Friday, July 14, 2017

The Holy Spirit (Part Twenty-one)

John 14:22-26; 16:12-15

In this series, we are examining briefly what the Bible teaches us about the Holy Spirit and his work. To this point, we have considered a Biblical perspective on this teaching, the Spirit’s revelation of himself in the Old Testament Scriptures, and the Spirit’s work in the inspiration of the whole Bible. What we want to look next is the ministry of the Spirit in the inspiration of the New Testament Scriptures. This subject has attained a new importance in our day.

  • It has become important in apologetics. The basis of any religion is its authority, and for Christianity, this is found in God’s Word, the Bible. In our culture, we encounter like never before non-Christian religions and many corrupted forms of Christianity (like the “prosperity gospel”). The Christian must be prepared to communicate the finality of the New Testament Scriptures.
  • It has become important in regard to the Christian life. With the decline of sound Biblical instruction, Christians have fallen into the bad practice of misusing texts, taking verses out of their grammatical and historical contexts to teach novel views. It is important that we understand the correct use of every text.

In the preceding verses, Jesus has told his disciples that he, by the Spirit, would manifest himself to his disciples but not to the world. Though this might refer in part to his post-resurrection appearances, it seems more likely that it refers to the time when the Spirit is poured out on them, because of verse twenty—on that day they would have confidence because of the “mutual indwelling”. All this causes the other Judas to ask a question. Why is the Lord going to make himself known to the disciples and not to the world? The answer to that question is that the Spirit is given to those who have a relationship with God—a relationship that is demonstrated (not caused) by love for Christ and obedience to his teaching. All of this conforms to the will of the Father who sent Christ.

But then Jesus took the opportunity to tell them about another aspect of the Spirit’s ministry. He would come, not only to produce a close relationship with God, but he would also come to cause the apostles to remember all of Christ’s teaching to them.

Consider the importance of this ministry of the Holy Spirit. As we study the God’s word, we should observe the contrast between God’s revelation of the Old and the New Testament Scriptures. In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe (Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV). The Old Testament Scriptures came to us through the prophets at many times and in various ways. As we saw, the Holy Spirit guaranteed that the written product was God’s message to us. But in the last days, God has spoken to us through his Son. The Lord Jesus came as a Prophet and Mediator far greater than Moses. He is the One whom all must listen to (Deuteronomy 18:15; Matthew 17:5). All revelation from God in the last days comes through Jesus Christ. He is the chief cornerstone of the whole temple of God (Ephesians 2:20). This gives every Christian a basic test for authority. Does this word come from Jesus Christ? We pay no attention to anyone else who claims to have received messages from God. The New Testament writings restrict us from looking anywhere other than to Old Testament Scriptures and God’s final revelation in Christ, which is written in the New Testament Scriptures.

Therefore, the church needs to be assured that we have a genuine, authentic and reliable record of the full message of Christ. The Spirit was entrusted with making this happen.

  • He made it happen by ensuring that all that is written is in full agreement with the Father’s revelation through his Son (John 16:13,15).
  • He made it happen by teaching and reminding the disciples of what Jesus taught them (14:26). Observe how careful Luke is at this point (Acts 1:1-2). Or think of how John opens the last book of the Bible (Revelation 1:1-2). Or think of how constantly Paul refers to himself as a servant or apostle of Jesus Christ as he writes his letters. Why do they do this? The simple answer is that all the New Testament revelation comes from God speaking through his Son!

Let us give thanks to God for this good ministry of the Holy Spirit! Let us read and meditate on it constantly.

Grace and peace, David



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