God's truth for today's world

In our message series on Jesus, the Messiah, we looked at His birth, His miracles, His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection. But the story of Jesus the Messiah does not end there. Today, we’re going to talk about the Messiah’s Exaltation. Of all the aspects of the Messiah that we are talking about in this series, this one is probably the least known. However, it is one of the most important, as it speaks of what Jesus the Messiah is doing in the present.

So, what are we talking about regarding the Messiah’s Exaltation. Let’s begin by looking at what happened after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus spent 40 days teaching His disciples after He rose from the dead. He was seen not just by the twelve apostles, but by many others, even 500 on one occasion. Let’s take a look at Jesus’ final instruction to His disciples in …

Acts 1:8-9 (NIV2011)  “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.”  After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Earlier in Acts 1, Jesus had commanded His disciples to wait to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Spirit baptism, Jesus explains in verse 8, would give them the power to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. After this final instruction, Jesus ascended up into heaven and has not been seen physically on the earth since the ascension.

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the work of the spiritFor many people, the Holy Spirit is the least understood member of the Trinity. Many churches talk about Jesus and the Father, but give little attention to the Holy Spirit. I trust that this series, has given us a better appreciation for the member of the God head that is actively engaged in our lives and in our world today.

Today, our concluding message in the series is entitled “The Work of the Spirit.” We’re going to give an overview about what the Spirit does, so we can get to know Him better. The Spirit has been active in our world since creation.

Genesis 1:2 (NIV) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

The Spirit was the power of God active in creating the physical universe in respond to the Word of God. The Holy Spirit was the power behind the conception of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in the womb of the virgin Mary.

Luke 1:35 (NIV) The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Jesus, God’s Son, was born some 2000 years ago, both fully human and fully divine. His human nature coming through Mary and divine nature through the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the power behind both Jesus’ words and His miracles during His earthly ministry.

Matthew 12:28 (NIV) But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

It was the power of the Spirit working through Jesus that allowed Him to drive demons out of people and set them free. Just as Jesus lived in the power of the Spirit, so we also need to live in that same power. We need the power of the Spirit to be followers of Jesus.

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the order of the spiritWe’re drawing to a close in our Living in the Spirit message series. Next Sunday will be our concluding message, entitled “The Work of the Spirit.” In this series, we’ve gotten an overview of how the Holy Spirit can work in and through our lives. If you’ve missed any messages, you can watch them online on our website. If you’re a regular attender and you miss a Sunday, we strongly encourage you to watch it online, so that you don’t miss out on what God has for your life.

Today, our message is “The Order of the Spirit.” We’re going to be talking about the public use of spiritual gifts in a church or small group meeting. With respect to spiritual gifts, there are two kinds of churches. The first kind believes the Bible regarding the continuation of spiritual gifts to our time. This kind of church may be referred to as a continualist, Spirit-filled or Pentecostal church. Life Church is part of the Assemblies of God, the largest Spirit-filled denomination in the world with about 70 million people.

The second kind of church doesn’t believe what the Bible teaches regarding spiritual gifts. They believe that the spiritual gifts ceased when the Bible was completed. These churches are referred to as cessationist churches. Most denominational churches are cessationist. Religious political correctness today says it really doesn’t matter what churches believe, as long as they get salvation right. One church believes one thing, another other things, it’s just diversity, kind of like what flavor of ice cream you like. It really doesn’t matter. That thinking is completely incorrect. The Bible gives us direct commands regarding what to believe. If a church gets it wrong, it is a serious issue. Lives will be lost for eternity with every issue a church gets wrong and thereby disobeys God’s word. I believe that before Jesus returns, the church will be united in Spirit and in truth.

1 Corinthians 14:1 (NIV)  Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.

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the gifts of the spiritToday, we’re continuing our Living in the Spirit message series. We need the power of the Spirit in greater measure in our personal lives and in our church.

This morning, my message is entitled “The Gifts of the Spirit.” The gifts of the Spirit are supernatural gifts that the Spirit gives to believers to accomplish God’s purposes. The Greek word for spiritual gifts if charismata, which means gifts of grace. These gifts are not optional, they are great importance in your spiritual life and in the life of the church. Yet, they are not well understood and even less utilized in many churches, including ours. What is the purpose of spiritual gifts?

Acts 1:8 (NIV)  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.”

Jesus teaches us in this verse that the power of the Holy Spirit, which is manifested through spiritual gifts, is to equip believers to be witnesses. We see spiritual gifts being used in evangelism in the ministry of Jesus and the early church over and over. Not only are spiritual gifts of great use in evangelism, they are also useful for building up the church.

1 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV)  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

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the fruit of the spiritToday, we are continuing our message series “Living in the Spirit.” A Spirit-filled life is impacted by the Holy Spirit in every aspect. If you haven’t heard all the messages in this series, I’d encourage you to watch them online on our website or YouTube. We’ve been talking about the importance of obeying Jesus command to be Spirit baptized. If you have not yet been Spirit baptized, you should be earnestly seeking to be, just as the believers in the book of Acts did. You need the power released in Spirit baptism to live the full Spirit-filled life.

Today, our message topic is “The Fruit of the Spirit.” We’re going to start today with the teaching of Jesus on fruit bearing. Then we will talk about how you can develop the Spirit’s fruit in each of nine areas of life.

John 15:5 (NIV) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Jesus gives us a picture of what the believer’s life is like. Each believer is like a branch joined to the vine of a grape plant, which is Jesus. The believer/branch that remains in the vine will bear a lot of fruit. A branch that is not attached to the vine cannot bear any fruit.

John 15:6 (NIV) If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

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