by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: I Samuel 6:1-12
I. A common teaching among the denominations is that a person cannot come to know God unless the Spirit of God enters in to change his outlook.
A. It comes from a basic belief that man is born corrupt from the sin of Adam. He needs God to overcome his corruption and aid him in understanding the words of God.
B. In other words, God must select a person and alter his being before he can accept the overtures of God to be saved.
II. Did the visitation of God change a person?
A. Pharaoh received a dream about 7 good and 7 bad years. - Genesis 41:1-36
1. Joseph told Pharaoh that this was a message from God - Genesis 41:28-32
2. Yet, there is no record that Pharaoh became a follower of God despite receiving a revelation from God.
B. Exodus 34:24 - God would protect the lands of the Israelites while they went to Jerusalem to worship.
1. Notice that the neighboring nations would not desire their land during this time. That would require a direct operation of God on the minds of these people.
2. Yet, we do not read of the neighboring nations turning to God.
C. The Spirit of God came upon Balaam - Numbers 24:2
1. Balaam knew that the Spirit of God was in control of what he said - Numbers 22:20, 35, 38
2. But did this make him an obedient servant of God?
3. II Peter 2:15-16 - Even while under God’s control, Balaam was in sin. That is why the donkey was allowed to speak to him.
4. Balaam delivered the message that God wanted spoken, but it did not change the nature of Balaam - Numbers 31:16
5. Balaam, in his greed, corrupted the morals of the Israelites.
D. When the Philistines saw the power of God in the rescuing of the ark – I Samuel 6:1-12
1. Did the priests have a conversion to follow God? No! Even though they acknowledged the power of God.
2. Did the Philistines who witness the miracle change their worship? No!
E. While Saul was seeking to destroy David, he had the Spirit of God come upon him - I Samuel 19:18-24
1. Saul for a while was among the prophets of God, but it did not cease his persecution of David.
2. The power of God did not change the nature of Saul.
F. Nebuchadnezzar received several dreams from God
1. The dream of the statue - Daniel 2:31, 36-38, 45-47
2. After receiving a dream from God and acknowledging its source, Nebuchadnezzar still set up his own idol - Daniel 3:5-6
3. The direct operation of the Holy Spirit did not make a sinner into a saint.
G. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but this did not impress Caiaphas - John 11:45-53
1. Caiaphas even prophesied by the power of the Holy Spirit
2. But he continued to seek the death of God’s Son.
III. It does not take a direct operation of the Holy Spirit to change the heart of a man.
A. It did not in the past, so why expect it to do so in the future.
B. The power of the Spirit to change the hearts of man is in the message he delivered - Romans 1:16
C. It was the Spirit who guided the apostles - John 14:26, 16:13-15
D. These things the apostles wrote down - I John 1:1-4
E. Belief does not come as the result of possession by the Spirit, but by accepting the words of the Spirit - John 17:20-21
F. It does not take a supernatural guidance to hear the gospel and be saved. It takes a willing heart.