Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Spirit-filled Church: Five Foundations

What does God tell us about the Holy Spirit and the Church, in Ephesians?

God's amazing plan is to establish Christ over all (1v10, 1v22). Everything God is doing is drawing attention to Christ. All the work of the Spirit points us that way. The Spirit implements this work of Christ-exaltation. The Spirit effects this work of Christ-exaltation. He is self-effacing in his work, not drawing attention to himself but pointing us always to Christ - the Spirit-filled Church must be a Christ-centred church... without the Spirit we wont look to Christ... with the Spirit we will be drawn to him.



Firstly, we're sealed with the Spirit. 1v13
The Holy Spirit is a marker of God's grace to us. The Spirit is God's guarentee of God's work in our lives. This is something objective in our lives. God says - "mine". God says "got you". When? When we heard and believed the good news of God's amazing plan. We heard and believed the word of truth - the good news of salvation. The Holy Spirit is God, marking us as God's loved elect people.
So? As believers of the word of truth, about Jesus, we should be assured of life and every blessing in God!

Secondly, we're given access to the Father 2v18
Once we were divided. Divided from one another. Divided from God. Separate. Hostile. Opposed. By the death of Jesus God's elect are united to one another and to God. And how do we have access to God? By the one Holy Spirit. Not strangers, but belonging in God's presence!
So? Know that we have acess to God! And come, pray!

Thirdly, the Spirit revealed the gospel to us! 3v5
God's amazing plan is described as a mystery. Biblical mystery is not mystic and unknowable. Biblical mystery refers to what God has kept concealed, and then revealed. By the Holy Spirit the good news of God's amazing plan is revealed.
So? Be glad that the gospel is revealed, and preach the unsearchable riches of Christ! Be spiritual - be gospel!

Fourthly, we're God's dwelling place 2v22, 3v16
4A - In The Church
God tells us that as church we are the place where God lives. We're like the temple. We're the home of God on earth. A holy temple in the Lord... where God presences himself by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, at home with his people.
So? Know that God is with us! Love Christ's church. Love being Christ's church. Seek God's presence in the community of God's people.

4B - In Our Hearts
Not only does God live with us, but also in us. Working in us, strengthening us wih power... revealing the love of Christ to us. We know the love of God - from the Word of God and by the Spirit in us. We don't muster up knowledge of God's love. Th e Holy Spirit is God, at home in his people.
So? Pray to be given power to know the love of Christ! And pray it for others. Let the Holy Spirit point you to Christ.

Fifthly, we're united in the Holy Spirit 4v4
We're told earlier in Ephesians that Jesus Christ, by his death, unites God's elect with one another and with God. A double-unity. In union with Christ, and in union with one another. Bonded together. God describes this bond of peace (where once there was hostility) and the Unity of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God marking us, God with us and God in us. The Holy Spirit is God, the glue between us.
So? Live humbly together, with gentleness and patience... worthy of this calling to be God's people. Unity works out in our relationships, so relate! Be Christ-like to one another rather than opposing the Spirit's gospel-uniting work.

TO BE CONTINUED:
  • Grieving the Spirit
  • Filled with the Spirit
  • Fight and pray with the Spirit

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