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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

John7(4)

August 1st, 2018
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We want to see more fully the power of Jesus words shouted aloud at the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

John7:37-38

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.

Salvation is not just believing some facts about Jesus. It is seeing him as a spring in the desert when we are dying of thirst.

This is what the apostle John meant when he connected believing on Jesus and receiving Jesus in

John 1:12

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God –

Believing is receiving him as water, food. He becomes our life. Because as John says in the beginning of his book “In him is life and that life was the light of men.”

Jesus is the water we need, our spiritual inner being does the drinking, and that is what believing means — coming to Jesus to drink for our true life.

38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

Literally, it says, out of his belly.This points to our our inner being or heart.

What does this mean?

It means that when we come to Jesus to drink, we don’t just get a single drink, but we get spring, a fountain, a well. We get Jesus. Rivers of water will flow because a River-Maker is in us. That’s the point. We will never have to search again for a source of satisfaction.

When we come to him, we get him. And he never leaves. He is not fickled. Now we can ignore him, even lock him out. But it is our decision not his. He has said yes to us.

John7:39

By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

There is quite some significance prophetically to these words.

There was an experience of the Spirit that could not be enjoyed until Jesus had died for our sins, been raised triumphant over death, and ascended to the right of the Father in glory. This is the experience of fellowship with the Spirit of the glorified, risen Christ.

This is what the Father gives to everyone who believes. We receive the presence and power and fellowship of the Spirit of the risen and glorified Christ. And he jeads us into his relationship with the Father.

Lets explore this a bit more.

Once Jesus was with us as a fleshly man, and now he is in us by his Spirit.

We have the Spirit of the risen and glorified Christ living in us. This is the glorified humanity of Jesus – the perfectly obedient human Son of God. It is this life tthat is imparted to us.

Thats what we mean by Christ in us.

Lets see some background in the Old Testament about thirst and living waters.

Here’s how God — by way of the prophet Jeremiah — describes man’s attempts to quench this thirst.

Jeremiah 2:12-13

12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,’
declares the Lord.
13 ‘My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Living water was a running source of water. Water from a river or spring was always preferable to standing water. Since the land did not have abundant sources of living water — they would depend primarily upon rainfall that would be collected in cisterns. A cistern was carved out of solid rock to collect rain.

Imagine a man saying I’m going to carve me out a cistern to hold rain water. I know that after a while it will start to grow stuff because it isn’t moving. But I will settle for that over the effort to walk a while to get to takes living water from a flowing river.

A man could spend years carving out a large cistern (Herod the Great – cisterns on Masada). Imagine this man finally completing his cistern —and there finally comes that night as he lies in bed and hears the rain begin to fall. As he’s nodding off he thinks — “All of that hard work is finally going to pay off — Tomorrow I can walk outside and drop my bucket into my cistern and draw water for myself.” Morning comes and he walks out — drops his bucket into the cistern he had labored so long and hard to build.

Instead of hearing a splash he hears an echoing thud! The cistern he had carved out would at best never be as good as living water. But this was the worst. His cistern was broken. It couldn’t hold water — it ran out into the subterranean space under the cistern.

The man poured himself into the making of his cistern only to find all his efforts were in vain!

That’s is what happens when we make anything other than Jesus the true passion of our life. We pour in all our efforts and at the end we are left empty.

But there is another prophecy

Isaiah 58:11(b)

You shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

The context describes a person whose religious practices – in the context, fasting – have the purpose to become like Jesus.

God planned for Jesus to stand in Jerusalem, and cry out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me [Jesus] and drink.”

Drinking in of Jesus is to want to be like him, not just to satisfy some personal need. True religion is not selfish.

There is another important prophesy fulfilled in this event.

Throughout the Feast of Tabernacles there also was a messianic expectation of a New Exodus and a restoration under the Messianic King. This is quite vivid in Zechariah 14 with its Temple and Feast of Tabernacle references.

Zechariah 14:8

On that day living waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.

This is expanded in Ezekiel 47 . This describes living waters flowing from a restored Temple.

So at the height of the celebrations, with all these prophetic associations, Jesus was claiming to be that Temple and that we can part of that Temple with those rivers of living water flowing through us.

He is the Temple of the prophets promises. He is the fulfillment of all the Messianic hopes. And he is not working with the authorities of the Temple. He is in opposition to them. They are meant to come to him and drink.
39(b)Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

This has enormous implications about what is the way to come to God. In the OT

Psalm 42:2-4

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’
4 These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

In the OT you went up to the house of the Lord to be in the presence of God where the ark was external pledge and symbol of the presence of God.

Only once a year on the Day of Atonement was the representative of the people allowed to enter the holy of holies while everyone watched outside the veil.

In the NT this event is seen in fulfilled once Jesus became the atonement for the sins of the whole world, the entrance in to the new age was opened by his resurrection and his ascension through the eternal Spirit.

Hebrews 10:22

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

This is what Jesus had not yet sent until he was glorified. That in him we become derivative temples of God. The Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ poured out at Pentecost, takes up a temple residence in the lives of believers.

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How do Christians Pray?

October 31st, 2017
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Prayer is something we do as Christians. In fact as we will see it is one of the great privileges of being a Christian.

How do Christians pray? Is there a Christian pattern of prayer that is uniquely Christian?

Lets look at one of Paul’s prayers, which we have referred to several times in the past.

Ephesians 3:14-15

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

Notice the direction of prayer. It is towards our heavenly Father. But prayer involves all of God.

Ephesians1:3,17

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

Notice we pray to the glorious Father. But at the same time all of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are involved.

Notice how this is revealed in us.

Ephesians 3:16-17(a),20-21

16 I pray that out of his (the Father) glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Our prayer to the Father, praising his name, is for the Father to work deeply in us through the Spirit so Christ is dwelling where our thoughts and desires are. It is a prayer of faith trusting the will towards us of our Father.

Such a prayer knows that despite our struggles we are never alone spiritually. We can be assured that this is the reality or truth of our lives.

This began when we were baptized into the single name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. From Paul’s example prayer involves Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
21 to him be glory in the church

Glory must be given to God the Father by believers, not only individually, but together in the Church. Why? There the Lord is present and displays his grace.

and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

This is to be done by “Christ Jesus”, or “in” him. This may refer either to the church, which is in Christ; or to Christ Jesus as the way all praise and glory are to be given to God.

Remember all blessings are in Christ, and come to us through him, and he is the only way of access to God the Father. Our praises and thanksgivings cannot be acceptable unto God, but through him.

How does this affect how we pray and to whom we pray?

We could say that Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is for them to experience more fully the life of God within them.

What do we mean by that?

In the eternal being of God, there is a Father -Son relationship that is expressed in the Spirit, and that Christian salvation is sharing in that Father- Son relationship through the Spirit.

This means the really central idea of being a Christian is being adopted by God, the Father, to become children of God. Children of God are led by the Spirit.

We go from a position of not being the children of God to being the children of God.

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Worship1(A)

May 7th, 2017
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Philip Yancey wrote:

I learned about incarnation when I kept a salt-water aquarium. Management of a marine aquarium, I discovered, is no easy task…

You would think, in view of all the energy used on their behalf, that my fish would at least be grateful. Not so. Every time my shadow was above the tank they dove for cover into the nearest shell. They showed me one “emotion” only: fear. Although I opened the lid and dropped in food on a regular schedule, three times a day, they responded to each visit as a sure sign of my plot to torture them. I could not convince them of my true concern.

To my fish I was like God. I was too large for them, my actions too difficult to understand. … In order to get through to them, I would have to become a fish and “speak” to them in a language they could understand.

A human being becoming a fish is nothing compared to God becoming a baby. And yet according to the Gospels that is what happened at Bethlehem. The God who created matter took shape within it, like a writer becoming a character within his own play. God wrote a story, only using real characters, on the pages of real history. The Word became flesh.

This is the amazing truth at the heart of our worship.

Who is this God we see revealed in Jesus? We will be always discovering wonderful things in the face of Jesus as we proceed in our Christian journey. It should never just stagnate and become ordinary. We don’t want to have a 6th grade knowledge of him.

And another dimension to our worship is that the scriptures inform us that God’s plan for us was before time, before the creation of matter. In this plan God intended for us to be included in his life for eternity through our union with Christ through the Spirit.

Ephesians 1:3-6

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

What we see revealed in Jesus Christ and the adoption of sonship in him was purposed before the creation of the world. And it was freely given. This brings praise of his glorious grace.

In a recent Bible Study on the scripture John4:44

(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country.)

We asked why?

One danger was over-familiarity with Jesus.

This man is one of us. We know his mother and his brothers. He has always been so ordinary. How can he be what he claims to be? That same mindset can be in us: We are so familiar with the Bible, and with Jesus, and with Christianity, that it can’t shock us any more. Jesus is not doing anything really mind-blowingly powerful. He’s too familiar.

We need to see worship as an antidote to this familarity. We don’t just sing some nice catchy songs. In worship, we become aware of who he is. And we stand in awe that of his great love for us. This love lies at the very heart of God’s being. It expresses itself in the desire of Father, Son and Spirit to share their life, fellowship and purposes with us!

The creation of time and matter, in fact the whole wonderful universe, is primarily an expression of God’s joyous, out-flowing love for us.

As Paul wrote in I Corinthians 3:21-23

21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours,
22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours,
23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

Worship is not about us. It is not centred on any human being. It is standing in awe of the wisdom of God, revealed in what seems foolishness to the world of Christ crucified.

It is a thanksgiving for the simple fact that God, out of his free will, wants us to share everything with Christ. And in him we belong to God.

We belong to the relationship that has always existed in God.

Eugene Peterson writes:

…every part of the revelation, every aspect, every form is personal — God is relational at the core — and so whatever is said, whatever is revealed, whatever is received is also personal and relational.

Jeremy Begbie reminds us that Godly love is always “other centred”. He describes our relational, loving God and his intentions towards, and for us, in this way:

His very being is relational; he is joyful love, love that always goes out to the other. His relation to the creation is of personal commitment and faithfulness. The Son has taken flesh.

He has offered creation back to the Father in his own humanity. Through the Holy Spirit he invites us to share in the task of bringing creation to praise and adore the Father in and through him.

God’s purpose, before his creation of the universe, was that the original creation would be the first of several steps towards the final goal of new creation. It can be helpful for us to view scripture as a narrative(story).

The Bible records God working towards the fullness of the new creation God would bring about in Christ.

N.T. Wright suggests the following five acts:

Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus (True Israel) and the breaking in of the New Creation, and the final completion of New Creation.

For Jesus – who is God – to put on our flesh, and to tabernacle with us tells us God’s faithful delight in his creation. This will climax with his eternal dwelling with us on this earth as pictured in Revelation 21-22.

Indeed, any thinking about the creation and its purpose must be centred on Christ:

for in him all things were created… through him and for him… and in him all things hold together and will be reconciled through him and all things in heaven and earth will be brought to unity and blessing in and under Christ.

Our worship must be viewed in the bigger context of the restoration of all things in Jesus. It is not just about us and our salvation. It is about the whole creation transformed into a new creation

Reflect on what the writer is endeavoring to say about the Son in the very first chapter of Hebrews.

Hebrews 1

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
The Son superior to angels

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

‘You are my Son;
today I have become your Father’[a]?

Or again,

‘I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son’[b]?

6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’[c]

7 In speaking of the angels he says,

‘He makes his angels spirits,
and his servants flames of fire.’[d]

8 But about the Son he says,

‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom.
9
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.’[e]

10 He also says,

‘In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
11
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
12
You will roll them up like a robe;
like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.’[f]

13 To which of the angels did God ever say,

‘Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet’[g]?

14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

How astonishing are these claims about Jesus Christ. He is greater than everything created because he brings everything into existence and sustains its existence. We are not to make him comfortable to our culture.

As we have said before Jesus does not bring us a word about God. He is God amongst us. We can know God in the way Jesus lived and spoke amongst us. This One who is God came to us in our neediness, sin and brokenness!

True worship grows in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ.

As we read the stories of the gospels we read of Jesus doing what only God can do – things like forgiving sin, healing and making people whole, or commanding the seas and winds to do obey him.

Likewise, the gospels provide many echoes of Israel’s story that enable us to glimpse a “new exodus” in Christ: feedings in the desert, the drowning of the demonic host in the sea, Jesus – as the new Israel coming through the waters of baptism and, like Israel receiving the Spirit upon coming out of the water. We join the the early church in understanding the man Jesus to be God!

The gospel stories tell the way Jesus lived when among us. He lived in such a compassionate and welcoming manner that he attracted many who lived as outsiders – the poor, the needy, the sinner, the broken, the outcast, the stranger. God among us in the flesh was welcoming and caring.
How do we respond to the stories about Jesus? Do they move us to thankful praise as they reveal God’s love for humanity.
This One – Jesus – brings light, life, the right to become the children of God through belief rather than human family! It is open to all without the discriminations we create in our societies.

Galatians 4:4-7
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’
7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Trevor Hart commenting on these verses:

the gospel has at its heart a gift… the free giving by God upon humans of an intimate sharing in his own life and activity as ‘children’ and ‘heirs’ who know him as ‘Abba’. The God of scripture grants us an inheritance in what is properly his alone.
He ‘earths’ this by himself becoming a human Son. He discovers what it means to share humanly in the life of God (as Jesus, the Son who knows and loves his Father in the activity and fellowship of the Holy Spirit) so that we might do so too.

What an unexpected, amazing, totally undeserved and surprising expression of God’s love for us! The Word becomes flesh! All are included!

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