April 27, 2014 The Holy Spirit and His Gifts

The Holy Spirit and His Gifts

This study begins several considerations of the Holy Spirit’s gifts given to the body of Christ to fulfill Jesus’ words in John 17.18.  He did not leave you ill-equipped for the opportunities and challenges but gave you the best Equipper to guide and supply you along the way.  The Apostle Paul wrote about these gifts in Romans 12.3-8 (the results of ‘transformed’ minds and ‘sacrificed’ bodies in Romans 12.1-2; a doctrinal statement written in AD 56-57 while in Corinth during his Third Missionary Journey) and in 1 Corinthians 12.1-14.25 (the protocols for engaging the gifts within the church and culture; written in AD 55-56 while in Ephesus during Third Missionary Journey to answer questions from Corinthian believers).  Before you understand the gifts, you should understand how Paul came to understand these from the Holy Spirit.

What did Paul understand about the Holy Spirit before writing about Spiritual Gifts?

  • Paul was a scholar of the Torah and writings you call the Old Testament of the Bible.  He had read and studied about the comprehensiveness of the Holy Spirit from Isaiah 11.2.  He was learning the role of the Holy Spirit in accomplishing God’s desire expressed in Jeremiah 9.24 and stated his understanding in 1 Corinthians 2.6-16, especially verses 11-12.
  • Paul would probably have recognized ‘lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness’ (Jeremiah 9.24) in Jesus’ words in John 16.7-15, which Paul would have heard repeated by the Holy Spirit or Jesus directly, since the Gospel records of Jesus words and deeds on earth had not been written. Paul would have understood what Jesus meant in John 14.26.
  • So, Paul would have reflected his understanding and walk with the Holy Spirit in his books, all summarized in one verse, Romans 8.14, although written later but from his practice.
  • In his first book, Galatians (AD 48; First Missionary Journey; from Syrian Antioch), Paul attributes his knowledge about Jesus to the Holy Spirit ‘through a revelation’ and not through his interaction with the Apostles Peter and James (Jesus’ half-brother; Galatians 1.12-21).  Paul communed with the same Holy Spirit in the wilderness, as Jesus had for 40 days (Matthew 4.1-11), learning much (Galatians 4.6; 1 John 2.27).  Paul learned the character of the Holy Spirit to be the ‘fruit’ in Christians he listed in Galatians 5.22-23, in contrast to the evidence of the schemes of satan through the flesh, verses 16-21.
  • Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians 1.4-7 (AD 50; Second Missionary Journey; written in Corinth) to remind believers there that they had heard the truth of God from the Holy Spirit through Paul.  This was similar to the power the Holy Spirit demonstrated at Pentecost when foreigners in Jerusalem heard about God in their native languages from men who had never studied; see Acts 2.1-11.  The Holy Spirit ensured that the truth was heard.  He still does!  That is one of His jobs, as Jesus inferred in John 8.31-32!  So, do as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5.19!
  • In 2 Thessalonians 2.1-12 (AD 50-51; from Corinth), Paul refuted teachers that had followed his visit and taught that the Rapture had already happened.  By ‘he who now restrains’, Paul meant the Holy Spirit Who will leave the earth when believers do, for His job of John 16.8-11 will have been completed when God calls you ‘home’ (Revelation 4.1-4).  This illustrates the Holy Spirit protecting the truth of God.

Paul did not write again until he wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus in AD 55-56 during his Third Missionary Journey.  He answers believers’ question in Chapters 12-14 as he had done in Chapter 7.  From 1 Corinthians 12.1-3, what do you think was their question?  Why did he answer by listing the gifts of the Holy Spirit?  Why did Paul use a body metaphor?  How does this accomplish Jesus’ words in John 17.18?  How should this change your life?

From this study, it is important for you to develop an intimate walk with the Holy Spirit so you will more likely fulfill God’s plan for your life (Jeremiah 29.11-13; John 3.27) and will have His help when your walk with Christ is challenged (1 Peter 3.15; Matthew 10.19-20).

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2014.  www.sozoclass.com

April 13, 2014 The Other Meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus

The Other Meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus

This is a wonderful season for Christians; a time for valuing greatly Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary’s cross for sin (1 Corinthians 11.23-26) and for celebrating His bodily resurrection from the tomb (Luke 24.3-7)!  These are two of the three pillars upon which Christianity stands.  There is deep meaning for you, personally, to again take from the treasury of your memories of Christ and to recommit to Him afresh.  But, for unbelievers, Jesus’ bodily resurrection should be a reminder of pending judgment from which they have no escape.  Who of your family or friends is facing such eternal condemnation and misery?  What will you say to them?  When (Ezekiel 3.17-19)?

Judge Jesus

  • This title for Jesus was prophesied in Isaiah 9.6-7 and explained by Jesus in Matthew 25.31-46.  Who are Jesus’ ‘brothers’?  (Revealed in Romans 8.29.)  What does Jeremiah 23.5 tell you about the ‘Judge’?  
  • Jesus performed judgment against satan (in John 12.31), fulfilling God’s subjugation of satan in Isaiah 14.12-15.  Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, He did what Paul and John describe in Colossians 2.15 and 1 John 3.8, respectively.  (How do you appreciate the authority you were given by Jesus in Luke 10.19 to overcome satan?  Notice Paul’s appreciation in Philippians 2.9-13!  Are you ‘working out’ this benefit of your salvation by overcoming satan’s abuses?)
  • Apostle Paul preached that Jesus is Judge to philosophers on Mars Hill, Athens, Greece. Notice what Paul said in Acts 17.30-31 that probably sent shivers down their spines. What did he call their philosophies?  He expanded this term in Colossians 2.8-10.  (Why are ‘philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world’ ignorance?  Because they illustrate Jeremiah 13.10!)
  • What was/is/will be the basis for Jesus’ judgment?  Reread Isaiah 9.7 and Jeremiah 23.5.  Remember that Jesus was judging in His Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7.  He was contrasting the present conditions He found against the ideal of God’s righteous standard (Matthew 6.10), as God had distinguished in Hosea 14.9.  (How does your present society compare to God’s ideal?  Consider Paul’s commentary in 1 Corinthians 6.9-11 and Jesus’ through John’s vision in Revelation 21.8 and 22.15.)
  • Read, again, Paul’s sermon and warning to philosophers in Acts 17.22-31.  He drew their attention to ‘a day on which [God] will judge the world’ (verse 31).  Other statements of this are in Isaiah 2.12, Matthew 12.36, Romans 2.16, 1 Corinthians 3.13, 2 Peter 2.9, and 1 John 4.17.
  • Again, the Judge’s criteria for judgment is righteousness, including ultimately John 14.6.
  • Paul, then, drove to his main point: God identified His chosen Judge as Jesus by resurrecting Him from the dead!
  • Lastly, Paul stated that Jesus’ resurrection is God’s ‘assurance to all’ of the pending day of judgement!  Shivers down the spines of unbelievers!  Deuteronomy 18.19!

Who do you know who needs saving from the Resurrected Judge?

  • For whom do you weep, as Jesus did when He entered Jerusalem for the final time?
  • In Luke 19.41-44, Jesus lamented, by extension, the fate of all that reject Him as Savior.
  • Read this and lament your family members and friends that have done the same.
  • And, thank God for your salvation!  John 14.6.

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter 2014.  www.sozoclass.com