Joe White a nationally renowned speaker, author and, the current CEO of Kanakuk Ministries along with Trip Lee an American Southern rapper, singer, poet and author were featured at the beginning of a major weekend evangelistic event on the Stetson University Campus. Normally this event called “After Dark” is only put on at major college campuses. This past Thursday a crowd that was estimated to be over one fourth the size of the entire Stetson student body attended this kickoff to a weekend of solid biblical teaching and outreach. The concert was followed by the “G1”(God First) Conference, which was two days of discipleship meetings. I am overjoyed to report that this is only part of an outpouring we are seeing at Stetson. In the past year we have seen an explosion of solid Christian fellowship forming and growing on campus. Fellowship of Christian Athletes is now meeting weekly with well over 70 students attending. Another well founded group by the name of Renown is also building in size. God has answered their prayers and their many hard hours of work with this amazing culmination of events. Please keep these students in your prayers as well as our Missions Partner FCA that God will continue to use them to reach others for Christ.
Some words have made a comeback and MORE NEED TO! Specifically, “Merry Christmas” came back strong this year. It was very nice to have store clerks and other workers (including the Post Office) to initiate hello and goodbye with this classic greeting. We were celebrating the birth of CHRIST after all. This, along with the general nicer attitude in public gives me a small glimpse of what revival might be like.
There are some other words and phrases that need to make a comeback in church vocabulary. The word “justification” in any form would be a good start. “Just, justify, justified” are used in the New Testament nearly 80 times. If you add to that the same root word when translated “righteousness” or similar forms the total nearly doubles. This is basically equals the New Testament uses of “saved” or similar words. Yet our common usage does not reflect this balance.
Of course any major word used in our messages needs to have context, meaning, and application. I fear we have almost immunized people with the “saved” words. Worse yet, we have substituted “connected” for it.
Justification by faith was the cry of the reformers and we should not abandon it. “Justified” is a strong word that naturally lends itself to teachings on condemnation and conviction of sin, clear conversion testimonies, the eternal nature of salvation and more. I am working at bringing back “justified” into the mix of church vocabulary. Please join me! We will see more “fruit that remains” when we use and explain the Gospel by a balanced use of the key words from God’s Word.
By Glenn Rogers
Part 1 dealt with some basic definitions as well as “WHERE WE ARE” on the filling of the Holy Spirit. I continue with some concerns and challenges.
WHAT WE MISS! The Holy Spirit filled life is not only a specific command and teaching of the Bible, but it may also serve as a summary phrase for some of the doctrine of sanctification by grace. God’s Spirit working in, with, to, and through us to grow us in holiness, love, and faith making us more like our Lord Jesus inside and out (Phil. 2:12,13) is the Spirit filled life.
When preachers and teachers reduce our faith to confessions and creeds (though they may be Biblically accurate and necessary) then instruct people how to live and behave (even using the Scriptures) but DO NOT teach the truth about the filling of the Spirit, we fail them and the Gospel. This practice produces pride, Pharisee-ism, frustration, and even false converts. When we as Christians intimate that the experience of salvation is to try to do better in our strength and somehow to “hold out faithful to the end”, we are of all men most miserable. Because of lack of instruction, many think the Christian life doesn’t work when the truth is, for most church members, the real Christian life has not been tried! We MUST teach that: 1- We cannot do what the Bible commands in our own strength. Christ never intended this. 2-Through His Spirit, He desires to live in and through us by faith. We must believe Him to do what He has commanded to be done. 3- We MUST teach one another how to seek and receive and maintain the power that works in us by the domination of His Holy Spirit.
We deceive people when we merely instruct and inspire them for better behavior and obedience, allowing them to think that by law, works, or efforts of the flesh they may please the Lord. By teaching that we can live apart from the Spirit controlled life, we “fall from grace” in the area of sanctification by the Spirit. Jesus said in John 5:30, “I can of Myself do nothing…” (an incredible statement for the Son of God). How could we not take Him seriously in His teaching on abiding in Him in John 15:5 when He said, “…without Me you can do nothing”? This is more than just a generic truth but is specifically designed by God to be accomplished by the filling of His Spirit in the believer.
WHAT GOD GAVE! For the doctrinally diligent among us, consider this: The Holy Spirit’s fullness indeed does make us more like our Lord. To be godly and represent His name Elohim, (Gen. 1:1) meaning among other things, the God of fullness, we must ourselves be full of His Spirit. The song writer said, “His height exceeds the Heavens, His weight out-weighs the world, His reach reaches everywhere, His age is evermore.” No wonder the Scripture says, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16); and “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him…” (Col. 2:9,10).
What God gives is fullness, and Who He gives is His Holy Spirit! He indwells every believer at conversion. Then we continue to yield so the Spirit of Christ may be Who He is in who we are so we can be who we are supposed to be. This is the grace for living, and it is found in Jesus by His Spirit’s fullness in each believer. He is the very dynamic of His own demands. “Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it” (I Thess. 5:24).
Since early this year when God again visited me on this subject to revitalize these truths in me and my ministry, there have been attacks, struggles, failures, and victories. Oh how I thank Him for walking with me in all this! I still believe what our Lord Jesus shouted at the feast in John 7:37f, “…’If anyone thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;…” A river is defined by its source, its course, its force, and its capacity. We must seek to define our faith not only by doctrine and duty but also by its dynamic!
Now some questions for us all: Is the teaching you give, seek, and receive FULL of the filling of His Spirit? Are you seeking Him and His fullness in your life? Are you asking God what hinders Him from filling you? Are you seeking through knowledge of the Word and obedience to increase the capacity of the river of your heart?
Glenn Rogers – July 2013