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What Is the Spirit Doing Today?

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
May 31, 2023 5:20 pm

What Is the Spirit Doing Today?

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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May 31, 2023 5:20 pm

The Line of Fire Radio Broadcast for 05/31/23.


The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. Yes, we're in a war, but we don't fight with worldly weapons. We fight by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Welcome, friends, to the radio revolution. God is at work in America. There is a holy pushback taking place. More and more of you are saying, let's stand up for what is right, let's push back against what is wrong. But, as followers of Jesus, we don't only go through the realm of politics and only go through the realm of op-ed columns and only go through the realm of media and only go through the realm of schools. We go through all these different channels, but we also fight our battle with the power of the Holy Spirit with spiritual weapons. Michael Brown, thanks for joining us today on the line of fire as we stand here every day to infuse you with faith and truth and courage. And to say, God is at work. God is on the move. More and more believers turning earnestly to the Lord. More and more believers saying, Father, we need you in our lives. We need you in our families.

We need you in our communities. And the Lord is responding to the cries of his people. 866-34-TRUTH is the number to call.

866-348-7884. At the bottom of the hour, I'm going to have a seminary president join us with a brand new book about the Holy Spirit. Methodist Seminary, Old Testament Hebrew scholar will be talking about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I think you're going to find that really edifying and helpful. All right, so I'm going to talk about the Holy Spirit in the first half of the broadcast, too.

I'm going to talk about the revolution that's taking place in America today, not by earthly weapons, but by spiritual weapons. But first, I want to set the stage and headline on Drudge Report, Drudge Report being one of the most widely read and used websites in America. In fact, if you used to listen to Rush Limbaugh, you could see a lot of the news items that he was talking about were right from Drudge Report, which just lists in historic black and white format, it's been like this for many, many years, just lists different headlines. And you click on the headline and you go to the article. So Drudge kind of tells you what it wants you to read, what it thinks is important, and it's often sensationalistic as well. No surprise there, and strongly conservative in many ways as well. Used to be pro-Trump, then turned anti-Trump, but here's what's posted.

There is a picture, little stick figures, two males, and then around that the negative, you've got the circle with the line across it, like the no sign. So then it says war on pride, meaning gay pride, anti-target rap tops iTunes, revolt on Chick-fil-A over an alleged diversity hiring, Bud Light sails down 30%, gays leaving Florida, exclamation point. Now, let me say this as plainly as I can. I am for all human beings to flourish and to fulfill their God given potential.

I am for every single person in America wanting to see God's best for your life. I am not trying to stop someone's progress. I am not trying to hurt individuals. I am not moved by anger. I am not trying to go one up on somebody we're going to win.

You're going to lose. I simply believe that God's ways are best. I simply believe that when God set up marriage as the union of one man and one woman for life, he knew exactly what he was doing. I firmly believe that there are many activist agendas in America that are unhealthy, that are harmful, and therefore I stand against them. And just like people of conscience opposed slavery in our past, opposed the mistreatment of Native Americans, opposed segregation, more recent years opposed abortion, so we oppose other agendas that we feel are harmful and destructive today. It's not hate that moves us, it's love. It's not extremism that moves us, it's holding to sound life-giving foundations. That's why we do what we do, that's why we stand where we stand. The fact of the matter is, many Americans have said enough is enough.

We talked about it yesterday, I'm not going to rehearse a lot of these things, but lines have been crossed. And when it comes to the chemical castration and general mutilation of children, people have said enough is enough. When it comes to drag queens reading to toddlers in libraries, people have said enough is enough.

When it comes to boys sharing locker rooms with girls in high school and competing against them in sports, people have said enough is enough. When it comes to those who have different beliefs and simply hold to biblical values being put in a closet, people have said enough is enough. But here's what is so important to understand, and this is why, when I talk about the radio revolution, friends, this is why we're on the air. This is why our voice is being added to the other voices. Our voice is being added to the secular cultural commentaries and conservative news outlets that are saying what they're saying. May they do what they do, may they do it well, and those many preachers and teachers just bringing Bible lessons week in, week out, essential, foundational, critical, we must have this.

May they do what they do well. What I'm seeking to do in obedience to the Lord is to say, let's impact the culture, let's touch the world around us, but not with the weapons of the world, rather with the weapons of the Spirit. Do you remember what happened when David said that he was going to take down Goliath? Now, it seemed utterly ridiculous that the top warriors, the top soldiers in Israel were petrified at the thought of taking on this giant, this Philistine warrior from his youth.

They were petrified. David's just a shepherd boy. What's he got to do with fighting a warrior like this, but when he says he can do it, then the same God that gave him the bear and the lion when they tried to attack his sheep and he was able to kill them, the same God is going to give him this uncircumcised Philistine. So, what happens? Saul gives his armor to David.

You can't go out and fight a warrior unless you have armor, right, and a sword. David walks around in it. In Hebrews, literally, I haven't tested it.

Most translated, others translated, I haven't used it. I'm not used to it. I'm not used to it. He tries to walk around in it and, and in all likelihood, in all likelihood, it was too big for him also because remember in 1 Samuel 10, it tells us that Saul from shoulders up was taller than anyone in Israel. He was kind of like head and shoulders over other people.

It doesn't fit. So, he takes it off and he goes out just with a slingshot and five smooth stones. He fought with the weapons he was used to.

He fought with the weapons that he knew God would bless. So, we are also in a war, but not the way the world fights. We're not in the streets burning down buildings. We're not using threats and intimidation. We're not filled with profanity and anger. We are not fighting in crass, carnal ways. You know, the political season as it heats up, you have these attack ads that go, you know, someone attacks you, you got to attack back and it gets uglier and uglier and uglier and uglier. And this is to advance a political cause.

That's the way it's operated in America since the beginning, sadly. We're not like that. We're in a fight with different weapons. Let me read to you what Paul writes, 2 Corinthians chapter 10. 2 Corinthians chapter 10 and beginning in verse 3, he says this, for though we walk in the flesh, 2 Corinthians 10 beginning verse 3, though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments in every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience when your obedience is complete. This is Paul's last line, speaking specifically about how they're ministering to the Corinthians, but this is a larger philosophy, a larger mindset of Paul. We do fight.

We are at war, but not the way the world fights, not in the flesh. Look at what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6. 2 Corinthians chapter 6, and he says this, beginning in verse 3.

It's an extraordinary passage. We, speaking of him and his fellow apostles, we put no stumbling block in anyone's way so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God, we commend ourselves in every way. How? How do we do what we do? By great endurance, in affliction, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger. By purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love.

By truthful speech and by the power of God, with weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left. Notice he refers to weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left. Through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise, we are treated as impostors and yet are true, as unknown and yet as well known, as dying and behold we live, as punished and yet not killed, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet, possessing everything.

Isn't this fascinating? Paul's saying, yes, we're in a war. Yes, we're in a battle. But we're not fighting the way others fight. In fact, we're overcoming evil with good. We're overcoming hatred with love. We're overcoming lies with truth. We're overcoming cursing with blessing. And we are fighting a different battle and the battle that we're fighting is one that can bring eternal fruit.

Can I be totally plain and straight with everyone? As important as it is for Christians to be involved in politics in terms of voting and advocating and even running for office if God calls you to, as important as it is for Christians to be involved in the education system, for Christians to be involved in media and social media, for Christians to be involved in every facet of life seeking to be salt and light, as crucial as that is, it is less powerful than prayer. It's not either or. It's both and. It is both and.

Not either or or both and. But getting on our knees alone with God or joining with others in prayer or prayer and fasting is the mightiest weapon that we have. Preaching the gospel to the lost and calling believers to live for God. These are some of the most powerful weapons that we have and they really are world changing weapons. We tend to go to one extreme or another. We're just going to shut ourselves off and pray and drop out of the world. We're just going to get so involved with things of the world that we forget about prayer.

It's both and. But first and foremost, we fight the spiritual weapons with the power of the Holy Spirit. And this way, we don't just change laws.

We don't just change ways of thinking. We also change hearts and change lives. Friends, give a good listen to this word from our co-sponsor, Tribeed. It's a great way to partner with us and join the radio revolution and also to bless your own life.

We'll be right back. I'm Paul Burnett, a board certified doctor of holistic health. Over the years, I have helped countless people increase and maintain their natural energy production with Alfred Libby's Slow Dissolve Super B12 sold only by Trivita. I have never met anyone deficient in caffeine or sugar, but I have met many people deficient in energy supporting vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B vitamins and is an essential nutrient, meaning the body cannot make B12 on its own. You see, unlike other oral B12 supplements, Alfred Libby's Slow Dissolve Super B12 is fast acting because the formula is scientifically developed to dissolve under the tongue, bypassing the digestive process, making it immediately available for use in the body. Alfred Libby's Slow Dissolve Super B12 is also formulated with other natural energy supporting ingredients, such as folate, ginseng root and other natural ingredients. Not only are the ingredients beneficial for energy, but they're also support healthy cognition, mood, nerve function and natural hemoglobin production.

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Use promo code BROWN25 and receive a 25% discount on the products of your choice. That number again is 1-800-771-5584. 800-771-5585. It's the Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.

Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. And don't forget, 100% of your first order with Trivita goes to support the Line of Fire. More than a tithe of all subsequent orders, 800-771-5584 is the number to call. Alright, so I want to take you over to Ephesians chapter 6. Ephesians chapter 6. And it's a very well-known passage in Scripture for those familiar with the New Testament. I want to go through it. I'm not going to do a full teaching on it, but I want to break it down for you. In fact, let me tell you how you can get an entire series on spiritual warfare as a free gift when you order a critically important book.

I'll get to that a little bit later in the broadcast or later in the segment. Paul writes this, Ephesians 6-10, Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. So, no matter how weak we are, no matter how deficient we are, no matter how lacking we are, we're told to be strong in the Lord.

It's like someone puts on the Iron Man suit, they can suddenly function like Iron Man. So, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. His strength is made perfect through our weakness. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's steams. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood.

We have to remember that, friends. No matter who the activists are, no matter who the political leaders are on either side that we differ with, no matter who our earthly enemies may be, our ultimate struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. There is a spiritual world as real, in fact more real than the earthly world because it was here before the earthly world and it will be here after the earthly world. There is a real spiritual world and there is a real spiritual battle.

There is a real devil, there are real demons, these things are true. And that's where our ultimate battle is fought. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you've done everything, just stand. So, God has given us His armor, we put that armor on, and as we put it on, no matter what happens to us, no matter what we go through, we will, with the help of God's grace, wearing that armor, be able to stand. Let's continue reading Ephesians chapter 6, beginning now in verse 14. It says, fit it with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and then the final exhortation, praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication. And then Paul asks for prayer for himself.

Alright, here's something really fascinating. When you go to the book of Isaiah, you see that metaphorically, Isaiah 59, God Himself puts on a helmet of salvation. And God Himself puts on a breastplate of righteousness. Now, there are a couple of things of tremendous significance here. First, it's telling us that spiritually speaking, we wear God's own armor.

I mean, think of it. Again, it's a spiritual concept. But the very armor that God wears, obviously it's a metaphorical image. He is fully God.

He doesn't need to put something on. But that very armor that God wears, He gives to us to wear. In other words, it's literally the armor of God, spiritually speaking.

It's not just the armor He gives us, it's His armor that we get to wear. Now, the helmet of salvation, we think that means having thoughts, I'm saved, I'm saved. Well, that's not the helmet God puts on His head, I'm saved, I'm saved. It is a helmet of victory. Salvation in Scripture, especially in the Hebrew Bible, can also mean victory and triumph.

That's the helmet that's put on. And that's our mentality. And the breastplate of righteousness, we are justified by the blood of Jesus. There is no condemnation. Every lie, every power of darkness that comes against us, we can push away because of that breastplate of righteousness. And the shield of faith, when we hold that up, it quenches the fiery darts of the wicked one. All the lies that come against us, all the intimidation spiritually that comes against you. Everything that tells you you're not going to make it, you're going down, you're going to die, your family is going to be destroyed, your church is going to be destroyed, your ministry is going to be destroyed, your business is going down, you're going down. And that shield of faith quenches those fiery darts of the wicked one.

Yes, it does. And our feet shod the good news of the gospel of peace that where we go, we bring the good news. Buckle of truth, or just truth holding us together in the most foundational way. And then the sword of the Spirit, this is the offensive weapon.

Right? I mean feet with the shod of the gospel of peace, that's an offensive weapon as well, but this is the sword, the one thing spoken of, that does damage to the enemy, our spiritual enemies, Satan, demonic powers, the word of God. Jesus, in the wilderness, think of it, resists Satan, tempted for 40 days, he resists Satan with the word of God.

It is written, it is written, it is written. And boom, with that, we push back the powers of darkness. And that's what undergirds our worldview as we look out at this fallen world, as we look out at this world on the verge of destruction and destroying itself and hurting itself, we come with the foundation of the word of God. Even if we don't always quote scripture, when we're advocating for our cause, that is our foundation.

The word of God, the living word of God, that infuses us with divine truth and divine understanding and divine wisdom and divine love. And with that, we push back against the powers of darkness. Friends, nothing could stop the gospel. Persecution can't stop it, hardship can't stop it, political opposition can't stop it, imprisonment can't stop it, martyrdom can't stop it.

In fact, it was Tertullian who famously said in the early church that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church. So, forward we go, friends, forward we go, not in our power, not in our wisdom, but in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, and we will see multitudes of lives changed. On with the revolution. And I have not mentioned this probably for more than two weeks, but I think this is the last day to do it, so my apologies for not mentioning it. One of the most important books I've written, one of the best selling books I've written in years, Jezebel's War with America, real eye-opening, the powers of darkness that worked through Jezebel 3,000 years ago, so active in our society against it, what they are, how we combat them. Beautiful hardcover volume. When you get that, this month, this is the last day to do it, we want to give you absolutely free, my 12-hour, 8-lecture series on spiritual warfare.

It was recorded years ago, the best I recorded it, we've used it ever since. Now you can get it free with your purchase of Jezebel's War with America. So call 800-538-5275, Jezebel's War with America, and my 12-hour teaching on spiritual warfare, really deeply getting into the Scriptures and opening them up in a practical and inspiring way, so let us bless you with this, and with every purchase you help us reach more people through the line of fire. 800-538-5275 is the number to call and help us as we stand together, friends, pushing back against the power of darkness. This is a great way for you to be equipped, for you to be strengthened, and for you to be a blessing to many others. We come back, bottom of the hour, I'm going to be joined with Matt Ayers, in fact let me grab the book right here, The Holy Spirit, an introduction by Matt Ayers, and Matt's an Old Testament scholar, Hebrew scholar, but this is written in a simple and clear way. Talking about the role of the Holy Spirit, who the Holy Spirit is, how we can relate to the Holy Spirit, so we'll talk about this when we come back on the other side of the break. And please let us know how we can be a blessing to you.

Contact us through the website Let us know how we can best serve you, be a blessing, because we are here to hold your hands up, to strengthen you, so that you can see the victory of God coming, your life, your family, your community, your church. Jesus is Lord. Let's shout it out together. We'll be right back.

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Click on Donate Monthly Support. Well, let's have a conversation about the Holy Spirit. And if you have a question about the Holy Spirit, you can give us a call, 866-34-TRUTH, 866-348-7884. It's my delight to be speaking now with Matt Ayers. He is president of Wesley Biblical Seminary. I had the joy of being there at a conference a few months back. Matt's an Old Testament and Hebrew scholar, and we've gotten to know each other in recent years. Matt, welcome to The Line of Fire. Thanks for joining us. Thank you, Dr. Brown.

Good to hear you again. So, as someone with a strong degree in Old Testament, a lot of knowledge background, Hebrew scholar, how do you happen to write a book on the Holy Spirit? Well, great question. So I was invited to preach at a local Methodist church that was supporting my wife and I and family as we were missionaries in Haiti for 13 years. Every summer we'd go and visit the church, and it was Pentecost weekend that weekend. And they said, hey, could you preach a sermon on the Holy Spirit?

And I thought, great. So I just brought my knowledge of the celebration of Pentecost in its Old Testament context, which of course is the commemoration of the giving of the law of Sinai, and brought that to bear on the giving of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, and compared the law and the Old Testament to the Holy Spirit in the New. And it was very, very enlightening and eye-opening and fruitful for so many people in the congregation. They said, you know, we need a book on this.

And so I kind of took that as a hint and prayed for a long, hard time, actually a couple years before even starting and drafting. But that's how it all got started, was looking at the Old Testament roots of the Holy Spirit in Pentecost at the giving of the law of Sinai. I'm holding the book in my hands, The Holy Spirit, an introduction, Matt Ayers, A-Y-A-R-S. And Matt, I'm glad that you're able, as a scholar, to communicate in language that's simple and clear for people to understand. So the scholarship undergirds, in other words, your interpretation of scripture is going to be sound, but it's going to be something that any interested reader can take hold of and understand. So let's say I'm new to all this, right? I'm maybe a Jewish person coming to faith in Jesus or just a secular person and Holy Spirit, who or what?

Is the Holy Spirit a who or what? Where do we start? Yeah, so I would say that we start this way. We all pretty well recognize that there is corruption in the world, and that the world isn't right. There's injustice, there's difficulty, there's strife, there's death, there's disease, there's adversity.

And we can all pretty well get on that same page. And then of course the scriptures answer the question for us with regard to the origin of those problems. And when it comes down to it, the reality is that because of our sin and our rebellion against God, we've lost something absolutely essential to constitute who God intended humanity to be as His image bearers. And that thing that's been lost is His holy presence, is the presence of the divine person of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the one who brings that presence to us. And so because of the work of Jesus in, you know, satisfying God's wrath, propitiation, I know those are big terms, maybe uninitiated, but God, Jesus bridges us back to a relationship with the Holy Trinity. Then the Holy Spirit is able to restore in our lives what was lost, that is the divine presence, and therefore bring healing and bring restoration and bring redemption to who we are as individuals and collectively who we are as a society. And so the Holy Spirit is the personal presence of God restored to our lives internally in an intimate way so that we can walk with Him in communion and in fellowship with Him and with one another, as God always intended it from the very beginning as it's detailed in Genesis. So with such an essential role, and with the Holy Spirit spoken of so much in the New Testament, in the Old Testament as well, but spoken of so much in the New Testament, why do you think it is that for many that's like a slightly off-limits topic? You know, we talk about the Father and we come to God, we pray the Our Father, you know, so we relate to God as our Father and Jesus the Son does what He does on the cross, we have the Bible. Why do you think that there is so much misunderstanding about the Holy Spirit or lack of attention on the Holy Spirit?

Yeah, I think there's a couple reasons, one of which I think is a good reason, and the other I think is a not so good reason. The good reason is that the Holy Spirit, as we learn in Scripture, is ultimately aimed at glorifying Jesus. He doesn't want to get attention for Himself, He wants Jesus to get the attention.

It's what we call self-effacing. It's like Jesus is the portrait of God and the Holy Spirit is the spotlight on the portrait. The intention is not for us to turn and look at the spotlight, but He wants us to turn and see to that or to whom that He is pointing.

And we learn this again in the Scriptures. And so one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit doesn't get as much attention as God the Father and God the Son is because the Holy Spirit is pointing us to Jesus more than He is pointing us to Himself. And so this is why we see Jesus as the center focus in the Scriptures, Old and New Testament alike, whether that's a direct reference to Jesus or an indirect pointing to Jesus in the Old Testament. And the Holy Spirit is one of the active parties in inspiring the writing of the text that is ultimately all about Jesus. And so that would be one reason that we tend to focus a little less on the Holy Spirit than Jesus or God the Father is because He's always pointing to the other two. And so that's one good reason that we don't focus too much on the Holy Spirit because ultimately He wants us to be fixed on Jesus. You know, we hear and read the Apostle Paul who says, I know one thing, and that is Christ and Him crucified. He doesn't say, I know one thing, and that is the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, right? So the cross and Jesus is at the center of God's redemptive work, and that's our attention, that the Holy Spirit likes to draw our attention to that reality of Jesus and the cross and the resurrection.

So that's a good reason. One of the not-so-good reasons, and there are many, that we tend to have an aversion to talk about the Holy Spirit is because there's a history particularly in North American Protestant evangelicalism of, let's say, abuses within certain Pentecostal or charismatic traditions that have gotten a lot of tension in the press through many, many decades. And so there's a sort of allergy to any talk about the Holy Spirit, but even beyond abuses, I think it's more important to point out that oftentimes what the Holy Spirit does is manifest miraculous gifts and works, and as a Western world people, we don't have a category for those sorts of things. We like to affirm things that are empirically verifiable.

While it's hard to empirically verify someone who was once lame and can now walk or who was blind and who can now see, that's just a harder thing for us to appropriate into our thinking as modern 21st century Western believers. And so we're dealing with cultural categories that are a bit foreign to us here in America, more so than they'd be in other parts of the world where it's not so much been impacted by the Enlightenment and the age of reason, so to speak. And so I think those are a couple reasons why we tend to talk about or focus less on the Holy Spirit.

So let's just stay there for one moment. The new book, The Holy Spirit and Introduction by Matt Ayers, especially if you're teachers of the Word, those who love to dig in the Word, you find it really, really helpful laid out plainly, clearly going through the Scriptures, which is the foundational way that we know about the Holy Spirit. But Matt, you mentioned that you and your wife were missionaries in Haiti for 13 years, and Haiti known for voodoo witchcraft. Was there something very real about the work of Satan in Haiti, and was it perhaps easier for Haitian Christians to relate to the ministry of the Holy Spirit because they were so aware of the demonic realm?

The short answer to that question would be yes. There's something more tangible and visible to, let's say, the work of the powers of darkness or Satan in a place like Haiti because of the animistic background of Haitian culture, the strong affirmation and universal belief and an affirmation of the existence of an unseen metaphysical reality, which is quite foreign to a lot of Western world culture. In Haiti, it's a normal part of everyday life and parlance that, yes, of course there are spirits that we can't see that are real and exist. And the Holy Spirit, one of his attributes is that he is spirit. He's invisible.

You can't see him. And that is a perfectly comfortable category for a place like Haiti who has no problem whatsoever fully embracing the notion of a metaphysical reality. And so, yes, there's a lot less obstacle to overcome to discuss, especially when it comes to miracles and giftings, the work of the Holy Spirit and the reality of the Holy Spirit as a divine person, whose presence is real yet invisible in a place like Haiti in contrast to, like, a Western culture.

Got it. All right, now, when you wrote your book, you wrote it as a student of the Word, you also wrote it as a Methodist minister. What role does the Bible play in telling us who the Holy Spirit is and what he does?

What role does Church tradition play in telling us who the Holy Spirit is and what he does? Yeah, so the Bible is definitely the primary source. And I understand the Bible to be inerrant, meaning it is entirely trustworthy. It doesn't affirm anything that does not conform to that which is true or real. Because it is inspired by God, meaning God breathes 3 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16.

And if it's God-breathed, that means it originates from God. And if it originates from God, then it has God's own authority in itself, meaning disobeying Scripture is synonymous with disobeying God himself. And if God is the source of the Scriptures, and God knows all things and doesn't lie, then it must be reliable and true, and its message must be clear. It must be sufficient as far as revealing to us all that we need to know to come into a saving relationship with him as his self-revelation in Scripture. And there's also a unity and coherence to the Scriptures because it is the single mind of God that is the origin of the book. And this all means that what we learn about the Holy Spirit in Scripture, and to say it even a better way, who the Holy Spirit has, what the Holy Spirit has revealed about himself through the Scriptures.

We know that it's going to be accurate, it's going to be reliable, it's going to be clear, and it's going to be sufficient. Because that's what we understand the Scriptures to be because they're authoritative and inspired. Now, where does church tradition come in?

Tell you what, I'm just going to preempt your answer here, because we've got to break. We come back, we'll answer the question, where does church tradition come in, in our understanding of the Holy Spirit? And then, what does the Bible say that indicates the Holy Spirit is a who, and not a what? Not just an abstract power, and not just like wind or rain, but a who, a person, personality. Where do we get that from? We'll be right back with the new book, The Holy Spirit, an introduction.

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Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. I'm speaking with Matt Ayers, president of Wesley Biblical Seminary and author of the new book, The Holy Spirit, An Introduction. So Matt, right before the break, you were going to explain to us Scripture is our foundation for knowing who the Holy Spirit is and what he does, but there is a role that church tradition plays in this as well.

So sort that out for us. Yeah, so a lot of people don't like the idea, especially Protestants, of looking to church tradition to help us because they think that church tradition is like adding to the Scriptures or doctrine that humans have invented in addition to the Scriptures or to supplement Scriptures. The Scripture says, don't do that.

Don't add to the Word. Don't take away from the Word. We find this in Deuteronomy. We find this in the book of Revelation. And that's not what church tradition is. And I think if we understand that, it helps us to frame the role of church tradition a bit better.

So church tradition is not seeking to add to who God has revealed himself to be, and in this case the Holy Spirit, in the Scriptures, but rather to preserve the apostolic witness contained in the New Testament. And so as the church in its earliest years was growing and developing, it naturally faced resistance. It faced false teaching. And of course, Jesus warns the church. Paul warns the church that false teaching will come. Much of the New Testament is written in response to, or as a correction to, false teaching. And as false teaching was growing in the church, the church had to come together as a whole, all the believers from all the different locations in the ancient world at that time, to be able to be unified under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to answer some of the objections to how the church has been worshipping. And so if the church is worshipping the person of Jesus, just like the apostles did and just like other New Testament believers did, as the New Testament tells us, and people come along and say, well you're not supposed to worship Jesus because you're only supposed to worship God. And that's how they had to go, well Jesus is God. And the attempt of the church and the development of doctrine is to preserve that apostolic New Testament witness to the divinity of Christ.

Not to add to it, but to guard it and to protect it and to preserve it. And so when various false teachings arose with regard to the Holy Spirit, namely the divine personhood of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is divine, and likewise a person, not an impersonal force. That's when we have the Nicaean Chalcedonian Creed come into play with regard to the divine personhood of the Holy Spirit, as it says that the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and then the Western Church as through the Son. So that's not an attempt to add to the Bibles God's self-revelation in Scripture, but to preserve an accurate, concise language for the sake of teaching what they understood the Apostles, the tradition the Apostles inherited from Jesus himself. Alright, so you mentioned though the person of the Holy Spirit.

We don't have time to get into this in-depth. Folks need to dig into the book for that. And by the way, everyone interested in reading this, there are questions for reflection, for understanding. This is made to get you thinking and digging the Scripture yourself. But just quickly, if you had to give two or three verses or incidents that would point to the personhood of the Holy Spirit, what would they be? Yeah, so first, according to Isaiah 63, 10, and Ephesians 4, 30, and Ephesians 4, 30, Paul is citing Isaiah 63, 10, says that, but they rebelled and grieved the Holy Spirit. Therefore he turned to be their enemy and himself fought against them.

So the prophet here is describing how Israel responded to God's goodness and faithfulness in rescuing them from Egyptian slavery. And the prophet says that the Holy Spirit was grieved. Well, an impersonal force can't be grieved. You can't grieve a rock. You can't grieve a wind, for example.

And so in other words, he has, in order to be grieved, one must have emotion and will, which are attributes of personality and personhood. So those are two verses right there. Also Hebrews 10, verse 29, which talks about outraging the Holy Spirit.

So it says, How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he has sanctified and has outraged the Spirit of grace? So again, an impersonal force or object can't be outraged. Will and emotion must be factors at play.

But also intelligence. So we know the Holy Spirit has intelligence because he speaks over and over again in the New Testament. Take, for example, Mark 13-11. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. So here we have the Holy Spirit speaking. And there's a whole list of other verses, Acts 13, 2-3, Acts 8-29, Acts 21-11. There's more still, where we see the Holy Spirit expressly and explicitly speaking. Well, impersonal forces don't speak.

One must be a person with intelligence, emotion, and will in order to speak. Yeah, and when you think of Old Testament examples where the Spirit gives David the plans for building the temple, you know, and instructs, and Nehemiah, you know, leads and instructs Israel. Yeah, so there's so much, it's so rich, and there's the invitation from God to get to know the Holy Spirit better to enable us to better glorify Jesus and relate to the Father.

So, Matt, when you wrote the book, ultimately, what's your hope, what's your goal for readers? So, one major goal for readers is to understand that because of the Holy Spirit, that Christians have everything they need in terms of resources to be free, not just from the guilt of sin, but from the power of sinning. One of the things that I point out in the book is the relationship between the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and the law in the Old Testament. And they both identify sin, they reveal sin, right?

The Holy Spirit is an illuminating fire. And He illuminates several things, but one of the things is sin, just like the law reveals sin. Without the law, there was no accounting for sin. By the law that we know what sin is and what sin isn't. And Jesus says, I will send the Holy Spirit, He will convict the world of sin. So the Holy Spirit identifies sin in our lives.

He convicts us. But because He's an internal reality, that it is the divine presence, He doesn't just convict us of sin, He also empowers us to overcome that sin. And so oftentimes when we neglect the Holy Spirit, we are neglecting the very, very critical resource that's required to be free from the power of sinning. Jesus didn't die just to alleviate us from the guilt of sin, but also the power of sin, that we can really live a life of righteousness that conforms to the life of Jesus, not because of our own effort, but because of grace and because of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Yeah, so well said, Matt.

I appreciate it. So it's not just head knowledge, friends. It's transformation of life by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And you say, well, I'm not charismatic. We're not even talking about that. We're not even talking about gifts of healing, tongues, prophecy.

We're talking about being empowered to overcome sin, being empowered to walk more closely with the Lord, being empowered to be more effective witnesses. Matt, if folks want to follow your work, find out more about what you do, what's the best place to go? The best place to go is my website, which is just

M-A-T-T-A-Y-A-R-S dot com. And there, there's a whole list of devotionals, videos, all sorts of resources. And then I do have a podcast.

It's called Seminary Unboxed. It's the official podcast of Wesley Biblical Seminary. And right now, I'm in a season of doing an exegetical study on the podcast of the book of Revelation. And I think we're in chapter four or five right now. So yeah, very, very interesting stuff. Oh, well, when you figure it all out, let me know, because I'm still working on Revelation 15 years into the Lord. And the answer is, well, we don't have this figured out.

This is what we think it may mean. Got it. Got it. Hey, Matt, thanks for doing what you do and look forward to connecting again. Thank you, Dr. Brown. Listen, we love you and support you in prayer and in your ministry. Thank you. I appreciate it. I appreciate it very much.

All right, friends, I don't have time to take calls now, so I'm not going to give out the number again. But I want to give you a word of encouragement about the Holy Spirit. Some of you come from backgrounds where you got burned by spiritual extremes, by Charismania, by people prophesying over you and it wasn't accurate, by people trying to push you to speak in tongues, by someone guaranteeing that a person would be healed and they weren't. And understandably, you drew back from so many things that perhaps you've discounted the ministry, the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you've forgotten how essential that it is that we relate to the Holy Spirit. Now, nowhere in the Bible am I aware of anyone praying to the Holy Spirit.

I'm not aware of that anywhere in the Bible. But I do know what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13-14, that in his benediction, his invocation for the Corinthians, his prayer is that, what, the love of God and the grace of the Lord Jesus and the communion of the Holy Spirit would be theirs. So, the love of the Father, filling and dominating our lives, walking by the grace of the Lord Jesus, His unmerited favor and His empowerment, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.

That's the word koinonia, which many of you know is the word for fellowship. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us and guides us, the Holy Spirit who bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, the Holy Spirit who empowers us to be witnesses, the Holy Spirit who works through us so that Jesus may be glorified as risen from the dead. So, don't draw back from the Spirit, but say, Father, help me to walk in the fullness of your Spirit in me and upon me so that Jesus may be fully glorified. It's a safe prayer to pray, it's a biblical prayer to pray, and it's a prayer that God will answer. If you persist in praying and believing, you will see the Holy Spirit working beautifully and wonderfully in your life. Tomorrow, thoroughly Jewish Thursday. We'll be back with you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-31 20:57:06 / 2023-05-31 21:17:11 / 20

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