The Holy Spirit Glorifies Christ. Numerous Christian groups have made the awful mistake of emphasizing the ministry of the Holy Spirit to the exclusion of the Lord Jesus Christ. This violates what the Bible says about the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus. John 16:13-14, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.“
We see in this passage that the Holy Spirit does not “speak of himself” but rather glorifies Jesus Christ. When the Holy Spirit is emphasized and uplifted more than Jesus, something is wrong. To be filled with the Spirit is to be filled with Christ.
The 15th chapter of John describes this condition as “abiding.” It has two aspects: the believer abides in Christ, and Christ abides in the believer. The Bible compares this relationship to a vine and its branches. The two are united for the purpose of bearing fruit. This union comes from the Holy Spirit living in the heart of the believer. And the power comes from the vine, not the branches. The branches bear the fruit; they do not produce the fruit.
The “abiding” relationship not only results in spiritual fruitfulness, it also creates joy in the life of the Christian. Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.“
Let us consider first things first. What heart preparation is essential to effective Bible study? I believe that at least four things are necessary. We will look at two today and two tomorrow.
A personal salvation experience is essential! The Word of God can only be understood and applied by the person who is spiritually alive. And the Word itself tells us in Ephesians 2:1-5 that the person who has never experienced the Second Birth is spiritually dead.
Writing to the young church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul taught that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Paul concluded by stating that “we (Christians) have the mind of Christ.” I Corinthians 2:14-16. What this means is that as we read the Bible, God will help us to think as He thinks, and so understand His word.
A personal relationship with the Author is essential! Some might say, “Well, all Christians have a personal relationship with the Lord.” But this is not true. For a relationship to be truly personal there must be communication and sharing, something we call “fellowship;” and our fellowship with God can be broken by sin. Consider I John 1:5-10, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” But God has promised that if we confess our sin, He will forgive us and restore our fellowship with Him.
Imagine reading a letter from a close friend. Somehow it seems as if you hear your friend saying each word. The letter has life because of your relationship to the one who wrote it. The Bible can come alive in the same way if we have full fellowship with the Author.
The Ten Commandments may be divided into two sections. The first section (Commandments 1-4) deals with man’s relationship to God as instructed in Exodus 20:
“3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.“
The second section (Commandments 5-10) deals with man’s relationship to man:
“9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 13 Thou shalt not kill. 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15 Thou shalt not steal. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.“
Love is the key to obeying all Biblical principles. I sure know I am not perfect; but this is a great reminder to all of us of the importance of still obeying God’s commands for the believer.