THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART ONE)

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit…”

Ephesians 5:18 

The decade of the 1960s was marked by rebellion in America!  Against the war in Vietnam, the military draft, the sexual mores of the day and against organized religion.  There was experimentation with foreign religions, “free” sex, often accompanied with hallucinating drugs.  Young people argued they were “searching for the Truth!”  Notably, out of this some came full circle to discover salvation through faith in Jesus Christ!  Yet in this rebellious setting there was widespread false teaching that spread, particularly about the Holy Spirit.  Sadly, some preachers spent more time condemning the false teachers than they did communicating the Truth from the Bible! 

It is often said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same!”  Sadly, rebellion is a present problem, and Believers are not exempted from the temptation!  I am convinced there is a critical need for more teaching of Bible Truth about the Holy Spirit.  That is why I will seek to address four basic questions over the next several months.  Why should a Believer be filled with the Spirit?  What does that mean?  Who should be filled?  And How is one filled?  I will address these issues from the gospel of John, chapters 14, 15 and 16!  These chapters contain an ongoing time of discussion by Jesus concerning His soon-coming departure, and the ministry His disciples would be leading.  A significant part of that discussion deals with the role the Holy Spirit will fill in their life and ministries.  

In this discussion Jesus deals with three specific reasons why every Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit.  The first reason is because the Holy Spirit indwells the Believer.  “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper”  (John 14:16a).  Many know that the Greek word translated Helper is at other times translated Comforter, Advocate, or Intercessor.  The word means, “One called alongside to help.”  Another word important to understand is the word “another”.  That word in the Greek means, “Another like Me.”  Jesus says that the best description of the Holy Spirit is He is another like Me!  Then the Lord expands that statement, “that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16b).  Jesus came for a specific task assigned by the Father, to redeem lost humanity by paying the redemption price, the willing sacrifice of His sinless Life.  Soon He would return to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand.  With the coming of the Holy Spirit, He (the Spirit) is to abide with us FOREVER!  

Not only that, but the Holy Spirit is now in us, “…that is the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 16:17).  When one first believes on the Lord Jesus Christ the temptation is to think that the Christian life will be so wonderful that it will be easy.  Then life happens, and sin enters the picture again.  We begin to realize that living for Christ will be harder that we thought, and finally we come to see it is an impossible task.  Just as we learn that we need Him with us in our loneliness, we realize our need for Him in our weakness.  Praise to God our Father that the Holy Spirit is our Divine Helper who makes the impossible gloriously possible!                                             

Jon Moore

HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life!”  John 3:16

 The verse written above is the most familiar verse in the Bible.  Many have it memorized, some who do not make any claim of being a Christian!  It comes at the end of a conversation between Jesus Christ and a man by the name of Nicodemus.  During the conversation, Jesus tells this prominent man from the Jewish community that every person (no exceptions) must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God!  When Nicodemus misunderstands the meaning of this statement by saying, “How can a man be born when he is old?  He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”  Jesus then explains there must be two distinct births, one a natural birth of water and a spiritual birth of the Spirit.  Nicodemus then asked, “How can these things be?”

 Jesus then expressed amazement that a man understood to be “the” teacher of Israel, obviously indicating Nicodemus had a reputation of being knowledgeable in the Scriptures, could not understand the necessity of two births, one natural, and one spiritual.  Nicodemus then exclaimed, “How can these things be?”  Jesus follows this question with His explanation of how one is born again in John 3:16 quoted above, requiring that one must “believe” in Jesus.  The challenge lies in properly understanding the meaning of the word ‘believe’.  Many have assumed that it means a merely intellectual transaction, but the demons in hell believe that much, and shudder (James 2:19)!

 The New Testament word ‘believe’ means, “To trust in; To cling to; To rely on.” 

1) To believe in Jesus that results in salvation means to trust in what Jesus has done for you!  “Christ also died for sins, once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us unto God.” (1st Peter 3:18). 

2) To believe in Jesus resulting in salvation means to cling to who Jesus is in you!  “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Colossians 1:27).  “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure!” (Philippians 2:13).

3) To believe in Jesus resulting in salvation means to rely on all Jesus has said to you!  “It is impossible for God to lie!” (Hebrews 6:18).

 Here is the question to be answered!  Here is the question you must answer, if not today, then once you die.  “It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgement!” (Hebrews 9:27).  Are you qualified to enter the Kingdom of God?  Have you been born again?

Jon Moore

 

THE RELEVANCE OF REVIVAL!

“O Lord, You showed favor to your land; You restored the captivity of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin. Selah! You withdrew all Your fury; You turned away from Your burning anger.”  Psalm 85:1-3 NASB

The question is being asked today in some of our religious institutions whether the subject of revival is “old-fashioned, out of date, irrelevant?”  After all, it seems like it has been ages ago since there has been a spiritual awakening among a group of God’s people that resulted in both fire in the pulpit and fire in the pew, which eventually led to churches being revitalized and large numbers of lost people getting saved! That all seems to many as “so yesterday!”

Similar thoughts may have passed through the mind of the Psalmist.  Notice that all the verbs in the first three verses of Psalm 85 are in the PAST TENSE (What God formerly had done). Then, after verse two he pens the word Selah! This word may mean Pause, or Musical Interlude. A pause, or interlude gives one time to think, consider, contemplate.  Is God unable to act on this level again? Or, is He simply unwilling? But the writer of this Psalm knows the Lord too well to fall for that! He knew the God Who told Moses that He had heard the cry of His people, and He had “come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and…bring them up to a good and spacious land.” And he was aware the Lord then accomplished all that He had promised! Based on the assurance of God’s faithfulness, and the obvious need of the hour, the Psalmist then presents his petitions.

The first request is for the Lord to cease His indignation. “Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause your indignation toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will you prolong Your anger to all generations? (verses 4-5)  In verse 8 he refers to being in a spiritual condition where we need to be restored as “folly” or “stupidity”!  It really is dumb for a Believer to let himself (or herself) get so indifferent and cold spiritually that he or she needs revival!

The second request is for the Lord to confer His revelation. “Will You not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness O Lord and grant us Your salvation!” Revival is the work of God, and he is the only one Who can do it!  The same One who reproves us is the only One who can revive us!  The One who chastens is the One who quickens!

When Danish sculptor Albert Thorwaldsen completed his famous statue of Christ with His arms extended, and His head bowed, he invited a friend to view it before showing it to the public.  The man walked around the work and said, “I cannot see His face!”  Thorwaldsen replied, “You must get down on your knees!” 

Once we recognize the need for revival, the first order of spiritual business is to “humble ourselves!”  See 2nd Chronicles 7:14…

Jon Moore

BACK TO BETHEL!

“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and keep me on this journey that I take…and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God.  This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house…”  Genesis 28:20-22

After Jacob’s long and eventful stay in Haran, and the Lord’s deliverance from Laban, his uncle and now angry father-in-law, he began his return to his homeland.  Once again God miraculously delivers him, this time from his brother, Esau!  However, in spite of his former vow and the Lord’s promise, Jacob had a change of mind/heart and settles in Shechem.  There, due to his grand-daughter’s rape and to his two son’s treachery in killing all the males and looting the city, Jacob was forced to move once again.  It was at this point that God reminded Jacob to go BACK TO BETHEL (Genesis 35:1a)!  The name comes from two words, meaning House of God!

If you stop and think, it is a great thing the Lord has done that He has given us the Holy Spirit to remind us of what He has already told us (John 14:26b)!  It can also be a humbling thing to be reminded we haven’t kept our commitments to Him!  Notice the Lord makes two requirements for the trip (Genesis 35:2).  1) Put away your idols!  It has been well said that an idol is anything or anyone that substitutes for the place of God in your life!  2) Purify yourself!  “If we confess our sin, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1st John 1:9)!

Not only does the Lord have two requirements for this trip, but He also has two remembrances to keep in mind (v 3).  1) It is God Who first makes a commitment to Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15 to bring him back to Bethel!  2) Then Jacob makes his vow to God in Genesis 28:20-22.

I remember a story of a man who was driving his wife and children to a remote campsite to take a camping vacation.  He came across a sign stretching across the road that read, “Road Closed!  No Entrance!”  He drove around the sign proclaiming, “I know where I’m going and how to get there!”  After a 10-mile long, bumpy ride, he came to a washed-out bridge!  He turned the car around, drove back another 10 miles.  When he arrived at the sign, someone had hand-painted a message on the backside of the sign, “Welcome back, Stupid!”

It is never a good thing to disobey God, but if you do make that mistake, it is a very good thing to get back to where you started (Bethel=House of God)!

Jon Moore

THE GROWTH OF FAITH!

While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?”  But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe!” 

                                                                                                                                  Mark 5:35-36

Faith that is untested is faith that is uncertain.  Faith that has been tested and matured is faith that is prepared to deal with whatever challenges that life brings!  The synagogue official Jairus came to the Lord with a weak faith, but as the result of walking through a time of testing, he came out with a stronger faith.  Note the significant tests of faith through which Jairus was required to walk.

The first test of his faith in Christ was the test of patience.  No sooner had Jesus agreed to go to the home of Jairus to minister to his terminally ill daughter than the Lord was led to minister to a woman with a twelve-year long issue of hemorrhaging-(verses 24-34)!  Can you imagine what was going through Jairus’s mind while all this was happening?  “Hurry up!  My daughter is dying!  Why are we wasting precious time?”  Most times the Lord operates on a different time schedule than we do!  Will we be patient in our faith to trust Him?

Secondly Jairus had to pass though the test of perseverance.  A messenger came delivering a somber message.  The girl had died!  He was asked, “Why trouble the Master anymore?”  What would Jairus do?  Would he accept the report after Jesus had accepted his request to come to his home, and “…lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live?”  It is at this point Jesus said, “…only believe!”  It is important to know that this word in the original language of the New Testament literally means, “Keep on believing!”  Would Jairus continue in faith?  Will you and I continue to believe the Lord’s Word when so much around us seems to contradict?

The third test of faith is that of purging.  When Jesus, three of his disciples (Peter, James & John) and Jairus arrived at the home, professional mourners were already there making a loud commotion (common in that day).  When the Lord said the girl was not dead, the mourners laughed at Him, so He put them out, allowing only the parents and the disciples to accompany Him into the child’s presence.  Not only is it crucial that we trust the Lord, but it is also critical we surround ourselves with other believers in Christ!

A visitor to Africa freed a struggling butterfly from its cocoon, but he was shocked that it did not have its distinctive coloring as it flew away.  A native explained that by beating its wings against the cocoon, the wings are marked by splashes of vivid colors, but releasing it from its beatings, the visitor had robbed the butterfly of its beauty!  Likewise, victorious faith by definition MUST BE TRIED!  There can be no victory without conflict!  Keep believing Jesus!

Jon Moore    

                                                    

THE DISABLING TOUCH OF GOD!

“Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.”

Genesis 32:31

Sometimes it is tempting to view crises as unneeded and unwanted intrusions in our life!  We may very well find ourselves asking the Lord, “Why me?”  We can lose sight of the fact the Lord often uses such events to disable our natural abilities as a reminder that the same One who has called us now lives in us to accomplish all to which He has called us!  Often times our greatest need is for the Lord to touch us with that “disabling” touch.  That was certainly true for Jacob as he wrestled with “a man” in Genesis 32:24.

I want to visit with you about two things that happened to him after the angel (see Hosea 12:3-4) touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh, so that the socket of his thigh was dislocated (Gen. 32:25b).  First, he now walked with a limp as a daily reminder of his dependence on God!  He no longer was free to function as his birth name implied=Supplanter; Heel-grabber; Deceiver.  He would now walk (live) as a man completely dependent on the Lord!  No longer was he free to live by the credo, “The end justifies the means!”  He would now live his life and serve the Lord relying on the Lord’s daily supply of His guidance and strength!

Secondly, his limp would be a daily reminder of not only his dependence on God, but a reminder of the Lord’s continual presence in his life!  The ultimate ‘success’ of his life and ministry would no longer rest on his talent, his abilities, his resourcefulness, his ANYTHING!  His fruitfulness in life and ministry would forever be linked to the faithfulness of God to never leave him, or forsake him…to be with him always, even to the end of the age!

A new Marine recruit was puzzled to be ordered to hold his food tray a certain way when standing in the chow line, even when he was chastised for not having his hands on the tray in the proper place.  It wasn’t until later when he was issued his weapon that he learned he was to hold his weapon in the same way.  Unknown to him, he was being prepared for future encounters with the enemy!  Often we do not understand when we have to go through difficult, sometimes painful experiences in life, not understanding at the time that the Lord is touching us with a disabling touch in order to prepare us for future encounters with our enemy the devil!

Jon Moore

FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

 

“…If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

 

Several years ago a man sent me a book he had compiled entitled, “Deep Fire”.  It is a collection of sayings by men and women, mostly from the past.  For several months I have been thinking and praying about sending some of these quotes out for your thought and prayer.  When the author of the quote is known, it is given…

 

“The secret of detachment from the world is attachment to Christ.”  A J Gordon

 

“In God’s work we see His hand, but in His Word we see His face.”

 

“One needs no further explanation of the lack of the fullness of the Spirit than the fullness of self”

                                                                                                                                               James H. McConkey

 

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”  Demosthenes

 

“A deep and sober daily concern to please God is the rarest of rarities.”  Vance Havner

 

“Faith will lead you where you cannot walk.  Reason has never been a mountain climber.”  E W Kenyon

 

“During times of revival the Divine is so real that nothing else matters.  During times of decline, like our day, everything except the Divine matters.”

 

“Suspicions subtract, faith adds, but love multiplies.  It blesses twice-him who gives it, and him who receives it.”  C T Studd

 

“No amount of activity in the King’s service will make up for the neglect of the King Himself.”

                                                                                                                                      Robert Murray M’Cheyne

 

“Though the gracious soul still desires more of God, it never desires more than God.”  Matthew Henry

 

“The death of Jesus for you makes possible the Life of Jesus in you.”  Major Ian Thomas

 

“A revival is a miracle.  It is the hand of the Lord, and it is mighty.  It can only be explained as the direct act and intervention of God.”  D Martin Lloyd Jones

 

“Revival is not some emotion or worked-up excitement; it is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God.”  Stephen F Olford

 

Would you consider a recommendation from me?  Start at the top and take one quote per day.  Memorize it.  Quote it to yourself several times a day.  Think through the quote.  Pray about it.  Is the Lord using the quote to speak to you at some level in your life?  Respond to Him.  Talk back with Him.

Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue!

 

Blessings

Jon Moore

THE PERFECTION OF FAITH!

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected (completed).”

James 2:21-22 

There are different kinds of faith. One popular kind we may call “positive confession” faith.  Those who teach this kind of faith often emphasize that man creates his own faith!  If he thinks positively and talks positively, anything is possible in the area of wealth, health, success, etc.  Seemingly God is not necessary, because man creates his own faith!  Another kind of faith is “blind” faith.  Once again, this kind of faith has no need of being created by, or given by God.  Presumably one just decides what he or she wants, then decides to “have faith” for it!  These kinds of faith so readily available in the world are different than Bible faith, the faith that is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Besides coming as a gift from God, James in the book that bears his name in chapter two emphasizes that Bible faith results in God-empowered, God-honoring works.  He also says that, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”  Some have suggested this is a contradiction in the Bible, but that cannot stand in the light of a closer look.  The verses mentioned earlier in Ephesians 2:8-9 are followed in verse 10 by, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…”  So Godly works are understood to be the outcome of faith that comes as the gift from God!  Then James follows up in James 2:21-22 (see above) by saying that works both correspond to and complete one’s faith.  Godly works will correspond to God-given faith, and God-given faith is not complete until it is expressed in Godly works!

James tells us that these truths are exemplified in both the life of Abraham, and the life of Rahab the harlot (v 25, see also Joshua 2:4, 6, 15)).  Abraham is the patriarch of those in the family of faith, because “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.  Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. (Galatians 3:6-7)  But it is good to know that what is true for the patriarch is also true for the prostitute!  There is no hierarchy among the sons and daughters of God by faith!  Godly faith is expressed, manifested by Godly works.

After John the Baptist was arrested and imprisoned by King Herod (Luke 7:18-22), he sent messengers to Jesus to ask, “Are You the expected One, or do we look for someone else?”  Jesus responded by telling the messengers to go back to John and tell him what they had seen and heard.  He was restoring sight to the blind, making the lame to walk, cleansing lepers, enabling the deaf to hear, raising the dead and preaching the gospel to the poor!  Seemingly Jesus did not directly answer their question, but actually He did so in the surest way possible.  The clearest evidence of who Jesus was (Messiah), was what He was doing (the works of Messiah).  That is not only true of Jesus.  That is true of both you and me.  The clearest evidence of who we are is what we are doing!  If you are of God-given faith, you will be engaged in God-honoring works!  The clearest evidence of who we are is what we are doing.  Are you part of the Lord’s faith family?

Jon Moore

THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY!

“But earnestly desire the greater gifts.  And I show you a still more excellent way.”

1st Corinthians 12:31

 

The church at Corinth is often called Paul’s “problem church!”  The believers there struggled with divisions, religious pride and misunderstanding spiritual gifts.  In chapter 12 of what we know as 1st Corinthians the apostle dealt with the matter of spiritual gifts the Lord has given to each of His children, as well as the gifted men He has given to His churches.  He ends the discussion by pointing to a more excellent way, the way of God’s love.

One day a child asked her mother, “Why does the sun shine?”  The mom’s answer was short and simple, but very profound, “The sun does what it does, because the sun is what it is!”  The sun shines (gives light), because the sun is light to all!  Likewise, God does what He does, because He is Who He is!  God loves, because God is love (1st John 4:7).

In the first three verses of chapter thirteen Paul explains why God’s love is the more excellent way to live and to minister to others.  1) Love adds sincerity to words.  “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”  People, especially young people are quick to discern insincerity in words.  When we speak to others in God’s love we have something real to say.  2) Love adds strength to actions.  “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”  I am always reminded of the layman’s definition of nothing=A zero with the rim knocked off!  That’s NOTHING, and that is what our actions amount to in the absence of God’s love.  Actions taken in the love of God give us something real to do!  3) Love adds substance to giving. “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”  Only when we give in the love of God do we have something real to give!

The early church was not wealthy with this world’s goods and was largely opposed, but it had two formidable weapons expressed by the Greek words Kerygma and Koinoinia!  Kerygma speaks to the word of God, and Koinoinia speaks to the loving fellowship between Believers.  Understand that the ancient world was filled with religions, philosophies and false deities, but the missing element for which people were starving was to know that they were loved!  The world has not changed.  People are still searching for something real, and it is only found in the person of Jesus Christ and in and through those who are His!

 

Jon Moore

ACCOUNTABILITY!

“Now when the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.  When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son.  But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.”  2nd Samuel 11:26-27

One of the most liberating truths about coming to know Jesus Christ is the freedom it brings; Freedom from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin and eventually from the presence of sin (John 8:32).  However, freedom in Christ cannot be separated from responsibility, from accountability.  This New Testament doctrinal truth is illustrated (as are many) in the Old Testament in the life of King David.  David chose to disengage himself from his soldiers and stay at home in a time when kings usually went to war.  During this time of idleness, he saw Bathsheba, lusted for her, committed adultery with her, tried to cover it up and ultimately was responsible for seeing to the death of her husband, Uriah the Hittite.  What some in the world might overlook, the Lord held David accountable!

There are two significant things regarding how the Lord held David accountable, and we would be wise to learn them.  First of all there was an afflictive aspect of God’s dealings with him.  The Lord said, “The sword shall never depart from your house…I will raise up evil against you from your own household…You did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel…” (2nd Samuel 12:10-12).  True to the Lord’s Word, the baby Bathsheba would bear would die.  Tamar, David’s daughter would be raped.  Amnon, his son would be murdered by Tamar’s brother.  Absalom, his son who led a rebellion against his father would be killed.  David’s concubines would be ravaged in full public view.  And Adonijah, another son of David would attempt to seize the throne in defiance of David’s stated wish for Solomon to succeed him as King.  Just as surely as the Lord said concerning the Word that comes forth from His mouth, “will not return to Me empty…Without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it!”  (Isaiah 55:11)

But do not fail to see and learn that there is a second aspect of God’s dealing with David, and it was and is REDEMPTIVE!  “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord’ and Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die’”  All of God’s Judgments of His people are ultimately redemptive!  Our freedom in Christ is certain, and His Grace is so amazing that, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1).  As surely as we confess our sins, “God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”  (1st John 1:9)

In 1992 there was a scandal in Washington DC (really).  It came to be known as “Rubbergate.”  People in congress are allowed to write checks on the “congressional bank” up to the limit of their congressional “salary.”  In 1992 sixty-six congress persons wrote about 20,00 bad checks (more than their “salary”).  The value of these 20,000 checks was $10,846,856.  That brings to my mind Jesus’s last word on the Cross.  It was “tetelestai” which roughly means “completion”.  In the market place it meant “Paid in Full”!  Something tells me politicians are not through writing “hot” checks, but Jesus Christ’s payment for salvation will never be returned for lack of sufficient payment!  Praise the Lord, It is finished!

Jon Moore