God Is Not Dead

GND-featured-wideFrom The Evangelical Free Church Statement of Faith:
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

 

How does the Holy Spirit Equip and empower believers for Christ-like living and service?

Through the 7 Fold Ministry of the Holy Spirit Isaiah 11:1-3
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall (1) rest upon (Seal) him, the Spirit of (2) wisdom and (3) understanding, the Spirit of (4) counsel and (5) might (miracles), the Spirit of (6) knowledge (Revelation) and the (7) fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

It is something we don’t always think about but the ministry of Jesus Christ was equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirt. The Spirit rested upon Him, He was sealed by the Spirit. He ministered in the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, which is miracles, the Spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord! We know Jesus operated in relation to the Holy Spirit. What is fascinating is we are told in ,

Luke 4:1-2a, “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.”

Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit as He was led out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. We are told in,

Luke 4:14, “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country.”

FASCINATING! Jesus went into the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit, and He returned in the Power of the Spirit! What changed? According to Ephesians 1:13, “In him (Jesus Christ) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” Like Christ when we believe or trust in Christ as our Savior, inviting Him to be Lord of our lives, we also receive the Holy Spirit. The 7 fold ministry of the Spirit is now at work in us! Like Christ, the root of Jesse, the Holy Spirit rests on us. We too are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
A good friend of mine, Pastor Ed Bontrager, explains it this way. We, like Christ, are filled with the Holy Spirit, in the same way a car may be filled with fuel. Like Christ as He was led into the wilderness, you could say we are, “Full of the Holy Spirt.” However, the car does not operated in the power of the fuel until it the engine runs, the fuel is flowing, and the car is moving. In the same way we are in the power of the Spirit when we yield to the movement, or flow of the Spirt as He works in and through us.

Romans 8:11, says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

Fuel, “Gives life,” to the car in the same way the Spirit, “Gives life,” to us!
John Bavere, Christian author and speaker, ministered to a tribe of people in a far off land. After spending a great deal of time teaching them the truth of the gospel of Christ he blessed the tribe by purchasing and delivering to them a brand new truck and enough fuel to last them a very long time. John told them how the truck would make every aspect of village life better for them. He spent a long time teaching them all about the truck. He showed them how to use the A/C and the heat. He explained how the window defrosters and windshield wipers worked. The villagers were extremely grateful for the love, teachings, and gifts they had received. Sometime later John Bavere returned to the village to find that the truck he had purchased had not been moved. The villagers decided not to use the powerful tools they had been given.
In the same way you and I having trusted in the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and invited Him to be Lord of our lives, received the gift of the Holy Spirit, a powerful tool for every aspect of our lives. Like the villagers, we sometimes neglect to take advantage of the gift. We are full of the Holy Spirit, we just don’t always operate in the power of the Spirit.

How does the Holy Spirit equip and empower us for Christ-like living, and service?

Through the fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The first three fruit of the Holy Spirt are love, joy, and peace. Out of the first three fruit flow the last six.
For example: How can we have the fruit of patience when life is crazy and people are testing our last nerve? We have patience through the peace of the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit ministers true peace in our lives, although life is crazy we have inner peace. This peace works patience in us.
How can we have the fruits of kindness, and gentleness when the world is hate filled and evil? The Holy Spirit has worked love in us. We are filled with the supernatural love God. Our sense of value doesn’t come from the world so it doesn’t matter if the world loves us. Our true sense of value doesn’t even come from our family and friends so it doesn’t matter if they are not loving toward us we have the love of God manifest through His Spirt, this produces kindness, and gentleness in us.
How can we have the fruit of self-control? All of the things we are looking for in the world are found in the fullness of God. He is our love, our sense of acceptance, and approval. We don’t need to seek love through the sins of this world. He is our joy. We don’t need to seek joy through the sins of the world. He is our sense of personal, and spiritual peace. We don’t need to seek peace through the sins of the world.

How does the Holy Spirit Equip and empower believers for Christ-like living and service?

Through the gifts of the Spirit.

Jesus said in Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

In fact Jesus said in John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

So what are the gifts of the Holy Spirt? There are two main lists of the gifts of the Spirt the first is found in Ephesians 4, the second is found in 1 Corinthians 12.

Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

These gifts, we are told in Scripture, are, “To serve one another,” and, “For the common good,” and are, “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.  Let’s take a quick look at the gifts of the Spirit.

1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Romans 12:4-8 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

God is NOT dead!

In 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 the Bible says, “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Because Paul spoke of prophecies passing away, and tongues ceasing, some have come to believe that these gifts are no longer in operation. This belief is called, “Cessationism.” This teaching asserts that when the perfect came, that is the Bible, these, “Sign gifts,” are no longer necessary. However, a close study of the passages reveals this simply can’t be the case. The passage states that when the perfect comes prophecies, tongues, and knowledge are all things that are said to pass away. Of course no one argues that knowledge has passed away. The passage goes on to say that now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now, Paul said I know in part, then he shall know fully, even as he was fully known by God. Looking at the passage as a whole it is obvious we are talking about seeing God face to face, and knowing God fully even as we are fully known. This has not happened yet. According to Scripture, until we see God face to face, these gifts are in operation.
Let me leave you with this. At Washington Church we sing a song on occasion in our second service that makes this declaration, “Our God is not dead, He’s surely alive, He’s living on the inside roaring like a lion!” One thing is certain, the enemy would love you to believe that the gifts of God have ceased. He would love for you to believe God has no more prophetic messages for you today. He would love for you to believe that God has no healing for your marriage, family, or finances. The enemy would love for you to believe that there is no miracle for you in your prayer life. He would love for you to believe there is no physical healing and no power form the Holy Spirit of God to win victory over sin! May I tell you this truth? GOD IS NOT DEAD! The Holy Spirit is still moving today in the miraculous! He still equips and empowers God’s saints for Christ-like living and service!

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