Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Our duties towards the Spirit


Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today.

Teleios recently surveyed the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives in 475 young participants in visitors to the Instagram account, InstaPray. All the findings, as well as other exciting Teleios research, are on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

The Holy Spirit is a very important yet controversial topic. However, there is often a general lack of knowledge of what scripture teaches about the Spirit. We are covering these pertinent topics.

I generally breakdown the Bible’s handling of the Spirit for the New Testament church into three basic realms:

·       The Spirit’s work in salvation

·       The Spirit's role in our Christian walk

·       The Christian’s duties to the Spirit

This week let us cover the last point, our duties to the Spirit. What our survey participants thought is in the below table.
What the Bible says:

Our actions towards the Spirit are nicely divided into two subcategories, what to do and what not to do. According to scripture, the Spirit dwells in us permanently from the time we believe unto the day of our redemption (Ephesians1:13-14) and we have full use of the Spirit’s power available to us throughout our lives.

Ø  What not to do!

·       Grieve the Spirit (Ephesians4:30)

·       Suppress the Spirit (1Thessalonians 5:19)

These verses do not explain how not to grieve or suppress the Spirit, but we might assume it's related to sin that would make the Spirit sad, or suppress His actions in our lives, because we are seeking our own desires.

Ø  What to do! – These amazing verses are mostly related to our seeking God and being obedient. Again, scripture does not tell us the specifics, giving us great freedom to live our lives in faith.

·       Walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16,25) - The word ‘walk’ (peripateoo, περιπατεω) indicates our manner of life, especially in the moral realm.

·       Be mature in the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) - The illustration in this great verse is not to be drunk. Alcohol literally can control brain cells by its chemical effect. In contrast, for mature Christians, their old actions are no longer possible as they have been changed by the Spirit.

·       Be zealous towards the Spirit (Romans 12:10)

·       Put to death the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13) - Last week we learned the Spirit helps us defeat sin but this verse also indicates that it is by our initiation towards obedience that we facilitate the Spirit’s gracious help.

Note: Do not commit the unforgivable sin by blaspheming the Spirit (Matthew12:31-32) – Importantly, this verse often is taken out of context. In this passage Christ is directing His wrath towards the Jewish Pharisees. At Christ’s baptism, at the initiation of his ministry, the Pharisees had rejected the witness given by the Holy Spirit when He came down from heaven on our Savior.

Therefore, to blaspheme the physical manifestation of Christ on earth is forgivable but to reject God's approval (signified by the Spirit) of his spiritual mission to bring salvation to man is unforgivable, otherwise by rejecting the salvation message.

Importantly, Christians are not in view in this passage as we to have the Spirit’s sealing until the day of our redemption, having accepted Christ as Savior (Ephesians1:13,14 and 4:30).

Thank you for joining me today. Please join me again next week as we continue to explore fascinating results from Teleios’ research.

WC Stewart





Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ways the Holy Spirit helps our Christian walk!


Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today.

Teleios recently surveyed the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives in 475 young participants in visitors to the Instagram account, InstaPray. Wow, we received some amazing answers! All the findings, as well as other research, are on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

The Holy Spirit is a very important, yet controversial and often emotional, topic. However, often people generally lack knowledge of what scripture teaches about the Spirit. We are covering some pertinent topics over the Spirit, examining what scripture alone says.

I generally breakdown scriptures handling of the Spirit for the New Testament into three basic realms:

·       The Spirit’s work in salvation

·       The Spirit's role in our Christian walk

·       The Christian’s duties to the Spirit.

Today let's examine the most common responses from our InstaPray participants regarding how the Spirit helps in our Christian walk (please see table).

What the Bible says: The scripture states that the Spirit plays a vital and active role in believers’ lives, and can divided into two basic types:

Constant roles - The Spirit has several constant roles not dependent on us:

·       Points to Christ – The Spirit glorifies Christ, and gives and teaches us the information our Savior has given to him (John 16:13-14; 1 John 2:20,27)

·       Indwells us – Remember, we learned last week that the Spirit indwells us completely until the day of our redemption so we have full access to His power and help.

·       Prays for us (Romans 8:26) - This great truth indicates the Spirit prays on our behalf to God. What better source of prayer could we have?

Believer dependent roles - However, importantly there are roles for which the Spirit assists us that are variable and depend upon our obedience. Two passages are critical to understand the Spirit’s help for us, Romans 8:13-16,26 and Ephesians 6:10-17:


·       Stops sin (V.13) - As we are obedient the Spirit helps us put to death the deeds of the flesh.

·       Leads us (V.14) - Christians commonly believe this biblical concept but we should understand how He leads. In short, the Spirit use God’s word (please see below passage in Ephesians 6). Indeed, the Bible often tells us to be people of knowledge and understanding, for example in Paul’s prayers for us (Ephesians 1:17; Colossians 1:9).

·       We are God's children (V.16) - The Spirit comforts us that we belong to God and not to be anxious over our eternal security

Ephesians 6:10-17 - The magnificent armor of God passage is critical to understanding our Christian walk because it instructs us how to access God’s power by describing a Greek hoplite soldier and his armament. Often Christians wonder how they can know the power of God. These great verses describe it! However, it is also important in showing the role of the Spirit because His mighty actions are linked to each of the pieces of armor in other scripture.

·       Truth (our belt to prepare us V.14) - Living in truth is a fruit of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:9) and prepares our mind to making proper decisions and actions.

·       Righteousness (our breastplate V.14) - A fruit of the Spirit is a holy heart that is set apart to serve God and perceives and rejects sin (Ephesians 5:9)

·       Share the gospel (the shoes to carry us to battle V.15) - By telling others the message of salvation we see the power of God to change others and positively affect our society, which is assisted by the Spirit (Romans 1:16-17; 2 Timothy 1:7; John 16:8-11).

·       Faith (our shield V.16) - A fruit of the Spirit also is faith in which we make all decisions and God desires from us (Galatians 5:22,23; Romans 14:23).

·       Eternal security (our helmet V.17) - The sound knowledge of our security of salvation protects our heads as we face troubles in this world and its function is from the Spirit (Romans 15:13).

·       The Bible (our sword V.17) - The power of God we experience in our Christian walk is through the action of the Spirit in accordance to the Bible.

Wow what great truths! These passages tell us how the Spirit acts in our lives to cause us to please God and to experience His power.

Join us again next week as we describe what are our responsibilities are to the Spirit so He's free to act in our lives as described above. Join us again then. Thank you for visiting this week.

WC Stewart





Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What young Christians believe about the Holy Spirit


Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today. We are exploring relevant research findings from Teleios! A list of our compelling findings is on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

Teleios recently examined the important role of the Holy Spirit in Christians’ lives in visitors to the Instagram account, InstaPray. We had 475 participants, 68% were adolescents (<18) as well as millennials (18-34), 78% evangelicals and 71% female. Wow, we received some amazing answers!

The Holy Spirit is a very important yet controversial and often emotional topic. Opinions vary widely about the role of the Spirit, from traditional orthodox to charismatic beliefs. However, in all groups there is often a general lack of knowledge of what scripture teaches. Let's cover some pertinent topics over the Spirit examining what scripture says and perhaps we can all better shape our own thinking based on the truth of God.

I generally breakdown scriptures handling of the Spirit for the New Testament Church into three basic realms:

·       The Spirit’s work in salvation

·       The Spirit's role in our Christian walk

·       The Christian’s duties to the Spirit

Let's examine what our participants said regarding the Spirit and salvation (please see table).

What the Bible says: Indeed, the Spirit in salvation in scripture is key. He performs the following vital functions.

·       Convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8) - This role is vital because left to our own resources, as fallen man both physically and mentally, we would not come to faith and salvation by our own reckoning (Romans 3:10-12). Therefore, the Spirit is central to help unbelievers recognize their faults, coming judgment and God’s demand for righteousness.

·       Baptizes (Romans 6:2-3,9; Ephesians 2:4-7; Colossians 2:12-13) - In the epistles the word ‘baptism’ signifies spiritual baptism which occurs at our salvation by the Spirit. The actual meaning of the word baptism (βαπτιζω, baptizoo) is ‘to identify with’. Therefore, the Spirit baptizes us by identifying us with Christ’s death and resurrection.

The Spirit accomplishes this by putting to death our old person and resurrecting us to a new living person. ‘Regeneration’ and ‘born again’ are other concepts in Scripture signifying this important event (Titus3:5; John 3:3). These wonderful verses demonstrate to us the profound importance of the resurrection because there is no eternal life without the resurrection and regeneration (1 Corinthians 15:13-19).

The incredible fact of spiritual baptism (which water baptism may symbolize) gives us surety for our great salvation as a new creature that cannot be slain and re-created our old dead self.

·       Seals to Redemption (2 Corinthians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14) - This great promise indicates that each of us has the Holy Spirit from our time of belief in salvation until the day we die and go to be with God. Indeed, one of the definitions of a Christian is that we have the Holy Spirit for we if do not have it we are not yet a believer (Romans 8:9).

·       Places us into the church (1Corinthians 12:13) - The spirit graciously has placed us at salvation into the universal church of Christ for which he is the head.

As you can see, the Spirit is integral in bringing us to Salvation, completing salvation and bringing us to our eternal life. What a fantastic blessing that we have such a gift from God as the Holy Spirit.

Please join us next week as we continue the scriptural discussion of what the Spirit does for us. Thank you for reading my blog. I hope it is an assistance to you.

WC Stewart





Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How to be a fearless gospel sharing dynamo! 5 simple steps


Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today. We are exploring research findings from Teleios! A list of our compelling findings is on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

Last week we spoke about people's fear in sharing the Gospel so this week let's discuss some basic principles about how to communicate the Gospel in an easy, acceptable manner that you can adapt to your lifestyle.

Fortunately, scripture does not tell us that we need to beat people with the Gospel in a socially awkward and isolating way. So how do we relate the Good News to others in today's world? Well there are many ways to share the plan of salvation, but here is a process that my wife, Jeanette and I often use:

·       Prayerfully consider others - Most of us are so busy that unless we stop and specifically consider those around us we may easily miss wonderful opportunities to spread the Gospel. Therefore, try thinking through the people you know and who might respond to the Gospel.

Many Christians say ‘well nobody!’ So then, consider how you can meet more people and know your acquaintances better (please see next point). Start by praying for them!

·       Create a solid base for a relationship - This is vital as people need to know that you genuinely like and respect them. There are many books on the subject and perhaps the best starter is the classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. You can buy a cheap used copy (or download a copy) at Amazon. It is frightfully easy to read and apply. Do it!

In short, good relationships are built on, at least in part: listening, asking inquisitive questions about people's passions, work, interests and family. This should be done in a genuine, affable manner with a smile, gratitude, appropriate specific compliments, and saying ‘I’m sorry’ as needed. A solid relationship may take some time to build, months to years. Be patient.

·       Build a spiritual rapport - This can be done by simply asking them about benign religious topics, progressing through such questions as:

o   Were you raised in the church and what denomination? Did you like the church? Was it a good social environment?

o   What do you think about religious-based political issues such as Christian persecution? Does religion or the church help our culture, etc.?

o   Work towards issues pertaining to Christ, who is the major goal of the conversation, such as: what did their Church teach about Christ? What do they themselves believe about Christ? What is Christ’s role in salvation?

Important note: You don't have to respond to the above questions, it is better that you mostly just listen initially and gather information, again showing you respect for their opinions.

·       Identify a need – As you listen you should be able to perceive spiritual needs such as: are they are saved? Are they concerned about not going to heaven? Do they express reasons for guilt or unhappiness? Based on these issues you can develop a plan to assist them.

·       Make an offer - Based on your assessment of their spiritual needs, plan how to explain the gospel as a specific solution to their need. Make sure the offer is clear and unambiguous, that they must say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and they know what they are accepting.

Although you may be able to discuss the Gospel directly, I generally find it is helpful to offer a Bible study for 4 weeks to study the claims of Christ in Ephesians1:1-14. During this study they can discover the truth themselves, ask questions and you can share the Gospel as issues of salvation are raised in the text (please review plan of salvation at the bottom of the page so you know what to say). Salvation is neatly packaged also in Romans 3:10-26 or Ephesians 2:1-10

Even if this individual says ‘no’ to your efforts, the strong relationship you've built in the initial steps outlined above should overcome any social awkwardness. Through prayer and patience perhaps the opportunity to share again will occur.

If they say yes and believe, then praise be to God. What a privilege to see God save and change a life!

Thank you for reading my blog. Join me again next week as we continue to discuss Teleios’ findings and the wisdom of God's word.

WC Stewart





Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Gospel - ’Sorry, I cannot quite interpret your life!’

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today. We are in the midst of an exciting series on exploring relevant research findings from Teleios! A list of our compelling findings is on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

Teleios recently completed a survey of visitors to the Instagram site, GodsHolyScriptures. We had 224 participants, 93% were adolescents (<18) and millennials (18-34), 60% evangelicals and 60% female. We asked them what someone must believe to be a Christian, and how they explained this to others. Wow, we received some amazing answers!

Last week we discussed what extra beliefs many people add to salvation. This week let us explore how people share the gospel. The survey respondents’ favorite means to spread the gospel is in Table 1. Fortunately, directly sharing the plan of salvation was the most popular (39%). Also frequently mentioned was living a good life (35%).

Table 1 - What is sharing the Gospel?

Response
%
Verbally telling a nonbeliever the specific message of salvation
39%
Living as a good example
35%
Encouraging others
9%
Inviting others to church
7%
Praying for others
8%

We are fortunate that our gracious God has entrusted to us to be involved in other people's lives by telling them they can spend eternity with God. What a wonderful truth to impart to others!

However, we have to tell them! If you discover a good recipe or sport site on the internet or social media, and are excited about it, do you verbally tell someone else or text them to let them know? My guess is you do not depend on a wordless lifestyle that would somehow magically transmit to your friends information about your new favorite site. You must verbally relay this message specifically, of course.

Unfortunately, people cannot interpret our lifestyle, as important as this is for a framework in sharing the Gospel (1 Thessalonians 2). Romans 10:15-17 is very clear, that for person to come to faith, they must hear the explicit plan of salvation and believe. Here is a simple direct ‘ready to use’ Gospel message.

Salvation is a free gift of God! You can have confidence you are saved:

·        Each person has done misdeeds (sin) that deserve judgment and punishment from a perfect and just God.

·        However, God being loving, sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins on the cross to take the punishment that we deserved.

·        Consequently, God will see us without sin by accepting through faith the forgiveness that Christ provided by his death on the cross. This gracious forgiveness heals our relationship with God allowing us to obtain eternal life!

Teleios examined why people are resistant to sharing the explicit plan of salvation at a Midwest bible-believing Church. We found the most common reason was not only social rejection but also not knowing how to say the Gospel itself.

In the hundreds of Bible studies we've been blessed to teach no student could tell us clearly the gospel, even non-succinctly. This not only prevented them from sharing with others but also at times caused doubt in their own minds because they could not coherently tell themselves that they were forgiven and really saved.

Unfortunately, the hesitancy sharing the Gospel is one of the greatest hurdles of believers advancing in their knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-10). Further, this hesitancy is associated often with fear on one side while creating internal guilt on the other side. This self-defeating battle is unfortunate as sharing the Gospel does not need to be this way. It is actually quite easy and next week we'll discuss exactly how to do it!

Thank you for joining us today. I counted a privilege that you would read my blog.

WC Stewart


Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beliefs for salvation, ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’

Welcome back to my blog. Thank you for visiting today. We are in an exciting series on exploring relevant research findings from Teleios! A list of our compelling findings is on our website (www.teleiosresearch.com).

Teleios recently completed a survey of visitors to the Instagram site, GodsHolyScriptures. We had 224 participants: 93% were adolescents (< 18) and millennials (18-34), 60% evangelicals and 60% female. We asked them what they must believe to be a Christian. Wow, we received some amazing answers!

The good – Fortunately, almost all participants agreed that salvation was by faith through grace based on Christ's substitutionary sacrifice for our sins on the cross (87%). Furthermore, most (60%) believed their salvation was secure after their belief through faith; all very scriptural, YAY! (Romans 10:9-11; Ephesians 2:4-10; Romans 3:23-26; 1 Peter 1:4-5; John 10:28-30).

The bad – However, high percentages of our participants also added in some extra biblical requirements for being saved, which are not mentioned in biblical salvation texts (see Table).

Table: Non-biblical additions to salvation
(percent agreeing with statement)

87%
Believe heaven and hell are real places
78%
Believe the devil is real
65%
Believe in creation
64%
Believe every word of the Bible
58%

Although our participants are admirable in their zeal, when sharing the gospel, we should be careful not to add burdens that God does not Himself mention. For salvation a person simply needs to believe in the sacrifice of Christ for their sins and His resurrection by faith.

Then upon belief, a person is regenerated by the Spirit to become a new person in Christ. They will then grow in orthodoxy, accepting the issues listed in the Table, by the help of the Spirit as they study and grow in biblical knowledge.

The ugly - Further, the participants also frequently added in some extra-biblical requirements for salvation, including being anti-abortion and water baptized (40% each). Again, these are important topics but have nothing to do with our salvation. Christ alone and His glorious sacrifice is sufficient to save us.

We have a wonderful Savior who has provided the amazing gift of salvation. For those who already have believed to salvation, He then graciously causes us to grow. Don't make it hard for others! It is God who causes young believers to stand, not us (Romans 14:4).

Join us again next week as we continue to explore what one must do be saved and assured of salvation. We will continue the amazing findings of Teleios research and the advantages of the scripture.

WC Stewart


Response policy - The purpose of the comment section is to promote discussion that is encouraging, propels the further search of Scripture and raises interesting and thought provoking Biblically related questions. You may feel free to disagree with me in a constructive manner using appropriate language. I reserve the right to remove your comments if they are profane, pornographic, libelous or I do not consider them constructive or consistent with the policy stated above. By posting you no longer own your comments and you are granting me an unrestricted worldwide license to use your comments.

Copyright © 2016 Teleios, Inc. All rights reserved.