Lecture 12: The Empowerment of the Holy Spirit
Course: Systematic Theology II
Lecture: The Empowerment of the Holy Spirit
I. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
II. The Person of the Spirit
III. The Work of the Holy Spirit
A. The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
B. The Holy Spirit in the Life and Ministry of Jesus
1. The Spirit involved in the incarnation
2. The ministry of Jesus by the Spirit
3. Jesus and the Future of Coming of the Spirit (continued from last lecture) If you look at all the prophecies that were given in the Old Testament about the age to come when God will do this marvelous restorative work, what is not accomplished when the Spirit Anointed Messiah comes into our world to
do all of the marvelous work that He did in His own life and ministry? What is not done? It looks as though what is lacking here is that part of the promise of the Spirit that has to do with us; that is, the connection that needs to be made between the work of Christ in accomplishing redemption, in forgiving sin and in providing the basis of for restoration of righteousness and peace and harmony and all the rest and the application of that in way that would make that the real experience of people; of us. How is that going to happen? It happens as He sends His Spirit.
Jesus says some of the most astonishing things about this in John.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; Here is another of the same kind: that is, one corresponding to me is the idea.
John 14:17 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. You have seen His work in My life; you have seen me cast out demons by the Spirit, you have seen me resist temptation by the Spirit. You have seen the Spirit at work in Me. He has been with you, but He will be in you. So here is this statement by Jesus that I take to mean, the New
Covenant promise of the Law written on your heart, the New Covenant promise of I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes will be fulfilled when I send my Spirit to you.
Look at John 15:26-27, he brings up again the Spirit.
John 15:26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, John 15:27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. Here is another indication that the Spirit is coming and when He comes, the Spirit will enable, empower activity from these disciples that will genuinely indicate that the Spirit is in them, that the Spirit is working through them. He is called the Spirit of Truth because the context here is you will testify about me, so the Spirit will come and enable them to speak the
truth about Christ.
John 16:5 This is the most remarkable one.
John 16:5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ Do you get the point of that statement? If I were say to you. “We were talking last night and we decided to take a family vacation this summer.” You might say, “Where are you going?” The point of that is that you are interested in what they are saying and you are tracking with it and moving along. But in light of what Jesus has already told them they are absolutely bewildered, they don’t know what to think. What has He told them? He has told them that He is going away, all the way back to John 14 He stated it, “I am going to my Father’s place and I am going to prepare a place for you to live but I will come back and be with you.” So He has told them that He is leaving and they are so utterly bewildered by this. They don’t know what to think. They are not thinking normally.
John 16:6 “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. John 16:7a “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that
I go away; Those words must have been to the disciples utterly un-understandable and unbelievable. How could it be to their advantage that He would go
away? Think, who is He? The long awaited Messiah. How long have they waited for the Messiah to come? How long have they waited for the Messiah to bring in righteousness, to bring in the kingdom, to establish everything that the Old Testament promised? They have been waiting and waiting. A comparable example would be if Jesus had appeared in the clouds this afternoon and says to us, “I have decided that I am going to wait a lot longer before I come back again, so I’ll see you later.” We would say, “Wait, I thought that when we saw you in the clouds You were going to come and you were going to do it all.” Or even better; I He actually came to earth and lived with us for a month and then said, “I’m going to go back to the Father.” We would
say, “Wait a minute, the Second Coming, you know you are suppose to do all of this stuff.” They had the very same mind-set then, this is the Messiah. Of course, they didn’t understand fully the whole of their life with Christ. Caesarea Philippi Matt. 16:13-16 where Jesus asks, “Who do men say I am?” Matthew 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Matthew 16:14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Matthew 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Do you know chronologically how long into the three year ministry of Christ Caesarea Philippi was? It was about two years, maybe a little a little bit more than that. So they have been living with Jesus for about a year under the full realization that He is the Messiah. They have known that for about a year. A year is long enough to get to use to the idea; to think long and hard about what this means. Think of the disciples question in Acts 1, “Is it now you are going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” They are thinking Old Testament, they are thinking promises of Messianic rule, promise of righteousness over the land, promises of Israel saved; all of these promises. So here comes Messiah and He says to them, “I am leaving.” No wonder sorrow had filled their hearts.
He says, “It is to you advantage that I go away.” Not only is it a shock that He is leaving but now He has the audacity to tell them that this is really good news; it really is a net gain for you that I am leaving. It begs for the question, what possible advantage could there be in Jesus the Messiah who has been living among them for Him to leave?
John 16:7b ; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. What could possibly be better than having Jesus living by you side, walking with you, living His life among you? Answer: having the Spirit of Jesus take up residence in your life. That is the answer. One thing I want you to see. From Jesus’ perspective, do you see what big deal it is that the Spirit is coming? Those words, “it is to your advantage that I go away” this is huge that we receive the Spirit. What could be better than having Jesus right here? Jesus says there is something better and that is, when I go I will send the Spirit. Why did He say, “when I go I’ll send Him but if I don’t go, He wont come to you, but if I go I’ll send Him to you” biblically, what does that connect with?
Remember in John 7 Jesus said,
John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” and John’s comment in John 7:39-40
John 7:39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:40 Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.”
Where Peter says in Acts 2:33
Acts 2:33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. So Jesus in the order of salvation, redemptive history, the way that God designed it, there has to be an incarnation, there has to a life of obedience, there has to be a death, a resurrection and an exaltation before there can be a sending of the Spirit. So Jesus says, “it is to your advantage that I go away” He has to go back to the Father because only then will He receive from the Father the gift that He will then give to us; namely His Spirit, the Spirit that has been upon Him.
John 16:12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. This in reference to the disciples this is not to all of us. This is not
indicating that the Spirit will individually teach everyone of us the things that we don’t know. He is telling the disciples.
John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. The “you” here is the disciples. I take it that is the New Testament; the rest of the New Testament which is the ongoing revelation of Christ through the Spirit to the disciples who then provide for the church the interpretation the life, ministry, death, resurrection, exaltation of Christ that is the New Testament.
John 16:14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. Here you have what J. I. Packer in his little book called Keep in Step with the Spirit (which is really a fine book on the doctrine of the Spirit) the job description of the Spirit; what He comes to do, His fundamental role, He will glorify Christ. The clearest and strongest evidence that the Holy Spirit is filling a person or a congregation is not evidence of the Spirit per se, but evidence of love for, adoration of, longing to obey, seeking after Christ. “He will glorify Me,” the Spirit says. He will put Christ forward. It is one of the reasons, in fact it is the main reason that I despise the proposal that Clark Pinnock and others are putting out these days that indicate a work of the Spirit in the world to bring people to salvation that is totally separated from Christ in terms of what the Spirit brings us. They know nothing of Christ in this model because he is talking about saved people in Buddhism, in Hinduism, saved people in animism, saved people in places of the world that never heard of Christ and yet the Spirit is there he says. He couldn’t make the claim the Spirit brings them Christ because these people have never heard of Christ; they don’t know
anything about Christ. What is so fundamentally flawed with this is the New Testament linking of the two, that when the Spirit comes, He brings Christ, He glorifies Christ, He discloses Christ and the inseparable nature of that work together. The main point when Jesus says, “it is to your advantage that I go away;” He is indicating that He now sees this is an enormous gain for His disciples. What will this gain be, this benefit be, this huge net increase will be? It will be the internalization of the Spirit. The Spirit who has been with you will be in you. When the Spirit comes in you then He says that there will be tremendous benefits that will come to you life. “It is to your advantage that I go away;” that He may send the Spirit. The Spirit who has been on Jesus, the same Spirit is now given to us.
It is very similar to Numbers 11:17
Numbers 11:17 “Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone. Here now the Spirit who is upon Jesus and the Spirit is put on us so that His Spirit in us accomplishes His work.
Question: The first one relates to John 16 and Jesus sending the Spirit. Does that mean that the Holy Spirit is subordinate to Jesus?
Answer: This is very complicated. I think that we talked about this in the section on Christology. It is complicated because Jesus in Luke 4 is lead by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. That has got to mean that Jesus yields to the will of the Spirit. Yet here it says that He will send the Spirit and Yet here. I will send the Spirit and He will glorify Me and it looks clear that here the priority in terms of authority in relationship is Son over Spirit and yet the other is Spirit over Son. I think that the resolution of this is to understand what is true both sort of eternally and what is true just in the incarnation. In the incarnation when Christ lived among us as one of us entirely, then He relied upon the Spirit; He cast out demons by the Spirit, He lived His life by the Spirit, He resisted temptation, He followed the leading of, the prompting of the Spirit and so yields to the Spirit just as we in a very real sense He is the paradigmatic, prototype of the Spirit filled person. Look at Jesus to understand what the Spirit filled life is. How else could you say it my meat to the will of My Father. How else could you say I speak nothing on my own initiative? Would you and I like to be able to say that? I am afraid to find out on judgment day how much I said it is my initiative and not of God even in times when I am supposedly speaking for God. The Spirit worked in His life to do this and He submitted to the Spirit but now as the exalted, at the right hand of the Father, all rule and authority put under Him He now stands in a
position in which He regulates the work of the Spirit. Here is another evidence for that; the church. I will build my church. How is the church going to be built? It is going to be built as people come to Christ and people are made like Christ. It is really very simple; it is those two things. How is that going to happen? Spirit brings them to Christ, Spirit conforms them to the image of Christ. This is the work of the Spirit that the Son orchestrates.
Question: In John 16 the term glorified, is that referring to the atoning resurrection? If that is the case, I am assuming that that act is necessary for the believer to understand for the Spirit to indwell.
Answer: Yes, one thing for sure its shear chronology; that As God has set things up so that Christ has to die, be raised and glorified. I take it that that there is a synonym with exalted that Peter uses in Acts 2:33. So there is this necessary order of events that is indicated. But it is probably more than that in that it is the Spirit of the risen Christ, It is the Spirit of Christ who has died and been raised, the Spirit of the one who has been victorious over sin who comes to us. That requires the culmination.
Question: A question regarding Clark Pinnock.
Answer: Clark Pinnock addresses passages whether he does justice to the text, I would say no, I think that he does damage to the full biblical teaching. It is not just in this area, it is in so much else in his views. What seems to be prominent for him are conceptions that are non-negotiable; God is love, we are free, God wants everyone saved. Those three just drive so much of theology. Open theism comes from that, inclusivism comes from that, annihilationism come from that. So much of it comes from working out implications of these commitments. It van have a biblical look to it, because he can give you texts for God is love and we are free and God wants all to be saved. So it has this look of being biblically rooted but the superstructure is actually built upon
very selective biblical statements rather than attempting to build it on everything that Scripture indicates.
Question: A question regarding new wineskins.
Answer: I do think that it is similar in so far as He is referring to this new life that He has brought into the world that doesn’t fit in the Law. It is this new life that will be possible by the Spirit and if you try to put this into an old wineskin it is going to burst it, it won’t hold it. I do think that is what He is referring to, the bigger picture of what all of this is about which would include the Spirit.
Question: A question about Word and Spirit.
Answer: Word and Spirit are linked all through the Bible. I don’t affirm this analogy in a lot of respects because it doesn’t work. Arianius had this analogy: The Son and the Spirit were the two hands of God and if you don’t press this too far, there is something to this that God works with two hands; that is the Son and Spirit work together. They work together in creation, they work together in redemption, they work to together in sanctification, they work together
in building the church but there is a priority in this, there is sort of right hand and left hand if you want to think of that way. There definitely is a priority to the Son in this. I will build my church; it is not the church of the Spirit. The Spirit comes to glorify the Son in the building of the church.
Student question (unable to hear)
Answer: Acts 1:1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, This has the implication that the book of Acts is about Jesus’ ongoing teaching which matches John 16
John 16:12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
Here is Jesus teaching more to the disciples now through the Spirit and that becomes the New Testament.
Acts 1:2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. That is the Great Commission. Here is the resurrected Christ who gives to the disciples this commission, go into the world. How does He do it? By the Spirit. It has the same kind of structure that you find in all of the life of Christ. I account for this by the fact that He is still the incarnate human/divine person, Jesus the Son of
God. So I think that continues in His human role. But in His exalted role which puts the emphasis on His deity He commands the Spirit, He sends the Spirit, He governs the activity of the Spirit.
Question: Do you think the Spirit will remain on Him forever?
Answer: Yes, if you hold that His humanity is permanent, which I do (I think there is good reason for thinking that). You might think in His glorified state that He wouldn’t need that anymore, but evidently even glorified humans to live the lives that we are called to live, require the Spirit. So that means that the Spirit upon us is an eternal reality as well.
Question: Is it the same way that it is upon Jesus?
Answer: I think so, yes. The only difference is the Spirit on us now is overcoming our sinfulness and producing in us fully the character of Christlikeness. He didn’t have to do that with Christ; overcome sinfulness and produce in Him Christlikeness. But the Spirit did urge upon Him obedience, urge upon Him resisting temptation etc. and so will do with us. This accounts for why eternal life is eternal; why we will not sin. Because the Spirit will work in us in such a way and will conform us so fully into the image of Christ that by the Spirit we will live all of our days in the future in heaven, we are not sinning.
Question: When you were talking about Jesus saying it is good that I go, you mentioned that that indicates clearly a great thing coming but doesn’t that underscore your point about the fact that Jesus would say that in that way indicates that it is different from what has happened before?
Answer: Yes it does indicate a definite line is drawn in history that something new is happening.
C. The Holy Spirit in the Church Today
1. Pentecost – the age to come arrives
You might ask, didn’t the age to come arrive when Christ was incarnate? Yes. You could talk about the incarnation of Christ and Pentecost all together as an
event, all be thirty some years long but the event when the age to come arrives. But there is a particular sense in which the age to come does not arrive for us until Pentecost. What is lacking if fulfilling Old Testament promises when Jesus, the Spirit anointed Messiah comes into our world? The answer is
the Spirit filling all of our lives. I will put My Spirit upon you and cause you to walk in my statutes, you will be careful to observe My ordinances. So cannot have the work of Christ, Spirit anointed as He is, separated from the work of the Spirit in us and have accomplished what God said would be accomplished in this age to come. You have to have both. In some ways this is a clear concept for most us because we talk about for example as the doctrine of the work of Christ as salvation accomplished. What is that doctrine about? Christ’s death on the cross, the atonement. And salvation applied. What is that about? Regeneration, and all the things that happen and who does that in us. The Spirit, it is the work of the Spirit. So all this is saying is this age to come of this life in which there is restoration wholeness, righteousness, obedience; this age to come doesn’t come just with the ministry of Christ as absolutely and essential as that ministry is because that prepares the way for the coming of the Spirit who will take that work and make its accomplishment a reality in
us subjectively. It is as though this is the objective work of Christ accomplished now the subjective work of Christ by His Spirit has to be accomplished. So the age to come arrives when Pentecost happens.
Look at Acts . Remember how John the Baptist had preached, repent and baptized for the remission of sins for I baptize with water but there is one coming after me who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Acts 1:4,
Jesus is referring to that
Acts 1:4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; Acts 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”
They had not put it together yet. I don’t think they could put it together until after Pentecost. In fact, I don’t Peter got it until after Cornelius, after Acts 10. That is when it really begins to make sense that there is this time period of the growth of the church before Christ culminates everything He came to do in the first place
Acts 1:6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. Acts 1:8 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, and to the ends of the earth.”
Back in verse 4 He said I want you to wait in Jerusalem and wait for what the
Father had promised. That is just an amazing statement. Here again you realize how significant this is; this long awaited promise. There is a sense in
which, do you remember my three categories of prophecies: When the Messiah comes, when the Spirit comes and when the Spirit anointed Messiah
comes. In one sense there is just as much anticipation built in the Old Testament for the coming of the Spirit as there is for the coming of the Messiah. Why? Because when the Spirit comes we will be renewed: transformed. And not until that happens. So the renewal will come as the Spirit comes. The Father has promised that it must happen. This argues for a kind of radical line in history drawn: a definite before and after, a definite point at which something remarkably new is happening. There was promise now there is fulfillment. There was anticipation, now there is realization. I just don’t know how you can avoid seeing this line that separates history with cross and Spirit both.
In Acts 2 the Spirit does come and we read in Acts 2:1-4
Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Acts 2:2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. Acts 2:3
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
And skip down, they are accused of being drunk and Peter says in Acts 2:14-21
Acts 2:14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. Acts 2:15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! Acts 2:16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: Acts 2:17 “ ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. Acts 2:20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. Acts 2:21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Here is a question for you. Is this promise, this Joel 2 passage fulfilled on the day of Pentecost? Remember our discussion from last time. How do answer questions like this? The way theologians do yes and no. Isn’t that what you have to say? You have to say yes it is fulfilled. Why. I will pour out my Spirit, that is exactly what happens. But what about this wonders in the sky and the earth below and blood and fire and smoke and vapor and the sun turned to
darkness? What is that reference to? Even in Jesus’ own teaching, what is that reference to? The great judgment that is going to come the finial tribulation of the world that going to happen. What you have in Joel 2 is very similar to Isaiah 61:2.
Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, Just like that sandwiched together. The fulfillment of this is already, not yet. It is yes and no. But the no will be a yes; that is the time will come when that will happen. So there is this fulfillment that is here but not fully manifest. My reason for pointing this out is because this chart that I put upon the board before of Old Testament promises looking like they will be fulfilled in punctiliar fashion but instead are fulfilled progressively in the New Testament over time. This chart not only is applicable to redemptive history. So before cross and second coming, we have a gradual progressive incremental fulfillment of this promise, these prophecies which will culminate in everything being said here being done: fulfilled completely, it will happen. But this chart not only pertains to history, it pertains to you and me. Do you remember Ezekiel 36? I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, you will be careful to observe my ordinances. Question, do you have the Spirit? You individual persons out there, do you have the Spirit? I hope that you answer yes, if you believe in Christ, you do. Galatians 3:26
Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
Galatians 4:6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? Do you have the Spirit? Yes those two things must go together. Then my next question is this, do you walk in His
statutes, are careful to observe His ordinances? The answer is not as I should. It is definitely a mixed bag here. Is that what was promised, a mixed bag?
Obedience mixed with disobedience, is that the covenant fulfilled? No. So we find out that this cross, if want to personalize it and put it as the point in you
life where you come to faith in Christ, guess where that begins. Progressive incremental fulfillment of what the Spirit comes to do in you life until Ezekiel
36 is fulfilled: you walk in His statutes, you are careful to observe His ordinances. Hence Heaven will be Heaven. It really will be, there will be no sin, no sadness, no death. Why? Because we are conformed fully. How does it happen? Like a snap of the fingers. No, incrementally. So what is true of redemptive history is also true of our personal histories. Namely, incremental progressive fulfillment rather than instantaneous punctiliar.
Student Question: About Romans 7 I was wondering if the nature of our own sanctification is in that form.
Answer: My view of Romans 7 is that that is not Paul the Christian. That passage is about the Jewish experience, Paul’s own experience no doubt before coming to Christ upholding the Law, revering the Law. People often say in criticism of the view that I hold, how could a person who is not saved genuinely want to keep the Law? Talk to Orthodox Jews. Look at Romans 2. The very same people Paul describes in Romans 2 are the same people Paul
describes in Romans 7; in my judgment. From Romans 2:16. The very same people who love the Law, commend the Law, teach the Law want to keep the
Law but they break the very things they teach and they are not doing it. If you take Romans 7 seriously it indicates that we are under bondage to sin, that is
what it says. Romans 7 is not about struggling with sin. It is about abject defeat. Read it carefully. That is what it says. We are slaves to sin, we are under bondage to sin and we can’t do otherwise. So yes it relates to this in so far as when the Spirit comes it is Romans 6 and Romans 8, and Romans 7:1-5.
Romans 7:1-5 continues the story of Romans 6 in which God has done something remarkably in Christ in who we are now united in His death and
resurrection and He has provided us with Spirit who is here to (Romans 8:4) so they we fulfill the Law not walking according to the flesh but according to
the Spirit and so this work is accomplished in us. But again it is not John Wesley Christian perfection reality. It does not happen in a moment as Wesley
talked about it. It happens incrementally over time. It informs it in so far as Romans 7 basically puts a roadblock in the way in the way of this actually
happening. A lot of Christian people take false comfort in the fact that they think that Romans 7 in about Paul the Christian and they thin that he was a whole lot better Christian that I am and look at his experience and they become apathetic and they give up. I think that is a shame.
Student Question – Unable to hear
Answer: I don’t see those passages in the Old Testament that put those two things together as being neat and tidy. They are not as neat and tidy as
Isaiah 61:2. “… the favorable year of the Lord” that is First Coming. “And the day of vengeance of our God” that is the Seconding Coming. Even keep reading in Isaiah 61:2. There are other things that have to do with His First Coming. In other words there is a jumbling together of the two which would make it even more difficult, I would think, for an Old Testament Saint or a John the Baptist or the Disciples of Jesus to get it; that there are these two kinds of fulfillments. I would see that last phrase in Joel 2 (Joel 2:32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord Will be delivered;) that that phrase should rightly be understood as true now. In other words that is part of the “already”. This is the day of salvation. So they don’t divide up nice and neat and tidy.
Here is another example Isaiah 65. Isaiah 65:17a “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; What does that sound like? The final eschaton. That is Revelation 21 and 22. We are talking about that. But you read down just few more verses Isaiah 65:20 and what do read? You read about people dying. You will live a long time but you will consider someone cursed, an infant who doesn’t live a hundred years is cursed but still they die. Well in heaven there is no death. So you start with, then you back up. Really, I think these passages that we ought to understand in progressive fulfillment, in the way I am arguing here, are not neat and tidy. They don’t present them in the order of their fulfillment necessarily.
Student question - Unable to hear
Answer – Honestly we wouldn’t be able to if all we had was the Old Testament. If we couldn’t look back at that from New Testament perspective the best that we could say is, “You know this is what it looks like, when the Spirit comes it all going to happen at this one time; there is going to be transformation of people and there is going to be this judgment upon the world and it is going all happen at once.” That is what John the Baptist concluded, that is what the Disciples concluded. Because that is the most natural reading of it. But the New Testament instructs us that the fulfillment doesn’t contradict what was said it just shows the fulfillment in a way that we wouldn’t anticipate from that. My hunch is that the Second Coming will probably be the same way. Don’t you think that the God who did that with the First Coming is likely doing that with the Second Coming? So all of our disputes about timing, Rapture and the Millennium and all that I bet when it is all over we will look back and go ah ha now we get it. We are probably going to be like John the Baptist in prison
saying are you the Anointed One; that sort of thing, that experience of not getting it right.
Student question: the question is unintelligible but it relates to the “Left Behind” series of novels.
Answer: they hold a pre-tribulation view as I do also which means that after Christ comes for his saints, he does in the tribulation period, the seven-year period raise up witnesses whose witnessing is believed by many many people. In fact during the tribulation, as I understand, the purpose of the tribulation is it serves two main purposes: one is judgment upon the nations and two is the salvation of Israel. Romans 11 where Paul says that natural branches will be grafted back on, when is this going to happen? It hasn't happened yet, what is going to bring all of Israel to salvation, in my judgment, when that will happen is in the tribulation. I think the book of Revelation points to this. It indicates massive Jewish conversion that will take place and it fits Romans 11:25. Romans 11:25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel… that is right now. Why is that 80% or whatever it is of the Jews living in Israel are atheists? A partial hardening has happened in Israel. Does that mean Jewish evangelism ought not be done? No, Paul did it to the Jews first then to the Greek, but guess what? Look at Paul's
ministry, how many Jews came to faith? The answers pitiful few and he went on then to the marketplaces to talk with the Gentiles. So there's a partial hardening to the Jews until the fullness of the Gentiles has come. I interpret that as the full number of elect Gentiles in this age that is that is from the nations. So missions to the nation goes on until this point. And I think that point is the beginning of the tribulation. And then he says all Israel will be saved. Romans 11:26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” At some point whether you hold the eschatology, Israel as an entity, a national ethnic entity, will be saved. I take it that is what they're arguing that. I hold to the fundamental theological framework of those novels, is basically the same view I hold. But you have to realize when you read them is that it is filled with
speculation. They fill in a lot of blanks in their own way of doing it. And it's very entertaining but don't take it seriously. Don't read that like to read
What's Spirit has come, what are his purposes in coming? From John 16 I think you can conclude the overarching purpose is to glorify Christ. It seems like everything we say about the Spirit has got to contribute to this, He is here to glorify Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Isn't that just a clear indicator that when the Spirit comes, what is he going to? He is going to work out of the lives of the people he indwells, the echo, statement Jesus is Lord. Now obviously it doesn't mean just the words because I said both just now reading the passage to you. It means a life expression. So when the Spirit comes He will glorify Christ. How will that work? Let me suggest to you in three different ways that this
glorification of Christ takes place.
2. Empowerment for witness in the world
Glorifying Christ among us really has two main components
a. Bringing people to Christ.
Christ's glorified as people see the light of the Gospel of his glory and they turned to him and are saved. They see the glory of Christ and they recognize that he lived the life that we could not live. He died the death we deserved to die. Christ is glorified as the spirit enables people to see Christ as Savior and Lord.
How is it that people will see this? How is that people will be brought to Christ? God could've done it a ton of different ways. Does he need to use me and you as witnesses? The answer is a very definite no. He could write it in the sky, he can proclaim it with a giant heavenly bullhorn, he could do anything he wanted to do to make the message known but what has he chosen?
It was back John 15.
John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. John 15:27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. (ESV)
Spirit bears witness and you bear witness. Now think of that John 15 in relation to Acts 1:8.
Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
So how is this Spirit bear witness? He bears witness as we bear witness and his witness is born through us. This is just thrilling when you think of what it is to bear witness is to provide as it were a mouthpiece for the Spirit bear witness of Christ.
Some of you know the story of the first missionary that began the missions movement William Cary. He went out to the mission field under duress, in a sense. Because there was a group of hyper Calvinists who told him, young man sit down, if God wishes to save people he will do it without your help or mine. What led William Cary to be convinced that he should go out as a missionary? Part of it was his reading of John chapter 10 for Jesus and referring to himself as the good Shepherd verse 16, Jesus says
John 10:16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
Just stop right there and think of it. I have other sheep, the implications of that for election, for the certainty of God's own people out but they are His. I have other sheep which are not of this fold; I must bring them also and they will hear my voice and they will become one flock with one
So William Cary meditated on that passage and he became convinced that the elect out there will come as they hear the voice of the shepherd. When
they hear my voice the elect will come, the non-elect wont. How do they hear the voice of the shepherd? The answer is, through our voices witnessing they hear the voice of the shepherd. Think of that when you think of it witnessing opportunity that what you're doing is giving voice to Christ calling, the Spirit of Christ calling, witnessing, testifying through what you say. This just sort of revolutionizes how you think of this in so far as being the conduit for the proclamation of the Gospel by which this first great work is accomplished bringing people to Christ.
But the second thing that is done is that people need not only to be brought to Christ but they need to be conformed to the image of Christ. How will this happen? It involves two steps.
3. Empowerment for service in the church
Part of what God does through the Spirit to not only bring us to Christ but then to conform us to the likeness of Christ is that he uses the body to do this.
So empowerment for service in the church is fundamentally at its core it is the instrument by which the Holy Spirit uses each of us in the process of
confirming the other more to the likeness of Christ. That's what it's about. The church is not about a social club, fundamentally although there are social
events, it is not a entertainment industry although there are times when it's entertaining. It is not any of those other things that take place in the culture
widely. It is in particular a place where people are remade. It is a place where people are transformed. It is a place where people are conformed. How does
this happen? It happens in large part to the Ministry of the body as individually gifted people are using their gifts to bring about Christ likeness, growth and maturity in the lives of other people.
The key texts for the gifts of the Spirit, if you don't know these you should at least have an idea of the key texts. They are easier ever because to our chapter fours and to our chapter twelves. Ephesians 4, first Peter 4. Ephesians 4:10-16.
The first Peter 4:10-11. There is to chapter twelves: Romans 12 and first Corinthians 12 to 14.
First Peter 4:10 to 11
There are two broad categories of gifts that are indicated here. I think this is so helpful for people who are trying to figure out what their spiritual gift is. In one sense you can identify pretty easley in which broad kind of gifting you have. He gives two in verses 10 and 11.
1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Verse 10 is a summary statement. All gifts are given to serve one another as good stewards. What is the steward? A caretaker, someone who's been given something precious to take care of. What that is is the gift you have been given. So be a steward of your gift and use it for the benefit of the body or as he puts it in
verse 10 serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Manifold, I think he means we all have these gifts. Every one of us has been given a gift to be used to build up other people, serving one another.
1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Whoever speaks, there's the first category, a speaking gift whether it's teaching or preaching or exhortation. Fundamentally it is a gift which you are speaking a word of the Lord to people. Whoever speaks is to do so as a speaking the utterances of God. That's sobering to realize that a preacher or a teacher or extorter is to do is to be speaking God's word. Like Jesus, I don't speak of my own initiative I speak as the father tells me. The speaking gift to bring God's word to people.
Whoever serves, serving gift, here's the other category. The Ministry of helps and kindness and behind the scenes strengthening that comes in these gifts. Whoever serves let them do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies. In one case he speak what God would have you speak in the other case you serve with the strength God would give you to serve so that all things God is glorified. If you speak what God wants you to speak and you serve with God’s enabling power, who has done the work, who has accomplished this good in other people? God has. To whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. So two broad categories of gifts, speaking gifts serving gifts and they're meant to build up the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
“to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ”
This is what the gifts are for is to be used in one another's lives to conform us to the likeness of Christ. Gifts are not given for self serving purposes. They are not given to exalt the person. Are you gifted by God? You dare not take credit for it nor may I. It is a gift. What do you say about a gift? By definition you didn't earn it, you didn't have anything to do with it, you don't deserve it, it's a gift. So here's this gift from God it's not for self-serving purposes. It is
there to build up the body of Christ. One of the ways in which this happens, conforming to the image of Christ, is the Ministry of the body together among ourselves.