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September 26, 2022 7:05 am
The New Testament describes a number of astonishing miracles performed by God's the apostles and all eyewitnesses to the sensational.
So here's the question, does the spirit of God continue to work miracles today today on Insight for living Chuck Swindoll tackles this important question.
As part of his in-depth teaching series on the Holy Spirit called flying closer to the flame. This is message number 1314 Park study titled today's message is that all there is to the spirits ministry God speaks it is without error. So it was necessary before there was a Bible. While the church was being built. While the foundation was being late for there to be gifts like tongs and apostleship and miracles, healings, interpretation of tongues all essential for authenticating the messengers and establishing the church and propagating the gospel rapidly through the various language but Ephesians chapter 2 turned their next teaches us that there in this progress of revelation. There is a passing of time where something sees and other things continue Ephesians 2, verse 19 so then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household.
Watch closely. Verse 20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets were talking building temple built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing.
ING is growing into a holy temple in the Lord in whom also you are being built together into a dwelling of God in the spirit drop down to verse two of chapter 3. I'm sorry verse three.
Chapter 3 that by revelation. There was made known to me the mystery, which as I wrote before. In brief, remember the word mystery. The mystery and by referring to this. When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of which in other generations was not made known.
This mystery was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the spirit specifies a group before the mystery was not known, but now that there are apostles and prophets. The mystery has been unfolded, unveiled, revealed to be specific.
This is the mystery verse six that Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. That's the mystery. It wasn't known in the days of the Old Testament it came to be known in the first century and was in fact a part of the history of the church so that Gentiles were included. There was the inclusion if you will, of Gentiles with Jews in this wonderful universal body.
The body of Christ. It was a new thing was a mystery. It was revealed there is not yet another mystery that one is been revealed it's done.
It ceased being a secret.
It's no way this is a real good time for me to to build up the body rather than helped her the enemy loves to get us sidetracked on issues like so that we begin to refer to various people in the body of Christ is as them and as opposed to us. Try your best not to put those words in your vocabulary. This is a good time for us to leave room for for disagreement and and even debate.
But let's not help. The enemy danced with glee as were separated and fellowship from one another.
Let's not let that occur. Well, a better and not better, but another further question that we need to address before were through with. The series is how can we say the spirits work is still evident if the spirits work is not ended any of these. Some of these things have indeed been drawn to a close and how can we say the spirits work is still obvious.
What are some ways we know that women give you four thoughts that came to my mind as I put these is Howie and I prepared this sermon and put these thoughts together. Here's the first because he is still at work in our lives. He has been he has been with you, but he will be in you and you can know the spirits presence by witnessing it in your own life's work is continually going on.
First Corinthians 619 to 20. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit always will be. Always has been. Romans 816, 17 spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God's work is going on in our lives.
What I with other Christians there is a witness of the Spirit that links up with other even of the same language as I or the same culture to wonderful connection and I remind myself that's a spirits work he smiling on our relationship right now. First on for for greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world when you're in the face of enemy attacks. You know the spirits work is evident because there is a sense of competence and security in your faith. You know that he is evident because he is still at work in your life. Here's another one because he is still empowering gifted Christian for ministry. We were in first Corinthians. Let's go back to first Corinthians 12 and I'll show you in verses four through seven. The example from Scripture that the spirit is still at work and in in the gifts first Corinthians 12 verse four there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are varieties of ministries in the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things and all persons to each one was a wonderful thought here to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good hollow.
I know the work of the spirit is still evident because when I hear gifted teachers teach the Scriptures I am I am witnessing the gift of the spirit in that person's life when I see people gifted in evangelism winning people to Christ with ease and with great measure of success. I I again in my spirit. I know the work of the spirits involved in when I see people helping others in mercy and encouragement and hospitality. You and are witnessing the work of the spirit. He gifts people to do these things. Here's 1/3 when you may not have thought about lately because he is still restraining lawlessness.
Second Thessalonians chapter 2 verses seven and eight second Thessalonians to verse seven, the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.
Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way and then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of his mouth. Maybe you haven't thought about this lately because things seem to be out of control. Lawlessness seems to be at an all-time high. Perhaps it is but it's not anything like it will be when the spirit of God is lifted from this and the time will come upon this earth of evil, such as which, such as we have never witnessed in our lives, and when the restrainer is removed, there will be a witness of evil like we have never imagined. Cynthia and I groaned and eight this morning as we looked over story from the newspaper of a girl who went through the horror of an attempted rape, and the victim and and the that the criminal who who had her under his control. Finished off the act of violence by pouring a quart of sulfuric acid on her and blinded her and defaced her and ruined it. We in human terms ruined her life and shows a picture of her with her seeing-eye dog in and how she still sings the praises of Christ and is decided to go on in your life, hopes to someday be a disc jockey but I looked at her disfigured face, and I read of the criminal sentence against the man who perpetrated this crime and nothing is is too harsh for a man like that and I thought it can't get any worse, but it will when the restrainer is lifted from this earth. Those who live through that time will know what it would have been like when the restrainer was present so we know his work is evident because he continues to restrain lawlessness is another thought or in the last in this list because he is still regenerating the lost he still expanding the ranks of the church. John three unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. Just as the wind blows where you cannot know where it came from or where it's going. So it is in the birth of the spirit. He is still leading people to Christ. Sometime it just takes one witness and the lost person is saved. That's the work of the spirit. I got a marvelous letter this week. I just have to share part of it with you. It's from a trauma physician and I'll just read excerpts from this letter, which reveals the work of the Spirit in one person's life. Not long ago I finished the rotation at the Loma Linda veterans Hospital in one of my patients was in the Navy during World War II, he served in the battle of Midway and was on the USS Lexington which was sunk in that back the individual I met was literally just a skeleton of the man that fought for our country.
He now was on the losing end of the battle with the against a certain type of lung cancer that is well known as being the most deadly and most rapidly fatal type of lung cancer.
The malignancy is usually located near the mainstream bronchus which is the main tube that brings air into each long so as the tumor grows, it will progressively suffocate the patient. In addition to slowly suffocating the patient will also suffer indescribable bone pain secondary to the cancer's propensity to spread to bone throughout the body. This disease is brought on by hard living in excessive smoking, which was exactly the history of this patient because you two were once a military man.
You know what I'm describing when I say this patient used to be as tough as nails feared nothing and live life with incredible reckless abandon. However 40 years of hard living had caught up and had beaten him. He now weighs less than 90 pounds in his primary weight close to 200 pounds. He was unable to sit up in bed secondary to severe weakness and pain he had lost all of his hair secondary to chemotherapy. He was only able to speak a few words at a time. Otherwise, he would get to shortbread. Just pause and picture that that man living skeleton.
I knew after my first talk with him that he would not live another week. I am not the type of medical student who usually shares Christianity to patients, but this man was an exception after taking time to build a relationship with him. I asked him if he were afraid of dying.
He stated that he had absolutely no fear of death.
I was shocked by his confidence, because at this point, I knew only of his military days and I figure that he was just giving me a tough guy image. But I should have known the people on their deathbed usually cease seeing the need to be false, but he continued and told me the events of his life and because he had taken many pauses to catch his breath. This took quite a while. He rehashed to me his wild Navy days during the war up until the .2 years ago when he was in the depths of depression and feelings of hopelessness. He was living back east at the time and had been divorced several times and did not know where his children were living in was now living alone. He was at the point of considering suicide went on the radio came a program he had never heard before. He stated the show was entitled inside for live. He said that right then and there. After listening to only one show he accepted Christ into his life is his personal sleep.
He later moved out to Orange County California but he never did attend the Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton because he was too embarrassed of his past life to go to the church that Chuck Swindoll spoke at this point I took the liberty of telling him that you two used to be in the military.
I told him Chuck Swindoll would've been proud to meet you because you're a genuine Christian at this smile. He smile at this statement, he smiled a big smile possible. Our conversation came to a close. At this point I told him I'd see them the next morning. However, during the night he fell into a coma and died two days later, never regaining consciousness is the spirit of God. Anyone one voice in the middle of nowhere at the end of your rope. Never having met the man. One statement in its whole life is regenerated spirit, as it were he still doing that.
Still touching people still using folks like you and me.
No one can intelligently deny that the spirit of God is very much alive and well on planet or still at work well my hope in the series is that you will walk in the truth and that the spirit will become your daily helper and you will realize his power and the necessity of his presence in your life.
I also have a concern that you guard yourself against error you not be swept off into movements and groups and extremes that will hurt you, rather than help. You will disillusion you rather than encourage and strengthen you so I want to close with 45. Briefly stated, yet I hope practical and helpful checkpoints to keep you from ever this will stay with you. I hope for the rest of your days. In fact, you might want to find a place in your Bible, where you can just put up a heading that reads checkpoints to guard against error and just put 12345 and then will be will be through number one always let your Bible be your guide. Always let your Bible be your guide number two. Be discerning, it pays to stay a little skeptical and I know you know what I mean when I say it pays to keep asking questions. It pays to check out the character of the one doing the teaching it pays to give it a long trial before you throw yourself into it. Be discerning, number three stay balanced.
Always let your Bible be your guide. Be discerning, stay balanced by that I mean guard against extremism.
If you find things getting a little fanatical put on the brakes Christ isn't raising up fanatics. Christ is building his body with stable, contagious Christians fanatics aren't contagious their frightening your alienating those who are strong in their walk with Christ something wrong, something is wrong.
If you're being encouraged to go against that voice inside of you that the yellow light. Talk to a couple this morning who said they followed a particular ministry and they named it, there's no reason for me to name it here make it public, but they named that you know what if I called and they said we were we were being taught things that that didn't wash inside ours ours our conscience. We knew something was wrong with that and we were being told to claim and once we claim that we live it up.
It was our just name it and then rent and they said you know it got disillusioning as we watched all kinds of manipulative things being done and we have stepped away from that.
We want to. They were there words we want to bring things back into balance in our walk so smart couple investigated further. If if you question it, investigate by the way your little to posting balance if you're becoming more and more exclusive probably error when God's in it.
It fits in the flow of the body of Christ. If you're beginning to doubt more and more Christians and see yourself alone as being right. Something is wrong. Stay balanced. Number four. Seek the counsel of men and women you admire your respect, preferably those who were not caught up in the things you have been excited about.
You need a calm objective here and mouth when being drawn into teaching and finally keep the unity keeping the unity of the Spirit is not a nice option. It is an essential part of keep the unity try not to be deliberately divisive. Our calling is not to split churches are calling is to keep the unity to keep the body strong. There are a few rare occasions when one must stand alone, and if necessary walk away from a relationship, but it's the exception not the rule.
I close with Charles Spurgeon's words from his work. Morning and evening common to common is the sin of forgetting the Holy Spirit. This is folly and ingratitude as God. He is good. Essentially, he is good benevolently, tenderly, bearing with our waywardness. Driving with our rebellious will quickening us from our death in sin and then training us for the skies is a loving nurse fosters her child. He is good operatively. All his works are good in the most eminent degree. He suggests good thoughts about he prompts good actions reveals good truths applies good promises assists in good attainments and and leads in good results. There is no spiritual good in all the world of which he is not the author and sustainer. They who yield to his influences become good they who obey his impulses do good. They who live under his power receive good the church will never prosper until more reverently. It believes in the holy goes. May this series have helped you believe in the work and the power of the Holy Spirit went about for a few moments prayer together with me take a brief look back over your years on this earth pinpoint a few good things that can only be attributed to the work of the Spirit of God and as I lead you in prayer you give thanks for those good things. Maybe the birth of a child that you struggled with and realize now was the, the blessing of God may have been the loss of something precious that you thought would end your life when in fact it has made your life. Maybe your relationship or frankly the cessation of a relationship that is turned your whole ship around and sent you on course in the right direction may have been coming in contact with the with the teacher or or with a ministry that has shaped and influenced your life for good father in heaven here our prayer of gratitude. Thank you through the process and product progress of history. Even the history of our brief lives and we have seen your hand, obviously at work, sometimes rebuking and reproving and spanking us in discipline, sometimes reaching down and lifting up heavy hearts and drooping shoulders sometimes and filling us with the most exciting thoughts of a of a bright future when we thought it had come to an end. Out of nowhere a phone call or a letter or a contact or an arm around our shoulders and in the whole course of our lives was changed because your intimate spirit allowed us to fly closer to the flame and we got a touch of his warmth. The change that you had in mind for us. Thank you Lord for being far more faithful than we could ever dream of being for being long-suffering with our short tempers for being good. When we have been bad for guiding us often against our own selfish wills and then patiently enduring are bragging about being in your will and in fact it was all you made these thoughts we have shared together over this period of time bring closure to some struggles that have been present.
Bring hope where there has been a sense of darkness and discouragement may only good and strength, the things we have learned and grown in together in the name of Jesus Christ, who has given us his Spirit previous thing in everybody's a man that concludes message number 13 are 14 part series on the Holy Spirit you're listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll and this is inside for living. To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us email@example.com. If you filled good intentions for requesting Chuck's book about the Holy Spirit, today's the day to reach out this teaching series will conclude on Wednesday. Chuck's full-length book is called embraced by the spirit. The parallels the teaching series in many ways but Chuck goes into far greater detail in his book the subtitle is embraced by the spirit. The untold benefits of intimacy with God to purchase a copy right now. Go to insight.org/store. Finally, as we conclude today's program love to invite you to become one of our monthly companions. The steady financial support from a monthly companions has accelerated our pursuit of an audacious God sized three and that is to bring insight for living to all 195 countries. We refer to this mission has vision 195. By becoming a monthly companion you can have a ministry all of your own participating in vision 195 to sign up right now. Give us a call if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. That's 800-772-8888 or you can go online to insight.org/monthly companion on insight for living. The preceding message is that all there is to the spirits ministry was copyrighted in 1993 and 2003 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2003 by Charles R. Swindoll. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited