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

In titling these posts “The Forgotten Third,” we are asking how are we missing God the Holy Spirit? While it is true that some believers overemphasize Him, others (it seems to us) overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

There is much to be learned about Him from looking at whole books of the Bible. Since I am presently studying I Thessalonians with my friend Frank, let’s notice each reference to the Spirit in that book.

In Chapter One, Paul tells us —
“our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction” (v. 5). He also says, “6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

There are no references to the Spirit in Chapter Two.

There are no references to the Spirit in Chapter Three (although verses 11-13 would have been a great occasion to refer to the Spirit!).

In Chapter Four we read, “7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

In I Thessalonians Chapter Five we read: “Do not quench the Spirit” (v. 19).

These are the references to God the Holy Spirit in the book of I Thessalonians. So, our communicating the gospel to others must be with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with conviction. For those believers in severe suffering, there is available the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And we learn that we must not reject God’s instructions because we would be rejecting the very God who gives us His Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must not quench the Spirit!

In our next post we will look at the book of Ephesians and collect all references to God the Holy Spirit.

The Challenge Today: Ask God the Holy Spirit for His joy to live out today to the glory of God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — Let’s Not QUENCH the Holy Spirit of God!

We are asking in these posts, how are we to relate to the Third Person of the Trinity? Some believers overemphasize Him while others overlook Him. Wanting a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity, we continue our study by asking, what does it mean to “quench” the Holy Spirit?

We read in I Thessalonians 5:19 —

Do not quench the Spirit. (NIV)

Other translations of this verse put it a bit differently: The NET Bible has “Do not extinguish the Spirit.” The Living Bible says, “Do not smother the Holy Spirit.” The CSB renders this verse as: “Don’t stifle the Spirit.” The CEB says, “Don’t suppress the Spirit” while the ICB has “Do not stop the work of the Holy Spirit.”

So, we are not to extinguish or smother the Holy Spirit. We can somehow stifle Him or suppress Him, stopping His work in and through us. The context of I Thessalonians 5:19 mentions prophesying and the Phillips’ translation renders the text as: Never damp the fire of the Spirit, and never despise what is spoken in the name of the Lord. By all means use your judgement, and hold on to whatever is really good, Steer clear of evil in any form. The Message says: Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.

So — what does it mean to QUENCH the Spirit of God? When the word “quench” is used in Scripture, it is speaking of suppressing fire. When believers put on the shield of faith, as part of their armor of God (Ephesians 6:16), they are extinguishing the power of the fiery darts from Satan. Christ described hell as a place where the fire would not be “quenched” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48). Likewise, the Holy Spirit is a fire dwelling in each believer. He wants to express Himself in our actions and attitudes. When believers do not allow the Spirit to be seen in our actions, when we do what we know is wrong, we suppress or quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We do not allow the Spirit to reveal Himself the way that He wants to. (https://www.gotquestions.org/grieve-quench-Holy-Spirit.html)

The Challenge: How might you be quenching the Spirit of God’s fire in your life? Confess that — and ask Him to continue His good work in you.

Here’s a bonus summary of an article on this issue:

“Seven Ways We Quench the Holy Spirit” (Sam Storms)

1. We quench the Holy Spirit when we rely decisively on any resource other than the Holy Spirit for anything we do in life and ministry.
2. We quench the Spirit whenever we diminish his personality and speak of him as if he were only an abstract power or source of divine energy.
3. We quench the Spirit whenever we suppress or legislate against his work of imparting spiritual gifts and ministering to the church through them.
4. We quench the Spirit whenever we create an inviolable and sanctimonious structure in our corporate gatherings and worship services, and in our small groups, that does not permit spontaneity or the special leading of the Spirit.
5. We quench the Spirit whenever we despise prophetic utterances (1 Thessalonians 5:20).
6. We quench the Spirit whenever we diminish his activity that alerts and awakens us to the glorious and majestic truth that we are truly the children of God (Romans 8:15–16; Galatians 4:4–7).
7. We quench the Spirit whenever we suppress, or legislate against, or instill fear in the hearts of people regarding the legitimate experience of heartfelt emotions and affections in worship.
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/seven-ways-to-quench-the-spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit –Let’s Not GRIEVE the Holy Spirit of God!

One of my seminary students wrote a paper on “The Lost Art of Lament.” She made the case that we have virtually forgotten how to grieve over our sins. Isn’t it true that our prayers are often skeleton supplications for God to bless us? When we worship or adore God in prayer, have we skipped lament? We ought to grieve over our sins, but do we ever grieve the Spirit of God?

When it comes to God the Holy Spirit, some believers overemphasize Him while others overlook Him. We want a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity. We begin this morning with a series of posts on how we respond to the Third Member of the Trinity.

We are not to GRIEVE Him. We read in Ephesians 4:30 —

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

There are quite a few verses in the Bible about grieving.

Gen 6:5-6- 5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (KJV)

Genesis 18:20
Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous . . .

Deuteronomy 34:8
The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.

1 Samuel 20:34
Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.

2 Samuel 1:26
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.

Job 30:25
Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?

Psalm 78:40
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the wasteland!

Isaiah 63:10
Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.

John 16:20
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.

Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

1 Thessalonians 4:13
[ Believers Who Have Died ] Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

Here are my observations about GRIEF in the Scriptures:
1. GOD grieves! God is “grieved at his heart” that he had made man (Gen. 6:6).

2. God grieves at the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah (“their sin so grievous”) (Gen. 18:20).

3. People grieve for other people in the Bible (the Israelites for Moses [Dt. 34:8], Jonathan’s grief at his father’s shameful treatment of David [I Sam. 20:34], David’s grief at Jonathan’s death [2 Sam. 1:26], etc.).

4. Job defends himself as grieving for the poor and weeping for those in trouble (Job 30:25).

5. We are told very specifically that Israel rebelled against God and “grieved him in the wasteland” (Ps. 78:40).

6. In the Old Testament we learn that the Israelites “rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them” (Is. 63:10).

7. We are to forgive others whatever grievance we have against them (Col. 3:13).

8. Jesus says that there will be both weeping and rejoicing: “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (Jn. 16:20).

9. Lastly, we are to grieve at the death of those we love, but we are told, “you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (I Thes. 4:13).

Conclusion: We can — and often do — grieve God the Holy Spirit. Grieving our and other’s sin is right and good. But we must recognize that because He is a Person, the Spirit of God can be grieved by our unbelief and rebellion. Anything you need to apologize to the Holy Spirit for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit –The FRUIT of the Holy Spirit!

In our Christian lives we are so often like the drunk cowboy who gets on his horse and falls off on the right side, promptly remounts and falls off on the left side. When it comes to God the Holy Spirit, some believers overemphasize Him while others overlook Him. We want a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

We have suggested that because He is personal, we can speak to Him. And because He is divine, we can worship Him. Neither of these actions are at the expense of our first love, the Lord Jesus, the One the Spirit came to glorify.

The Holy Spirit is invisible, so how do we know that He is real and that He is working in our lives? While invisibility does not equal non-existence, the Spirit shows His presence by the works He does in and through believers. One of His primary works is to produce FRUIT in the Jesus-follower’s life. We read in Galatians 5 —

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

In this section Paul is contrasting the Spirit and the flesh. “The flesh” here refers to our sinful nature which desires what is contrary to the Spirit. The Spirit is not uninvolved — He desires what is contrary to the flesh (v. 17). This conflict between the Spirit and the flesh is “fleshed out” in verses 19-26.

The “acts of the flesh” are obvious and are listed as the Filthy Fifteen: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and orgies. And, as if that list isn’t enough, Paul adds, “and the like” (v. 21). Notice that these “acts” have to do with sexual purity, who or what we worship, dabbling with the demonic, internal attitudes like hatred and jealousy, the improper use of our temper, self-centered living, loss of self-control, and complete abandonment to immorality.

We then have an opposite list of the fruit of the Spirit. This list entails nine Spiritual Attitudes which inevitably manifest themselves in how we relate to others. The fruit include: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The Challenge: Claim to be filled with the Spirit, led by Him? Check for fruit in your life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — PRAYING IN the Holy Spirit!

Some Christians tend to overemphasize the Holy Spirit, while others of us tend to overlook Him. Because we need a balanced, biblical view of our relationship with the Holy Spirit, we are writing these posts, asking how are we to relate to Him? Because He is personal, we can pray to Him — and, because He is God, we can worship Him. Neither of these two actions ought to be understood as taking the place of our primary calling of worshiping the Lord Jesus. The Spirit’s major role is to glorify the Lord Jesus!

Apart from the many ministries that the Holy Spirit has in the believer’s life, we need to consider how we respond to Him. Scripture tells us not to grieve Him in Ephesians 4:30 (“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.“).

But we have a fascinating command in the one-chapter epistle of Jude where he writes, “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit . . .”

What in the world does it mean to “pray in the Holy Spirit”? This expression is used only one other time in Scripture and that is in Ephesians 6:18 where we read, “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.”

Does “praying in the Spirit” refer to the use of some supernatural, unlearned language? Some in the charismatic movement refer to “heavenly babbling,” the speaking “in other tongues.” However, when we examine the speaking in tongues on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples spoke in known dialects so that the gospel could be understood by people from various backgrounds.

There is  nothing in the context of Jude 1 or of Ephesians 6 that would indicate that other-worldly languages are being referred to by the expression “praying in the Holy Spirit” or “pray in the Spirit.” May I suggest a rather mundane, but hopefully accurate view of this practice and that would be — We should pray in accordance with the Spirit’s ministries. In other words, in Jude the challenge is to stand strong for the gospel. To build ourselves up in our most holy faith involves praying that the Holy Spirit would have His way in our lives, that we would listen to His promptings, that we would obey His teaching of God’s truth. In Ephesians our praying in the Spirit concerns others — We are to pray “in the Spirit” on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. This involves being alert and consistent in praying for all the Lord’s people.

Conclusion: We pray in the Spirit when we are aware of His works in our lives and we ask His help in doing our work for God. The self-work we do is to strengthen ourselves in God’s truth. The others-work we do is to intercede for God’s people.

The Challenge: Are you praying in the Holy Spirit? Take one of His ministries to you and ask Him to help you co-operate with His work in your life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — The SEALING of the Holy Spirit!

In this series of posts we are thinking about the Third Member of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit. We are convinced that some Christian tend to overemphasize Him, while others of us tend to overlook Him. We need a balanced, biblical view of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. And we are suggesting that we can speak with Him (for He is a Person) and we can worship Him (for He is God).

Neither of these two actions ought to be understood as taking the place of our primary calling of worshiping the Lord Jesus. The Spirit’s major role is to glorify the Lord Jesus!

One ministry of the Spirit I’ve heard virtually nothing about is His SEALING ministry.

John 6:27
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.

1 Corinthians 9:2
Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Ephesians 1:13
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

Ephesians 4:30
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

We learn from John 6 that God the Father placed His seal of approval on the Son of Man. Paul declares in I Corinthians 9 that the Corinthians “are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.”

We are told in 2 Corinthians 1 that God has “set his seal of ownership on us . . .” How has He done that? The passage goes on and says, “and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (v. 22).

Ephesians 1 makes it clear that after we believed we “were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (v. 13). Paul then tells us in chapter 4 that we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, “with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (v. 30).

GotQuestions.org has the following helpful summary:
Question: “What is the seal of the Holy Spirit?”
Answer:
The Holy Spirit is referred to as the “deposit,” “seal,” and “earnest” in the hearts of Christians (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30). The Holy Spirit is God’s seal on His people, His claim on us as His very own. The Greek word translated “earnest” in these passages is arrhabōn which means “a pledge,” that is, part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the rest. The gift of the Spirit to believers is a down payment on our heavenly inheritance, which Christ has promised us and secured for us at the cross. It is because the Spirit has sealed us that we are assured of our salvation. No one can break the seal of God.

The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a “first installment” to assure us that our full inheritance as children of God will be delivered. The Holy Spirit is given to us to confirm to us that we belong to God who grants to us His Spirit as a gift, just as grace and faith are gifts (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through the gift of the Spirit, God renews and sanctifies us. He produces in our hearts those feelings, hopes, and desires which are evidence that we are accepted by God, that we are regarded as His adopted children, that our hope is genuine, and that our redemption and salvation are sure in the same way that a seal guarantees a will or an agreement. God grants to us His Holy Spirit as the certain pledge that we are His forever and shall be saved in the last day. The proof of the Spirit’s presence is His operations on the heart which produce repentance, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), conformity to God’s commands and will, a passion for prayer and praise, and love for His people. These things are the evidences that the Holy Spirit has renewed the heart and that the Christian is sealed for the day of redemption.

So it is through the Holy Spirit and His teachings and guiding power that we are sealed and confirmed until the day of redemption, complete and free from the corruption of sin and the grave. Because we have the seal of the Spirit in our hearts, we can live joyfully, confident of our sure place in a future that holds unimaginable glories. https://www.gotquestions.org/Holy-Spirit-seal.html

The Challenge: Thank the Holy Spirit today for His sealing you until the day of redemption! And enjoy your freedom in Christ today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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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 —

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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