Ephesians 4:4-6, One hope of your calling.
length: 66:10 - taught on Dec, 3 2020
Thursday December 3, 2020
I wanted to add something to last night’s presentation of the theology of Satan in the West and the restraint put upon it by the Holy Spirit and the influence of the church.
The first will be dedicated to how quickly the goodness of American society has changed in such a short time. And then second, to examine one further aspect to God’s control of all things.
First, I will read a passage for you from William Manchester’s great book Goodbye Darkness. He was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps who served from 1942-1945 and fought bravely on Okinawa. Fighting on Okinawa he received his million-dollar wound, a superficial gunshot would that would send him off the front line and back to the hospital and hot chow. Yet in the hospital he heard on the radio that General Shepherd decided to outflank the enemy and make an amphibious landing behind the Japanese lines. His unit would be making that landing and so he left his dry bunk and hot chow and went AWOL, rejoined what remained of his unit and made the landing the next day. At the conclusion of the book he writes: (p. 391-395)
Secondly, as we saw last night, when God rose up Stephen to be the great witness that he was, God knew that Stephen would be a catalyst to the first great persecution of the church. However, this persecution would cause the believers in Jerusalem to flee to other parts of Judea and Samaria.
And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you shall 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 then those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 And the news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. 23 Then when he had come and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; 24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. 25 And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came about that for an entire year they met with the church, and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Barnabas was a good man because he was full of the Holy Spirit (he sought out and did God’s will - dedication, dependence, obedience) and was full of faith.
We cannot imagine the conflict that existed in the hearts of the first believing Jews that the Gentiles would be called also and to the same position. And that they no longer lived under the Law but lived unto Christ. Yet Barnabas, because of his faith and dedication to God and to God’s truth alone, found himself drawn to the Gentiles. God the Holy Spirit will lead us to where we need to be, and despite any opposition to what the Spirit bids us to do, He will empower us to accomplish it.
And before we leave it, another result of the persecution that resulted from Steven’s rising star that a Pharisee name Saul of Tarsus would find himself commanding that persecution, the one God would call to be the apostle to the Gentiles, the one that Barnabas had known would be what the growing cosmopolitan church at Antioch would need, and from there God would call Paul and Barnabas to begin the fulfillment of the final part of Christ’s prophecy, “and even to the remotest parts of the earth.”
Summary of the ministries of the Holy Spirit in the church age:
Common grace, efficacious grace, regeneration, baptizing, imputation of spiritual gift(s), sealing, indwelling, intercessory prayer, filling.
Each of these need to be repeatedly studied throughout the life of the believer. The ministry of the Holy Spirit cannot be overlooked, and His presence in each of us must be so well known that every day we are frequently enough aware of it. We must have alertness and confidence to do God’s will every day, and knowing the Holy Spirit will fill us to do so will give us great confidence as well as sustained humility.
A gift, by nature, is bestowed without merit. The Holy Spirit is not a reward, but a gift. The only condition is that Christ is received through faith as Savior.
The high standard of life that the new creation of humanity is called to demands supernatural enablement. The flow of blessing, knowledge, wisdom, power, all come from within by the supernatural will of God the Holy Spirit. He does not make us divine. He makes us new humans who, in their human capacity, can do divine things.
The indwelling of the HS is not active. The active work of the Spirit, His filling, is conditioned on dedication, dependence, and obedience.
It is very important to understand that the Spirit is always in you and always ready to work. There is nothing you can do that will cause His departure. God has made it so that His purposes will be done, and so in us, He has placed Himself to accomplish it. Our end is simply faith and obedience.
We will do a complete study of the filling of the Holy Spirit in 5:18.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;
Our calling has a hope and therefore a goal. “Run the race in such a way that you may win.” The church’s goal must be this end, conformed to the image of Christ; mature in full-knowledge and faith.