Thursday, May 28 2015
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week we treated an interesting topic – “Spectacular Guidance”. We learnt that God does guide through spectacular means! These may involve visions, dreams, through angels, etc. It is, however, important to note that such occurrences do not have to be every time. The primary means of God’s guidance for believers are through His word – the bible and the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit. In this week’s study, we will consider one of the spectacular means of guidance - Guidance through Prophecy.
Texts: 1 Corinthians 14.1 “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”
1 Corinthians 12:29 “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
From our two texts we will notice that we have two different things operating: (1) the gift of prophecy; (2) the ministry of the prophet. These are different; and it will be a mistake to confuse the two. The fact that one prophesies does not make him a prophet. The Word of God plainly teaches that everyone should desire to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1). The simple gift of prophecy is for speaking unto men for edification, and exhortation, and comfort. In this simple gift of prophecy there is no foretelling—no prediction whatsoever.
The Office of the Prophet
For one to be a prophet, he stands in that office and uses that ministry. Other spiritual gifts besides prophecy must operate in his ministry. In the ministry of the prophet there is foretelling and prediction. A prophet has the revelation gifts (the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and/or the discerning of spirits) in operation along with prophecy.
• God speaks through prophets: “I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.” (Hosea 12:10);
• He reveals His plans to prophets: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7),
• He uses prophets to lead His people and to protect them: “And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. (Hosea 12:13).
As wonderful as these are, we should not build our lives on prophecies or depend on prophecies for guidance. Instead, we should build our lives on the Word! Put the Word of God first and let those other things be secondary.
Firstly, if there are true prophets, we can expect false prophets in the last days. Matthew 24:24 says: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
Secondly, we should realize that spiritual things can be misused just as natural things can be misused. Because 1 Corinthians 14:32 says: “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”
For instance, there have been people who were once wealthy who are now bankrupt because they listened to someone prophesy how to invest their money. There have also been ministers who have lost their ministries because of wrong prophecies.
1 Kings Chapter 13 tells us of a man of God who was deceived by a prophet. In verse 18: “He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.”
The Gift of Prophecy
The gift of prophecy is a supernatural gift given to the body of Christ for edification, exhortation, and comfort. As long as the gift of prophecy stays in the realm of speaking to men for edification, exhortation, and comfort, it is wonderful. And should be encouraged. But there are instances where those who prophesy begin to believe they are prophets and begin to offer guidance out of ignorance. Another reason why we should be cautious about building our lives on prophecies or depending on prophecies for guidance.
We should be very careful about personal prophecies because so many lives have been shipwrecked and ruined by not being careful regarding personal prophecy. E.g. marrying someone because someone prophesied you should. Or going into the ministry because somebody prophesied you should. Get it on the inside of you for yourself. Then if a prophecy confirms what you already have, that's all right.
We have to judge personal prophecies by what we have in our own spirits. If we do not have something in our own spirits, along that line, caution should be exercised in accepting a personal prophecy.
The Holy Ghost said in Acts 13:2; "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" He had already called them. This was just a confirmation of it.
The Spirit of God is perfect. The gifts of the Spirit in themselves are perfect. But they certainly are not always perfect in manifestation, because they are manifested through imperfect vessels. This is the reason prophecy and tongues with interpretation need to be judged by the Word. (1 Corinthians 14:29, 30.) Remember—if it does not bear witness, or confirm something you already have, caution should be exercised in accepting a personal prophecy.
It is very easy for babies to be misled and misguided; that is why we need to know these things. This knowledge helps us mature and grow out of being babies; making us aware that there’s one sure (major) way to be led and guided in this life and it is by the Spirit of God and His word. Romans 8:14 says: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
Thursday, May 21 2015
Contributor: Akin Akande
Last week, we treated how we can tell whether it is our flesh or our spirit or the Holy Spirit instructing us to do something. Particularly, we saw that if your spirit is a new creature in Christ Jesus and old things have passed away and all things are become new, and your spirit has the life and nature of God in it and the Holy Spirit in it, and your spirit is in fellowship with God – it is not going to tell you to do something that is not right. Therefore listen to your spirit!
This week, we shall balance inward leading and/or leading via God’s word with spectacular experience for guidance. Essentially, we will attempt to answer the following questions: Does God guide through spectacular means? If yes, is it at believers’ request or at His prerogative? Should believers be seeking for such experiences? Are there examples in the New Testament church?
Early Church vs. Present Church
Sometimes many believers think that the early church is different from the present church. It is wrong! As a matter of fact, the present day church should experience what the early believers experienced since we have the same Holy Spirit as they had. Present day believers must not think that the early church had a lot more than we have. We only need the Person (Holy Spirit) behind all the great exploits that they enjoyed.
Spectacular: Beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way: striking, eye-catching, breathtaking, amazing, glorious, out of this world, etc
Guidance: Advice or information aimed at resolving a problem or difficulty, especially as given by someone in authority.
God does guide through spectacular means! (See examples during the early church in the next section). This might involve visions, dreams, through angels, etc. It is, however, important to note that such occurrences do not have to be every time. Infact, for many of the early believers, we only read about such phenomena once or twice in their lifetime. The primary means of God’s guidance for believers are through His word – the bible and the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit
Rom. 8:14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God
As believers, we should not be seeking for a vision or for an angle to appear to us to be guided. There are no scriptures which say that we should. We do have a right to claim what the Bible promises. If God wants to send an angel, fine. If He wants to give a vision, fine.
Examples of Spectacular Guidance in the Early Church
1. Peter: Cornelius’ house in Acts 10: 9-23.
2. Philip: An encounter with an angel Acts 8:26-29.
3. Paul: Before king Agrippa in Acts 26: 13-19 and regarding the man of Macedonia in Acts 16: 6-10.
One very important thing to note in all these experiences is the synergy between the spectacular means and the Holy Spirit.
1. Peter: In Acts 11:12 when Peter was explaining his action, he said “ the Holy Spirit told me … “
2. Philip: In Acts 8:29, the Holy Spirit spoke.
3. Paul: In Acts 16: 6-7, there had been a connection between Paul/his companions and the Holy Spirit before the vision.
Kenneth’s example: As a young minister he did the same thing most Christians have done in the babyhood stage of their Christianity. He had heard people talking about visions and angels, and he prayed something like that would happen to him. It never did. Then as he matured spiritually so that he never expected it to happen. He did not pray that it would happen. He did not expect it. Guess what? He had a number of such visions/revelations! But it is not at his prerogative but at God’s.
Ministering to the Lord
In Acts 13:1-2, the Holy Spirit spoke. It would be of interest, first of all, to notice under what conditions the Holy Ghost said something. "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said...." We need similar services in our present day church where we gather solely to minister to the Lord. Too often we just minister to one another. Bible studies are good; we need them. Special singing is fine. But too many times we are not singing to the Lord; we are singing to the congregation. Let's have some services where we minister to the Lord; where we wait on Him. In that kind of an atmosphere the Holy Ghost can speak to us.
It has been emphasized during our studies this year that God guides believers primarily via inner witness and His words. This does not exclude the fact that God can still guide through spectacular means, if He wishes to do so. He is God! The wrong attitude will be that while God is trying to bear witness with our spirit, trying to guide us the way He said He would in His Word, we refuse to listen because we want breathtaking experiences such as a vision or an angel to appear or any spectacular means. Such can open up such individual to demonic experiences (2 Cor. 11:14).
Sunday, May 17 2015
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
To be led by the Great Shepherd; we need to be able to identify His voice. John 10: 4 says: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice”. Also in verse 14, Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”
Over the past few months we have been learning to understand how God speaks to us and more importantly that we obey when He does speak.
In today’s study we will be considering the topic “My Spirit, the Flesh or the Holy Spirit?” This is important because it is possible that we may have sometimes wondered "How one can tell whether it is their own spirit, or the Holy Spirit telling them to do something?"
We must have at some time thought to ourselves: "But it may just be me wanting to do it."
First let’s define the terms.
If by "me" you mean the flesh, of course you should not obey the flesh over the spirit.
But if by "me" you mean the inward man, the real you, then it is all right to obey the inward man. Go ahead and do what he wants you to do because it will align with the will of God.
If your spirit is a new creature in Christ Jesus and old things have passed away and all things are become new, and your spirit has the life and nature of God in it and the Holy Spirit in it, and your spirit is in fellowship with God—it is not going to tell you to do something that is not right. If you are a Spirit-filled Christian, your inward man has the Holy Spirit in His fullness—not in a measure, but in His fullness—making His home in you. It is not the inward man of the Christian that wants to do wrong—it is the outward man.
You ought to be able to tell whether it is the flesh wanting to do something, or the spirit.
Here is a text that has been a puzzle to many:
1 JOHN 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
This verse of scripture is talking about the inward man.
Physically we are born of human parents and we partake of their nature. Spiritually we are born of God and partake of His nature. God's nature is not the nature to do wrong.
It is true that we may have missed it a lot of times as Christians. But our “inward man” did not sin.
He didn't even agree with us when we did sin. He tried to get us not to do it but we failed to yield to him. We went ahead to do as we pleased. We allowed our flesh to dominate and we missed it, but our spirits never did consent to it. Our hearts wept because we sinned.
I John refers to God's seed. This seed is in our spirit, not in our flesh.
Most of the time we deceive ourselves; on the outward, our actions “appear” genuine but deep inside our motivation isn’t. Like when for instance we spread gossip in the name of prayer request. We claim to seek peace but our intentions are to inflict hurt on a brother or sister. (Discuss)
Even when our conscience is checking us, we insist and soon our conscience becomes seared and we become insensitive to the Spirit’s promptings and we continue to walk in error! ITimothy1:19 says: “holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”
If we continue to allow our flesh dominate us, if we continue to let our natural mind dominate us, and do not get our mind renewed with the Word we will continue to miss it.
That's why Paul wrote to born-again, Spirit-filled Christians at Rome and told them to do two things: First, they were to present their bodies, and second, they were to renew their minds with the Word (Rom. 12:1, 2).
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Until our minds are renewed with the Word of God, our flesh and our un-renewed minds will dominate our spirit. That will keep us as baby (or carnal) Christians.
Paul said to the church at Corinth,
"I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ" (1 Cor. 3:1).
"For ye are yet carnal...," he said (v. 3).
One translation says, "For you are yet body-ruled."
Then he told them, "... and [ye] walk as men" (v. 3).
Another translation says, "Ye walk as mere men."
What did he mean?
He meant they were walking and doing things just like unsaved men do.
When we get our minds renewed with the Word, then our minds will side in with our spirits instead of with our bodies. And the two of them—our spirits through our minds—will control our bodies
Our spirits will not tell us something wrong; because our spirits have the nature of God and the life of God; the love of God and the Spirit of God! When we go wrong, it is our flesh that leads us astray – not our spirits.
2 PETER 1:4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature....”
We are born of God; and to grow, we feed on the Word of God. By so doing we become partakers of the divine nature, God's nature. If we have the divine nature in us, our spirit will not tell us to do something wrong - whatever your spirit tells us will be right.
Wednesday, May 13 2015
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Lesson 1: THE GREAT SHEPHERD
Psalm 23 can be divided into three parts;
1) The great Shepherd; our provider (vs.1-3)
2) The great Shepherd; our protector (vs.4-5)
3) The great Shepherd; Our preserver (vs.6)
1. The Great Shepherd; Our Provider:
The Lord – The source of David’s comfort, confidence and strength is The Lord.(John 8:58)
Is – David was referring to a present relationship. Not was, like He helped us in the past.
My – This is personal. The terms ‘I, my, me, he, his, you’ etc are used about 30 times in just 6 verses. (Psalm 91:2)
Shepherd – This imagery of the shepherd and sheep spans the entire Bible but is most prominent in the New Testament where Jesus speaks about His relationship with His people, His sheep. (Isaiah 53:6; John 10:1; 11-15)
I shall not want – David was not saying ‘the LORD is my Shepherd, I get everything I want’! Nor was he saying that all our selfish "wants" and cravings will be satisfied if the Lord is our Shepherd. He was talking about genuine needs, not greed’! (Psalm 34:10; Luke 12:22-32).
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters – Let us take note of the phrases He makes me and He leads me. Jesus our Shepherd is in the business of leading and bringing us to a place of rest. It is the responsibility of the great Shepherd to lead us to green pastures and still waters, but it is our responsibility to follow, eat and drink.
He restores my soul – He renews and refreshes my spirit. Literally, He brings it back. Our restoration comes when we follow Him to green pastures (Psalm 55:22).
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake - The paths that the Shepherd takes us on are the righteous or ‘right’ paths (Romans 8:29).
Lesson 2: MAN – AN ETERNAL SPIRIT
1. The Lamp of the Lord - (Romans 8:14,16; Prov. 20:27)
Nowhere does the Bible say God will guide us through our physical senses or mental senses. God will guide us through our spirits.
2. Man: An Eternal Spirit - (Gen.1:26,27; 1 Thess.5:23; John 4:24)
If man is made in God's image, after His likeness, it therefore follow that man must of necessity be a spirit. That is why when the physical body of man is dead and in the grave, the spirit lives on
3. Be Spirit- Conscious - (1 Thess.5:23)
If we are going to be led by the Spirit of God, we must become more spirit-conscious or we'll miss out on the whole thing. Remember, God's Spirit leads us through our spirits.
Lesson 3: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPIRIT AND SOUL
1. The Relationship Between the Spirit and the Soul (1 Thess.5:23; Gen.2:7)
This scripture implies that humans are made of a spirit a soul and a body. It has been said that we are spirit beings, we live in bodies and we possess souls.
2. The Difference Between the Spirit and the Soul (Hebrews 4:12a; 1 Cor.14:14)
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. . .” (Heb.4:12a)
So it follows that if you can divide them, they cannot be the same – they are separate (different) but the Bible tells us that only the Word of God can divide the spirit and the soul.
3. Why It's Important To Know The Difference Between the Spirit and the Soul (Hebrews 4:12a; 1 Cor.14:14)
Let’s consider Prov. 20:27 “The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one's inmost being.” (NIV)
1. We can only contact God (who is Spirit) by our spirits and not our souls.
2. It is by the spirit of man that God provides guidance
Lesson 4: SAVING OF THE SOUL AND OUR BODY
1. The Saving of the Soul - James 1:21, 5:14; Romans 12:2
• At the new birth experience, the spirit of man that is born again and receives eternal life.
• It is the spirit of man (not the soul) that becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.
• The soul is not the innermost being at all. The saving of the soul is a process.
• The Epistle of James was not written to sinners. James wrote this letter to the Church.
• Though the innermost man (the real man - the spirit) receives eternal life, his intellect and emotions - which is seated in the soul- still needs to be renewed by the Word.
2. Presenting the Body - Romans 12:1
• At the new birth we still have the same body we had before we became a new creature. We must learn (as part of the process) to let the new man (on the inside) dominate.
• We must learn to Crucify (subdue as in passion, sin; to put to death by nailing) the flesh.
• Just because our body wants to do wrong does not negate the truth that we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. But we will have to contend with the body, the flesh (mindset), as long as we are in the world.
• God has however, given us the means, the ability, and the authority through the Word of God to deal with the devil and the flesh.
• You (and I) are the one who must do it! Paul never said God would do it for you. He said, "You be not conformed
Lesson 5: THE INWARD WITNESS
1. Leading in the Old Testament vs leading in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 6:19; Ezekiel 36:26, 27)
The ultimate guidance for a Christian under the New Testament should be through the Holy Spirit. He or she need not seek guidance through prophets. He or she might receive guidance through prophets, but he should not seek it or rely on it.
2. Being led vs putting out a fleece (Rom. 8:14)
It is dangerous for Spirit-filled Christians to put out fleeces instead of relying on the leading of the Holy Spirit because these “fleeces” could be perverted by the devil.
3. Developing our spirit and following the leading of the Holy Spirit by the inward witness.
• One way to do that is to feed on God’s Word (Matt.4:4).
• Another way to develop our spirit is to follow after love. The Scriptures say that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16).
• A third way to develop our spirit and become more sensitive to the inward witness is by praying much in other tongues.
Lesson 6: FOLLOWING THE INWARD WITNESS
1. The Time of Old (Exodus 28:30)
In the Old Testament, determining God's will appears to have been an easy task. It was all so simple, because it was external and easily apprehended by man's physical senses.
2. These Days
• Knowing God's will appears to be so much more difficult for us in this day and age. The reason is that God wants us to prove for ourselves what His perfect will is (Rom.12:2).
• In the Acts of the Apostles, we find Philip acting on the inner urging of the Spirit and joining the chariot of the Ethiopian statesman (Acts 8:29)
• Peter obeying the inner voice of the Spirit directing him to go to Cornelius's house (Acts 10:19,20)
• The leaders in the church at Antioch recognizing the witness of the Holy Spirit in their spirits confirming the call of Saul and Barnabas to foreign missionary service (Acts 13:2).
3. Following the Witness (John 10:4)
Number 1 requirement is Recognition - recognizing the voice of the Spirit
Most times the inward witness is there but we don't recognize it.
4. How Can We Recognise The Voice of the Spirit? (Romans 8:6 TLB)
• We can distinguish the voice of the Holy Spirit by the increasing pressure He produces in our spirits and the growing peace He gives to our minds, as we pray over a matter.
• Faith doesn't get in a hurry. The devil will try to push you. He will try to move you out of faith, move you into doubt, move you into unbelief, and get you away from the leading of God.
• God invariably gives us sufficient time to consider and be sure of His will.
5. The Place of Our Conscience (Romans 9:1; 1 Tim.1:19 NLT)
• The number one way that we receive the leadership of the Holy Spirit is through the inner witness in our spirits and the conscience is the “voice” of our human spirit.
6. How to lessen the possibility of Falling For The Deceit of Our Hearts
• We should examine our motives and make sure we desire the glory of God alone
• We should be prepared to accept whatever He chooses for us
• God's will may sometimes be just what we like ourselves, but it can also be what we do not instinctively like. We should not think God's will is always the most difficult course of action that lies before us. Neither need it be the easiest course of action.
7. Practical Steps For Decision Making (Col.3:15 AMP)
• Draw a line across a sheet of paper and write down all the reasons for doing a particular thing on one side, and all the reasons against it on the other (like a balance sheet)
• Pray over these reasons daily and revise the list as necessary.
• Be sincerely willing to accept either course of action.
• As you continue to pray, the Holy Spirit will give you a witness in your spirit as to what you are to do. If you experience a growing peace in your spirit about a particular course of action, this will usually be a clear indication of what God wants you to do.
• We should check ourselves when we lose our peace.
• We should proceed ahead only when we have perfect peace in our spirits.
Lesson 7: THE INWARD VOICE (Romans 9:1; John 16:7-14)
1. Ways By Which God Personalises His Messages To Us
a) Inward Witness of Intuition (Rom.8:14)
b) Inward Voice (Rom.9:1-2)
c) God's Audible Voice (1 Sam.3:10)
2. The Spirit Man Has a Voice
The spirit of man (i.e. the inward man or the real man) has a voice. The voice is referred to as the conscience. We call this voice the still small voice.
3.The Holy Spirit and Our spirit (John 16:7-14 AMP)
• Jesus was talking to His disciples about what will happen when He leaves them.
• The Holy Spirit was sent to us to be our counsellor, our adviser on personal problems, the one who gives us advice; our helper, our assistant, our advocate and more.
• However, our conscience (still small voice) can only be enlightened or prompted by the Holy Spirit if we maintain purity of heart - Titus 1:15
• How may we maintain purity of heart? Philippians 4:8 and Colossians 3:1-2 give us the clue.
Lesson 8: EFFECTS OF THE SPIRIT'S INDWELLING (1 Cor.3:16; Romans 8:9; John 14:17)
1. Does the Holy Spirit Dwell In Believers? (John 14:17, 1 Cor. 3:16, Rom. 8:9, 1 John 3:24)
Clearly the Spirit does dwell in people today. In fact, the Spirit dwells in ALL true children of God, and He begins to dwell in us at the moment we become God's children (not at some later point).
2. The nature of Spirit’s indwelling (John 14:23)
What must be evident in our lives are the effects the Holy Spirit has on our lives and our actions (John 3:8). These proofs will show that He dwells in us and He can only have an effect on us and control our lives if we allow Him.
3. The Result of the Spirit’s Indwelling: A Personal Empowering Presence (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19)
As a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit it is now possible for the Christian to be permanently in communion with God. Not only does the Christian have access to God, but also access to His power (Ephesians 3:16-21).
Lesson 9: GOD INSIDE (2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Cor.3:16)
• How the Holy Spirit Makes Us His Temple
When we become born again, the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit) starts living and abiding in our spirits.
• How the Holy Spirit Communicates (2 Corinthians. 6:16)
Since God is dwelling in us that is where He will speak to us – from inside of us! And so He communicates with us through our spirits.
1. God (In Us) Wants To Reveal His Plans
• The original relationship God had with Adam and Eve in the beginning is what He wishes to have with us today (1 Cor.2:9-11)
• Our spirit knows things that our heads don’t know, because the Holy Spirit is in our spirits and searches all things.
2. What The Holy Spirit Requires From Us
• Patient Waiting
Waiting is not something many of us do well. Our culture engenders a sort of vending machine mentality in us. We want things instantly don’t we? Because we want to do it all and do it now, so when God says "not yet" it would sound like a "not ever" to our ears.
3. Seven Steps for Effective "Waiting On The Holy Spirit"
1. Begin by quieting your own spirit (1 Kings 19:11-13).
2. Open up your life totally to Jesus. Lift your heart toward God.
3. Seek the truth about yourself. Think about what you do that falls short of Christ-likeness and ask for forgiveness.
4. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine His convicting light on any tucked-away rancour and bitterness in your heart. Ask for forgiveness and cleansing from those attitudes (Mark 11:25)
5. Invite the Holy Spirit to take control of your schedule, agendas, timetables and calendars.
6. Realize that waiting on the Holy Spirit doesn't mean aimless thumb twiddling.
7. Yearn to sense the Holy Spirit's presence in your life.
Lesson 10: TENDER HEARTED (1 John 3:20, 21)
How to keep our hearts tender for the Holy Spirit to be able to lead us.
1) Self-Condemnation (1 John 3:20): The Holy Spirit will not condemn us. Why? Because God won't. It is God that justifies (Romans 8:1)
Difference between condemnation and conviction
a) Condemnation causes us to turn away from God in fear, dread, and shame. Conviction causes us to come to God and freshly place our faith in the perfect life and death of Christ.
b) Condemnation leads us to believe that we’ll never change and that we aren't worthy of God's love. Conviction gives us hope that, even though we sinned, God is still at work in us.
c) Condemnation paralyzes faith for change, keeping us in bondage. Conviction bears the fruit of faith for change, freeing us to fully grow in the love of God.
d) Condemnation causes us to wallow in despair and self-pity. Conviction leads to God-centred hope.
e) Condemnation sees God as an angry judge who is waiting in the shadows to strike at any moment. Conviction sees God as a loving Father who disciplines his children through His love for us.
f) Condemnation is inward, self-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that we have sinned. Conviction is outward, God-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that we have sinned against God.
2) Holy Spirit; The Comforter (John 14:16): You will never read in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is referred to as a “condemner”. Jesus called Him the Comforter.
3) How To Keep Our Heart Tender (Eph.4:32, 1 Pet.3:8): If we repent and restitute or apologise whenever we are wrong, we will keep our heart constantly tender before God for the Holy Spirit to communicate and lead us effectively.
4) A Seared Conscience or Hardened Heart (1 Tim.4:1,2): When we constantly fail to follow the voice of our conscience and won’t repent and restitute when we are checked, our hearts can become hardened or seared. If our hearts are hardened or seared, we are on our way to destruction. The voice of the Holy Spirit will no longer be recognisable to us.
Lesson 11: THE VOICE OF THE BODY (Romans 8:16; John 16:13)
• The voice of the body is otherwise known as “Feelings”. When we talk about feelings, we are referring to sensations, moods, thrills, excitement, anger, fear, sorrow, hate, etc.
• Reason is the voice of the soul, or the mind.
• Conscience is the voice of the spirit.
• What the flesh (the body and its voice – our feelings) desires is contrary to what the Spirit desires and what the flesh says is also contrary to what the Spirit says and ultimately what God says! (Gal.5:17)
• To go by feelings is to get into trouble because our feelings are unreliable. Feelings are tied to our ever-changing circumstances; that is the reason so many Christians are up and down; and in and out; because they go by their feelings.
• We should base our faith and ultimately our lives and destinies on the Word—not on our feelings.
Lesson 12: THE VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 10:19; John 14:15-18, 25-26, 16:7-15)
1. Ways By Which God Personalises His Message To Us
a) Inward Witness or Intuition - Romans 8:14
b) The Inward Voice - Romans 9:1-2 (NIV)
c) God's Audible Voice - Voice of The Holy Spirit (I Samuel 3:10)
2. It is Expedient (John 16:7-15 KJV)
Some few points from this scripture.
• IMPORTANCE: First point here is that Jesus himself emphasises the importance of Himself leaving the scene so that the Holy Spirit can come.
• REASON: Reason for Jesus's exit from the scene is so that the Holy Spirit can come.
• PURPOSE: One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit's coming is to provide guidance through revelations and instructions