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Category Archives: The Holy Spirit

The Forgotten Third: Developing a Biblical Relationship with God the Holy Spirit

Friends: I’ve been working on this manuscript for quite a while. And I now have a contract to get it finished! Here’s a sample of what I’m putting together for this book:

Jesus says the Holy Spirit would be “another paraclete” to His disciples. Would the term “comfort” be the first to come to mind when we think of how Jesus was to His disciples? He rebukes them for their unbelief, for their sleeping, for having no faith. He defends them when they are accused of violating sacred rules of ceremonial washing or ignoring Sabbath observance. He “comes alongside” them when their faith is too weak to exorcize a demon-possessed boy.

“Comfort” seems to imply bringing solace to one who is weeping. The disciples (during the earthly ministry of the Lord) did not know enough to weep. He does not “comfort” them – He challenges, chastises, corrects, and even cajoles them. “Comfort” is far too weak a term. And sometimes the last thing the believer needs is a sympathetic companion who wipes away his tears. We need One who is fully divine to come alongside of us and put His finger on our sins and remind our hearts, “You belong to Your Heavenly Father.” We require One who will motivate and empower us to take risks for the Kingdom of God, One who will not be satisfied with one-seventh of our week, with the leftovers of our hours and days. We need One who will be “called alongside of” us even when we ourselves don’t have enough wisdom to invite His intrusive presence.

In an age of comfort food, we need the Bread of Life broken to us by the Spirit who yearns for our sanctification. We desperately require a Defender in the face of undeserved, snarling rebukes by an unbelieving world – and in the face of deserved charges of our sins by the great Accuser, Satan himself. The Spirit is not a soothing Teddy Bear, but the Hound of Heaven who will not let us be.

Our primary need is not for Someone who will say, “There, there. It will all be okay. It really doesn’t matter.” We require Someone who will remind us that life matters greatly, that we might well die for the sake of the gospel – and we are no fools if such happens to us. We need Someone who will remind us of our sonship even when Satan, the world around us, other Christians, and even our own conduct seem to contradict the very idea that we could be loved and forgiven by God. We need to be rescued from our consumeristic culture and transformed into God-centered, other-focused ambassadors for the King. In our postmodern atmosphere where it seems no one knows who they are and have stopped asking such questions, the Spirit reminds us of our adoption into God’s family. In our subjective circles of pooled ignorance, often punctuated by “Here’s what the Lord says to me,” we need the determined Applyer of the truth of Scripture to do His mighty work in conjunction with the serious attention to the meaning of the Word. Surrounded by moral relativity and a resistance to anyone who defends the concepts of right and wrong, we desperately need the inner conviction of the Spirit who does not debate moral matters with us, but puts His divine finger on the shortcomings of our thoughts and actions. In brief, we need Someone like Jesus.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2021 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Biblical Relationship with God the Holy Spirit (“You talk with Him?!”)

Friends: I’ve been working on this book for a while. And you get to follow me in action! My plan is to work my way slowly — in these posts — through the chapters in this manuscript. I welcome your input and hope to have this published in the next few months.

“You talk with Him?!”

If the Holy Spirit is personal, we can — and should — speak with Him. He speaks to us through the Word of God. We speak to Him through prayer — targeted prayer that connects us with His various ministries.

But some may say, “I thought my primary attention is to be given to the Lord Jesus?” You are certainly correct. In fact, it is the Spirit’s role to bring glory to the Son (as we will see later). However, to say that Jesus deserves our primary attention does not mean that the Spirit should get no attention at all.

There is a fascinating verse in 2 Corinthians 13 that is wonderfully trinitarian in its expression. Paul prays, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” There aren’t many clear Trinitarian references that we may inflict, I mean, share with those who aren’t convinced of that doctrine, but this one is so direct!  We have the SON (“the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ”), the FATHER (“the love of God”), and the SPIRIT (“the fellowship of the Holy Spirit”). Have you ever asked, “How am I supposed to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit?” That question we will pursue more vigorously in our next post!

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2021 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Biblical Relationship with God the Holy Spirit (Introduction)

Friends: I’ve been working on this book for a while. And you get to follow me in action! My plan is to work my way slowly — in these posts — through the chapters in this manuscript. I welcome your input and hope to have this published in the next few months.

Introduction:

I’ve been interested in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit for a long time. My background isn’t charismatic or Pentecostal, but Brethren. And I don’t remember a lot of messages on God the Holy Spirit as I grew in my faith. I wrote my Ph.D dissertation of the Holy Spirit and also contributed a chapter on Him to a friend’s book on the Trinity.

I believe Christians often fall into one or two categories when it comes to the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. There are those who overlook Him and there are those who overemphasize Him. I want to strive for a biblical balance in my own life.

Would you say your background overlooked or overemphasized God the Holy Spirit? In our next post we’ll talk about why it is right to give appropriate attention to the Third Person of the Godhead.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2021 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Time for Yet Another Quote on the Holy Spirit from A.W. Tozer!

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2021 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Time for Another Quote on the Holy Spirit from A.W. Tozer!

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2021 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Uploaded Video for My Kirkland Students — Pneumatology!

Friends: Due to the Coronavirus I am not allowed to meet face-to-face with my Kirkland cohort (many are lifers) for the next few weeks. I’m providing a couple of videos for them to watch. And you might like what I’ve done! This video is about 15 minutes long. Let me know what you think! Dr. D.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2020 in The Holy Spirit

 

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A Summary Statement about “The Other Comforter”

Friends: I’m working on a short book on God the Holy Spirit. The tentative title is The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit. Here’s a sample of what I’m working on. Comments welcome!

Jesus says the Holy Spirit would be “another paraclete” to His disciples. Would the term “comfort” be the first to come to mind when we think of how Jesus was to His disciples? He rebukes them for their unbelief, for their sleeping, for having no faith. He defends them when they are accused of violating sacred rules of ceremonial washing or ignoring Sabbath observance. He “comes alongside” them when their faith is too weak to exorcize a demon-possessed boy.

“Comfort” seems to imply bringing solace to one who is weeping. The disciples (during the earthly ministry of the Lord) did not know enough to weep. He does not “comfort” them – He challenges, chastises, corrects, and even cajoles them. “Comfort” is far too weak a term. And sometimes the last thing the believer needs is a sympathetic companion who wipes away his tears. We need One who is fully divine to come alongside of us and put His finger on our sins and remind our hearts, “You belong to Your Heavenly Father.” We require One who will motivate and empower us to take risks for the Kingdom of God, One who will not be satisfied with one-seventh of our week, with the leftovers of our hours and days. We need One who will be “called alongside of” us even when we ourselves don’t have enough wisdom to invite His intrusive presence.

In an age of comfort food, we need the Bread of Life broken to us by the Spirit who yearns for our sanctification. We desperately require a Defender in the face of undeserved, snarling rebukes by an unbelieving world – and in the face of deserved charges of our sins by the great Accuser, Satan himself. The Spirit is not a soothing Teddy Bear, but the Hound of Heaven who will not let us be.

Our primary need is not for Someone who will say, “There, there. It will all be okay. It really doesn’t matter.” We require Someone who will remind us that life matters greatly, that we might well die for the sake of the gospel – and we are no fools if such happens to us. We need Someone who will remind us of our sonship even when Satan, the world around us, other Christians, and even our own conduct seem to contradict the very idea that we could be loved and forgiven by God. We need to be rescued from our consumeristic culture and transformed into God-centered, other-focused ambassadors for the King. In our postmodern atmosphere where it seems no one knows who they are and have stopped asking such questions, the Spirit reminds us of our adoption into God’s family. In our subjective circles of pooled ignorance, often punctuated by “Here’s what the Lord says to me,” we need the determined Applyer of the truth of Scripture to do His mighty work in conjunction with the serious attention to the meaning of the Word. Surrounded by moral relativity and a resistance to anyone who defends the concepts of right and wrong, we desperately need the inner conviction of the Spirit who does not debate moral matters with us, but puts His divine finger on the shortcomings of our thoughts and actions. In brief, we need Someone like Jesus.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2020 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from the Gospel of MATTHEW about the Holy Spirit?

There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what do we learn from the Gospel of Matthew about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the Gospel of Matthew?

Ch. 1 – 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. “Found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” Without the assistance of Joseph, Mary, a virgin, becomes pregnant. The God who created the biological process circumvents it for His purposes [perhaps to illustrate the completely divine nature of salvation]. And the member of the Godhead responsible for Mary’s pregnancy is none other than the Spirit of God.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Joseph needs an explanation for Mary’s pregnancy, and an angel of the Lord gives one to him. “What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Further explanation was not required.

Ch. 3 – 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” John the Baptist knows his place — He announces that the One coming after him is more powerful than he and will baptize those who repented at John’s preaching with the Holy Spirit and fire.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” The Spirit of God becomes visible for this occasion, taking the form of a dove. This is an excellent Trinitarian reference, don’t you think?

Ch. 4 – Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. How does this reference harmonize with James’ statement that God can’t be tempted with evil nor does He tempt anyone? Your thoughts?

Ch. 10 – 16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. This seems to be a reference to the Spirit of God, doesn’t it? The Holy Spirit will give wisdom in those situations of persecution — so the Jesus-follower doesn’t need to worry!

Ch. 11 – 27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Here is another of what I call the “binitarian” passages regarding the Spirit.  That is, we have two of the members of the Trinity mentioned. The Spirit is specifically left out!

Ch. 12 –15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
 the one I love, in whom I delight;
 I will put my Spirit on him,
 and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
 no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
 and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.” Here we have an amazing reference to the Spirit of God and His relationship to the Son! The Son — the One whom the Father chose, the One whom the Father loved, the One in whom the Father delighted — is filled with the Spirit in His earthly ministry. And one aspect of that filling or indwelling of the Spirit in the Son is the Son’s . . . gentleness!

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Here the Lord Jesus testifies of His relationship with the Spirit. It is “by the Spirit” that He drives out demons.

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Wow! This is the famous unpardonable sin passage. There are many opinions about this sin, but I would suggest the context is the rejection of the Spirit’s testimony as to the identity of the Son. The only sin from which one cannot be saved is refusing to believe in the Son.

Ch. 28 – 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The famous “Great Commission” passage here is another clear Trinitarian reference. We are to baptize disciples (note: not “converts.” We are to make “disciples”!) in the name (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

There is so much in the Gospel of Matthew about God the Holy Spirit! The One who caused the virgin to conceive, the One who constitutes the baptizing work of the Lord Jesus, the One who publicly affirms the identity of the Son and empowers Him in His miracles — This is the One whom we can know and honor by fulfilling the Great Commission! Give thanks today for God the Holy Spirit!

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from the Gospel of MARK about the Holy Spirit?

There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what do we learn from the Gospel of Mark about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the Gospel of Mark?

Ch. 1- 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” The “baptism of the Spirit” incorporates a believer into the Body of Christ.

9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” This is a wonderful reference to the Trinity inaugurating the public ministry of the Lord Jesus.

12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[g] by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. The Spirit of God led the Lord Jesus into the wilderness to be tested.

Ch. 3-
23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” This is a frightening passage. There is a sin that cannot be forgiven. My understanding is that such a sin is denying the testimony of the Spirit to the Son, causing a person to reject the Son of God. Rejecting the Son of God = no forgiveness.

Ch. 13-
9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will help God’s servants when they are put on trial for the gospel.

32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Here is another what I call binitarian reference to the Spirit. That is, He is not mentioned. Only the Father and the Son are mentioned. Again emphasizing His role in the background in many situations.

So — we see several truths about the Spirit of God in this second gospel. The believer is baptized “with” the Holy Spirit upon conversion. The beginning of Christ’s public ministry is the occasion in which both Father and Spirit make themselves known as Christ identifies Himself with repentant sinners. The Spirit sends Jesus out into the wilderness to be tested. Blasphemy against the Spirit is an unpardonable sin. The Spirit stands ready to assist God’s people when they are put on trial for the gospel. The CHALLENGE: Praise God the Holy Spirit today for His works in your life!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from Philemon and Jude about the Holy Spirit?

There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what do the epistles of Philemon and Jude say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistles of Philemon and Jude?

Philemon has a binitarian verse 3 which refers to the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (but no reference to the Spirit). Otherwise, there are no overt references to the Spirit in this one-chapter letter.

In Jude we have a binitarian reference in verse 1 regarding those who “are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” A similar omission of the Spirit occurs in verse four where we read of the false teachers that “They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”

We do read in verses 17-19 – 17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. What does it mean that they “do not have the Spirit”? The reference is to scoffers who follow their own ungodly desires and who divide God’s people. We do read in Romans 8:9 the following: “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” To not have the Spirit = to not belong to Christ!

We then have the incredible challenge in verses 20-21 — 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. What does it mean to pray in the Holy Spirit? We have a similar charge in Ephesians 6:18 which says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” “Praying in the Spirit” (as we suggest in our article “The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit”) means becoming aware of and cooperating with His ministries in our lives.

We have a similar binitarian references in verses 24-25 which conclude this short epistle: 24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. It seems that Jude follows other NT writers in keeping the Spirit in the background.

The Challenge: If you and I “have the Spirit” we should not follow mere natural instincts. And we should “pray in the Holy Spirit” so that we understand and cooperate with His ministries in our lives!

 

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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