Here are my notes for the fourth session of The Forgotten God, by Francis Chan, which includes questions for my small group, quotes from the book, and other observations. Remember these are notes, and not a complete article on the topic. Please purchase the book to support the author.
The first step in reversing the neglect of the Holy Spirit is to desire to see him at work in us. So ask, “Why do you want him?” We can’t assume our hearts are right in our motivation. Why does it matter?
1. What are a few possible motivations for desiring the Holy Spirit?
2. Can you detect any of these in your heart?
Read Acts 8:9-24
3. It appears that Simon was intrigued by the power of the Holy Spirit. Why did he want the Spirit?
4. What would Simon’s motivation look like if it were transferred into the American church today?
5. Have you seen examples of this?
Peter calls Simon’s motivation into question. Seeing the Spirit working is one thing, but your heart must be in the right place. What is the purpose of the Spirit working in a believer’s life?
- The Spirit works to glorify God (John 16:14)
- We work to glorify God (Matthew 5:16)
6. When was the last time you saw someone do something amazing, yet received all the glory for himself?
7. When was the last time you saw someone do something amazing, yet all the glory went to God?
- Jesus was very clear that their mission could not be accomplished on their own, they needed the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2)
- We fixate on flashy manifestations of the Spirit, but when a proud person exhibits humility, is this any less supernatural?
8. What are some less glamorous ways the Holy Spirit’s power can be manifested in a person’s life.
9. Why are these expressions just as powerful?
10. Another trap we can fall into: we could be trying to lead the Spirit. We start with our dreams & desires then ask the Holy Spirit to accomplish our plans.
11. Practically, what does it look like to be led by the Spirit rather than trying to lead the Spirit for your purposes?
12. What is the right reason for desiring the Spirit?
- 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, it is for the common good.
- 1 Corinthians 12:31, there is a more excellent way: love people placed in our lives.
If we are open to the Spirit’s working in our lives, we must first let go of things that keep us from close fellowship with him.
Having the Spirit is not about being everything you want to be, but about God working through you to help people around you grow.
If the proper motivation for desiring the Spirit is love, ask yourself how much you love the people around you. Francis Chan challenged us in the room to speak the truth in love, and recognized how difficult this is for people to do this…
- Are you willing and humble to do this for someone else?
- Are you willing and humble enough to receive this from others?
Quotes from The Forgotten God book:
- Recently, a man dying of cancer asked the church elders to anoint him with oil and pray for his healing. Before we prayed, however, I asked the man a question I don’t normally ask: “Why do you want to be healed? Why do you want to stay on this earth?” The man, as well as everyone else around, seemed a bit surprised that I would ask such a blunt question. The reason I probed like this is because in the epistle of James, we are reminded that we often don’t receive the answers to our prayers because we ask for the wrong reasons: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3). Our desire to live should be for the sake and glory of the God who put us on this earth in the first place.
- Right now I want you to take a break from reading and spend some time asking yourself why you want the Holy Spirit. Is it for power? Is it for your own betterment and purposes? Or is it because you want to experience all that God has for you? Is it because you love the church and desire to be a better servant to your sisters and brothers?
- First Corinthians 12 tells us that each follower of Christ is given a “manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). As we’ve seen, these manifestations, or gifts, are “empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Corinthians 12:11). So these reflections of the Spirit’s presence and activity in us have nothing to do with our natural abilities, and we have not received them because we have earned or somehow deserve them. Since these gifts come according to God’s will and not ours, it should be clear that they should not be used for our own boasting or entertainment.
- The Holy Spirit has given you a supernatural ability to serve the people God has placed around you. If God cares enough about His church to give you this Spirit-empowered ability, shouldn’t you care enough about the church to use that gift for the same purpose?
- The Holy Spirit works to glorify Christ (John 16:14), yet so many who emphasize the Holy Spirit seem to draw attention to themselves. The Corinthian church was notorious for this.
- I have yet to meet someone who wouldn’t want to see a miracle. My concern is that I’ve met many people whose pursuit of miracles is greater than their pursuit of God. A lot of people want to talk about supernatural things like miracles, healing, or prophecy. But focusing inordinately on these things quickly becomes misguided. God calls us to pursue Him, not what He might do for us or even in our midst.
- It used to be that if I had a great worship experience, I asked God to duplicate it the next time I came to worship. Like the kid impressed by a silly magic trick, I would pray, “Do it again!” One thing I’ve learned about God over the years, however, is that He rarely “does it again.” He’s the Creator, which means that He is (among other things) creative.
- The Spirit is not a passive power that we can wield as we choose. The Spirit is God, a Being who requires that we submit ourselves to be led by Him. Do you really want to be led? Even people who are natural leaders don’t get to lead the Spirit. Everyone is called to be led by Him.
- What if He asks you to give up something you’re not ready to give up? What if He leads you where you don’t want to go? What if he tells you to change jobs? To move? Are you willing to surrender to Him, no matter where He wants to take you? Am I?
- The fact is that God is calling. The Spirit is beckoning. The real question is will you follow? Will you listen? I know I prefer a multiple-choice option for what God is asking me to do. That way, if I don’t like A or B, there are always options C and D. Sometimes, of course, this is exactly how the Spirit leads us. There can be two equally good choices that God lets us choose between.
- My purpose in these questions is to get you to take 1 Corinthians 12 seriously, to believe that you have been given a manifestation of the Spirit and that your church, the worldwide body of Christ, and the world are crippled without your involvement. I write this because I love the church and want you to trust that you are more than just a helpful addition. You need to believe you are a vital member.
- If you are still alive on this planet, it’s because He has something for you to do. He placed us on this earth for purposes that He orchestrated long before we were born (Ephesians 2:8–10).
- When we submit to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, He helps us become more holy—more like Jesus. It is a lifelong journey of putting our flesh to death, or as Paul puts it in Galatians 5, of walking by the Spirit and not gratifying the desires of the flesh.
- The phrase crucifying the flesh is not exactly a friendly, appealing group of words. I think this is because God wants us to be clear on what we are getting into. He wants us to know that His gift of the Holy Spirit is really not for our own pleasure or purposes. The Spirit is meant to lead us toward holiness. The Spirit is here with us to accomplish God’s purposes, not ours.
The Bible commands men to love their wives as Christ loves the church. This is a very difficult command to obey because Christ gave His own life for the church. In fact He died for it.
- The church is spoken of as the Bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bridegroom and the two are engaged to one another.
- The marriage feast of the Lamb of God will take place after the consummation of the marriage at His return.
The kind of love that Christ has for the church is the divine kind of love; a self sacrificing and unconditional love that humans can only hope to experience. So, how are husbands to love their wives the way that Jesus loves the church? There is no better marriage advice for husbands given anywhere, by anyone, at anytime, than in the Bible.
Two Become One: The very first marriage ceremony was done so by God himself in Genesis 2:23. When a man marries a woman, the two become one. The fact that Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” is important. That means when she feels pain, then he should feel it. When the wife rejoices, then the husband should rejoice. They are sharing everything in life; the ups and the downs.
The one flesh teaching also has a literal sense in that this new family unit produces children. Also, one flesh teaches that each should person in the couple may share in the benefits of this new marital consummation. Sexual activity produces an intimacy that is not to be fulfilled in any other relationship or activity.
Another important thing in this verse is the addition of a man leaving his father and mother to be united to his wife. These two separate humans now form a new family unit where the previous family will not have influence or authority. Think of the problems a young couple has when this principle is violated.
Love Your Wife Through Action: Few people understand a little known command for husbands is given in Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” After a long day of work, a husband has the potential to come home and be harsh to the one he loves. His actions will speak louder than his words.
Love is a verb – it’s an action, its something we do. Saying “I love you” is important, but showing it by demonstrating kindness, consideration, and a soft spoken tone is more important. Husbands, don’t wait for her to show kindness first. Romans 5:8 tells us that while WE were yet sinners, Christ died for US. Love your wife by demonstrating that love through actions.
Wives and Husbands – Co-Heirs and Co-Equals: This tends to be hotly debated, male-headship or egalitarian? Bottom line here is that a wife needs for her husband to be considerate. Tell her thank you for making dinner, cleaning the litter box, washing your clothes, or making the bed. Modify your expectations and roles. Why not take some of this heavy load off of her shoulders? Listen to what the Apostle Peter tells husbands in 1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” This is a pretty strong verse; the way you treat your wife affects your spiritual life!
Loving Her As You Love Yourself: Ephesians five is regarded as the biblical marriage instruction manual. No amount of human reasoning can match the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and since the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we should listen to God’s advice for marriage. Ephesians 5:28 says, “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” In what same way is Paul talking about?
Reading the previous verses tells us in Ephesians 5:25-28, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
This “same way” is how Christ treats His church. Paul equates loving the wife as we love ourselves. If the husband runs all the hot water out of the hot water tank by taking a long shower, he is not loving his wife the way he loves himself. A husband is to look out for her best interests. If we are cold, we turn up the heat; if we are hungry, we eat; if we are tired, we rest. So, with this same regard that husbands have for themselves in taking care of themselves, husbands should treat their wives.
Redeeming Your Time Together: The wisest man who ever lived shared some wisdom about marriage. In Ecclesiastes 9:9 Solomon writes,“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”
A man’s wife ought to be his best friend. Before marriage, they are usually friends first, and God intends that we enjoy each other after the ceremony. Have fun together and spend time together. What about sex? Well, sex was God’s idea, and was created not just for procreation, but for marital recreation. God doesn’t make mistakes.
The Faithful Husband: Husbands made a vow before God and family to love their wives until death. God does not take that lightly because adultery is a very serious sin. Husbands will pay severely for marital infidelity. There is no room for compromise in moral purity. The lesson for husbands is to remain forever faithful to their wives. Adultery, or even flirting with another woman which can lead to adultery in the heart, can shatter families, wreck a home, cause bankruptcy, destroy children’s faith in marriage, and can bring down any man.
- Ephesians 5:3 has Paul’s warning to husbands, as well as wives: “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;”
- Exodus 20:14 is the seventh commandment where God warns couples to not commit adultery.
- Ephesians 5:5 says: “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
- Colossians 3:6, we are told that fornication, uncleanness, and inordinate affection will cause “the wrath of God to come upon the children of disobedience.”
- Adultery can come from the heart as Jesus declares in Matthew 5:28, “Whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Loving Your Wife Like Christ: Ephesians 5:25-28 shows what type of love husbands ought to show their wives; “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” This is something that husbands can not do in their own strength. It takes a supernatural empowerment by the Holy Spirit. It is not within human strength, power or capacity to love someone like Christ loves the church.
Christ was also forgiving, even while they were crucifying him. He told the Father to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing. Husbands can not hold onto past grievances only to bring them up at a later date. To bring up old issues is not loving their wives as Christ loved the church. He gave himself up for us and so husbands must give up themselves – including their own interests – for their wives.
[print_link] [email_link] Adapted from Jack Wellman
This is part of my message on God’s Will and the Church. I brought up accountability and ran out of time and said I’d post it here!
Obedience (to God and His Word) is Always a Positive Thing:
The New Testament is filled with imperatives (commands that God expects us to obey). These imperatives instruct us how to talk to one another. Our talk should include confession, prayers, exhortation (suggested next steps for someone), words of comfort, rebuke, admonition (or warnings), and the list goes on.
- John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” [more on LOVE is written below]
- Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;”
- Romans 14:19 “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”
- Romans 15:7 “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
- Romans 15:5 “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,” [Romans 12:16]
- Romans 15:14 “And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.”
- Romans 16:16 “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.” [1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12]
- 1 Corinthians 12:25 “so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”
- Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
- Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
- Ephesians 4:2 “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,”
- Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
- Ephesians 5:21 “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
- Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;”
- Colossians 3:13 “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”
- Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:18 “Therefore comfort one another with these words”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ‘Therefore encourage one another and [Ephesians 4:29] build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (Hebrews 3:13; 10:25)
- 1 Thessalonians 5:13 “and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.” [Mark 9:50]
- 1 Thessalonians 5:15 “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.”
- Hebrews 10:24 “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,”
- James 5:16 `Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
- 1 Peter 4:9 “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”
- 1 Peter 4:10 “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
- 1 Peter 5:5 “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
- Ephesians 4:25 “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.”
- 1 John 1:7 “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
- John 13:14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” [This one seems odd but there IS a good explanation]
- We are to Love One Another…
- John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- John 15:17 “This I command you, that you love one another.”
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12 “and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:9 “Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;”
- 2 Thessalonians 1:3 “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;”
- 1 Peter 1:22 “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,”
- 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
- 1 John 3:11 “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;”
- 1 John 3:23 “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.”
- 1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
- 1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
- 1 John 4:12 “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
- 2 John 1:5 “Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.”
When we choose to NOT get involved in these interdependent relationship, accountability or small groups, here is the alternative: Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.”