RSS

Tag Archives: The Holy Spirit

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!

 

 

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

Tags: , ,

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!

 

 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 7, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

Tags: , , ,

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

What do we learn from the book of Revelation about God the Holy Spirit?

Ch. 1- 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” We learn of John being “in the Spirit.”
Ch. 2- 7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.   11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. 17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Ch. 3- 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” The Spirit of God speaks to the various churches.

Ch. 4- 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. We learn of John being “in the Spirit.”

Ch. 14- 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

Ch. 17- 3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. We learn of John being “in the Spirit.”

Ch. 19- 10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” Here the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of prophecy.

Ch. 21- 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. We learn of John being “in the Spirit.”

Ch. 22- 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. Here we have the Spirit and the Son speaking.

There is no doubt that the book of Revelation is a challenging book to understand. But we do see the Spirit leading John in what he wrote. This same Spirit has much to say to the churches.

How do we hear the voice of the Spirit today? We now have God’s completed Word. The Spirit’s primary instrument to speak to the churches today is the written Word of God. The real question is: Are we listening to the Spirit?

 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

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!

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 2, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from 2 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 2 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 2 Peter? We find that there are several significant references to God the Holy Spirit:

Ch. 1– Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
We have several “binitarian” references here (places where the Father and the Son are mentioned, but not the Spirit of God).

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Here we also have no reference to the Spirit.

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Here is a clear reference to the Spirit of God. He “carried along” the biblical writers so that what they wrote was what God wanted written.

Although there are no further references to the Spirit of God that I can see in 2 Peter, His work in the prophets was crucial.

Praise God the Holy Spirit for His ministry of inspiration and preservation of the Word of God!

 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 1, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

Tags: , ,

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!

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 26, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

Tags: , , ,

The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from 2 & 3 John 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 2 & 3 John 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 2 & 3 John? We find that there is precious little reference to the Spirit of God in Titus! But here’s the one reference that we do have —

2 John —
Again we have a greeting from the Father and the Son (with the Spirit being omitted) (1:3). I refer to these omissions of the Spirit as “binitarian” texts, i.e., the Spirit is omitted. Why? Perhaps to emphasize His behind-the-scenes work?

We have a similar binitarian reference in verse 9 where we read, “anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”

3 John —
In the one chapter third letter of John we have no overt references to the Spirit of God. There is a fascinating statement in verse 11 – “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.” Has anyone “seen” God? Certainly John means this metaphorically.

The Challenge today: Show others that you have “seen” God by not doing evil and by doing good!

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 13, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

Tags: , , ,