Feb 132015
 

Apologetics part 2Last week we started to look at the subject of Apologetics. We saw it was not an apology for Christianity but a defence of the faith. There were a number of verses charging all Christians to defend and contend for the faith. We should do it on the offensive (Offering positive reasons for the Christian faith) and the defensive (Refuting objections against the Christian faith) and we also saw that it was not just for ‘clever’ Christians but we could all do it; with the help of the Holy Spirit and through diligent study of the word. We shouldn’t be lazy.

There are 5 main reasons why we should do it:

(1) It strengthens the faith of Christian believers

(2) It removes obstacles to faith (for the seeker)

(3) Enables us to communicate the gospel to non-believers

(4) Challenges pre-suppositions and worldviews that need to be addressed

(5) It is commanded in scripture (1Peter 3:15, Jude 3, Titus 1:9)

How do we do it?

People have what is called ‘plausibility structures’ we need to get through. Whatever we say, they are processing in their mind whether it is plausible or not. These could be doubts like ‘Does God actually exist?’ or ‘Was Jesus really a historical person?’ etc. These structures can be built through various life experiences, education, evidence and influence from people such as parents, teachers etc. What this basically means is that people won’t believe you until you acknowledge and dismantle these structures. This can be done in a variety of ways such as using evidence, exposing false ideas and using logic.

When you preach the Gospel to people, they also have defeater beliefs. According to Tim Keller, there are 6 basic defeater beliefs pervasive in modern western culture:

1) Other religions – there can’t only be one true religion

2) The problem of evil and suffering

3) The Sacredness of Choice

4) The Record of Christians

5) The Angry God

6) The Unreliable Bible

Now I hesitated to say all that because all the theory and technical stuff can be a bit of a turn off. It all sounds very confusing. Maybe you are a bit nervous about doing it and perhaps a bit fearful that you will be tied up in knots by persuasive people. What I have found though is that God will help you, even when you stumble, get all tongue –tied and are lost for words. God just wants us to be open and prepared to speak. He will help our feeble efforts.

Hopefully my own testimony can give you some encouragement. I became a Christian at a young age but never really spoke about Jesus to anyone until I left home. I moved up to London just before my 18thbirthday to work at the Ritz hotel as a waiter. It was then, living away from home, that I would sink or swim in my Christian faith. Thank God that He was looking out for me. A fellow waiter found out I was a Christian and on a daily basis would ask me every tough question you could imagine about Christianity. I didn’t know the answer to any of the questions, but would go away and study and come back with an answer that I was satisfied with. This served two purposes; It strengthened my faith and after 3 years my friend became a Christian (despite my sometimes quite feeble responses!!). So Arthur, if you are reading this, thank you. You helped me in ways you will never know.

God used that friendship and those questions to strengthen my faith and grow as a Christian and He will help you too.

I will be covering this subject for a few more weeks, when we will be considering some more questions and problems people have with the Christian faith and how we might respond to those problems. If you have a difficult question posed and would like me to tackle it, why not leave a comment at the bottom of this post or contact me on the contacts page? More next week.

 February 13, 2015  Posted by at 12:00 pm Apologetics, Evangelism No Responses »
Feb 062015
 

ApologeticsWe have been looking for a number of weeks now at bible difficulties and I have attempted to give an answer to many of the common objections people have to the bible and in fact the existence of God Himself. As you can imagine, opponents to Christianity are always trying to find fault and so it is important to bring a strong defence to what we believe.

This defence of the faith is called ‘apologetics’. It is not as the name might suggest apologising for the faith, but it is based on the Greek word ‘apologia’ which means ‘a verbal defence’. The term was used commonly in the Greek courtroom. In its essence a definition would be ‘A reasoned defence of the Christian faith against objections.

The 4 main bible verses that ‘apologists’ quote for using this form of defence are as follows;

always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect     (1 peter 3:15)

contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5)

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,  explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead (Acts 17:2-3)

It is important to mention though that these verses aren’t just for the elite few who are clever at debating. No, we should all know what we believe and give a reason for it. The trouble is, we live in a world where we see the church leader as professional. He is the one who will win all our arguments for us. If we could only get the people asking them to come to church.

I love the Alpha course, but one of its main drawbacks is we hand over our own responsibility of explaining the faith to our friends and relatives to the people who are running the course. Our culture has become used to being spoon fed information, and this can make us very lazy in studying for ourselves.

Apologetics can be defensive and offensive.

It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. (Philippians 1:7)

The 2 Corinthians 5:7 passage I quoted earlier gives an example of the offensive side. But it is not about winning arguments. An important aspect, mentioned in the 1 Peter passage above is the way we debate and talk to people who oppose us. It is so important that every conversation is respectful and gentle.

A gentle answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1)

When we discuss things in a winsome way we leave the door open for further discussion. There is no point in winning an argument if the way we win it completely turns off the other person because we have been rude or aggressive.

Apologetics has many forms, including studying and debating subjects such as; philosophy, biology, evolution, and logic. But it can also consist of simply giving an answer to a question about your own faith and why you believe and you don’t have to read a ton of books to do that. You certainly don’t have to be highly intelligent to engage in apologetics. Remember, in the New Testament the majority of the key leaders are pretty uneducated. It is only really the Apostle Paul who was really clever. The key is being filled with the Holy Spirit and diligent studying of the bible. God will guide your words when you stand for Him. A bible verse that gives me great strength is in Matthew 10:19-20 speaking about what will happen when we are dragged before rulers and authorities

do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Why not give it a try? See who you can start a conversation with this week?

Next week I will be looking at this subject a little further and giving my own testimony of how responding to a questioning friend helped me in my own faith.

 February 6, 2015  Posted by at 12:00 pm Apologetics No Responses »
Jan 242013
 

If you have been around churches for any length of time you will know that there has been a lot of confusion through the years over water baptism. This week we are going to look at what the bible says about this very important subject which could be described as one of the first steps of discipleship.

Jesus was baptised

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)

Water baptism must be important because Jesus was baptised Himself. He was the last person who needed to be baptised because He was sinless. There are various reasons for why Jesus chose to be baptised but principally it was to identify with us as sinners and as an example for us to follow. As He was baptised He was looking ahead to His own crucifixion and resurrection.

Jesus will not ask you to do anything He was not prepared to do himself and asks all his followers to be baptised as we see in His command in Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is for believers.

It does not make you a Christian, it is for those who have already committed their lives to Him and decided to follow Him.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. (Acts 2:38)

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.(Acts 16:31–33)

Baptism is a public declaration that you belong to Jesus and have submitted your life to Him. When Jesus was baptised He was identifying with you. When you are baptised you are identifying with Him. There is a wonderful connection, what happened to Jesus happened to you as well. As you get into the water you are showing everybody that your old life is dead. As you are submerged under the water you are declaring that your old sinful life is being buried. It is a funeral for your old life! As you come up out of the water you are being raised from your old life by God’s power (the same power that raised Jesus from the dead) raised into a new life with Him.

Next week I will be looking more into what baptism actually is. If you haven’t been baptised, why not seek God this week about what He wants you to do. If you have any questions or anything you want covered next week, please put a comment in the box below and I will do my best to answer it.

 January 24, 2013  Posted by at 7:11 pm Baptism, Confession, Discipleship, Repentance, Resurrection, Salvation No Responses »
Dec 202012
 

Memorising scriptureI really hope you have been enjoying this ‘God’s book’ series. The Bible needs to inspire us, educate us and reveal more of God’s character and plans for us. It needs to be in our lives on a daily basis. It is our daily bread (Matthew 4:4).

This week I want to talk about the power of memorising scripture. In the process of committing each verse to memory we are being sustained and changed by its living power.

In Joshua 1:8 it says “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

But not only does memorising scripture bless us, it is also a great tool for witnessing and telling others about Jesus. (I listed a number of verses to learn in my post about ‘sharing the gospel’).

Probably the best way of meditating on scripture is to memorise it. This can probably seem like a huge task but actually, if you break it down, just by simply memorising a couple of verses a week you would know over a hundred in a year.

There are various techniques for memorising scripture. You need to find the one that you find easiest and adapt it to suit yourself if necessary. I have listed out a number of ideas below which I hope you will find useful:

  • Take your first verse and read it ten times, close your eyes and read it out ten times. Repeat the next day 5 times each and so on for a week. Then revisit it at about monthly intervals until it comes to mind easily.
  • Alternatively you could just read it out loud 25 times without even trying to memorise it.
  • Try to memorise the reference first. Say it a few times until it comes easily to you. That way if you do forget the verse you can always look it up to remind yourself.
  • Try and remember the gist of the verse first.
  • Try to form an association between the verse and the reference by linking them together.
  • The memory process is really helped by reading out loud.
  • As you read out loud, put an emphasis on a different word each time eg. for God so loved, for God so loved, for God so loved, for God so loved… etc.
  • Put your verse on a piece of card and carry it around with you, get it out each time you have a few spare moments, for example, standing in a queue, waiting for someone etc.
  • Reviewing what you have learned is crucial.
  • Record the message onto a dictaphone (most of the newest phones have one installed, or you could download an app) and play it back to yourself.
  • Stick various cards around the house on places you visit frequently, like the back of the toilet door or the fridge!
  • Get a friend to help you and learn it together, test each other. You will both find it encouraging and you are more likely to do it with mutual motivation.

You may be wondering what verses would be good to start with. I would suggest that as you continue reading scripture and come across verses that really speak to you, perhaps highlight them in your bible and determine to commit them to memory. However I have compiled a list below of really good verses for your own edification, along with verses that are good for sharing the gospel. You may know many of these already and so you are already well on the way. You may just have to fix the reference with the verse. Hover over each one and the verse should appear. With reference to last weeks post on bible versions, some versions flow easier than others and therefore make it easier to memorise. I personally prefer to memorise verses from the NIV although you may like the ESV versions below.

Joshua 1:8                                            Psalm 119:11

Psalm 119:105                                    Proverbs 3:5, 6

Matthew 28:19, 20                           John 1:12

John 3:16                                             John 14:6

Acts 4:12                                              Romans 3:23

Romans 6:23                                      Romans 12:1, 2

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20                    1 Corinthians 10:13

1 Corinthians 10:31                         Ephesians 2:8-10

Philippians 4:8                                  Philippians 4:19

2 Timothy 2:15                                 2 Timothy 3:16-17

1 John 1:9

My last post on the series ‘God’s book’ will be next week and I will talk about reading the bible throughout the year, which will be very timely ready for January 1st.

It just leaves me to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas, I hope you have a great time. God bless  – Ade

 December 20, 2012  Posted by at 9:21 pm Bible 1 Response »
Aug 302012
 

community fishing 2I don’t think we get evangelism quite right in our churches. We tend to think of evangelism as something that evangelists do. They love telling people about Jesus, they seem to be quite good at it so we tend to let them get on with it. If we do have somebody who shows an interest we often wait until the next outreach Sunday and invite them to come along to listen to our evangelist speaker. Or we wait for the next Alpha course to begin and pack our interested friend off to have a meal and discussion with another evangelist. I am not knocking evangelists – they do a fantastic job! No, if this is your mentality then I’m knocking you! This mentality is basic laziness. (And before you get indignant, I include myself among the lazy ones!).

I think there is a better way. You won’t be surprised to learn (especially if you have been following this series) that the most effective way to reach people is through community. We still need evangelists but if you think of a community as an arrow, evangelists are the sharp arrow point, but the body of the arrow is made up of the rest of the community working together to reach souls for Jesus.

Let’s remind ourselves what the great commission is:

“…Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age…” (Matthew 28 v 18-20).

This command is for every Christian. It is our privilege to be involved in Gods mission and He has equipped us with everything we need. I believe that every one of us should be able to lead somebody to Christ and be able to present the gospel (see my previous post on ‘giving the gospel’). As it says in 1 Peter 3 v 15 “… Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”. I am not saying we should all be evangelists, rather that we should not negate our responsibility. On the other hand however evangelists are very effective at winning souls, so working in partnership as ‘fishing in community’ we will all be even more effective.

Ok, it’s that time in my blog when I produce another list. I find it much easier to gather my thoughts in bullet points and so in no particular order I’ve gathered a few thoughts about how we can reach our friends and families through community:

  • By praying together. We need to start praying for each others’ friends, families or co-workers. In this way as they are introduced into your community you will be more eager to meet and get to know them because you already have an interest in them.
  • There is no pressure. Jesus wins people, we just introduce them to Him and tell them how great He is. Easy!!
  • We need to be adaptable. The apostle Paul said “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9 v 22). Reaching out to people means meeting them where they are at.
  • There is huge power in testimony or telling your story. In a community we already know each others’ stories, so if we meet somebody with a similar story we can introduce them. (For instance somebody you meet may be struggling with an illness and somebody in your community has already been through the same thing – this can give hope and encouragement and create a real connection).
  • It is really important that people see we are ‘normal’. People have all sorts of strange misconceptions about what Christians are like. When they step into our communities they should see great friendship, interaction and a genuine love and respect among us.
  • It makes a huge difference to the world when they see Christians loving each other with genuine care and concern “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133 v 1). Every person needs good community, it is what God has put into each one of us and He wants His church to model what it should be like.
  • People are not trophies. We need to genuinely love them whether they respond or not. They will see through any shallowness.
  • Throw a party! Jesus loved going to parties and loving people, so much so that the religious people called him a drunkard and a glutton! (Matthew 11 v 19).

Let’s get out into our communities and get involved in the great commission. There is a wonderful sense of security and comfort in doing it together, and joining in the great celebration of heaven when even one sinner repents. Let’s go for it!!

 August 30, 2012  Posted by at 9:03 pm Community, The gospel No Responses »
Jun 112012
 

Holy spirit giftsI previously looked at How the Holy Spirit fills and equips us to live a fulfilled and vibrant Christian life. I hope you were able to experience this infilling whether you had received it before or not. If you are truly thirsty you won’t stop until your thirst is quenched.

Today I want to look at another aspect of what the Holy Spirit gives us: His ‘gifts.’ If you are using these blogs as a guide for discipleship (and I hope you are!), why not discuss what gifts you think you might have and even those that you desire, because the bible says “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit…(1 Corinthians 14:1).

There are three main passages in the New Testament where these gifts are listed, some of them overlap as you can see. I have set these out in the table below;

Romans 12 1 Corinthians 12 Ephesians 4
Prophecy (v6) Wisdom (v8) Apostle (v11)
Serving (v7) Knowledge (v8) Prophecy (v11)
Teaching (v7) Faith
(v9)
Evangelist (v11)
Encouraging (v8) Healing (v9 & v28) Pastor (v11)
Giving
(v8)
Miraculous powers (v10 & v28) Teaching (v11)
Leading (v8) Prophecy
Showing mercy (v8) Distinguishing between spirits (v10)
Speaking in different kinds of Tongues (v10 & v28)
Interpretation of Tongues (v10)
Apostle (v28)
Prophecy (v28)
Teaching (v28)
Helping (v28)
Guidance (v28)

What a lot to choose from! As an appendix at the bottom I have listed them out again with an explanation against each one. If you want to go straight to a specific gift then click the name in the table above.

These passages and the context in which they were written give us a good idea about how we receive the gifts and how we use them

As the body of Christ we are joined together and we use our gifts to encourage and help each other and to build one another up. Each part of the body has something different to offer. In the Corinthians passage it says that they are for ‘the common good.’ They are all distributed by the same Holy Spirit and He is the one who determines who gets them (but that is not to stop us desiring certain ones and even asking for them) We should never be proud of what we have or envious of others. We can trust the one who made us and who knows all about us and has a specific purpose for our lives to know exactly what gifts we should need.

It is worth mentioning that some of these gifts are given to us as part of our character. We could be a natural born leader or someone who finds it easy to teach or encourage etc. Some of the gifts are given for a specific time, for instance we encounter someone who is sick and we receive a supernatural surge of faith to pray for them and see them healed.

But our main gifts are given to us as we continue to follow Christ, as we seek to please Him and see His glorious bride (the church) fulfil its potential. We discover these gifts as we see a need in the church or something lacking that needs to be accomplished.

As we continue in our Christian life, these gifts are developed and strengthened as we become mature and keep using them.

Do you know what gifts you have and if so are you using them? Have a prayerful look at the list below and seek God for guidance. Why not ask a friend or your church leader for their honest opinion? Sometimes others can see things clearer than we can.

Apostle

The Greek word apostolos means “one sent forth” There is a lot of debate whether people can be called apostles today. It appears there were degrees of apostles even in the New Testament, with Christ’s original followers and then others such as Paul, Barnabas, Andronicus and others being called apostles. We would not of course place anyone today in the same category as the original apostles but I believe that all the original gifts of the spirit are still in use and are needed in the church today including the gift of apostle. It is vital that we have knowledgeable, wise and godly fathers who are able to oversee large groups of churches, the planting of new churches into new regions and the establishing of elders in the local church. If you want to know more I recommend the book “Fathering leaders, motivating mission” by Dave Devenish top

Distinguishing between spirits

The bible describes Satan as being an ‘angel of light’ and some of his deception can be hidden behind apparently ‘good deeds’. However, someone with this gifting will be able to discern what spirit is behind the ‘good deed’, whether it be from God, man, or demonic. This gifting can work well together with the pastoral gift in counselling situations, or in determining what spirit is influencing a person. It is also useful for discerning true biblical teaching from false doctrine, which can be very subtle. top

Encouraging

The gift of encouragement (also referred to as exhortation) involves motivating and encouraging those who are struggling in their Christian walk. People with this gift have a lot of compassion, sensitivity and time for others. Often called a ‘people person’ they tend to naturally gather needy people around them, who know they will be helped and not judged. top

Evangelist

The gift of evangelist is the ability and desire to clearly and boldly share the good news of Jesus Christ so that non-Christians can become Christians. They seem to have an innate ability when talking to non-Christians to turn any conversation around to talk about God.

Evangelists have a strong desire to see the lost meet Jesus, so much so that often they would prefer to be with non-Christians than spend time with other Christians. The evangelistic gift fits in well with a healing gift as the power of God demonstrated in peoples’ lives will often make them receptive to the gospel. Many Evangelists are ‘apologists’ (from the Greek word ‘apologia’ meaning to ‘give a defence’). This is where they will use reason and arguments to defend the Christian faith. top

Faith

As with a lot of these gifts, all Christians have them to one degree or another, the gift of faith being a prime example. You wouldn’t be a Christian if you didn’t have faith and the bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

This extra gift of faith though, is the ability to trust God in almost impossible circumstances and believe that God will accomplish things purely because He has said so. Those with the gift of faith can persuade others of biblical truths because they believe them so completely themselves. They are able to hold on to the promises of God when all else seems helpless and others are ready to give up. Doubters annoy them, although they would always believe they could overturn doubt anyway.

They are often visionaries who dream big dreams, pray big prayers, and attempt big things for God. They tend to be optimistic and hopeful, persevering and positive. They are vital people to have around when things are going wrong. top

Giving

Giving is something that again every Christian should be doing, after all “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) but as with the gift of faith, the gift of giving is on a different level. Someone with this gift really enjoys blessing people and ministries with money or material possessions; they do it generously, joyfully and sacrificially and they view their possessions as ‘on loan’ from God. Where He points out a need they respond. They can often be people who are well off because God continuously blesses them as He sees them steward well His provision, but they are not always so. Jesus was poor but was the most generous man who ever lived! top

Guidance

Also known as Shepherding. Shepherds nurture others in the Christian faith and provide a mentoring relationship to new Christians. This gift is closely linked to the gifts of teaching and pastoring, and combines well with both. Shepherds are usually mature Christians with a wealth of experience, able to pastor with patience and wisdom. This is one of the key gifts of an elder. top

Healing

The gift of healing is the ability to believe God that the sick will be healed when they are prayed for. A person with this gift will see many healed as he/she prays for them. Not everyone is healed (which is in the mystery of God) but it would seem that more are healed the more this gift is exercised and faith is increased. Those with this gift have a deep compassion for people who are sick or infirm, and delight to see them restored and God glorified. This gift can often accompany the evangelistic gifting with the proclamation of the gospel. top

Helping

Also called serving, it is the ability to joyfully work alongside others to help and serve them. This gift is normally performed behind the scenes, the person not looking for the limelight but simply happy that the task gets completed. People with this gift derive much joy from helping others, from volunteering without being asked and seeing a need and getting on with it. This gift would normally be associated with humility and someone willing to give sacrificially without reward. top

Knowledge

There are a few ways of interpreting what a ‘word of knowledge’ is, some would say it is simply the ability to study deeply and research a subject to more than just a surface understanding. I don’t think this is what a ‘word’ of knowledge is. My understanding is this: a ‘word of  knowledge’ is knowledge revealed by God that otherwise would not be known by observation or human resource; it is a supernatural insight or understanding of a certain situation or circumstance. An example would be in Acts 5 where Peter ‘knew’ the deceit of Ananias and Saphira which appears to have been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. However, it wouldn’t only be used to reveal hidden sins, it could also be used to bring encouragement to someone who is faltering to know that God is in control and he ‘knows’ them and their struggles. top

Leading

The gift of leadership involves the ability to lead and motivate a team with diligence and care. By definition a leader will have followers; if no-one is following, you’re probably not a leader! Leaders have a clear vision from God which they communicate to others, inspiring them to work towards a common purpose. top

Miraculous powers

Someone who has the gift of miraculous powers is able to call on God to carry out supernatural acts that reveal God’s power. These are not always extravagant acts (for example, seeing fire come down from heaven) but could be situations such as seeing food increased and distributed to more than would naturally be possible. We see in the bible a wide variety of miracles performed by Jesus and others, demonstrating that God does things for certain reasons at certain times according to His will. By nature they would need to be operated with a large degree of Faith. They are uncommon and do not happen regularly (or they would not be called miraculous) top

Pastor

A pastor is someone who protects, guides, counsels and disciples other people. It is one of the main functions of an elder but not exclusively so. The pastor (or shepherd) has a care and love for people and a desire for them to mature into all God has for them. Someone with this gift will be sought out by people and will instinctively look to help those who are hurting or need counselling. top

Prophecy

A huge subject, to which I will not do justice here. One could talk about the office of a prophet but I’m just going to concentrate on the gift as mentioned in these passages.

Prophecy is the ability to speak forth the message of God to his people. Those prophesying are not speaking their own words but those given to them by God, however no prophecy will be 100% accurate and will naturally reflect the speaker’s theological views, sensitivities etc. For this reason prophecy should always be ‘weighed’ by the elders and other prophets. Prophecy will never contradict scripture.

Prophecy is designed to strengthen, encourage and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3) and if it leaves one feeling condemned it is most likely false. top

Serving

See Helping top

Showing mercy

The gift of mercy is the capacity to feel and express great compassion and sympathy for those who are suffering physically, mentally or emotionally and to provide them with the necessary help and support to see them through tough times. They desire to make a difference in the lives of hurting people, without being judgmental, and will do it joyfully through deeds of love and self-sacrifice to help in any way they can. top

Teaching

The gift of teaching is the ability to teach, instruct and communicate biblical truth clearly so that those being taught gain a full understanding of the truth, see the relevance to them on a personal level and are then able to apply it to their own lives. Those with this gift enjoy studying scripture and love to expound God’s truth to others, so that lives are changed. top

Tongues (speaking and Interpretation)

The gift of tongues is a very emotive and misunderstood subject in the church today. If you have strong views either way, please remember that 1 Corinthians chapter 13 on ‘love’ over-arches all this teaching on spiritual gifts!

Tongues is also interpreted as ‘languages’. We see it first demonstrated at Pentecost when the believers were first filled with the Holy Spirit and praised God in the various languages of their onlookers, so in this context it would not need interpretation as it is a gift given to communicate with someone in their own language.

The passage in Corinthians however points to another aspect of the gift of tongues, that of speaking in a heavenly language that edifies our spirits. In a church service, someone would pray out in a tongue and someone would then interpret that tongue. The tongue would be directed towards God.

The gift of tongues is also useful when interceding or praying to God. We can be sure that we are praying in the will of God, which is a great help when we do not know what to pray. In a wonderful way our spirit is communicating with God’s spirit. top

Wisdom

The gift of wisdom is the ability to have Godly insight into people’s hearts, lives and situations that is not obvious. Wisdom is associated with the word of knowledge and is exercised through the understanding and application of that knowledge. It is useful for those looking to apply biblical truth to their lives and is especially useful in counselling situations. top

 June 11, 2012  Posted by at 8:30 pm Holy Spirit No Responses »
Apr 142012
 

I recently wrote about why discipleship is so important and why we need to be a follower of Jesus before we can disciple others.

Following on from that I have listed out below 7 points which will help make us disciples of Jesus;

(1) Understanding Grace – I have put this first because if we do not get this, the following points will be a tick list of things we ‘have’ to do and if that’s the way you are thinking, then you will have missed the point. Grace means unmerited favour, something we get that we don’t deserve, everything we get is a gift and everything we pass on is a gift. We don’t deserve any of it. For instance, we don’t do good works in order for God to save us, they come out of our desire to follow Him. Our discipleship is based on our desire to follow Him not because we have to out of a sense of duty but because we love Him and want our lives to please Him. Continue reading »

 April 14, 2012  Posted by at 7:52 pm Discipleship 2 Responses »