Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

“Faithful Preaching and the Power of the Spirit: The Delivery of the Sermon”

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Posted by on January 14, 2020 in preaching


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Preaching to the Heart: Faithful Preaching and the Power of the Spirit: The Accuracy of the Sermon”

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Posted by on January 13, 2020 in preaching


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J.I. Packer on Forming Holy Habits (Time for a Great Quote)

J.I. Packer writes, “By the Spirit’s enabling, Christians resolve to do particular things that are right, and actually do them, and thus form habits of doing right things, and out of these habits comes a character that is right.”

He later adds, “Holiness teaching that skips over disciplined persistence in the well-doing that forms holy habits is thus weak; habit forming is the Spirit’s ordinary way of leading us on in holiness.” J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit (Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell, 1984), p. 108-9.

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Posted by on June 27, 2019 in habits


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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 6 JOY and Circumstances

The Apostle Paul uses the word JOY (and its variants) sixteen times in this epistle of Philippians. Let’s notice Paul’s third use of this word in 1:18-19 —

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

Paul is in prison! How can one rejoice — in prison?!

The key to rejoicing here, I suggest, is that Paul knew that God was in control. He had confidence that his imprisonment had not happened by accident. It was not without purpose. And he looked forward to his eventual release.

Some of you know that each year I teach a survey of Bible doctrine class to lifers at our local prison. These men have come to know Christ, many of them, while incarcerated. In the seven or eight years that I have taught my course there have been a few who were Christians before prison and made some terrible choices (one was even a pastor). Sometimes my desire to know the specifics of why these brothers are in prison — most for life — is very strong. But I don’t need to know those details. My job is to help prepare them for ministry as assistant prison chaplains (the program of study being conducted by Columbia International University).

Paul continues to rejoice, even though he is in prison. And I can imagine that his circumstances were much worse than that of the brothers I work with here. How do we rejoice in our present circumstances? Several truths help us here:

1. Scripture tells us to be thankful in all things, not for all things (I Thes. 5:18). We are not to be thankful for sin or for evil actions. But we are to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
2. Our text today gives us two truths that will help us keep our JOY in trying circumstances. The first truth is the prayers of others! Paul says, ” I know that through your prayers . . . what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” How much do you and I count on the prayers of others? Probably far too little!
3.The third truth that will help us rejoice in circumstances is also in our text: ” I know that through . . . God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” We ask God to provide us a sense of the Spirit’s presence in our lives as we live for Him.

Want to keep your JOY as you go through your various circumstances? In Philippians 4 Paul says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Recognize that God is sovereign in your life situation right now. Begin to ask for prayer from others that you will honor Christ in what you are going through. And depend on God’s Holy Spirit to comfort and guide you where you are. (to be continued)






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Posted by on April 27, 2019 in joy


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Time for a Great Quote: Tozer on the Spirit-Filled Life!

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Posted by on June 17, 2016 in Spirit-Filled life


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Back to Basics (A Study of Titus 2): Part 2

We’re looking at the Apostle Paul’s Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 8.15.29 AMparagraph on the Christian life found in Titus 2.  There we read:

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

Please notice that God’s grace is not just a SALVATION-OFFERING grace.  It is also a TEACHING grace.    We do not naturally know how to live as Christians, how to work out into daily experience the salvation we have been given.  We need to be taught; we need to see ourselves as students of God’s grace.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 7.46.35 AM“But I HATED school!”, some might say.  Get over it.  Whether you had a lousy English teacher or a grouchy math teacher — your instructor in the Christian life is God the Holy Spirit (see John 14-16 for some details).

Who sets the curriculum for these grace-lessons?  God does, of course.  He is the One who knows what we need to know.   I am deeply impressed by Flannery O’Connor statement when she said, “The high-school English teacher will beScreen Shot 2015-07-27 at 7.36.56 AM fulfilling his responsibility if he furnishes the student a guided opportunity, through the best writing of the past, to come, in time, to an understanding of the best writing of the present. And if the student finds that this is not to his taste? Well, that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted; it is being formed.”

Are you allowing God the Holy Spirit to FORM your tastes to the things of God?  In our next post we will notice two areas in which our tastes desperately need to be formed! (to be continued)

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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Titus 2


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Ignore the Ministries of the Holy Spirit to Your Own PERIL!

This is Part 5 in our five-part series on theologically quenching the Spirit of God.   FirefoxScreenSnapz483We saw in our 1st post that we may theologically quench the Spirit of God when we fail to be Berean believers.  In Part 2 we pointed out that we quench the Spirit when we don’t listen to His speaking to us through other believers.  We then noticed that we quench the Spirit  when we confuse our impressions with the Spirit’s speaking through the Word.  In Part 4 we suggested that when we don’t test all that we hear by the Spirit’s primary tool, the Word of God, we quench the Spirit.

The fifth way we may theologically quench the Spirit of God is when —


The Bible teaches that the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, has a variety of ministries to the believer in Christ.  Let’s briefly think about three of these.

CONVICTION OF SIN:  Jesus said, “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” (John 16).  One writer argues vehemently against the idea of the Holy Spirit convicting the believer of sin:  He says,

“This is obviously a highly sensitive subject, but a very important one. FirefoxScreenSnapz484Your answer to this question will influence your view of God and your relationship with Him immensely. For some reason, many teachers of the Bible have taught that when Christians sin, the Holy Spirit will convict them of their wrongdoing, giving them the chance to repent and over time they will learn to sin less. This goes against so many scriptures it’s just not funny. There is actually not even one scripture that says the Holy Spirit convicts Christians of sin.”  This writer goes on to say (after looking at a number of Scriptures):

“These are just a few of the scriptures that tell us God is not keeping score of our sins and that He actually in His almighty power has made Himself forget our lawless transgressions. If God is not keeping score and doesn’t remember our wrong doings, the Holy Spirit would be acting in rebellion against God by convicting us of sin. FirefoxScreenSnapz485Lastly, if faith is the only thing that pleases God, how does He expect us to have any morsel of faith if the guilt and condemnation from constant conviction of wrongdoing and missing the mark is robbing us of any shred of confidence we have to believe? Your capacity to believe is directly related to your ability to realize God is not judging you, but that He has judged Jesus in your place. God decided to treat Jesus the way you deserved to be treated, and to now treat you the way Jesus deserves to be treated. That is the basic definition of undeserved favour and unearned grace.  So in closing, the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict you of sin. It is the devil who is trying to get you to doubt the goodness of God. The next time you hear that conviction whispering in your ear, tell it to shut up because you are the righteousness of God in Christ and thank Him for Jesus’ sacrifice!”  {You may read his full article here}. (to be continued)


1.  What do you think of this writer’s perspective?

2.  How would you prove from the Scriptures that the Spirit does indeed convict the believer of sin?



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Posted by on May 5, 2014 in John 16


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Quench Your Thirst! But For Your Sake Don’t Quench the Spirit!

This is Part 3 in our series on theologically quenching the Spirit of God.  FirefoxScreenSnapz459We saw in our 1st post that we may theologically quench the Spirit of God when we fail to be Berean believers.  That is, when we don’t test all we hear or read or see with the Scriptures, we are effectively disarming the Spirit of God.  We saw in Part 2 in our series that we quench the Spirit when we don’t listen to His speaking to us through other believers.

The third way we may theologically quench the Spirit of God is when —


We read in I Thessalonians 5:   19 Don’t quench the Spirit, 20 don’t despise inspired messages. 21 But do test everything — hold onto what is good . . .

I was visiting a friend in Dallas a few days ago and, while I was waiting for him to finish work, FirefoxScreenSnapz466I stopped in at a local Starbucks.  As I began to work on my laptop, I noticed a dark-haired woman, maybe about 40 (always a dangerous thing to guess a woman’s age), packing up her things and getting ready to leave.

As she walked out of Starbucks, she gave me the following note:prophetic note

Now, I don’t know what you think of such things, but I’m not into words of prophecy or words of knowledge, so this took me a bit by surprise.

The note reads:  “Do not allow what you think you see & hear be the reality.  I am God & I work in ways you cannot see but it does not mean I am not working on your behalf.”

How should I respond to this note from a total stranger?  Had she just lost her job at a Chinese fortune cookie factory?  I did not follow her out the door or engage her in any way.  For some reason, she felt she needed to write me this personal note — to encourage me, I guess.

I don’t recall feeling particularly down.  In fact, my strong cup of Starbucks was doing a FirefoxScreenSnapz467pretty good job of bolstering my spirits!

I don’t find much in her note that troubles me.  I don’t see anything that is clearly contrary to Scripture.  But what does bother me a tad is that she thinks she was speaking God’s truth to me at that moment.  How would she know my situation without talking to me, asking me questions, seeing what I was going through or thinking?

I believe the Spirit’s primary way of speaking to us is through the written Word of God, the Bible. I am quite skeptical of those who think they are speaking for God when they don’t use the Scriptures.

We can quench the Spirit when we don’t listen to His speaking to us through other believers.  But we can also quench the Spirit when we follow our own instincts or impressions and believe we are speaking for the Spirit of God.


1.  Have you had a Christian speak to you in a way that made you think they were claiming direct revelation from God?  How did you respond?

2.  “The Lord spoke to me and told me to tell you” is not a new phenomenon.  Read over Job 4:12-17 and see how Job’s friend Eliphaz took this approach with Job.  How would you have responded to Eliphaz?


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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in I Thessalonians 5:19


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