Ephesians (Program #13) – The Pledge of Our Inheritance
In ancient times when one purchased a piece of land, upon payment of an initial deposit, the seller would then give the buyer a bit of the ground as a pledge or guarantee that the property was in fact the very same parcel agreed upon. The apostle Paul picks up this custom to help illustrate one of the important functions or aspects of the Holy Spirit in God’s plan or economy. In Ephesians 1, Paul referring to the Holy Spirit says in verse 14, that the Spirit is actually the pledge of our inheritance. We will explore just what it is that we get when we receive this pledge.
Ephesians (Program #12) – Sealed with the Holy Spirit
Of the three in the Godhead, the Holy Spirit is the most mysterious and the least known. Yet the Bible tells us that the Spirit functions in many definite ways. For example, it is the Spirit that broods over us before we’re saved; it’s the Spirit that convicts us, bringing us to salvation; the Spirit gives life; the Spirit also teaches and guides us into all the reality. But Ephesians gives us at least two additional functions of the Spirit in 1:13-14 “In whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise, Who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.” These verses tell us that the Spirit seals us and also that the Spirit becomes the pledge of our inheritance. The sealing and pledging Spirit is our subject today and in the next program on this life study from Ephesians.
2 Corinthians (Program #24) – The Essence of the New Covenant Ministry (1)
The apostle Paul’s writings in the New Testament are rich with the use of metaphors. He frequently used metaphors to help convey the deep and profound meaning of the highest spiritual truths contain in scriptures.
Two such metaphors are found in 2 Corinthians chapter 3. In this chapter we, the believers are first liken to letters, letters of Christ been written or inscribed by the apostles with the Holy Spirit as the ink. How about that?
Later in chapter 3 we become mirrors that both behold and reflect the glory of the Lord. Metaphors like these inspired by the Spirit Himself do help unlock the unsearchable riches of Christ both in our experience and in the working out of God’s great plan, a full salvation.
1 Corinthians (Program #19) – Growth in Life Needed (2)
In first Corinthians the apostle Paul confronts the difficult situation in the church there in a very wise way. He first identifies that their problems would due primarily to a shortage of the growth in the divine life. Although they had received the initial gifts of the divine life and the Holy Spirit they were still infants or babes in Christ.
He then unveils to them the marvelous progression of God’s economy. First they need to realize that they are all plants growing on God’s farms. Then the goal is to be built up together into a building and finally that this building is destined to become God’s dwelling place, His temple.
How about you and me? Have we received such a vision, such a revelation or are we like the Corinthians satisfied to remain in our spiritual infancy and hang on to personal preferences in our own traditions?
1 Corinthians (Program #17) – The Church, God’s Farm, God’s Building (2)
The believers in Corinth in the early church were rich in many things. They have received the initial gifts of the divine life and the Holy Spirit. They were enriched in all knowledge and they even have many miraculous gifts in their midst. Yet Paul referred to them as infants or babes in Christ. How could that be with all that God had given them? Primarily is because they neglect the mater of life and growing spiritually in the divine life. So, the apostle Paul points out to them in clear types and pictures the importance and necessity of the divine life.
Listen again as his words are so full of references to life and growth:
3:5-9 “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Ministers through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to beach one of them. I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. So then neither is he who plants anything nor he who waters, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s cultivated land, God’s building.”
1 Corinthians (Program #16) – The Church, God’s Farm, God’s Building (1)
The first two chapters of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians are very rich in their presentation of Christ. Paul clearly was doing all he could to bring the troubled Corinthians to Christ in their experience.
But in Chapter three Paul turns his focus to the church. Though not in shallow or superficial language rather he speaks in marvelous profound expressions referring to the church in types. First as a farm growing, producing a rich crop. Then as a building and ultimately as a temple, a divine dwelling place, build out of priceless materials such as gold, silver and precious stones. Of course these materials are not literally either but types of the transformation work that the Holy Spirit is engaged in with all of us, God’s redeemed.
Many new believers shortly after receiving Christ as their Savior and experiencing a wonderful and dynamic salvation, go through a period of doubting and questioning. It seems that the new life they found in Christ to somehow evaporated. At such a time it’s common to question whether or not we are really saved. But to the Corinthian believers, Paul pointed out that we all receive two initial gifts when we received Christ. First, we received eternal life, that’s the uncreated divine life of God. And we also received the Holy Spirit. Based upon the word of God and these two indisputable gifts we have an outward assurance and the inward confirmation that he who has the Son has the life.
Micah (Program #3) – The Greatness of the Prophets in Their Speaking Concerning Christ
Genuine lovers of God’s word have learned that the Old Testament reveals Christ in types and figures and in many places. In fact the Prophets of the Old Testament are particularly rich in the detailed aspects of Christ’s earthly and heavenly ministry revealed in their pages.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, often what they wrote prophetically had both application to their own situations in their time, as well as a clear reference to the coming One, our dear Lord Jesus. Other passages seen uniquely focus on Christ. Micah 5:2 is such a passage, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, So little to be among the thousands of Judah, From you there will come forth to Me, He who is to be Ruler in Israel; And His goings forth are from ancient times, From the days of eternity.”
Joel (Program #4) – On Joel (5)—The Four Factors in the Book of Joel
The Old Testament, Minor Prophet Joel is an interesting book. It was quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost and its’ prophecy concerning both the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the second coming of Christ are of great importance even to us, the New Testament believers.
The book can be summarized into 4 principles. These are the consuming locusts representing the 4 great empires of the human history and how they had been consuming Israel for more than 27 centuries. The second principle is the suffering, that this is caused to Israel and how Israel had continued to endure under the suffering. The third principle in Joel is that the Church, that’s us, God’s New Testament people are the beneficiaries of all these consuming and suffering. And finally, the fourth principle is that of restoration. For all the suffering that Israel has endured there is a day coming when Israel will enjoy God’s full restoration. This is Joel a wonderful and important book.
Acts (Program #70) – The Propagation in Asia Minor and Europe through the Ministry of Paul’s Company (36)
From the Epistles of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament come profound and inspiring passages such as “For me to live is Christ”, “Whether in life or in death, Christ shall be magnified in my mortal body,” and also “that I may be found in Him”. Where did these incredible utterances come from? Was Paul simply a mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit as the word of God came forth? Or where these phrases the expressions that flowed out of his own experience of the living Christ? We will view the living of the Apostle Paul under the most extreme circumstances as recorded in the pages of Acts on today’s life study of the Bible.