Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Character and Nature of God: “Holy Spirit”

The following is a recording from our Wednesday night Bible Study groups (2020-08-05), followed by the verses and questions.


I.            TOPIC:

We want to continue to look at the Character and Nature of God—this time as the “Holy Spirit”. When you go through the following scripture reading, focus on understanding He is a Gift to us all. And also what He brings to us. After the reading, there are related verses that will ask some questions for you to think through and respond to. And also if you want to experience this same Holy Spirit with His Fruit and Gifts.

 

II.            READING:    John 20:19-22 and Acts 2:1-41 (CSB)

19 When it was evening on that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

1 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they [believers] were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. 3 They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. 4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were Jews staying in Jerusalem, devout people from every nation under heaven. 6 When this sound occurred, a crowd came together and was confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 They were astounded and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 How is it that each of us can hear them in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites; those who live in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts), 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the magnificent acts of God in our own tongues.” 12 They were all astounded and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But some sneered and said, “They’re drunk on new wine.”

14 Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them, “Fellow Jews and all you residents of Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and pay attention to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. 16 On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 And it will be in the last days, says God,

that I will pour out my Spirit on all people;

then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

and your old men will dream dreams.

18 I will even pour out my Spirit

on my servants in those days, both men and women

and they will prophesy.

19 I will display wonders in the heaven above

and signs on the earth below:

blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.

20 The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.

21 Then everyone who calls

on the name of the Lord will be saved.

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words: This Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through him, just as you yourselves know. 23 Though he was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail him to a cross and kill him. 24 God raised him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by death. 25 For David says of him:

I saw the Lord ever before me;

because he is at my right hand,

I will not be shaken.

26 Therefore my heart is glad

and my tongue rejoices.

Moreover, my flesh will rest in hope,

27 because you will not abandon me in Hades

or allow your holy one to see decay.

28 You have revealed the paths of life to me;

you will fill me with gladness

in your presence.

29 “Brothers and sisters, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not abandoned in Hades, and his flesh did not experience decay.

32 “God has raised this Jesus; we are all witnesses of this. 33 Therefore, since he has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, he has poured out what you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says:

The Lord declared to my Lord,

‘Sit at my right hand

35 until I make your enemies your footstool.’

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” 41 So those who accepted his message were baptized [into Christ], and that day about three thousand people were added to them.

 

III.            RELATED VERSES AND QUESTIONS:

A.      John 20:7-11

7-11 Nevertheless I (Jesus Christ) tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of:

  • Sin, because they do not believe in Me;
  • Righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
  • Judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Question: Do you ever feel the Holy Spirit (Lord) is judging you for your sins; or reminding you of them?


B.      Acts 4:29-31 (NKJV)

29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Question: Do you know what it is to be “filled” with the Holy Spirit?

 

C.      Acts 8:14-17 (NKJV)

14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Question: Can someone be a believer and not yet be baptised in the Holy Spirit?

 

D.      Acts 19:1-6 (NKJV)

And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Question: Does there seem to be an importance to the disciples that someone is baptized in the Holy Spirit?

 

E.       1 Corinthians 3:16-17

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy this [defilement (G5126)]. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.

Question: Have you ever felt God is angry with you when you sin—that He may even want to destroy you?

Further reading: http://cbadenhorst.blogspot.com/2017/05/misunderstanding-and-misinterpretation.html

 

F.       Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Question: Do you feel the Holy Spirit provides these fruits for you now?

 

G.      1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (CSB)

4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God works all of them in each person. 7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: 8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills.

Question: Did Jesus or the disciples perform these gifts? Do you think you can?


H.      Romans 12:4-8 (CSB)

4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; 7 if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.

Question: Do you find yourself operating in any of these gifts? Do you feel any are stronger in you than others?

 

I.         Romans 11:29 (NKJV)

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [without repentance].

Question: Can you lose the gift of the Holy Spirit, or His gifts?

 

IV.            FURTHER THOUGHT:

A.      Acts 5:1-10 (KJV): Ananias and Sapphira

Thoughts: When you read the account of Ananias and Sapphira, please note that it does not say that the Holy Spirit (nor God, nor Jesus) struck them dead. It says they “yielded up” (G1634) their spirits. They did it to themselves—their own conscience convicted them, and most likely their heart failed them because of their own fear of God. A further explanation is detailed here:

http://cbadenhorst.blogspot.com/2017/05/misunderstanding-and-misinterpretation.html


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Paul Doesn’t Calm the Storm


Many times, the Holy Spirit makes me question something in the Bible—either because of a translation or because He wants me to dig into another aspect of Him and our relationship. This time, it’s the latter, bringing to me the question:

“Why didn’t Paul calm the storm?” (Acts 27).

It puzzled me, because we know Paul understood the power and authority he had in Christ and the Holy Ghost. He may not have been present the times Jesus calmed the storms but knew the stories and knew that was something all believers could do. For me, it would have saved Paul much trouble being stranded at sea and then shipwrecked. So why didn’t Paul calm the storm?

I asked someone else about this question and their answer of “because Paul was in disobedience” did not sit right with me. There was another reason, for we know that the ‘Gifts of the Spirit are without repentance’ (Romans 11:29) and ‘our righteousness is in Christ, not our works’ (Philippians 3:9). Furthermore, we know that Christ bore all our sins of the flesh at the Cross once and for all time (Hebrews 10). So, Paul disobeying the Holy Ghost by going to Jerusalem was not the cause of him not ‘able’ to calm the storm.

While on the ship in the storm, Paul was visited by and angel that assured him all on board would be saved. The angel could have easily said, “Paul speak calm to the storm”, but the angel did not. This is not because Paul didn’t have the power or authority or belief to do so; it was because God didn’t instruct Him to calm the storm—it is not a requirement of God to calm storms. Just as it is not a requirement of Him to eliminate persecution in our lives (which actually is a promise that we will be persecuted). This is what Jesus said:

Mark 10:29-30
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.”

Likewise, Jesus didn’t need to calm the storms He was in. Let’s look how He handled the literal storms He was in—both when He was asleep on the boat, and the other where He walked across the water in the storm.

Jesus had the Spiritual Gift of foreknowledge. When Jesus climbed aboard the boat, the Holy Ghost could have easily told Him about the upcoming storm they were going into. But yet, He did not speak ahead of the journey to quiet the storm. Nor did His Father say He must. He climbed in and fell asleep. Then the storm hit.

Mark 4:35-41
On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Jesus was not planning on waking up to calm the storm; Jesus was calm in the storm. And this is the key! Storms will always come, but it is our reaction to them that matters the most.

It was only because of the fear of the crew that Jesus actually calmed the storm. The boat was never going to sink. Jesus said let’s climb in and “go to the other side” …He did not say, let’s climb in and “drown in the middle of the lake”. Jesus was assured in His own words that they would get to the other side. If the disciples (crew) fell asleep like Jesus, they would have ridden out the storm and arrived safely on the other side as Jesus said they would.

And when Jesus sent His disciples across the lake without Him, the disciples knew they were headed into the storm. This is why they argued with Jesus about going without Him. But Jesus told them He would meet them on the other side, not “drown in the middle of the lake.”

Matthew 14:22-33
Immediately Jesus constrained His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

And when the disciples were in the middle of the storm not making any headway, along walks Jesus to meet them on the other side. Jesus didn’t plan on getting into the boat (Mark 6:48), He was doing what He said about meeting them on the other side. It was only after the disciples called Him (again like the previous time) that Jesus turned and went to them.

Jesus didn’t calm the storm when they called Him or when He saw them. The storm kept raging even as Peter stepped out of the boat. There was plenty of time for Jesus to calm the storm, but once again, Jesus was calm in the storm. And it was only after Jesus got in the boat that the storm vanished, and they found themselves transported to the other side of the lake (John 6:21).

So, it’s not about us making the storms of life go away, storms are a matter of life (they will always happen, both literally and personally). And I believe Paul understood this—as Paul was used to persecution and plenty of personal storms. Just as the Lord didn’t remove Paul’s horrible persecution by the silversmith (his thorn in the side), so does the Lord not have an obligation to remove the storm; nor commands us to remove the storm.

There will be times when He tells you to speak against the storm, but it is down to a matter of personal relationship through hearing what the Spirit says. If He says, “Be calm in the storm”, then do so. And if He says, “Calm the storm”, then do so too. Listen to the Holy Ghost about the storm. Sometimes you will go around it, sometimes through it, and other times defeat it. But in ALL cases, the Lord is with you. And even if you are disobedient toward God (which we all are religiously every day), you don’t have to worry about not hearing Him or not using His Gifts (which He will never remove from you). For even ‘if you are unfaithful, He remains Faithful’ (2 Timothy 2:13).

So, whatever your situation is now, ask the Lord about it and see what He wants you to do:
  • Be calm in the storm.
  • Calm the storm.
  • Avoid the storm.

God Bless!