Tag Archives: faithfulness
The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — The GIFTS of God the Holy Spirit! (Part 4)
Some Christians seem to overemphasize the Holy Spirit, while many of us overlook Him. We need to biblically relate to Him. We can speak to Him because He is personal and, because He is God, we can (and should) worship Him. Neither of these actions are intended to minimize the primacy of the Lord Jesus, for the Spirit of God’s primary job is to glorify the Lord Jesus.
The various ministries in the church are not all to be performed by professional clergy, because every believer is given gifts by the Holy Spirit to be used to build up the Body of Christ and to serve a broken and needy world. The four major passages on spiritual gifts are Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4. Let’s look at the last of our four passages, I Peter 4 —
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
What do we learn here about God the Holy Spirit? Actually He is not specifically mentioned in this last text on spiritual gifts, but we may infer several truths:
1. We are told to “use whatever gift you have received to serve others” (v. 10). And we know from our other texts that the Spirit is the Giver of the gifts.
2. We are to be “faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (v. 10). It is the Spirit of God who is the grace-giver, “grace” referring to the gifts themselves.
3. One question would be: Who is the “God” being referred to in verse 11? We read, 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Could “God” in this verse be referring to the Third Member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit? If so, the one who has the gift of speaking should do so as one “who speaks the very words of God” (the Holy Spirit). After all, it is the Spirit who led the Apostles to write the New Testament. Now, it does not appear that verse 11 is saying that new revelation is being given or that it should be added to the divine canon of Scripture.
Further, the one who serves should serve “with the strength God [the Holy Spirit?] provides.” Why? “So that in all things God [the Holy Spirit?] may be praised through Jesus Christ.” Could this be another reference to the Third Member of the Trinity? He is worthy to be praised and to receive “glory and power for ever and ever.”
The Challenge: In all four of these texts on the spiritual gifts, it appears that much of the work which the Spirit of God is doing in the church and in the world is through God’s gifted-people. What enablement or gifting do you have to serve the Lord?
Our lives are made up of a multitude of “moments,” aren’t they? Some are pleasurable, some — not so much. You may have heard the story of an elderly sister in Christ who was asked the question, “What is your favorite Bible verse?” She thought about her life and the many deep waters the Lord had taken her through, and she said, “My favorite verse is ‘And it came to PAST!”
Are you going through some moments now that you wish would become the past? I was greatly encouraged the other day by reading through the book of Lamentations. In the midst of all of his legitimate complaints, Jeremiah writes —
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions [mercies] never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
My problem is that I sometimes live on what a preacher called “stale mercies.” When I was a kid, every morning was an adventure of reading the cereal boxes when we had breakfast. Sometimes they were fascinating; sometimes they held the promise of a prize at the bottom. My brother and I would occasionally fight over which cereal box each of us got to read.
I think we Christians have had too many breakfasts of God’s “stale mercies.” His mercies are NEW every morning, waiting for us, reminding us of His compassions and His greatness.
1 You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.[b]
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.