The Living Word Bible study for Sunday, December 17, 2017 (wk50)
Mon, Dec 11: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Tue, Dec 12: Psalm 126, Luke 1:46-55
Wed, Dec 13: John 1: 6-8, 19-28
Thur, Dec 14: 1 Thess 5:16-24
Fri, Dec 15: The emerging message
1 Thess. 5:16-24
The Good News, 1 Thess 5:8-10, brings rejoicing and thankfulness reiterated by the Holy Spirit in ways which are to be spiritually discerned.
16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- “Pray continually” means be in a prayerful attitude and consistent with it, not giving up. Really knowing God, keeping close to Him and being aware of Him is a prayerful attitude where joy and thankful praise lead other expressions; this is a helpful key for maintaining effective prayer when circumstances are discouraging.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit is like a dove, who flies away at any sense of threat. If people come together in any kind of a wrong attitude, anything which is unholiness, the Holy Spirit will back off until there is repentance of unholy mouths and the finding of holy hearts for His landing. Ephesians 4:30 says ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’ and is set in a context of Eph. 4:28-32 which is a summary of what to avoid, so as not to quench the fire and grieve the Spirit, which is all too easily done.
20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt…
- The prophetic gift, which can be expressed in various ways, is always meant to encourage the church, 1 Cor. 14:1-14 and this upbuilding dimension of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is always needed. It is a common mistake to dismiss or devalue the spiritual because it might not seem pragmatic, and instead rely on the pragmatic, which might not be spiritual or discerning of God’s purpose.
21 …but test them all; hold on to what is good,
22 reject every kind of evil.
- An early Christian teaching recorded in Didache 11:8 (not Scripture but nonetheless instructive) was that “Not everyone who speaks about spiritual things is a prophet, but only if the person’s conduct is like the Lord.” This is a reminder to check the character of those speaking out, Matt. 7:15-20 and also check that a prophetic word has a good origin and agrees with the apostles’ teaching, 2 Thess. 2:2, 1 John 4:1-3. We would look for the word to be in agreement with Scripture generally.
23 May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- The Holy Spirit is always at work to sanctify us — bring us back to the path of holiness in which we make choices and partner with Him.
24 The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.
We all want God to presence Himself more. We may be praying for revival, a special kind of God presencing Himself over a period of time, with all kinds of salvations and transformation happening. or we may want an encounter with God in this or that gathering or prayer time. There are times when God Himself is preparing to do a work among His people. The ‘preparing the way’ Scriptures speak not only to the coming of the Messiah, but also to our time – we are told to be ready for Him to come at any time. The ‘preparing’ is simply an attitude of repentance leading to holiness, and the Holy Spirit is so named because He is the Spirit of Holiness. He is speaking, but not everyone is listening. It’s easy to miss the prophetic word that comes in a plain wrapper – something in the Sunday sermon or in a Bible reading which stands out, or in a spoken-out prayer or a conversation.
Or He may be speaking from a distance, if something has caused Him to back off. We can’t argue with others and hold unforgiveness in our hearts and be in disrespect of godly authority and also expect the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit. He hates discord and disunity! So He stays away! He is the Holy Spirit and He doesn’t work man’s way.
When He does have freedom to work among us – it is by our permission, we either do invite Him and allow Him, or we don’t – He brings us into alignment with what is good, right and holy.
8. In what ways might the Holy Spirit bring us a word that helps us see the need for repentance?
9. What would be the tone of that word, that helps you know that it is from the Lord?