growing curiosity led her into a church one Sunday morning. She heard the gospel and was converted to Christ. Each of these stories confirm what Jesus taught about the power of the gospel and the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit in unlikely people being like the invisible force of the ‘wind’.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8

 

THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT
BRINGS UNLIKELY CONVERSIONS

When Jesus spoke these words about the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in a person being like the wind, He was talking to the Teacher of Israel, Nicodemus.

¶ Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you
are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do
unless God is with him.”
John 3:1-2

Num. 21:5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Num. 21:6 Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. Num. 21:7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. Num. 21:8 And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” Num. 21:9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.Nicodemus was used to viewing God as the Law-Giver, and religion as a matter of keeping God’s Laws. But Jesus talked to him about God as a Father who gave His only Son, with whom anyone who simply looked (KJV, Isa. 45:22, ESV “turned”) to Him could be spiritually healed. Just as Moses had lifted the bronze serpent in the wilderness and all the poisoned people had to do was to look to this bronze serpent on the pole, so, anyone who would look to the lifted Saviour who would be lifted up on a cross of wood could also be healed from the serpent’s (Rev. 12:9) poison of sin (Jn. 3:14-15). 

¶“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
John 3:16-17 (note 1Cor. 10:9)

As a result of his encounter with Jesus, the religious leader of Israel (John 3:1) was transformed spiritually. Nicodemus remained faithful to Christ from that point on and attended to the dead body of the crucified Saviour (John 7:50-52; 19:39). His conversion to Christ had the obstacle of religious pride that only a work of the Holy Spirit could heal. Nicodemus was an unlikely convert.

 

THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT BRINGS
UNLIKELY ANSWERS TO PRAYER

At the age of 30, when Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, John saw the Holy Spirit come down upon Jesus as a dove would (John 1:32). This was the point when Christ’s public ministry began. After His baptism, and a 40-day fast in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). As a result, Christ performed signs, wonders, and miracles (Acts 10:38). With such an intimacy with the Holy Spirit and consistent demonstrations of the Spirit’s miraculous power, the thing that actually impressed those closest to Him was how He prayed. At times He spent all night in prayer while His disciples slept (Luke 6:12). It seemed to His disciples that Jesus prayed from His heart to God as if God was His Father. This led His disciples to ask Him, “Teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1). Jesus not only taught them how to pray, but He also taught them what to pray.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few;
therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”
Matthew 9:37-38

It seems to me that if the most Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered, Spirit-anointed, Spirit-filled, man spent more time praying than sleeping and then taught people how and what to pray, we should probably take note. What we note is two profound truths: (i) pray; and, (ii) pray for people to accept the gospel and for people to have preached that gospel. The result of implementing these two truths is that the wind of the Spirit often brings unlikely answers to our prayers leading to unlikely people encountering Christ. Saul of Tarsus was an unlikely convert that almost certainly resulted from the Christians he was persecuting praying for his conversion (Acts 9:1-18).

 

UNLIKELY MOMENTS

The wind of the Spirit leads to unlikely moments. Sometimes the Christ-follower finds him or herself in situations where sharing their conversion story leads to someone beginning their journey to Christ. These moments can be quite unlikely. They can occur in a supermarket aisle. They can occur while walking your dog. They can occur at a football match. The Spirit’s wind blows He wishes in the most unlikely moments. For Nicodemus it happened in the dark of night in a secret meeting with Jesus. 

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
John 3:3-7

 

UNLIKELY WELCOMES

The wind of the Spirit also results in the most unlikely welcomes. The most dramatic example of this in the four Gospels would have to have occurred at the most unlikely moment. When Christ was crucified between two criminals He was ridiculed repeatedly by both criminals for hours on end. But then something happened in the soul of one of them. The wind of the Spirit had blown on his soul. He stopped mocking and ridiculing and asked Christ for forgiveness. Christ pardoned him and assured him that he would enter into Paradise and be with Christ for eternity. 

But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”
Luke 23:40-43

Within three hours all three crucified men were dead.

¶ It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, because the sun’s light failed.
The temple curtain was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!
And after He said this He breathed His last.
¶ Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent!”
Luke 23:44-47 NET

Physical death is not the end of a person’s life. Can you imagine the scene when the crucified criminal who had just been forgiven three hours earlier turned up at the entrance of Paradise? I doubt that there was a need for security at Paradise’s doors, but if there was, I could imagine, with a little inspiration from Alistair Begg, that they might have wanted to quiz this unlikely convert before granting him entrance into Paradise.

“Can you explain justification by faith?” they might have asked.

“No, I don’t even know what that means” he might have replied.

“Were you baptised?”

“Baptised? I’ve never heard of it.”

“Then how in the world did you come to be here?”

“The man on the middle cross said I come here!”

“Oh! Then come right in. Welcome!”

As we prepare for the upcoming Tasmania Celebration with evangelist Will Graham, I suspect that the result will be hundreds and hundreds of people who will also experience an unlikely welcome into that heavenly Paradise because the wind of the Spirit blew on their soul awakening them to their need to turn to the Saviour. And some of these unlikely welcomes will be result of the Spirit’s wind blowing on their soul in their final moments in this life. But for the majority of these unlikely welcomes given to unlikely converts who experienced the Holy Spirit’s unlikely breeze upon them in unlikely moments, their welcomes will be given at the doors of hundreds of churches where they had previously thought they would never have been made welcome! May the Spirit of God blow across our State and bring more and more unlikely converts into the Kingdom of God’s Son!

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

5 Comments

  1. LYDIA

    Amen to all of the above Andrew.
    Its not the wheelbarrow, or the ticket that allows a person into heaven. Its the Spirit Who calls, the Spirit Who passes unseen and transforms a person via which ever means and at what ever time.
    As I have heard so often these last few years, ‘it is not what you have done, who you have done it with or how often you have done it’. Jesus paid it all!
    Years past I said to a young man, “If Jesus had not died for your sins, why bother to die in the first place, what a waste of time for Jesus to have died, if His death wasn’t enough for your sins?” But He has and He rose, the only Prophet to have ever done that, so that the Spirit could come to stay, and He moves where no one can stop Him.

    Reply
    • Wendy Williams

      Well said Lydia.👍

      Reply
  2. Archibald Norman Macdonald

    Thankyou Andrew it is always good to have confirmation ,that our destiny is tied up with the sovereign move of the Spirit. It gives hope and encouragement particularly as we pray for our families.

    Reply
  3. Wendy Williams

    In addition to sudden conversions to non believers, our day to day lives are overseen by the Holy Spirit.💕 Some Christians are sadly unable to grasp this knowledge and misinterpret the most beautiful Spirit filled earthly interactions as “luck” or “the amazing thing happened the other day.”, without recognising or acknowledging the Holy Spirit’s supernatural intervention in the circumstances of the event.
    April’s baptism statement is the quintessential witness of how Jesus and the Holy Spirit, supernaturally, bring His loved ones together to help keep each other safe in this physical world. The Spirit knew of April’s great distress and intentions. He arranged for a Christ centred man, Pete Dingemanse, to be just where April would be, at the exact place and time April would be, to give her God’s loving words, direct from Jesus. The world is suddenly changed for so many people, who love April, will come to know April as she grows, and be guided into God’s love by April’s firsthand encounter with the Spirit, through Pete. Praise and thank you Jesus, for April and her beautiful gifts of singing, love and witness.

    Reply
  4. LYDIA

    I am SO glad I checked out this eNews again just now! Ah yes – April. Wow what a testimony! There would have been few dry eyes yesterday morning and a lot of prayers of gratitude. A testimony to the working of the Spirit, God’s immeasurable grace and the love of our heavenly Father. God is SO good…Thank you April! Thank you Wendy…

    Reply

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AMAZING ACCESS

Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.

WHY FINDING TRUTH MATTERS

How can we determine whether a claim is true or false? Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-
 Truth corresponds to reality.
 Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).
We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT YEARS OF ANYONE’S LIFE

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It may well still be the best-selling book of all time – and continues year-by-year to be so – but certainly is not the best-read of our current times! If there was ever any doubt about this, the events this week in Hobart, at St. Mary’s (Catholic) College Girl’s School, should remove all doubt! A furore erupted over the news that the prescribed Scripture reading for the year-end graduation celebration, which incorporated a Mass, was “Wives submit to your husbands” taken from Ephesians. Callers into ABC radio’s breakfast program decried this assault against women – especially young, vulnerable girls. One caller, responding to the news that the text being used was a citation from Ephesians, denounced Ephesians and apparently demanded, “Just who does this Ephesians bloke think he is?!” Another caller stated, “Why are they quoting ancient Roman philosophers in the twenty-first century?!” And yet another caller somehow linked all religious wars to passages like this one in the Bible! He remarked, “I’m an atheist. All wars are started by those who are religious! No war was ever started by atheists!” (Perhaps he had never heard of Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Vladimir Putin, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of over 20,000,000?) This furore led to the Archbishop conceding that the Ephesians passage did not have to be used at the graduation ceremony. But this furore has highlighted just how unaware many Tasmanians are about what the Bible is, what is actually says, and why it says it. And I am now about to correct this deficiency.  

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Of the many tributes paid to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was the often noted reflection that during her reign the world underwent a series of rapid changes that were dramatic and unprecedented in human history. There were technological inventions that revolutionised the way people could access international travel options enabling them to be virtually anywhere in the world within a matter of hours. New forms of communication emerged with the development of a global satellite communications network enabling people to watch Neil Armstrong take his one giant leap Live on their black-and-white TV screens (as I did in the corridors of Corio Primary School in 1969). Space exploration, the stuff previously just in the realm of science fiction writers, became a reality with manned and unmanned voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But the past one hundred years have also been a time of great upheaval with empires crumbling, governments toppled, wars waged, genocides committed, pandemics raging, nations birthed, rulers assassinated, and massive refugee movements from oppressive Islamic and Communist regimes. Added to this has been the demise of professional journalism and the rise of internet-citizen-journalism where it is now common for TV News reports to feature footage taken from someone’s cell-phone which was posted on social media rather than the more expensive option of sending their own film crew there. And while we’re mentioning the internet, let’s not forget to mention – the internet. This alone has possibly been the most monumental change in the way people communicate, work, learn, and shop. But while it was noted that the Queen had witnessed all of these many changes, it was also noted that the Queen herself was an unchanging constant during all these upheavals who brought about a sense of stability, peace and reassurance. To millions of people around the world, she was their rock in a world of turmoil and change. Yet this was only possible because she herself had an immovable, dependable rock upon which she had built her life.

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