home > Pastor’s Desk > 2016 > November 11th > The Spirit Filled Life


Andrew worshipingIt has been said that the thing which makes Christianity unique in comparison with other faiths is that it is a relationship rather than a religion. This is at least true. It is indeed a relationship between the redeemed and the Redeemer. But its beauty goes still deeper. This depth is wrought by the Holy Spirit in, on, through and around the redeemed. His redeeming work of captivating, convicting, converting, transforming, and commissioning the ransomed-redeemed of the Lord begins before it is too late. The Holy Spirit Himself, who (along with the Father and Son) uniquely possesses omnipresence, is mysteriously able to draw alongside an individual rebel and patiently woo their rebellious heart away from religion toward a relationship with the Jesus – and then take them deeper into the beauty of Christ.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 14:26

007CS-LewisWhen this wooing was felt by C.S. Lewis in the Trinity Semester of 1931, he described himself as, “The most dejected, reluctant convert in all England!” However, not everyone experiences such a spiritual conquering. F.W. Boreham for example, was raised in a church-going family, but had not experienced the Holy Spirit’s redeeming transformation until around 1890. Like Lewis, he came to the realisation that his religious efforts were grossly inadequate to qualify his soul for acceptance by God. He turned to the Saviour, was baptised, then received the laying-on-of-hands with the prayerful injunction to receive the Holy Spirit. F.W. Boreham suddenly experienced an infilling with the Holy Spirit which he said resulted in his inability to feel the ground beneath his feet for the next week or two! It appears that he was baptised with the Holy Spirit subsequent to his conversion to Christ. He, of course, is not the only one who has experienced the promised baptism with the Holy Spirit subsequent to their conversion from rebellion to redemption. Millions of the Christ-redeemed have then also experienced an overwhelming of spiritual awareness and presence which has opened them up to a realm of supernatural gifts, phenomena, and intimacy with Christ. This has then introduced these followers of Christ to a deeper, richer, closer, sweeter walk with their Lord. Have you experienced this in your relationship with Jesus?

¶ “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
John 15:26


The Spirit’s work of conversion in the rebel begins with conviction of sin (John 16:8). A lingering sense of guilt and shame is a sure sign that the Holy Spirit is active in a soul. By His persistent grace He woos and drives the rebel to accept God’s gracious offer of forgiveness, soul-cleansing, and adoption. Upon acceptance of God’s love and grace, the Holy Spirit converts the rebel into a born-again follower of Christ.



Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
John 3:5

Too many people have been lulled – nay, duped – by certain socialising pressures (perhaps family upbringing and church tradition) into thinking that Christianity is merely about behaving like a Christian – attending church, owning a Bible, giving to charity. But unless a person has experienced the inner work of conversion by the Holy Spirit, they are not yet a Christian. It is at this point that the converted rebel realises that Christ substituted Himself for them and bore their penalty of their divine rebellion. Have you been born-again by the Holy Spirit?

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:11



doubleminded2‘Sanctification’ means to make holy, separate from the ordinary. The work of the Holy Spirit does not cease upon the conversion of the rebel into the redeemed. Although, in the eyes of God, the redeemed rebel is perfectly sanctified upon their conversion, there is still an earthly process of sanctification. This process puts to death those rebel-qualities of self-centredness and brings to life those Christlike traits of service to others.


I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Romans 6:19, 22

The external fruit of sanctification is seen in how we speak, use our time, money and talent, relate to others, and is rooted in the inner work of the Holy Spirit transforming the rebel into the redeemed. How has the Holy Spirit sanctified you since your conversion?



We are all religiousAfter Christ had atoned for sin, He breathed on His disciples and commanded them to receive the Holy Spirit (Jn. 20:22) and then told them to wait for this Promised infilling with the Spirit (Acts 1:4). When the Promised baptism with the Holy Spirit began on the Day of Pentecost, the believers began to prophesy and/or speak in tongues (Acts 2:6). The Apostle Paul would later write that speaking and praying in tongues served different purposes. Speaking in tongues, with associated gift of interpretation, was equivalent to prophecy (1Cor. 14:3), whereas praying in tongues required no interpretation because it was speaking to God (not people) (1Cor. 14:2). The Apostle also revealed that tongues (unlearned languages) could be a language of men or a language of angels (1Cor. 13:1). When speaking to God in tongues, this form of praying is able to edify the believer (1Cor. 14:4) and build them up. One of the nine mentioned gifts of the Holy Spirit is also a type of tongues. It appears that this type of tongue is the aforementioned equivalent to prophesying.

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:13

The Baptism With The Holy Spirit.


Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to comfort, counsel, guide, strengthen, and empower. He said that when His followers would be baptised with the Holy Spirit, they would be empowered to witness about and proclaim Christ and His Gospel. We see on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), that the previously timid, awkward, inarticulate, Apostle Peter was transformed into a bold, courageous, passionate, persuasive and articulate herald of the Gospel of Christ’s Kingdom  (Acts 2:14).

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:4

In closing his ‘second’ epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul sketches the believer’s interaction with each member of the Godhead, and he shines a warm light on the role that the redeemed can enjoy with the Holy Spirit-

¶ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Second Corinthians 13:14

Our fellowship with the Holy Spirit distinguishes Christianity from mere religion. The redeemed’ fellowship with the Holy Spirit is what makes Christianity a living, vibrant, relationship with Christ. It involves the illumination of God’s Word, the reception of God’s voice in the hearts of the redeemed, the leading of the Spirit into wise choices, supernatural empowering to speak and bear witness to Christ’s Lordship, and a continual sense of God’s loving overshadowing presence.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
Ephesians 5:18

Don’t treat your Christianity as a mere religion. Instead, let us realise what it actually is – the Spirit-filled life! Let us grow in our life in the Holy Spirit, and continue to go deeper and sweeter with Christ in our knowledge, character and choices.


Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.


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For those unfamiliar with the story of the Bible who may be seeking to remedy that unfamiliarity, I would recommend that they start reading in the New Testament. It is there that they will be introduced immediately to Jesus who is the central character of the whole Bible. For many novice readers of the Bible who then attempt to read the Old Testament of the Bible (its first 39 books), it initially seems like they are reading a completely unrelated story which seems to describe a completely different God. But with a little patience and persistence the reader will begin to suspect that this is not a different story but is in fact the prequel to the New Testament. Then a strange supernatural thing happens as they continue to become acquainted with the lives of the patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets, as these characters interact with enemies, giants, angels, strange heavenly beings, and GOD Himself. The reader begins to see in a similar way to what a photographer could not previously see clearly until his camera’s focus was adjusted to make the picture clear — the GOD who created, acted, spoke and judged, frequently referred to Himself as ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, and at times seemed to have conversations with divine characters identified as ‘the LORD’ and ‘Me’ and ‘His Spirit’ (Isa. 48:16). And this all begins to sound very reminiscent of the GOD described in the New Testament as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With a growing knowledge of the Bible and hunger to understand it, the follower of Christ discovers that literally for thousands of years prior to this day there have been many many others who have also walked the journey of discovery through the mysterious pages of the Bible and have each made a startling discovery about the human Jesus’ pre-existence throughout the pages of the Old Testament.


The One who spoke the world into existence entered materially into His World and “split time in half”. He came to rescue the world because a great betrayal occurred. One of His chief agents was filled with self-deception and conceited envy and manipulated a serpent to his bidding in destroying the very last and highest of the Lord’s “very good” creation. Disappointingly she fell for it – and her husband who supposed to protect her failed in his most basic of responsibilities. Their fall from innocence and into grace plunged that was momentarily and formerly under their vice-regency. The world had now gone rogue. When the Eternal Son of God submitted to His co-LORD, the Holy Spirit placed Him into a virgin’s womb by uniting his consciousness and sinless essence with the ovum of this young virgin. In doing so, Immanuel relinquished none of His sovereign power or prerogatives but chose to lay aside His glory and become fully human. And for those who came to recognise who He actually was, it ever caused them to fall down at His feet in adoration, or shrink back from Him in terror. The side-effect of those who who adored him was a new ability to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping because of worries, you too can discover how an acquaintance with the Lordship of Jesus the Christ can also help you to sleep better. 


Today, “Jesus Christ is Lord” sounds like a bumper sticker or part of an ancient church liturgy but when Christianity was founded if someone uttered these words it could literally mean death! ’o christos ’o kurios “Christ is Lord” was a risky thing to declare when the only safe thing to declare was ’o kaiser ’o kurios “Caesar is Lord”! Yet it was upon these words that the earliest confession of the Church was founded. For the early Christians, this was not a glib, throw-away line uttered during a church service or something stuck on the backside of your donkey (or chariot if you were wealthy).  


I really dislike the expression ‘moving forward’. So many people say, ‘moving forward’ from the meeting, the experience, the…. whatever! Has anyone stopped to think that time continues. We can’t go back. Even if we are reflecting, or for that matter mulling, we are in the continuum of time, and unless we have a mythical time machine, we just can’t go backwards in time. Our only option is to ‘move forward’.


I have long said that my primary role as a shepherd-pastor is to help people to die well. To do this, as I have often said, requires that we learn how to live life well. Of all the normally uncomfortable subjects that Christians find it difficult to talk about, death should not be one of them. But it is. This is because, of all the world religions, only Christianity has a positive view of death. After all, we have a divine Saviour who confronted and conquered death. As a result the original apostles mocked death.
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
¶ The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.”
(First Corinthians 15:55-56)
These apostles refused to be intimidated by death which was ultimately evidenced by their martyrdoms. The apostle Paul could look forward to his death with the obvious lament that he would no longer be available to help those he had led to the Lord (Phil. 1:23-25). But he could face his impending death with the assurance that it would mean that he would immediately be in the presence of his Lord — and so should we! And like Paul, we too should be be able to talk about death in a very different way to those who do not know what we know.


A suburban home in Australia is shrinking in land size even though the average house size is headed in the opposite direction. What hasn’t changed is fencing around the block of land in order to separate it from a neighbour’s property. Broken fences, overgrown hedges and pets jumping fences are a known source of conflicts. We value our privacy. Those fences are boundaries. To go over them without permission will be trespassing. Renting, owning or owned outright – our home is our safe haven. When we chat with neighbours across the fence, there is a sense of security that comes with standing on our own patch of land. A little piece of Australia over which we have custody, albeit temporal.


Each of these uncomfortable topics in this brief series of articles are uncomfortable because there they carry a sense of embarrassment or even shame attached to them. But this particular topic also carries a good deal of pain associated with it – in addition to any feelings of embarrassment or shame. This pain may involve a sense of failure, betrayal, rejection, and humiliation. Divorce rarely effects just the two people involved in ending a marriage. Divorce can scar people like little else can. It can scar socially, financially, emotionally, relationally, and even a person’s physical health – and sometimes do so permanently.


All of us feel sad at some point – even people who are usually happy most of the time. Usually though for most people there will be some understandable reason for it. This might include the loss of a loved one, a certain disappointment, an accident, or sympathy for someone. This kind of sadness is temporary. But there is a kindness of sadness that lingers which leaves a person drained, teary, thinking dark thoughts, and feeling desperately lonely. This is usually when we consider someone is experiencing ‘depression’ and it is one of those things that Christians find difficult to admit to or even talk about.


There are some things that Christians can’t and don’t talk about – but probably should. So, I would like to pastorally share some thoughts about this taboo topic of doubt in what will be part 1 in this short series of pastor’s desk articles of four taboo topics that Christians can’t talk about.


Resilience was one of the predominant character traits of the early Christians. They called it being steadfast. For these early Christians being ‘resilient’ meant being able to keep going despite set backs, discouragements, betrayals, unforeseen circumstances, lack of energy, motivation, and resources. Like a weary hiker looking down a long road that leads to the mountain range they must walk over, being resilient in life means putting one foot in front of the other, and then doing it again, and again, and again, and so on. God knows that today, in what many are describing as “Post-Christendom” (and the resilient among us prefer to think of as Pre-Christendom) to be resilient is to live with a purpose, to stay focused, to live for others, and to strive toward a good, honourable, goal. With so many reasons to lose sight of the true purpose of life the tendency is to be tricked into believing that life right now is too hard. But the truth be told – people need to know how to be more resilient. Leaders especially need to be resilient right now. Churches assuredly need to be resilient at this time. With the recent interference into churches by government through the measures they said was “to keep people safe” — it has actually depleted people’s ability and willingness to be resilient! Here’s what leaders, people, and churches can do about it.