Archive of Daily Bible Lessons
March 8-14, 2004
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3.8.04 Praying for the Fullness of the Spirit
3.9.04 More on Praying for the Fullness of the Spirit
3.10.04 Another Picture of the Fullness of the Spirit
3.11.04 Three Wrong Responses to the Holy Spirit
3.12.04 Reflecting on the Holy Spirit and Grace
3.13.04 The Covenant of Grace: A Resurrection Covenant
3.14.04 Grace Empowered Proclamation of the Risen Christ

Bible Lesson for 3.8.04
Praying for the Fullness of the Spirit

That He {God} would grant you, according to the riches of His glory...

  • to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man
  • that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith
  • that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge
  • that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.(Ephesians 3:16-19)

If you are wondering HOW to be filled with the Spirit, the prayer in Ephesians 3 offers excellent insight. The precise relevance of this passage is obvious, when the concluding purpose of the prayer is noted: "that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

The opening phrases use the language of grace:
"That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory."

  • Grace is about God at work, giving you blessings you cannot deserve.
  • These blessings are in proportion to His glorious spiritual riches.
  • This perspective fits your studies on the Spirit perfectly, because when the Holy Spirit is at work, He pours out God's grace.

The initial request pertains to an inner working of the Spirit: "to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man." Note that this request is made on behalf of those who ALREADY have the Spirit residing in their heart. The specific issue is about receiving new measures of spiritual power at the core of your being.

The desired result of this work of the Spirit is
"that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith."

  • Jesus is present in the heart of every believer. Here, He is being asked to settle down fully and make Himself at home.
  • Jesus is being given free rein to rearrange your innermost being to fit His good pleasure.
  • Allowing Jesus to rule your heart requires the empowering work of the Holy Spirit to break past spiritual obstacles such as apathy, fear, self-focus, and temptations.
  • To allow Jesus to lead you in His way, you need the Holy Spirit enabling you to stay in God's word, to pray without ceasing, to worship daily, and to fellowship regularly.

Then, as Jesus rearranges your inner life, He wants to anchor every aspect of your life in God's love: "that you, being rooted and grounded in love." With this, He wants to you to experience the dimensions of His love, which are beyond mere head knowledge: "to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge."

This Holy Spirit process is always leading to more spiritual fullness: "that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

Dear Father in heaven, I humbly cry out to You every word of this majestic prayer. I earnestly desire the reality of its every implication, all by your Holy Spirit, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.9.04
More on Praying for the Fullness of the Spirit

And I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened . . . your heavenly Father [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:9-10,13)

Here again, the work of the Spirit in your life is associated with prayer.

  • Prayer is that wonderful God-ordained means of relating to the Lord in humility and faith (the two means by which you access grace).
  • In praying, you are humbly admitting that you need God.
  • In praying, you are exercising faith toward God that He will act on your behalf.

You pray; God moves by His Spirit, pouring out whatever grace is necessary for any given situation.

You saw this in your previous meditation.
"That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith . . . that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:16-19). Here, prayer was the avenue to being filled with the bountiful work of the Spirit in your life. You humbly ask; the Lord faithfully works. This is precisely the teaching of Jesus in your present passage.

The end of Jesus' message involves the Spirit being given to those who ask.
"How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" This is also where your scripture began. "And I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." These are three parallel commands, followed by three parallel promises.

  • Who receives Holy Spirit fullness? Those who ask God for such.
  • Who experiences the life-empowering work of the Spirit, that every child of God must find? Those who seek God to impart such.
  • Who is flooded with the outpouring of God's Spirit? Those who knock prayerfully on heaven's doors.

Then, making these three "command-promise" couplets even more sure, Jesus adds three more statements of certainty. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." These are absolutes. There are no exceptions. Those who genuinely ask, seek, or knock can go on their way by faith, knowing that the Lord will be doing a thorough work of His Spirit in them.

As with the earlier command to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), these commands are also in the present tense. They could be rendered: keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Again, this is a way to live: one day at a time. Being Spirit-filled is NOT a "once-and-for-all" event.

O God, You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. I humbly ask You for the glorious gift of a fresh new work of Your Spirit. Lord, I rest on Your promise that everyone who asks receives. Manifest Your fullness in me in any way that You desire, in Jesus name, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.10.04
Another Picture of the Fullness of the Spirit

If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit. (John 7:37-39)

These words from Jesus {quoted above} provide another picture of what the fullness of the Spirit is all about, as well as how to walk in that spiritual abundance. His remarks are addressed to those who are *spiritually thirsty*: "If anyone thirsts."

  • In this spiritual context, thirst can speak of the painful dryness that often accompanies need or lack. Pressures, responsibilities, busyness, disappointments, and preoccupation with earthly matters can dry out your soul at times.
  • Corresponding to this need, thirst can refer to the eager yearning after those heavenly blessings that refresh and restore your inner life. Such thirsty conditions apply to every child of God, from time to time.

Jesus tells you exactly how to remedy such thirst. "Come to Me and drink." You are to bring your needs to the Lord Jesus Christ and *drink* of Him. So often, you attempt to satisfy such thirsts by drinking at other wells. Thirsty people around the world attempt to find relief through education, work, religion, politics, entertainment, money, drugs, and more. They all encounter the truth that your Lord revealed to the Samaritan woman at the well. "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again" (John 4:13). You must take your spiritual thirst to a person, to "THE Person," the Lord Jesus.

Yet, how do you drink of the thirst-quenching resources of Jesus? He indicated the means in the next phrase:
"He who believes in Me." When you bring your dry, thirsty needs to Jesus and believe that He can meet those needs, you are drinking from what the Lord alone can offer. You drink of Christ's resources by faith. Jesus included this insight earlier in His discourse on the bread of life. "He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35).

Unquestionably, Jesus will always satisfy legitimate thirsts that are brought to Him. Yet, there is more available here. The spiritual water that Christ provides also works within the thirsty soul.
"The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).

  • This Holy Spirit supply develops abundant life within the trusting heart. Ultimately, this fountain that grows within you will flow outward to others. "Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
  • Dry, thirsty hearts that come to Jesus in faith, not only find satisfaction for the thirst, but eventually pour out life in the Spirit to others.
Lord Jesus, You know the thirsty places within my life. I bring them to You now. I believe that You can meet these needs. I open up to the work of Your Spirit to quench the thirsts deep within my heart. Lord, I praise You for the expectation I have that You can turn my dryness into torrents of living waters to bless others, in Your name, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.11.04
Three Wrong Responses to the Holy Spirit

You always resist the Holy Spirit . . . Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God . . . Do not quench the Spirit.
(Acts 7:51; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19)

It is the will of God that you walk in daily independence upon the Holy Spirit. It is God's desire that you seek Him for the fullness of the Spirit's work in and through your life. Three wrong responses that undermine the will of God are resisting, grieving, and quenching the Spirit of the Lord.

When Stephen was on trial before the religious leaders of Israel, he preached a powerful sermon declaring the faithfulness of God toward His consistently unfaithful nation. He concluded his message with a pointed, radical, accurate evaluation.
"You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you" (Acts 7:51). Here you are given the kind of attitudes that oppose the work of the Spirit.

These people were "stiffnecked."

  • They were stubborn and self-willed.
  • They wanted their will, not the will of God.

They also were "uncircumcised in heart and ears."

  • They did not allow God to cut away the carnality of their inner being.
  • They would not allow God to speak to them through His messengers.
  • They were self-righteous and self-sufficient.

When you conduct yourself in this same manner, you also are resisting the Holy Spirit.

When Paul was writing to the church at Ephesus, he commanded them:
"Do not grieve the Holy Spirit" In the next verse he indicated the dispositions that bring grief to the Spirit of God. "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice" (Ephesians 4:31). Yes, the Holy Spirit is a person, not a mere power or influence. He can be saddened by your behavior.

When you, God's own child, harbor bitterness in your heart and malicious words in your mouth, then you are grieving the Holy Spirit of God.

When Paul wrote to the saints at Thessalonica, he instructed them:
"Do not quench the Spirit."

  • Just as a fire can be quenched, the promptings of the Holy Spirit can be stifled.
  • As you read the word of God, the Spirit can be stirring a spiritual fire of conviction within you. Will you respond to that heavenly influence, or will you suppress it?
  • When the Lord is igniting a vision of service unto Him, will you yield or will you extinguish it?
  • When the Lord is calling you to intercessory prayer, will you cry out to Him or will you suppress that desire He is kindling?

Will you allow the Spirit to blaze within your heart; or will you quench the Spirit?

O Father, I am convicted by Your Spirit of times that I have behaved in these same ways. I have resisted and grieved and quenched the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Lord, I repent, and I ask You to show me any area of my life that is not yielded to the full work of Your Spirit. This I pray through Christ, my Lord, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.12.04
Reflecting on the Holy Spirit and Grace

And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)

Let's take a reflective look at your meditations on the Holy Spirit as a reminder that you are still studying about the grace of God. In considering how to live by the fullness of the Spirit, you have examined how to live more fully by the grace of God.

In Zechariah 4:6, you observed the connection between living by the Spirit and living by the grace of God.
"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit."

  • Serving the Lord is accomplished by the work of the Spirit in and through your life, not by natural capabilities.
  • The next verse restates this truth in terms of God's grace. "And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of 'Grace, grace to it!'"
  • Every completed task in the service of God is accomplished by His grace (God's undeserved resources), not by your ingenuity or merit.

You also saw how the early church experienced this relationship between the Spirit and grace. "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness . . . And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:31,33). The boldness they experienced through the Holy Spirit is described as a result of great grace at work upon them.

Jesus came to establish a New Covenant. "This cup is the new covenant in My blood" (Luke 22:20).

  • The New Covenant is characterized by grace, in contrast to the Old Covenant that God set in place through His servant Moses. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).
  • This New Covenant of grace is also a covenant of the Spirit. "Our sufficiency is from God, who also made you sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

When the Lord Jesus returns and Israel humbly bows to Him as their Messiah, this wondrous response will be the result of "the Spirit of grace" (Zechariah 12:10) being poured out upon them. This glorious title, identifying grace with the Holy Spirit, beautifully sums up the grand truth that living by grace and walking in the Spirit are two perspectives on the same precious reality.

O God of all Grace, I long to live by Your grace day by day. Lord, I thank You that grace is not merely some principle that I must apply, but rather a resource You must impart.Would You therefore pour out upon me in fullness the Spirit of grace? Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.13.04
The New Covenant of Grace:
A Resurrection Covenant

{Jesus said...} I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes . . . This cup is the new covenant in My blood. (Luke 22:18, 20)

Just as the new covenant of grace is a covenant of the Spirit; it is also a covenant of resurrection. When the grace of God is allowed to work in you, God applies the resurrection of Christ to your life. This gracious work gives you access to the eternal life of your risen, triumphant, living Lord Jesus.

The scriptures indicate in many ways that the resurrection is woven deeply into the fabric of living by grace.

  • When Jesus was instituting the Lord's Supper (at His final Passover), He was but hours away from His impending death upon the cross. Yet, He indicated that He would again celebrate with them this memorial meal of salvation. "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
  • This would only be possible by a subsequent resurrection. This reference to His resurrection was made in conjunction with remarks about the new covenant. "This cup is the new covenant in My blood." The resurrection is here linked with the new covenant of grace.

Soon after this statement regarding His resurrection, Jesus would be crucified. Three days later, the resurrection would be a reality.

  • When some of the women came to the tomb with spices and oils, angelic beings announced the victorious truth. "He is not here, but is risen!" (Luke 24:6).
  • The resurrection was forever an accomplished fact of history. The resurrection powerfully proved that Jesus was the Son of God: "Declared to be the Son of God with power . . . by the resurrection from the dead."
  • Jesus' sacrifice for sin was accepted by the Father. "And He Himself is the propitiation {satisfactory payment} for your sins" (1 John 2:2). Now, God's grace could be poured out on all who would believe in the Lord Jesus.

Fifty days after the crucifixion (on the day of Pentecost), the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the followers of Christ.

Empowered by His Spirit, the early believers on Lord Jesus began to live in the power of the resurrection, proclaiming boldly the eternally ordained resurrection victory of their Lord.

"Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it" (Acts 2:23-24).

Walk in the knowledge that you WILL be resurrected to eternal life. God's unbreakable promise of resurrection is made to you, and to all who call on the name of His Son. Go and tell that fact to the world!

Lord God of resurrection, I praise You for the resurrection of Your Son, Jesus, my Savior. Lord Jesus, I greatly anticipate celebrating the Lord's Supper with You some day in the full reality of Your kingdom. Meanwhile, please work in my life the richness of Your grace, secured by Your sacrificial death and resurrection victory. In Your mighty name, I pray, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 3.14.04
Grace Empowered Proclamation
of the Risen Christ

God has raised up Jesus, of which you are all witnesses . . . the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which you are witnesses . . . Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead . . . And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 4:10, 33)

Here are some key *resurrection verses* for you to study and relish...

  • At the Lord's Supper, the resurrection was implied. "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes" (Luke 22:18).
  • At the tomb, the resurrection was documented. "He is not here, but is risen!" (Luke 24:6).
  • With the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, the resurrection was proclaimed. "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, and put to death; whom God raised up" (Acts 2:23-24).

The risen Christ was the constant message of the early church. In Peter's Spirit-empowered message at Pentecost, he repeatedly proclaimed the resurrected Lord Jesus.

"Him . . . you have crucified , and put to death; whom God raised up . . .You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption . . . he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ . . . this Jesus God raised up, of which you are all witnesses" (Acts 2:23-24, 27, 31-32).

Not long after this glorious beginning, another proclamation of the risen Christ occurred as the lame man was healed at the Beautiful Gate. When the crowds gathered to see what had happened, Peter's message was again centered around the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"You denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which you are witnesses" (Acts 3:14-15).

Soon after this, the religious leaders arrested the apostles, "being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead" (Acts 4:2). Yet again Peter proclaimed the resurrection. "By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole" (Acts 4:10).

It was the grace of God that empowered the church to witness boldly about the risen Christ.

"And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:33).

Because Jesus rose again, so also shall YOU! Halleluyah, praise His Holy Name. All glory to God. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Dear Lord Jesus, I worship You as the risen One. I desire to proclaim Your resurrection to all who need to trust in You. Lord, in a world of doubt and skepticism, strengthen my faith in Your mighty resurrection. Empower me, I pray, by pouring out upon my life great measures of Your grace, in Your name, Amen.

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