Archive for June 2016

The Person and the Work of the Holy Spirit [Part 2]   Leave a comment

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

We have seen in the earlier post who Jesus said the Holy Spirit was and what would be His mission.

The scripture has also much to say about the nature and person of the Holy Spirit. As mentioned earlier, the main ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of its sin, God’s righteousness and coming judgement (John 16:8). To those who were convicted of their sinful state, believed in Jesus and were born again, they have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, John 14:17, 1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19).  Being now a living habitation of God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit works in the heart of  these men to teach them whatever they need to know and do as children of God (John

Some 50 years ago, a missionary who came to preach in my country was expulsed by the government and had no more rights to visit my country. After a few years, the church continued to grow because the Holy Spirit was still at work. The missionary said: “You chased me but you could not chase the Holy Spirit away!”

If you fear that the bible writers did not record all the teachings of Jesus, rest assured that the Holy Spirit will teach them to you.

But you have received the Holy Spirit,and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.” 1 John 2:27

The Holy Spirit equips born again Christians with spiritual gifts

It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” 1 Cor. 12:11

The Holy Spirit has its own will and it’s Him who decides what spiritual gifts should be distributed to God’s people. These spiritual gifts are primarily given to edify the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7) and not for selfish reasons. There’s one body but many parts Paul said. Each members has been given different roles by the Spirit and we cannot expect each member to have the same gift. Paul said:  “Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.” 1 Cor. 12:30

It is not a degree in theology which qualifies someone to be a pastor or teacher but it is only according to the Spirit’s will than men are empowered and given the spiritual authority to minister. It is vital that members of the body of Christ know clearly which spiritual gift they have and do not have so as to enable them to edify the body of Christ for its designed purpose.

The Holy Spirit produces His fruits in born again Christians

Jesus said that on judgment day many will say that they prophesied in his name, casted demons or made miracles in his name (Mat. 7:22). How then to discern if someone has genuinely a ministry or a spiritual gift which has been endorsed by the Holy Spirit? Jesus said : “You will know them by their fruits” (Mat. 7:16). A false prophet for example has as fruits carnal desires but one led by the Spirit bears the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19).

The fruits of the Spirit in a born again Christian are clear evidence of the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not produce only one fruit but fruits. By producing the fruits of the Spirit ,we are being transformed in the image of the Son of God.

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Cor. 3:18

The Father is glorified when we bear much fruits. Jesus said: “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” John 15:8

Posted June 25, 2016 by Cedric in Theology

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The Person and the work of the Holy Spirit [Part 1]   2 comments

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

In the 20th and 21st century there has been much debate and confusion about the work and the person of the Holy Spirit. When I was younger, I struggled to discern the truth out of the pool of information I got from church leaders, books and internet who all used the bible to support their arguments.

One school of thought prefers to play it safe by quenching the Spirit to avoid dealing with fake miracles or satanic  manifestations. However, this attitude will render the church members weak, idle for the Lord’s work and without vision.

Paul warned to the Thessalonians:

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” 1 Thes. 5:19

On the other side, another school of thought fears the church to be “dead” or not led by the Spirit. In their endeavor, they have opened doors to practices that were not from the Spirit.

As Paul said to the Corinthians:

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” 1 Cor. 14:33

If prophecies, tongues, healings or preachings do not occur in order, we can discern that these are not from the Spirit. Its source is either satanic or carnal.

Lack of discernment is what led the 2 school of thoughts to be on extreme sides and completely miss the work of the Spirit.

It was Jesus who revealed the Holy Spirit broadly and sent Him. It is therefore essential to understand who Jesus said the Holy Spirit was and what would be the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

What Jesus said about the Holy Spirit

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14:16

The words used by Jesus to describe the Holy Spirit, indicate that the Holy Spirit is a person and not an influence. He is an actual life or an existence that has the faculties to reason and defend as an Advocate. Jesus used He/Him instead of “it” to describe the One who will lead into all truth. Power or energy does not have this ability to have the knowledge of what is true or lead into all Truth. The Holy Spirit is therefore not a power, though He has power (Acts 1:8).It is therefore abusive to call for the Holy Spirit only to get power. It is better to be powerless and have God by our side than having power and God far from us.

Jesus also gave an important command before He ascended to heaven: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Mat. 28:19

This baptism was done in the name of 3 persons which indicates that the Father, the Son and the Spirit were concerned and involved in the burial of the old nature. The Holy Spirit is mentioned at the same level because He is God. The Holy Spirit has the attribute of deity for the reason that He is “holy” by nature. Only God is holy. Secondly, God is eternal and so is the Holy Spirit who always existed(Gen.1:1)  and will exist forever(Heb. 9:14). He is omnipotent(Acts 8:39), omniscient(1 Cor. 2:10) and omnipresent(1 Cor. 6:19).

Jesus also talked about the ministry of the Holy Spirit:

And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me…” John 16:8-15
Convict the world of its sin
Christians are just messengers who call people to repentance but they are unable to make a sinner be convicted of his sins and willingly seek for repentance. It is the Holy Spirit’s mission to convince the world of its sin and to believe in Jesus.
Notice well that the sin mentioned here is very particular. It does not have to do with sins in general(adultery, thefts, lies…) but to the sin of unbelief in the work of the Son of God(Heb. 3:19, 4:6, Acts 28:23-28). Only one question will be sufficient to identify the righteous and the wicked. God will say : I sent Jesus to forgive your sins, did you believe in Him?
Jesus’ expiation of sins was for the whole world (2 Cor. 5:19, Rom. 5:8-10, John 1:29, 1 John 2:22, Rom. 3:21-26) and this gave everyone the opportunity to be saved. God wants all men to be saved. However, tragically not everyone wants to be saved. Not everyone wants to believe that Jesus died for their sins and that righteousness is imputed to them by faith in Him.

So we understand here that stirring the need to believe in Jesus is one of the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is why we saw many miracles in the book of Acts done by the Holy Spirit during evangelism. Jesus revealed the Father to the world and the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to the world. If you have faith that the Spirit has this mission and you humbly want God to speak to people through you, pray and ask the Spirit to stir the heart of your neighbor, family, friend or colleagues and you will see whether a meaningful conversation about Jesus rises or not. I’m convinced God will answer this prayer. 

Convict the world of Jesus’ righteousness

The righteousness mentioned here has to do with the resurrection of Jesus and exaltation. While the world condemned Jesus as an unrighteous man who deserved the death penalty. They accused Him to be a sinner and being demon possessed(John 8:46) but God powerfully declared Him Righteous by raising Him from the dead, exalted Him to the Highest place(Phil. 2:8-11) and made Him sit on God’s throne(Mat. 19:28, Rev. 3:21).

Convict the world of the upcoming Judgment

There’s no escape, everyone will be judged (2 Cor. 5:10) at Christ tribunal. The prince of this world and all his followers will not go unpunished. The martyrs are waiting for Jesus to avenge their blood(Rev 6:10) and the cup of God’s wrath has long be kept and will be poured on on God’s enemies(Rev 14:10, Rev. 20:11-15). Do not think that God’s eyes are closed at the defying march of the gays and lesbians. If God is not judging them now for their defiance and remains silent to insults made unto His Holy name, His wrath is being reserved unmixed for Judgment day. Jesus and His followers were judged guilty on earth, tortured and murdered. In heaven, it will be Jesus who will judge the wicked, satan and his followers. God’s patience is not a weakness but a grace given to allow people to repent(Romans 2:4). The Spirit will remind the world that God’s judgment is real and the urgency to repent.

The message of the Gospel itself consists of 3 parts:

  1. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23)
  2. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice to take away the sin of the whole world (1 John 2:22), has raised from the dead(Acts 13:35, Acts 2:24-31) and is exalted to the right hand of God.
  3. There will be no condemnation for those who believe in the work of Jesus(2 Cor. 5:17). Those who do not believe are already condemned (John 3:19) and will perish in hell.

It is vital that the Gospel we preach clearly declares to the world that they  that they stand in condemnation unless they believe in Jesus. This was the message preached by Jesus, by the apostles in Acts and what the Holy Spirit continues to inspire men to preach.

Posted June 11, 2016 by Cedric in Theology

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