March 26, 2017

Meet The Person, The Holy Spirit And What It Means To Live In The Spirit.


VIDEO: Benny Hinn - "Where would we be without the Holy Spirit!?"
written by Jim Tompkins
[source: MudPreacher.org ]
"Anyone who does not know the Holy Spirit as a person has not attained unto a complete and well rounded Christian experience. Any one who knows God the Father and God the Son and does not know God the Holy Spirit, has not attained unto the Christian conception of God, nor to a fully Christian experience." ~R A Torrey
I want you to imagine you are one of the Disciples who followed Jesus faithfully as He ministered throughout Judea and Samaria. You were a believer in Him as the Messiah. You were willing to follow Him as He set up His Kingdom. He was your everything.

Then comes that horrible night when He is taken away. All you dreams are shattered as you watch as they crucify the one you thought was the Messiah of God.

You join the others in hiding as you wonder what to do with your life. For three days you are in a panic. Then you hear the news. Jesus is alive! You rush over to where He is, and you see you touch, you know He is alive!

But later, Jesus meets with you and tells you that He is going away. He is going to His Father. Here is what He says:
Luke 24:44-49 (ESV) Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
John 14:15-18 (ESV) “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another paraklētos, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

John 15:26-27 (ESV) “But when the paraklētos comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

John 16:7-8 (ESV) Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the paraklētos will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:

John 14:26 (ESV) But the paraklētos, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

I. The Importance of Knowing the Holy Spirit as a Person.

Real Worship

1. Worship is meant to be Personal and Transformational.
a. Theoretical worship vs. Experiential Worship
b. Influenced by your perception

2. When we view the Holy Spirit as an ‘IT’, our worship is impersonal and without life changing effect
a. Rob a Divine person of proper worship
b. Rob a Divine person of proper love and obedience

3. We supposedly Worship the Holy Spirit every time we sing the Doxology:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Growth as a Christian

1. If you see the Holy Spirit as an influence or power…
a. How can I get a hold of the Holy Spirit and use it?
b. How can I get More of the Holy Spirit?

2. If we see the Holy Spirit as a person…
a. How can the Holy Spirit get hold of me and use me?
b. How can the Holy Spirit get more of me?

3. Wrong attitudes of seeing the H.S. as an influence
a. Self Confidence
b. Self-exaltation
c. Act as though you are superior

4. Right attitudes of Seeing the H.S. as a Divine Person Living in You
a. Self-renunciation
b. Self-humiliation
c. Act with a sense of being a vessel for the Divine.

To Experience the Fullness of Christ

1. Life Changing Encounter
2. The Point of Jesus in John 3

John 3:2-8 (ESV) This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

We MUST EXPERIENCE God for ourselves!

The Proof of the Person of the Holy Spirit.

All Characteristics of Personality are attributed to the Holy Spirit

What Makes a Person a Person?
  • Knowledge
  • Feeling
  • Will
A Person Does Not Need a Body
  • We will not have our fleshly body for a long time, but we will still be a unique person.
  • If you have knowledge, feelings and a will, you are a person whether you have a body or not.
The Bible Proves the Person of the Holy Spirit

1. KNOWLEDGE
1 Corinthians 2:11 (ESV) For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

2. WILL
1 Corinthians 12:11(ESV) All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

a. The Holy Spirit gets hold of us and uses us according to His Will!
b. You cannot get hold of Him!

3. MIND WILL AND EMOTIONS
Romans 8:27(ESV) And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

a. Mind is the Greek word “phronema” which has in it all three-knowledge, feeling and will.
b. Rom 8:7 – The mind of the flesh is enmity means that the whole moral and intellectual life of the flesh is enmity against God.

4. LOVE OF THE SPIRIT.
Romans 15:30 (ESV) I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.

a. Not a mere influence of power
b. He is a divine person, loving us with the tenderest of love.
c. Have you thanked the Holy Spirit for His Love?

5. INTELLIGENCE AND GOODNESS
Nehemiah 9:20 (ESV) You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst.

6. A PERSON WHO GRIEVES OVER OUR SINS
Ephesians 4:30 (ESV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

a. He Goes with us wherever we go.
b. He desires us to please Him with our lives.

The Holy Spirit is a Person of the Trinity
  1. Genesis 1:26 (ESV) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
  2. Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV) In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said (The Word of God-the Logos), “Let there be light,” and there was light.
  3. Elohim is plural for “Gods”.
  4. THERE IS A PLURALITY OF PERSONS IN THE ONE GODHEAD.
Read Deuteronomy 6:4. The word for God used in “The Lord (Jehovah) our God (elohim) is one Lord” should actually be translated Gods. Elohim is a masculine plural noun used 2,600 times in the Old Testament. Why would the Holy Spirit use a plural noun to describe the ONE TRUE GOD?

Many Actions are attributed to the Holy Spirit that only a Person can perform.

1. 1 Corinthians 2:10 (ESV) these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

a. The Holy Spirit who Himself searches the deep things of God and then He reveals to us the things which He discovers.

2. Romans 8:26 (ESV) Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

a. The Holy Spirit Prays for us here on Earth
b. Jesus Christ Prays for us from Heaven

3. John 14:26(ESV) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

a. He teaches us
b. He reminds us.

4. John 16:12-14(ESV) “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

a. He is our personal Teacher
b. He reveals to us what He hears!

The Holy Spirit holds an Office that only a person can hold.

John 14:16-17(ESV) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
  1. He is ANOTHER Comforter, just like Christ.
  2. Not an influence, but a PERSON, who makes His Home in our lives.
  3. Christ is a Divine Person, and He sent ANOTHER Divine Person to take His place!
  4. Comforter is ‘parakletos’, “one who stand’s alongside another”.
  5. Same as Advocate in 1 John 2:1 (if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.)
  6. Jesus is the one who came alongside the Boat in the midst of the storm.
  7. Comforter – Parakletos
  • Different from parakaleo (one you call upon for comfort)
  • Not someone who you call upon when you need Him.
  • It is His Purpose to be always at your side!
  • We are indwelt, we are sealed.
  • He is our Constant Companion!
Would Your Life Change if You Knew the Holy Spirit as a Person?

1. Insomnia
2. Loneliness
3. Communion of the Holy Spirit in times of loss
a. Heartache
b. No Fear

It was New Years Eve, and we had our whole family over at a friend’s house in Blue Springs. It was after mid night, and we started to take the hour trip home to Overland Park. The weather turned nasty, and the drizzle that was falling started to freeze. We were on I-70 close to Independence, when the highway became a sheet of ice. Cars where sliding everywhere. We were only going 30 miles an hour, and were in a big conversion van. I was scared out of my mind. My wife was yelling, some of the kids were crying. All of a sudden the van started sliding. I had lost control and nothing was working to stop the van. We started sliding sideways down the highway into the cars ahead of us. I just said Lord, we are in your hands. Just when it looked like we were going to crash into a car or a guard rail, the van came to a sudden stop. We had come to a place under an overpass that had not iced up. Hallelujah! I had a quick word of praise and prayer with our family, got the van headed the right way and we slowly made our way home. It took over two hours, but I was no longer afraid, for I knew the Holy Spirit was with us. I had remembered what RA Torrey had said about a time he had to hike along a river bluff for 4 miles after midnight with no moon.
Living in the Spirit

Our Journey through the Cross will stop in Romans 8.

Here we discover what the Cross is all about. It is about the life that Jesus died to give all those who by faith make Him their life. It requires a turning away from our self, our sin, our flesh and embracing Jesus Christ as our Lord, our Life, our Savior.

By faith in what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross, we are justified by God. We are declared righteous, we are declared His children. By faith, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus shed upon the world at Pentecost, comes and makes us His dwelling place. We are set apart for God’s purpose.

Coming to the Cross and accepting Jesus as your Savior means that you will now live by the cross. We must take up our cross daily, and just as Jesus humbled Himself as a servant, so we must humble ourselves before Almighty God and take up the cross He has given to us.

We have this assurance from the Master himself, that we will not bear our cross alone. In fact, our cross becomes easy and light, as long as we realize that He carries it for us. For the cross means that we no longer live, in fact our old man is dead, and the life that we now live, we live by Jesus Christ.

This is the message of Romans, and Romans 8 reveals what it means to be a Christian. Romans 8 is the insider’s guide to the Christian Life. The Christian Life is all about walking after the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit communicates and manifests Jesus Christ in our lives. Romans 8 details our New Life in the Holy Spirit.

1. The Holy Spirit Joins us to Christ

He brings about a vital union with the Lord Jesus.
“He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17);
It is a spiritual and inward union with the Lord Jesus. This is what Romans 8:1-2 describes:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
When we are born again, the Holy Spirit joins us to Jesus Christ and we live in the Spirit of Life! God is all about Life, and sin is death. Being joined to Jesus means we are no longer under condemnation, no longer under the penalty of sin, no longer under the judgment of death, separated from Holy God by all eternity in Hell.

You and I, if we are truly born-again children of God, have got to know that, right inside of us, a union has been effected between Christ and ourselves, and ourselves and Christ; that we are joined to Christ. That union has been affected; we have been made one.

No more me, but We!

The Lord’s way of illustrating this truth is the marriage union. Paul says, “the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:31, 32). ‘One flesh’. Just as married couples, we are made “one flesh” with Jesus Christ.

Now, if a marriage is what it ought to be, those two people are so ONE, that to separate them is to cut one person in two, and only leave two halves, and not a whole. This explains how death can leave a spouse so empty, so alone, as if part of them is gone. This explains how even years later, divorce can leave an ugly scar upon ones soul.

That is the illustration of our union with Christ. We are not complete until we are united with Christ; our completeness is in union with Christ.

If we do not have Christ with us, we are only half here. If we lose the Lord, we are torn in two. Jesus is that much a part of our lives.

We can – by disobedience, by playing with sin, by disobeying the Lord, by this or that – bring about such an effect, so that we feel as if something has happened; the Lord is there and I am here, and we are not together. It is as though we have been torn in two, are not complete.

This is the beginning of the Christian life; the very foundation and basis of the Christian life:

We and Christ have been made one; not two – one!
Jesus is not our homeboy. He is not someone we go to when things get bad. He is not a good luck charm we wear around our neck. He is not a wristband that says WWJD. We are united as one with the very creator of the universe. This union is a mystery, but it is so real and so powerful that to divide, to walk away and have an independent life – it is to destroy your own identity, to tear your own spiritual personality in pieces; and that is how it is, if we get away from the Lord in any way.
So here, the very first thing that we find about this life in the Spirit, is that there has come about between us and Christ, and between Christ and ourselves, a oneness, which is not in any outward, visible sense, but in a vital, inward reality.

So the first thing is “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (v. 2) – the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus – that is the union: our union with Christ.
2. The Holy Spirit Leads Us
Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14
When we are joined to Jesus Christ, we are not left to our own abilities. In fact, we must humble ourselves and give all of ourselves to Christ, so that the Holy Spirit will lead us. The operative word is “LED”. He is the leader. It is not a shared responsibility. There can be only one BOSS. This is why Paul wrote that:
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:7-8
To be led by the Spirit we must “walk AFTER the Spirit”

God reveals why we cannot walk after the flesh and why we must walk after the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:29:

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son… Romans 8:29

3. The Holy Spirit brings us to Confidence in our Father
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
The Holy Spirit opens us up to seeing God as our dearest Daddy, the one who cares for us with unconditional love. We no longer live our lives in fear of what can or might happen. We know that we are in the hands of our dearest Daddy.

God is including us in His plan, and that plan involves us becoming conformed to His Son Jesus Christ.

Many of us have experienced horrible tragedies. Many of us have suffered terrible injustices, abuse. There are many ways we react to such experiences.

We can blame others, we can hold on to our pain and grow bitter, we can become frustrated and angry, and we can lash out and be vengeful. None of these reflects the heart of one who sees his life held in the arms of his dearest Daddy.
Living in the Holy Spirit is a life that is confident in the God’s power and God’s Purpose for your life. Living in the Holy Spirit allows us to believe what Paul wrote: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”. Romans 8:28
4. The Holy Spirit Bears Witness
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, Romans 8:16
The indwelling Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. How does He do it? The Holy Spirit does not constantly speak in our ear, and say: “You know you are a child of God; you are a child of God”.

He says what He does because of our being children of God – that we know it.
We know how others can do certain things that we cannot; there is something that we have in our heart that makes us aware that this is, or this is not, according to the Father’s mind. The simple truth is this – we know: “the Spirit beareth witness”; we know. This joint witness of the Holy Spirit works with the Spirit of Sonship mentioned in verse 15 wherein we cry “Abba Father”. We know we are God’s child.

Bear witness with is summartureō, “to bear joint witness with” some other person, “to bear joint-testimony with” some other person. “Our spirit” refers to the saint’s human spirit energized by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit bears testimony to our human spirit that we are children of God (teknon, without article, thus, children of God by nature), and our Spirit-energized, spirit thus joins the Holy Spirit in a joint-testimony to that fact. Wuest’s Word Studies

What Is Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

written by Staff
[source: CBN]

Many people may have had an experience like that of the little girl who heard the Holy Ghost (as the Holy Spirit is sometimes called) mentioned in church from time to time, but so vaguely and infrequently she could only guess what sort of ghost this might be. So one day, when she ventured down into the dark furnace room in the church's cellar, she decided with a child's firm logic that this spooky place must be where the Holy Ghost lurked.

The fact is, adult believers often act as if the Holy Spirit really was hiding in the church cellar. They may know something about the Holy Spirit, but they don't know Him personally or realize that He is God in the same way the Son and the Father are God. When they read the Bible, many people are surprised to find that the Holy Spirit was at the very dawn of time: "The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters" (Genesis1:2), and many are amazed to find out there are approximately 100 references to the Holy Spirit throughout the Old and New Testaments.

Nevertheless, the Spirit's role is fundamental both to creation and the life of the believer. When a person comes to Jesus Christ, he receives Christ into his heart. The Spirit of God comes and joins with the spirit of the believer. This "indwelling Spirit" reproduces the life of Jesus in the believer's life.

What, Then, Is The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an empowering for service that takes place in the life of the Christian (Acts 1:5,8). In it we are immersed in the Spirit's life and power.

To illustrate, if we drank water from a glass, then the water would be inside us. However, if we went to the beach and stepped into the ocean, then we would be in the water. We receive, as it were, a drink of the Holy Spirit when we are saved, but when we are baptized in the Spirit, it is as if that initial drink becomes an ocean that completely surrounds us.

Just as the indwelling Spirit that Christians receive when they are saved reproduces the life of Jesus, so the outpoured, or baptizing, Spirit reproduces the ministry of Jesus, including miracles and healings.

Why Do We Need The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?

We need a power beyond ourselves for service and ministry in Christ's Kingdom.

When Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), He knew that His disciples could not fulfill it in their own power. Therefore, He had a special gift in store for them: It was His plan to give them the same power that He had -- the power of the Spirit of God. So, immediately after giving them the Great Commission, Jesus commanded his disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised, "which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:4-5). He further promised: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

The disciples waited in Jerusalem as Jesus had commanded, and one day when they were all together, "suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing winds, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance" (Acts 2:3,4). Then Peter explained to the crowd that gathered that they were seeing the working of God's Spirit and told them about Jesus. The Christian church began that day with the disciples and the 3,000 people who joined them as a result of the day's events.

We can undertake making disciples of all nations with some degree of success without the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but when we do, we are undertaking a supernatural task with limited power.

It is God's will - it is His commandment - that we be baptized, or filled with the Holy Spirit: "Be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). The knowledge and reality of the empowering Spirit enables us to reproduce the works of Jesus.

When May I Receive The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?

It can take place at the moment you confess faith in Christ, as in the case of the first Gentile convert, Cornelius (Acts 10:44-46; Acts 11:15-16); but often it occurs some time after the salvation experience (Acts 8:12-17).

Is There Anything To Fear?

Some people fear that if they ask for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, what they experience won't be the authentic working of the Spirit. But once they do ask for it, they are always glad they did. God doesn't cause us to do anything we don't want to, and all His gifts are good and perfect (James 1:17). Jesus said, "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will be? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:11-13). The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an even better gift than any material gift you could receive, and God wants you to have it because He loves you and wants the very best for you.

What Should I Do Before Asking?

The Bible says that a wise man counts the cost before he begins to build a tower (Luke 14:28). This beautiful experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a free gift, but you must be willing to submit fully to God to receive it.

Jesus will respond to a totally yielded vessel. He never asks anything of you that you are incapable of giving, nor does He ever fail to give you something greater in return when you do give your all. The joy He gives through total obedience to Him far outweighs anything you could possibly give up.

There is one more important consideration: In Acts 8, a man named Simon, deeply involved in the occult, wanted to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter sharply rebuked Simon, commanding him to repent. Therefore, if you ever at any time had anything to do with the occult (Ouija boards, fortune tellers, seances, horoscopes, ESP, transcendental mediation, hypnotism, or other such practices), you must renounce and turn away from all such sinful participation, and you must ask for God's forgiveness and cleansing.

How Do I Receive The Baptism In The Holy Spirit?

You only have to do two things.

First, once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior you just have to ask God to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, "Ask, and it shall be given to you" (Luke 11:9).

Second, believe you have in fact received this gift from God. The apostle Paul, writing to the Galatians, said, "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith?"

(Galatians 3:2). The answer, obviously, is faith. You have to believe that if you ask, you will receive.

Pray this prayer if you sincerely desire to receive the baptism in God's Holy Spirit:
"Heavenly Father, at this moment I come to You. I thank You that Jesus saved me. I pray that the Holy Spirit might come upon me. Lord Jesus, baptize me now in the Holy Spirit. I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit right now by faith in Your Word. May the anointing, the glory, and the power of God come upon me and into my life right now. May I be empowered for service from this day forward. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for baptizing me in Your Holy Spirit. Amen."
Now, having asked and received, begin to practice the power of the Spirit. An ideal place to begin is where the first apostles did, praising God in a new language. To do this, begin praising God out loud in whatever words come to you. Tell Him how much you love Him. Thank Him, worship Him, and yield your voice to Him. Now let Him give you new words of praise you never heard before. Praise Him with those words, too. You'll find that this can be a very rewarding experience of communication with God that will build up your faith. Continue to pray to God each day in the language that the Holy Spirit has given you.

But this "prayer language" is just one of the gifts that God wants to give you through the baptism in His Spirit.

The Gifts and Fruit of the Holy Spirit

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians that the Holy Spirit would manifest Himself among them in special gifts, of which speaking in tongues was only one: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware....To one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the distinguishing of spirit, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues" (I Corinthians 12:1,8-10).

Paul also wrote that the Holy Spirit produces "fruit" in the lives of believers. These are virtues that demonstrate Jesus' righteousness in the lives of His disciples: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22).

So, in asking for the baptism in the Holy Spirit you are availing yourself of these gifts for advancing God's Kingdom and allowing the Holy Spirit to further cultivate in your life the fruit of righteousness - two great helps in living a life God can use mightily for His glory.

That's the way it is with God. God is offering the baptism in the Holy Spirit to people who need only to reach out and receive it in order to be on fire to fully serve Him.

Walking in the Spirit

By now you can see that the Holy Spirit is so much more than a shadowy figure to pay lip-service to on Sunday morning. He can be with you and in your to bring new life to your Christian walk. Likewise, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is more than a single experience. It is a continual dependence on the Spirit for guidance and strength in all circumstances. "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).

The baptism in the Holy Spirit cannot be earned. You cannot become "good enough" to receive it. It is a gift from God. It is not a "cure-all" for your problems. But the same wonderful power that enabled Jesus to open blind eyes, to command the elements of nature, and to live a life pleasing to the Father during His ministry on earth is also available to you. Ask, and it shall be given to you.

The God Of All Living Things Is Not Judging You, Does Not Condemn You. Listen And Read Why.


God Is Not Judging You

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. [Romans 8:33]
Some people see God as a judge who has exacting demands on man. When they fall short or when things go wrong in their lives, they think that God is judging them.

My friend, the truth is that if you are a believer, God does not bring any charge against you. Instead, He justifies you because of the blood of His Son. In fact, God’s Word goes on to say that the One who has the right to condemn you, chose instead to die for you and is risen at the Father’s right hand to be your righteousness! (Romans 8:34)

But what the devil tries to do is to get you to believe that God watches you with a critical eye and punishes you when you do wrong. He has deceived many sincere Christians into believing that if they have done something wrong, sickness or some other evil thing has a right to come upon them and their families. And when these things happen, he convinces them that they are suffering God’s judgment because of their wrongdoings. In the meantime, these sincere Christians struggle with condemnation because they think that they are the cause of their problems.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Ever since the cross, where Jesus was judged in your place for every one of your wrong actions, thoughts and words, God no longer judges you, His child. You need not accept condemnation or evil things happening to you because Jesus took all your punishment at the cross.

So when you start to feel condemned for your actions or when you expe­rience negative circumstances, say, “It is written: It is God who justifies me. I am completely forgiven and made righteous before Him. I refuse to accept any condemnation and I reject every symptom of the curse that I am seeing in my circumstances!”

Then, simply stand on the truth of God’s Word, and watch Him deliver and bless you!

Thought For The Day:

Don’t accept condemnation or evil things happening to you because Jesus took all your punishment at the cross. ✝


You can watch the full one hour sermon of the two video snippets above in the video I shared below.

How God Works Behind the Scenes to Position You for Miracles

written by Sandra Clifton, D. Min
[source: CharismaMag]

"Wait, wait—look!" I exclaimed to my husband, Terry, on our morning walk. "Where did that come from?"

There, before our eyes was a flower, purple and pink with long soft petals. After a particularly long, cold winter, the flower was a miraculous reminder of spring!

But there was something else even more amazing than the first spring flower emerging after winter. This extraordinary, colorful flower had pushed through the least likely place—a dirty, ragged crack to the side of the cement sidewalk.

Snug and secure out of the flow of foot traffic, it looked as though this tiny flower had been placed there by a loving hand, for a reason—to simply grow and blossom, despite all odds.

Terry scratched his head and remarked, "God at work!"

That spring morning, I became suddenly aware of God at work—His ways of working behind the scenes. I was reminded of His Word that establishes Him as our Creator, "the Creator of the ends of the earth" (Is. 40:28); "the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Ps. 121:1-2); "the Lord, the God of all flesh" (Jer. 32:27).

It was on that spring morning, while looking at the tiny miracle flower growing through the crack of cement that I shuddered to think that if we are not sensitive to God at work, we might miss what He is doing!

For instance, we might miss God at work mending a marriage because we can't see His instant results. We might miss God at work healing a parent and teen relationship because our impatience might corrode His timing. We might miss God at work blessing our finances because we can't see or get beyond our current debts.

If we are not careful, we might end up bitterly stuck—seeing life through the failures and limitations of yesterday—when God is quietly at work attempting to get us to move on to the victories that await us tomorrow.

If you know that God has called you to a great future, but you feel stuck in a mediocre or discouraging present, be of good cheer. God the Creator is working things out, whether you can see it or not. His Word calls you to walk by faith, not by sight (see 2 Cor. 5:7), and His Word even tells you to look not at the seen, but the unseen (see 2 Cor. 4:18).

God never calls perfect people—only obedient ones. He calls people, plants seeds of His plans and purposes for them, then He gives them opportunities to blossom and to do great things (see Heb. 11, "the faith chapter").

The next time you wonder if God is at work in your life, remember the tiny miracle flower that was discovered growing beautifully in the least likely place. Read Matthew 6:28-30 and remember what Jesus said about the lilies and the grass of the field—and how much more your heavenly Father loves and cares for you and is at work in your life, even this very second, growing miracles that are destined to blossom.

PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK

This week ask God to make you sensitive to His working in everyday occurrences. Thank Him that He is working on your behalf even if you cannot see answers to some of your prayers yet. Continue to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are persecuted around the world for their faith in Christ. Ask God to extend His hand of mercy over the people of Israel, the Middle East, Africa and Indonesia. Pray for protection over our troops, our borders, our ports, and our cities. Continue to pray for our government officials in all areas of government – federal, state and local. Pray for worldwide revival to ignite in churches and engulf the planet, and that our nation would seek the Lord and follow His ways. Isaiah 40:28; 2 Chron. 7:14

God's Everlasting Mercy... ♥

God's Everlasting Mercy
written by by Henry Morris III

God's mercy (and grace) is a monumental theme in Scripture, the English word appearing some 341 times in the Bible. The four Hebrew and three Greek words associated with this term appear a total of 454 times and are also translated as "kindness," "loving kindness," "goodness," "favor," "compassion," and "pity." Of the sixty-six books of the Bible, only sixteen do not use one of these words for mercy. Even though "mercy" is an important concept, it is somewhat difficult to prescribe a definition, especially since "grace" is occasionally closely coupled with it.

However similar they may appear to be, these words are not synonyms. "Grace" is most often associated with the sovereign dispensing of totally undeserved favor, and is specifically connected to salvation. "Mercy" is more often connected to the withholding of judgment: "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment" (James 2:13).

Psalm 136 repeats the theme "for His mercy endureth forever," each of the 26 verses listing incomparable aspects of God's kindness to us. As all of us begin the season of thanksgiving and celebration of God's bounty and provision (both physical and spiritual), join with me in refreshing our knowledge of His mercy.

God is good!

"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).

"The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works" (Psalm 145:9).

"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Psalm 37:4).

God is above all and sovereign!

"Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity...because he delighteth in mercy.... He will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:18-19).

"The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children" (Psalm 103:17).

Because He is the "King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God" (1 Timothy 1:17) and He is "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (1 Timothy 6:15), we should therefore "give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever" (Psalm 136:3).

God does great wonders!

The creation of the universe stands out among all of the religions of the world as unique to the God of the Bible. It distinguishes all of the principalities and powers of this universe from the One who created the heavens and the earth (1 Corinthians 8:5-6). We cannot even understand the triune nature of God apart from what He has revealed of Himself in the creation (Romans 1:20). The very gospel of God has its everlasting foundation in the creation (Revelation 14:6-7). God's "signature" is written throughout the universe, so much so that He used the evidence of His design and authority integrated into the ecosystems of the earth to prove His deity to His servant Job (Job 39-40). We do well to honor "him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever" (Psalm 136:4).

God is a great deliverer!

The exodus of the nation of Israel from Egypt still stands as one of the most intriguing and awe-inspiring events of history. Nothing in the annals of human events comes close to the intervention of the "I AM THAT I AM" in the affairs of nations. God came "down to deliver" (Exodus 3:8) and to display His "signs and wonders" (Exodus 7:3) "against all the gods of Egypt" (Exodus 12:12). Never before or since has God taken "him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors" (Deuteronomy 4:34).

In the context of New Testament Christianity, our God has delivered us from "the power of Satan" (Acts 26:18) and "darkness" (Colossians 1:13) into "his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9). We have been set free from "the law of sin" (Romans 8:2) and from "this present evil world" (Galatians 1:4) to the "glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). The same God who "overthrew Pharaoh" is the Savior who will "deliver the godly out of temptations" (2 Peter 2:9) and "from every evil work" (2 Timothy 4:18) and has "given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4).

God is a great provider!

There are three specific examples given in Psalm 136 of God's sovereign provision. He protects and shelters during the "wilderness." He makes possible victories over great "enemies." And He gives "food to all flesh" The details of God's provision and the many examples in the Scripture are inexhaustible. Yet in these three areas, we find hope for any situation "in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

Were it not for the promises of deliverance from our enemies so replete throughout the Scriptures, were it not for the hope that we would see deliverance "in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13), and were it not for the confident knowledge that "evildoers shall be cut off" (Psalm 37:9), we could be in constant fear and torment. God does promise to bring us victory! We are told that He will fight for us! We are not left to our own devices! Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.... and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:18-20).

Finally, while we are never to take God's provision for granted--"give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11)--we need to be reminded that the mercy of God extends far beyond the care of His own. "He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). God is "the God of the whole earth" (Isaiah 54:5). We often get caught up in trying to make provisions for a "rainy day" in a future that is unknowable and unsecured, but God knows that we "have need of all these things" (Matthew 6:32). Whatever our circumstances may be, God knows, understands, and will make sure that "his mercy endureth for ever"

Heavenly Father, we would give Thee thanks and praise for Thy great mercies to us this day. We acknowledge that our words are not sufficient to honor Thy majesty or our minds capable of understanding how to express our thanks. Yet we would offer them to Thee as all that our heart, our soul, and our mind can speak. Please accept them as offerings of a sweet smell before Thy throne.

Jesus Christ Tells The Parable of the Prodigal Son; Shows God's Unconditional Love And Everlasting Mercy That's Renewed Every Morning.

sermon by Mary Fairchild
[source: Christianity.about.com]

Scripture Reference: Luke 15:11-32

The Prodigal Son - Story Summary:

The story of the Prodigal Son, also known as the Parable of the Lost Son, follows the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. Jesus is responding to the Pharisees' complaint: "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

Jesus tells the story of a man who has two sons. The younger son asks his father to give him his portion of the family estate as an early inheritance. Once received, the son promptly sets off on a long journey to a distant land and begins to waste his fortune on wild living. When the money runs out, a severe famine hits the country and the son finds himself in dire circumstances. He takes a job feeding pigs. He is so destitute that he even longs to eat the food assigned to the pigs.

The young man finally comes to his senses, remembering his father. In humility, he recognizes his foolishness, decides to return to his father and ask for forgiveness and mercy. The father who had been watching and waiting, receives his son back with open arms of compassion. He is overjoyed by the return of his lost son! Immediately the father turns to his servants and asks them to prepare a giant feast in celebration.

Meanwhile, the older son is not one bit happy when he comes in from working the fields and discovers a party going on to celebrate his younger brother's return. The father tries to dissuade the older brother from his jealous rage explaining, "You are always with me, and everything I have is yours."

Points of Interest from the Story:
  • Typically, a son would receive his inheritance at the time of his father's death. The fact that the younger brother instigated the early division of the family estate showed a rebellious and proud disregard for his father's authority, not to mention a selfish and immature attitude.
  • Pigs were unclean animals. Jews were not even allowed to touch pigs. When the son took a job feeding pigs, even longing for their food to fill his belly, it reveals that he had fallen as low as he could possibly go. This son represents a person living in rebellion to God. Sometimes we have to hit rock-bottom before we come to our senses and recognize our sin.
  • The father is a picture of the Heavenly Father. God waits patiently, with loving compassion to restore us when we return to him with humble hearts. He offers us everything in his kingdom, restoring full relationship with joyful celebration. He doesn't even dwell on our past waywardness.
  • Reading from the beginning of chapter 15, we see that the older son is clearly a picture of the pharisees. In their self-righteousness, they have forgotten to rejoice when a sinner returns to God. Bitterness and resentment keeps the older son from forgiving his younger brother. It blinds him to the treasure he freely enjoys through constant relationship with the father.
Questions for Reflection:

Who are you in this story? Are you a prodigal, a pharisee or a servant? Are you the rebellious son, lost and far from God? Are you the self-righteous pharisee, no longer capable of rejoicing when a sinner returns to God? Maybe you've hit rock-bottom, come to your senses and decided to run to God's open arms of compassion and mercy? Or are you one of the servants in the household, rejoicing with the father when a lost son finds his way home?
New International Version (NIV)
[source: Biblegateway.com]

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Psalm 23 (KJV) Memorize And Meditate (Verse by Verse) On This Prayer ♥

Pslam 23 (KJV)
[source: Biblegateway]

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever and ever. In Jesus mighty name. AMEN!

Jesus Christ Shows Great Love And Mercy To A Woman Caught In The Act Of Adultery By Religious Leaders Who Used Her Sin To Try To Trap Jesus.

John 8 NLT
[source: Biblegateway]

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

***********

 John Chapter 8
written by Ron Graham
[source: Simple Bible, Australia]

You may like to read John 8:1-11 before working your way through the lesson below. This is the account of the woman caught in the act of adultery, whom the Pharisees brought to Jesus when he was teaching a crowd of people.

In this lesson, I am interested in five elements of hypocrisy and injustice evident in the account, and how Jesus coped with such hypocrisy and injustice, in order to help this undefended woman.

1 Man Opressing Woman

The first and most obvious question one asks after reading this account is, "Where was the man?" There are four parties in this account: Jesus, his audience, the Pharisees, and the woman. There should be a fifth party: the man. Yet he is not mentioned! If the woman was caught "in the very act" (John 8:4) was not the man also caught at the same time? Why is the woman accused while the man is not brought to account? This is a case of man opressing woman. It is that simple. And it is so disgusting.

2 Legal Loopholes

There are people who look for loopholes in law so that they can do the wrong thing "legally" and who exploit law to their own nefarious ends. Such were the Pharisees. They were not engaged upon an honest campaign against adultery. They were seeking "grounds for accusing [Jesus]" (John 8:6). Now notice their hypocrisy: They held that a man could divorce his wife for any cause, just by writing a certificate and giving it to her. Then he could marry another woman. This was "legal" and therefore was right in their eyes. But Jesus, after another occasion when they were testing him, stated that "whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her" (Mark 10:2-12). So these Pharisees pretended to be outraged at this woman's adultery, whilst finding a supposed loophole in God's law to legalise adultery when it suited them.

3 Log In Your Eye

Almost daily we experience some criticism or accusation against ourselves by people who cannot see their own faults. The Pharisees were masters at this form of injustice and hypocrisy. Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, compared this with trying to take a speck out of your brother's eye when you have a log in your own (Matthew 7:1-5). But on this occasion, when the woman caught in adultery is thrust before him, Jesus chooses to utter no condemnation himself. He says only, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7). Nobody was willing to take that position, not even one of the elders. In fact the elders were the first to leave as, one by one, the congregation dispersed.

4 Public Shaming

In some cultures, public shaming is used as a form of punishment, but Jesus did not participate in the public shaming of this woman. In fact he appears to ignore the woman and her accusers, and stoops down to write with his finger on the ground. When pressed he shamed them all, yet without exposing any of their sins to public scrutiny. Jesus, who himself was going to be publicly shamed, was not a believer in public shaming. He commanded us to deal with sins in private, with dignity and due process. We are to bring them into public attention only as a last resort, and in a responsible manner, giving the accused every opportunity for repentance (Matthew 18:15-17).

5 Lack of Mercy

The difference between the way the Pharisees treated this woman and the way Jesus treated her is obvious. They treated her with hypocrisy and injustice. Jesus treated her with mercy. He, uniquely, had every right to condemn her, because he, uniquely, was without sin. Yet he said to her graciously, "Has no one condemned you? Neither do I. Go and sin no more" (John 8:10-11). The difference between The Pharisees and Jesus was that they "neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faithfulness..." (Matthew 23:23). If we learn nothing else from the experience of the woman caught in adultery, at least we should learn to treat and judge others without hypocrisy, but graciously and humbly, with justice and with mercy.

Jesus Christ (Yahshua Ha-Mashiach), The Religious Leaders, And The Woman Caught in The Act Of Adultery.

Sermon by Derrick Tuper, Cornerstone Christian Church
[source: Sermon Central]

Summary: Taking a look at the dynamics involved in Jesus' encounter with the religious leaders and with the woman caught in adultery. The religious leaders set the trap, Jesus turned it back on them and in the end the woman was released from her trap.

Sermon: The woman caught in adultery, John 8:1-11

1) Setting the trap (Vs. 1-6a). Unlike today, the sin of adultery was a serious crime in biblical day-punishable by death. We don’t know how she was caught in the act. Perhaps it was a set-up. And the Pharisees could’ve brought her to Jesus alone but here they do it in the midst of everyone, after Jesus had just finished teaching. Or they could’ve posed the question to Jesus without exposing the woman publicly. But along with their disregard for the woman their motive was to trap Jesus. This was not uncommon behavior for the religious leaders. They had tried numerous times to trap him with topics like paying taxes to Caesar and divorce and marriage.

Here they were using the law to back their actions up although they weren't completely accurate in the law they were trying to trap him in-Lev. 20:10, “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife-with the wife of his neighbor-both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” As in Deut. 22:22, “If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.”

So, where was the man? The Pharisees only bringing the woman showed that they didn't really care about fulfilling the requirements of the law they just wanted to trap Jesus. They thought they had him right where they wanted him. If Jesus said, “don’t stone her” then they could accuse him of going against the law which would have turned the Jews against him. If Jesus said, “stone her” then they could report him to the Roman officials since the Romans did not allow the Jews to carry out any capital punishment. Either way he would be labeled a lawbreaker. They thought there was no way out for Jesus, he would be doomed no matter what he said. They were in for a rude awakening.

2) Turning the tables (vs. 6b-9). They tried to trap Jesus but he keeps his cool. Like Jesus did so many times, he doesn't directly answer their question. He knows it’s a trap so he uses wisdom and turns the tables. He stoops down and writes. This is the only place in scripture where Jesus wrote something. And ironically, the only record we have where Jesus wrote and we don’t know what he wrote. There have been different suggestions but the most plausible one comes from the meaning behind the Greek word used here, “katagraphein” which is taken from the two Greek words “kata” which means against and “graphein” which means to write. Therefore the word, “katagraphein” means to write down a record against someone. With this in mind many believe Jesus, knowing the hearts of these men, was listing their sins. Then we see they started pressing him further. Whether they were ignoring what he was writing on the ground or they didn’t like what he was writing we’re not sure.

Nonetheless they were persistent in getting Jesus to answer them. He interrupts his writing and stands up and makes the bold statement that turned the spotlight around and put it on them. “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he stoops down and starts writing again. The Greek word used here “anamarthov” means the same kind of sin. Therefore, if Jesus was writing down their sins it more than likely included adultery, as well as any other sins that would get them stoned. Therefore, when Jesus said, “he who is without sin cast the first stone” he was probably pointing to what he had written. “Whoever is not guilty of these sins I've written down can cast the first one. If you want to stone her go ahead; by the law this is just punishment for her actions. However, if you do stone her to death; you will be next for the offenses you have committed and have kept a secret-until now.” Rom. 2:1-4, 21-24.

Paul highlighted the same principle Jesus was trying to get across to these religious leaders. As one writer put it, “Jesus held up one mirror for each stone and suddenly sin had a different face. As the blood flow came back to the knuckles, the fingers extended and released the rocks. Every stone fell to the ground.” This encounter illustrated the wisdom of Jesus. He didn't go against the law; he wasn't saying she didn't deserve to be put to death. But he used the opportunity to highlight their hypocrisy. And so, realizing their trap had backfired, they dropped their stones and left. The older ones first, probably because they were wiser, until there was just the woman and Jesus.

3) Set free (Vs. 10-11). Can you imagine the fear this woman held as she was standing there before Jesus? Her fate was basically sealed according to the law. She was as good as dead. Then, all of a sudden, she notices them, one by one they start to drop their stones and walk away. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” In the literal translation the woman answers, “No one, Lord”. She could've addressed Jesus in a variety of ways but she called him, “Lord”. This sinner recognized Jesus for who he was. She had eyes to see what the religious ones didn't. The religious leaders walked away, still in their sin, under the condemnation they sought to put the woman in. Yet it was the woman who would walk away free. “Then neither do I condemn you”. Can you imagine the liberation she must have felt knowing that instead of having to prepare herself for her ugly death she was going to be allowed to live and walk away?

When Jesus looked up and no one remained except Him and this woman Augustine commented saying, “Two things were left alone, misery and mercy.” She was in her misery from her guilt and Jesus extending her mercy. Jesus wants to extend mercy to take care of our misery. Rom. 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Jesus did not condemn her because he knew the condition of her heart. However, Jesus didn't let her off the hook. He didn't give her a free pass to go and continue her life as it was. He told her to “go now and leave your life of sin”. “You've been saved from death; respond to that grace by changing your ways.”

This encounter typifies what happens with us. We have sinned. We have been brought before Jesus-guilty. Our accuser, Satan, is holding the stones of condemnation. Death awaits us. Jesus frees us. He says to us, “I made your accuser drop his stone. You are not condemned. But, respond correctly to my grace and leave your life of sin. Take my mercy with you and give it to others when they sin against you.” This woman walked away a free woman. However, as far as the townspeople were considered she would've still been looked at as an adulteress. We can suffer the same fate. Whether it’s from people or Satan we may be dealing with accusations, labels, unforgiveness, whatever haunts us about our past. And because of these things we can feel anything but free. That’s when we need to cling to the label that God has put on us through Jesus. We declare our identity through who we are in Christ, not who we were in our sin. Because of what Jesus did for us we have a clean slate and a fresh start. We have been set free.

4) Who are we like? We have to answer the question-who are we most like: the Pharisees or Jesus? When we see someone do something wrong are we more like the Pharisees with legalistic, judgmental condemnation attitudes or are we like Jesus who is loving and forgiving? The Pharisees weren't wrong in holding this woman accountable with her sin they just had the wrong attitude in addressing it. Jesus didn't condemn the woman but that doesn't mean he didn't take her sin seriously. He told her to go and leave her life of sin. We need to be like Jesus. When we know that our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are in sin we need to have a Jesus approach, not a Pharisaical approach. Gal 6:1, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” We need to be humble in our approach when confronting people in their sin. We need to remember that we’re not perfect. We need to acknowledge that we are guilty too when we try to speak into people’s lives. Who are we like? When we encounter the one who has sinned are we bending down to grab a stone or are we bending down to help them up? The Pharisees watched for every mistake and punished accordingly. They were not trying to help people leave their life of sin they were solely concerned with punishing people for their sins. Do we care?

Do we typically look for, expose and highlight people’s faults or are we trying to help people have less of them? Are we encouragers or are we discouragers? The Pharisees didn't care about helping people. Matt. 23:1-4. Another comparison to notice was the contrast where the religious leaders made a public spectacle of the woman’s sin and Jesus could’ve done the same to them but he didn't. He wrote theirs down. How about us? When we are aware of another’s sin do we gossip about it or do we address it privately? Jesus was humble. Jesus practiced what he preached. Jesus helped people. What about us? Who are we like?

Jesus Christ (Yahshua Ha-Mashiach) Shocks A Samaritan Woman At The Well With His Love And Acceptance.

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

1 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans at that time.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

The Disciples Rejoin Jesus

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

Many Samaritans Believe

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

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written by Jack Zavada
[source: Christianity.about.com]

Scripture Reference: John 4:1-40.

Woman at the Well - Story Summary:

Traveling from Jerusalem in the south to Galilee in the north, Jesus and his disciples took the quickest route, through Samaria. Tired and thirsty, Jesus sat by Jacob's Well, while his disciples went to the village of Sychar, about a half mile away, to buy food. It was about noon, the hottest part of the day, and a Samaritan woman came to the well at this inconvenient time, to draw water.

In his encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus broke three Jewish customs: first, he spoke to a woman; second, she was a Samaritan woman, a group the Jews traditionally despised; and third, he asked her to get him a drink of water, which would have made him ceremonially unclean from using her cup or jar. This shocked the woman at the well.

Then Jesus told the woman he could give her "living water" so that she would never thirst again. Jesus used the words living water to refer to eternal life, the gift that would satisfy her soul's desire only available through him. At first, the Samaritan woman did not fully understand Jesus' meaning.

Although they had never met before, Jesus revealed that he knew she had had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband. Jesus now had her attention!

As they talked about their two views on worship, the woman voiced her faith that Messiah was coming. Jesus answered, "I who speak to you am he." (John 4:26, ESV)

As the woman began to grasp the reality of her encounter with Jesus, the disciples returned. They were equally shocked to find him speaking to a woman. Leaving behind her water jar, the woman returned to town, inviting the people to "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did." (John 4:29, ESV)

Meanwhile, Jesus told his disciples the harvest of souls was ready, sown by the prophets, writers of the Old Testament [first half of the Bible/Jewish Torah (emphasis mine)], and John the Baptist.

Excited by what the woman told them, the Samaritans came from Sychar and begged Jesus to stay with them.

So Jesus stayed two days, teaching the Samaritan people about the Kingdom of God. When he left, the people told the woman, "... we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world." (John 4:42, ESV)

Points of Interest from the Story of the Woman at the Well:

• The Samaritans were a mixed race people, who had intermarried with the Assyrians centuries before. They were hated by the Jews because of this cultural mixing, and because they had their own version of the Bible and their own temple on Mount Gerizim.

• The woman at the well came to draw water at the hottest part of the day, instead of the usual morning or evening times, because she was shunned and rejected by the other women of the area for her immorality. Jesus knew her history but still accepted her and ministered to her.

• By reaching out to the Samaritans, Jesus showed that his mission was to the entire earth, not just the Jews. In the book of Acts, after Jesus' ascension into heaven [Jesus stayed on earth for 40 days after His resurrection, then ascended into Heaven. (emphasis mine)], his apostles carried on his work in Samaria and to the Gentile world.

• Ironically, while the High Priest and Sanhedrin rejected Jesus as the Messiah, the outcast Samaritans recognized him and accepted him for who he truly was: the Savior of the world.

Question for Reflection:

Our human tendency is to judge others because of stereotypes, customs or prejudices. Jesus treats people as individuals, accepting them with love and compassion. Do you dismiss certain people as lost causes, or do you see them as valuable in their own right, worthy of knowing about the gospel ?

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[source: Billy Graham Ministries]

QUESTION: Why did Jesus stay around for 40 days after He came back from the grave, instead of going immediately into heaven? This came up in our Bible class the other day and no one seemed to have an answer.

ANSWER: One reason Jesus stayed on earth for 40 days after His (death and) resurrection instead of ascending immediately into heaven was to demonstrate to His followers that He truly was alive.

After all, they knew the Roman authorities had put Jesus to death, and that His body had been taken down from the cross and sealed in a tomb. And when that happened, they were filled with despair and fear; many even went into hiding. They had believed Jesus was the promised Messiah – and now their hopes were shattered. They had forgotten His promise that He would return from the grave, and they felt they had no future.

But when Jesus appeared among them after the resurrection, their lives were changed. The greatest miracle in all history had just taken place: Jesus Christ was alive! During those 40 days, He appeared to various groups of disciples, proving beyond doubt to them that he had been raised from the dead by the power of God. Over two decades later, the Apostle Paul wrote that “he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living” (1 Corinthians 15:6).

Another reason, however, why Jesus stayed on earth then was to teach His disciples, and prepare them for the task of telling the world about Christ. Is your faith in the risen Christ, and are you seeking to share His message of salvation with others?