April 9, 2017 “So What is Your Story?”

“So, what’s your story?”

This line from the movie, Pretty Woman, focuses Christians upon the critical element of our effectiveness in witnessing to others in this world. Each of our life-stories is unique in many ways to which other persons can relate. The Holy Spirit knows which story will be important to the one He is drawing to Christ and connects us, on an airplane, in a restaurant, at the gym, etc. Is your story ready to tell? As Jesus said, “‘you shall be witnessed to Me’” (Acts 1.8, NKJV). And, Peter (1.3.15) reminds us to always be ready to give inquirers a reason for our faith

A. Content

  1. Soren Kierkegaard framed our perspectives in his quote: “Life is lived forward but understood backward.”
  2. God’s favorite expression of this perspective was “remember”, as in Joshua 4:20-24, Isaiah 44:21-23, Psalm 77.11-15, and Deuteronomy 8:18 & 29.2-10.
  3. What would the Apostles and disciples of Jesus remember?
    1. Mark 6:30-44: Feeding 5,000 men and their families!
    2. Mark 6:53-56: Healing all who believed He could!
    3. Mark 4:35-41: Calming the raging sea and blustery wind!
    4. Mark 5:21-43: Restoring life within the little girl!
    5. John 15:24: Manifestations of God that the Pharisees missed!
    6. John 19:28-30: Finishing His task of saving followers eternally!
    7. Acts 1:3: Observing Jesus’ “many infallible proofs” after His resurrection!

See John 20:1-21:25, Luke 24:13-53, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

  1. So, what’s your story about Jesus providing food you did not have, healing your aching body, calming your troubled mind, resurrection a damaged relationship, and convincing you of His finished work for your eternal salvation? Remember!
  2. Your content will communicate your gratitude and be infectious to those with similar life experiences. They are looking for the hope you have found!

B.  Power

  1. The Source of our success in life and for witnessing is found in God’s words to Zerubbabel, in Zechariah 4.6: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.’”
  2. Jesus instructed the Apostles and disciples to await the Holy Spirit’s entrance and to receive His power; Acts 1.4-8.
  3. Thus, their stories would become empowered to connect to the needs of their hearers.

[A similar illustration of this is Paul’s pronouncement of protocol in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. God’s power is most important to be experienced by others.]

  1. Allow me to give a personal illustration.
    1. God sat Erin in the seat beside me on my flight last Saturday morning from Atlanta to Nashville. She was coming to visit her mother who was in town for a meeting over the weekend. Erin will graduate in May with a Master of Arts in Social Work with an emphasis on mental health. Although I was tired from a long flight from the Middle East and just wanted to listen to a podcast, the Holy Spirit urged me to converse with Erin, who was reading a book. After several Holy nudges and an opportune announcement, I began to inquiry about her degree and future work. The Holy Spirit engaged us through a discussion of the causes of mental illness. This allowed me to posit the place of sin as a cause. Dialogue led to God’s righteousness requirement when He will judge the world in the end of time. Her demeanor expressed engagement. She had stated earlier her disdain for “religion” and for people who tried to convince others away from their personal connections with God. The Holy Spirit had me on that edge. In the end, she understood that the works of her childhood Catholic traditions and personal adult philosophies would not answer satisfactorily God’s final question: why should I let you into Heaven? She had heard John 14:6 but was unwilling, then, to accept Jesus’ salvation. But, I was confident that my words had been guided by the Holy Spirit to address a contemplation she had been reviewing.
    2. The Holy Spirit affirmed that I had completed His assignment of me to only water seed that He had planted. Knowing that God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55.11), I pray for the person He will send to harvest the crop of Erin’s salvation! Please join my prayers for Erin.

C. Content + Power = Reconciliation

  1. In Acts 1.8, Jesus says that the content of the stories of the Apostles and disciples will become empowered by the Holy Spirit so that ‘”you SHALL be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’” (NKJV; my emphasis).
  2. Jerusalem is where you are best know by your behavior; home and place of work.
  3. Judea and Samaria are friends and acquaintances of vary closeness to you.
  4. The ‘end of the earth’ is where people don’t know you: another part of this town, another city in the state, another state in this nation, or another nation of this world.
  5. You will witness in each of these proximities because the Holy Spirit knows your story and the parts that will connect with someone He is leading to faith in Jesus.
  6. So, how does your story connect you to Jesus?

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com





February 26, 2017 Instructions and Feedback

Instructions and Feedback

In Matthew 25.14-30, Jesus tells the Parable of the Talents to illustrate the Kingdom of Heaven. Remember that He had instructed that we should pray for the Kingdom of Heaven to come to Earth, in Matthew 6.10, where, He said, the will of God would be done just like in Heaven. The three servants receiving the talents might be viewed as a body’s limbs receiving “motor” impulses from the Head, using Paul’s picture from Ephesians 1.22-23, and sending back “sensory” impulses through the 43 pairs of nerves in the human nervous system (see The Spiritual Nervous System for 170219 at www.sozoclass.com). For example, your two legs run to the scope and sequence of motor and sensory impulses to and from the quadriceps and calf (gastrocnemius and soleus) muscles in each. The servant receiving five talents ran faster and, thus, farther than the one receiving two, to complete the illustration. So, why did the servant receiving the single talent, motor impulse, not return with two, a like sensory response?

One of several explanations might be his misunderstanding of the motor impulse. In his prayer of Ephesians 1.15-23, Paul for understandings of the “hope of His calling”, of His “rich inheritance in the saints”, and of His “exceeding great power toward” believers (verses 18-19). Herein we have the formula for success in any endeavor: hope = (understanding of the requirements for hope and of the available resources) x (effort made to contemplate these, expressed in desired exponential). The exponential ‘effort made to contemplate’ might include dialogue with someone knowledgeable about aspects or views of the hope and how the resources have been or might be effectively combined to produce the hope. For example, the hope of self- driving vehicles is resulting from the thoughtful combination of hardware and software produced by many different technologists, in group, overcoming each new barrier that clouds the dream. The third servant was unwilling to challenge his perceived barrier to obeying the king, with a disastrous result.

Now, to return to the spiritual lesson, Jesus, the Head, sends motor impulses through the Holy Spirit to prompt our (the body’s) words of witness and/or acts of service to lost and saved persons to increase their understanding of His calling (John 3.16; Jeremiah 1.5; John 3.27; Matthew 25.31-46). Our timidity is overcome and our pictures of personal success are clarified by our time in prayers for courage and our review of relevant Scripture verses and examples. The person’s joyous reception of this good news becomes our sensory response back through the Holy Spirit to Jesus, prompting His, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”

So, don’t hide the talent God has given you. Rather, ask Him how He wants you to use it to accomplish the task He has assigned. He provides the resources and is patient until you understand. Consider Moses’ example in Exodus 3.1-4.17. Thus, the Kingdom of Heaven comes to earth, and the will of God is done on Earth just like it is done in Heaven…through us.

170226 Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com


February 19, 2017 The Spiritual Nervous System

The Spiritual Nervous System

The Master, God, sends His bondservants on important missions. We see this pattern in Abram (Genesis 12.1-4), Moses (Exodus 3.10), Jeremiah (1.7), Jonah (3.1-4), and Paul (Acts 26.17-18). What were the missions of Abram, Moses, Jonah, and Paul? God’s words to Jeremiah were, essentially, His words to the others at different times: “For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak”. Jesus acknowledged the same in John 12.49. God’s instructions have not changed for us! The Jesus identifies to us people who are ready to learn more about Himself, and His Holy Spirit gives us His words for their enlightenment. In a sense, the Holy Spirit corresponds to our body’s nervous system.

A. Consider the interesting word picture painted by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1.22-23.

  1. God “gave [Jesus to be] head over all to the church”. “All” includes every Nature of 
Reality: aesthetics, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics: everything that can be 
known (John 1.9)!
  2. The church (us, who subscribe to John 14.6) is Jesus’ body; i.e., “the fullness of Him 
who fills all in all.” Let that reality sink in for a moment; then, say: I AM part of Jesus’ body. [Thus, Paul writes Romans 12.4-8 and 1 Corinthians 12.12-27; all are equally important.]
  3. Consequently, thinking of your human body, since Jesus is the Head and we are His body, the Holy Spirit might be viewed as the 90,000+ miles of sensations that are sent by the Head (motor nerve impulses) and received from the body (sensory nerve impulses) through 100,000 billion neurons in 43 pairs (motor and sensory), with 12 pairs going to and from the brain and 31 pairs going from the spinal cord (formed by nervous tissue more than 16 inches long and in the vertebral canal inside the spinal column) (Google; human nervous system).
  4. Psalmist David did not know this but still penned Psalm 139.14! And, Jeremiah (1.5) could not understand God’s words. Can you comprehend that this results from the union of microscopic sperm and ovum? Solomon expresses this understanding in Proverbs 23.22 and 25 (ESV “gives you life”).
  5. Therefore, Jesus is saying in John 16.13 that the Holy Spirit direct our bodies to persons and places He decides (motor; Isaiah 30.21) and communicates to Jesus our pains beyond words (sensory; Romans 8.26); for all 2.2 billion Christians in the world today (Google; Pew Research Center)!
  6. Jesus illustrates the Holy Spirit’s guiding in Matthew 4.1, Mark 1.12, and Luke 4.1; Paul and Silas in Acts 13.2. Thus, Paul writes Romans 8.14 to us, paraphrasing Isaiah 30.21.

B. Consider another word picture, this one painted by Jesus in John 16.8-11.

  1. The Holy Spirit came with three missions: lovingkindness, judgment, and 
righteousness (Jeremiah 9.24), because He delights in these.
  2. Hear the lovingkindness of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s words to lost Gentiles in 2

Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com

February 12, 2017 Jesus Came to….

Jesus Came to….

(Author’s note: I have written this study from specific points to general principles. Hopefully, you can follow along my threads of Spiritual logic and receive the benefit I seek to communicate, which is that the Son continued what the Father had begun and what the Holy Spirit continues today; all expressing God.)

A. The Apostle Paul completes the sentence in 2 Corinthians 5.21. The Apostle John completes the sentence in John 1.18, generally, and in 3.16, specifically, agreeing with Paul. Dr. Luke adds to our understanding in Acts 10.38, a general statement. John, again, specifies 1 John 3.8b (affirming Isaiah 53.4-5, Amplified). Paul, again, narrows John’s thought further in Hebrews 2.14-15 (Jesus had to look like man to destroy our fear of death; consider Paul’s quandary in Philippians 1.23-24). And, Jesus collects all of these in Mark 10.45.

B. All of these are part of Paul’s fundamental description of Jesus in Philippians 2.7-8, NKJV: “but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient….”

  1. Men have no reputation beyond that which God gives them. Titles are constructs of man to identify a division of labor; note Jesus’ warning not to call man ‘father’ or ‘teacher’, however (Matthew 23.9-11). What does this say about ‘servant leadership’ and the correct picture of an enterprise’s organization chart? Everyone serves someone! And all are to serve the interests of God! Jeremiah 1.5
  2. Bondservants are known as property of their master. Mankind is, thus, identified as such because our bodies are made in God’s image (Genesis 1.27). How does Ephesians 1.22-23 explain Jesus’ declaration of our part in John 17.18? So, what, then, are the ‘good works’ God intended in Ephesians 2.10?
  3. Jesus confirms His servitude in John 5.19-20 and 49: He said and did only what His Master instructed. Why is this the best model for us bondservants? How can you implement this procedure?

C. What was Jesus accomplishing through the descriptions of Section A?

  1. John 1.18: He was revealing God to man, as He says in John 15.24, which refers back to Isaiah 7.14, which refers back to Deuteronomy 18.18, which refers back to Exodus 34.10. The Pharisees were unwilling to accept Jesus’ fulfillment of these verses because of 2 Corinthians 4.4.
  2. Matthew 6.10: He was demonstrating the kingdom of Heaven on Earth, and the will of God being done here like there. We see this in Matthew 10.7-8: kingdom pronouncement followed by demonstration of God’s will. Paul understood this, as he expresses in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. How can you follow this protocol to bring the Kingdom of God to your contexts and, then, demonstrate God’s will therein?
  3. Exodus 19.4-6: Jesus was illustrating the duties of the Priest desired by God of the whole nation Israel, which 1 Peter 2.9 says includes us, now. Jesus showed us how in Luke 10.1-19.

D. Conclusion:

  1. All servants are here to do the good works that God has already ordained (Ephesians 2.10). John the Baptist acknowledges this in John 3.27.
  2. Paul says to follow him as he follows Jesus (1 Corinthians 11.1, 16-17). Same for 
us. Do your mentors and coaches remind you of Jesus?
  3. Jesus visually demonstrates what God said in Jeremiah 9.24. Jesus, then, said the 
Holy Spirit would do the same, John 16.8-11. God’s preference for lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness to be demonstrated through us. As Paul would write in Hebrews 13.8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” There is no inconsistency with God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit evidence the same preferences. Should not His bondservants, made in His image?
  4. Would the people you relate to in your home, at work, and at play affirm experiencing these from you? Jesus came so they might.

[Author’s Second Note: so, what general principles do you understand (mindset) that are observed in Servant Jesus (behavior)? How do Jesus’ specific behaviors illustrate His thinking and mindset? Proverbs 23.7.]

170212 Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com


February 5, 2017 The God of All Comfort

The God of all Comfort

         Isaiah 40:1-31 begins with a promise and ends with an assurance. Both, however, depend upon the One making the promise and having the ability to give such assurance. The middle verses describe God as the only One capable of stating both. These middle verse remind us of God’s description of Himself by contrast to Job (38-39); incomparably awesome! Both passages are satisfying reminders during the uncertainties of daily life. Rest in His arms.

A. “’Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’, says your God.”

  1. This command of Isaiah 40.1 was given for Isaiah to prepare the nation for their captivity in Babylon, spoken to King Hezekiah (Isaiah 39.5-7) after he, with pride, had revealed kingdom secrets to foreign visitors.
    1. The captivity of Judah in Babylon occurred between 605 and 586 B.C.
    2. In Jeremiah’s (29.1-32) letter to the captives during their 70 years of service for their sin, God speaks of the same comfort (verse 10): “’After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place [Jerusalem].’” Verses 11-13 are an assurance of God’s love and control!
  2. Notice how the Apostle Paul, that scholar of Isaiah’s prophecy, reflects on God the Comforter in 2 Corinthians 1.3-7.
    1. He declares that it is God Who “comforts us in all our tribulation.” All individual struggles against satan (Ephesians 6.12), and all collective calamities (Proverbs 29.2b).
    2. And, while we solicit His comfort, we must remember to share our experience of comfort with those seeking such themselves (verse 4). Paul would amplify his ‘afflicted’ in verse six later, in chapter 12 and verse 10: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” This summary comment reflects upon verse 7-9, remembering the events of Acts 13-14, as he mentions to Timothy (2.3.11). Note his reminder to Timothy that God comforted him during the affliction.
  3. Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines the name ‘Comforter’ as a characteristic of the Holy Spirit, in John 14:16, 26; John 14:16; 16:7.
  4. Today, the Holy Spirit comforts us by leading us through difficult situations as a continual reminder of God’s proclamation in Isaiah 40.1: “’Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’, says your God.”
  5. This is our command, too, in ministry to others. It is the application of Deuteronomy 6.4-9 and Jeremiah 9.23-24. It is our opportunity to be like Jesus in this world (38, John 17.18, Ephesians 2.10, 1 John 4.17, Ephesians 3.14-21).
  6. Remember when someone comforted you and/or you comforted someone else. How did the Holy Spirit confirm that He was acting through you and/or them?

B. “Mount up with Wings like Eagles!”

  1. Isaiah 40.31 describes us who ‘wait’ for the Lord: we mount up; we are not weary; we do not faint under the affliction and uncertainties of life’s demands!
  2. Isaiah 26.3 & 12 and 4 describes the benefits of ‘waiting’ for the Lord.
  3. And, Jesus said He is the Source of nourishment for us who ‘wait’, in John 15.1-8.
  4. Thus would Paul write Philippians 4.13 and amplify in Romans 8.31-39!
  5. Reflect upon the events that cause Moses to declare Exodus 15.2-3 and declare verse 11. Does this give you greater understanding of Jeremiah 32.17 & 27?
  6. Perhaps, then, we can appreciate better Paul’s protocol in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5 and empowerment in 2 Corinthians 12.10.
  7. Jeremiah 1.12! God is always ready to act for the one who waits for Him! This was the Apostles’ experience, in Acts 4.29-30!
  8. “What difference does it make in our lives that God has such power?” (M. Duduit, Ventures in Transforming Truth, Volume 5, Book 1, 2016)

C. Who is God Who assures successful completion of His promises?

  1. Absolutely: Isaiah 40.9-17, 26. “How does an understanding of God’s glory impact your thoughts about Him?” (ibid)
  2. Relatively: Isaiah 40.18-25 and 9-20. Paul identifies the source as satan in 2 Corinthians 4.3-4.
  3. Only: Isaiah 45.22! Isaiah 43.10-11 and 6 and 8! Why fear, indeed, when we know and understand the only God? 2 Corinthians 2.14!
  4. God is very aware of your circumstance and acting for and with you; Isaiah 40.27-31 and 21. Consider Jeremiah 6.16, too. Finish with Jeremiah 7.23.
  5. Again, Paul concludes our praise in Ephesians 3.20-21!
  6. “How does the glory and majesty of God have an impact on how we relate to Him?” (ibid)

D. Isaiah 40.8: “The grass wither, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” Be assured of His promises! He is!

170205 Praise God! Copyright © by Maurice Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com


December 18, 2016 Move Out

Move Out

             For what Spiritual-warfare purpose was Jesus born? Apostle John answers in 1 John 3.8b: “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” How did He do this? Again, John states: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1.18 NASB; ESV: “ he has made him known”; NKJV: “He has declared Him”). So, God sent His only begotten Son to destroy satan’s harmful scheming deeds in the societies of Jesus’ earthly days.

Now that Jesus is seated with God the Father, Acts 1.9 leading to Psalm 110.1, who did He intend to continue this destruction of satan’s harmful scheming deeds in the societies of our world? Jesus, Himself, gives the answer, in John 17.18: “As You [God the Father] sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” And, Jesus gave us the two means we need for accomplishing this. John, again, reveals these to us, in Revelation 12.11: “they overcame him [satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony….” Jesus’ Cross and His name, the only and best “word” we can speak, as Apostle Paul describes Jesus’ name in Philippians 2.9-11! Receive Jesus’ encouragement to “move out” in Luke 10.19!

So, what are we waiting for? The embers of evil erupt into flame without frequent dousing with “Jesus”! History gives us some encouragement.

A. “Moses, go forward!”

  1. These were God’s words to Moses as the children of Israel seemed pinned in by the Red Sea and the Egyptian army; Exodus 14.15.
  2. satan seemed to have the upper hand. A natural barrier blocking their exit. An angry army awaiting the light of day; Exodus 14.20.
  3. It is interesting that their few days of wanderings had brought them to the Baal of Zephon at Pi Hahiroth (modern Jebel Deraj or Kulalah on the western shore of the Gulf of Suez); Exodus 14.9. Easton’s Bible Dictionary says that “Baal-zapuna of the Egyptians was a place of worship.”
  4. Exodus 12.12 explains this one, final victory over Pharaoh and his army; and in front of their temple of worship! satan could not, even, protect his warriors from God’s judgment!
  5. Paul’s words from his experience, in 1 Corinthians 10.13, encourage us to ask for God’s plan of escape when in satan’s schemes. God’s ultimate plan is understood from Galatians 1.4.
  6. God’s plan for the children of Israel was Exodus 14.13-31. How are Moses’ proclamation in verses 13-14 like Matthew 10.7 and his actions that followed like verse eight? Similarly, what do you learn from Luke 10.9?
  7. Moses’ was God’s chosen leader (Exodus 3.10) to say the word and do the work. He needed the encouragement of Exodus 14.15. “Move out!

B. Do you hear His instructions?

  1. King David did, in 2 Samuel 5.22-25.   David was a good listener! He followed God’s strategies.
  2. This was the second time the Philistines had challenged David’s emerging kingship; 2 Samuel 5.17-25. The Philistines were satan’s agents of harm; idol worshippers! God describes such deceived people, with amazement, in Isaiah 44.9-20. People are really that deceived!
  3. During the first challenge, David had asked God how to fight against this enemy, and God had instructed him to attack from the front; 2 Samuel 5.19-20.
  4. But, this second time, God knew the Philistines would be anticipating a frontal attack. So, He instructed David to “circle around behind them and come at them in front of the balsam trees” (2 Samuel 2.23). Jehovah-Strategist! He knows the best ways to attack.

And, there was more. God, further, instructed David to wait for what signal, in verse 24? How was this God saying, “Move out!”?

C. Move Out!

  1. Jesus heard God the Father loud and clear (John 12.49) when He commanded the epileptic demon to leave the boy alone; Mark 9.25-27. Move out!
  2. Peter heard God’s instruction when he commanded the paralytic to “walk” in Acts 3.6. Move out!
  3. Paul heard God’s instruction when he arose from the dead and walked back into Lystra to demonstrate God’s power to his murderers; see Acts 14.19-20. Move out!
  4. Luke correctly described Jesus in Acts 10.38. This is true about you, too!

So, for what Spiritual-warfare purpose was Jesus born? 1 John 3.8b. For what Spiritual-warfare purpose were you born? Consider that Romans 8.14 leads to 2 Corinthians 4.3-4 leads to 2 Corinthians 10.5 leads to Acts 26.18 leads to 2 Corinthians 5.20 leads to John 17.18 leads to Matthew 6.10!

            Your purpose! Move out!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

December 11, 2017 The End of Hope

The End of Hope

          Jesus’ story of the rich man (Matthew 19.23) and beggar (James 2.5) illustrates the double meaning of this title; see Luke 16.19-31. [Side bar, moral of the story: Matthew 6.19-21.] Hades is the abode of the departed until the Rapture (Revelation 4.1) or the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20.11-15), for the residents of Paradise (Luke 23.43) or the Pit (Isaiah 14.12-15), respectively. Notice that there a “chasm” of impossibility for travel between the two, but Abraham, at least, is able to converse in both. Jesus had discussed this, generally, with Nicodemus in John 3.16-21, as a warning. We pass by such people daily, as Apostle Paul reminds in 2 Corinthians 2.15-16. Our “scent” expresses the end of hope to each!

A. Final Assignments

  1. Revelation 20.11-15 describes the awesome event of the Great White Throne judgment.
  2. Because of our acceptance of the truth of John 14.6, Christians will not be condemned; for, our names will have been written in the Book of Life. We will be there in attendance with Jesus, as Paul assures in 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18. Notice that believers in Paradise will be gathered before any believers still alive, a brief “twinkling of an eye” (a blink = 1/32 of a second) difference, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.52. Powerful God!
  3. The Great White Throne judgment will be for those from the Pit of Hades. They will suffer the same “lake-of-fire” fate of the chief resident, satan (Revelation 12.7-17, John 12.31, Ephesians 4.7-10, Isaiah 14.12-15).
  4. Paul explains the differentiation further Romans 2.1-11, especially the contrasts of verses seven and eight. Those of verse eight were detailed in the study “161204 The Devolution of Society” (sozoclass.com).

B. The Judge

  1. Jesus’ description in Matthew 25.31-46 is of the Great White Throne judgment. Jesus is not describing works for salvation but works resulting from salvation, as He said to the Pharisees in Matthew 9.10-13, including Hosea 6.6. For, Jesus was responding to people described by John 6.47 which understanding is explained by John 1.12 and which understanding is explained by John 3.16 and which understanding is explained by John 14.6! Contrast this with Jesus condemnation of the Pharisees in Matthew 23.4; no mercy!
  2. Jesus, again, identifies Himself as the Judge in John 5.22-23. Paul repeats this identity to the philosophers on Mars Hill in Acts 17.30-31. Apostle Peter drives this point deep into the Jewish leaders and people in Acts 2.14-36, reminding them of what Jesus had said to them in Matthew 22.41-46, quoting Psalm 110.1.

C. Another?

  1. So, Paul, twice, expresses dismay and disbelief that followers of Jesus would consider any other ‘salvation’ than the “Judge”, in 2 Corinthians 11.3-4 and Galatians 1.6-9.
  2. Peter states the same to the Sanhedrin or ruling Jewish counsel in Acts 4.12. Although his statement concern the physical healing of a paralytic, the truth can be applied generally , as Jesus does with another paralytic in Matthew 9.1-8. [Side bar: How were healing and forgiving sins equal? Fundamentally, sin is disbelief in God (Hebrews 11.6); sins express lifestyles of such disbelief (Matthew 15.18-20).] Receiving faith for healing expressed the paralytic’s faith in Jesus as Savior. Paul summarizes the power of the name ‘Jesus’ in Philippians 2.9-11 and, then, encourages application in daily life in verses 12-13, as Peter spoke to the Sanhedrin.
  3. So, Paul is, rightly, dismayed and in disbelief that the Galatians would want to abandon the only Savior, in Galatians 1.6-9.
  4. He states the most important reason for remaining loyal in Galatians 1.4:”…that He might rescue us from this present evil age….” There is no escape from Earth apart from Jesus! And, besides, Jesus is the Judge at the Great White Throne judgment!

D. Pivot from Evil

  1. Consequently, 1 John 2.17 gives us rationale from Apostle John: “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (my underscore for emphasis). Societies wounds are characterized as “the lust of the flesh” and/or “the lust of the eyes” and/or “the boastful pride of life” (verse 16). Passing away!
  2. Paul, too, in 1 Corinthians 7.31: “…the form of this world is passing away” (my underscore for emphasis). Luke 17.26-37 helps to explain the context of Paul’s words “use of the world”. Our world could change in a moment!
  3. This is what John the Revelationist saw and wrote in Revelation 20.11: “…from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them” (my underscore for emphasis).
  4. To not be left behind to suffer God’s wrath (Romans 1.18-32, Revelation 6 [especially 6.16-17]; 8-9; 9-12; 14-20; 16.1-18.24) before being sentenced to the lake of fire is the best reason to pivot from darkness to light, from satan’s kingdom to God’s, as Paul states in Acts 26.16-18!
  5. Jesus was sent to rescue us from this fate; Galatians 1.4. Praise You, Savior and Lord!

The Great White Throne judgment is real and will occur when God calls an end to time (Mark 13.32). At that moment, the hope of Heaven will be realized by Christians (1 Corinthians 15.24) but lost for those skeptical of John 14.6. This scenario is visualized by analogy in Numbers 21.4-9. Would you have looked?

Paul makes one final plea in Hebrews 3.12-15 for our attention before the end of hope! And, he emphasizes the point in Hebrews 9.27-28. May we be the “scent of life” (2 Corinthians 2.16; Isaiah 45.22) to our societies, which portray symptoms of death.

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.

December 4, 2016 The Devolution of Society

The Devolution of Society

           A historical figure of the late 20th Century recently died at an advanced age. He had been raised a Catholic but became a Communist in his middle years. How is his example of drifting away from the truth instructive for us to prevent this in our lives? The Apostle Paul warns about drifting in Hebrews 2.1 NASB: “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” The “reason” to which he refers is explained in Hebrews 1.1-4 as Jesus, the Son of God and “exact representation of His nature, and [upholder of] all things by the word of His power.” “Drifting” lacks intent; it just happens over time. Our national and world societies continue the drift begun long ago. So, how do we keep from drifting and return to the course assigned or, even, get back on course?

A. Societal Evidence of Drifting

  1. How many of the list of Galatians 5.19-21 can you identify on television, in the newspapers, in popular movies, and/or among persons known by you? We will comment on Paul’s warning later.
  2. What about Paul’s list in 2 Timothy 3.1-7? Do you see this in the present sophomoric protests?
  3. And, lest we forget why we, of all ages, are anxious and loose sleep, from 1 Timothy 6.10. Does this describe you or someone you know? How does this fit into Matthew 6.27?
  4. Paul is not alone. James (3.16) explains the origins of “chaos theory” as this mathematical theory might be applied to any group of people. Have you been around and/or subject to these causes?
  5. Of course, these aberrant behaviors have their sources in Paul’s list in Colossians 2.8 and result in his nautical description in Ephesians 4.14. How is Peter’s walk on water (Matthew 14.30) analogous to Paul’s description? How does this illustrate “drifting”?

B. Source of Drifting

  1. Only one, as described in Jeremiah 13.10.
  2. How is the end of verse 10 connected to Isaiah 14.12? What was/is satan’s motive behind all the behavioral “straw men” above? Consider Isaiah 14.13-14. Since he was unsuccessful (Revelation 12.7-9), is this why he picked on our “fairer sex” (Genesis 3.1-5)?
  3. Remember how Jesus described satan to his followers in John 8.44. Have you seen this evidence of satan in the media or in any associate recently?
  4. The reason for these behaviors, and the explanation of Jeremiah 13.10, is seen in the illustrations of King Saul (1 Samuel 13.9-14), the Prince of Tyre (Ezekiel 28.1-5), King Herod (Acts 12.22-23), and summarized in John’s third item in 1 John 2.16. What is that fundamental reason? How do all the behaviors above exemplify this reason, especially that stated by Jesus in John 8.44? The “end” of these may be seen in Isaiah 14.15!

C. Remedy for Prideful Imaginations

  1. King Solomon taught his children early this in Proverbs 3.1-7, 21-23 and 20-27. Perhaps, Solomon was remembering his father’s teaching in Psalm 119.9-16.
  2. Paul provides wise counsel in Hebrews 3.12-13.
  3. Paul, even, suggest a radical solution to a difficult problem in 1 Corinthians 5.5. In other words, let evil bring the person down so far that s/he can only look up. Perhaps, Paul was remembering Nebuchadnezzar’s story in Daniel 4.1-37. A reasonable warning to us: satan will take you all the way down! Jonah (2.7-10) is a like illustration of returning.
  4. God gave Moses His best remedy in Deuteronomy 6.4-9. What steps can you take to incorporate these practices?
  5. Consequently, the ultimate remedy is simply to reverse Jeremiah 13.10, like David acknowledges in Psalm 119.67 and 71. What does that mean to you?
  6. How is harnessing your “imagination” like “taming your tongue”, as James (3.2-5) describes? How are Moses’ behaviors the needed “bits”?

“Drifting” is a scheme of satan for taking the word of God from you. The Holy Spirit instructed me, one morning as I drove to my downtown office, to phone a man I had led to faith in Jesus Christ and to tell him “don’t stop reading the Bible”. “How did you know” was his questioning response. He, then, confided that he was seriously considering reducing his time of daily study of the Bible so he could add the reading of some well-known Christian authors. God’s instruction may be for you, too, who may be considering the same. Remember that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10.17).

Two final suggestions. First, resolve to read the Bible from beginning to end within one year. There are many interesting formats, including daily portions from the Old and New Testaments or a chronological arrangement of the various books of the Bible. Second, invest as much time in Bible reading and study as you spend on the daily news. And, remember Paul’s warning in 2 Corinthians 2.11.

Don’t “drift” into his grasp! Jeremiah 15.19-21 will lead you to joyously proclaim verse 16!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.

November 27, 2016 Don’t Quench the Holy Spirit

Don’t Quench the Holy Spirit

Apostle Paul includes this imperative in the closing paragraph of his first letter to believers in Thessalonica (1.5.19). Literally, Paul admonishes us to not douse with water the fire that describes the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.3-4. The reason for this is the picture in and reality of Ephesians 3.10-12: we are to make known to “the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” the “manifold wisdom of God”! This is the result of 2 Corinthians 10.5 leading to 2 Corinthians 5.20 and Paul’s fulfillment of Acts 26.16-18. Further, Paul presents the role and responsibility of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 3.14-21 for effecting the “manifold wisdom of God”. Consequently, we understand the reason for not quenching or diminishing the Holy Spirit.

A. So that…

  1. The last clause of Ephesians 3.19 expresses His goal for you: to “be filled up to all the fullness of God.” This is important because Jesus is our Head; so, His body (of believers) must be like Him (Ephesians 1.22-23). “Fullness” is the complete measure of maturity for believers equipped with Jesus’ knowledge and faith (Ephesians 4.11-13) for which we strive.
  2. Paul gives us stair steps in Ephesians 3.16-21 that I have connected vertically with the words “so that”; that is, each building upon the previous. The foundation step is the strengthening “with power” (verse 15) of the ‘real’ person, our “inner man (“male and female”; Genesis 5.2), by the Holy Spirit. Paul discusses this power in 1 Corinthians 2.5 and 2 Corinthians 4.7 and 7. Therein, he desires that our power be that of God within us (John 17.21-23; to reveal God). Only God’s power in Jeremiah could “pluck up and break down, destroy and overthrow” satan’s kingdom and “build and plant” the Kingdom of God (Jeremiah 1.10)! The same is true for us.
  3. This “power” is ours so that the Anointing (the meaning of Christ; Colossians 1.26-27; 1 John 2.27) may fill our minds, so that we may be “rooted and grounded” in God’s teachings (Ephesians 3.16-17). The “Anointing” secures us against the storms of relative philosophies and other of satan’s schemes (Ephesians 4.14-16; Colossians 2.8-10). “Love” is defined in John 14.15, 1 John 5.3, and 2 John 1.6 as obedience to God’s commands. Remember the reward of Jeremiah 7.23!
  4. From Ephesians 3.18, we are to be “rooted and grounded” in “love” so that we can “comprehend” the totality of God (Jeremiah 9.23-24; Hebrews 11.3, 6; Genesis 1.1; Isaiah 43.10-11, 22)! How big is your God? Consider that His house in Revelation 21.9-27 is 1,500 miles in length, width, and height! That is where believers in John 14.6 will dwell with Jesus eternally! Can you “comprehend” this?
  5. In Ephesians 3.19, we are to “comprehend” the totality of God so that our Anointing (1 John 2.27) will be greater than all knowledge (the “light” of John 1.9: cosmological logos and epistemological logos: the complete knowledge of mankind)!
  6. We climb these upward stairs with the “strength” of the Holy Spirit so that we may arrive at the “fullness of God” (Ephesians 3.19). You have all of this potential within you! So, do not quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5.19)!

B. How do we quench the Holy Spirit?

  1. By emphasizing Jeremiah 9.23 over 24;
  2. By turning away from God to follow a devolving imagination (Jeremiah 13.10);
  3. By not “asking, seeking, or knocking” as Jesus encourages in Matthew 7.7-11; and
  4. By not hearing and/or obeying what the Holy Spirit tells us (James 1.5-8).

C. The Results of an Unquenchable Holy Spirit.

  1. As Paul concludes in Ephesians 3.20-21 NASB: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us [i.e., the Anointing of God’s Holy Spirit within us; John 1.12], to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
  2. Isaiah 64.4 acclaims similarly.

And, thus, we make known to “the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” the “manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3.10-12)!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

November 20, 2016 Conversing with the Holy Spirit

Conversing with the Holy Spirit

In John 14.16, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would arrive – to “be with you forever” – when Jesus departed to be with God (Psalm 110.1-2). Acts 1.9-11 discusses Jesus’ ascension before the disciples’ eyes and the angels’ reminder to expect His return someday. Then, Acts 2.1-11 tells the amazing story of the arrival of the Holy Spirit, Who immediately proclaimed to the different nationalities gathered in Jerusalem for commerce the “mighty deeds of God”. He continues this proclamation to and through believers within the contexts of our lives. The Apostle Paul summarizes this activity in Romans 8.14 NASB: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” “Being led” implies communication between each of us and the Holy Spirit. Is this intuitive or auditory? How do we discern His voice among the voices we hear?

A. Who is the Holy Spirit?

  1. John 14.16-17 tells us that He comes from the Father, God. He is the third person of the Trinity. All three are, also, included in Matthew 3.16-17, 28.19, and Luke 3.22. (See Notes A, B, & C below.)
  2. He is the “Spirit of truth”. The world does not know Him. He “abides with you and will be in you”, which Paul states in Ephesians 1.13-14 as a “pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Jesus discusses “will be in you” in John 17.20-21 as including God the Father and God the Son; note that Jesus includes us in Them!       Jesus repeats this perspective in Matthew 28.18-20 where “baptizing them IN the name” is also understood as “baptizing them INTO the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (my emphasis). Likewise, the Holy Spirit “in you” explains Mark 16.20; the Holy Spirit did the “signs that followed”.
  3. Jesus, also, addressed the Holy Spirit as “the Helper” in John 14.16. “Helper” is Paracletos in the Greek (meaning one who walks alongside) and is explained as “Comforter, Advocate, and Intercessor”. So, we should expect to experience these in our lives. Paul explains “Intercessor” in Romans 8.26-27; His “groanings” express to God needs that we cannot find the best words to express. His “groanings” are according to the will of God, as stated in the Bible except for James 4.13-16.
  4. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 2.10-16 that the Holy Spirit knows the will of God, for He “searches all things, even the depths of God”…”even so the thoughts of God”. So, the Holy Spirit knows God’s plans for each of us and, by Romans 8.14, is leading us to fulfill them.       Thus, we should walk backwards with our backs against the Holy Spirit’s back, as 19th Century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard observed: “Life is lived forward but understood backward.” Solomon states this conclusion in Proverbs 19.21. Walking backwards will keep you ‘on plan’.
  5. Jesus discussed the Holy Spirit’s knowledge of “the thoughts of God” in John 16.13. This “Spirit of truth”…“will guide you into all the truth.” Jesus, also, proclaimed the Bible as God’s truth, in John 17.17. We mature in Jesus’ knowledge (Ephesians 4.13) only through the Bible. The Holy Spirit is our guide through the process of “sanctification”, or maturation of our “inner man” (Ephesians 3.16, Romans 7.22, 1 Thessalonians 5.23, 2 Corinthians 5.17, John 3.1-8). Again, Romans 8.14.
  6. Jesus, also, says that the Holy Spirit will “disclose to you what is to come”, in John 16.13. He knows the future as He does the present as He does the past. Paul states ‘past’ in John 14.26 and ‘future’ in 1 Timothy 4.1 and 2 Timothy 3.1-7. He is Historian and Forecaster. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16.14). As Ronald Nash writes: “In other words, the epistemological Logos is not only the mediator of divine special revelation (John 1.14), He is also the ground of all human knowledge” (Nash).
  7. In Matthew 10.19-20 and Luke 12.11-12, Jesus reassures that the Holy Spirit, as “Advocate”, will give us answers to the questions of persecutors and inquirers. Peter (1, 3.15) encourages us to be ready; that is, walk with the Holy Spirit so closely that you will repeat what He wants the other person to know, as Paul implies in Romans 8.14 and proclaims to Timothy (2, 4.2). This is the Holy Spirit as Comforter (John 16.7 AMPC).
  8. Matthew 12.28 and Luke 11.20 are Jesus’ statements that the Spirit of God reveals the Kingdom of God to mankind. Jesus instructs us, in Matthew 6.10, to pray for God’s kingdom to come to Earth.
    1. Matthew 10.7-8 is Jesus’ instruction carrying out this prayer. I believe that this proceeded from His observation and expressed desire in Matthew 9.35-38 where He describes people unable to fight Spiritual Warfare (2 Corinthians 10.3-6). Luke 10.1-19 repeats Jesus’ instruction and explains it, especially, in verses 8 and 9. Note the result in Luke 10.17. “Jesus” is the name above all other names (Philippians 2.9-11)!
    2. Jesus encourages us to “seek His kingdom” in Luke 12.31-32. It must be important, since God has “chosen gladly to give you the kingdom”! How do Jesus’ words in Matthew 6.33 help to explain the Kingdom’s importance?
    3. So, what is the “Kingdom of God”? Easton’s Bible Dictionary definition of ‘Kingdom of God’: “(Matt 6:33; Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:43) = “kingdom of Christ”(Matt 13:41; 20:21) = “kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph 5:5 = “kingdom of David” (Mark 11:10) = “the kingdom” (Matt 8:12; 13:19) = “kingdom of heaven” (Matt 3:2 4:17; Matt 3:2), all denote the same thing under different aspects, viz.: (1) Christ’s mediatorial authority, or his rule on the earth; (2) the blessings and advantages of all kinds that flow from this rule; (3) the subjects of this kingdom taken collectively, or the Church.”
    4. But, the Kingdom of God existed in the Old Testament, didn’t it? The Decalogue of Exodus 20.1-17 expressed the ‘righteousness of God’ (Hosea 14.9) to His chosen people. Jesus used the Decalogue to emphasize the difficulty of wealthy people to enter the kingdom; Matthew 19.16-23 and Mark 10.17-23 and to emphasize Christian responsibility (Matthew 22.36-40).   It is impossible to serve God and money (Matthew 6.24, Romans 6.16)! God, speaking about His chosen people, says, in Ezekiel 36.26, that He will replace their rebellious “heart of stone” (Jeremiah 13.10; 2 Corinthians 4.4) with a “heart of flesh” (“I desire mercy!”; Hosea 6.6, Matthew 9:13). Notice what role He gives the Holy Spirit in Ezekiel 36.27. Is this His role today, to “cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (1 John 2.27)? Jeremiah 31.31-34 (Hebrews 8.10-11, 16) states that God has written His requirements upon our minds! Thus, the Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17.20-21) and enlightened by the Holy Spirit!
    5. Jesus had cast out blind and mute demons from a man in Matthew 12.22. In Luke 11.20, He says that the “finger of God” did this. A new title for the Holy Spirit?
    6. Jesus had given the same instruction to the Apostles in Matthew 10.7-8: Preach that the Kingdom is present wherever you are, and prove it by healing and casting out demons!
    7. In 1 Corinthians 2.4-5, Paul states his preference for demonstration by the Spirit doing miracles rather than the orations of man. Likewise, the Spirit was present to heal the Pharisees who would not accept this gift, so He healed a paralytic with faith enough to be let down by four ropes through the roof; see Luke 5.17-25.
    8. The Holy Spirit does the works that reveal Jesus, Whose works revealed God (John 15.24, 18, 14.7-11, Exodus 34.10, Deuteronomy 18.18, Isaiah 7.14)!
    9. Thus, the Holy Spirit is the Power at work through us to reveal God to mankind, as Jesus said is our job (John 17.18; Matthew 28.18-20). The Holy Spirit takes authority and power from Jesus and gives to us to do God’s “good works” (John 16.14; Ephesians 2.10; John 10.37-38).
    10. The Holy Spirit reveals the Kingdom of Heaven to man so that it becomes the Kingdom of God on Earth, just as Jesus instructed us to pray (Matthew 6.10)! May His will be done through us, His servants (Philippians 2.7). Note how David received strength, in Psalm 119.97-104.

B. “And”.

  1. Jesus says that Paracletos will “teach you all things, AND bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”; John 14.26 (my emphasis). The two points are connected. Jesus pointed this out in Matthew 6.33; all the things we might worry about become ours when we inject His principles into our contexts. Paul repeats this in Philippians 4.6-7. How does God’s solicitation in Jeremiah 29.11-13 & 33.3 state this confluence?
  2. The importance of John 14.26 is gained from John 16.15, where Jesus said the Holy Spirit would reveal to believers everything that God the Father had given to Jesus the Son.       This includes the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Remember that Jesus spoke in His Model Prayer the desire that the “Kingdom come”; i.e., the Kingdom of Heaven becoming the Kingdom of God on Earth (Matthew 6.10).
  3. The Holy Spirit, thus, reveals the Kingdom of God as mankind becomes capable of understanding it. Dr. Ron Nash (A.6) divides “all human knowledge” into two types – cosmological logos, using John 1.3, and epistemological logos, using John 1.9 (Nash).       God’s cosmological wonders have become clearer and more abundant with ever-increasing technological capabilities, evidenced by the Hubble Telescope revealing an expanding universe, whose increasing speed is calculated using Christian Doppler’s theory, basically rate = distance/time. Likewise, epistemological knowledge continues to advance with revelation driven by discovery and adaptation. Consider, for example, the advances in medicine, nanoscience, economics, and other sciences recognized by annual Nobel Prizes.
  4. All these things are among those included in John 14.26. The Holy Spirit continues to bring to light (John 1.9) the knowledge of the Kingdom of God as it becomes increasingly like the Kingdom of Heaven. I believe that Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.14-21 explains this. For, he prays that the Anointing (1 John 2.27) may “root and ground” us and enable us to “comprehend” the expanse of God’s “love” and “fullness”!
  5. This advancement can, also, be envisioned as upward stair steps, where the horizontal step is knowledge acquired and understood leading to the vertical advance of wisdom for its use; leading the next horizontals and verticals successively.
  6. The warning, of course, is to remember that the Source is God, not man (Isaiah 13.10; 1 John 2.15-17). Man has only discovered what God has seen fit to reveal, as in Proverbs 3.19 and Jeremiah 32.17 & 27. Our response can only be David’s questions of Psalm 8.1-9. Answered in Isaiah 43.10.
  7. This warning is defensed by the second part of Jesus’ description of the Holy Spirit in John 14.26: He will remind you of what I have said.       For example, how does Jesus instruction in Matthew 6.33 remind man to consider the Source first? This instruction, seems, to have been given earlier by God to Jeremiah (9.23-24): strive to know and understand God, from Whom you will be better able to acquire wisdom, strength, and wealth. Oh, how we have sold ourselves short by striving for the result apart from the Cause! And, our wicked imaginations have only further separated us by Edging God Out – EGO! This is illustrated by the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10.17-22. How much more could he have gained from God, since He seems to have given him ability to enlist and deploy money?
  8. Mankind’s question should always be: how do I know and understand God better through my study and practice of (fill in the blank with your passionate interest or school or work discipline)? All work and study can be, ultimately, traced back to the Source of “all human knowledge” (Nash).
  9. Hence, we can use John 14.26 as a means for accomplishing Acts 26.16-18. This will be the turning on of the light switch for those in the darkness of satan’s deceptions (2 Corinthians 4.4) and for introducing them to the Kingdom of God, to be explained to them by the Holy Spirit. A rationale for this view is found in the Psalmist (119.89-91) contemplation: verse 91b: “For all things are Your servants.” Consequently, again, how does the doctor (lawyer, teacher, entrepreneur, engineer, scientist, economist, accountant, salesman, pastor, craftsman, and all other laborers) know God better through the practice of the work for which He has equipped and in which He has engaged them? And, what greater understanding of God is gained through the practice of such knowledge? Is this a part of Ephesians 2.10? What are God’s planned “good works”? Do everything as unto Him; Colossians 3.23.
  10. Each person’s plan is meant to serve the common good. Are ‘all things’ “manifestations of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12.7)? This is readily understood from Exodus 31.1-6. God chose Moses’ technicians and taught and empowered them by His Spirit.       God did the same for Jeremiah (1.5, 10) and John the Baptist (John 3.27). God imbues in us abilities needed to carry out His plans.
  11. How is Isaiah 30.21 the same as Romans 8.14? Notice that there is ‘purposeful movement’ in both verses, which might be vocational or avocational activity; Deuteronomy 6.7. How can John 10.27 be a ‘work’ application of Matthew 6.33? How does Isaiah 59.21 explain this consistency?
  12. Regarding Spiritual warfare, I believe Mark understood this when writing Mark 16.20 as a fulfillment of verses 15-18. Obviously, Jesus would not go with the disciples to do the miracles, since He was departing for Heaven. The Holy Spirit would go with them to work miracles through them; the Kingdom of Heaven coming to mankind as the Kingdom of God (A.8.10, above). It is just so with us. We don’t heal or cast out demons. The Holy Spirit does through us when we use the name ‘Jesus’ (Luke 10.17; Philippians 2.9-11; Acts 13.9-11)! He gives the right ‘sword’ (Ephesians 6.17; Matthew 4.1-11) and gives understanding to strengthen our ‘shields of faith’ (Ephesians 6.16). He overcomes the enemies we face individually; 2 Corinthians 10.4-6; 1 John 4.4.
  13. Was Joshua’s pride the cause of the problem in Joshua 9.1-27, especially verse 14? Thus, does the Holy Spirit want to be a “Counselor” to us in our contracts, purchases, and other relational dealings?       How should Joshua have sought His counsel? How can we? Ask Him to remind you in your next opportunity.
  14. From another perspective, how, then, is ‘faith-connected-to-work’ (John 14.26) an accomplishment of Acts 26.16-18? Does the Holy Spirit give employment to Spiritual warriors in organizations for this purpose? Is the connection in John 14.26 His means for distinguishing Christian workers, so as to reveal the Kingdom of God to mankind? How does Daniel 2.21 (4.32, 36) apply to this?
  15. Consider Jeremiah 32.17 and Proverbs 3.19. Worship in Colossians 1.16-17. Be in awe through Hebrews 11.3! Rest in Psalm 127.1. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in you who believe John 3.16 and 14.6 (John 14.17; 1 Corinthians 3.16)! Consequently, do everything in Jesus’ name (Colossians 3.17), as unto Him (Colossians 3.23), and for His glory (1 Corinthians 10.31)!
  16. The result will be Isaiah 26.12 (Common English Bible): “Lord, grant us peace, because all that we have done has been your doing” (similar in HCSB). Paul agrees in Philippians 4.6-7. This will always be true as we walk backwards (A.4, above) and view John 14.26 in our experience!

C. So, what has God chosen, (Isaiah 49.7), called (Isaiah 48.15), and brought (Isaiah 48.15) you to do?

  1. God birthed you to accomplish His task; like in Jeremiah 1.5 (10).
  2. The Holy Spirit continues to teach you this task’s particular “all things” (John 14.26; 1 John 2.27).
  3. This same Holy Spirit has iterated the understandings of “all things” to our predecessors’, even back past the time Jesus walked the Earth, even to Genesis 1.1.
  4. The Bible tells these stories (knowledge) from which the Holy Spirit reveals the principles to use (understanding) as we apply the principles within our current contexts. This leads to greater knowledge, which He helps us to understand and apply again and again.
  5. Thus, which Bible stories relate to your profession? What principle do you learn from the stories with the help of the Holy Spirit?       How have you applied them?
  6. He gives you the Spiritual gifts necessary for success; 1 Corinthians 12.1-11.
  7. His ‘fruit’ will is part of the end result; Galatians 5.22-23!
  8. The Holy Spirit is your teacher; Ephesians 3.14-19. He gives “living water” (John 7.37-39)!
  9. Luke 11.13!

D. God has always spoken to people made in His image.

  1. Adam and Eve heard His voice in the Garden of Eden; Genesis 1.29, 2.16, 3.9-19.
  2. Abraham heard His voice; Genesis 12.1-3, 13.14-17, 22.15-18.
  3. Moses heard His voice; Exodus 3.1-4.9. [Side bar 1: notice that God would validate His identity to the Hebrews by signs and wonders. He would later state that as His protocol, in Exodus 34.10. This was one of the ‘proofs’ of Jesus as God’s Son, as He says in John 15.24. Jesus, even, said signs and wonders would continue to be an evidence of God’s presence, in Matthew 10.7-8. Apostle Paul affirms this in Corinthians (1.2.4-5 and 2.4.7). Signs and wonders was the reason followers of Jesus were called ‘Christian’ in Antioch; Acts 11.25-26. Side bar 2: God identified Himself to Moses as ‘I AM’. Could this have been Jesus’ intent in John 14.6, where ‘am’ was not a verb but a noun?       Thus, “I AM: the way; the truth; the life” (my emphasis and paraphrase). What do you think?]
  4. Jeremiah and other prophets spoke messages they heard from God; Jeremiah 1.9-10 and Deuteronomy 18.22, generally.
  5. Acts 4.8 tells of the Holy Spirit speaking through Peter to the Sanhedrin about healing the paralytic (Acts 3.1-10, 16; 4.12). Such boldness continued after Acts 4.29-31.
  6. Acts 6.8-10 tells of the Holy Spirit speaking through Stephen to the Jews who stoned him
  7. Acts 8.26, 39-40 tells of Deacon (Acts 6.5, 8.5, 21.8) Philip’s hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit regarding the Ethiopian treasurer of Queen Candace.
  8. Acts 10.19 tells of the Holy Spirit instructing Peter to go with the three men sent by Cornelius.
  9. “Elijah was instructed to meet with God at His mountain, Horeb, in 1 Kings 19.9-16. Remember that Elijah was running from Jezebel the wicked wife of King Ahab, who had sworn to kill Elijah because his God had humiliated and/or killed the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah,”who [ate] at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18.19-40).
  10. “At Mount Horeb, God spoke to Elijah not through the powerful wind or earthquake or fire but through “a sound of a gentle blowing” (verse 12, NASB; “still small voice” in NKJV; “sound of a low whisper” in ESV). What do you make of the contrast? How is this an evidence of Spiritual Warfare? How, then, does this position Philippians 2.9-11?
  11. “What is the essence of God’s question, “’What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19.13)? Like so many of us, Elijah repeats his actions and Jezebel’s intention (verse 14). But, God understands the real reason for summonsing Elijah and, ignoring Jezebel’s threat, instructs him to carry out certain solutions from God (verses 15-16).
  12. “My contemporary application of this understanding is the CEO who must listen to God to deal with the external powerful “wind” of the economy and the competitive “earthquake” and/or the internal “fire” of corporate stresses from growth of size and complexity. The Holy Spirit speaks with “a sound of a gentle blowing”. Elijah listened carefully; so must we” (Painter).
  13. “Turn your career over to Me and you’ll always be happy.”       I heard these words while contemplating my career as a 30 year-old executive while returning from a favorable job interview.
  14. Philippians 4.3 is your verse for life.” I heard these words in the middle of one night, during my 31st year, after trading beds with my four year-old child to finish my sleep.
  15. “Yes, and I remember your baby shoes.” I heard these words while looking for shoe laces in a grocery and spying laces for baby shoes which produced a flashback to my son’s early years.
  16. * “Consider God’s words in Psalm 50.15, 91.14-16, Isaiah 30.21 and Jeremiah 33.3 assuring of His readiness to answer our questions and assist with our deepest longings (Psalm 37.4)” (Painter).
  17. I continue to develop my ability to converse with the Holy Spirit about daily issues. How about you?

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

Painter, M. 9-11-2016. Acknowledging Dependence. Retrieved from www.sozoclass.com.

Nash, R. 1982. The Word of God and The Mind of Man, p. 67.

Note A: There is so much more to be known about the Holy Spirit. I suggest Dr. Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, pps. 634-649, 1994, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, USA.

Note B: Dr. Jim Eckman’s Issues in Perspective: re split between Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy: re Holy Spirit:

“A doctrinal development further intensified the obvious East-West division. The issue centered on the question of who sent the Holy Spirit–the Father or the Father and Son? The great 5th century theologian Augustine (354-430) argued strongly that the Spirit was sent (“proceeded from”) both the Father and the Son. In 589, at Western council that met in Toledo, Spain, Western theologians added to the Nicene Creed of 381 the language that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son (in Latin, filioque, “and from the Son”).

This controversy is hence called the filioque controversy. The Eastern theologians strongly protested this addition.” (https://graceuniversity.edu/iip/2011/08/11-08-20-2/)

Note C: Dr. Jack Kamiruka, Director of the Lake Basin Region Centre for Theology in Kisumu, Kenya, gives the following Scriptural support for the Western and Eastern interpretations:

“There are several scriptural passages which indeed points out to the Holy Spirit being the Spirit of the father. Such passages include: Luke 1:35 The Holy Spirit depicted as the Spirit of the most High, Job 26:13 (NKJV) the Heavens were made by the Spirit of the God, Romans 8:11 ‘And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, which lives in you.’

The notion that the Spirit also comes from the Son, seems to have developed from the New Testament thought. Scriptures used to allude to that may include: Acts 1:8 Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, and in Acts 2, The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and as the Gospel of Christ began to be propagated after he had gone to heaven, the focus centered on Christ and with the Holy Spirit being seen as applying the benefits of Christ in us.”   Also, note Jesus’ words in John 15.26.

(Dr. Kamiruka’s reply to my email inquiry about Scriptural support, dated October 26, 2016)