Holy Spirit

You are currently browsing articles tagged Holy Spirit.

“How can a Christian overcome the fear of witnessing?”

Answer: Possible causes of fear in relation to witnessing include shyness; past or perceived rejection or humiliation; an inability to articulate our personal testimony; a lack of knowledge of Scripture; a failure to trust in the Lord; and an ignorance of why men reject the gospel. Determining the actual cause of fear may be difficult, and understanding the reason may not dispel our fear. But we are commanded to be bold for Jesus (Ephesians 6:19), so we may simply have to persevere, one step at a time. In the meantime we can apply some basic principles and sharpen our skills, since fear can be overcome by preparation (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

If we are not walking with Christ, we will not be able to witness for Christ effectively, so we certainly need to be living a consistent, Christian life. “Let your light shine before men” (Matthew 5:16). If at all possible, we should be attending a Bible-teaching church. Also, we can always improve our knowledge of Scripture, and we should study well the book of John.

Our Lord shared the gospel with many different people. He understood Nicodemus and the woman at the well, and He used that knowledge in drawing them to Himself (John chapters 3 and 4). Our approach, too, should be personally tailored. As we speak with an unbeliever, we should try to ascertain what is keeping him from salvation. Generally speaking, there are three factors that keep people from belief: ambivalence about God, fear of God, and hatred toward God, which includes despising His teachings and His Son.

A study of the Gospel of John will show that the key to successful witnessing is love. Jesus loved people to the point of accepting the cross and separation from the Father. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can learn to love people more. When we do, we will be more motivated to share the gospel, since our desire to save people from eternal punishment will grow. Love compels us to communicate the good news. The Holy Spirit will open doors for us by convicting people of their sin and stirring up a desire for salvation, and He will arrange for our paths to cross. Our job is simply to speak with people and explain that salvation is available to every sinner, and to present the good news of salvation.

Speaking is what many find troubling, as did Moses (Exodus 4:10). However, if we are walking as Christians; if we study and plan; if we rely on the Holy Spirit, the One that convicts and regenerates (John 16:8; Titus 3:5); if we realize that failure is acceptable and that God blesses us when we are rejected (Luke 6:22); and if we truly love people and want to help guide them to heaven, we should be able to find a witnessing approach that works for us.

One method to consider is to prepare and memorize a simple testimony of what Jesus did for us, and this should include several keywords. We also should memorize a few key verses that relate to the gospel and to our testimony. Then, when any one of our keywords arises in a conversation, in a context that can be related to the things of God, we can discuss our testimony or recite a verse and explain the meaning. If we are asked any relevant questions, we can proceed with the confidence that the Holy Spirit has opened a heart. If the other person expresses no interest, we can simply continue the original conversation without anxiety. At the very least, we will have planted a seed.

Study the Word, live the Christian life, let the Holy Spirit do His work (John 3:8), and look for opportunities to share the gospel. It is a privilege to be a part of spreading God’s good news to the world. As we fulfill the Great Commission, we have Jesus’ wonderful promise, “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). What have we to fear?

Recommended Resource: How To Book on Personal Evangelism by Larry Moyer.


Related Topics:

What is the biblical method of evangelism?

Should Christians try to evangelize atheists?

Is it wrong to be a Christian secretly in order to preserve your own life?

What does the Bible say about pre-evangelism?

What is lifestyle evangelism?


Return to:

Questions about the Christian Life


Return to:

GotQuestions.org Home

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Power of the Bowl and the Towel by J. Lee Grady

When I washed the feet of a Gypsy pastor in Hungary last week, it felt like a wall came crashing down.

More than a few times in my travels the Holy Spirit has asked me to wash someone’s feet.· Once this happened in India, when I was with pastors from the lowest caste in Andhra Pradesh. Another time I was with South American pastors who were bitterly divided. It happened again last week when I was in a small Gypsy village in Hungary just a mile from the Ukrainian border.

Washing feet isn’t something I plan on doing during a missionary trip. I don’t travel with a large bowl (it fits awkwardly in a suitcase) and I never pack towels. But as I was driving with my friends Zsolt, Attila and Vera from Debrecen to Uszka, the Lord gave me that familiar nudge. I asked Zsolt to call and make sure a bowl and towel were ready when we arrived.

“During the Nazi era the Romans were shot on sight or sent to prison camps for extermination. It is estimated that between 220,000 to 1.5 million Gypsies were killed during the World War II era. Because census records were not kept, the exact number is anyone’s guess.”

I know only a little about the struggle Gypsies have faced in Europe. Officially called the Romani people, their origins are mysterious. For years they were called Gypsies because it was assumed they wandered to Europe from Egypt. One legend suggests they were evicted from their Egyptian homeland because their ancestors helped protect the infant Jesus when His parents fled there to escape King Herod’s sword.

But today it is widely believed Gypsies began their journey in India, and their darker hair and complexion match that theory. No one knows why they moved so far away or why they didn’t bring Hinduism with them. Some researchers believe they could have been evicted from India because they refused to adopt the majority religion there.

Whatever the case, the history of the Romani people is sad. They are the ultimate underdogs, sharing a social stigma familiar to other minorities. Their ancestors were nomads; today they are some of Europe’s poorest people. After their arrival in Europe during medieval times they were abused, subjected to forced labor, enslaved and sometimes sterilized.

During the Nazi era the Romanis were shot on sight or sent to prison camps for extermination. It is estimated that between 220,000 to 1.5 million Gypsies were killed during the World War II era. Because census records were not kept, the exact number is anyone’s guess.

Because of the rejection they’ve suffered—and the anti-Gypsy bigotry that continues today—many of them struggle with alcoholism, drug addiction, family breakdown and high crime rates. Like Native Americans, they feel forgotten and misunderstood.

Yet their story is changing today. In spite of their social problems, many Gypsies have embraced faith in Christ in recent decades. With their vibrant passion and energetic music, they have unleashed a louder, more Pentecostal version of Christianity that is in stark contrast to the traditional religion of Europe.

This energy was on full display when I arrived at Pastor Edgar Kováks’ church in Uszka. It is one of the largest Gypsy congregations in Hungary, having experienced several waves of Holy Spirit renewal. Today the church’s worship is led by a group of young Romani men (including two of Pastor Edgar’s sons) who want to reach their generation for Christ.

In my message that night in Uszka I reminded the crowd that after the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit led Peter and the other disciples to cross forbidden racial barriers. Peter preached to Italians in Cornelius’ house, while Philip went to Samaritans and an Ethiopian. Barnabas went to Cyprus, and Paul carried the gospel to Greece, Italy and beyond.

In other words, no one is excluded from the boundless love of God. When Peter saw that the Holy Spirit had fallen on Cornelius’ Gentile relatives, he said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him” (Acts 10:34-35, NASB). This is good news to Gypsies, and any other marginalized ethnic group that has suffered because of their skin color or racial heritage.

When I began to wash Pastor Edgar’s feet that night in front of his congregation, many of the people began to weep—and I couldn’t hold my tears back either. Then I asked Zsolt, a white Hungarian pastor from Debrecen, to join me. More tears flowed as he washed his Romani brother’s feet.

All this was more than a show of unity or a prophetic act of repentance. It felt as if a spiritual wall came crashing down as Zsolt and I copied what Jesus did for us. The Savior humbled Himself, became human flesh and came to this dirty world to touch every race with His love. He invites us, wherever we are, to do the same.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady.

Tags: , , , , ,

Holy Spirit

The third Person of the Trinity who exercises the power of the Father and the Son in creation and redemption. Because the Holy Spirit is the Power by which believers come to Christ and see with new eyes of faith, He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. Like the eyes of the body through which we see physical things, He is seldom in focus to be seen directly because He is the one through whom all else is seen in a new light. This explains why the relationship of the Father and the Son is more prominent in the gospels, because it is through the eyes of the Holy Spirit that the Father-Son relationship is viewed.

The Holy Spirit appears in the Gospel of John as the power by which Christians are brought to faith and helped to understand their walk with God. He brings a person to New Birth: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6); The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, or helper, whom Jesus promised to the disciples after His ascension. The Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are unified in ministering to believers (John 14:16, 26). It is through the Helper that Father and Son abide with the disciples (John 15:26).

This unified ministry of the Trinity is also seen as the Spirit brings the world under conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He guides believers into all truth with what He hears from the Father and the Son (John 15:26). It is a remarkable fact that each of the Persons of the Trinity serves the others as all defer to one another: The Son says what He hears from the Father (John 12:49-50); the Father witnesses to and glorifies the Son (John 8:16-18, 50, 54); the Father and Son honor the Holy Spirit by commissioning Him to speak in their name (John 14:16, 26); the Holy Spirit honors the Father and Son by helping the community of believers.

Like Father and Son, the Holy Spirit is at the disposal of the other Persons of the Trinity, and all three are one in graciously being at the disposal of the redeemed family of believers. The Holy Spirit’s attitude and ministry are marked by generosity; His chief function is to illumine Jesus’ teaching, to glorify His person, and to work in the life of the individual believer and church.

During His ministry, Jesus referred to the Spirit of God (Matt. 12:28-29; Luke 11:20) as the power by which He was casting out demons, thereby invading the stronghold of Beelzebub and freeing those held captive. Accordingly, the Spirit works with the Father and Son in realizing the redeeming power of the kingdom of God. God’s kingdom is not only the reign of the Son but also the reign of the Spirit, as all share in the reign of the Father.

The person and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Gospels is confirmed by His work in the early church. The baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) is the pouring out of the Spirit’s power in missions and evangelism (Acts 1:8). This prophecy of Jesus (and of Joel 2:28-32) began on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-18). Many of those who heard of the finished work of God in Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 2:32-38) repented of their sins. In this act of repentance, they received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, becoming witnesses of God’s grace through the Spirit.

Paul’s teaching about the Holy Spirit harmonizes with the accounts of the Spirit’s activity in the gospels and Acts. According to Paul, it is by the Holy Spirit that one confesses that Jesus is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). Through the same Spirit varieties of gifts are given to the body of Christ to ensure its richness and unity (1 Cor. 12:4-27). The Holy Spirit is the way to Jesus Christ the Son (Rom 8:11) and to the Father (Rom 8:14-15. He is the person who bears witness to us that we are children of God (8:16-17) He ‘makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26-27).

The Holy Spirit also reveals to Christians the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10-12 and the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:3-5). The Holy Spirit acts with God and Christ as the pledge or guarantee by which believers are sealed for the day of salvation (2 Cor. 1:21-22), by which they walk and live (Rom. 8:3-6) and abound in hope with power (Rom. 15:13). Against lust and enmity of the flesh Paul contrast the fruit of the Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Although the phrase “Holy Spirit” occurs only three times in the Old Testament (Ps 51:11; Is. 63:10-11), the Spirit’s work is everywhere evident. The Sprit is the energy of God in creation (Gen. 1:2); Job 26:13; Is. 32:15). God endows human beings with personal life by breathing into their nostrils the breath of life (Gen. 6:3 and comes upon certain judges and warriors with charismatic power (Joshua, Num. 27:18; Othniel, Judg. 3:10; Gideon, Judg. 6-34; Samson, Judg. 13:25; 14:6. However, the Spirit departs from Saul because of His disobedience (1 Sam. 16:14).

In the long span of Old Testament prophecy, the Spirit played a prominent role. David declared, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue “2 Sam. 23:2. Ezekiel claimed that “the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me” (Ezek. 2:2). The Spirit also inspired holiness in the Old Testament believer (Ps. 143:10). It also promised to give a new heart to God’s people: “I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes” (Ezek. 36:27).

This anticipates the crucial work of the Spirit in the ministry of the Messiah. The prophecy of Isaiah 11:1-5 is a Trinitarian preview of the working of the Father, the Spirit, and the Son, who is the branch of Jesse. Looking forward to the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to prophecy: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him” (Is. 11:2). The Holy Spirit inspired Jesus with wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, righteousness, and faithfulness. Thus we come full cycle to the New Testament where Jesus claims the fulfillment of this prophecy in Himself (Is. 61:1-2; Luke 4:18-19).

Compact Bible Dictionary

Ronald F, Youngblood

F. F. Bruce

R. K. Harrison

 

Note: from Barbara: the way I see it; if I/you don’ have the Holy Spirit; we don’t have power! Think about it!

Per; Pastor Hayes; the Holy Spirit is a He/please don’t refer to him as “it”!

Does this help you understand the Holy Spirit better?

Tags: , , , , ,

“What is the day of Pentecost?” GotQuestions.org

Answer: “Pentecost” is significant in both the Old and the New Testaments. Pentecost is actually the Greek name for a festival known in the Old Testament as the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9). The Greek word means “fifty” and refers to the fifty days that have elapsed since the wave offering of Passover. The Feast of Weeks celebrated the end of the grain harvest. Most interesting, however, is its use in Joel and Acts. Looking back to Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:8-32) and forward to the promise of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s last words on earth before His ascension into heaven (Acts 1:8), Pentecost signals the beginning of the church age.

The only reference to the actual events of Pentecost is Acts 2:1-3. Pentecost is reminiscent of the Last Supper; in both instances the disciples are together in a house for what proves to be an important event. At the Last Supper the disciples witness the end of the Messiah’s earthly ministry as He asks them to remember Him after His death until He returns. At Pentecost, the disciples witness the birth of the New Testament church in the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers. Thus the scene of the disciples in a room at Pentecost commences with the beginning of the Holy Spirit’s work in the church with the conclusion of Christ’s earthly ministry in the upper room before the crucifixion.

The description of fire and wind mentioned in the Pentecost account resounds throughout the Old and the New Testament. The wind at Pentecost was “rushing” and “mighty,” a powerful wind that nevertheless did not extinguish the tongues of fire. Scriptural references to the power of wind (always understood to be under God’s control) abound. Exodus 10:13; Psalm 18:42 and Isaiah 11:15 in the Old Testament and Matthew 14:23-32 in the New Testament are only a few examples. More significant than wind as power is wind as life in the Old Testament (Job 12:10) and as spirit in the New (John 3:8). Just as the first Adam received the breath of physical life (Genesis 2:7), so the second Adam, Jesus, brings the breath of spiritual life. The idea of spiritual life as generated by the Holy Spirit is certainly implicit in the wind at Pentecost.

Fire is often associated in the Old Testament with the presence of God (Exodus 3:2; 13:21-22; 24:17; Isaiah 10:17) and with His holiness (Psalm 97:3; Malachi 3:2). Likewise in the New Testament, fire is associated with the presence of God (Hebrews 12:29) and the purification He can bring about in human life (Revelation 3:18). God’s presence and holiness are implied in the Pentecostal tongues of fire. Indeed, fire is identified with Christ Himself (Revelation 1:14; 19:12); this association naturally underlies the Pentecost gift of the Holy Spirit, who would teach the disciples the things of Christ (John 16:14).

Another aspect of the Day of Pentecost is the miraculous speaking in foreign tongues which enabled people from various language groups to understand the message of the apostles. In addition is the bold and incisive preaching of Peter to a Jewish audience. The effect of the sermon was powerful, as listeners were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37) and instructed by Peter to “repent, and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). The narrative concludes with three thousand souls being added to the fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers, apostolic signs and wonders, and a utopian community formed in which everyone’s needs were met.

Recommended Resource: Bible Answers for Almost all Your Questions by Elmer Towns.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Lord Send the Wind of a Fresh Pentecost/ J. LEE GRADY

In the days leading up to the Global Day of Prayer, let’s bombard heaven on behalf of the United States.

Twelve years ago a South African businessman, Graham Power, felt God nudge him to organize a prayer gathering in the city of Cape Town. About 45,000 Christians responded to the call by jamming into a rugby stadium in March 2001 to intercede for their nation.

That was the beginning of the Global Day of Prayer, an event that will likely involve millions of Christians in 220 nations on Pentecost Sunday, May 27. This year organizers are encouraging people to extend their prayers for 10 days prior to the event, beginning on May 17. They are also urging pastors to fuel the prayer with sermons about the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s power.

“One breath of the Holy Spirit can bring life to dry bones! Lord, send the refreshing wind of Your presence into lifeless congregations.”

It’s obvious the Holy Spirit is orchestrating this grass roots movement, and I hope you will join it, either by attending local gatherings during the next 10 days or by focusing your personal prayers on the need for a fresh Pentecost. I believe we are on the verge of a new season of spiritual awakening, and the concentration of prayer this month is a key to unlock it.

During these next 10 days I will be meditating on the first chapters of the book of Acts and praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the United States. If you’d like to join me, you can use the following prayer points as a guide:

1. Lord, send the wind of sincere repentance. The original outpouring at Pentecost triggered a wave of repentance that resulted in 3,000 conversions. This level of raw conviction is never the result of eloquent sermons, staged events or man’s programs. Only the Holy Spirit can do this. The greatest miracle on earth occurs when a sinner’s heart breaks before God and he or she is born again. Lord, unleash a flood of conversions in America! And as sinners repent, let backslidden Christians, disillusioned believers and weary saints return to You.

2. Lord, send the wind of spiritual renewal. Many churches in the United States are feeble and powerless, and some are dying. Many denominations are paralyzed by the spirit of religion. Many pastors are battle-scarred and discouraged. But one breath of the Holy Spirit can bring life to dry bones! Lord, send the refreshing wind of Your presence into lifeless congregations. And with Your wind, send a flame on every Christian’s head—especially those reluctant Gideons and timid Timothys who know they are called but need Spirit-inspired confidence.

3. Lord, send the wind of a youth awakening. When the winds of Pentecost blew the first time, Peter preached from the prophet Joel, saying, “ ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions’ ” (Acts 2:17, NIV). This promise is still ours to claim. A huge percentage of America’s youth are fatherless, addicted, abused, sexually confused or somehow at risk. Lord, raise up and strengthen ministries to reach our schools and college campuses. Give students the courage to stand for Christ and speak for Him. Send another Jesus Movement to this generation.

4. Lord, send the wind of supernatural demonstration. The most pitiful heresy ever hatched was the idea that God stopped doing miracles after the Bible was written. Forgive us, Lord, for limiting You! We need the power of Pentecost today more than ever. When the first Pentecost occurred, normal people were “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49), and they began to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons. Forgive us, Lord, for being so smug and sophisticated that we pulled the plug on Your power. (And forgive us, too, for misusing, merchandising and exploiting the Holy Spirit’s gifts for personal gain.) Unleash the miraculous in the American church. Let the same miracles that are occurring in Asia, Africa and Latin America become common in our nation.

5. Lord, send the wind of bold evangelism. When the first disciples were touched by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they declared “the mighty deeds of God” (Acts 2:11, NASB) to every racial and ethnic group that had gathered in Jerusalem. We need this boldness in the United States because we have become the largest English-speaking mission field in the world. Many of our communities have no gospel witness—and many Christians never share their faith with anyone. The true anointing of the Holy Spirit always results in evangelism. Lord, turn up our volume! Raise up laborers to touch every sector of American society, including our forgotten and ignored Native American reservations. Send immigrants to this nation who can reach their own ethnic groups. Let the gospel be preached in every language spoken within our borders.

6. Lord, send the wind of divine intervention. Our nation is in desperate crisis. Families are disintegrating, morality has eroded, perversion is celebrated, and our culture is becoming hostile to biblical faith. Unless the Lord answers with His holy fire from heaven, we are sunk. Lord, deliver us from evil! Extend Your mercy and send a Third Great Awakening. Amen.

J. LEE GRADY is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. You can find more details about the Global Day of Prayer at globaldayofprayer.com.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Reclaiming True Friendship in the Facebook Age

Reprinted with permission from Charisma, March 2012. Copyright Charisma Media, USA. All rights reserved. www.charismamag.com

Technology has connected us superficially. But the Holy Spirit can knit us together supernaturally.

Two weeks ago I attended a men’s retreat in Georgia with some of my closest friends. Chris, Eddie, Rick, Michael, Ray, Robert, Medad, Quentin and James were in the audience with 120 other guys. We spent 2 1/2 days together—worshipping, attending teaching sessions, praying in small groups and eating our meals together. Nobody wanted to go home. It felt like heaven because we enjoyed being together so much.

“In this sophisticated age of social networking, when everyone is supposedly ‘connected,’ we are as self-absorbed and isolated as ever. Digital technology has trivialized relationships to the point that we ‘friend’ or ‘unfriend’ a person with a click. You can have 5,000 ‘friends’ and yet be the loneliest person in cyberspace.”

When it was time to leave I asked all the guys to come near the stage. We linked arms and sang a simple chorus I haven’t heard in years. You may remember the words:

Bind us together, Lord, bind us together / With cords that cannot be broken / Bind us together, Lord, bind us together / Bind us together with love / There is only one God, there is only one King / There is only one body, that is why we can sing …

That song was popular during a simpler time, at the tail end of the Jesus movement in the 1970s when church wasn’t as trendy and professional as it is today. Back then we didn’t have savvy marketing strategies, media-enhanced sermons and hipster preachers. But what we lacked in coolness we made up for with deep relationships.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think we need a return to that simpler style. Not only is the world crying out for genuine love, but Christians are too. In this sophisticated age of social networking, when everyone is supposedly “connected,” we are as self-absorbed and isolated as ever. Digital technology has trivialized relationships to the point that we “friend” or “unfriend” a person with a click. You can have 5,000 “friends” and yet be the loneliest person in cyberspace.

I meet many believers, especially men, who are starved for real relationships but find it too painful to make them. This is partly because we tend to emphasize the importance of a vertical relationship with God but spend very little time teaching people how to make their faith horizontal. And in charismatic churches, we often are too busy chasing an electrifying personal experience with God to place any value on community.

Those of us who pride ourselves on being experts on the Holy Spirit have neglected one of His most important roles. He is not just the One who heals us, anoints us and empowers us to work miracles. The Spirit is also the One who unites Christians with a holy bond and draws us into close fellowship with each other. He forms us into a tightly knit family.

The Greek word koinonia, translated “fellowship,” first appears in Acts 2:42, immediately after the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on the first disciples. This is because genuine fellowship—the knitting of our hearts to each other—is a supernatural work of the Spirit, a manifestation of His power that is no less important than dreams, visions, speaking in tongues or prophecy. (Koinonia is also attributed to the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 13:14 and Philippians 2:1.)

Even a cursory reading of the New Testament proves that koinonia, this powerful bond of the Spirit, was what held the early church together and fueled its growth. The first Christians had no marketing plans, no church growth gurus, no Twitter or Facebook, no concert tours. But they had a gushing love for each other, a holy affection that glued their hearts together to form a cross-cultural, multi-racial family.

When the Holy Spirit came on the early church, He changed everything about the way they related to each other. “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common … and they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:44, 46b-47, NASB).

It is the Spirit who enables true community. He gives us the grace to humble ourselves, take off our armor of pride and open our hearts to each other. He enables us to forgive and mend our rifts with each other. He connects us, and then nourishes every connection with His love.

If you find it hard to make close friends, or to enjoy a deep level of fellowship with other believers, then ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He will heal the hurts of your past. He will free you from the fear of betrayal and rejection. And He will connect you with real friends. Just as He knit the hearts of David and Jonathan, and just as He knit the heart of the apostle Paul to the saints in Ephesus, Thessalonica and Philippi, He will give you close relationships. This is part of your inheritance as a child of God.

I see a spiritual awakening on the horizon, but it is not what many of us imagined. Yes there are miracles and clouds of glory awaiting. But what will stand out the most—and make the biggest impression on unbelievers—is not our fiery sermons or our charismatic power but our passionate love for each other.

J. LEE GRADY is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. His most recent book is 10 Lies Men Believe (Charisma House).

 

Note: from Barbara; I was at one time I was on Face book; That is too much information. It begins as a simple way of socializing. I do not adree with it; so I got off of it.

Tags: , , ,

“What is the difference between the Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost?”

Answer: It is only the King James Version of the Bible which uses the term “Holy Ghost.” It occurs 90 times in the KJV. The term “Holy Spirit” occurs 7 times in the KJV. There is no clear reason as to why the KJV translators used Ghost in most places and then Spirit in a few. The exact same Greek and Hebrew words are translated “ghost” and “spirit” in the KJV in different occurrences of the words. By “ghost,” the KJV translators did not intend to communicate the idea of “the spirit of a deceased person.” In 1611, when the KJV was originally translated, the word “ghost” primarily referred to “an immaterial being.”

With recent Scripture translations, “Spirit” has replaced “Ghost” in most instances. Some of this came about because words don’t always hold their meanings. In the days of Shakespeare or King James, ghost meant the living essence of a person. Looking back, we see that “breath” or “soul” were often used as synonyms of “ghost.” During these times, spirit normally meant the essence of a departed person or a demonic or paranormal apparition. As language evolved, people started saying “ghost” when speaking of the vision of a dead person while “spirit” became the standard term for life or living essence, often also for “soul.” With slight exceptions, “ghost” and “spirit” changed places over some 300 years.

The real issue is that both “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” refer to the Third Person of the Trinity, coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3,4; 28:25,26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6). He is the gift of the Father to His people on earth to initiate and complete the building of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). He is also the agency by which the world is convicted of sin, the Lord Jesus is glorified, and believers are transformed into His image (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5, 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22). Whichever term we use, we remember that this Holy Ghost is God’s active breath, blowing where He wishes, creating faith through water and Word.

Recommended Resource: The Holy Spirit by Charles Ryrie.

Tags: , , , , ,

Question: “What does it mean that the Holy Spirit is our Paraclete?”

Answer: The time of the arrest and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ was drawing near. As Jesus met with His disciples in the “upper room,” He expounded to them many things. In John 13:33, He stated: “My children, I will be with you only a little longer . . . where I am going you cannot come.” The announcement of the coming separation led to the indication of its purpose. The season of bereavement was to be a season of spiritual growth. To this end Christ gave a commandment designed to lead His disciples to appropriate the lessons of His life, and in so doing, to realize their true character, to follow and to find Him as indicated in verses 34 and 35.

In light of their weak faith at this point, Jesus told them in John 14:1, “Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me . . . .” Jesus had just explained to them that one of them was a traitor; He had warned Peter that he would deny His Lord three times; and, perhaps the heaviest blow of all was that Jesus was going to leave them (John 13:33). Now He says, ” . . . let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). In John 14:16- 17, Jesus gives them a statement of great encouragement: “And I will ask the Father (pray), and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever . . . the Spirit of Truth” (NIV).

The Greek word translated “Comforter or Counselor” is “Parakletos” as found in John 14:16, 26; 15:26; and 16:7. Once, it is translated “advocate” (1 John 2:1). The New International Version (NIV) has translated the word as Counselor. The form of the word is unquestionably passive. It can properly mean only “one called to the side of another,” and that with the secondary notion of counseling or supporting or aiding him. The contexts in which the word “paraclete” occurs in the New Testament lead to the same conclusions as the form and the independent usage of the word. In 1 John 2:1, the sense “Advocate” alone suits the argument, though the Greek fathers explain the term as applied to the Lord in the same way as in the Gospel. In the Gospel again, the sense of Advocate, counsel, one who pleads, convinces, convicts, who strengthens on the one hand and defends on the other, is alone adequate. Christ as the Advocate pleads the believer’s cause with the Father against the accuser Satan (1 John 2:1; compare Romans 8:26, and also Revelation 12:10; Zechariah 3:1). The Holy Spirit (Parakletos) as the Advocate pleads the believer’s cause against the world (John 16:8ff) and also Christ’s cause with the believer (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:14).

By saying what He did to His disciples, Jesus was comforting their troubled hearts. In 14:16 He states: “I will pray to the Father and He will send you another Comforter (paraklete–another is ‘allos,” one of the same kind, which is the Holy Spirit). First of all, this paraclete is God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. He is a true personality and a personal being. He indwells every believer. He has been called in some translations “Encourager.” As the “Spirit of Truth,” the Holy Spirit illumines the Word of God so believers may understand it. He leads us in that truth of God’s Word. He uses the Word of truth to guide us into the will and the work of God.

The Holy Spirit abides in every believer. He is a gift from the Father in answer to the prayer of the Son (verse 16). During His earthly ministry, Jesus had guided, guarded, and taught His disciples, but now He was going to leave them. The Spirit of God would come to them and dwell in them, taking the place of their Master’s literal presence. Jesus called the Spirit “another Comforter” –another of the same kind. The Spirit of God is not different from the Son of God for both are God (One in essence). The Spirit of God had dwelt with the disciples in the Person of Jesus Christ. Now He would dwell in them.

During the Old Testament Age, the Spirit of God would come on people and then leave them. God’s Spirit departed from King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14; 18:12); and David, when confessing his sin, asked that the Spirit not be taken from him (Psalm 51:11). When the Spirit was given at Pentecost, He was given to God’s people to remain with them forever. Even though we may grieve the Holy Spirit, He will not leave us. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20 ” . . . And surely I am with always, to the very end of the age.” How is He with us when we are taught that He is in Heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father? He is with us by His Spirit (the other of the same kind — the Parakletos –the Comforter, the Advocate), who indwells us and never will leave us if we are true believers in Jesus Christ.

To have the Holy Spirit as our “Paraclete” is to have God Himself indwelling us as believers. He teaches us the Word and guides us into the truth of that Word. He also reminds us of what He has taught us so that we can depend on God’s Word in the difficult times of life. The Spirit uses the Word to give us His peace (John 14:27), His love (John 15:9, 10), and His joy (John 15:11). These are profound truths that comfort our hearts and minds in a troubled world. The power of this indwelling “paraclete” gives us the ability to “live by the Spirit so that we will not gratify the desires of the sinful flesh” and “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25). We, then, can have the “fruit of the Spirit” produced in our own lives (Galatians 5:22, 23) to the glory of God the Father. What a blessing to have the Holy Spirit in our lives as our “paraclete,” our Comforter, our Encourager, our Counselor, and our Advocate. Thank you, Father, for your wonderful gift!

Recommended Resource: The Holy Spirit by Charles Ryrie.

 

 

Tags: , , ,

INSPIRATION

A technical term; for the Holy Spirit’s supernatural guidance of those who received special revelation from God as they wrote the books of the Bible.

The end result of this inspiration is that the Bible conveys the truths that God wanted His people to know and to communicate to the world. Two terms often used in discussion of the inspiration of the Bible are “plenary” and “verbal.” “Plenary,” a term meaning full or complete, means that each book, chapter, and paragraph of the Bible is equally derived from God. ‘Verbal” inspiration emphasizes the truth that the wording of the text, as well as the ideas conveyed, is supernaturally inspired by God through the Holy Spirit “Inerrancy” is a term used along with plenary verbal inspiration to convey the view that the Bible’s teaching is true on everything of which it speaks. The words of Scripture, in the original writings, teach the truth without any admixture of error. The Bible is not just a useful body of human ideas. It makes clear the mind of God Himself. “Infallibility” is a term often used as a synonym for inerrancy. However, the root meaning of infallibility is “not liable to fail in achieving its purpose.” Truth, or inerrancy, is affirmed of the content of the Bible; infallibility refers to the effectiveness of the wording in conveying reliable ideas, as well as the effectiveness of those ideas when used by the all powerful Holy Spirit (Is. 55:11).

Important as biblical infallibility is, it is not enough without inerrancy

The reason why the Spirit can use Scripture so effectively is that He directed its production from the beginning so that all of it is God’s reliable information.

Inspiration, then, is a statement about God’s greatness. God is intelligent and able to communicate with human beings, whom He created in His image. God knows everything about all reality in creation and is absolutely faithful and true (Rev. 3:7; 21:5).

It follows that ideas communicated by divine revelation are true and conform to reality as God knows it. God overruled human limitations and sinful biases so that His human agents were able to write what He wanted written. God guided the thought conveyed so that it was without error, accomplishing the objectives He intended.

Although the Bible does not tell exactly how God inspired its writers, it was certainly not in a mechanical way. God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity who is working with persons. How does one person influence another person? Why do some have a more powerful impact upon people others? Many factors are involved. We do know for certain that Scriptures originated with God and that the writers were “moved” or carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20-21) as they recorded God’s message.

From:

Nelson’s Compact Bible Dictionary

Ronald Youngblood

F.F. Bruce & R.K. Harrison

 

     
 

Medical Definition

Definition:   inhaling; taking in oxygen

 

Easton Bible Dictionary

Definition:   That extraordinary or supernatural divine influence vouchsafed to those who wrote the Holy Scriptures, rendering their writings infallible. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (R.V., “Every scripture inspired of God”), 2 Tim. 3:16. This is true of all the “sacred writings,” not in the sense of their being works of genius or of supernatural insight, but as “theopneustic,” i.e., “breathed into by God” in such a sense that the writers were supernaturally guided to express exactly what God intended them to express as a revelation of his mind and will. The testimony of the sacred writers themselves abundantly demonstrates this truth; and if they are infallible as teachers of doctrine, then the doctrine of plenary inspiration must be accepted. There are no errors in the Bible as it came from God, none have been proved to exist. Difficulties and phenomena we cannot explain are not errors. All these books of the Old and New Testaments are inspired. We do not say that they contain, but that they are, the Word of God. The gift of inspiration rendered the writers the organs of God, for the infallible communication of his mind and will, in the very manner and words in which it was originally given.As to the nature of inspiration we have no information. This only we know, it rendered the writers infallible. They were all equally inspired, and are all equally infallible. The inspiration of the sacred writers did not change their characters. They retained all their individual peculiarities as thinkers or writers. (See BIBLE; WORD OF GOD.)
 

 

2 Timothy 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Tags: , , , , ,

“What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?”

Answer: The most difficult thing about the Christian concept of the Trinity is that there is no way to perfectly and completely understand it. The Trinity is a concept that is impossible for any human being to fully understand, let alone explain. God is infinitely greater than we are; therefore, we should not expect to be able to fully understand Him. The Bible teaches that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also teaches that there is only one God. Though we can understand some facts about the relationship of the different Persons of the Trinity to one another, ultimately, it is incomprehensible to the human mind. However, this does not mean the Trinity is not true or that it is not based on the teachings of the Bible.

The Trinity is one God existing in three Persons. Understand that this is not in any way suggesting three Gods. Keep in mind when studying this subject that the word “Trinity” is not found in Scripture. This is a term that is used to attempt to describe the triune God—three coexistent, co-eternal Persons who make up God. Of real importance is that the concept represented by the word “Trinity” does exist in Scripture. The following is what God’s Word says about the Trinity:

1) There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:5).

2) The Trinity consists of three Persons (Genesis 1:1, 26; 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8, 48:16, 61:1; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew plural noun “Elohim” is used. In Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8, the plural pronoun for “us” is used. The word “Elohim” and the pronoun “us” are plural forms, definitely referring in the Hebrew language to more than two. While this is not an explicit argument for the Trinity, it does denote the aspect of plurality in God. The Hebrew word for “God,” “Elohim,” definitely allows for the Trinity.

In Isaiah 48:16 and 61:1, the Son is speaking while making reference to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Compare Isaiah 61:1 to Luke 4:14-19 to see that it is the Son speaking. Matthew 3:16-17 describes the event of Jesus’ baptism. Seen in this passage is God the Holy Spirit descending on God the Son while God the Father proclaims His pleasure in the Son. Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 are examples of three distinct Persons in the Trinity.

3) The members of the Trinity are distinguished one from another in various passages. In the Old Testament, “LORD” is distinguished from “Lord” (Genesis 19:24; Hosea 1:4). The LORD has a Son (Psalm 2:7, 12; Proverbs 30:2-4). The Spirit is distinguished from the “LORD” (Numbers 27:18) and from “God” (Psalm 51:10-12). God the Son is distinguished from God the Father (Psalm 45:6-7; Hebrews 1:8-9). In the New Testament, Jesus speaks to the Father about sending a Helper, the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). This shows that Jesus did not consider Himself to be the Father or the Holy Spirit. Consider also all the other times in the Gospels where Jesus speaks to the Father. Was He speaking to Himself? No. He spoke to another Person in the Trinity—the Father.

4) Each member of the Trinity is God. The Father is God (John 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Peter 1:2). The Son is God (John 1:1, 14; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16).

5) There is subordination within the Trinity. Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son, and the Son is subordinate to the Father. This is an internal relationship and does not deny the deity of any Person of the Trinity. This is simply an area which our finite minds cannot understand concerning the infinite God. Concerning the Son see Luke 22:42, John 5:36, John 20:21, and 1 John 4:14. Concerning the Holy Spirit see John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, and especially John 16:13-14.

6) The individual members of the Trinity have different tasks. The Father is the ultimate source or cause of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11); divine revelation (Revelation 1:1); salvation (John 3:16-17); and Jesus’ human works (John 5:17; 14:10). The Father initiates all of these things.

The Son is the agent through whom the Father does the following works: the creation and maintenance of the universe (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17); divine revelation (John 1:1, 16:12-15; Matthew 11:27; Revelation 1:1); and salvation (2 Corinthians 5:19; Matthew 1:21; John 4:42). The Father does all these things through the Son, who functions as His agent.

The Holy Spirit is the means by whom the Father does the following works: creation and maintenance of the universe (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; Psalm 104:30); divine revelation (John 16:12-15; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Peter 1:21); salvation (John 3:6; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2); and Jesus’ works (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 10:38). Thus, the Father does all these things by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There have been many attempts to develop illustrations of the Trinity. However, none of the popular illustrations are completely accurate. The egg (or apple) fails in that the shell, white, and yolk are parts of the egg, not the egg in themselves, just as the skin, flesh, and seeds of the apple are parts of it, not the apple itself. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not parts of God; each of them is God. The water illustration is somewhat better, but it still fails to adequately describe the Trinity. Liquid, vapor, and ice are forms of water. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not forms of God, each of them is God. So, while these illustrations may give us a picture of the Trinity, the picture is not entirely accurate. An infinite God cannot be fully described by a finite illustration.

The doctrine of the Trinity has been a divisive issue throughout the entire history of the Christian church. While the core aspects of the Trinity are clearly presented in God’s Word, some of the side issues are not as explicitly clear. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God—but there is only one God. That is the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Beyond that, the issues are, to a certain extent, debatable and non-essential. Rather than attempting to fully define the Trinity with our finite human minds, we would be better served by focusing on the fact of God’s greatness and His infinitely higher nature. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34).

For further insights on this topic, please visit:  

Recommended Resource: Making Sense of the Trinity: Three Crucial Questions by Millard Erickson and The Forgotten Trinity by James White.

Below is the best symbol for the Trinity we are aware of (click to expand):
Trinity symbol

This page is also available in: Simp-Chinese, Arabic, Română, Indonesia, Hebrew, Korean, Deutsch, Slovenčina, Ukrainian, Français, Greek, Srpski, Magyar, Russian, Bulgarian, Español, Italiano, Cesky, Polski, Hrvatski, Hindi, Trad-Chinese, Thai, Latviešu, Belarusian, Bosanski, Dansk, Shqip, Jawi, Việt, Slovenščina, Svenska, Nederlands, Português, Türkçe, Afrikaans, Tagalog, Farsi, Urdu, Suomi, Sh-Punjabi, eesti, Azerbaijani, Japanese, Armenian, Lietuvių, Kiswahili, Sesotho, Pashto, Kazakh, Mongolian, Malayalam, Sindhi, Sinhala, Yorùbá, íslenska, Melayu, Samoan, O’zbek, Nepali, Hausa, Myanmar, Amharic, Oromo, Telugu, Bengali, Norsk, Georgian


Tags: , , , ,

« Older entries