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Spare Change - November 2022

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Living a Spirit-filled Life
Being a Spirit filled Christian is an important part of our faith. This is something we should strive for daily. This ideal seeks to shape us in the process of sanctification; however, we must not confuse being Spirit filled with being Spirit indwelled.  Every born-again Christian who has experienced the redemption found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ has been indwelled with the Holy Spirit. This is the same Spirit which was promised by Jesus to help us in all that we do as believers (John 14:16-17). The real question is if we recognize that He is in us and if we cooperate with Him. This is what being filled by the Spirit is all about. Paul explains this in Ephesians 5:18-21:

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making
melody to the Lord with your heart,
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 

The idea here is that we are repeatedly filled with the Holy Spirit.  Wayne Grudem describes it like this, “…it is appropriate to understand the filling with the Holy Spirit not as a one-time event but as an event that can occur over and over again in a Christian’s life. It may involve a momentary empowering for a specific ministry, but it may also refer to a long-term characteristic of a person’s life.” (Systematic Theology, 782). Christians are called to continually be Spirit filled and to renew that filling if we find ourselves off-track or backslidden. The big question is how do we become Spirit filled? Paul gives us a plan that results in a Spirit filled life:

  1. Empty Yourself of the World (5:1-17) - It is hard to fill a glass that is already full of something else. Paul uses
    Ephesians 5:1-17 to emphasize the fact that we need to rid our lives of worldly attitudes, thoughts, and actions. Take a moment to read this entire passage and think about what things need to be emptied out of your life.

    2. An Outward Attitude of Worship (5:19) - We should have a worshipful attitude toward everyone we meet. This is to be taken literally and figuratively. One sure fire way to engage with the Spirit is to sing songs of praise and worship to the Lord and talk about Him with other believers.

    3. An Inward Attitude of Worship (5:19) - Our inward attitude should match our outward actions. We can’t just sing songs of praise, we must internalize them and sing them to the Lord. Making a melody to the Lord with our heart is about having a close relationship with the Lord. That’s what an attitude of Spirit filled worship does for us.

    4.An Attitude of Thanksgiving (5:20) - It is amazing how much better you feel when you express an attitude of
    thanksgiving. There is something about gratitude that just makes us feel better. It helps us to draw close to God and
    relate better to those around us. Start by making a list of all that you are thankful for. You might find that you run out of paper before you run out of things to be thankful for.

    5.An Attitude of Submission (5:21) - Jesus is our authority. Every Christian should walk in submission to Him. However, if we say we submit to the Lordship of Christ but refuse to walk in humility, forgiveness, and love toward one another then we are not truly honoring Him. Mutual submission among believers is submission to the Lord. All our relationships should be marked by this type of living. This is what it means to live a Spirit filled life.
Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

Spare Change - October 2022

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I have never met anyone that enjoys being disciplined.  I certainly do not like it.  I remember when I was a child and would do something wrong, I would do everything to cover up my “crimes” so my parents wouldn't find out.  Eventually they would find out and I would be punished.  It was always unpleasant, however, now as an adult I look back and I am thankful for the discipline of my parents.  Now I understand that they loved me, which translated into them wanting the best for me and meant teaching me to obey authority.  It is not just children that need discipline, though – we adults need discipline from time to time. Sometimes it is a boss, legal system, or some other authority in our lives and sometimes it is the Lord.  Yes, you read that correctly, the Lord disciplines His followers sometimes. Hebrews 12 teaches us this important truth:

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? Hebrews 12:5-7

The author of Hebrews is dealing with the issue of sin and the discouragement it has caused in some of the believers' lives.  The author spent chapter 11 giving examples of imperfect people from the Old Testament that were saved by grace through faith.  In chapter 12 he turns his attention to his audience to give them direct encouragement.  They are still struggling with sin even though they are redeemed people.  The consequences of their sin is giving them great discouragement.  The author helps them understand that these consequences are what God is using to discipline them. He is like a father that is trying to teach his children to obey.  

God wants us to obey Him and strive for holiness.  Right now, you might be saying, “But I thought God was full of grace and mercy, why is He disciplining me?”  First, a disciplining parent is a loving parent.  I am not talking about an abusive parent, rather one that is exercising biblical discipline to help their child to learn and grow into a godly
person.  This is what God is helping us to do.  Second, as John Piper says, Christianity has both a restful and wrestling side.  God’s word teaches us that when we come to Christ, we receive a great peace through the Spirit of God.  We also must wrestle daily in sanctification to throw off sin and pursue holiness.  This often seems like a wrestling match between the spirit and the flesh; however, rest assured Christ has won and will one day we will be made holy. 

In the meantime, it is our job to recognize the discipline of God and use it to rid our lives of sin.  We must remember that the discipline of God is a good thing.  The writer of Hebrews reminds us later in verse 11 -13 of the hope that discipline has: 

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.  Hebrews 12:11-13

My encouragement to you today is to be reassured that when we are disciplined by God it is because our Heavenly Father loves us.  We must receive that discipline like a child.  It will be unpleasant, but it is for our good.  So, we can all say, "Thanks be to our Lord and Father who cares enough to correct us when we stray!”

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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