Hearing the Message – What Will You Do?

Mark 4:1-9

And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:  “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”  And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Parable – an earthy story with a heavenly meaning.

Mark 4:10-13

But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.  And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.’”  And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

Mystery – something previously hidden, but now fully revealed

Mark 4:14-20

The sower sows the word.  And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.  These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.  Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

  • Parable explained
  • Parables
  • Disclose truth exactly in the degree which men can accept; hiding it from those who would refuse its truth and imparting it to those who would obey it.
    • Parables serve the double and opposite purpose of revealing and concealing.
    • You would not try to reveal to a child in the same manner as an adult.
  • Three things are required
  • Hear the Word
  • Receive the Word
  • Bring forth fruit
  • Four categories of people who hear and receive
  • Satan steals what was sown in the heart – sown by the wayside
  • There is no root or real commitment in the hearer – stony ground
  • Deceitfulness and cares of this world choke out the Word – sown among thorns
  • Production of good fruit – 30/60 100 percent – good ground

Only one category of the four who hear and receive the Word will bring forth fruit.

For Christians there are several lessons we can take from this parable.

First, we need to be careful that we do not fall into one of the three categories.  Even though we have believed and received the Word of God, we can still be so distracted by our daily lives, our jobs, our responsibilities, our pleasures that we neglect God’s Word. 

How many times have you been listening to a sermon or a Bible lesson when you suddenly found your mind thinking about other things.  Where you will go to eat after service?  What you have to do in the coming week?  Worrying about that bill you have to pay next week?  Even thinking about the upcoming vacation?

There is a lot of false teaching out there today on the internet, on the YouTube that we can be deceived if we do not carefully check the things we hear to see if they agree with God’s Word.

Second lesson is that we are to be bearing good fruit.  There are many ideas of what good fruit means for a Christian.  Simply put:  fruit is basically the outward actions of a Christian that result from the condition of the heart. 

Galatians 5 list some of the conditions the heart should have. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

We cannot on our own produce that kind of life.  It is only as we maintain a relationship with Jesus, that we will produce that good fruit.  Bearing fruit in the Christian life requires abiding in Jesus.

John 15:4-5 – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Bearing fruit in the Christian life requires abiding in Jesus.

In The Beginning (in art form)

Studying the Creation story in Genesis I wanted to somehow capture the first verse where the earth is dark and void and the Spirit of God is hovering over the face of the waters. How to do that?

Here is my interpretation in art form. I pictured the Holy Spirit as a flame of fire. Often in the Bible fire has represented the presence of God. Remember Moses and the burning bush. Also on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire on the people gathered in the Upper Room.

I was privileged to show my entire collection of the Creation Story last year at a local art gallery.

Since then I have painted this picture of the beginning of Creation for two others who have requested a copy.

I love painting seascapes and lighthouses but this series of Creation is probably my favorite.

You can check out more of my paintings at https://www.facebook.com/PaulWLaneArtGallery/

Walk in the Spirit

Revelation 1:9-11

I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

  • John was imprisoned on the island of Patmos (Roman Empire’s equivalent to Alcatraz). He was imprisoned for teaching/preaching Christ.
  • John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.”
  • The Lord’s Day was the Sabbath.  For the Jewish believer that would be from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.  For the Gentile believer that would be Sunday.  Which day does not matter. What matters was observing a day set aside for rest and worship of God. 
  • What does it mean to “be in the Spirit”
  • Some think it is experiencing great emotions, crying, speaking in tongues, laughing
    • Some think it is being so mesmerized with God that you are oblivious to those about you
    • Some think it is working, witnessing, worshipping in the divine flow of the anointing of the power of the Holy Spirit with power and victory over sin while at the same time doing what we need to do in this life – working, going to school, exercising, mowing the lawn.

John was obviously involved in worship on the Sabbath.  Obviously, he was in the Spirit to a point of probably being unaware of his surroundings because of the great prophecy he wrote, the great revelation that was given to him.

  • Walk in the Spirit

We can only walk in the Spirit when we are free from indwelling sin, when we are totally yielded to God’s will.  We must be consecrated to God in our mind, our purpose, our entire life.  To be carnally minded is death; to be spiritually minded is life.  You cannot be committed to the ways of the world and be spiritually minded at the same time.      

Romans 8:1-19 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

James 3:10-12 – Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?  Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

Isaiah 6:1-7 – In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one cried to another and said:  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”  And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.  So I said:  “Woe is me, for I am undone!  Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King,

The Lord of hosts.”  Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.  And he touched my mouth with it, and said:  “Behold, this has touched your lips;

Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”

Only when our sins have been purged, only when our iniquity is taken away by the power of the Holy Spirit, only then can we “walk in the Spirit” and be called to serve the Lord.  To walk in the Spirit, we need to make David’s prayer ours also.

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Forgiveness Brings Healing – Healing Brings Forgiveness

James 5:13-16

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Specific needs require specific answers.  Only one answer will work in each situation.  God’s way!  Suffering, sickness can take many forms.  Healing is provided if we take the right medicine.  When a doctor gives a medicine, he writes a prescription.  There are specific ways to take the medication.  It is the same way spiritually.

Suffering and sickness is not only a physical need.  It can include

  • Emotional needs
  • Financial needs
  • Marital needs
  • Sinful problems

Healing is provided for all, but we need to follow the “prescription.”

  • Call for the elders of the church
  • Anoint with oil
  • Prayer of faith

Byproduct of following the “prescription” is – sins forgiven.

Verse 16 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 

Ephesians 4:32 – Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 6:12-15 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.   And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.   “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

  • Unity of the brothers/sisters – Let it go or retain it (anger/bitterness or forgiveness

Matthew 18:15-20 – Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.  “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Mark 11:24-26 – Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Luke 4:18 – The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.

Jesus speaks to the whole man – spiritual, physical, emotional, your whole being.  Forgiveness brings healing.

The Whole Armor of God – Prayer

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  • Prayer is spiritual warfare.  It is the supernatural provision of the Christian soldier—prayer, not just of the moment…but a constant spirit of prayer.  Prayer and the Word of God are the best things you have going for you. 
  • The Word – God talking to you. 
  • Prayer – you talking to God.
  • With all the armor mentioned in this passage of Scripture, it does no good if we neglect our prayer life.  We enter into spiritual conflict fully dressed and fully armed.  Prayer is essential.  We all live in a busy world, but not making time for prayer will hinder our walk with God and ultimately, if neglected for a long period of time, we will fall back into sin. 
  • Trust, confidence and assurance are necessary as we pray.  If we pray and do not believe our prayers will be answered, why pray?  We must face our spiritual battles with courage, and courage only comes by way of prayer and faith believing that God hears us and will answer.  Job’s faith was demonstrated in that he trusted God.  In Job 19:25 he said “I know that my redeemer lives.”   He did not have the law, not any part of the bible, but he had a relationship with his God.  Do you?  How close is it?  Could it be closer?  Well……make it closer.
  • Quick, minute prayers as a continual substitute for a consistent time alone with God will not work either.  We will very easily fall into the trap of Satan that we do not have time, too many distractions and on and on and on.  We then become a fast food prayer – instant gratification – order up – get our answer right away.
  • We can also become a bell-hop prayer.  “Go here – do this – I need – I need – I need – you provide – you provide – you provide.”
  • If our prayers are not continual, we will lose the assurance and confidence of God’s protection.  We must always maintain a constant unbroken sense of God’s presence and care; therefore we must not let our mind dwell on the things of this world.  We need to keep our communication line open with God.  As it is between spouses, if God never hears from us, He might question our love for Him. 

Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” 

Philippians 4: 6 – “Be anxious for nothing (don’t let anything bug you), but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” 

1 Chronicles 16:11 – “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” 

John 16:24 – “Ask and you shall receive so that your joy may be full.” 

James 5:16 – “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” 

  • All the above require our action…IF we do what we can do…God will do what we cannot do.
  • Be mature – no “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayers.

Hebrews 5:13-14 – “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” 

Isaiah 55:6-7 – “Seek the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.  Let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy upon him and to our God for He will abundantly pardon.” 

  • The Christian soldier must be willing to pray and, if necessary, give up sleep and food.  We must concentrate and persevere in prayer, sometimes being so intensely at prayer that we forget about the necessities of life, such as sleep, food, rest, and entertainment.  These activities are not in and of themselves sinful, but prayer must become a more pressing priority.

Matthew 26:41 – “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.”  

  • We are to pray for those with authority over us…civil leaders, the President, our governor, our senators, our representatives, military leaders and soldiers, mayors, school officials, law enforcement, judicial system….pastors, deacons, elders, musicians, instructors, school teachers, work place supervisors, anyone that has a position of authority.  Whether you voted for them or not, whether they are Democrat, Republican or Independent.  God says pray for them.
  • The soldier must pray unselfishly.  The soldier is not in battle alone…for all of God’s people are facing similar situation.  We need to pray for each other.  We must pray for each other.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.” 

Luke 22:26 – “Pray always.” 

 Ephesians 1:15-16 – “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.”

1 Samuel 12:23 – “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you.”

THE TEN-FINGER PRAYER

  • Hold up your hands – you have ten fingers – this verse has ten words. 

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

  • Yes I can, but I need to cover the situation in earnest prayer.

The Whole Armor of God – Sword of the Spirit

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  • The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  The sword was a weapon used for both defense and offense.  The sword was used both to protect and to fight off and slay the enemy.  The sign of the Christian soldier is his use of the Word of God.  By living in the Scriptures, he protects himself from the onslaught of the enemy; and he fights and wins battle after battle, day after day.  Remember:  Jesus Christ Himself overcame the onslaught of the devil by using Scripture.

Matthew 4:4 – “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:7 – “Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” 

Matthew 4:10 – “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Hebrews 4:12-13 – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. 

Psalm 119:9 – “How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.”

Psalm 119:11 – “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”

Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

1 John 1: 5, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

  • The Word is your true offense/defense.
  • In Matthew 4:  “It is written; It is written; It is written.”
  • Psalm 119:89 – “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.”
  • God said it, that settles it!!!!

MY NEVER AGAIN LIST:

  • Never again will I confess I can’t, for “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13
  • Never again will I confess lack, for “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19
  • Never again will I confess fear, for “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7
  • Never again will I confess doubt and lack of faith, for “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”   Romans 12:3
  • Never again will I confess weakness, for “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1; and “the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”  Daniel 11:32
  • Never again will I confess supremacy of Satan over my life, for “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  1 John 4:4
  • Never again will I confess defeat, for “God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.”  2 Corinthians 2:14
  • Never again will I confess lack of wisdom for “Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God.”  1 Corinthians 1:30
  • Never again will I confess sickness, for, “by His stripes we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5; and “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Matthew 8:17
  • Never again will I confess worries and frustration for I am “casting all my care upon Him, for He cares for me.”  I Peter 5:7
  • Never again will I confess bondage for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”  2 Corinthians 3:17
  • Never again will I confess condemnation, for “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:1

Walking in Wisdom

Ephesians 5:15-21

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

WALK CAREFULLY – The word “circumspectly” means to “walk carefully accurately, sensitively as a person would walk through thorny terrain.” 

  • Foolish man walks unthinking, thoughtless.  He gives little thought to his daily routine – where he should go – what he should do.  If he makes a mistake, he does not matter much to him.  Making mistakes is just the human way of life.
  • Wise man walks carefully.  He knows he is on a mission.  He knows God personally and he knows that he is on earth to show forth the love and the righteousness of God.  Mistakes matter to him.

Galatians 5:16 – “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust (the strong desires) of the flesh.”

Colossians 2:6 – “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established (made firm, secure) in the faith, as you have been taught….”                    

1 John 2:6 – “He who says he abides in Him ought also himself to walk just as He walked.”

USE TIME CAREFULLY

  • Do not waste the days/weeks/months/years God has given us.  We have all been given the same number of hours in a day.  We will give an account to God of how we used them.

Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Ecclesiastes 12:1 – “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth; before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.” 

  • Use the time because the days are evil and the opportunity to do well may not last.
  • Opportunity to witness will pass.
  • Opportunity to speak up will pass.
  • Opportunity to love will pass.
  • Opportunity to work hard will pass.
  • Opportunity to give will pass.

UNDERSTAND GOD’S WILL – To “understand” means to “grasp, perceive, comprehend.”

  • Know God’s Word

John 8:31-21 – “If you abide (take up residence, live in) in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know (perceive, understand, come to know, realize) the truth, and the truth shall make you free (liberate, deliver).

2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent (exert oneself, make every effort, strain every nerve) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

Psalm 119:9, 11 – “How can a young man (or woman) cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.  Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

  • Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you.

John 14:26 – “But the Helper (from Greek parakletos means “called to one’s side)”.  The word signifies an intercessor, comforter, helper, advocate, counselor.  An attorney who appears in court in another’s behalf.), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

John 16:13 – “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come.”

Romans 8:14 – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

  • Leave drunkenness alone.  The Greek here refers to being intoxicated with drink or drugs.  This type of sin is so wrong for the Christian because it leads to other sins of the flesh.

1 Corinthians 6:10 – “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards…shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

  • Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you.  The infilling of the Holy Spirit is the personal manifestation of Christ to the believer.  It is a consciousness of His presence, of His leadership–moment by moment.  However, this is an automatic experience.  The responsibility of being filled with the Holy Spirit rests with the individual. 
  • The term “be filled” is in the present tense which means “to continually being filled”.  It is not a one time experience.  It is an ongoing life of daily yielding to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to lead and guide each aspect of our life.

John 14:21 – “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.  And he who loves me will be loved by My Father and I will love him and manifest (to cause to shine to reveal, to presents oneself to the sight of another) Myself to him.

Walk in the Light

Ephesians 5:8-14

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:  “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

  • The believer is to walk as a child of Light

1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 – “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober (self controlled).” 

  • Light bears the things of life – the Fruit of the Spirit.  Just as plant life requires the light to produce, so when we have the light of Jesus Christ in our heart, we should bear fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

  • Light changes things – Even a small light in a dark room will brighten the room, will allow you to see.  When we allow the light of God into our lives, we can see the areas in our own life where we need to change.  We can show the world what it means to be a child of God.

Psalm 119:105 – Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Matthew 5:14-16 – You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

  • Light always chases away darkness.  

John 1:5 – And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

  • Light comes from a source – that source is Jesus.  Just as our light comes from the sun, so we will find our source of light in Jesus.

John 8:12 –  Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

In order to obtain that light from Christ, we need to be awake.

Luke 21:34 – But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-7 – But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.

James 1:22-25 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

The Good Fight

1 Timothy 6:11-14

But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christ like), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.  Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.  In the presence of God, Who preserves alive all living things, and of Christ Jesus, Who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I [solemnly] charge you  to keep all His precepts unsullied and flawless, irreproachable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), (The Amplified Bible)

  • Flee from all these things “O man of God” – talking to the church
  • Pride
  • Conceit
  • Controversy
  • Disputes
  • Strife
  • Envy
  • Jealousy
  • Quarrels
  • Dissension
  • Abuse
  • Insults
  • Slander
  • Suspicions
  • Wrangling
  • Weary discussion
  • Perpetual friction
  • Greed

Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:16 – I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

  • Aim at – pursue – strive toward – grasp with all your might
  • Right standing with God
  • True goodness
  • Godliness (the loving fear of God and being Christ like)
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Steadfastness (patience)
  • Gentleness of heart
  • Fight the good fight of faith (spiritual warfare)
  • Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned (called)
  • Lay hold of the eternal life to which you have made a good confession (declared openly that Christ is your Lord and Master
  • I urge you – implore you – give it all you have got
  • Keep your commitment to God
  • Without spot
  • Blameless
  • How do we accomplish all this?  Through the power of prayers and fasting

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

A Study of the Gifts of the Spirit

Charisma – a gift of grace, an endowment upon believers by the operation of the Holy Spirit in the churches.

Charis – grace, that which bestows on occasion pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard; divine favor freely dispensed.

Gifts of the Spirit – a spiritual gift of God bestowed upon the believer by the power of the Holy Spirit in and by the grace bestowed or given by belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior (see Romans 12:6).

Pneumatikos – plural, pneumatika; from pneuma which means spirit, breath, wind.  Literally means a “spiritual,” that which pertains to, or proceeds from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, any of the following might be applied here:  The gifts, manifestations, impartations, emanations, endowments, matters, things, effects, powers, workings, aids, graces or favors of the Holy Spirit.

Major Lists of the Gifts of the Spirit

Romans 12:6-8, 13

  1. Prophecy
  2. Ministry
  3. Teachings
  4. Exhortation
  5. Giving
  6. Ruling (leadership)
  7. Mercy
  8. Hospitality

Ephesians 4:11

  1. Apostles
  2. Prophets
  3. Evangelists
  4. Pastors
  5. Teachers

1 Corinthians 12:8-10

  1. Wisdom
  2. Knowledge
  3. Faith
  4. Healing
  5. Miracles
  6. Prophecy
  7. Discernment of spirits
  8. Divers kinds of tongues
  9. Interpretation of tongues

1 Corinthians 12:28

  1. Apostles
  2. Prophets
  3. Teachers
  4. Miracles
  5. Healings
  6. Helps (hospitality)
  7. Governments (administration)
  8. Diversities of tongues

NOTE; Only one gift is mentioned in all four of the major lists of the gifts. Attributes or manifestations that might be classified as a gift although not necessarily called a gift in scriptures

Some Examples of the Gifts of the Spirit

  1. Ephesians 2:18-20 – Apostles and prophets
  2. Acts 13:1 – Prophets and teachers
  3. Acts 15:32 – Prophets and teachers
  4. Galatians 2:8-9 – Leadership and apostles
  5. 1 Peter 5:1-2 – Elders (leadership)
  6. 2 Corinthians 8:1-2 – Giving
  7. James 5:14-15 – Faith and healing
  8. Acts 21:8-10 – Evangelists and prophets
  9. 1 Corinthians 9:1-2 – Apostles
  10. 2 Timothy 4:5 – Evangelists
  11. Acts 11:27-28 – Prophets
  12. Acts 20:28 – Overseer (leadership
  13. 1 Timothy 5:17 – Rulers (leadership) and teachers
  14. Acts 19:11-12 – Miracles
  •  Are all the gifts of the Spirit still active in the church today?

Most Pentecostal and charismatic churches say that they are still active.  Other churches (Methodist, Baptists and mainline denominations) say that the sign gifts are no longer used in the churches today.

Whatever you believe…take and use as God blesses.  Pray that the gifts of the Spirit you believe are still active are available to you and your church.

  •  Spiritual gifts are not natural talents or human abilities. These talents/abilities are God-given but not a gift of the Holy Spirit.
  •  What is the role of the Christian in his/her use of the Gifts of the Spirit?
  1. 1 Corinthians 13 – to be used with love (not gits without love, but gifts controlled by love)
  2. 1 Corinthians gives specific guidelines for the use of the gifts in the church
  3. Ephesians 4:12 – these gifts are given to to equip the saints, to edify the church
  4. 1 Peter 4:7-11 – purpose of gifts it to ultimately bring glory to God
  5. Colossians 3:23 – all we do, how we use our gifts it to be done for the Lord, not for people
  • Fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, *faith (faithfulness), meekness, temperance.  These are all found in Galatians 5.  The gifts of the Spirit are exercised in accordance with the fruit of the Spirit.

Five Steps Toward Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts

  1. Explore – Study the Scripture concerning the gifts
  2. Experiment – Question, pray, ask yourself, “Do I have this gift?”
  3. Examine – Examine your feelings, makeup, personality, temperament.
  4. Evaluate – Evaluate the effectiveness of your gift.
  5. Expect – Expect confirmation from the Holy Spirit/the body of Christ.

Faith is listed as a gift of the Spirit and also as a fruit of the Spirit.  More appropriately, it should read faithfulness in the list of the fruit of the Sprit.