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Wesleyan Theology I - Lesson 21

Holy Spirit (Part 2)

At the beginning of creation, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible and brings understanding as people read it. The Holy Spirit makes effective the completed work of Christ and gives us the power to live out the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is personal, not an impersonal force. The believers received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after Christ ascended to heaven. The gifts of the Spirit are for the common good of building up the body of Christ. We should be cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives and his influence should be evident in how we interact corporately.

Kenneth J. Collins
Wesleyan Theology I
Lesson 21
Watching Now
Holy Spirit (Part 2)

I. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

A. Creation and providence

B. Divine author of the Bible

C. Administrator of redemption

D. Empowering presence of the Christian life

II. GIVING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

A. Foretaste of what is to come

B. Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

1. John the Baptist foresaw the baptism of the Holy Spirit

2. Day of Pentecost was the birthday of the Church

C. The presence of the Spirit results in fruit, gifts and anointing

1. Fruit of the Spirit

2. Gifts of the Spirit

3. Anointing

4. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

5. You cannot be a Christian without the Holy Spirit

III. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS


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  • For the first 5 centuries after Christ, the theology of the Christian Church was ecumenical. Since then, you have differences in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology, and then the Reformation with different Protestant traditions. The Church has a history of promoting and preserving knowledge in all fields of study. Ideological secularization is characterizing theological ideas as irrelevant and not academic. Structural secularization is the process of marginalizing the subject of theology in the academy. Both revelation and reason are both important elements in the discussion of philosophical and theological subjects. God is transcendant, which means that he is distinct from everything that has been made. God is immanent, which means that the Spirit of God can be communicated in time and space through media, but is not the media itself. 

  • God can only be fully know by revelation. However, we can know some things about God by observation and reason. Thomas Aquinas gave 5 reasons that supports the idea of the existence of God. We can perceive motion and there must be something that caused the motion. Nothing can come from nothing, so something must exist at all times, which is God. Humans are contingent beings, but God’s essence is to exist. There are different degrees of goodness and complexity in organisms, so there must be a being of a highest form of good. Design and purpose must be at work because it’s not reasonable that the universe resulted from chance. Dembski also estimates that the mathematical odds for everything happening from a single cell at less than 1 in 10 to the 150th power. 

  • Humans are both material and spiritual and have the capacity to experience transcendence. Without God, you are describing a diminished view of humanity. John Calvin says that wisdom is the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves. Revelation of God comes from Scripture (the most important), tradition, reason and experience. Theology should be participatory and result in transformation. …Wesley’s theology describe in two words would be, “holiness” and “grace.” Wesley’s theology is conjunctive. Holy love is a tension. Holiness results in separation and love results in community. Wesley’s view of grace includes both cooperant grace and free grace. 

  • Two sources for knowledge are revelation and reason. Empiricism teaches  that you get knowledge from your senses. Rationalism teaches that you get knowledge from the operation of your mind. Kant said that the mind makes a formal contribution to knowledge by organizing it.  All knowledge begins with experience but it does not all arise out of experience. Reason can only take us so far. Humans are the only species that worship God.

  • Scripture is unique, the word of God and inspired by God. Scripture is the source of truth and provides a norm for truth. Wesley gives four arguments for inspiration. They are miracles, prophecy, goodness of the doctrine and the moral character of the penmen. Characteristics of Scripture include the sufficiency, clarity and wholeness of Scripture. 

  • Univocal refers to a one-to-one correspondence between the language we use and the reality of God. Equivocal refers to the idea that human language does not correspond directly to describing God, so it acknowledges ambiguity and more than one interpretation. Analogical refers to language used to describe God using  analogy. “Via Negativa” is describing characteristics that God is “not.” “Via Positiva” is describing a characteristic that is true of God, using analogy. Aseity means that God’s essence  is to exist. Eternity means that God transcends the limitations of time-space. There is not a space where God is not. Omniscience of God means that God knows all things. Omnipotence of God means that God is all powerful. Once God creates, there is an order in creation, and God works within the framework he created.  Immutability means that God’s essence does not change. Leslie Weatherhead describes three aspects of the will of God as the intentional will of God, circumstantial will of God and the ultimate will of God. Wesley describes God’s holiness as purity and simplicity. The wrath of God can be described as God’s unending determined opposition to evil.

  • Triunity describe God’s nature. The concept of the Trinity was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and taught explicitly in the New Testament. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all active in creation, baptism of Jesus and resurrection of Jesus. The Trinity is three distinct persons with the same essence. The distinctiveness has to do, not with their nature or essence, but with the relations. Person is different than an individual. According to Wesley, the Trinity is an invitation to participate in the deeper life of God. The gospel is the universal love of God, manifested in the person of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Holiness apart from love can result in legalism. Love apart from holiness can result in sentimentality and wishful thinking. 

  • God created humans in his image so we have both a physical and spiritual nature. Sometimes biologists make statements about evolution that are outside of what can be examined and verified by science. According to young earth creationism, creation took place in 6, 24 hour days and the earth is about 6,000 years old. According to theistic evolution, once the process of evolution began, no special supernatural intervention was required for it to continue. The opposite of a naturalistic explanation for life is not supernatural, but intelligent causes. Intelligent design makes information theory and mathematical probability integral to its overall approach. Irreducible complexity argues against gradualism in the evolutionary process. 

  • God freely created the world and chooses to govern within the framework of the created order. The moral law is consistent with the character of God. God uses the moral law to convict the world of sin, bring us to Christ and keep us alive. Natural law is a body of moral principles that can be discerned by reason. Natural law is the will of God expressed in a created order. Deep conscience refers to the interior witness to the foundational principles of the moral law. Four characteristics of our moral design that are evident at the level of the species are interdependence, complementarity, spontaneous order and subsidiarity. 

  • Adam and Eve were created, not just as physical beings, but also spiritual beings. The image of God includes relationality as well as the capacity for rational thought. Wesley describes it as a natural image, political image and moral image. Wesley says that the natural image of God means that we have physical bodies and also a spiritual nature. Humanity is the conduit for God’s blessing of the rest of creation. 

  • The characteristics that give a human personhood belong to another order of explanation than that explored by biology. Sartre, who is an existentialist, says that existence precedes essence. In other words, each person determines their own nature by the choices they make. Others would say that your choices determine your character but that’s separate from your nature. Postmodernism teaches that the self is only a social and linguistic construct. Some scientists have argued that humans do not have a soul, but that cannot be proved or disproved by the scientific method. If God is dead, humanity is dead. Human beings are more than the social groups in which they participate. Humans are animals, but not merely animals.

  • Lucifer brought sin into the world with his sin of pride. The sin of Adam and Eve was unbelief. Wesley describes  unbelief as the perversion of the relationship between God and humanity, a lack of faith in God, resulting in alienation. He distinguishes three types of death as physical death, spiritual death and eternal death. Satan was self-tempted when he sinned. Adam and Eve were tempted by something external to them, Satan.  Wesley sees Adam as a representative of all humans, so all humans inherit Adam’s sin nature. 

  • There are orders of creation and preservation, like family and marriage, that can mediate the grace of God. God sustains creation, and also relates to people as persons. The three-fold circle of divine providence is the outer ring of the whole race of humans, the second smaller circle is all that are called believers and those who profess to be believers, the innermost circle only the true disciples of Jesus who worship God in Spirit and in truth. Wesley doesn’t deny that bad things happen to good people, both from other people and from events in nature. If God eliminated all evil, it would require eliminating freedom, which would also eliminate love. 

  • Wesley describes total depravity as "a want of original righteousness," and also in terms of a "natural propensity to sin.” Luther, Calvin and George Croft Cell agree. Eastern Orthodox teaches that Adam and Eve were not so fallen as to be unable to respond to any subsequent proffered grace. Wesley teaches the total depravity of humans and the sovereign act of God in salvation. He uses prevenient grace in two distinct ways. The “narrow” sense refers to all those degrees of grace that come before justifying and sanctifying grace. The “broad” use views all grace as prevenient and emphasizes the prior activity of God because he is always ahead of us and takes the initiative. Prevenient grace can be understood as both cooperant and free grace. 

  • God acts preveniently to give humans revelation by communicating his divine attributes. God places in humans a moral law that is expressive of the image of God. The Holy Spirit restored to all humans a certain measure of free-will. Original sin makes it impossible for people to respond to God on their own without God restoring their personhood, which they need to be able to respond to God’s grace. God doesn’t do it in a way that overruns a person’s personality.

  • The incarnation is a foundational teaching of the Christian faith. Since Jesus claimed to be God, it’s not an option that he could be just a good person. Paul teaches that Jesus has the same nature as God and that Jesus created all things. Ebionites rejected the divinity and virgin birth of Jesus. Adoptionism taught that Christ was a good man that was penetrated by God’s nature at his baptism and becomes divine, which treats divinity as an acquired attribute. Arias taught that Christ was not coeternal with the Father. He was more than mere man but he was created so he wasn’t equal with God. The first ecumenical council of Nicea in 325 affirms the divinity of Christ in response to the teaching of Arias. Wesley affirmed that Jesus existed as one person with both a human and divine nature. To affirm the essential equality of Christ with God the Father, Wesley often used the terms, “the only-begotten Son of God,” and “the Word of God.” The Son of God is the creator and sustainer of all things and the redeemer of humanity. The difference in the Godhead is relations, not nature. 

  • 1 John 4:2 describes the incarnation as Jesus coming to earth in the flesh. Jesus is also referred to as the Son of David in the Gospels. Jesus was able to become the mediator between God and humanity because his divinity meant that he was not a part of the problem of sin and his humanity meant that he could fully identify with humans. This is a unique and distinct role that can only be accomplished by Jesus, the God-human. Jesus suffered physically and emotionally and then died and was resurrected to new life. This qualifies him to be priest, a mediator between man and God. The title, Son of Man also emphasizes the humanity of Jesus. Apolliniarism taught that Jesus had a human body and soul, but a divine mind rather than a human mind. Docetism taught that Christ is pure spirit and only seemed to have a body. Gnostics view the body as lowly and the mind is considered higher. Monophysitism taught that the divine and human nature of Jesus was mixed into one nature. Nestorianism teaches that the divine and human natures of Jesus were sharply separated. Wesley viewed Jesus as the expression of the God of holy love, maintaining divinity while becoming human.

  • As a prophet, Jesus proclaimed the coming kingdom of God. Messiah in Hebrew has the same meaning as Christ in Greek. It means, “the anointed one.” The baptism of Jesus was the beginning of his public ministry.  When Satan tempted Jesus, the temptation was real because of the humanity of Jesus. It was necessary for Jesus to experience temptation. Jesus as a preacher, went from place to place, proclaiming the kingdom of God. As a teacher, Jesus taught in the synagogues and the listeners described him as teaching with authority. Christ as a lawgiver is seeking to communicate wisdom to humanity. This moral law is connected to God’s character. Jesus performed miracles to heal the sick, bring people back from the dead and demonstrate his power over nature. Christ as priest, became the mediator to bridge the gap between God and humanity. At the cross, what the holiness of God required, the love of God provided. Theories of the atonement are the best attempts of thinking about how to express the atoning work of Jesus. 

  • Penal substitution asserts that atonement primarily involves Jesus’ taking the sinner’s place (‘substitution’) in bearing the penalty (hence ‘penal’) for his or her sin. That penalty was no less than God’s wrath and the sinner’s death. God’s wrath is his unswerving opposition to evil. The moral influence theory teaches that without the fall, that amazing instance of the love of God to humanity would have never existed. Penal substitution and moral influence theory complement each other. In the governmental view, the death of Christ illustrates the punishment which sin may attract and therefore serves good government by acting as a deterrent. Jesus raised from the dead into an immortal body. Only life can give meaning to human existence. Death destroys all meaning. The first time Christ came as a redeemer. As king, Christ is coming again to rule . Three roles of king are giving laws, restoring people to the image of God and reigning in all believing hearts.

  • The personhood of the Holy Spirit is revealed by the roles of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the disciples that he would send an advocate. The Holy Spirit is an advocate, teacher, proclaims truth, provides direction and assists in prayer. Four characteristics of the Holy Spirit that indicate his deity are eternity, omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. The Filioque controversy is a difference between how the Eastern Orthodox and Western Traditions describe the nature of the Holy Spirit.

  • At the beginning of creation, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible and brings understanding as people read it. The Holy Spirit makes effective the completed work of Christ and gives us the power to live out the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is personal, not an impersonal force. The believers received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after Christ ascended to heaven. The gifts of the Spirit are for the common good of building up the body of Christ. We should be cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives and his influence should be evident in how we interact corporately.

 John Wesley's beliefs understood from an historical and theological perspective

Dr. Ken Collins

Wesleyan Theology I

th510-21

Holy Spirit (Part 2)

Lesson Transcript

 

We are going to begin a conversation now in terms of the work of the Holy Spirit and in order to introduce us to that topic. And we'll have many things to say, as you might imagine. I want to quote something from John Wesley, and I'm drawing from his letter to a Roman Catholic. And this is what he wrote, quote, I believe the infinite and eternal spirit of God equal with the father and the son to be not only perfectly holy in himself, but the immediate cause of all holiness in us, enlightening our understandings, rectifying our wills and affections, renewing our natures, uniting our persons to Christ, assuring us of the adoption of sons, leading us in our actions, purifying and sanctifying our souls and bodies to a full and eternal enjoyment of God. Wow, what a statement. There is a lot, of course, in that statement. Enlightening, rectifying, renewing, uniting, assuring, leading, purifying, sanctifying. And so we are seeing here the many roles that the Holy Spirit plays in our lives. Now, the the person and work of the Holy Spirit has been symbolized in scriptures by breath or wind. We think of the early chapter of Genesis, the early chapters of Genesis, the Spirit brooding over the primordial chaos, if you will. The Spirit has been symbolized in terms of water and fire and as a dove. And so we see different symbols used to portray the Holy Spirit. Now, Alexander McGrath, British scholar, highlights four broad areas of the Spirit's work in terms of God's presence in the world, first of all. Secondly, in terms of God's self-disclosure through revelation. And here we're thinking of Scripture. And then third, the appropriation of salvation. In other words, the entering in the processes involved in salvation.

 

 

And then lastly, fourthly, the energy, the energies, ation, the energies, ation. This is his language, McGrath's language of the Christian life of the Christian life, in the sense of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in in our lives. Okay. Now we can explore work with these categories that McGrath has lifted up, and we can fill them out. We can fill them out in our own way. And so this first category we're going to call creation in Providence, one of the areas in which the spirit is involved. And so here, of course, we're thinking of Genesis one verses one through two. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now, the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And so here we see the Spirit's work in terms of creation. We also can consider the passage from the Old Testament from Jobe. Chapter 33, verse four, where Elihu declares, The Spirit of God has made me the breath of the Almighty gives me life. We see this affirmation of the Spirit's role here in terms of creation. And so the Spirit then was not only involved in inanimate creation for. Warming the things that have been made, but in the creation of human beings as as well. And Tom Oden will write in this area under this topic of the Spirit's work in creation and Providence, or that quote, classical Christianity posits love and into communion with the Triune God prior to creation. And he's thinking of the specific verse. Let us make humanity in our image. Okay. And so father, son and spirit are communicating with each other before creation. And the spirit is richly involved in the work of creation.

 

Then, as a second broad area, we can think of the Spirit's work as the divine author of the Scriptures. And so King David exclaimed in the second Samuel Chapter 23, verse two The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me, and His Word was on my tongue. And the Apostle Paul writes, Of course. And in second, Timothy a well cited passage all scripture. And I love this language. All Scripture is God breathed, God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training and righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. And in this area once again, the late Tom Oden points out in his own writings, quote, Theories of inspiration of scripture go amiss when they attempt to locate the authority of Scripture autonomously in the text itself or the writer, while neglecting to pray for the spirit who inspires, transmits, and rightly recalls the text. And then Odin continues, quote, The inspiration of Scripture is essentially a doctrine of the work of the Holy Spirit, and only secondarily, therefore a doctrine of independent authority or textual transmission or scientific verification. He even writes, I think, Odin's point here, what he's trying to suggest, and he's probably aware of many of the conversations we've had in the church in terms of the inspiration and authority of Scripture, that he wants a focus once more on the work of the Holy Spirit. First of all, in terms of creating the text, bringing the texts about in terms of its God in brief nature, but also secondly and very importantly, how that text is read even today that it be read in the spirit and that, you know, one, be attentive to a proper reading of scripture. And I think that's that's very helpful counsel that we have here.

 

The third broad area, when we think about the work of the Holy Spirit is in terms of the administrator of redemption and so on, in making effective the completed work of Christ, the Holy Spirit. As Starkey points out, Starkey is a method, a scholar who has who's written an important work on the Holy Spirit, and he's pointing out that the Spirit is the agent or administer of redemption. And so great is the superintending role of the Holy Spirit in redemption that Wesley himself, in his own writings in the Father appeal, for example, pointed out, quote, The whole work of salvation, every good thought, word and work is all together, the operation of the Spirit of God. And along these lines, again, Tom Oden points out in his own writings that the Spirit works as a personal agent of the mission of the son, to reveal the son and bring his redemptive work to consummation. Okay. And so I would like to add to these voices, my own voice, and especially as I've pointed out in my own work on John Wesley, especially the book The Theology of John Wesley, Holy Love and the Shape of Grace that every person, in order to believe unto salvation must. Receive the Holy Spirit. They must receive the Holy Spirit. This is a point that Wesley repeatedly affirmed throughout the great 18th century revival to the hope of the downtrodden who understood their need, but also at times, to the annoyance of the self-satisfied, who did not see their need. And so we see here the necessity of the Spirit's ongoing redemptive work is so considerable that Cushman, another Methodist scholar, claims it is, quote, the first principle of Wesley's experimental divinity. And so what Cushman is suggesting here, if we're looking at Wesley's experimental divinity, what's another phrase for that? Wesley's practical theology? We are going to see ongoing lay.

 

So the rich role of the Holy Spirit in that enterprise, in that enterprise, if you will. And then the fourth category that we're working with here, the empowering presence, the empowering presence of the Christian life. And so when we think of empowerment in the Christian life, we think of the enabling presence of the Holy Spirit. Okay. And so we are not alone. We are not alone in the living out of our Christian life. And we could never live it out alone by our own strength, by our own powers. We indeed must receive the grace of God. And how might we understand the grace of God in this context? The grace of God in this context is nothing less than the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That's a way of expressing grace. It is the presence of God in our lives, the presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering for defying us to live the life, to live the life towards which we are called. And so an important verse here affirming this important work is in the second Timothy one seven, which states for the Spirit of God gave us, does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. Other translations say self-control, self-control. Again, we see in First Thessalonians chapter one verses four through five on this whole issue of empowerment, the spirit empowering Christian life for, we know, brothers and sisters loved by God that He has chosen you because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction. This is actually a very important statement of the Apostle Paul, and it shows us if we start to think about and reflect about the theological significance of this verse, that the Christian faith, the Christian faith is is not an ideology.

 

It's not you don't have the Christian faith when you simply summarize all the doctrines as if it were simply on that level, Oh, I have the right doctrines, like I have the ideology or some philosophy of A, B, or C. Paul is saying not simply words. Of course, words are important, but also power. And that's another way of saying a life. Christianity is a life. It is a life to be lived. It is a new way of being. It is a new way of being. It's not simply words, not simply an ideology. Like I can study a particular philosophy, and that leaves me unmoved. Oh, no. It is life. It is a participation in some sense in the life of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. So as Paul is saying here, not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. Okay. And so along these lines, if we look at what is in Acts chapter one, verse eight, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria to the ends of the earth. Now, when we read a verse like this, we have to be careful. We have to be careful because the danger is we might miss distinguish the Holy Spirit in power and we may simply focus on this issue of power. In other words, that I'm living a Christian life here and I'm energized. See, we're reducing the spirit now to energy, but the power comes with the presence, with the presence of the Holy Spirit in US Tabernacle and in us. And so with the person comes the power. There is no power apart from the Holy Spirit.

 

There is no power apart from the person. And so we have to disabuse ourselves of all those misunderstandings when we're simply focused on power and energy and abstractions. You're saying almost in an instrumental way, you know, I have power. Okay? Much like a car has fuel, and we're traveling along the path. No, no, no. The Holy Spirit is in our lives as a person, and that presence brings empowerment. That very presence brings empowerment. And so Wesley writes and commentate and making some commentary on X chapter one, verse eight, that is, Ye shall be empowered to witness my gospel both by your preaching and suffering. And it is no one less than the infinite and eternal spirit of God. Wesley explains who is the immediate cause of all holiness in us. In other words, we. We do not have the capacity to be holy in ourselves. We only can become holy once again by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives as such. Holiness is not a human possibility. Apart from the Holy Spirit. No amount of effort, no education or moral effort or otherwise can bring it into being. We cannot bring this about by ourselves. That is holiness. And so when Wesley compares this renewal in holiness, effectuated by the presence of the Holy Spirit, he compares that to a power equivalent to that which raises the dead. In other words, this is not a natural power. It is a supernatural power because the Holy Spirit is the very presence of God in our lives. Okay. And so Wesley edited and abridged a sermon that he rode on, grieving the Holy Spirit that originally had been written by William Tilley in 1733. And we can notice from this work the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

 

And quote, I'm quoting here now the title Holy Applied to the Spirit of God does not only denote that He is holy in his own nature, but that He makes us so that he is the great fountain of holiness to his church. The spirit from whence flows all the grace and virtue by which the stains of guilt are cleansed and we are renewed in all holy dispositions. And again, bear the image of our Creator. And so here we see in Wesley's writings once again our dependance. And I think that's the right word here, our dependance upon the Holy Spirit in order to live the life that we have been called to live, that we have been called to live. And so we can now raise the topic of the giving of. Holy Spirit. And we can see the giving of the Holy Spirit as a foretaste of what is to come. And here I'm thinking especially of the writings of the Gospel of John, Chapter 20 versus 21 through 22. On the evening of that first day of the week when the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you. And after he had said this, he showed them his hands and sighed. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord again. Jesus said, Peace be with you as the Father has sent me. I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins, if you forgive anyone sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. And so this reception of the Holy Spirit was and this is how many biblical scholars will understand this in this context was an anticipation or I've heard some scholars referred to it as a foretaste of the day of Pentecost.

 

In other words, what was to come at Pentecost? Because there is this important passage in John 20, where Jesus breathes on the disciples and says, Receive the Holy Spirit. And if we look at that in a chronology, okay, that is prior to the day of Pentecost. And many biblical scholars have understood that as in anticipation of the day of Pentecost, and should be understood as a partial, limited gift of knowledge, understanding and empowerment until Pentecost will happen, you know, about 50 days, 50 days later. This is an important point, and the reason this is important is because of Pentecost. Pentecost is crucial in the life of the church. It's crucial in the life of the church. And many biblical scholars and theologians and historians will see Pentecost in a real sense as the beginning of the church, the beginning of the church. The spirit was not yet given because Jesus had not yet been glorified. Well, that points to Pentecost that now the Spirit can be given because Jesus has been glorified by His death and by His resurrection. And so Pentecost represents and really is the beginning of the church, the birthday of the church, if you if you will. Now, some point out that what the Savior actually said and thinking of the Johannine Passage was receive the Holy Spirit rather than receive the Holy Spirit. They conclude from this that the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit in all its fullness at this time, but only some Ministry of the Spirit. Others state that there was a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples at this time. But this seems unlikely in view of such statements as Luke Chapter 24, verse 49 and Acts Chapter one, verse four, five and eight, where the coming of the Holy Spirit was still spoken of as future.

 

And it is clear if we take a look at the Gospel of John Chapter seven, verse 39, that the Spirit could not come in his fullness until Jesus was glorified, that is, until He had gone back to heaven in the Ascension. Okay. And so what we're seeing here and I realize this, you know, this is perhaps difficult for some to understand, and I've actually talked to a New Testament scholar about this particular issue. And I think what we suggested earlier is the best way of understanding what's happening in the gospel of John and what's also happening in the Acts of the Apostles, that the Johannine material is in anticipation of the day of Pentecost and represents a partial, limited gift of knowledge, understanding and empowerment that will receive its completion, its perfection at the Pentagon. So at the beginning of the church, and this is a view held by Edward Blum, and I found his commentary on the Johannine Passage actually very helpful in considering this in anticipation of the day of of Pentecost there. Pentecost, of course, represents the outpouring of. Well, Holy Spirit, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and so the coming of the Holy Spirit has been promised by Christ, as Tom Odin exert observed in his own work, quote, As long as Christ was on the Earth, he was the comforter guide and guardian of the disciples. After his ascension, he promised to give them another counselor. You asked the question, Why another? If the first was sufficient and Gregory Nazianzus answered that question, that you might acknowledge his call Equality for this word. Another marks and alter ego a name of equal lordship, not of inequality. And that's what Gregory of Nazianzus wrote. In this way, Odin will continue.

 

Power acquaintance became a name applied by Apostolic remembers first to the son and then to the spirit. Okay. Now, why was the coming of the Holy Spirit necessary after the ascension of Christ? Odin explains, quote, As a person in flesh in history, Jesus could only be in one place at one time as present in the Spirit. The son could be present to the church in all places and at all times. In his flesh, he dwelt with humanity for a particular time. By his spirit, he came to dwell with humanity for all times. Now John the Baptist. John the Baptist four saw the baptism of the Holy Spirit that John Wesley associated with Pentecost, the birthday of the church. I baptize you with water for repentance, but after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. But he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Okay. And of this particular passage, John Wesley, he wrote. He shall fill you with the Holy Ghost in flaming your hearts with that fire of love which many waters cannot quench. And this was done even with a visible appearance as a fire on the day of Pentecost. And so if we take a look at the Book of Acts. As it recounts the day of Pentecost. We see, I think very clearly that this is a watershed. This is a watershed, that this is the beginning of the church. This is the birthday of the church. Okay. And so when we consider the early material in the Acts of the Apostles, especially chapter two verses one through four, which I'll read right now, when the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place, and suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

 

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Well, as you might imagine, Wesley has some interesting things to write about that particular passage. And so he notes in his commentary on the New Testament, quote, At the Pentecost of Sinai in the Old Testament and the Pentecost, all of Jerusalem in the new, where the two grand manifestations of God, the legal and the evangelical, the one from the mountain, the other from heaven, the terrible and the merciful one. So here is Wesley. He's looking at this material in terms of acts describing Pentecost, and he's setting up a comparison between the New Testament setting and the Old Testament setting between these two grand manifestations of God, the one at Mount Sinai, which he's calling legal, and the other evangelical, which is at Pentecost. Okay. And so Peter, on that occasion, encouraged people to repent, repent and be baptized. Every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And so that that's a promise. That's a promise that that Peter is making here. Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and so on in this particular area. Oden once again points out God. The Spirit is taking up residence in the Ecclesia in the church. That's what's happening at Pentecost at the precise point in history when God the Son ascends to intercede with the Father. The Spirit role has now become preeminent. And so here then we see the work of the entire Trinity Fathers, son and spirit involved in the reconciliation of humanity with a God of holy love.

 

So Pentecost also means then, that the church, which will be raised up by the proclamation of the word, will be empowered by no one less than the Holy Spirit in a number of Christians and graces whereby the Church will become a blessing to others as the body of Christ in the world. Okay. And so, you know, we think of the giving of the spirit as at Pentecost. And this represents, in a real sense, a new age, the beginning of the church, a new age. Christ has ascended to heaven. This is now the age of the Spirit, if you will. I think it's it's appropriate to use that kind of language. And the Spirit's presence among the church and among, you know, individual believers. The spirit will bring fruits and gifts and anointing. And this is what we clearly see in the pages of the New Testament. So, for example, in terms of the. Fruit of the spirit that when believers receive the Holy Spirit, which has been given at Pentecost, that spirit, that person or presence in our lives will be manifested in a number of fruits. And Paul noted those fruits in Galatians Chapter five, verses 22 through 23. But the fruit of the spirit is and this is a familiar passage, so you should know this love and joy and peace and forbearance and kindness and goodness and faithfulness, gentleness and self-control against such things. There is no law. And so the fruit of the spirit is an important manifestation of the presence of the spirit in our lives. As a matter of fact, you're going to see later on in this course, when Wesley is talking about a sinner becoming a believer, a faithful believer in Jesus Christ, that that life will be marked by the fruit, by the fruit of the spirit.

 

It'll be marked by the fruit of the spirit. And that this fruit is a kind of witness. It's a kind of witness that we are a child of God. In other words, it's an indirect witness that we are a child of God. And it works something like this. If we see in our lives love and joy and peace and forbearance, etc., etc., we could make the inference. I am a child of God. And so you'll see later on, Wesley will also talk about a direct witness of the Holy Spirit, and he sees these two witnesses occurring together. But at least at this point, we're referring to fruit. In other words, something we can see, something we can see manifested in our own lives, which should give us some evidence of the kind of life that we're living. No one's talking here about, you know, self-justification or salvation of words or any of that. We're simply talking about a life that's already redeemed and that redeemed life in terms of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us being manifested in fruit. That's what we have before us now, not simply fruit, but the spirit also brings a number of prisms or gifts. And so we speak of the gifts of the spirit. And here we're thinking of, of course, first Corinthians chapter 12, verses seven through 11. Now to each one, the manifestation of the spirit is given for the common good. To one. There is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom to another, a message of knowledge by means of the same spirit to another faith, by the same spirit to another gifts of healing by that one spirit to another, miraculous powers to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits to another, speaking in different kinds of tongues and to still another.

 

Paul writes The interpretation of tongues. All these are the works. Paul writes of the same spirit, and he distributes them to each one just as he determines. So the spirit is Lord here. The Spirit is the giver and decides what gifts shall be given. And notice in this context, Paul is very careful here that the giving of the diverse gifts in the church are for the common good of the church. Another way of expressing that is for the edification of the church that, you know, we don't all have the same gifts. One is given one gift, one is given another. But all of that diversity of gifts is for the common good or for the edification of the body of Christ to build up to build up the body. We can also speak, of course, about the anointing, the anointing of the spirit. And here I'm thinking of. First John chapter. Chapter two verses 19 to 27. And I'm actually going to read the whole passage because I think this is very important to lift up this numerological material. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they're going show that none of them belong to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy one and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it. And because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is he who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the Antichrist. Denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the son has the father. Whoever acknowledges the son has the father also.

 

And for you see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you will also remain in the son and in the father. And this is what he promised, eternal life. I'm writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit, just as it has taught, you remain in him. So here is John talking about an anointing, but he's also referring to the anointing as remaining in him, remaining in him. The him, of course, being here, the Holy. The Holy Spirit. Okay. And again, all of this time, Paul, now it is God who makes us. It's God who makes both of us. And you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set us his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit gathering, guaranteeing what is to come. And so here is this giving of the spirit. The spirit in our hearts as a deposit, as a foretaste, if you will, and guaranteeing what is to come. And so the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God. Paul's right. Paul writes, Who has given us the spirit as a deposit. Okay. And so if we take a look at what Paul says here in terms of anointing, in terms of being sealed by the Holy Spirit, we also have to be mindful of what he had written in the Ephesians chapter one, verse 13 and 14. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, when you believed you were marked in him with a seal.

 

The promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of His glory. And so we see here once again what is being stressed here is the anointing, the anointing given by the Holy Spirit in the believers lives. And this idea of sealing, of sealing by the Holy Spirit is something that Wesley picked up in his own commentary. And so he writes this You were sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise. Holy, both in his nature and in his operations and promise to all the children of God. And so what Wesley is saying here in terms of the Holy Spirit, he's saying the Holy Spirit is holy in terms of nature, because the Holy Spirit is divine, but also the Holy Spirit is holy in his operations or in his work. And the implication is makes us holy, makes us holy as the children, as the children of God. Now, there are there are times when things can go wrong and when they can go very wrong in terms of the Holy Spirit. And this is a serious topic, and I want to be very careful with it so that there is no misunderstanding and that consciences are not pained or grieved in areas where they should not be so. And what I am. What am I referring to? Well, I am referring to what is called the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which Jesus Christ himself talked about. And so let me just begin with that and lift up the words of Christ that are found in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 12, verses 31 through 32. And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven.

 

Anyone who speaks a word against the son of man will be forgiven. But anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Okay. Let me start out here with once again John Wesley's assessment of this particular verse to just get us started. And I'm going to also appeal to Augustine here, and then I'll make some further commentary on it. So there is not misunderstanding in this very important area. And this is what Wesley writes on this passage of the blasphemy against the Spirit. How much stir has been made about this? Wesley questions how many sermons, volumes have been written concerning it, and yet there is nothing plainer in all the Bible. It is neither more nor less than ascribing those miracles to the power of the devil, which Christ wrought by the power of the Holy Ghost. Rick. So Wesley's getting us started there. Let's look at what Augustine has to say. Augustine writes, quote, You are speaking a very evil, utterly gracious word against the Holy Spirit. You are speaking it in thought or out loud. If when the patience of God is beckoning you to repentance, you harden your in penitent heart. By doing so, you store up wrath for yourself. On the day of wrath and of revelation, of the just judgment of God who will render to us according to His works. This is the in penitence that is called both by the name of blasphemy and speaking against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. All right. I'm going to sort of bring this all together now. Both the scriptural witness from Jesus and then what Wesley wrote, and then what Augustine wrote as well. Let's let's go back to the actual context in which this emerges.

 

Let's go back to the actual context. What do we have? We have Jesus doing a very important work. And what's happening? The religious leaders, the religious leaders are saying that Jesus is doing this miraculous work by the Spirit, by the power of Beelzebub, by the power of Beelzebub, and that is to call the Holy Spirit, by which Jesus is doing these works, to call that evil, to call that evil, to call Beelzebub. Okay. And so if you call the Holy Spirit, who should lead to repentance and who is intimately involved in the conviction necessary for repentance. If you call that spirit evil and therefore reject that spirit, there's not the possibility of repentance. And yes, then it is an eternal sin. Okay. And so it is not a matter I once heard someone refer to this issue this way. If your conscience is bothering you about whether or not you have committed the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, that's proof positive. You have not committed it. Okay. Because with the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, you would be impervious, impervious to a spirit of repentance. Because that spirit of repentance you have identified as evil, as evil. And so there is not the possibility. In other words, another way of putting is it's not that God doesn't want to forgive us. God is merciful and kind and compassionate and would always forgive. But we don't want the forgiveness of God because we have called the very Holy Spirit who would be involved in the process of repentance. We have called that spirit evil. There's not a possibility then, for redemption. Okay. And so this is a deep level of depravity that religious leaders, the religious leaders have entered in because they are calling the Holy Spirit.

 

A spirit of Beelzebub, you say. And yes, that that is a serious sin. A serious sin indeed. Now, I think we can see from the things that we have been saying, the things that we have been saying about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Okay? The person and work of the Holy Spirit. And we'll have more to say about the Holy Spirit in subsequent lectures, especially in terms of in terms of assurance and the direct witness of the Holy Spirit and the indirect holy, indirect witness, the Holy Spirit. You know, we certainly will do that later on, so don't be concerned. But at this point, I simply want to maintain, in light of what we've been saying throughout this lecture on the Holy Spirit and in terms of a fair treatment of your metallurgy. The basic truth that one cannot be a Christian without the Holy Spirit. It's an impossibility. It simply can't be done. And that means we, in repentance, open ourselves up to the grace of God, to receiving the Holy Spirit, whereby we might have fellowship with Christ in this rich and deep way by the Spirit who is in us. And so, as Paul says in Romans chapter eight, verse nine, you, however, are not in the realm of the flesh, but you are in the realm of the spirit. If indeed the spirit of God lives in you, and if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they don't belong to Christ. Okay. And so this is an affirmation that Christians should have the expectation in being serious disciples of Jesus Christ that we are going to live life in accordance with the Spirit. Are we in the spirit, the spirit in us, that mutual interpenetration of being, if you will? We are in the spirit and the spirit is in us.

 

We understand that presence of the Holy Spirit, both personally and corporately. Sometimes we get off in all these some inane discussions where some deprecate the depth dimension of the work of the Holy Spirit in our personal lives because they are ever oriented to the group. But it's once again a matter of both, and that the spirit should be in our lives in personal depth, in our person as embodied souls, the spirit in us, guiding, illuminating, correcting, reproving teaching, etc. The Spirit also should be manifested in the community when we come together being expressed in the fruit of the Spirit. But on the corporate level, especially in terms of the manifestation of gifts of the spirit whereby the body of Christ is edified for ministry, always directed for ministry, for the sake of others, for the sake of bringing others to the glad tidings of salvation that we have in Jesus Christ. So let's entertain some questions or comments you might have about this material. I think it can be a challenge of like you were talking about, of. Living in relationship to the spirit and being able to understand in your own life personally what it means to be directed by the Spirit and to recognize the voice of the Spirit. And part of that is. Being in Scripture and learning what Scripture has to say, because that's one of the vehicles I think that the Spirit uses to speak to us. And yet going beyond that, just going beyond being a moral person and really understanding in our daily lives what it means to. To live in relationship with the spirit and be directed by him because. That can be a challenge. We we have our own filters. We have our own ways of understanding things.

 

We tend to operate in our own logic and in reasoning and in those things aren't bad. But I think that the Lord calls us to something beyond that. Yes, there are actually many things I hear in your question, and I'm going to start out with the first one I saw, and that is this whole question of word and spirit. And I think those go well together. As even the 16th century reformers had argued that we understand the spirit in our lives in light of the word. We read the word in light of the spirit or in the spirit, it would be a better way of expressing that. And that brings a necessary balance. And I would argue also that we have word in spirit in the community so that we read Scripture in the spirit in the context of community and in that understanding, there are lots of checks in order to prevent one from going off into fanaticism, for example, because some people can argue, Oh, I'm in the spirit, and the spirit tells me to do such and such, but it contradicts Scripture. Well, the Holy Spirit of the living God is never going to contradict Scripture because the Holy Spirit wrote Scripture God and breathed it. So I think here what I hear in the first part of your question is the emphasizing of an important balance here that, yes, we must be in the spirit, but we must also be in the word and its word and spirit feeding one into the other. And we are the benefits of that as it plays out in our lives personally and also in the community. Then I heard a second thing in your question, and this too is important that if we are so oriented, if we are in earnest to exercise our faith in Christ and live out our discipleship in the Spirit, then that is going to entail surrender.

 

It's going to entail a surrender of of my will and even my thinking about things at times with respect to the illumination of the Spirit, that the spirit is going to be allowed to guide that life that is so surrendered and that that's very important. And we can understand that in terms of the reception of wisdom or the desiring to have the mind of Christ, you know, what is it to have the mind of Christ? Well, in a real sense it is to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. It's the obedience of faith being lived out in discipleship where we follow the Spirit's direction in obedience, not our will, not what we want to do. But as the Spirit leads in light of the word read in the context of community. But then I think there's a third thing here as well, and I think this is still an issue for us today. It certainly was an issue for Wesley in 18th century England. Think of enlightenment, England, you know, John Locke and all enlightenment and emphasizing the importance of reason and this sort of thing. And there were even some Anglican priests at the time who, you know, they would not be bothered about Wesley emphasizing the fruit of the spirit, you know, love and joy and peace and patience. They'd have no problem with that. But once Wesley started teaching, which is a biblical doctrine, because it's found in Romans chapter eight, the direct witness of the Holy Spirit, in other words, the Spirit witnessing with my spirit that I'm a child of God. In other words, the direct witness, the Holy Spirit is witnessing with my spirit that I'm a child of God. They cried foul. They they cried fanaticism. Well, the word they actually used, they accused Wesley of being an enthusiast and enthusiast.

 

That that, I suppose, would translate into our vocabulary today as being a fanatic. Okay. And, you know, so you ask yourself the question, you know, why in the 18th century were some of these Anglican priest so opposed to Wesley talking about the direct witness is is not the Holy Spirit real? Is not Spirit real? I mean. I think perhaps also in the 21st century, there may be, you know, this ongoing materialistic thinking that spirit somehow or other is not real. And therefore, to talk about the life suggested in your question is illusion. It's simply your own for your own thinking about things. It is not presence, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, in our hearts, whereby we can distinguish. This is not my thinking. This is not my thought. But it is the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding, leading, comforting in all the various roles that the Holy Spirit plays in in the Christian life. So once again, I like your question. I think you're getting at a number of important things here in terms of the Holy Spirit in relation to serious Christian discipleship. You know, how do we go forward? Yeah. Yeah.