Spiritual Concepts (Christian Living Series Book 2)
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Follow us:. Listen Now. The prophet Amos lived among a group of shepherds in Tekoa, a small town approximately ten miles south of Jerusalem.
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Amos made clear in his writings that he did not come from a family of prophets, nor did he even consider himself one. Their reigns overlapped for fifteen years, from BC to BC. Though he came from the southern kingdom of Judah, Amos delivered his prophecy against the northern kingdom of Israel and the surrounding nations, leading to some resistance from the prideful Israelites Amos However, the moral decay that also occurred at that time counteracted any positives from the material growth. Amos was fed up. While most of the prophets interspersed redemption and restoration in their prophecies against Israel and Judah, Amos devoted only the final five verses of his prophecy for such consolation.
They were selling off needy people for goods, taking advantage of the helpless, oppressing the poor, and the men were using women immorally Amos —8; ; ; —12; —6. Drunk on their own economic success and intent on strengthening their financial position, the people had lost the concept of caring for one another; Amos rebuked them because he saw in that lifestyle evidence that Israel had forgotten God.
With the people of Israel in the north enjoying an almost unparalleled time of success, God decided to call a quiet shepherd and farmer to travel from his home in the less sinful south and carry a message of judgment to the Israelites. However, while their outer lives gleamed with the rays of success, their inner lives sank into a pit of moral decay. Rather than seeking out opportunities to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly, they embraced their arrogance, idolatry, self-righteousness, and materialism.
By the Spirit, the pull of the flesh can be resisted. To "put to death the deeds of the body" is pretty much the same thing as "saying no to sin," but unlike the anti-drug campaign among youth many years ago, just say no by itself will never be successful. Just saying no will never allow you to consistently overcome sin.
Then what must you do? You must say no by the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit leads us broadly always and more specifically sometimes. He always leads us through his written Word, which was revealed to the prophets by the Holy Spirit 2 Pet. We are to prayerfully, carefully, and humbly apply broad biblical wisdom to the situations we face in our lives.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit leads us directly. The Holy Spirit can choose to act in any way and according to any timetable that he wishes; we do not dictate to him how or when he will move. Since the Bible gives many examples of him acting more specifically, we should anticipate that he will sometimes choose to lead us directly if we are open and available to his guidance.
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Without the Holy Spirit, we would never know our freedom and identity as God's adoptive children. Thankfully, God has freely given us his Holy Spirit, and these verses from Romans 8 display three amazing things the Spirit does:. He acts as the go-between who takes us out of a place of slavery and fear and brings us into a place of adoption and acceptance. The biblical concept represented by the English word hope is so strong that it is almost a synonym for "eager expectation.
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What is the role of the Holy Spirit in all this? Rom says: "We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. In this passage, it is precisely the presence of the Spirit within you that causes you to feel this particular kind of suffering—the longing for final redemption in the midst of a fallen world.
In this way, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives reminds us of the stark contrast between the wonderful things God has prepared for us who believe and this fallen world that is so full of sin, suffering, and futility. We learn that we are weak when we come to prayer. We often don't know what to pray for in any given situation. The concern is not about the manner of prayer the "how" , but rather the content of our prayers—what do we actually pray about?
We learn that the Spirit joins to help us when we are struggling to know how to pray by interceding for us with wordless groaning. It is not, as some propose, that we should just pray whatever we want since we don't have any idea how to pray, and that the Spirit fixes them up and prays on our behalf to the Father. Rather, the verb often translated as "helps" has a preposition attached to the front of it, which suggests that it really means "joins to help.
The Spirit is searching our hearts and knows that we have a mind-set that is focused on him, even if we do not know exactly what we are supposed to pray. The result is that our prayers are prayed "according to the will of God" because the Holy Spirit is moving us thus to pray and is presenting the prayers that he is guiding us to pray to the Father.
This article is adapted from Walking in the Spirit by Ken Berding. He is the author of numerous books and articles and was previously a church planter in the Middle East.