Moving Forward With God
The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things.(John 14:26)
I have found that God always has a fresh and deeper truth He wants us to learn about Him. So once He has taught you one thing, get ready for the next marvelous truth God will soon introduce.
God’s Holy Spirit is your personal teacher. He will draw you into a closer walk with God as He reveals God’s purposes and ways to you. He’s said, “ If anyone wants to do Hs will, he will understand whether the teaching is from God or if I am speaking on my own.”(John7:17)
The Holy Spirit, who resides within you, will always confirm in your heart the truth of Scripture. You can depend on the Holy Spirit to affirm whether any teaching comes from God or not. Always ask the Holy Spirit to verify- through Scripture- what others teach. Be sure to nurture your relationship with God through prayer, meditation, and Bible study so you will be able to receive and obey everything God tells you. I urge you to allow the Holy Spirit to take your life to a new, higher, dynamic level in your walk with God. You may be presently enjoying a vibrant Christian life. But I can assure you, there is still much more God wants you to experience of Him, for He is an infinite being. You may have been disappointed in the past. Perhaps you made attempts to grow spiritually; but your enthusiasm eventually waned and your growth fizzled. I encourage you: Don’t let any previous failure or disappointment stop you from confidently moving forward with God. No matter where we are, why would any of us become satisfied with our current status of our walk with God when there is so much He wants to do in and through our lives?
Henry and Richard Blackaby
Even though the virus has interrupted and for the most part cancelled graduation ceremonies, there are those who have completed the requirements to graduate. The first graduation we celebrate is usually kindergarten. To graduate the student has had to learn their alphabet, colors, numbers and such. Now suppose that student said, I’m finished. I’ve accomplished my goal and I see no further need for school. What would be our response? Or maybe they go on to 5th grade graduation spelling the end of elementary school. And when they graduate, they would say well, I can read and write and do math, that enough. What would we say? How about when they graduate high school? Or college with a bachelor degree? Or a master degree? Or a doctorate? Is there any point in life that we could honestly say, I know everything I need to know? Can we say, I don’t need to learn any more? I’m sure that there are still those like me who think they know everything at 16. I think that comes from not having lived life on your own.
Yet, many Christians live as though salvation is graduation. They live as though that one experience is enough and they’re just waiting to receive their diploma. Like marriage, our relationship with God is more than the first kiss. Salvation like that first kiss is just the beginning. We may be those who’ve progressed farther in our relationship with God, some even to the doctoral level, but we still are only beginning to know God. Paul says that at the very best we get glimpses of God as looking through a dark glass. As a welder, I can tell you that even with the bright light, you only see a little.
Over the 40 odd years of preaching, I’ve noticed a change in the literacy level of Christians. O I don’t mean they aren’t intelligent, knowledgeable people, but when it comes to the Bible, the average congregation seems to have graduated kindergarten and stopped. What I mean by this is they know the basics of the Bible. They may know the fall of man, the plan of salvation and have some idea of heaven but far too many stop with these simple things. Yes they are important just as knowing your alphabet and numbers are important to take you to the next level, but that’s not the end. It’s just the beginning.
Referring to the point the Blackabys make, I believe that preaching and teaching should for the most part only confirm what we have read and understood to be truth. Neither should, for the believer, be some incredible new revelation, but an affirmation of what we have already learned in the school of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was clear, the Holy Spirit is the One who instructs us.
My dream as a preacher/teacher is to present the gospel, to reference scripture, to tell the stories of the Bible to an audience of knowledgeable Christians who give assent and affirmation that what is being said is truth. I confess that for several years now, I have been fearful of sharing something that’s not totally on the mark. My fear rests in the fact of this increase in biblical illiteracy. No one human has all truth or understanding. The Bible is to deep and it’s wisdom is far beyond any single person’s ability that it is imperative that all the people of God sit at the feet of Jesus in the school of the Holy Spirit. Proverbs says that there is safety in a multitude of counselors.
So wherever you are on your journey, whether you’ve just started school or you’ve attained a doctorate in Christianity, don’t close the book. There’s more to come. What makes our faith stale is when we stay spiritually in the same place for a long time. So learn and grow! The Bible says that what God has in store for us is so much that “ no eye has seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, but the Holy Spirit will reveal those things to us”
Time for class!
Dr. John Thompson