Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Discerning the will of God pt7

"If you love me, show it by doing what I've told you. I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you. jn14/Peterson, the message

The account of the Passover that we find in John differs from the other gospels. John wrote in intimate detail of the washing of the disciples feet. It is as if he has forgotten about the words of Jesus in regards to the breaking of his body and shedding of his blood. The omission might be because he wrote many years after the other gospels were recorded. His message fills in some blanks, as the other gospels fill in some blanks left by John. You might ask, how can that be if he wrote later. It is a God thing called inspiration.  The institution of The Lord's Supper is an example.

Another great contribution by John is the dialogue and discourse John gives us in what we know as the Upper Room Discourse, which includes Jesus' great prayer for his people and unity. The first portion of the discourse gives us some very heartwarming promises concerning the presence and communication coming from the Holy Spirit. Jesus makes it plain to the disciples that he is going back to heaven and to his Father. He also knows that the heart of man needs to be encouraged and empowered. He promises them that the Comforter will come to them.

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was bestowed upon certain individuals for very specific reasons. The craftsmen that built the temples were empowered by the Spirit. Specific leaders were empowered for certain times and duties. Prophets were filled and moved by the Spirit as they gave voice to the message from God. The vast majority of faithful Jews never experienced the awesome presence of God's Spirit.

The promise of the Paraclete, (helper,counselor, one called alongside) in the upper room discourse will become the foundational words of Jesus concerning a revolutionary method of communication. He has talked to the disciples about unity and that he and the father are one and that the disciple will become one with him. It will be the direct message of Christ brought to the spiritual senses of believers through the presence of God alive in each believer.

A new and living way is going to be opened to all believers in Christ. On the day of Pentecost the promise of God found fulfillment as the Holy Spirit was poured out upon one hundred and twenty followers of Christ as they were gathered in a time of united expectancy. The promise of Joel came in as a fire and wind. From that day until now, believers confess this to be the birth of the church.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the subsequent new ability(gift) to listen to and understand the will of God did not bring to an end other methods of communication. Joel in his prophetic message told of the coming of the Spirit and the continuation of God communicating through dreams and visions.

As the presence of God now indwells believers we will begin to find and understand a direct relationship between giftedness and discerning and obeying the will of God.

1 comment:

  1. "direct message of Christ brought to the spiritual senses of believers" - there's a loaded phrase that will be hopefully unpacked. Will you be addressing how to determine whether the message is spurious or not -- maybe as a separate post?

    I'm also concerned with how you are defining a "new ability(gift) to listen." I know that you said it would come up in the next post (and the next?), but HEARING voices is the big divider, don't you think?

    Does God lead outside His word? In whispers? In dreams? In visions?