Holy Spirit 9

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the power and consequence of the indwelling Spirit of God.

Scripture

Romans 8:9-17

9  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

10  But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11  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.

12  So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  13  For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  15  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  16  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  17  and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Observation

  1. Slowly read this portion of Paul’s argument of “life in the Spirit” again and summarize what Paul teaches about our life because of indwelling Holy Spirit in the following sections
    1. Verse 9
    2. Verses 10-11
    3. Verses 12-13
    4. Verses 14-17
  2. Consider the titles Paul attributes to the Holy Spirit in this section; what do we learn about the Holy Spirit in each of these titles?
    1. The Spirit of God (v9, 14)
    2. The Spirit of Christ (v9)
    3. The Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead (v11)
    4. The Spirit who dwells in you (v11)
    5. The Spirit of adoption (v14)

Reflection

This short passage contain rich truths with great promises of the believers blessed life through the indwelling Spirit.  How do each of these following truths impact your life today?

  1. If you have the Spirit of Christ you belong to Him. (v9)
  2. The resurrection Spirit dwells in you. (v11)
  3. The Holy Spirit lives inside of you. (v13)
  4. The Spirit of adoption testifies that you are a child of God. (v16)

Prayer

Thank God for the indwelling Spirit – and the blessing he is to me (elaborate from previous point).  Then take any one of the following truths from this text and prayerfully meditate in it (through repetition and prayerful contemplation) so that you receive revelation from the Holy Spirit about it.

  1. I belong to Christ. (v9)
  2. The Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead dwells in me. (v11)
  3. I am a debtor to (live according to) the Spirit. (v13)
  4. The Spirit bears witness that I am a child of God. (v16)

Holy Spirit 3

The aim of this devotional Bible Study is to learn about the life-giving Holy Spirit Jesus promised about.

Scripture

John 7:37-39

37  On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

38  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

39  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Observations

Note: “The feast” refer to the Feast of Tabernacles (7:2). For the first 7 days of the feast the priests would bring water from the Pool of Siloam and pour it in a silver basin by the altar (pointing to the water the Lord made appear from the rock to miraculously to sustain the Jews during their desert dwelling in tents for the 40 years).  “On the last day” the priests brought no water, which is when Jesus stood there and cried out “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink…” just before the feast finished an all left for home.

  1. Considering this setting, what is the message Jesus tried to convey to the religiously devout people of his day who attended this feast? What would you have understood if you were there?
  2. Reflect through comparison:
    1. Only Jews could celebrate the feasts and approach God – but to whom did Jesus extend this invitation?
    2. Jews were invited to come to God via the temple and be satisfied – but to where did Jesus invite them to be satisfied?
    3. The Jews in the wilderness drank but had to drink again – what did Jesus promise those who “drink from him”?
    4. The water usually poured into basins during the feast came from a still pool – what did Jesus promise would come via him?
    5. Summaries the invitation of Jesus in your own words from your answers above.
  3. What did Jesus means when he said ‘streams of living water will flow from those who believe?”

Application

  1. Moving beyond the metaphor of “water” – what does Jesus promise you and me in this text through the indwelling Holy Spirit?
  2. Evaluate yourself honestly

a. Are you fully satisfied through the indwelling Holy Spirit? Or do you still long for something? Elaborate.

b. Do streams of living water overflow from you? When and how?

Prayer

Honestly talk to God about this promise of Jesus – thanking him for the gift his indwelling Sprit.  Then pray that today you be attentive to “overflow” and share this abundant life with others who cross your path.  Is there anyone you know who needs it?  Pray for something to share with them!

Baptism 5

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect of the ecclesiastical / communal impact of one’s baptism into Christ through his Spirit.

Scripture

1 Corinthians 12:4-18, 26-27

4  Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5  and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6  and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

7  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.

12  For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13  For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14  For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?

18  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose…

26  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27  Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Observation and Application

  1. What is the overriding truth of this portion of Scripture?
  2. How do you understand Paul’s statement “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it”? (v27)
  3. Paul says that your conversion to Christ (symbolically through baptism) was an immersion into his body – the church. How does that make you feel and think of Christianity?
  4. From this text it seems that Paul had a very literal local congregation in mind – not just “the global church of Christ”. Where can you see this clearly in the passage?
  5. In which way have you been crafted and gifted by God to be a blessing to your local congregation?

Prayer

Pray and ask God to show you where he has gifted you to serve in your local congregation; pray and write down your thoughts.  If you have no clear answer, ask a friend to pray with you.  Then tell your small group / Bible Study group leader.

Note: Don’t brush this one over without acting on it – this is one of those days when the Bible and your relationship with God becomes real and has a lasting impact on others.

Baptism 4

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding of “the baptism of suffering” with a readiness to grow in full surrender to the will of God.

Scripture

Luke 12:50

“I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!”

Mark 10:35-39

35  And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

36  And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

37  And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

38  Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

39  And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized…

Observations

  1. The Scriptures above quote Jesus referring to a baptism he himself would be baptized with – what is this baptism?
  2. When James and John requested honorary positions in Christ’s future kingdom, Jesus said it would require “being baptized with the same baptism” he would experience – what did Jesus refer to?
  3. Biblical baptism refers to being “immersed” in something so that afterward you enter another desired state of being / reality of life (see three previous posts on Baptism for examples). To what desired reality would this Baptism of Suffering lead Christ as well as James and John?

Reflection and Application

  1. Why does the baptism of suffering lead to honour / glory / promotion?

Consider that suffering while doing the will of God brings one to a point of greater surrender to the will of God – where you metaphorically “pick up your cross and follow Christ” (Matt 16:24).  And because you surrender more of yourself to God, God can entrust more to you.  The point of the Baptism of Suffering (sometimes called ‘baptism of fire’) is exactly that – willful surrender and entrustment of self to God – even when it hurts. And God honours that. (Phil 2:1-10)

  1. Can I escape the Baptism of Suffering as a Christian? (hint: 2 Timothy 3:12)
  2. It seemed as though Paul looked forward to this Baptism, so that they may know Christ: “That I may know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”(Phil 3:10)

How do you feel about Paul’s passion to share in the suffering of Christ?  Do you already relate with this suffering, while doing the will of the Lord?

Prayer

Pray freely to God about this baptism of suffering – whatever is on your heart.

For further reflection read these posts on suffering

Suffer well http://walklikejesus.net/2014/08/18/suffer-well/

Suffering, our good tutor http://walklikejesus.net/2014/08/25/suffering-our-good-tutor/

When you walk through the fire http://walklikejesus.net/2015/01/07/when-you-walk-through-the-fire/

Baptism 2

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and obedience of baptism into Christ.

Scripture

Romans 6:3-11

3  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4  We were therefore buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

6  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  7  For one who has died has been set free from sin.

8  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live [eternally] with him. 9  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Observation

  1. Let’s ask the interrogative questions to understand the believers’ baptism from this text:
  • What does the symbolism of believers’ baptism (baptism into Christ) enact/ show? (v5, 8)
  • From this text, what do we “die to” when symbolically “being buried with Christ”? (v4, 6, 9,10, 11)
  • From this text, to what do we “rise” with Christ? (v4, 7, 9, 10, 11]
  • How should the baptized believer change his life view from now onwards? (v11)
  1. Considering this Text, discuss each of the following contemporary synonyms for baptism Is the phrase fitting? How does the phrase work well, and in which way does it fall short?
  • Identification with Christ
  • Public declaration of faith (trust) in Christ
  • Swearing allegiance to Christ (giving your life in service to Christ)
  • Repentance and turning to Christ

Application

  1. If a friend says that they believe in Jesus and sees no need to be baptized – how would you show to him / her from this Text that it is really important to be baptized?

Prayer

If you have been baptized as an adult believer, remember your baptism day and renew your faith (trust) and loyal devotion to serve Christ with your life forsaking the temporary pleasures of sin on this earth.  Remember how you came to faith and thank God or “grace for faith”.

If you have not been baptized as an adult believer, spend the time in prayer and reflection of the command to “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38), and the benefits from this Text.

Baptism 1

The Aim of this devotional study is to grow in understanding and obedience of Biblical baptism.

Scripture

Matthew 3:1-12

1  In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'”  4  Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.

5  Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6  and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8  Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9  And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10  Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11  “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Observation

  1. John brought about a big revival in Judea in his day. Let’s ask the interrogative questions to understand John’s Baptism.
  • What did John preach? (What was the core of his message?)
  • Where and to whom did John preach?
  • Why did John preach? (v3, v11-12)
  • What was the result of John’s preaching? (v5-7)
  1. Think of what John was doing in his ministry – preaching repentance and baptizing people. Why do you think his prophetic ministry had such a powerful impact on the nation at that time?  (Think of the link between his preaching and his action – word and symbolism).
  2. In essence, John’s purpose was called to prepare the Jewish nation by calling them out of their sinful ways and calling them to seek God and his way (repentance) and point out Jesus as the Messiah (Greek: the Christ). He said “I baptize with water… [Jesus] will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (v11)  Read verse 12 to understand Jesus’ ministry compared to John’s ministry:
  • What is the imagery used here to describe Jesus’ ministry?
  • In the wheat sifting process – what is kept and what is discarded? How is it discarded?
  • John says Jesus will “sift wheat with the winnowing fork” – whom will he sift and how will he sift them? What is another word for Jesus’ “sifting” ministry? [hint: think court of law…]
  • Regarding Jesus ministry: Who will he baptize with Holy Spirit? And who will he baptize with fire? [for instance, look at John’s comments to the Pharisees v7-10]
  • In conclusion, how does John and Jesus’ “baptism ministries” relate?

Application

  1. “How one responds to John’s call to a baptism of repentance will determine whether Jesus will baptize you will the Holy Spirit or with fire.” What are your thoughts and feelings to this statement?  Do you agree that repentance is necessary for salvation?
  2. When and how did you go through John’s baptism of repentance? How did you change so that there was a marked life difference (“fruit in keeping with your repentance” v8)?

Prayer

Pray with David and ask God through his Spirit to lovingly reveal your heart to yourself, as he sees it, and respond appropriately: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalms 139:23-24)