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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from I Peter 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 does the epistle of I Peter 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 epistle of I Peter? We find that there are several significant references to God the Holy Spirit:

Ch. 1– Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood …  Here in chapter one we get an insight into the Trinitarian nature of our salvation. We “have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood . . .” What a wonderful Trinitarian reference! Here sanctification seems to precede justification.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. We also learn in chapter one that the Holy Spirit (“sent from heaven”) assisted those who preached the gospel to Peter’s audience. The “things that have now been told you”, we read, “even angels long to look into these things.” The Holy Spirit aids preachers who proclaim the truth of God.

Ch. 3– 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. Here the Holy Spirit is credited with making alive the Lord Jesus after He was put to death! [Other interpretations are possible here, but the translators of the NIV capitalize “the Spirit,” indicating the Third Person of the Trinity.

Ch. 4– 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. In this last reference to the Spirit, we learn that suffering should not surprise us. We are to rejoice that we “participate” in the sufferings of Christ so we may be overjoyed “when his glory is revealed.” There is a special blessing to those who are insulted as believers, “for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”

The Spirit sanctifies us, assisting the preaching of the gospel. He is the One who raised the Son from the dead. And we may be confident that “the Spirit of glory and of God rests” on us! Praise the Lord!

 

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Half of Congregation Dies of Starvation As Sermon Goes 15 Minutes Overtime — Satire from the Babylon Bee


RUSSELLVILLE, AR—Roughly half of the churchgoers at First Baptist Church Russellville died of starvation Sunday after the pastor tragically went 15 minutes over his standard sermon time, local sources confirmed.

“We don’t know if the pastor simply lost track of time due to passion while preaching the word of God, or if something more nefarious was going on,” police chief Dwayne Carroll told reporters Monday.

“It’s hard to imagine that Pastor Frank did not notice the panicked glances at phones and watches, along with the thunderous stomach growls and moans of agony reverberating throughout the sanctuary within minutes after he began to breach his normal closing time,” the chief continued. “Whatever the case, he went well over his standard allotted time for delivering his message, and roughly 75 people in attendance simply could not hold out, succumbing to their hunger before the the end of the church service.”

Thankfully, the other half of the congregation was able to make a speedy exit as soon as they were dismissed, frantically rushing out the doors and flooding all local restaurants for emergency sustenance.

“Pastor Frank should have known the dire consequences of a church service going even a minute past its normal ending time,” one survivor noted to reporters. “I mean, people have to eat.”

Police Chief Carroll confirmed that the investigation is ongoing.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2019 in satire

 

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

Suggestions for Further Study

There are many other topics concerning the Spirit of God which we have not discussed. I’ve enjoyed going through individual books of the Bible to see what one can learn about the Person and Works of the Holy Spirit. We have not discussed how the Holy Spirit’s ministries in the Old Testament differ from those in the New. Nor have we studied the various names of the Third Person of the Godhead. But we have, we believe, proven that the believer can and should develop a kind of personal relationship with Spirit, understanding and cooperating with His various ministries.

Here is a chart I developed to encourage preachers in their growing relationship with God the Holy Spirit. You may find several areas of interest to pursue.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 5 JOY and Preaching

As we work our way through the epistle to the Philippians, we are commenting on Paul’s use of the word JOY (and its variants). His first use of the word JOY occurs in 1:4 where he says he always prays with JOY” for these believers. I’ve got a lot to learn about prayer — and its connection to what I’m calling “deep JOY.”

The second use of the term JOY is found in 1:15-18 where we read:

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (ch. 1)

Should we rejoice when “Christ” is preached by the cults? Of course not! Why not? Because the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons and those in Ba’hai, etc. are not preaching the biblical Christ! Paul’s not thankful for false Christs being preached. He’s rejoicing when the true Christ is proclaimed, even if the motives for such preaching are not praiseworthy.

Do I rejoice when prosperity theology preachers — the “Name It/Claim It” characters — preach Christ? That’s a challenge, primarily because they often twist the gospel for financial gain. Paul is dealing with motives not with the message itself. We must evaluate and oppose perverted “gospels” that some proclaim today.

Paul says some preach Christ out of goodwill and love while others preach Christ out of envy and rivalry and selfish ambition, seeking to get Paul in more trouble than he already was. The obvious point is that Paul isn’t primarily interested in his own situation, but in the true Christ being preached!

Challenge: How will you and I “preach Christ” today? Let’s rejoice in Him and His saving work and share the gospel out of love and goodwill.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2019 in joy

 

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A Spiritually Healthy Family (A Study of the Epistle to Titus) (Part 1 of 5)

I’m so thankful for the ministry opportunities that the Lord is giving me in my old age (I’m 69). Camp Elim in Woodland Park, Colorado, is having me speak at their family camp May 25-27. My blog gives me the space to think through and prepare five messages for the families that attend.

There are many passages in Scripture that speak directly to families (I think of Ephesians 5 which gives certain commands to husbands and wives and Ephesians 6 which does the same for children). In the Old Testament we have the very famous statement in Deuteronomy 11 which says,We who are followers of Jesus acknowledge the divine authority of the Old Testament, so this passage in Deuteronomy challenges us parents and grandparents to constantly focus on God’s words — and share them with our children and grandchildren!

If all 66 books of the Bible are part of God’s Word, then every individual book of the Bible contains truth that spiritually-healthy families need. Hence, this study of the little letter to Titus! Let’s look at Titus 1 this morning:

The Spiritually-Healthy Family —

I. Cares Deeply about the Local Church (1:1-9)

A. Wants to further the faith of God’s elect (v. 1)

There is much I don’t understand about election, but here Paul expresses his desire to help the elect grow in godliness. A spiritually-healthy person has that desire as well.

B. Affirms the value of the biblical preaching of the gospel (vv. 2-3)

God — who does not lie — has made certain promises and these are “brought to light” through the faithful proclamation of His Word.

C. Recognizes the need for godly leadership (vv.  5-9)

The spiritually-healthy family believes in God-appointed human authority in the local church and prays for those in leadership.

(We will continue this five-part series over the next few days)

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2019 in spiritual health

 

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A Ministry Update — Thanks, in Advance, for Praying!

Friends:
Some of you might want to know what I’m up to over the next few months. I am so grateful for the Lord’s kindness in using me in various ministries.

March 30-April 8 — I will be traveling to New Jersey to speak at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel, consult with their elders, and lead a 1/2 day seminar on my book DocWALK: Putting into Practice What We Say We Believe. I was so encouraged with my last trip to Cedarcroft and the seminar we did on my book DocTALK. We had almost 40 people come to that 1/2 day study.  Please pray for strength as I preach and teach. I’ll also be privileged to share the Word with the believers at Fifth Avenue Chapel, Belmar, NJ. And I’ll stay with my 92-year-old mother-in-law Mary while I’m there (and catch up on missed episodes of “Little House on the Prairie”).

April 10 – My manuscript on Unlike Jesus: One Area Where Jesus-Followers Excel is due today. This is a study of friendship evangelism. My concern is that some of us have confused not being a friend of the world (James 4) with being a friend of sinners (Matthew 11). I am convicted by Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s statement that “We have, in a real sense, lost sense of the lostness of the lost.”

April 21 – Preach at a local Chinese church on Easter Sunday (in English with translation). I would appreciate your praying for my preparation of that message and that it would be an encouragement to those believers.

April 28 – Tag-team preaching with Ministry Consultant /Teaching Team Leader David Olshine at Sandhills Community Church on the ascension of the Lord Jesus!

May 25-27 – Family Retreat at Camp Elim, Woodland Park, Colorado. We will be studying Paul’s epistle to Titus and the theme will be “The Spiritually Healthy Family.”

Again, thank you for praying for me! And for reading my blog!

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2019 in ministry

 

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Getting Some Work Done!


As some of you know, I’ve been retired from teaching full-time for two years. The Lord has been so gracious to me to keep me busy and, hopefully, useful to Him! I’ve enjoyed teaching overseas (Korea, Myanmar) and right now am working hard on two manuscript projects. I appreciate the believers in New Jersey who invite me to speak every few months. And I’m thankful for you, my friend, for reading my posts. If you feel so inclined, a comment below would be an encouragement to me. Have a great day!

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2019 in work

 

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