Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Spirit Gives Life

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The Spirit gives life

In the beginning the Spirit was active in creation.  The Hebrew word for spirit and breath is the same word. So we can understand that the Spirit of God gave life to mankind in the beginning.  

Gen 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

So physical life was given by the Spirit of God in the beginning.  But God has planned for us eternal life.  And that life also is given by the Spirit of God. 

We cannot earn eternal life because of our failures in life, which result in sin and separation from God.  Paul says that the letter kills, meaning the letter of law that requires righteous action.  But the Spirit gives life. The Spirit provides a way for us to be justified before God. Instead of a letter of the law covenant, the new covenant is a relationship covenant fashioned by the Spirit of God.

2 Cor 3: 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

You remember that the Holy Spirit gave life to Jesus in the womb of Mary. That child, the only begotten Son of God, gave His perfect life on the cross at Calvary to pay the price for the sins of all who will believe in Him.

Romans 8 English Standard Version (ESV)
Life in the Spirit

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

So how do we walk according to the Spirit?  First we must come to Jesus for cleansing from sin, so that we can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  You remember that the Holy Spirit came on Peter and the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus. The Spirit inspired the message delivered by Peter that day, where he taught about Jesus being the Messiah, and answers the question "What shall we do?"

Acts 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one 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, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

"You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  God gives His Spirit to His children.  That Spirit is an encourager, a helper, a power within that reminds us of what God wants us to be. The Spirit does not overrule our own personal spirit, but encourages us to always do the right thing. 

And the Holy Spirit has revealed God's message for us in the Holy Scriptures. As Paul instructed Timothy, 2 Tim 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

And Jesus taught that the foundation principles are to love God with all our heart, soul, and might; and to love our neighbor as ourself. So when we love God with all our being, we desire to agree with His Spirit that encourages us to always do the right thing. 

And if we get discouraged sometimes, and wonder how we are doing, John tells us how to have assurance that God's Spirit is working in our lives. 

1 John 4:13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

So we can know that the Holy Spirit is not so much about emotion, dancing, speaking in tongues, falling on the floor, etc.; but is about doing the things that are pleasing to God.  Instead of building a big house, buying an airplane, amassing personal wealth (by making a show of charisma), we must do good for the helpless. 

Yes, the Holy Spirit is alive and well today.. Our spirit must connect with His Spirit within us and walk by His guidance, in agreement with what the Holy Spirit has taught and confirmed by miracles, recorded in the Holy Scriptures. Any person who claims the power of miracles by the Holy Spirit, and then  refuses to teach what is taught clearly in Scripture, has a serious problem.

Knowing Jesus, having been born again of water and the Spirit, enables the Holy Spirit to live in us and give us eternal life. 

1 John 5 English Standard Version (ESV)
Overcoming the World

5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Testimony Concerning the Son of God

6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

The baptism commanded by Jesus and the Apostles for believers is immersion in water.  If you have any doubt about this, review Stephen's teaching to the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8. 

Gal 3:23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Immersed into Christ by the water and the Spirit!  As Jesus said, you must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit baptism given to the Apostles and to the household of Cornelius demonstrated God's presence and power. But the immersion in water given to Paul, the household of Cornelius, to the Ethiopian Eunuch, and to 3,000 on the Day of Pentecost, is the immersion of water and the Spirit commanded by Jesus..

As the Ethiopian Eunuch said, "See, here is water.  What hinders me to be immersed?"

Acts 10: Then Peter declared,47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Please download and read carefully.