The 2 Timothy 2:2 Objective

Passing the torch to the next generation of believers.

Helps for Preaching God's Word

Check out our page of sermon preparation resources. Search the blog for sermon helps, too.

Teaching in Other Countries

Training pastors and church leaders around the world through missions.

Men's Retreats

Equipping men to be Christ-followers

Study Helps

Look through our links to help you dig deeper into God's Word.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Work of the Holy Spirit - Filling

The final study in our look at the Holy Spirit is the filling of the Spirit. This is another greatly misunderstood aspect of the work of the Spirit. I believe the misunderstanding stems from an emphasis on the work "filling" and focusing in on the idea of quantity. The idea, wrong though it is, is if something is filled then there is more than there was before. Thus, there are some believers who have more of the Spirit than others, and there are those believers who do not have as much of the Spirit as another. This is not only a gross misinterpretation of Scripture, it also produces within the body of Christ different "classes" and thus a type of elitism. It places terrible burdens on those who have not displayed some type of evidence of filling which, in turn, brings many to produce these evidences falsely or to give up on Christianity all together (I have heard many friends give personal testimony to this effect). The idea of filling of the Spirit must be understood for one to be a healthy Christian.

The outline I used for this sermon is as follows:
I. What is filling of the Holy Spirit? (Eph 5:18)
          A. Filling is not maturity
          B. Filling is control

II. What are the conditions in which we can be filled?
          A. Do not quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thes. 5:19)
          B. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30)
          C. Walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16)

III. What happens when we are filled?
          A. We will display Christian character (Gal. 5:22-25)
          B. We will truly worship (Eph 5:19-20)
          C. We will engage in service (Eph. 5:21)

I think the crux of this topic is found in (Ephesian 5:18. In short, this verse indicates that filling of the Spirit is not about maturity but it is about control. The picture used in this verse is the similarity between alcohol and the Spirit. When alcohol is in control of people they are no longer in control but the alcohol is. Inebriated people will say things they would not normally say, they will do things they would not normally do, think in ways they would not normally think. The alcohol controls that person while they are drunk. THIS IS THE POINT!

The filling of the Spirit means that someone is not allowing alcohol to control them but instead the Spirit is in complete control. A person, full of the Spirit, will say things he would not normally say, he will do things he would not normally do, he thinks in ways he would not normally thing. The Spirit is in control. Filling of the Spirit is not about acting drunk in front of a crowd, it is not about having more of the Holy Spirit than the guy sitting next to, it is not about how spiritually mature a person is. It is not about quantity. It is about control. It is not how much of the Spirit you have but how much the Spirit has you (I know...a cliché but it speaks the truth).

When a person accepts Christ, they receive the Holy Spirit and they get ALL of the Holy Spirit. However, the person must yield more and more control of their life to the Spirit. It is this process of yielding which can be characterized as filling of the Spirit.

So, if filling is yielding our lives to the Holy Spirit, then there must be some conditions which more easily allows that yielding. This is my second point: what are the conditions which allow the Spirit to have more control of our lives. First, we must not quench the Spirit. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19 the Holy Spirit is pictured as a fire and we are told to not put that fire out in our lives. When we do not allow the Spirit to work in our lives, we are quenching the Holy Spirit. Second, we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin. The Spirit wants to work in us but that is prevented when we live in rebellion. This grieves Him and He cannot be in control if we are willing to allow sin to control us. Finally, we are to walk in the Spirit. The point here is that our lifestyle, our habits, our though process, all need to be more and more under the control of the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit does not mean that we will obtain sinless perfection on earth, but it means we are making that our goal.

So if we understand that filling is control of the Spirit in the believer's life, and that there are conditions which allow the believer to yield to the Spirit, then what does that look like? What happens when someone is filled with the Spirit? While there are many characteristics which could be mentioned, I focused on three. First, the person filled with the Spirit will display the fruit of the Spirit. You cannot be an apple tree and not produce apples. A Christian yielded to the Spirit will display Chist-like character. Secondly, Paul tells us in the Ephesians passage that when one is controlled by the Spirit, a godly worship will be produced. Finally, Paul goes on to say that the yielded believer will be subject to others. In short, the person will serve others much like Christ came to serve.

The filling of the Spirit is simply a metaphor for the control of the Spirit in the life of a believer. To the extent one is allowing the Spirit to work and direct one's life, the results are far-reaching.

My denomination does not seem to have historically spent a lot of time preaching on the Holy Spirit, although that seems to be changing. It is good to spend some time and think about the Spirit's work in our salvation, our life, and our eternity. It is amazing thing to think of the incredible gifts God has given those who have trusted in Christ's work on the Cross and have the Spirit of God working within them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Work of the Holy Spirit - Sealing

Another work of the Holy Spirit, and one that may get overlooked sometimes, is the sealing of the Holy Spirit. This work is one which should bring great hope and encouragement to the believer.

Here is the outline I used in this sermon:
I. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Est 8:8, Eph 1:13-14)
          A. The seal of the Spirit shows ownership (1 Cor 6:19-20)
          B. The seal of the Spirit gives security (John 10:27-29)
          C. The seal of the Spirit is irrevocable.

II. We are given a guarantee by the Spirit of God (Eph 1:13-14)
          A. The inheritance is kept for us (1 Pet 1:3-5)
          B. We are kept for the inheritance (Phil 1:6)

III. We are marked by the Spirit of God
          A. We have the mark of holiness on us (1 John 3:9)
          B. We have the mark of resemblance on us (1 John 2:6)

To help in understanding what the Ancient Near Easterner heard when the author used the picture of sealing I went to Esther 8:8. We see in this text that the owner of the seal determines how secure that seal is and if it is the king's seal then that seal is irrevocable. This is the picture of what sealing of the Spirit is. When a believer accepts Christ at that moment he or she is regenerated by the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, baptized by the Spirit, and at that moment the believer is sealed by the Spirit. That seal shows the ownership of that person. Like the king's signet ring, our heart, our lives, are stamped to show they are God's and God's alone. The Spirit's sealing also gives believers the security that no one will take that mark from them. This is because that seal is irrevocable. Once God stamps the believer with Him mark, the mark can never be removed.

In the Ephesians passage, Paul show a connection with the seal and the guarantee of our hope. This is my second point about the Spirit's sealing. When the Spirit seal us that sealing is a down-payment, so to speak, on eternity. It teaches us that His sealing preserves an inheritance for us. It also teaches us that He will preserve us for that inheritance.

Finally, while I touched on in my first point, I finished this study by focusing on what it means to be marked by God. The seal of God means that there is a mark on His followers. People should look at His people and know they are His people because of His mark on their lives. While there may be many "marks" which one could identify as showing God's ownership, I chose two. First, there should be a mark of holiness on those who have the seal of the Spirit. I am not advocating entire sanctification but I do believe that if someone is truly sealed by the Spirit, if they truly are a believer, their lives should not be characterized by sin. The Spirit working in our lives will result in increased holiness, from God's work and to His glory. Second, there will be a resemblance of believers to Christ. Much like some parents could never disown their children because the children look like little clones of the parents, a believer should have a walk that resembles Christ.

The sealing of the Spirit is usually not spoke of as a dramatic, dynamic work of the Spirit. This might be because 1) people would rather talk about the controversial aspects of the work of the Spirit like baptism or 2) the sealing of the Spirit seems to be mostly internal. The sealing begins as a work of God which He alone sees as a mark of His children. The results of this are more visible, like someone turning from a sinful life and living and loving more like Christ. Nevertheless, the sealing of the Spirit is an incredibly amazing work of God in the live of believers. We are marked as His and that mark is permanent and can never be removed. Because of that, we can know we will be with Him for eternity and eternity will be there for us. All of this should produce in us a desire to live more and more like the One who died for us. What a great God we serve!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Work of the Holy Spirit - Baptism

The next post in our study of the Holy Spirit is possibly the most controversial in the study. This is because of the misunderstanding of both Scripture and the practice of baptism. With this study, it is my goal to shed light on this topic so that the believer can be confident where he or she stands in Christ and what the baptism of the Holy Spirit means to the believer.

It is critical to understand what the bible says about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and what difference it makes in the believer’s life. Because so many have been mislead regarding this aspect of the work the Spirit, it is important to stick with what the Scripture plainly teaches regarding this topic.

Here is the outline I used:

I. We must understand its prediction (Matt 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33)
          A. We need to understand the words.
                  1. Not water baptism
                  2. Meaning of the word baptism
         B. We need to understand it had not happened before Jesus
         C. We need to understand its parallel with John’s baptism

II. We must understand its fulfillment (Acts 1:5, 11:15-17)
         A. Jesus guaranteed it (Acts 1:5)
         B. Peter remembered it (Acts 11:15-17)

III. We must understand its purpose (1 Cor. 12:13)
         A. Identifies us with Christ (Gal. 3:26-28)
         B. Creates an oneness with Christ (Rom. 6:1-5)
         C. Puts us in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-14)
                  1. All believers have been baptized by the Spirit
                  2. The baptism of the Spirit does not erase racial, social, and sexual differences, but it makes them irrelevant in the church.
                  3. Baptism of the Spirit is something Christ does to us.

To begin with, one must understand the predication of the baptism of the Holy Spirit to understand its fulfillment. John the Baptizer was in the wilderness baptizing people in the Jordan River and Jesus comes to be baptized by John. It is at this time John predicts the baptism of the Holy Spirit. ( Matt. 3:11, John 1:32-33). To understand this prediction we first understand the words used. To begin with, while John was baptizing in water, he made a clear delineation between what he was doing and what Jesus was going to be doing. The point is, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not related to water baptism. Too many times the two are equated because the same word is used. The Greek word "baptidzo" literally means "to sink, to envelope, to immerse." In short, John is simply saying that he is enveloping, immersing people in water, but Jesus will envelope or immerse people in the Holy Spirit.

To understand the prediction of the Holy Spirit we also need to understand that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is connected to the work of Christ. It is not connected to a religious work or rite but it comes to the believer because Jesus Christ died on the cross, was resurrected, and then ascended to heaven. The prediction of the baptism of the Holy Spirit indicates it is not connected with water baptism and it is not something that people work for or deserve.

Finally, to understand the prediction of the baptism of the Spirit, one must note the parallel to John's Baptism. The "stuff" John baptized with was water; the "stuff" Jesus baptizes with was the Spirit. John plunged people into water; Jesus would plunge them into the Holy Spirit. John would cover those who came to him with water; Jesus would cover those who come to him with the Holy Spirit. The point to all of this is that many today teach that the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes when one is baptized in water. This first point, "We must understand its prediction" shows us that the two are parallelled but are not connected.

After we understand the prediction, we must understand the fulfillment of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The fulfillment of John’s prediction came at Pentecost. We know this because first, Jesus guaranteed it. In this passage, Jesus has risen from the dead and had been appearing to people for forty days. He is about to ascend into heaven to sit on His throne and he said (Acts 1:5). Jesus ended His ministry on earth they way it began: with John’s prediction of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. My point is that Jesus pointed to Pentecost as the fulfillment of the Baptism of the Spirit. This means when the apostles received the Spirit, they were also baptized in the Spirit. It was not two separate events but one event - receiving the Spirit and being baptized in the Spirit.

In addition to Jesus guaranteeing it, Peter remembered Jesus guaranteeing it. In Acts 11:15-17, Peter is recounting the story of Cornelius receiving Christ after Peter had a vision in which God told him Gentiles could also receive the Holy Spirit. So Peter went to Cornelius’s house, share Christ, they received Christ, and were baptized both with the Spirit and with water. So when Cornelius was saved, it brought to Peter’s mind Jesus guarantee of the Holy Spirit baptism. My point is that when we see the actual baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Scripture, it is an event that happens at salvation. Cornelius’ experience is the normative Christian experience for today’s believers.

In short, when one understands the fulfillment of the prediction of the Spirit's baptism, one will see that when a person accepts Christ, they are baptized in the Holy Spirit AT THAT MOMENT. Many today teach that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is separate event to conversion. Many who teach this indicate that this baptism is evidenced by speaking in tongues. This teaching is not only a misunderstanding of Scripture, it places undue burdens on those who have not spoken in tongues and makes them feel like second-rate believers when, in fact, they have been just as baptized in the Spirit as every other believer the minute they trusted in Christ.

Finally, after understanding the Spirit's baptism and understanding its fulfillment, we must understand the purpose of the baptism of the Spirit. To put if briefly, the baptism of the Holy Spirit identifies us with Christ (Gal. 3:26-28), creates an oneness with Christ (Rom. 6:1-5), and puts us in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-14). The baptism of the Spirit is not about another level of spirituality as compared to other believers. It is about becoming one with Christ and one with the body of Christ.

The points made in this sermon are greatly debated but I believe this is what Scripture clearly teaches. The two main misunderstanding connected to the baptism of the Holy Spirit are 1) the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes when one is baptized and 2) the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a separate event than one's conversion. Neither of these are correct and neither are supported in Scripture. The baptism of the Spirit happens the moment one trusts in Christ. I hope this study helps. Please post any comments and opinions related to this issue.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Work of the Holy Spirit - Indwelling

Another aspect of the Holy Spirit's work is that He indwells believers. While I attempted to make each of these sermons an expository sermon, that is, examining one main pericope of Scripture, the rest of these sermons on the Holy Spirit are more like topical sermons. The remaining sermons are biblical and they are theologically sound but are pulled from various passages throughout Scripture.

The Spirit's indwelling is an amazing part of the Spirit's work in the believer's life and is important to understand. Here is the outline I used for this sermon.

I. What is Indwelling? (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim 1:14)

II. What does indwelling provide?

          A. Indwelling makes God’s presence possible. (John 14:16-17)
                  1. The new presence would be their advocate.
                  2. The new presence would bring new knowledge.
                  3. The new presence had not been experience before (John 7:37-39)

         B. Indwelling makes eternal life possible (Rom. 8:9-11)
                  1. The Spirit shows ownership (9)
                  2. The Spirit brings life after death (10-11)

         C. Indwelling makes holiness possible (1 Cor. 6:18-20)
                  1. The temple
                      a. There was great care in the design of the temple
                      b. Great wealth in the construction of the temple.
                      c. The people knew the temple is where God resided.
                  2. Believer’s are the temple of God
                  3. Strength for holiness comes from the Spirit (Eph. 3:16)

This study begins with understanding indwelling. Indwelling is a separate act than that of regeneration even thought it occurs as the same time. Like regeneration, the minute one places their trust in Christ, that person becomes indwelt by the Holy Spirit. "Dwell" in the 1 Corinthians passage is a word which means "to occupy a house, to reside" and by implication it means "to cohabit" with someone. In the 2 Timothy passage "dwell" is made up to two words. The first word is the preposition which denotes a fixed location. It would be the word "in." The second is the word we just discussed: "to reside, occupy, dwell." The Holy Spirit indwells us. When we accept Christ, the Spirit of God comes down and takes up residence within us. He occupies, sets up house, within us.

The word "dwell" or "indwell" in Scripture has a permanency to it. In our culture, there is such a transitory nature of the word "residency." We hear something about occupying a house, we think in a temporary nature. That is not the case for the Ancient Near East. "Dwelling" means permanency we will talk about that more in a moment. My point is that indwelling occurs and it occurs for each and every believer, it happens at the moment of salvation, and it is permanent. There is never an evacuation or expulsion of the Spirit from the believer’s life.

The second part of this study delves into the result of the Spirit's indwelling in the believer's life. The first amazing provision of indwelling is that God is presence is possible. This new presence would be their advocate, or paraklete, a word that It literally means "someone who is called along side" and has the connotation of someone comes along aside to help you through. This new presence would also bring new knowledge. Jesus promises the disciples they will know things they did not really know before. The point is Christ said that He will love and disclose Himself to those who have the Spirit, the paraklete. Finally, the new presence had not been experience before. This presence of the Spirit would be different than anyone had experienced before because Jesus had not been sacrificed and had not been risen from the dead. This means the indwelling we have right now as believers is something Abraham did not have, Moses did not have it. David did not have it. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel did not have it. Even John the Baptist did not have it. It is a new presence which was brought by the glorification of Jesus. The indwelling provides believers with a unique presence of God in our lives.

The second provision of the Spirit's indwelling is that it makes eternal life possible. Being indwelt by the Spirit means we have eternal life. This is because the Spirit shows ownership. When one receives Christ, the Spirit regenerates that person, and He is poured out upon that person. But this also means the Spirit of God comes and makes His residence within them. This means that person belong to Christ. Therefore, if you have the Spirit, you belong to Christ. If you do not have the Spirit, you do not belong to Christ. Additionally, the Spirit brings life after death. The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in believers and doesn’t do death. This fleshly body may fade and die. But first, believers' spirits are alive because of the Holy Spirit in them. But in addition to that, it is not just a Spirit resurrection. The Spirit will raise our mortal bodies from the dead. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit guarantees us eternal life.

The final provision of the Spirit's indwelling covered in this study is that it is only through the Spirit's indwelling that the believer can be holy. By comparing believers and the Old Testament temple, Paul utilized this powerful image to show that God provides holiness to the believer. Like the temple in the Old Testament was holy ground because God indwelt it, the believer is holy because that same God indwells them (please note: I do not hold to sinless perfection or that the believer lives in perfect holiness. Only that God sees Christ's sinlessness in those who have trusted in Christ). The point is that the Spirit is the one who strengthens our inner man for the holiness needed as the temple of God. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit leads us to a holy life.

Once again, this is not an exhaustive discussion on the indwelling of the Spirit but is a nice introduction to the study of indwelling of the Spirit. It is an amazing and awesome idea that the God of Creation and the Sustainer of Life resides in believers and gives them the power needed to live in a way that glorifies him. And if you are believer, all of this is available. You have the presence of God within you. You have eternal life. And you have the power through the Holy Spirit for holiness. If you are not a believer, surrender to Him today.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Work of the Holy Spirit - Regeneration

After discussion who the Holy Spirit is and what He does, the next five sermons focused in on specific works of the Holy Spirit. These are not meant to be an exhaustive list or exhaustive sermons on each topic. The list of the work of the Holy Spirit in each believer's life would be a long list indeed, and each topic could be expanded more than what could be covered in a 30 minute sermon. Nevertheless, this session deals with Spirit's work of regeneration. I based the sermon on Titus 3:3-7 and here is my basic outline.
I. The Holy Spirit shows us we need a Savior (3)
          A. Sins of a person nature/Sins of the inner person
          B. Sins of the outer life/Sins of the outer person

II. The Holy Spirit is how God saves us (4-6)
        A. Not through good works but through grace & mercy (4-5a,7)
        B. Through the washing of the Holy Spirit (5b)
                    1. Washing produces regeneration
                    2. Washing produces renewal
                    3. The washing is complete (6)

III. The Holy Spirit is how God adopts us (7)
          A. Adoption begins with justification
          B. Adoption makes us heirs
          C. Adoption gives hope

To begin with, the Spirit shows us we need a Savior. This the first step of the Spirit's work of regeneration. He point out the sins of an internal nature (foolish, disobedient, and deceived) and the sins of an external nature (enslaved to lusts and pleasures). The sins of internal nature could be considered mental or intellectual. It deals in the realm of the mind, like disbelief and deceived. The sins of the external nature are summed up in the word for "pleasures" used here. It indicates this is a hedonistic lifestyle that only is concerned with pleasing self, that is, in a physical way. Hence, the reference to the external nature or flesh.

The point is we all were either there at one point in our lives, or we live there now. In either case, as the previous post on the Holy Spirit discusses, it is the Spirit who convicts one of these sins. Paul begins his discourse on regeneration with the topic of conviction of sin.

Next, we see that when one trusts in the work of Christ on the cross, we are saved through the Spirit's work in our life. He saved us through his grace (getting something we do not deserve) and his mercy (not getting something we do deserve). One is not saved through religious activities, good works, or a sacrificial lifestyle. It is only through God's grace and mercy we are save. Paul states this in an interesting way and enlightens us of the Spirit's work in salvation.

The phrase Paul uses "by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit" is much debated. "Washing" automatically brings to mind for many the act of baptism. But first of all, Paul has JUST SAID that it was not through any work we do but through God's grace and mercy alone. Also, I am not sure why baptism, of any mode, could be considered "washing." Pouring, sprinkling, nor immersion could be describes as one washing. But because of the mistaken belief that baptism can cleanse one of sin, many mistake this as a description of the physical act of baptism. This is wrong and changes the whole tenor of what Paul is saying.

"Washing" here is solely the spiritual act the Spirit works in the believer's life. Through my study I have come to the conclusion that washing describes both regeneration and renewal. In other words, the phrase could read, "the washing of regeneration and the washing of renewing by the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit washes us and this washing results in both regeneration and renewal. The word used for regeneration is literally "to be born again." The word "Renewing" is literally the word "renovation." Once a person accepts Christ's sacrifice, the Spirit renovates the person and they are born anew.

Paul finishes his thought by saying that the washing the Spirit provides is complete. He says that God "pours put" the Holy Spirit "richly" on believers. The phrase "pouring out" is in the aorist tense, which connotes a historical act from the past completed in the past. Paul is speaking to believers so they had received the Holy Spirit in their past. They received Him and it was completed in the past.
When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit is poured out on us. And He is poured out richly, generously. We are not given only part of the Holy Spirit only later to get more of Him. Paul tells us that God’s pouring out of the Holy Spirit is totally complete for each one who receives Him.

The final part of the Holy Spirit's regeneration has to do with adoption. Once regeneration occurs in the believer's life, which happens at the moment of surrender to Christ, that person is justified. The popular definition of justification is "declared innocent" and can be cleverly summed up by saying "being justified is being able to say that God sees me 'just if I'd' never sinned."

Adoption also makes us heirs to the promise God has given His children. In fact,
Romans 8:14-17 tells us that believers are co-heirs with Christ. This is an amazing truth which should produce hope and encouragement to every believe, which is the final point.

Because we are adopted and heirs, this means that we have a hope that the lost do not have. Hope in Scripture is not wishful thinking. Instead, it is expectant waiting. The two are diametrically different and must be understood. The believer, being regeneration is adopted and is now expectantly waiting for the time when he or she will spend eternity with their Creator and Savior.

The Spirit's power in our lives is powerful and amazing. This first lesson on the specific work of the Spirit in our lives should stir the believer to praise, worship, and service of the one who so lavishly loves us.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Another Cool Feature

Make my blog a widget on your blog! (Like anyone is going to do that). If you click the link below, you will see the widget and then you can customize it and then press "Get Widget" and it will give you code to paste into your blog. Again, I just thought it was neat and truly do not think anyone will take advantage. However, if there is any one who does, let me know. I am sure we can find some help for you somewhere.

Click here to get the widget.

Monday, March 08, 2010

What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

Getting back to the topic I was posting on before my missions break, I will be posting on my sermon series on the Holy Spirit. My second sermon was about what the Holy Spirit does. As the first sermon was a general discussion of who the Holy Spirit is, this sermon was a general discussion of what He does. Using John 16:8-14, here is my sermon outline.

I. The Holy Spirit convicts the lost (8-11).
         A. Of sin because they do not believe (9)
         B. Of righteousness Christ is not physically here (11).
         C. Of judgment because Satan has been judged (10).

II. The Holy Spirit helps the believer (12-13)
         A. He guides us in all truth
         B. He guides by speaking (13)
                  1. He does not speak on His own initiative.
                  2. He speaks what he hears
                  3. He discloses what is to come

III. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ (14)

This passage provides the reader with great overview of the work of the Spirit. To begin with, He convicts the lost of sin. He explicitly says that this is the sin of unbelief. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts the world, a word John uses throughout his gospel to refer to humankind who are opposed to God and His will, of their unbelief. The Holy Spirit convicts the lost that they have rejected Christ. It is the Spirit’s job to convict men of this rejection. The Spirit pricks men’s consciences of their unbelief. We cannot logically argue them into heaven. We cannot provide enough evidence to convict the lost of their rejection. We cannot nag someone until they receive Christ. It is the Holy Spirit’s job alone. We are supposed to have an answer for our faith and being ready to give an answer is a must. But in the end, the Spirit is the one convicting of unbelief and the lost person must respond to that conviction.

The Spirit also convicts the world of righteousness. When Christ was walking on earth, people could look at Him and see the epitome of righteousness. However, Christ rose to heaven and is now not able to be seen. Because Christ’s physical body is not here and cannot be seen, the Holy Spirit is the one convicting of unrighteousness.

You may have seen this when you tell people you are a Christian. They may have been cursing one minute but then after you tell them they immediately clean up their language and begin talking in church-talk. This is a little like what we are talking about. They are convicted of righteousness but are looking at it in relative terms. Imagine if Christ showed up in His glorified body and stood before them or us. I would think our thoughts, words, and actions would change. But since He does not physically show up, the Spirit is the one who convicts of unrighteousness. This gap between our unrighteousness and God’s righteousness teaches us we need a bridge to God, a mediator. It is the first step in our relationship with God. We need Christ and the forgiveness he brings. The Spirit brings that conviction about.

The Holy Spirit also convicts the world of judgment. This is not the future judgment. We know this by the context. Satan has already been judged. This is in the perfect tense, which indicates an act in the past completed in the past, but the results continue on from that completed act. Satan was judged on the cross and was condemned. He may be the prince of this earth right now, but his fate has been sealed already.

"Judgment" here to the lost is that when we examine every thought, word, and action in light of Christ’s absolute righteousness, we realize we are condemned because we do not measure up. John referred to this once already in the His gospel (John 3:16-19). The fact is, the lost have already been on the cross and they have been found guilty. In fact, every one of us have been judged and found guilty. The good news is that if one receives the forgiveness provided for by Christ, that judgment has been paid for by Christ Himself.

So the summary of the first part of the sermon is this: The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts people that they have been judged. It is this conviction that leads people to accept Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts the world they have rejected Christ, their righteousness falls short, and they have been judged and found guilty as a result of this.

The second aspect of the Holy Spirit's work is that He helps believers. He guides the Spirit by speaking to the believer. John tells the reader three things about the Spirit's communication with believers. John first says the Spirit does not speak on His own initiative. Second, John says the Spirit speaks only what he hears from the Father and Son. Finally, the Spirit discloses what is to come. Now, when Jesus said this to His disciples, it is clear he was referring to all the disciples would encounter as recorded in the Book of Acts. But also, in reference to John specifically, the book of Revelation and the end times.

The final aspect John reveals about the Spirit's work is that He glorifies Christ. I believe this is where most teaching on the Holy Spirit goes awry. If we look at the Holy Spirit, we should see him pointing to Christ. The Spirit does not draw attention to Himself but to Christ. In short, the Spirit points to, or glorifies, Christ and Christ shows us what God is really like.

This provides the listener a nice introduction to the to the work of the Holy Spirit. Knowing that I was going to spend the next five week speaking about the work of the Spirit, I was not concerned that this was not an exhaustive study on the work of the Spirit. In fact, there are some very important things the Spirit does which are not brought up in this passage of John. However, it provided a great starting point for delving deeper into the work of the Spirit.

Friday, March 05, 2010

More Than Gold - Home Again

I have been back from Vancouver for about two weeks and I need to close out my series on my mission trip to Canada. I thought I would finish my posts with some pictures of Vancouver and things we experienced there.

Here is a picture of the Olympic Village in Vancouver. If you look closely, you can see the Union Jack's where the team United Kingdom team was lodging and the Norwegian flag where their team was staying (click picture for larger image).

Here is one of the shores in town where a local resident comes and stacks rocks. I am not sure why or if they represent anything, but it is interesting and he does a good job of stacking them....I guess...I do not really know what constitutes good rock stacking. I leave it to you. (click pictures for larger images).

One of the places we served at was First Baptist Church of Vancouver. It was established in 1910 and it was a beautiful building. I do not know about the health of the church but they had a small group reaching out to their own city. Here are some pictures of this church (Click pictures for larger images).

On the streets of Vancouver I found this monstrosity. I do not even know what to say about it (click picture for larger image).

In the "Gastown" district of town, they had a steam powered clock. That was pretty interesting and when it whistled every quarter hour. It sounded like a musical train. Note the steam out the top of the clock. The plaque has some interesting information (click pictures for larger images).

Finally, we went downtown to look at the cauldron for the games. I am not a huge fan of the design (not sure what that is all about) but I think someone told me that when you look at just right it is supposed to look like a maple leaf. I must have not been at that angle (click picture for larger image).

Monday, February 15, 2010

More than Gold 2010 - Vancouver: Days 6-7

On Sunday, the sun came out and we had a beautiful day to work outside. We started the day with worshipping with Royal Heights Baptist Church, which is the church where we have been sleeping. Lee Byrum, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Craig, Colorado and I gave testimonies of what God has been doing through us since we arrived. Then the pastor gave a gift of hats with Canadian Hockey on it and "pastor" written on the back. Here are pictures of us receiving our hats and me sharing some stories of our encounters. (Click on the picture for a larger image):

After church, we served again at Main Street/Science Station. There were SO many people there because it was Sunday and the weekend was ending so everyone and their dog (literally) were out walking around. This station is one of the main spots in town so we were able to talk to a lot of people. However, I was not able to really talk in depth with anyone. I was able to tell many that we came here to give them some hot chocolate and to tell them I serve a God who is caring and who loves them.

As an interesting sidenote, I was interviewed by Baptist Press so I am hoping I will get in an article. That would be a neat momento. For those of you in Colorado, be looking for the article in the Rocky Mountain Baptist.

Mike, our leader, came to our spot and went out with a hot chocolate pack on his back. Here are some pictures of him (Click on the picture for a larger image):

Monday evening, we will be serving at a place called the Hobbit House. I do not even know what that means but it is a little house which is used by First Baptist Church. It is a little cafe where people can come and sit inside and have coffee and hot chocolate. We will be the first group from our group to serve at this place so it should be another aventure. We will serve 4:30 pm to 11:30 pm and then the train and bus ride home. Should be a more relaxed evening. I will fill you in on my next post. Rhonda and I made our way over there today. Here are some pictures (Click on the pictures for a larger image):

Continue to pray for us, for our safety, and for God to work in us to build His Kingdom in Vancouver.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More than Gold 2010 - Vancouver: Days 4-5

Friday we began our ministry in Vancouver. Rhonda and I were stationed at Yaletown Station. After the Opening Ceremonies, they anticipated at least 8000 people coming right by our table where we could serve them hot chocolate and water. They anticipated correctly. Here are some pictures of our serving the crowd. It is dark so it is hard to see. You can see Rhonda talking to a person but I did not want to use the flash for fear of interrupting the moment she was sharing with the person. (Click on the pictures for a larger image):

I had some good conversations with some folks. I talked with an Indian gentleman about what were doing there. I told him we were showing hospitality to show that we serve a good God who is kind and hospitable. I talked to a person I presumed to be homeless who wanted some change because he had not eaten. I gave him Slim Jim’s instead. I talked to a young man named Ryan who was drunk and wanted to use my phone. I told him “No” and told me he lost his girlfriend and needed to talk to her. I figured he meant he did something dumb and she left him for someone else. After a little talking, I realized he meant that he literally LOST HIS GIRLFRIEND. I called her for him (the phone was not leaving my person) and got her on the phone. She told us where she was at and we found her. He was so happy but he was so drunk and could barely understand me. I just told them to hold hands and make sure they do not get separated again.

I had other conversations as well. We got back to the church around 1:30-2:00 am.

Saturday, we had another good day. It was not as long as Friday and had some good conversations with folks. We served at Main Street/Science Station. It is essentially across the river from the Olympic Village. We got to the spot but there was no truck from which we were working so we waited until it got there. We had to wait two hours but God is constantly teaching us that we must be flexible when serving Him.

We walked over to the Science Station where the Russians are staying (I think). They are already preparing for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Soshi, Russia. Right when we got there to look at the place, some protestors began to shout “Soshi: land of genocide!” and the crowd began to curse at them and yell at them to shut up. Rhonda and I got out of there as fast as we could. Here are some pictures of the Russians promoting the 2014 Olympics (sans protestors). (Click on the picture for a larger image):

After that we needed something to lighten the mood. This seemed to do the trick (Click on the picture for a larger image):

The truck finally arrived and we began serving our hot chocolate. We have backpacks which hold and dispense the hot chocolate. So after being filled up with hot chocolate, we walked over to the train station and began serving people hot chocolate. Here are some pictures of the backpacks (click on the picture for a larger image):

We had many good conversations with many different people. It is amazing how peoples’ faces light up when you give them chocolate. There was a group of young people around 20 years old (three guys and one girl). They said they wanted some hot chocolate and I asked them if they were from here (meaning Vancouver). They said they were from Quebec. I told them I was from Colorado and we drove here. One of the guys said, “You drove all the way from Colorado to hand out hot chocolate?” I replied, “Yes. I drove all the way from Colorado to give you a cup of hot chocolate and tell you that I serve a good, kind God who loves you.” They gave a kind and nervous laugh and said, “OK. Well, thanks. Bye.” I just pray that they think about the lengths God goes through to reach one person. It is not that he sent me to Vancouver from Colorado; it is that He sent His Son from Heaven to Earth. That is the lengths to which God will go.

When Rhonda’s and my shift were over, we headed back to the church. I wanted to find a restaurant to sit and eat at but decided we just should go back to the church. We rode the train and then the bus. I was a little disappointed that I had no real in-depth conversations today. When we got of the train, we saw a Wendy’s and thought we should just go there and eat. A young Indian man got off the train before us and was going the same direction we were going. He sort of looked back and I joking told him, “We are not following you; we are just going the same direction.” He smiled and continued walking. Suddenly, he stopped and turned and began to talk to Rhonda and I.
He told us that he had a friend die yesterday when a car hit him. We talked for just a minute to get the details and his name, Dep, and then I told him I wanted to pray for him. He said he does not understand much English, so Rhonda grabbed his hand and I put my hand on his shoulder and I began to pray for him. I am not sure he knew what was going on or what we were saying, but God heard us. He said, “I cannot understand hearing it very good but I can read it good.” I gave him a New Testament and I encouraged him to read 1 Corinthians 1 where it talks about God comforting us with all comfort so that we can comfort others. Then I encouraged him to read John. I pulled out a More than Gold pin and asked if I could explain the colors to him. He said he had to go because he was meeting some friends but he asked if we were part of a church. I told him we were part of Royal Heights Baptist Church just down the street a few blocks. He asked what time he should be there. I told him “10:00 am tomorrow.” I had not clue if that was the right time or not – turns out their service starts at 10:30 so that would be a great time. We blessed him and then he left. I pray he truly was interested in Jesus and will come to the church tomorrow.

I will post more in the next day or two as time allows. Please continue to pray for us.

Friday, February 12, 2010

More than Gold 2010 - Vancouver: Days 1-3

I am on a mission trip to Vancouver, B.C. to reach out to those attending the Olympics. I left on Feb 8 and are here with 26 people from two associations in our state. Here is a picture of our group (click on the picture for a larger image):

We traveled for two days (two FULL days) and arrived in Vancouver on Feb. 9. On Wednesday, we we traveled around the public transportation to get used to traveling on public transportation, to get used to engaging people on the trains, and to see the city. Here are some of the things we saw (click on the picture for a larger image):

This is the building where the Russian athletes are staying (at least that is my understanding). You can see that they are already gearing up for 2014 winter Olympics.

I was able to engage several people throughout the day about our mission there. I gave one lady the More Than Gold pin which explains the message of salvation. Because the train was coming I had to leave somewhat quickly but I left here with the pin and the explanation.

On Thursday, we had More Than Gold orientation all day. However, we took a break because the torch was being passed right in front of the building. The mayor of Vancouver was the one carrying the torch and he passed it to someone else. Here he is (click on the picture for a larger image):

There at the torch passing, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police where there. I have always thought they look sharp in their uniforms (Click on the picture for a larger image):

After this, we went back inside and got a picture with a torch (it was not the one being carried. Here is Rhonda and I.

The first bus I took on Thursday, there was a young lady named Margarita. I began talking with her and asked her if she had any "spiritual inclinations." She was Russian Orthodox. I shared a pin with her and went through the plan of salvation with her. Right when I finished, we had to get off. I do not if she did receive Christ but she heard the message and has the card explaining it to her. I am praying that the seed will be harvested later by someone.

I know the above may not seem like missions but we begin our missions tonight. Rhonda and I will be working from about 6 pm to 12:30 am. We will be working the rest of the week in different parts of the city. I will keep update and my time and straight allow.

Please be praying for us that we would see God increase His Kingdom in Vancouver.