Archive for the Word of the Day Category

Filling Station

Acts 2: 4

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

Back in the old days, we called gas stations, filling stations. You drove your car into the station and someone would come out and fill it up with gasoline. It was good. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a Holy Spirit filling station, a place where we could pull in and be topped off with the Spirit?

Yesterday, we looked at Ephesians 5, verses eighteen and nineteen. In verse eighteen, Paul tells us to “be filled” with the Spirit. His directive is a bit challenging. He writes “be filled” as if there is a filling station we can visit to fill us up with the Holy Spirit. It would have been good for us if he would have continued to write, how we should be filled. Was it so simple for the believers of that day that instruction was not needed?

Today’s passage is from the account of the Day of Pentecost. Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received this promised pouring out from God. The Bible says, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place” (Acts 2: 1). The first thing we learn is that they obeyed the Word of the Lord. That is always a good starting point. Secondly, what were they doing? This was a Jewish feast day therefore, we might safely assume they gathered together to worship and honor the Lord. They gathered in his name. And they were filled. It seems the key to their being filled by the Spirit was obeying Jesus’ word.

Another good example comes from Acts 4: 31, “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” Here we find believers gathered together, praying.

God sent Peter to Joppa to the home of Cornelius, A Roman soldier. Even though Cornelius and his household were all gentiles, the Holy Spirit fell upon all of them even while Peter was still preaching (Acts 10: 44).

While I am not saying that the Holy Spirit can only fill you when you are assembled with other believers, I am saying that being in a Spirit filled environment certainly does recharge your batteries. An atmosphere of praise and worship invites the presence of the Holy Spirit. I believe the early church celebrated Christ with such enthusiasm and spoke so boldly about Christ, the anointed one, that the Holy Spirit was constantly being poured out. Praise and worship are powerful tools that many of us overlook far too often. As you immerse yourself in the Spirit you will find your faith grow stronger, your ability to hear improved and you will immerge renewed in your faith.

Spiritual Wine

Ephesians 5: 18 – 19

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.

The Apostle Paul has a way of stretching one’s mind beyond its current limits. His vision of the church is quite different from what most of us experience today. I am curious, but then frightened to imagine what the Apostle might write to us today. Are we advancing the gospel? Better still, am I the Christian I could be?

Paul expected the saints to speak to one another in spiritual songs and psalms. Can you even imagine what that is like? How about making melody with your heart? Is that joyous praise or is there even more to it?

There is a spiritual realm all about us. Many have seen it. Angels have appeared and assisted people and even Jesus has made appearances. We can walk and move in this spiritual realm too. That is the invitation from Paul. It is a decision away.

The decision is whether we choose to drink of the world or of the Spirit. Is our life patterned more according to the world or by the Spirit? Paul tells us to be filled with the Spirit. What does that require of us? I believe he is telling the church that first we must choose the life of the spirit over the life of the flesh and its pleasures. Do not misread me to say that I believe you are going to hell if you have a drink. I am saying, however, that Paul is calling us to choose which is more important to us. People who don’t have time to read their Bible or don’t have time to pray find the time for drinks with their friends.

Paul is suggesting that we can have social time around and with the Spirit of God. We can actually have fun flowing in the Spirit. In fact, it is the most fun you will ever have. Nothing compares! When you hang out with the Spirit of God, especially socially with your other friends, it is not a far leap to begin to speak in psalms, hymns, etc.

There is likely no limit to the wonders we can experience as we walk with our Buddy, the Holy Spirit. First, however, let us be filled.

Day Planner

Isaiah 30: 1

“Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin.”

This is one of those verses which is easy to read right over, never seeing how it may apply to us. “I am not a rebellious child,” I say to myself, then discount the rest of the verse. However, look at how God defines the rebellious child. Rebellion is found in one who makes and executes a plan which is not of God or sanctioned by Him. Rebellious children are those who make a partnership not of God’s Spirit. This goes to the very heart of our New Testament relationship with the Divine Trinity.

In the Old Testament, very little was known about either Jesus or the Spirit. The Jews had the promise of the Messiah and the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, we are introduced to Jesus. Then, at Jesus’ exit from the surface of earth, he told us that he was about to send us this promised Spirit. He also told us that the Spirit would not only be with us but that he would live in us. Jesus said that the Spirit would lead us and be our teacher. So, here is the tricky part, we discover that we are supposed to walk with and by the Spirit every day and in every way. Everything we do is supposed to be in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Even in the Old Testament, God said that to make plans relying on our own intellect and strength was to add sin to sin. If God revealed that to pre-Messianic believers, how much more truth does it carry for us.

Even our partnerships, our alliances are supposed to be formed in the guidance and advice of the Holy Spirit. God calls us rebellious when we fail to involve him in these decisions. So, now I have gone from denying my rebellion to realizing that my sin is every bit as great as those of the Israelites we like to condemn.

God insists that the plans of our lives must be made by Him or at least with Him. Actually, He has already made a plan for us and it is a good plan (Jeremiah 29: 11). I cannot overemphasize how important this topic is to God. He requires us to cooperate with His plan for us rather than to run around making our own plans, which, by the way, are almost always destined to fail. So, if this is such a big deal to God, how are we going to co-author our plans with the Spirit and thus avoid adding sin upon sin?

How did you come to know Jesus? How did you develop a relationship with the Father? The Holy Spirit is the third person of God. Therefore, you get to know him as you did the Father and the Son. First, you find him in the Bible. Second, go to our website and search the key words Holy Spirit which go down the right-hand side of the page. There is article upon article there. There are books about him too, but don’t neglect simple prayer. Talk to him. Ask the Father for guidance. Petition Jesus for insights.

The Holy Spirit was sent here for you. He wants to be found by you. Once you begin your search, I think you find that he is hiding in plain sight. Then, since he was sent here to guide us into all truth, ask him how to walk with him all day every day. He will guide you. It’s his job and his heart’s desire.

Bonding Agent

Ephesians 2: 20 – 22

Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the glue which holds the church together. You know he is our teacher, comforter and the one who goes alongside us daily. You have learned many of his roles in the earth. Here is another of his important roles, to bind us together as one.

I have written previously about the things of the Spirit having actual substance, things like faith, for example. Well, you too have substance in the Spiritual realm. In Christ, we all are bricks which are being glued together to form the church, one edifice built for the glory of God.

We come from many different backgrounds. We represent many denominations, countries and ethnicities. Some of us are protestant; some of us are not. However, we all have one thing in common and it is the only thing of true importance. That, of course, is Jesus Christ. How do you get so many people of such varied backgrounds and beliefs together? The Holy Spirit binds us together in Christ to form one holy temple unto the Lord.

Have you ever used a glue which required a activating agent in order to function as an adhesive? A chemical reaction occurs when you mix the two components. Without that chemical reaction, there is no adhesion. So it is with the body of Christ. We do not stick together very well but, in the Spirit, we become one. We can bond to one another in the Spirit because he is the bonding agent. He joins us as one to Jesus. When you are in the Spirit, differences dissipate, overshadowed by the glory of Christ, the anointed one.

This is very important for these latter days. We must unite as one body. What good is an arm all by itself? It is useless. However, put us all together and we are strong and powerful. We are functional. The key is not our individual adherence to Jesus. It is our adherence to Jesus in the Spirit. Unity is essential. I think we all can agree to that. The challenge we have faced is ignorance of the Spirit. We can be like some of Paul’s followers. Paul asked them, “‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit,’” (Acts 19: 2).

Most of us have at least heard of the Spirit but as a group, we do not know this third person of the trinity. We certainly have not fallen in love with the Spirit. Neither have we developed a personal relationship with him. Honestly, it is difficult to even understand what it means to be in him or led by him. That is the challenge of our generation. We are the ones who were destined, from the beginning of time, to pursue and know the Spirit of God. Until we have the divine glue on us, we will have difficulty bonding with all the varieties of other Christians. Jesus’ departure opened the door to this great gift of the Holy Spirit. Now we must pursue him relentlessly until we understand what it means to be in the Spirit and can live every day in his company.

Stain and Stench

John 16: 11

I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

We are staying with the same Biblical text as the last two days but today examining what Jesus meant when he said the Holy Spirit would convict the world concerning judgment. This is another topic which we have turned on its head so let’s upright it.

Many people are concerned with judgment, especially people who do not understand the goodness of God. In this passage, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning judgment because the ruler of this world has already been judged. So, we all know by now, that Jesus was referring to Satan. Satan will meet his final judgment after Jesus comes back but the truth is, he has already been judged. We already even know his sentence, so what is going on here?

Guess what, you have already been judged too. If not, then why did God send Jesus to earth? He would not have had to send Jesus to be the sacrificial lamb if there was not already sin condemning us to hell. Now, however, the judgment which is upon you is the judgement of righteousness. If you are in Christ and have been bathed with the blood of his martyrdom, then you are clean, and you are judged pure and holy in the sight of God. Hallelujah! Jesus’ blood has washed us clean from the stain and stench of sin.

Consider this simple analogy. Let’s say I literally draw a line in the sand and tell you that everyone who steps across this line shall be considered innocent of all crime. Anyone who remains on the other side of the line shall be deemed to have committed a crime. Now, in truth the judgment has already been made. I judge that anyone who steps across this line is innocent and thus free. The judgment is in the law.

Okay, here is another example. You may be watching the winter Olympics. Let’s say that in a particular event, the rule is that you may not cross a specific line without incurring a penalty. The judgment is, “Whoever crosses this line will incur the penalty.” That is the judgment. All the judge does is collect the data. The person, who will decide what judgment you receive, is you. All the judge does is recognize your actions and then sentence you according to the previously determined penalty.

It is the rule which judges; it is the law which is judgmental. Thank God that Jesus freed us from the condemnation of the law. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death,” (Romans 8: 2). I think this is a clear statement. You have been set free from the law of sin and death and the inherent judgment which accompanied it. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8: 1). You have been set free from the curse of the law and the unfavorable judgment which was upon you.

There are three crucial words, however, in the two quotes from Romans. Those three words are, “in Christ Jesus.” Everyone who chooses to cross the line and live “in Christ” has a favorable judgment on them. The have been granted the keys to the Kingdom of God and eternal life with His Majesty. Your sentence has been levied. You are free. Christ has set you free and whom the Son has set free is free indeed, or as the Names of God translation says it, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free,” (John 8: 36).

So, God has already judged you as His own righteousness in Christ Jesus (there is that crucial language again). You no longer need worry about judgment. Your only task is to step across the line and into Jesus. When you do, his blood is your judgment and his blood is perfect. You are redeemed and set free in the name and glory of Jesus.

Concerning Righteousness

John 16: 10

I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

In John 16: 7 – 11, Jesus revealed that He would send the Holy Spirit and He made known some of the tasks the Spirit would perform in the earth. Besides convicting the world concerning sin and judgment, he also convicts our hearts about righteousness.

The segment of Jesus’ statement about righteousness, is just as involved as that concerning sin which we looked at yesterday. This Greek word translated as “convict” in the New American Standard is more complex than one might initially suspect. While we hear that the Holy Spirit came to pass sentence on us or imprison, punish or berate us in the context of sin, righteousness and judgment, that is not the understanding a Greek reader would have taken away from this passage. The word “elegcho” certainly contains elements of that translation but in this verse, I think some of the other words in its definition are more apropos; words such as convince and to prove. It means, also, to bring to light. Therefore, read this verse in this way, “And He, when He comes, will convince the world concerning righteousness.”

The Holy Spirit is proving and convincing us regarding righteousness because Jesus has gone to the Father. Jesus’ departure ushered in an entire new way of being, much less a new way of thinking. Jesus’ words undoubtedly perplexed his followers who thought they knew about sin and righteousness. It really took until the Apostle Paul’s writings for it to become clear. He wrote, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” (2 Corinthians 5: 21). Those words never cease to amaze. God took Jesus’ righteousness and made an even trade with us for our sin. In so doing, Jesus became all sin and we became the righteousness of God. What a deal!

The Holy Spirit is now in the earth trying to convince you of your righteousness. He offers proofs of the righteousness of God so that we may believe. That is what Jesus was expressing in this statement. You see, the Holy Spirit was sent into the earth for our benefit. He didn’t come into the earth to condemn us. We had already very successfully done that for ourselves. He came to prove to you the goodness of God and the love with which the Father has already saved and blessed you. Through no effort on our part, through no miracle of human ingenuity or wisdom, we have become righteousness so that when God looks upon us, He sees His own righteousness in Christ upon us. That is crazy cool! What a miracle!

Convicted to Love

John 16: 7 – 11

I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

I bet you have read these verses dozens of times. I, also, have read this passage many times. I did not always understand its depth and richness though, and truly, I probably still do not see all that Jesus conveys with these words. Let us look more closely for a few minutes.

First, if you read the previous verses, you discover that Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the starting place for all of this. Jesus then describes part of the impact of the coming of the Spirit. First, he will convict the world concerning sin. Concerning sin, the Spirit convicts the world because they do not believe in Jesus as the Christ. These are the words which stopped me this week.

I thought he convicted the world concerning their sin, i.e. adultery, usury, lying, idol worship, etc. Shock of the week, that is not what the scripture says. I should have known better. God is love. Duh! The Spirit convicts people’s hearts about Christ. Guilt and Satan convict them about their behaviors. Do you see the subtlety? The Holy Spirit is preaching Christ. He is preaching the love of God.

Are we nuts? Revelation 12: 10 tells us that Satan is the accuser of the beloved. What are we thinking? Somehow, we turned that on its head and made the Holy Spirit he who condemns us and the world. How wrong can we possibly be? It is frightening how far we have twisted the scriptures. We have certainly been deceived.

The Holy Spirit preaches Jesus which, as we know, is the good news. How did we even turn the sending of the Holy Spirit, and his coming, into a negative? It is only because of the brokenness of our own hearts. The Spirit has come to continue the work of Jesus. We would all agree to that, wouldn’t we? That commission is spread deliverance, truth and the loving, redemptive grace of the Father.

I will never see this scripture the same again. Perhaps you will say the same. The Holy Spirit didn’t come with a whip, He came with a heart, the heart of the Father. We know that heart to be one of love and compassion. When we receive the Spirit in his fullness, then our hearts will be full of love and compassion as well. Our hearts will be mended of their scars and the injuries therein healed. The healing must begin with us, then we will be able to tell the world of the love that saved and healed us. Then we will be able to spread the good news to all people. The good news is attractive; as Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself,” (John 12: 32). Amen!

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