By Jim Olsen
The Holy Spirit’s charisma, gift of teaching is the way the Bible’s “great and precious promises” help us partake of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4). This session emphasizes the importance of reading the Bible so that the Holy Spirit can teach his word and remind you of it. God’s intent is to use what he’s taught you so you can help others. Growing as a Christian continues as it started: Accepting Christ into your life, letting him fill you and change you. We are warned that rules, philosophy and tradition can cause captivity. Always use a love test when learning a new facet of God, for he is love.
It’s important to carefully read God’s word and allow him to speak to you while you read it. Time and time again, Jesus spoke about a relationship with him, rather than simply obeying a set of commandments. The key verse for tonight says that once Jesus went away, he’d send an Advocate, Greek parakletos, which means ‘comforter.’ It’s related to a word meaning ‘encouragement’. The comforter will teach and also remind you of what he has said. Let’s take time out and let the Lord remind us of what we may have forgotten and renew the pledge that we will read his word daily.
John 14:25 “All this I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate (parakletos), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach (didasko) you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
God uses the Holy Spirit to teach and remind us. He’ll teach you, always with the goal of teaching you how to reach out to teach others. Here’s a scriptural example of the way the gift of teaching works. Philip was out in the desert and spotted an Ethiopian eunuch reading the book of Isaiah. The eunuch didn’t understand what he was reading and said he needed someone to ‘guide’ him. The Greek word, hodegeo means ‘show the way.’ These impromptu meetups happen often in God’s kingdom, because of God’s grace. The Greeks understood grace to mean a welcoming, sweet, joyful presence. The gift of grace, charisma, means we give away what we’ve received, since it was freely given to us. God is able to send just the right person to teach at just the right time.
Acts 8:29 “The Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to that chariot and stay by it.” 30 So Philip ran up and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone guides (hodegeo) me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him”
Now consider the first step; we have to receive teaching from Christ in order to deliver it to others. In this next verse, Jesus said the Holy Spirit will ‘guide’ us into all truth. Take a minute now and consider that. First, the Spirit has a voice not you own, living in inside you. It takes a bit of practice to identify his voice. We can start from scripture. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus. The Holy Spirit takes from heaven and gives it to you. This sense of God is most often encountered in worship, where you get an inner sense that Jesus is standing on his throne in glory. Both peace and wonder fill your soul as he fills you up.
John 16:13 “However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide (hodegeo) you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you.”
Another way God teaches us is in the middle of the tough times, where the Lord brings to your mind scriptures like “all things work together for good,” “we are more than conquerors through him who loves us,” “my peace I give to you”. These are reminders of the promises he has for us. There’s no better way to activate the gift than reading the word. If you’ve let your reading habit go rusty, sharpen it by reading Romans 8, Ephesians, John 12-16, Matthew 5-7. Don’t read it like a book; stop and consider the truths you are reading, asking the Lord to let the truth of the Bible sink in.
Here’s an instance where an angel brought comfort to women who were grieving the loss of Jesus. They were coming to the tomb to grieve and found it empty. Their grieving souls were shocked to the core as they considered what had happened; perhaps a grave robber? Then, in the middle of their grief, the Lord sent angels (his Spirit was not widely available then) to teach them the truth. Notice how this teaching was actually a reminder of what Jesus had already said.
Luke 24:5 “As the women bowed their faces to the ground in terror, the two men asked them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’” 8 Then they remembered His words.”
God always speaks through his word, and every verse in the Bible does not carry the same importance. To make sure you are learning a principle from God, you should put it to the test. Here’s a simple test that refers back to who God is; “God is love”. Everything God teaches us causes us to love him and others more. Greek, agape, love is unique; best described as one way love. Love is the greatest commandment and God is love. If a teaching causes you to ‘love less,’ then put it under scrutiny; it may not be of God. Reject teachings that demean other humans, who are made in the image and likeness of God.
Matt 22:37 “Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””
Growing in faith, becoming mature in Christ is vastly different than the way we mature in life. In our earthly life, we go to school to learn how to read and write. Eventually, most graduate to high school, with college in future for many. This type of training is essential to our lives, but it is not a model for spiritual growth. You see, God wanted everyone to receive this gift of eternal life and he knew our earthly minds would find a way to trick us. We grow by faith, starting by receiving Jesus and his cleansing forgiveness into our lives.
The Bible talks about continuing this walk with Jesus. The walk starts with a spiritual transaction: You ask the Holy Spirit to come and live in you. It’s important to understand we never graduate from that first step. Paul warns us that if we are filled with philosophy, traditions and the ways of this world we’ll be taken ‘captive’ (robbed) of our faith. The word philosophy in the Greek is a compound word literally meaning ‘friend of wisdom.’ In other words, learning lists of good things to do and religious traditions does nothing to build up your faith.
Col 2:6 “Therefore, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith as you were taught (didasko), and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, which are based on human tradition and the spiritual forces of the world rather than on Christ.”
Paul teaches us to live a life controlled by the Holy Spirit throughout his letters. He warns us that clever men can deceive us, leaving us tossed ‘to and fro’ by winds of doctrine, confused and dazed. The Lord’s word to you is “Abide in me, and I will abide in you” (John 15:4)
Eph 4:14 “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching (didasko) and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head.”
Definitions are from InHisVerse Bible (IHV) - www.InHisVerse.com.
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Bible Quotations From: The Holy Bible, Berean Study Bible, BSB (BereanBible.com). Copyright ©2016, 2019 by Bible Hub. Unless Otherwise Noted.