Category: Holy Spirit

Nine – Our Purpose, pt. 2 – p. 344

1 Understanding our purpose 2 Rule of God

March 11

Why Jesus left (cont.)

The Bible speaks of three main reasons why Jesus’ departure was to our benefit…

One) Jesus left to initiate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Having already covered the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit, in Chapters 6 and 7, we will make only a few brief comments here. Jesus said something most interesting after telling His disciples that it was for their good that He would depart from them. He said, “Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (from John 16:7b)

Jesus had to leave before the Holy Spirit could come. The abiding presence of the Holy Spirit is mandatory for disciples of Jesus. In fact, in the final days before Jesus ascended back to heaven, He warned the gathered disciples to “stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) This “clothing” from on high, was the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2)!

holy-spirit-clothed

Jesus’ words (in Luke 24) were spoken after they had spent years with Him, learning everything He had to teach them, and observing all He had done. Apparently, even the training of the Master was not enough to accomplish the task ahead of them – only the infilling and indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit of God could enable the disciples to do what needed to be done.

Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit “will not come” until He left them – and Jesus plainly tells them that life, when the Counselor has come, will be better than if He were to remain with them. This is because the Holy Spirit will come to empower Jesus’ disciples to accomplish God’s purposes – and the Holy Spirit will come to lead, guide, inform, and counsel disciples as to the will, provisions, and purposes of the Great King. The disciples’ role within the great plans of the King, and within His Kingdom, cannot be fulfilled without the aid, guidance, counsel and empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Knowing the facts about God and His ways will not accomplish this. Training in the truth and ways of God will not accomplish this either. Even the actual physical presence of Jesus will come-holy-spiritnot accomplish what needs to be done. Knowledge and training are no substitute for the abiding presence of the Most High in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is the One Who fills and enables disciples to live in the fullness of God’s plan, provisions, and purposes.

The Holy Spirit imparts the ways and truth of God into the depths of our spirits. The Holy Spirit is the only One Who can empower us to live just like Jesus lived, and enable us to walk as Jesus walked. Being just like Jesus, our Master, (Matthew 10:25) is the unmistakable goal. The Holy Spirit alone is God’s prescribed way of enabling human beings to reconnect with their divinely-designed purpose of revealing God, and perpetuating His rule on this earth, once again.

Divine purpose requires divine power to produce divine results – and only the Holy Spirit can enable and empower human beings with divine power. This is just as Jesus said: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses… to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) The infilling of the Holy Spirit and His abiding presence is for our good. He is necessary and essential to God’s purposes in us – and is the means of our benefit and advantage.

Seven – The Gifts of The Spirit, p. 278

1 HS & Gifts

November 8

True Christianity at work…

In this chapter, we have sought to gain a deeper, and more complete, understanding of the purpose and importance of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Gifts of the Spirit are fundamentally important to true Christian practice. They are, quite literally, God at work, through His people, to speak and to serve, according to His will and purposes… in every generation of His Church.

To try and live the Christian life without the Gifts of the Spirit is to live life unequipped to accomplish God’s purposes. We simply cannot live the true Christian life without the Holy Spirit – and the Holy Spirit lives and works through each of us, primarily, through the Gifts He gives us. This is at the very core of God’s design for His people. The Gifts of the Spirit are just as valuable and essential today as they were in the early days of The Church.

HS Baptism

In summary, the Gifts are best understood as representative of the aspects of God’s character and nature – they are the expression of God’s Own characteristics. The indwelling Holy Spirit endows them in us – empowering us and enabling each of us to minister these aspects of God’s character in our life’s situations. The Gifts are the primary way that God works through us to bring glory and honor to Himself – by revealing the individual aspects of His Own nature, through our individual lives. In accord with God’s plan and purpose for each of us, the Gifts of the Spirit are connected to our individual personalities and passions – empowering each of us to be, and do, as Our Creator designed us.

God’s plan for this physical planet has always been to reveal Himself Personally through humanity. From this truth we realize that the work of the Holy Spirit (and the Gifts He imparts) offers God’s New Covenant people the opportunity to reveal God in a manner that accurately reflects Him and truly honors Him.

When we really think about it, this is what it truly means to glorify God.

God be glorified

Addendum…

Since these words were originally written, my thoughts on the Gifts have expanded a bit. While I continue to believe that the best understanding of the Gifts is that each Believer receives one particular Gift of the Spirit that works in accord with their own personality and calling… there is a solid basis to believe that any individual Believer may operate in any of the Gifts of the Spirit as a need may arise. After all, it is God at work from within us – why shouldn’t He do whatever He wants from within an individual Believer? In short, God does not limit Himself to just one particular expression of Himself through us – and we should not operate under such limitations ourselves.

Seven – The Gifts of The Spirit, p. 271

1 HS & Gifts

October 29

In ministering through the Gifts of the Spirit, Jesus showed us exactly how these invaluable Gifts should be used. In doing so, He purposefully revealed the awesome character and nature of God, the Almighty King – truly, graciously, and accurately for all to see. “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, Who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” (from John 1:17-18)

Making God known was a greater portion of Jesus’ purpose than we often realize. The original word used for “made known” conveys the concept of a storyteller masterfully drawing out a marvelous story for the benefit and wonder of all who listen. Jesus was this storyteller, as well as the story itself! The “narrative” He told was drawn out through His Own life and ministry. He was The Word (John 1:1) and His life brought true and masterful revelation of God – so that He might be known, loved and worshiped by those who encounter Him… 

1John 5 20

As Jesus ministered, He utilized the same pattern: He followed the Spirit’s guidance, listened for the Spirit’s voice, and did or said as the Spirit directed Him. Jesus’ Own life and ministry flowed from this vital relationship with the Holy Spirit – and as He ministered, through these dynamic gifts… Almighty God was clearly “made known.”

What all Christians need to grasp is that this same pattern, and this same Spirit, has been given to all of Jesus’ disciples, in every generation of His Church. We also have a “story to tell” and the point of our own story is to make Him known!

makehimknown

True disciples are true ministers, as their Master was before them. True ministry is always God at work, speaking or serving by His divine power and love, and in the fullness of grace and truth. This was at the very core of The Christ – and is meant to be at the very core of every generation of His disciples. True Christianity resides in this simple, yet profound, understanding.

Seven – The Gifts of The Spirit, p. 269

1 HS & Gifts

October 25

As we conclude our thoughts on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we see that they are best understood as God at work, ministering through the influence, direction, and enabling of the Holy Spirit, to purposely reveal the various aspects of His Own character and nature for all to see and experience. The Gifts are the primary way in which each of us participates in our great purpose of revealing God to our own generation of souls. The Gifts of The Spirit are simply God at work, within and through us, to accomplish His will, His purposes, and His pleasure on this earth.

God at work GoHS

Jesus and the Gifts of the Spirit

As in all things in reference to the Church, Jesus is both Master and Model. He is the Source of God’s provision for us, and the demonstration of God’s provision to us. Or to put it another way, whatever provisions God has made available to His people, Jesus has lived in that provision, and He was the perfect example of how we should utilize that provision. Quite simply, everything that The Church is called to be and do, Jesus has been and done.

To truly understand the ministry of Jesus, we must comprehend that Jesus lived His life on this earth by the endowment of the Holy Spirit. He did and said what the Father wanted Him to do and say, by the direction and enabling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did God’s work and spoke God’s words, all under the Spirit’s leading.

Jesus, and His ministry, were aptly defined this way:

Jesus-healing boy

Jesus’ life (and ministry) was described as being “full of grace and truth.”

Practically speaking, grace is, simply, God at work – what God does, and how He does things. Truth is, merely, God’s words – what God says and how He says things. Or to link these statements to our conversation about the Gifts of the Spirit: grace is God serving; and truth is God speaking.

This realization connects the work and ministry of Jesus directly to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are simply God at work to serve, and to speak, in accord with His Own nature and character – and His nature and character are infinitely full of grace and truth.

Seven – The Gifts of The Spirit, p. 267

1 HS & Gifts

October 23

Miracles (cont.)

The message of the Kingdom of God is rather shallow and empty without the power of the King of that Kingdom on display. The gospel rests on the power of God to change lives and to change life’s situations. Miracles are often described, in Scripture, as a sign or a wonder (see Acts 5:12), and miracles point directly to the One Who exists behind their splendor and awe.

This was certainly true of the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus’ earthly ministry was a ministry of power. Wherever He ministered, God’s Almighty power was unleashed through a humble and faithful servant of the Most High. Wherever Jesus went, there also came the expectation of the eminent ability of God to do something amazing and miraculous.

Jesus and miracles

Crowds followed Him around, not just to hear His marvelous teachings, but also to see Him perform things that had never been seen before. Jesus’ obvious connection to the power of God made Him the centerpiece of attention and conversation, and provided Him with a significant platform to convey the life-changing message of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus and the crowds

This was also true of the disciples that Jesus trained. It was the disciples’ connection to The King’s power that made such a significant impact in the lives touched by the ministry of the early Church. We read with wonder in Acts 5 (Peter) and Acts 19 (Paul) how faith in the miraculous power of God was connected to those imbued with power in The Church.

PeterJohnHealLameMan

We truly cannot escape this Scriptural fact: the power of God and the message of God are meant to go hand in hand.

Why would that be different today?

Seven – The Gifts of The Spirit, p. 266

1 HS & Gifts

October 22

1 Sp'l Gifts -Miracles

(1 Corinthians 12:10, 28)

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good… there is given through the Spirit… miraculous powers… In the Church God has appointed… workers of miracles…”

The literal translation of the original Greek phrase for the gift of miracles is “workings of power.” This tells us two very important things: 1) the power at work is a power beyond human capabilities; and 2) this power is at work through human beings. Miracles are works that are humanly impossible, but wonderfully accomplished through human beings.

When we really think about it, miracles are not miraculous to God – they are His standard mode of operation. Whatever Almighty God chooses to do, He does as His normal way of doing things. By definition, when God does something humanly impossible (as only God can do) and He does it through human beings, we call it a miracle. “Workings of power” are something that human beings simply cannot do – no matter how ingenious we may be. This tells us why miracles are so important in the Kingdom of God – they point directly to the One behind their accomplishment. Because only God can do miracles – whenever miracles occur, they point directly to Him as real, powerful, and pertinent. But, not only do they remind us that God is awesomely powerful; they also remind us that He is concerned about our life situations. God is actually willing to intervene into our world, and into our life’s situations, and there is no earthly or heavenly limit to what He is capable of doing.

We cannot read the gospels, or the Book of Acts, without the stunning realization that the display of the power of God, and the proclamation of the gospel of God, go hand in hand. We are reminded: “The disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it.” (Mark 16:20)

Peter heals

Simply stated, a God Who is powerful enough to raise the dead, calm a raging storm, turn water into wine, walk on the water, heal the diseased, grant new sight to the blind and new limbs to the lame, and cast out demonic forces, must certainly be powerful enough to deal with, and forgive, our selfishness and sin. Not only this, but if He is able to author the miraculous, then He must also be able to impart a new kind of life into us and to empower us to live in love, courage and purity.

Seven – The Gifts of The Spirit, p. 260

1 HS & Gifts

October 12

Healing (cont.)

Because the need is so great, the Gifts of healing really ought to be more prominent in (and outside of) our churches. As Jesus made so clear to us, there is no doubt that God desires to heal those who are hurting and broken. There should also be no doubt that He desires to do this in every generation of souls!

healing giftAs we summarize, the Gifts of healing are described as the ability to minister a variety of healings to those in need. These Gifts bring God’s healing power to situations of hurt, affliction, pain, and brokenness – and, in action, yield a wonderful demonstration of God’s desire to make people whole.

Those with these Gifts are compelled to minister the healing power of the King to the hurting, afflicted and broken. They are looking for opportunities to offer God’s healing power in a variety of ways. Those with these Gifts have a capacity for great empathy with the sick and hurting, accompanied with a capacity for the faith to heal the afflicted.

The essence of the Gifts of healing is captured in the words of Jesus in Luke 11:20. Our Lord had just driven out a demon that had rendered a man incapable of speaking. The jealous religious leaders challenged Jesus to defend the authority behind His actions. Jesus defense was simple: “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come to you.”

casting out demons

Such is the far-reaching and significant power of healing. It is a living and undeniable exhibition of the “finger of God,” and the power of His commitment to making people whole, for all to see.