The Holy Spirit Is Not Casper the Friendly Ghost

When we hear people talking about the Holy Spirit, it’s not uncommon to hear people talking about the Holy Spirit in terms of an evangelical version of Casper the Friendly Ghost. At other points, evangelicals derail by putting all of their focus upon the Holy Spirit to the marginalization of Christ. When the Holy Spirit is cartoonized or overly emphasized and brought to the forefront of our worship—we grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit Is God

A proper understanding of the Holy Spirit is necessary in most evangelical circles today. John MacArthur has stated, “The Holy Spirit is the most forgotten, the most misrepresented, the most dishonored, the most grieved, the most abused, and the most blasphemed member of the Trinity.” That is a massive dose of reality concerning the present understanding of the Holy Spirit in our day.

Throughout the Bible we see various titles for the Holy Spirit:

  • Spirit of God
  • Spirit of Christ
  • Spirit of Grace
  • Spirit of the Lord
  • Spirit of Life
  • Spirit of Truth
  • Eternal Spirit
  • Comforter
  • Helper
  • The Holy Spirit
  • The Spirit

It should be noted that in the study of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is no less God than the Father or the Son. As a member of the Godhead, he is co-equal and co-eternal. In other words, there has never been a time when the Holy Spirit did not exist. Therefore, with the proper understanding and reverence for the Holy Spirit, we should strive to live in such a way that does not “outrage the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29). It is possible to live in such a way that “grieves the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30). A life of holiness is our calling as Christians which prevents such grieving of the Spirit of God.

Read more: http://www.deliveredbygrace.com/the-holy-spirit-not-casper/

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Two Common Myths about the Spirit-Filled Life

Many Christians believe the myth that ‘Spirit-filled’ or even ‘spiritual’ must indicate something or someone a little strange. Depending on how much exposure people have had to the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, they might associate the words ‘Spirit-filled’ with people who claim to be inspired by the Spirit to bark like dogs, scream, or roll around on the floor. Such people exist—I’ve seen them!

Eccentric Prophets

Some people try to justify their conclusion that it is spiritual to act strange by pointing to the eccentric behavior of prophets in the Old Testament. For example, Isaiah walked around naked (Isaiah 20:1–4)—some scholars say, wearing only an undergarment—and Ezekiel lay on his side for 430 days (Ezekiel 4:4–6). Some also point to Saul, who “changed into a different person” when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he prophesied (1 Samuel 10:6, 10).

These examples, however, don’t prove that one should expect to act strangely if one is to be truly spiritual. First of all, Saul might have just “changed into a different person” in the sense that “God changed Saul’s heart” before he prophesied (v. 9).

The Frantic Prophets of Baal

Read more:

The Spirit of the Lord

A Broadcast with Sinclair Ferguson

The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal power or force. He is a person. Today, Sinclair Ferguson helps clear up confusion about the Holy Spirit’s identity.

The Fruit of the Spirit

Rethinking the Fruit of the Spirit

~ Viola

As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, the ekklesia flows out of the inward parts of God. It is a divine organism. It’s not a tradition or a custom. She (and the New Testament describers her as a “she”) is a civilization born out of the unction of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, her members are human and fallen, but she’s divine as well.

This brings us to the subject of fruit. Primarily, “the fruit of the Spirit” as mentioned in Galatians 5.

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

For decades, preachers have been trying to persuade you and me to bear this kind of fruit. But the presupposition behind that persuasion is that we bear the fruit of the Spirit by effort. If you aren’t being patient, kind, gentle, self controlled, etc. you’re just not trying hard enough (so the thinking goes).

But this isn’t the way that a tree bears fruit. Every tree on the planet is a study in survival. A tree bears fruit out of the over abundance of life. Every cell and fiber is saturated with life, and it must find a way get rid of it or else it will drown in its own life. Thus it produces pods on its tips and on the ends of its branches. Fruit is dropped to the earth due to the excess of life that’s contained in the tree.

The fruit of the Spirit, then, is the result and the expression of divine life. I’ve never seen a tree bear fruit by grunting, straining, or striving. The fruit emerges naturally out of life.

In the same way, when you learn how to touch, encounter, and draw on the life of Christ – which indwells every genuine believer – on a regular basis, the natural result is fruit.

And if you have the privilege of gathering with other believers who are learning to draw from that same life, the excess is the fruit of God’s nature. In fact, the fruit of the Spirit is just another way of saying the nature of divine life – which is what the New Testament calls “love.”

Compare 1 Corinthians 13 with the description of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, and you’ll see the striking parallels. Notice also that it’s the fruit (singular) of the Spirit, not fruits (plural).

The fruit is love, which is the nature of divine life. And when you are walking in love, you are gentle, you are kind, you have self-control, you are patient, etc. These attributes are all manifestations of love – i.e., the nature of God’s life.

This is why learning to live by the Lord’s indwelling life is the central thing you and I should be focused on in this life. And whenever a body of believers is touching that life together, the results are incredible. Christ is seen and experienced through His body.

At the same time, if that same body of believers stops having fellowship with that life, then it will begin to chase other things (even good and spiritual things), but things others than Christ Himself. And it will fall apart.

The key is to stay focused on the life, which produces the fruit.

Comment at: https://frankviola.org/2018/03/22/fruit/