The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

Among some Christians, the Holy Spirit is treated as the Cinderella of the Godhead. He is relegated to a dusty corner of their theology and he is brought out only on the festival of Pentecost. Some fringe groups do not even dignify him with having the characteristics of God but instead refer to him as the inanimate power by which Jesus and the Father works.

The Bible, on the other hand, paints a picture of this third person of the Godhead who is actively involved in the daily activity of the church and the life of the individual Christian. His work is comprehensive and essential in achieving God’s purposes here on earth. He works in tandem with the Father and with Christ in the process designed to bring man from sin to conforming him to the image of Christ, to bringing mankind to his ultimate destination in the glorious Kingdom when Christ returns.

The Holy Spirit’s Work

  1. The Spirit convicts that world of sin (John16:8-11). Without this ministry, persons would never realize their sinful condition and their desperate need for the saving grace of Jesus.

  2. He regenerates us. The Spirit imparts eternal life through the new birth and this, in turn, implants the divine nature in the child of God. Tit.3:5; 2Pet.1:4; Eph.2:1-6; 2Cor.5:17; Rom.6:3-11.

  3. The Holy Spirit baptizes us. By the Spirit, all believers in Christ have been baptized into one body(the church) 1Cor.12:13; Rom.8:9,15; Eph.1:5.

  4. We are sealed by Him. The promise and gift of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance. Eph.1:13-14; 4:30; 2Cor.1:22.

  5. He lives in the Christian. The Holy Spirit takes up his residence in us. The body of the Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit.(1Cor.6:19). With him living in us, we can be lights and salt in this sinful world

  6. He fills the Christian for a life of service to God and fellowman (Eph.5:18). We are God’s workmanship created to do good works. The Holy Spirit gives the believer the heart and mind of Christ that exemplifies the good Christ did; so we too can have good works.

  7. He empowers the Christian in order to accomplish the work of the kingdom. Acts 4:8,31;13:9-10. He empowers us in our daily lives to follow His leading. He produces the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. He enables us to crucify the sinful nature and clothes us with the new man which is the life of Christ.

  8. The Holy Spirit assures us of our standing in Christ. He testifies to our spirit that we are children of God (Rom.8:16; 1John 3:24; 5:7-8). He reassures us in times of testing that nothing can pluck us out of the Father’s grip. No wonder the Apostle Paul could say “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2Tim.4:7-8

  9. The Holy Spirit who inspired the scriptures(2Pet.1:21) also illuminates the scriptures so that Christians may know the things given to them by God (1Cor.2:10-16). The things of God cannot be understood or discerned by the unaided human mind. The Spirit gives believers needed insight into the meaning and the application of God’s word for everyday situations.

  10. The Holy Spirit teaches, reinforces and reminds us of God’s word (1John 2:27). He leads us into all truth and helps us to discern error from truth (John 16:13).

  11. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Rom.8:26-27). In times when we are overwhelmed with pain, sorrow, and hurt, and we find it hard to pray, the Holy Spirit comes alongside us and prays on our behalf. When we cannot express our deep feelings to the Father, the Holy Spirit reads our intentions and conveys them to the Father.

  12. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to members of the body of Christ (1Cor.12:7-11) for the edification and encouragement of all believers. Every believer is given a gift or gifts that should be used to build up the church as well as to glorify God.

The Holy Spirit plays an active role in the call and in the sanctification of the believer. He is God, sent by Jesus Christ on his ascent to the Father. He abides with us and is in us. Let us recognize how important He is in our lives, yield to him, walk in step with him and depend on his guidance daily.

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Why Christians Should Stop Caring About So Many C… | Christianity Today

Being the hands and feet of Christ in our troubled world requires that we both pay attention and then stay intentional over the long haul. That means rushing forward in an emergency and remaining focused until we help repair, restore, and redeem every dimension of human life, achieving Isaiah 65 transformation.

Source: Why Christians Should Stop Caring About So Many C… | Christianity Today

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7 Traits of False Teachers

There is no such thing as a pure church this side of heaven. You will never find it.

Source: 7 Traits of False Teachers

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Living By the Spirit – What Does it Mean?

Walking in the Spirit and living by the Spirit are terms used in the New Testament to point Christians to the new way of living. It is the opposite of living by the fleshly desires of the human downward pull. Walking by the Spirit is not merely trying to avoid sin or trying to keep the law. It is the new way new creatures in Christ have been called to live.

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit on his return to heaven. The Holy Spirit has been given to every true believer. He was given to guide us in our Christian walk. He is the same Spirit we are admonished to walk in and live by.

Living by the Spirit is the act of putting to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom.8:13). The deeds of the flesh consist of lying, coveting, murder, envy, strife, adultery, fornication And what Paul calls the works of the flesh in Gal.5:19-20. The Holy Spirit living inside of the Christian will not put up with anything that offends God, hence the reason why there is always a sense of uneasiness when sin is present. Squelching the fleshly nature is a lifelong process that requires patience and perseverance before our final perfection comes.

Living by the Spirit is one of the proofs that a person is a child of God (Rom.8:14) Being led by the Spirit suggests that one is allowing the Spirit to show him the way, that one is yielding to the Spirit’s guidance and help. In other words, the sinful nature is being conquered and worldly desires are being replaced by wholesome, godly practices and virtues. Living by the Spirit includes being transformed by having one’s mind renewed by God and his word (Rom.12:2).

Living by the Spirit consist of setting one’s affections on things above instead of earthly possessions and things (Col.3:1); seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mat.6:33); looking to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Living by the Spirit is praying in step with the Holy Spirit. He knows the will of God for our lives, therefore we ought to let Him guide and show us  how and what we should pray.

God accomplishes much in the lives of those who live by the Spirit. The righteous requirements of the law are met in those who live by the Spirit (Rom.8:3-4). The life controlled by the Spirit is life and peace (Rom.8:6). Those who are under the control of the Spirit are God’s children and are heirs according to the promise. God will raise them to immortality at his second coming.

Living by the Spirit is allowing the Holy Spirit to direct every thought, word, action, and motive in our life, and allowing the Holy Spirit to cultivate his fruits and his virtues in our lives. This is the new life Christians have been called to in Christ. This is all the work of God on our behalf as we deny ourselves, takes up our cross and follow Christ.

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Does Eternal Life Depend on Commandment-Keeping?

The Bible speaks of eternal life as both a present and a future reality for Christians. Jude 21 speaks to the future life. John 3:36 and 1John 5:11 speak of those who believe on the Son as having eternal life.

Eternal life is a free gift Rom.6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” John 17 :2-3 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. Jesus gives eternal life, we do not earn it. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”( John 10 :27-28)

The notion that one must be obedient to commandments so that we can enter eternal life suggests that one can attain eternal life by commandment-keeping (works). That runs counter to the facts of the Scriptures. One of the fundamental ways Christianity differ from other religions is that our inheritance is given freely by grace through faith. All the other religions have works as the basis for their inheritance. Not so with Christianity. Eternal life is a gift. Eph. 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.”


Eternal life found in Jesus not comandment keeping

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 5:39-40 “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 6:40 “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” verse47
“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.” Jn.:13-14 “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jn.11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jn. 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. Eternal life is not the end result of people keeping the commandments, it comes through faith in Jesus Christ and by the grace of God.

The role of obedience

Jesus said, If you love me keep my commandments JN.14:15 When a person comes to Jesus, he becomes a new creature. God gives him the Holy Spirit to give him power to obey and abide in Christ. A person who has the Holy Spirit wants to obey Christ but he still has the flesh, the world and Satan trying to pull him downwards. 2Pet.1:3 God has given us everything we need for life and godliness, so the Christian is equiped to persevere and overcome as he cooperates with the Holy Spirit working in his life. As he abides in Christ and remain attached to the Vine(Jn.15) God will produce the fruits of the spirit in his life. Abiding in Christ includes obedience to the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, praying, studying the word, meditating on the word, loving the Lord and the brothers, doing good, seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Obedience to God proves that we are one of His because the unregenerate person cannot please God and really has no inclination to do so. 1Jn.2:3-4 ”We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.” Keeping His commands is evidence that we know him and not evidence that eternal life is tethered to obedience. We abide in the love of Jesius by keeping his commands Jn.15:10 . You are my friends if you keep my commandments Jn.15:14. There is no I will give you eternal life if you keep my commandments.

So after coming to Jesus for forgiveness of sins do we need commandment-keeping to bring us to eternal life? Let Paul answer. “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Gal.3:3). Human effort of any sort is rejected as a means of salvation and eternal life. Jesus Christ is all we need (Col. 2:9-10). “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen( Jude 1:24-25). We love Jesus and obey his commands because he first loved us and gave himself as an atoning sacrifice for us. The eternal life given to us by Christ as been purchased by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and not by anything that we could do.

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Why did Jesus die on the cross? – YouTube

 

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Jesus’ Calling

History has recorded some of the greatest people that have ever lived. Mother Theresa, Florence Nightengale, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King are among those we remember as being great. They all had a calling or vocation to which they dedicated themselves in service to others. They all took their calling seriously and hence were able to leave an indelible mark in the “sands of time”. What is your calling and are you dedicating yourself to it? Will you like these, make a mark for all eternity?

Each Christian has been called by God. Yes, your calling to be a scientist, a doctor, a businessperson, an artist, a singer, a craftsman is important and should be pursued with energy. Note, though that these vocations will not take you beyond this present life. God has given us a calling that will last throughout eternity. That is enough reason for us to focus attention on this calling.

Paul speaking about the Christian calling said, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth”(1Cor. 1:26). God has called mostly the ordinary people of this world to manifest his wisdom and glory.

But why has Jesus called you and me? What has Jesus called us to?

God has called us to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus (1Pet.5:10).

We are called to inherit a blessing (1Pet.3:9).

We have been called out of darkness into his marvelous light through Jesus Christ who died for us (1Pet.2:9,21).

We have been called to be holy as God is holy (1Pet.1:15; 1Cor.1:2; 2Tim.1:9;1Thes.4:7).

We are called to share in God’s glory (2Thes.2:14).

We are called to eternal life (1Tim.6:12).

We are called to have peace with God and each other (Col.3:15; 1Cor.7:15).

We are called to one hope (Eph.4:4; Eph.1:18); the surety of eternal life.

We are called to live in the grace of Christ (Gal.1:6).

God has called us into his kingdom (1Thes.2:12).

This is a calling of a lifetime. Who can say “no” to it? God is inviting each and everyone alive to partake in this calling. God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Everyone is called to salvation in Christ. Isaiah says, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price”Isa. 55:1 For all who call on the name of Jesus will be saved (Rom.10:13). You cannot afford to miss this calling. You may not be a Mahatma Gandhi or a Mother Theresa but you can heed the call of Jesus and share in a vocation that surpasses all your wildest dreams.

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The Infiltration of Mysticism – YouTube

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Achan’s Sin: A Lesson for Christians

The failings of the nation of Israel were written as a warning for us that we should not set our hearts on evil things as they did (1Cor.10:6,11). The story of Achan and the destruction he brought on himself and his family is a stark reminder that God is serious about sin even though he is patient and long suffering.

The story is recorded in the book of Joshua 7:1-26. The battle for the city of Jericho was an unusual one. God’s instruction was that nothing was to be taken from the city once it was conquered. The soldiers were carefully briefed as to the rules of engagement for this mission. He knew that he was to take nothing. When the battle was over and the other members of his company had withdrawn to their base, he saw a beautiful robe from Babylonia, 200 shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing 50 shekels. A shekel is about 0.5 ounces or 14 grams in our modern weight. He had 2800 grams of silver and 700 grams of gold in addition to the expensive robe. Achan hid them in his tent. The gold was worth $27,821.37 U.S and the silver $1512.00 U.S in today’s market. It was forbidden, but he could not resist the temptation to take it. He probably went home thinking how this new found wealth would improve life for him and his family. Little did he know that possession of those items would be his downfall.

Later, the army of Israel was given another assignment. It was to conquer the small city of Ai. The city was so small that Joshua did not think it was necessary to send all of his troops on the mission. Israel expected a quick victory but to the surprise of everyone, Israel got a sound beating. Israel withdrew in ignominy, licking its wounds and mourning its losses. They knew that something was wrong.

Joshua held an inquiry into the defeat. After consulting God, he was led to Achan as the one whose sin had precipitated the humiliating defeat. Achan admitted his wrongdoing. A search of his tent revealed the hidden spoil. He was guilty of violating the command of God and the penalty was death by stoning. That day, he along with his sons and his belongings perished. Achan’s sin was that of greed.

What is the warning for Christians? Jesus himself sounds the warning against greed of all kinds. Our lives do not consist of the abundance of things we have. Stay away from greed is Jesus’ advice (Luke 12:15)

The Apostle Paul in Col.3:5 admonishes Christians to put away greed along with other fleshly desires. The love of money is a root of all evil. It can cause one to wander from the faith and bring horrendous troubles into one’s life (1Tim 6:10). Christians are encouraged to be contented and trust God to take care of their needs rather than using their energy to pursue wealth.

Achan put aside the word of God so he could satisfy his greedy, fleshly desire. He found out the hard way that his action did not bring the happiness and enjoyment that he thought it would bring. Achan’s story teaches us that we should set our minds on things above and not on earthly things. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: … evil desires and greed, which is idolatry”(Col.3:2,5).

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Are You Abiding in Jesus?

Text: John 15:1-8

Jesus, the night before He was crucified emphatically told His disciples that if they abide in him he would abide in them. He further explained that abiding in him would result in them producing much fruit. Being apart from him meant that they would be like a branch that is severed from the vine. Such a person would be fruitless; would soon wither and die. Jesus told his disciples that they needed him in order to function like his disciples.

But how do Christians abide in Jesus?

We abide in Jesus by remaining in His love. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts and we are commanded to love each other as Christ loves us (John15:12). Love is the biggest theme in the New Testament scriptures. Love fulfills the law(Rom.13:10). One cannot love God without first loving one’s brother (1John 4:20). Love supersedes all the other gifts that a Christian could have and where there is no love, having the other gifts is useless (1Cor.13:1-3). The act of loving the brothers is evidence that the Holy Spirit lives in us and that He is producing fruit in us.

We abide in Jesus by being obedient to Him. Anyone claiming to abide in Jesus must follow his example (1John 2:6 ). We are called upon to walk in the light as Christ is in the light. This gives us fellowship with Christ and with the Father. Hearing the words of Jesus and putting them into practice will serve to keep the relationship between us and Jesus strong.

The new Christians in the Acts of the Apostles embraced and practiced the essential disciplines of adherence to the teachings of the apostles, fellowship, the Eucharist, and prayer. One cannot abide in Jesus unless one stays in His teachings. Straying from the message of the gospel, reverting to the law and other beggarly elements of this world is to cut oneself off from Christ (Gal.5:3; Gal.4:9-10). That is the very reason why Jude impresses on Christians to contend earnestly for the faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

The Bible makes it clear that believers should engage in regular assemblies for the purposes of hearing the teaching of Jesus Christ, encouraging each other, praying with and for each other, giving thanks to God, and much more. (Hebrews 10:24-25; Col.3:16; Eph.5:19-20). Fellowshipping with each other would include the time when we meet for social activities like sports and picnics. There are times when we show hospitality by inviting poor brothers and sisters to have a meal with our family. In this way, we get acquainted with each other as we grow to love and appreciate other members of the body of Christ. Doing acts of kindness for one another, wanting to be among people of like faith to worship God and encourage our brothers, are all testimony to the fact that we have chosen to abide in Jesus.

The Lord’s supper has been given to help the church keep its focus on Christ. Whenever we participate in the table of the Lord we show his death until he comes (1Cor. 11:26). Sharing in the bread and the wine indicates that we all share in all that Jesus has provided for us by way of his sacrifice on the cross; that we have one Saviour and Lord Christ Jesus and that we are children and heirs according to the promises of God. Sharing in the Eucharist says that we are abiding in Christ and he in us. By eating and drinking the emblems of his body and blood, we symbolically show that we are willing to let him be the source of life for us.

Prayer is vital to the individual believer as well as the church collectively. Prayer brings us to the throne of God where we thank him, confess our sins, bring our petitions on behalf of others and ourselves, show our longing for his kingdom to come and asking God to open doors for the gospel to reach the unreached. Constantly seeking God’s grace and help proves that we depend on him and that we can do nothing without him. Acknowledging that Jesus is the source of all we need for right living and for doing his work here on earth, compels us to stay close to him in prayer. He is our life and so we hold on to him tenaciously.

Christians know that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pet.5:8). This being the case, we stay in Jesus; not just close to him but we in him and he in us. In this way we will not be devoured. Therefore, let us heed the words of Jesus, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you…”John 15:4

 

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