Filled with the Holy Spirit…

All week I’ve been considering Acts 4 in preparation for tomorrow’s sermon at Grace.

4:8 “The Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, …”

I wonder if we realize what a big deal it is that today, followers of Jesus who know Him because they’ve been saved, have the Holy Spirit.  We teach here that a person receives the Holy Spirit when they come to faith in Jesus as their Savior.  Romans 8:9-11 tells us that if we know God through Jesus, then we have the Spirit.  In Ephesians 5:18 we realize that there is a regular (perhaps daily?) filling of the Holy Spirit.  Are there Christians who have the Holy Spirit yet don’t live as though they are filled with the Spirit? Sure.

To be filled with the Spirit is to yield your life to Him and not be “filled with yourself”, but instead, know the Holy Spirit is in you to empower you for serving, loving others and let Him guide you.

Imagine the words, “Then [fill in the blank with your name] filled with the Spirit, said…”


A Growing Faith

If you missed Grace yesterday, you can hear the sermon here.

A few thoughts to think about during this week:

  • God is both incomprehensible and knowable, yes, He’s THAT big!
  • It all started with God: first 4 words Gen 1:1
  • God, in His goodness revealed Himself to us through general revelation Ps 19:1-6
  • God, in His grace has revealed Himself to us through special revelation; His Word and His Son!  Ps 19:7-14; Jn 14:6-7
  • My faith will grow as I exercise it
  • My faith is built on an everlasting GREAT God who loves me and gave Himself for me
And to apply it all:
  • Am I believing God for what I’m about to do?
  • By faith, what do I believe God is asking me to do?

The Righteousness of Christ

In our study yesterday on the Armor of God in Eph 6, I briefly hit on each of the six pieces of the armor.  One thing I realized as I studied the passage is the importance to understand the objective and subjective means of each piece of hardware. Let me explain.

Objective truth (as in the belt of truth) is that there is truth. God is truth. He does not lie. Jesus said, “I am the truth.” (Jn14:6)  It’s a fact. It’s now a position I have because Jesus has saved me. I know and believe in the truth.

Subjective truth means that my practice (how I live truth, in honesty, integrity, telling the truth, living from a position of the truth of God) is my response to the objective truth.  When I look at the armor of God, I’m going to ask, ‘Is this truth the objective truth of God, or is it my subjective response (being truthful, etc) to God’s objective Truth?’  My answer: BOTH.  My subjective behavior is based SOLELY on the objective fact of ‘God is Truth’. His indwelling Holy Spirit allows me to know this and to live it out, only by His power.

The same is true regarding Righteousness (breastplate of righteousness). The objective truth of righteousness is that I am NOW fully complete in Christ, clothed in His righteousness, because of Who He is (Righteous) and what He’s done for me (I am made righteous because of the cross, Rom 3:21-22; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 3:9).  The objective truth of righteousness is that I have a new standing with God. I’m not partially righteous, needing to work hard so that I can get more righteous.  It can’t be God’s righteousness if I have to try and earn it, or if it’s not complete!

Subjective righteousness refers to ‘what I do with the righteousness of Christ’.  I have a responsibility to live FROM my righteous standing with God.  This is the key to sanctification.  Again, the Holy Spirit empowers me to live out the righteousness of Christ (integrity, honesty, making wise and ‘right’ choices, seeking counsel, etc) based on the objective truth of the righteousness I have because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Here’s the verse I couldn’t find in Sunday’s sermon: Rom 6:13! Also: 1 Cor 1:30; 1 Tim 6:11

But God.

I think it’s important for the Believer to know his lost estate before saved by God. The only reason I think it’s important is because Paul seems to think so as he reminds the Ephesian readers of this in the first three verses of chapter two.

Let’s be honest. We’d all like to forget our past, especially the blunders, the mistakes.  I recently had someone remind me of something I said years ago, and my first thought was “Really, that’s what you remember?” It wasn’t even a bad thing.  When I think of my past, I’m glad there are things that don’t come to mind.  Paul, however, seemed to think it was good to remember who we were and in what condition we were in before we met Christ.

Eph 2:1-3 ESV

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Read what Charles Ryrie says of our depravity:

The scriptural evidence provides the basis for what has been commonly called total depravity. Depravity means that man fails the test of pleasing God. This failure is total in that (a) it affects all aspects of man’s being and (b) it affects all people.

Negatively, the concept of total depravity does not mean (a) that every person has exhibited his depravity as thoroughly as he or she could; (b) that sinners do not have a conscience or a “native induction” concerning God; (c) that sinners will indulge in every form of sin; or (d) that depraved people do not perform actions that are good in the sight of others and even in the sight of God.

Positively, total depravity means (a) that corruption extends to every facet of man’s nature and faculties; and (b) that there is nothing in anyone that can commend him to a righteous God.

Total depravity must always be measured against God’s holiness. Relative goodness exists in people. They can do good works, which are appreciated by others. But nothing that anyone can do will gain salvational merit or favor in the sight of a holy God.

(from Basic Theology, Copyright © 1986, 1999 by Charles C. Ryrie.)

I think it matters that we understand this because of the next two words in the English text: But, God.

It seems to be possible to lose the wonder of God when we forget who He is and what He did for us, in our place.  We were lost without Him. We sinned.  Gen 3:6-13; Rom 5:12; Rom 3:10-12, 18, 23, 24

But God.

Eph 2:4-7 ESV

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Here Paul sums it up in one verse: Rom 5:8

You can listen to a full sermon on this passage here.

What a great week

This has been a great week. It started with an almost record attendance at church as we witnessed three people getting baptized.  Each Sunday the worship has been amazing, our worship team is doing an excellent job.  You are a great church that loves to worship the Lord.  I love being a part of that!

I’ve had several meetings with new members of Grace.  The Grace 1.0 class was just a couple of weeks ago. We now have several new members. I just love getting to know these dear people that want to make Grace their home.

I finished teaching the class on “Telling the Gospel”. I absolutely love helping our church family in sharing the gospel.  The next class starts this coming Monday. Jason Alley will be teaching on Theology Proper.  Come to the Ministry Center at 6:30 this Monday.  You’ll be glad you did!

Then the following Sunday, which happens to be 10-10-10, I’ll finish up Habakkuk and right after church we have Grace@Noon – this is our way of saying we’re having a huge lunch. We have ordered food for the entire church. So, plan on sticking around after church on Sunday, Oct 10th and you’ll get a good meal and have the chance to meet a few people.

God bless you, as you also celebrate the week God has giving you!

Sunday Night Thoughts

Wow. What a day. I love Sunday’s at Grace. Tonight I want to highlight a few things that are on my mind.

First, thanks to the Hospitality Team for an amazing lunch today. The place was packed out! It was awesome. Food was great and I’m thankful Sinagua has added more tables. It looked to me like you guys were all having a great time. Thanks for staying after church and enjoying a meal with “One Another”. Great job everyone. I hope you were encouraged.

We just finished our first Grace Group tonight. I already love our new group. If you haven’t joined a Grace Group yet, we’ll have all the updated information available for you this next week. There are Grace Groups spread around town on several different nights of the week. It is an awesome experience to get around the table or the living room and talk about what God is teaching us.

Tomorrow night I start a new class. As you know we’ve started these Monday Night Classes for teaching more doctrine and essential truths of Grace. The Classes are designed to average about 4 weeks long, some will be a bit shorter or longer. They all start at 6:30 and finish by 8. One of the main reasons we keep the classes to just a few weeks is so that you can do both a class and your Grace Group. If you are in a Grace Group and see a class you’d like to take, the design allows you to do both with only a few weeks of having two nights out. So, please don’t miss out on the classes we’re offering. We’re being very intentional about the class topics and the schedules. We’ve already had one on the Deity of Christ, one on Spiritual Growth and one on Biblical Finances. Many of the classes will be offered again.

So, tomorrow I’m starting a 4 week study on “Gifted for Ministry”. We’ll examine the biblical teaching on the Holy Spirit as a gift and the gifts He gives us. We’ll look at why the church is dependent upon the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to individuals. By the end of the 4 week study, you’ll be able to identify how God has gifted you and how you can serve Him at Grace. I’m very excited about this and I just love the timing, especially how it fits with our recent study in John.

Most classes have fees and books. From here on out, any class that requires a theology text, we’ll be using one: Understanding Christian Theology. I have a few copies available tomorrow for $32. It’s a big book, and it’ll serve you well for years to come, especially in a variety of classes we’ll offer. For this class the book is NOT REQUIRED, but it is highly RECOMMENDED. I’ll have some handouts as well as some class notes. I believe the fee for the class is $5.

If you have any questions, let me know or call Bekah in the morning.

I really hope you’re finding your way to a Grace Group, or that you will this next week. I invite you to join me for class tomorrow night as well.

It’s been a great day. Thanks to all who serve Jesus at Grace in making it a welcoming place for some great ministry to be taking place. God bless you all, have a good night.