The Multifaceted Spirit – Leading with Love

life-of-compassion

The Multifaceted Spirit

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever
. John 14:16

Why do future pastors and missionaries study New Testament Greek when preparing for ministry? For reasons best illustrated by the Greek word Jesus used to describe the Spirit whom God would send to the disciples after Jesus’ departure from earth.

Four times Jesus referred to the Spirit by the Greek word parakletos (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). Understanding parakletos reveals the role the Spirit would play in the Church. Parakletos is a compound word. Para means along, alongside, among, beside, in the sight of, and more. Kaleo means to call or summon. Put the two together and you have parakletos—someone who is called alongside or among others. For what purpose? To help (NKJV), to counsel (ESV notes), to intercede (NASB notes), to befriend (MSG), to comfort (AMP), to advocate (NLT, second edition), and more. As modern translations reveal, it is hard to choose one English word that captures everything the Holy Spirit came to be and do.

In short, the Holy Spirit came to be to us what Jesus was to His disciples (John 14:26). When we are full of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), we are full of Christ Himself.

The Holy Spirit is the heavenly Lover’s engagement ring given to us. Michael Green

Leading with Love

I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. Philemon 9

In his book Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders explores the qualities and the importance of tact and diplomacy. “Combining these two words,” Sanders says, “the idea emerges of skill in reconciling opposing viewpoints without giving offense and without compromising principle.”

During Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, he became the spiritual mentor and close friend of a runaway slave named Onesimus, whose owner was Philemon. When Paul wrote to Philemon, a leader of the church in Colossae, asking him to receive Onesimus as a brother in Christ, he exemplified tact and diplomacy. “Although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. . . . [Onesimus] is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord” (Philem. 8–9, 16).

Leaders who serve will serve as good leaders.

Paul, a respected leader of the early church, often gave clear commands to the followers of Jesus. In this case, though, he appealed to Philemon on the basis of equality, friendship, and love. “I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary” (v. 14).

In all our relationships, may we seek to preserve harmony and principle in the spirit of love.

Father in heaven, in all our relationships, give us grace and wisdom to be wise leaders, parents, and friends.

Leaders who serve will serve as good leaders.

By David McCasland

The Loss of Hope

Acts 27:13-26

Life doesn’t always meet our expectations. Even when making plans according to God’s lead, we may run into something that interrupts them. Frustration over the obstacle can lead to discouragement and loss of hope. Then, if the hindrance should persist, our spirits may plummet toward despair.

Oftentimes, what trips us up is the circumstance that seems impossible to overcome. Think about Paul’s voyage to Rome by sea. When a bad storm arose, the sailors worked hard to save the ship. But since they couldn’t control the weather, they gradually gave up all hope of being saved (Acts 27:20). There are times when we can’t change what has happened—whether it’s a job loss, a loved one’s death, or a devastating diagnosis. In such situations, feelings of hopelessness can overtake us.

Postponed plans can also be disheartening. Hannah is an example of someone who became dejected because of “hope deferred” (1 Sam. 1:10-11; see also Prov. 13:12). She saw other women bearing children, but her own maternal desires had not yet been fulfilled. When things do not go according to our schedule, we may experience emotions like hers.

Feeling abandoned by the Lord is another thing that can throw believers off track. I remember a season of life when I felt all alone. My mind said God was with me, but my feelings said otherwise. To counter those emotions, I pursued the Lord through prayer and meditation on Scripture.

In times of discouragement, you have a choice. Will you focus on your circumstances, or will you fix your gaze on our loving Father and trust Him?

Creation and the Finger of God

“It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” (Exodus 31:17-18)

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16), but this portion of Scripture was given by direct inscription of God! Moses testified: “The LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly” (Deuteronomy 9:10). “He wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments” (Exodus 34:28). Thus, out of all the Holy Scriptures, God chose to write this section, not through one of His prophets, but with His own finger! It should, therefore, be taken literally and most seriously.

It is also significant that these commandments were structured around a weekly day of rest, “remembering” God’s creation week—six days of creating and making everything in heaven and Earth, followed by a sanctified day of rest and refreshment (note also Exodus 20:8-11 and Genesis 1:31–2:3). Ever since the creation, people have observed a weekly calendar. The seven-day week (unlike the day, month, and year) has no astronomical basis. People keep time in weeks simply because God did! Even those who deny the six-day week of creation must observe it, for their biological rhythms are constructed that way by God. “The sabbath was made for man,” said Jesus (Mark 2:27). Since God considered the truth of the literal creation week so important that He inscribed it Himself, we should believe this portion of His Word first of all. HMM

The Inner Sanctum

Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. —Revelation 3:20

One of the most liberating declarations in the New Testament is this:

The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

Here the nature of worship is shown to be wholly spiritual. True religion is removed from diet and days, from garments and ceremonies, and placed where it belongs—in the union of the spirit of men with the Spirit of God.

From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. At the far-in hidden center of man’s being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God. There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribably wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ, and He will enter only by the invitation of faith.

Lord Jesus, enter the inner sanctum of my heart, I pray. Come in and fill me with Your holy fire, that I might uniquely sense Your presence today. Amen.

Is your Church Weary?

In this, the children of God are manifest. (1 John 3:10)

As Christian believers, we stand together in the evangelical faith—the historical faith of our fathers. Yet, we must confess that many congregations seem bogged down with moral boredom and life-weariness.

The church is tired, discouraged and unastonished—Christ seems to belong to yesterday.

The prophetic teachers have projected everything into the dim future where it is beyond our reach—unavailable! They have dispensationalized us into a state of spiritual poverty—and they have left us there!

But regardless of such teachers, the course of spiritual victory is clear; let us trust what the Word of God continues to say to us!

The Scriptures are open and plain. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord. He is our great High Priest, alive and ministering for us today. His person, His power and His grace are the same; without change, yesterday, today and forever!

As He is in the light!

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light.”—1 John 1. 7

As he is in the light! Can we ever attain to this? Shall we ever be able to walk as clearly in the light as he is whom we call “Our Father,” of whom it is written, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all?” Certainly, this is the model which is set before us, for the Saviour himself said, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect;” and although we may feel that we can never rival the perfection of God, yet we are to seek after it, and never be satisfied until we attain to it.