Browsing Tag

Holy Spirit

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Three Prongs of the Spirit’s Convicting Work

Sometimes, only when it’s time to move on to another passage, do I have my fullest (yet) understanding of the passage I’m having to leave. It’s that way with this months’s dig in John 16. So many of my friends say things like “I made this decision and I feel a peace about it.” (Sometimes the decision is in direct opposition to the Word of God.) From John 16, I understand that my peace (or lack of it) is not the test of my righteousness or even of the wisdom in my decisions. The test is whether or not my decision accords with the Spirit. That clarity shines from the teachings about the Holy Spirit in John 16. As we leave this study for another one that we will love as much, let’s take some blockbuster truths that help us decisively overcome our sorrows in this life, because He has already overcome the world (John 16:33).

  1. The Holy Spirit’s new work, as the Comforter promised to the apostles, began in Acts 2.
  2. That work was to convict men of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16: 8-11. Here, the reason for each prong of the Holy Spirit’s convicting message is given.)
  3. Signs (miracles) brought attention to and verified the message of the Holy Spirit and were completed when the apostles no longer were laying hands on Christians to impart them (Acts 8:10-15; 1 Corinthians 13). 
  4. The message of salvation—the convicting of sin, righteousness and judgment— was always communicated in words (I Corinthians 2:6-14).
  5. The message did not cease when the miracles ceased, because it was preserved in words in Scripture for all time (2 Timothy 3:16). 
  6. In every instance in the book of Acts where detail is given about the preaching or teaching, we see these three tenets of the convicting message of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2, Acts 3-5, Acts 7, Acts 24, etc.)…
  7. Thus, prior to receiving the comfort, the gladness, the boldness that the Spirit brings, we must heed the words of the three fold message; being convicted of personal sin, believing that Jesus is righteous and accepting his method of making us righteous (the washing of baptism and faithful living), and being sure in our conviction of impending judgment on those who reject Christ. (This last one is one of the strongest motivators to spread the gospel.)
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Heart and Soul. =)

Happy Valentine’s Day! I know lots of children who have been very excited about the paper kind of valentines that they’ve spent lots of time punching out and signing to distribute to friends at Bible class and school. I know three that are pretty pumped about opening the Valentine box this afternoon and having a little family party while we open scores of tiny little heart cards. Our tradition is to put little messages on those cards telling each child the things that we admire about their characters. They take these messages to heart and soul!

Speaking of the soul, I’ve been meaning to recommend this lesson about the soul for your listening if you get a minute this week. It profoundly impacted and encouraged me. I know I recommend Glenn’s lessons way too frequently, but he’s the preacher I hear most often. So, by default, he’s the one through which the Word most often influences me. You will be blessed by clicking here and listening. The Holy Spirit (the Person of our Digging Deep study this month) is the Holy One who teaches and directs our own spirits. I love Him more and more!

The Soul

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Persecuted Spirit

Sometimes I believe the Holy Spirit may be the most persecuted of the Godhead. Jesus was persecuted for 33 years in the flesh. The Holy Spirit, though, has been blasphemed daily since time began, when the word is mocked and when men who claim the Word as guide today walk in duplicity. I am understanding more and more why the sin for which there’s not forgiveness is that hardness against the Word of salvation (the blasphemy of the Spirit).The Spirit is not just the last best hope for the souls of men. It is the LAST hope.  I love Him. I cannot believe the relevance to our day of writings that were penned by mere men 3000-plus years ago, but originated in the mind of God. When I pray the Psalms (I am praying Psalm 10 today, and it is incredibly encouraging), I love the Spirit more and more. I stand amazed at Him. You can feel pretty small knowing you can hold and read and apply the Words of the persecuted, blasphemed Spirit. I submit that, not only does the Christ know and understand our heartaches and fears and limitations, but the Spirit knows, too. Maybe that’s why Jesus called Him the Comforter. Maybe that is why, though His revelation for this world is complete, the Bible teaches that His advocacy in heaven, along with that of Christ’s is working for us. 
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 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. 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. 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 8:25-28).
I love the fact that, in John 14, when Jesus promised the miraculous Spirit to the apostles, He said that the world would not be able to see Him. Jesus would be persecuted to the cross because they could see and seize Him in the garden. The Spirit, while working miraculously in the first century could not be seen or seized.
 …even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him” (John 14:17).
I’m glad He finished His revelation work and that the Word He left will never pass away (Matthew 24:35). I want to accept the Spirit, through my internalization of and obedience to the words of this Book. I want to glorify the Spirit by telling others of His work. I love Him!
Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digging Deep 2019-2020… Make Plans, Influence People

I’m finishing up the final proof today of our new DD study that will begin on September 1st. This year, we will be announcing the topic during the weekend portion of Polishing the Pulpit in one of the ballrooms and on our livestream. I hope you’ll plan to join us whether you are in Sevierville, Tennessee for this event or at home viewing on your device.

I’m thinking this might be the best year yet (perhaps with the exception of the Shadows study) to invite your non-Christian friends along for the year of immersion into a study they will not soon forget. Like in previous studies, I’m praying there will be baptized believers, living faithfully for Him at the end of the upcoming study. It’s rich…not because of my small part in it, but because of its origin: God’s Holy Spirit.

Here’s a paragraph, on that note, from its introduction:

Let me go ahead and say that I believe this study is Holy-Spirit infused. I do. I believe when we are delving deeply into the Word of the Holy Spirit and putting that Word into our hearts as we study, that we are becoming ever more filled with the Holy Spirit. I believe that the God-breathed Word (2 Tim. 3:16) is the enabling force that bears in us the fruit of that Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23). I believe He dwells in us that way. 

I hope you’re planning to join us in September. I hope, if you’ve previously started, but not ever finished a study, that this will be the year you make it to completion. (But, whatever portion you do, you’ll be blessed.) Most of all, I’m hoping that, whether you choose Digging Deep or you choose to dig deeply through some other study in the Word, you will be deeply in the Bible this year. If you’re digging deeply, daily and directionally, you’ll be discovering, doing, and dispensing His Will more than you ever dreamed possible.



Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

For the Diggers: A Plain Passage, the Spirit, and the Mystery

Responding to some questions, I’ve received about the Digging Deep January 2019 study, I want to spend a moment today in the last few verses of I Corinthians 2. I hope it is helpful as you finish up month five and move into the February study.

First of all, let me emphasize that I surely don’t think I know all the answers about the Holy Spirit, though there is much that we can know, for sure, on this side of eternity because we have a completed revelation.

It is very important for us to always put to use the very first rule of Bible interpretation or hermeneutics. That is, that we should never violate any of the plain passages–the very clear ones–as we try to figure out the ones that are more difficult to understand. As we look at 2 Timothy 3:16, we see some words that are plain and powerful. Scripture is literally “breathed of God”. It is, in language that is never used about ideas we may have in our minds or leadings of the heart. The scriptures are actually breathed of God. Then it says they are profitable for doctrine (it’s the teaching we need), reproof (it is the evidence or convicting power), correction (it is shows us when we need to change) and  instruction in righteousness (the guide to being right in His eyes, to being holy). As if that was not enough and repetitive enough, the plain passage goes on to say that it gives us everything we need for every single good work. This is a big assurance that scripture is ALL we need for everything we need to be in God’s economy and in His eyes. If the Holy Spirit gives us something extra, He is going beyond what is already the thorough furnishing of the Scriptures that were originally given by the Spirit in the first place. That is just a carte blanc statement of the full provision of knowledge by the Word given by the Spirit in Scripture and it is in very understandable terms. SO if there are other passages, and there are, that are harder to understand, we have to let this passage and other plain ones shed light on those more difficult ones rather than the other way around.

Next, about the mystery. From the passages in Ephesians and Colossians, we can clearly conclude that the mystery was completely revealed in the day of Paul the apostle. It was revealed to Paul and the apostles and prophets and they spoke it, preached it and wrote it to the New Testament Christians and we have those writings preserved for us today. So when Paul wrote, he was clearly teaching them that the mystery was no longer a mystery. He was revealing it to them at that time. We learned that the owners (or those who were keeping the mystery until the revelation Paul’s day) were God and Christ. We learned that the subject of the mystery was Christ and His grace. Then we learned that the essence, body, material of the mystery that was revealed in scripture was the gospel–the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We gave a list on slides from of every verse that mentions a mystery in these two epistles on the podcast. I’ll put those lists here. I think you’ll clearly see that the mystery that Paul was talking about was the gospel and that it’s revelation happened in the first century.

Here are those notes, just so they will be on this page, too: 

The Mystery

1. Time revealed: Paul’s day (Col 1:25,26; Ephesians 3:2-4)

2. Its subject: Christ (Col. 1:25, 26); Grace (Eph. 3:2,3)

3. Its value: richness, glory (Col. 1:27)

4. Its purposes: comfort (Col.2:2); gathering all people together in Christ (Eph. 1:10); people could understand the mystery (Eph. 3:4)

5. Its owners: God and Christ (Col. 2:2)

6. Mode of transfer: speaking (Col. 4:3): preaching (Col. 1:26-28); writing (Eph. 3:3,4)of apostles and prophets (Eph. 3:4,5)

7. Other names for it: The Will of Christ (Eph.1:9); The gospel (Eph. 6:19)

Add to this list another plain passage which actually defines the “mystery”, having the word “mystery” and then a colon, and then the exegesis of what the “mystery” is–straight from the Holy Spirit. This is it: “mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” Here again, the mystery is defined by the passage itself, as being the gospel of Christ. (I Tim. 3:16…I really love that I can remember these passages because I Tim 3:16 tells us plainly what the “mystery” is and 2 Tim. 3:16 tells us where we have the revelation and that it is ALL we need to know to be equipped to do ALL we need to do. I love that the 3:16s are there and that they are such a good commentary on how God does John 3:16–(How he gives us the gospel so we can believe and be saved.)…So 3 great 3:16s that explain each other.

So then, I Corinthians 2:9 tells us that we are not relying on eye witness…that is we do not see with our eyes the gospel…the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. So much about eye witness information is questionable. Sometimes we think we see things that are not actually reality or we mistake identities or even imagine things that we really don’t see.

Then it says we are not relying on hearsay or verbal passing down of the gospel (hearing with our ears). That would be incredibly unreliable because “word of mouth” stories and accounts change and evolve as they are retold. That’s not how I want to learn the “mystery”, so I am very glad “ear has not heard.”

Then it says “neither has entered into the heart of man” I’m very glad about this one, too. The mystery or the things God has prepared for us to know doesn’t just come through a message to my heart. If it did 1) there would be no need for the written revelation because I would know the mystery from this “heart” revelation, and 2) I think I would have a hard time discerning between what God was putting in my heart and what was being put there by the devil and his forces. I’m very glad I do not have to rely on something being laid on my heart or an internal nudging or a feeling of being led. Here it is clear that I do not have to depend on these things to enjoy what God has prepared for me.

Then it goes on to make it really clear that “words” are the vehicle by which I can know the mind of God. It says that just like no one can know what a man is thinking (or the spirit of a man) unless he tells us, that likewise we can’t know what God thinks unless His Spirit communicates that. Then it says we get this information, not in words that man speaks, but rather we have it in the words of the Holy Spirit. So, to this point, we have that it’s not something we had to see with our own eyes, or a gospel we had to hear verbally, or a mystery that just “entered our hearts”. Rather it was a mystery given in WORDS by the Spirit of God. It says “we” (Paul and the other inspired men) speak (and by implication, write)…what has been given by the Spirit of God (vs. 11 and 12).

So…who is it that can’t discern or rejects–does not understand—the revealed Will of God? The “natural man” (the Greek word) only appears one other time in the New Testament. That’s Jude, verse 19, where it is translated as “sensual”. Sensual, worldly people are not going to receive and appreciate the words of the Spirit as delivered by Paul…but rather those who choose to be governed by God and His Spirit. The rational souls (Greek meaning of “spiritual” here)… the ones who are choosing NOT to be worldly and sensual…THOSE people– are the ones who are going to more readily receive the Words of the spirit and thus have the mind of Christ. Paul said he and others have the mind of Christ. He had it in words. It was delivered in words and so we, too, can have the mind of Christ.



Guest Writer: The Holy Spirit

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Baptism…now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

The above comments are, of course, the exact words of the Holy Spirit, spoken through Christ the Son, Peter, and Paul.  He did not speak in riddles in these sentences nor did he leave question marks about the importance of His subject matter. So who is behind the media conspiracy to convince the public that baptism is not an essential element of God’s plan of salvation? Who is the father of lies? Who wants to keep you and me out of Christ? For that matter, who is it that doesn’t really care how many pies I bake for the elderly, how many visits I make to the prison, how many cards I send to the sick, or how many dollars I contribute to my church, SO LONG AS he can keep me out of Christ, away from his blood, unwashed and unforgiven?  If I really ingest the above words of the Holy Spirit and take them into my heart without the interference of any preconceived notions I begin to understand the force behind the wholesale rejection in Christendom of the essential nature of baptism.  He’s the force behind every effort to keep people from the blessings of the death of Christ. Don’t let Him spin his web of deceit around you. Read the Words of the Guest Author once more. Then read His unabridged chronicle about how people are saved: the book of Acts.  Help expose the force and the ulterior motive behind the deception that keeps good people out of Christ.