The Bible - the word of God

Bible Study – May 2021

Receiving “new things”

“New” is what is given to us through Christ Jesus, and worked in, and into, us by the Holy Spirit, our God-given Helper.

Last month we took time in Isaiah 43, where the Lord says, “See, I am doing a new thing”, using the metaphor or picture of bringing life into dry wasteland, relating that to his people. It’s amazing that every day the Lord is doing new things! He makes everything available to us afresh, his mercies new to us every morning (Lamentations 3:22,23).

On Sunday 23 May, we celebrate Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father made available to all people through Jesus.

It is the Holy Spirit who brings God’s Word alive to us. Without him revealing Jesus to us, the printed words would be simply spots of print on the page. He works through the Word, to teach, stretch, disciple, strengthen and mature us in relationship with Jesus.

“Bring your word alive to us again today please, Holy Spirit. We need your help!”

The Spirit of Truth

Please read John 14:6. How does Jesus describe himself here? What does it mean to you?

Please read John 14:15-21.

Describe the interaction between the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in these verses.

What does Jesus tell us in these verses about who the Holy Spirit is, and what he will do in Jesus’ followers?

An orphan usually refers to a child whose parents have died and are thus no longer able to care for the child. Why might Jesus have said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”? (John 14:18 NIV)

An orphan can feel and believe that they are abandoned, forgotten, fearful of no provision, and very alone in the world. Without realising the consequences, we can be treating ourselves as orphans. In effect, sin has severed our relationship with God and left us as “orphans”. Yet God created us to be in relationship with him as his sons and daughters, now available through Jesus, to walk in his love, to live loved by him.

In this regard, what are some examples of “orphan thinking” that you have had, and why?

Please read John 14:23,24.

What catches your attention in these verses, and why? (share in twos or threes?)

Now read John 14:25-27.

The NIV translates v26 as “But the counsellor, the Holy Spirit …”. Other translations use words such as Advocate, Helper, Comforter, Paraclete (one who comes in alongside to help), to describe the Holy Spirit. Each word highlights a different aspect of what he does. He will teach us everything – he will give us insight, understanding, and meaning into our daily life application of God’s Word. He is our Resident Teacher, working from within, working also as we listen, read, pray, discuss, reflect, and ponder these things in our hearts – even while cooking or doing the dishes.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit will remind you of everything Jesus has said. How might this happen for you?

Truth is a Person

As we saw in John 14:6, Jesus described himself as the Truth. If you want to know the truth, ask Jesus to show you. God’s truth is absolute, even though the world acknowledges that less and less. Yet our law systems are reliant on finding the truth of a situation.

We CANNOT understand God’s Word of ourselves! It’s the language of heaven, but to our fallen human nature it’s like a “foreign language”. We are immersed in a world system and interact with different cultures that are not naturally aware of God’s love, his Word, his ways, or his desire for us to know him through trusting Jesus who has come to us.

God’s truth renews us

It’s only the Holy Spirit who can enable us to discern what is God’s truth and what is not – truth from God’s Word and of Jesus who is the Truth and revealed to us by the Spirit of truth. That’s a growing process as we reflect on God’s Word.

Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-14. According to these verses, what does the Spirit of God do?

So yes, in and through Jesus, we are made new and being made new. Each time we understand something afresh from God’s Word, any “a-ha!” moment, we are receiving new insights, “new things”.

Yet so easily we agree with and operate from “old thinking”, stemming from negative experiences, expectations, or unbelief; and we can be blind to it! But the Holy Spirit, our Helper, knows, and often waits for us to ask him to help us because that is the language of faith and trust in Jesus.

When we were baptised, we received God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. He lives in believers, but do we ask his help? Do we trust him? Do we recognise his prompting to express care to someone, his reminding us of Jesus’ Words to us? Are we willing for him to reveal truth to us to renew our minds, our thinking?

While we are here on earth, there is always much more for us to learn, to discover, to awaken to. Being a follower of Jesus can be such an amazing adventure. Keep on asking the Father to fill you afresh with his Spirit, your Helper in receiving new things in following Jesus.

Prayer: “Abba Father, please increase in us your Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may grow in knowing you more and more. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts to see Jesus and other people with ‘new eyes’. We bless you, in Jesus’ name.”

(Ephesians 1:17-23).

About the Author

Ruth Olsen

Together with Steen, Ruth is thoroughly enjoying retirement with its opportunities to do things there wasn’t time for earlier, including helping someone learn English, learning French (to practise with two of her grandchildren); and continuing many other activities such as being rostered as a singer in Sunday 10.00am worship bands, small groups, grandchildren, reading, journaling, caravanning – also interstate when borders allow etc. She has lived in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, New Zealand, and is now back in South Australia. There’s no time to be bored!

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