The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 15 of 251
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Another point which bears upon the work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of Christ,
concerns the presence of the Holy Spirit in Christian assemblies. Some believers are
very fond of speaking of the Lord's, or the Holy Spirit's, presence at their meetings, but
can they really claim this? Also, in what way are they present? The passage which
comes immediately to mind is Matt. 18: 20:
"For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of
What is not often recognized, however, with respect to this verse, is that it begins with
the word "for", which links it back to the previous words,
"If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be
done for them of My Father which is in heaven. FOR . . . . ."
If the implications of these words are considered, together with the context in which
the whole appear, it will be seen that there are dispensational aspects to be reckoned with,
before ever verse 20 can be applied to the situation today. There is not the space here to
consider these things, but it could be asked what is implied by "gathered together in My
Whatever else may be read into this phrase, it surely must include the idea that those
so gathered seek to honour His Word, and in recognizing this we are on safe ground in
the present dispensation. The terms of the present calling are such that believers are
entirely dependent upon the Word of truth for both the proof of their salvation and the
hope of their calling. "Having heard . . . . . having believed, ye were sealed with that holy
Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1: 13), but there is no outward evidence upon which to rely for
proof of this sealing, as for example there was during the Acts period when "signs . . . . .
followed them that believed" (Mark 16: 17).
It seems logical in the light of these things to suggest that the presence of the Lord
(or the Holy Spirit) in an assembly of believers, can only be inferred if the Word of truth,
the Scriptures, is opened and read, or at least considered, but certainly honoured. The
Holy Spirit's ministry is intimately tied up with the ministry and glorifying of Christ
(John 16: 13, 14).  He operates through the Word of Christ, both with respect to
convicting the world, and teaching the believer.
"He will convict the world of sin . . . . ." (John 16: 8).
This conviction will come as the Word is preached, and the Holy Spirit applies it, as
happened on the day of Pentecost:
"Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart" (Acts 2: 37).
Others who heard Stephen's exposition of the Word are mentioned by him as
"resisting the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7: 51).
There can be no substitute for the Word of truth in seeking to bring men to Christ.
Likewise there can be no alternative either for the believer who desires the experience of