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The Sanctifying Ministry of the Spirit

June 11, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Sinclair Ferguson says: “The heart and soul of the Spirit’s ministry is to sustain us ‘in Christ’” (The Holy Spirit, p. 100). The ministry of the Spirit does not add anything to what we have in Christ, nor does the Spirit compete with or replace Christ. The Spirit unites us to Christ and sustains us in that all-satisfying, all-sufficient relationship. Last week we looked at the Spirit’s specific ministry of illumination, which is the Spirit’s work of opening our minds and hearts to see the beauty and goodness of Christ in all of Scripture and invigorating our minds and hearts to delight in Christ more and more. Let’s consider the Spirit’s ministry of sanctification. Sanctification is a biblical word that speaks about the process of becoming more and more holy. What role does the Spirit play in this process and how is sanctification connected with our being in Christ? Sanctification is the necessary process of the Holy Spirit making us more and more like Christ. Let’s break down this definition... Keep Reading

The Illuminating Ministry of the Spirit

June 4, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Last week we considered Sinclair Ferguson’s excellent summary of the ministry of the Spirit: “The heart and soul of the Spirit’s ministry is to sustain us ‘in Christ’” (The Holy Spirit, p. 100). The ministry of the Spirit does not add anything to what we have in Christ, nor does the Spirit compete with or replace Christ. The Spirit unites us to Christ and sustains us in that all-satisfying, all-sufficient relationship. We then looked at a brief survey of the New Testament passages that highlight this ministry of the Spirit.... Keep Reading

The Ministry of the Spirit

May 28, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

What does the Spirit do anyway? Over the past two weeks we have considered the goodness of the gift of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Jesus promised in Acts 1:8 that the Spirit would empower his disciples to be witnesses. On Pentecost the Spirit was poured out on the church, with several signs, by Christ to affirm and apply his redemptive work. Left with only these descriptions, though, the ministry of the Spirit still is vague. He gives power and he applies the work of Christ. But how does this work and how is the Holy Spirit’s ministry connected with the work of Christ? And what difference does the ministry make in our day to day lives?... Keep Reading

Life in the Spirit, Part 2: Pentecost

May 21, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

This Sunday is Pentecost. For the Jews, Pentecost is the feast celebrating the first fruits of harvest, the late Spring harvest. Jews from throughout the Roman empire would gather in Jerusalem to offer thank offerings to the Lord. For Christians, Pentecost is the day we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church. We read in Acts 2 of this unique event from redemptive history, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (2:1-4). Unfortunately, the event of Pentecost has been debated among Christians, causing confusion and even ignorance about this significant event. ... Keep Reading

Life in the Spirit, Part 1

May 14, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Happy Ascension Day! This is 40 days after Easter, the day the Scriptures tell us that Jesus ascended into Heaven (see Acts 1:3). There is much significance tied to the ascension of Christ (his vindication, his exaltation, his intercession, etc.), but I would like to spend a few weeks reflecting on the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in John 16:7, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” The ascension of Christ precedes, and directly causes, the giving of the Holy Spirit. Let’s unpack some of the riches of the gift of the Holy Spirit.... Keep Reading

This is the last of a three part series reflecting on the nature of God’s grace in perseverance and the church community’s responsibility for her members’ perseverance. Our Confession of Faith states that “perseverance of the saints depends not upon their free will, but upon” God himself (WCF 17.2). Yet, God’s sovereign grace in our perseverance does not abdicate our responsibility to persevere and help one another persevere. The following paragraph in the WCF states that “through…the neglect of the means of their preservation, [the saints] may fall into grievous sins.”... Keep Reading

I Don’t Pray Enough, Do You?

May 7, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Today is the National Day of Prayer for our country. This day of prayer has been annually observed since 1952. On a day like today, Christians may reflect on why don’t we pray more often. In fact, I think many Christians would quickly state, “I don’t pray enough,” when asked about their prayer lives. We know well the biblical exhortations: “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17), “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6), and “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Eph. 6:18). Why do we not pray as we ought?... Keep Reading

Last week I began writing this three part series reflecting on the nature of God’s grace in perseverance and the church community’s responsibility for her members’ perseverance. Our Confession of Faith states that “perseverance of the saints depends not upon their free will, but upon” God himself (WCF 17.2). Yet, God’s sovereign grace in our perseverance does not abdicate our responsibility to persevere and help one another persevere. The following paragraph in the WCF states that “through…the neglect of the means of their preservation, [the saints] may fall into grievous sins.”... Keep Reading

The Westminster Confession of Faith 17.2 states, “Perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace: from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.”... Keep Reading

Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted

April 9, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In the 20th century more Christians died for their faith than in all of the previous centuries combined. That’s an astonishing reality. And the trends seem to indicate that the 21st century will surpass the 20th. Of the 200 nations in the world, Christians face persecution in 133 of them. According to the evangelical group Open Doors some 150,000 Christians are killed each year for their faith.... Keep Reading

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