and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe
all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19-20).
January 14, 2018
1) How the Holy Spirit Operates Today (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
How the Holy Spirit Operates Today
There are various misconceptions some have today concerning the Holy
Spirit and His work in the lives of others. Many folks, for
instance, are of the notion that the Holy Spirit is working directly
and miraculously upon the hearts of individuals in our time — such
as in supernaturally enabling them to understand the Bible; to
miraculously impart to them the conviction of sin and the desire,
along with the ability, to obey God; and to miraculously speak to
them and supernaturally lead them in the way He wants them to go.
There, of course, was a time when God spoke miraculously to men,
such as to the apostles and the prophets. During the early
church there was a great need for that until “that which is perfect
is come” (1 Cor. 13:10, ASV). And that “perfect” is not
referring to Christ, but to “the perfect law of liberty" (James
1:25), which is the New Testament in its entirety. For the
“perfect” is seen in contrast to “that which is in part” (1 Cor.
13:10, ASV), which would be done away with when the completeness of
the New Testament would be delivered. For it contains
“everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3), whereby
“...the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2
Tim. 3:17, ESV).
We strive to encourage people to look to the Bible. For other
than what we can infer about God from the creation – “His invisible
attributes, His eternal power and divine nature” (Rom. 1:18-19) – it
is through the Scriptures that the Lord can truly speak to us.
And it is through that message that the Holy Spirit can work in out
Shortly prior to His leaving this world, Jesus promised the apostles
the Holy Spirit who would be a "Helper" to them. He would
teach them all things and bring to their remembrance all that the
Lord had said to them (Jn. 14:26) -- thus guiding them "into all the
truth" (Jn. 16:13). The Holy Spirit would also “convict the
world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment" (Jn.
In the Scriptures we see how He did this. In Acts 2, for example, as
Peter preached about Jesus whom they had crucified, but whom God
raised from the dead to be “both Lord and Christ,” there were those
that “...when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart” (Acts
2:37). In other words, they came to believe in Jesus and were
convicted of sin by that gospel message, which also led to their
desire to ask Peter and the other apostles of how to be saved -- and
"those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there
were added about three thousand souls" (v. 41).
Consider, too, Paul's letter to the Corinthians. In 2
Corinthians 7:8-11, he speaks of having caused them sorrow through
his letter, which was a gospel message to them (v. 8). By it,
they were “made sorrowful to the point of repentance” (v. 9).
For it was not merely a sorrow of the world; but, rather, a “godly
sorrow” (v. 11) that ”produces a repentance without regret, leading
to salvation” (v. 10).
The point we can see in these examples is that the Holy Spirit was
convicting these people of sin — but not through some direct,
miraculous operation upon their hearts; but, instead, through the
word of God which they were hearing.
So we are seeing in this a relation that the Holy Spirit has to the
Scriptures. For that message is the instrument that He is
using to convict men today concerning sin, righteousness, and
judgment. And this connection of the Holy Spirit to the word
is exactly what Paul is speaking of in Ephesians 6:17, where he
exhorts the brethren to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the
word of God.”
So just as a logger would use a chainsaw or some other tool to fell
a tree, the Holy Spirit uses the "instrument" of God's word to work
in the hearts of people today.
In realizing this connection of the Spirit with the word, we can
better understand passages that might otherwise seem somewhat
contradictory. For while one verse shows a certain thing to be
accomplished by the Holy Spirit, another passage attributes the same
thing to the word of God. Consider, for instance, these
Holy Spirit: “..He...will convict the world concerning sin
and righteousness and judgment” (Jn. 16:7-8).
Word of God: “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to
the heart...” (Acts 2:37).
Holy Spirit: “...unless one is born again he cannot see the
kingdom of God. ...unless one is born of water and the Spirit he
cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ...that which is born of the
Spirit is spirit” (Jn. 3:3,5).
Word of God: “for you have been born again not of seed which
is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and
enduring word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23).
Holy Spirit: “...but you were washed...in the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
Word of God: “...just as Christ also loved the church and
gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having
cleansed her by the washing of water with the word" (Eph. 5:25-26) .
Holy Spirit: “...you were sanctified...in the name of
the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
Word of God: “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is
truth” (Jn. 17:17, a prayer of Jesus).
Holy Spirit: "...but you were justified in the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
Word of God: “Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ”
(Rom. 10: 17).
Holy Spirit: “He saved us...by the washing of
regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
Word of God: “...in humility receive the word implanted,
which is able to save your souls” (James 1: 21). “For I am not
ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to
everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom.
One would be greatly mistaken to cite these Bible passages as
contradictions. Rather, they show how the Holy Spirit is
working today through the written word of God. And keeping
Ephesians 6:17 in mind – to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is
the word of God” – better helps us to realize this.
This also shows why it is so important for man to hear the gospel,
to believe it, and to respond to it.
The gospel is “the faith which was once for all handed down to the
saints”; and what we are to “contend earnestly for” (Jude
1:3). It has been given to us so that we may learn of the way
that leads to everlasting life, be freed from the bondage of sin,
and know how we are to live and please God while on earth. By
our submitting to the word of the Lord, the Holy Spirit then works
in us, helping us to grow spiritually and to develop more of the
mind of Christ. And may that always be so of each one of us.
(All Scripture from the NASB unless otherwise indicated.)
News & Notes
Mary Rogers (Ashley Ray Law’s grandmother) appears to have
had another better day yesterday. With head elevated from her
hospital bed, she was looking rather contended as she was touching
the tiny hand of her very young, great grandchild who was sitting up
in the bed with her for a visit. (Ashley had posted the picture on
Let us also be remembering Jim Lively in prayer who had a bad
fall last week, but did not break any bones. He has seen his
doctor and had an adjustment made in medication.
Easton Cox has been having some flu-like symptoms lately.
Also for prayer: the family and friends of Frederick Farmsworth
Crosby and Lola Blevins. And those with poor health or
other ailments: Cedell Fletcher, Frankie Hadley, Meadern
Anderson; Belinda Medlock; Charles Crosby; James Green; Bennie
Medlock; A.J. & Pat Joyner; Shirley Davis; Judy
Daugherty; Misty Thornton; Michelle Rittenhouse; Rachael Gerbing;
Jarvis Williams, and Mary Vandevander in the nursing
WordPress version of this bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes
(Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24;
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of
sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m.
& 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 7 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
(Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but
back to March 1990)