Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Speaking of the Spirit

Reformed Christians are often accused, perhaps rightly so, of not emphasizing the person and work of the Holy Spirit sufficiently enough. As the Father has sent Jesus as our God-man mediator, from worship to evangelism our focus is to call people to come to the Father through the Son. We speak of being Christ-centered in our worship and preaching, as we should.  Yet often we can slip into “binitarian” tendencies instead of practicing a robust Trinitarian faith by not recognizing fully enough our dependency on the Spirit of God. Simply put, we fail to speak of the Spirit like we ought.

J.I. Packer has done a great deal to help us in the Reformed faith honor the Spirit’s role, most notably from his book on the third person of the Trinity entitled Keeping in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God. However, note how his familiar “hidden floodlight” illustration could be easily misunderstood if taken out of context.

I remember walking to a church one winter evening to preach on the words ‘he shall glorify me,’ seeing the building floodlit as I turned the corner, and realizing that this was exactly the illustration my ministry needed. When flood-lighting is […]

If Church Isn’t Necessary, Let’s Quit.

Here’s a proposition for the new year. I propose that if church isn’t necessary, we quit. I mean it. If it’s not necessary let’s cancel all of our services, board up the windows, lock the doors, and send everyone on their merry way. Sure, Christians have been gathering together to hear the Word read and preached, to sing with grace in their hearts, and observe the sacraments for over two thousand years. But if it’s not necessary let’s be the first generation to finally end the practice. Let’s silence the pulpit, close up the song books, dry up the baptismal waters, and put away the bread and wine. If church isn’t necessary, let’s quit.

Why? Because I’m convinced if it’s not necessary it’s too difficult and not worth my time. Listening to sermons is hard and it’s not really my learning style. So, let’s quit. Singing is outdated and the thought of someone hearing me slightly off key or out of tune is unbearable. Let’s quit. Praying together is boring and I’m too easily distracted. Let’s quit. I have my own friends and family and people at church can be hard to get along with. Let’s quit. It’s also too time […]

Seeking His Spirit

Lately I have been reflecting on the prophets’ visions of revival. Many of the wondrous things they see in the days of Christ and promises they extend have to do with fuller manifestations of the Spirit of God. For three familiar examples:

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army…And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:9-10, 13-14)

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the […]

When the Spirit Flows

In Ezekiel 47:1-12, the Lord gives His prophet a vision of water flowing out from the temple in Jerusalem.  This imagery gives us a vivid, prophetic portrayal of the Spirit’s work in the church.   We see what types of things should be happening when the Spirit is at work among the people of the Lord.

All churches should be longing for, cooperating with, and seeking more of the Spirit’s work among us.  Yet what does that look like?  Here are four brief encouragements this passage gives us.

When the Spirit is flowing, what is centralized becomes universalized.

By this time in Ezekiel’s prophesy, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed.  Yet in his vision he saw an idealized temple rebuilt with perfectly symmetrical measurements, with water that flowed out from its threshold.   The water was heading eastward, in the direction Adam had been sent out from the garden of Eden. These waters flowed out into the desert into the Dead Sea, and brought this body of water – so full of salt nothing can live in it – alive. This pictures for us that the sin and death that Adam had caused to flow into the world will now be overcome by the life and power of the Spirit.   Ezekiel was seeing the […]

Our Other Intercessor

Because it is stated so clearly in Scripture, particularly in the book of Hebrews, most believers know that Christ Himself prays for us.  He is our intercessor.  Christ is our high priest, resurrected from the dead and seated at God’s right hand, who “always lives to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25). We should take great comfort in knowing that we are in union with an external intercessor seated in the heavens who represents us faithfully to our Father, sympathizing with us in our weakness because he was made like us in every way except for sin.  Knowing this experientially encourages us in prayer.

Yet further encouragement should come knowing we have an internal intercessor as well.  Jesus said he would send “another Helper (or Comforter) to  be with you forever” (John 14:16).  The Holy Spirit dwells within the people of God, and one of his great ministries is that of intercession.