How do we receive God’s spirit? And how does it work in the life of a Christian?
Exactly what is a Christian? How does the Bible define a Christian in the most accurate sense?
The Scriptures clearly identify who belongs to Christ—that is, who we might term a true Christian. Notice the apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans:8:9: “Now if anyone does not havethe Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (emphasis added throughout). The Holy Spirit, then, is an essential aspect of the biblical definition of a Christian. Further, only those who are led by God’s Spirit have access to eternal life.
Paul continues in verse 11, “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 [which] dwells in you.” Continue reading
Most people don’t understand the working of the Holy Spirit. As a result, they don’t recognize its power to transform our lives.
At this time of year almost 2,000 years ago, a miraculous, momentous event occurred—the New Testament Church was founded on the Feast of Pentecost. What made this occurrence so astounding—and Acts 2 records that the circumstances of that day were truly dramatic—was the giving of God’s Spirit to the followers of Jesus Christ as He had promised (John:14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts:1:4-5, 8).
What is this Holy Spirit that came on Christ’s followers that day? Why did these things happen? What should we learn from those strange occurrences?
To understand the events, we must first understand what the Holy Spirit is and what it is not. To grasp that, we must understand what the Holy Spirit does.
What, then, does the Bible teach about the Holy Spirit? Continue reading
You need to understand this vital biblical formula for overcoming sin.
A vital aspect of God’s purpose for us involves our coming to repentance, recognizing our sinful state and how far short we fall of God’s standards, and determining to begin living God’s way of life. We strive to identify and overcome our sins and live a sin-free life.
However, when God helps us recognize the enormity of our sins, a natural human response is dejection and discouragement. Even the apostle Paul struggled with his weaknesses, lamenting that “in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find . . . The evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans:7:18-19).
How can we possibly overcome our deficiencies of character and attain to the eternal life that God offers us? How can we change and overcome sin?
During Jesus’ ministry a rich young man came to Him and asked what he should do to achieve eternal life. Christ told him, “. . . If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew:19:17). When the man asked which commandments Jesus was talking about, Christ referred to five of the Ten Commandments, along with the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” But He omitted mention of the Tenth Commandment, which forbids coveting. Covetousness was the man’s problem and one of the reasons this account is in the Bible. The young man was just too attached to his riches to give them up, so he “went away sorrowful” (verse 21-22). Continue reading
Standards all around you may be slipping, but here are some principles to help you stay in charge of your child’s moral upbringing.
It’s 11 o’clock at night and Ted and Joyce know where their children are: safely in bed. At 11 o’clock in the morning they also know where their children are: underfoot.
Ted and Joyce, who both work at home, see plenty of their children. Sometimes they feel they see too much of Steve, 5, and Millie, 2, even though they can afford an efficient nanny to help look after them.
From Ted and Joyce to the single-parent groupings at the other end of the family spectrum, more and more parents are like one mother I know who said of her family’s way of life: “We’re so busy running here and there and taking the kids to different activities that we hardly ever have time to just sit and talk with each other.” Continue reading
How do we show that we love God? Many believe that Jesus Christ came to bring a new way to worship God. But what does the Bible say?
Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, sprang from humble beginnings, although He admitted He was born to be king (John:18:37). During the few short years of His ministry, He was known by many as a great teacher. But what did He teach?
Did He come to do away with the laws of old? Was Jesus a rebellious son? Did He bring a new set of commandments to replace those the Israelites had received at Mount Sinai? Is God’s law no longer valid, useful or necessary?
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets,” Jesus proclaimed. “I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew:5:17). What did He mean by “fulfill”? The Greek word for “fulfill” is pleroo and can mean to “render full,” “fill up” or “complete.” Did Christ mean that God’s law was made complete and therefore somehow rendered obsolete?
After all, Christ gave “a new commandment” that “you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John:13:34). Did He mean for this new commandment to replace all the others and that what the whole world needs is love? Continue reading
Gentleness, so sadly lacking in this world, should be evident in the life of a Christian. What is gentleness, and how can it be a part of your life?
I love those dear hearts and gentle people who live in my home town. Because those dear hearts and gentle people will never, ever let you down.” The words of this song, written 47 years ago by Bob Hilliard, call to mind a time when the world was (at least in our collective memory) a more neighborly place. Do you sometimes find yourself wishing for those times? Do you yearn for a return to civility?
Author Robert Fulghum addressed the problem of a general lack of courtesy and politeness this way: “All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten . . . Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people . . . Say you’re sorry when you hit somebody” ( All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten , Villard Books, New York, 1989, p. 6). The author then mentioned that the world would be a better place if everyone, including the leaders of governments, lived by these basic principles. Continue reading