I thought I would be better at keeping up with this! Anyways…let me update you with where we have got to with our study on the person and work of the Holy Spirit…
We have looked at the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, discussing some of the general works of the Spirit but focussed specifically on how the Spirit makes possible the following:
Justification – ‘Justification is a judicial act, where God remits a person‘s sins and declares them to be in a position of righteousness before God. It is what God does for us… The Spirit is the agent that effects justification in the life of the believer’
Regeneration – ‘The word regeneration literally means – rebirth. Regeneration is a spiritual transformation where the Holy Spirit takes us from death unto life’
Sanctification – ‘Sanctification is a process of being restored to the image of God, which begins at the new birth and gradually takes place over the lifetime of a believer’
Without the Holy Spirit’s work, these things just are not possible.
We moved on to discuss the outward, visible marks of the Spirit’s work in the life of a believer, with particular focus on the familiar words from Galatians 5:22-23, ‘the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control’
We spent time reflecting on how each of us is doing with each of the fruits. One word: challenging. Can people really see the Spirit at work in our lives? However, we also felt it appropriate to celebrate the fruit that we do see in each other’s lives and pray that more fruit is cultivated!
Last week we studied the Gifts of the Spirit. We only got to page 1 of the study. God seemed to want us to put the brakes on and do a lot of discussing around this whole area. Francis Chan says, ‘…maybe the biggest concern with the church today is this apparent lack of the Holy Spirit’s power’. In many, many ways I fully agree. We spent a lot of time discussing the different viewpoints held regarding Spiritual Gifts…from the cessationist standpoint (that the sign gifts ceased with the time of the Apostles) through to the charismatic end (that all the gifts are in operation today) of what I suppose is a spectrum of opinions…
One group member commented that our discussions seemed to revolve so much around the gift of ‘healing’ at the expense of some of the others that seemed to get overlooked…great point. We do tend to give a lot of ‘airtime’ to certain things in discussions like that and we miss some of the more understated but equally important things that God has for us.
We are by no means done with discussing the gifts of the Spirit. I believe God wants us to have a fresh contemplation of this…and I believe he wants us to long for what is missing and long for a greater work of the Spirit’s Power in our own personal lives and the life of our church. What will that look like? I’m not sure. But I am excited.
Outside of our cell group two other things are making me convinced that God is wanting our attention with this – firstly, Sunday morning past, our minister preached powerfully on our great need for the Holy Spirit backing up all of what we have been going through and secondly, this Sunday evening we move onto the next session (for the same group of 19-25 year olds) in the Francis Chan BASIC series and the topic is………….the Holy Spirit.
When God is trying to get your attention, yeah…sit up, open your ears, minds and hearts and get ready to let him do what He alone can do with your life. I for one don’t want to miss out on this.
If you read this blog, any thoughts, opinions or questions would be really appreciated!