Continuing in Community
During World War I, a professor in a European university was teaching his students when an order came to dismiss classes because of the war. The students were not able to meet again as a class for a number of years.
When at last the school reopened, the professor began his first teaching session with these words: “As I was saying . . .”
He just continued where he had left off before the classes were stopped. This spirit of continuation shows a certain determination, doesn’t it? We need to have this same kind of determination to keep an ongoing relationship with our community.
In this lesson you will study ways in which you can continue to put into practice the principles taught in this course. The most important way is to depend on the Holy Spirit. Paul told Timothy, “Continue in the truths that you were taught” (2 Timothy 3:14). The Holy Spirit will help you to continue in community.
A young woman was going to a foreign country to work for the Lord as a missionary. On a radio program she was asked, “What are you going to do over there?” Her reply was, “I’m just going to try to be what I say I am.”
Are you what you say you are? You are really best at being yourself. If you try to act in away that is not really your way, you will be giving a false image.
The best way to influence your community toward God is to give a true image all the time. If what you are isn’t something you can be happy with, ask the Holy Spirit to give you a new image. Be a person of worth and value, one that people can rely on at all times. Ask God to make you what you ought to be, and what He wants you to be.
Do people see you one day as a cheerful, happy person, and the next day as an unpleasant, moody person? Do you have a steady, reliable witness every day, regardless of the unpleasant things that may happen from day to day?
People who keep the right attitude all the time give the best witness. The Spirit is the greatest changer of character. If your nature is not cheerful, ask God to change it. Then begin to act as you know God wants you to.
My friend, John, was a grouchy, complaining person. Even though he was a Christian, he made excuses for his attitude, and said he couldn’t help being the way he was. Then one day he realized that God could help him to be a different person. He practiced being pleasant, kind, and considerate until it became the natural way for him to be.
In 1 Corinthians 14:8, we read: “And if the man who plays the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will prepare for battle?” That means that your life must give others a true picture of what a Christian life should be. If people are not sure, when they see you, that you are living a Christian life, you will not be an effective witness when you try to tell them about Christ. Make your call clear then others will follow you.
Make you Witness Personal
When I was 17 years old I graduated from secondary school and took a job with a large company in my hometown. The first morning, as I left for work, my mother called me aside. She said, “Remember, son, any old dead fish can go with the tide. It takes a live one to swim against it.”
I have never forgotten my mother’s words. Ever since that time, I have tried to make sure that I was not just “drifting with the tide.” It is not always easy to be different from the crowd. Sometimes in our work or other activities we may be the only Christian in the group. If we want to have a personal witness, we must be willing to stand for our Christian principles even when it would be easier to go along with the group.
In 1 Peter 3:15 we are advised to “Be ready to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you.” Our hope is in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again that we might have eternal life. We must maintain a good personal testimony at all times if we want to help others find Christ.
Do you realize that God knows you better than you know yourself? Well, it’s true! Consider this verse of Scripture: There is nothing that can be hid from God; everything in all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes. And it is to Him that we must all give an account of ourselves (Hebrews 4:13).
God wants us to show the world what He is like. Make your witness for Christ a personal thing. Let people see the results of God’s grace in your life. God has made His Holy Spirit available to help us do this.
If you are to reach your community for God you will have to be very “transparent.” This means you are open before people. They can see what you really are. Our lives must be like open books for the entire world to see. The apostle Paul said, “Imitate me, then, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Can you say the same thing to those in your community?
Depend on the Holy Spirit
He is the Revealer
Before Jesus went back to heaven, He told His disciples, “It is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send Him to you” (John l6:7). Helper is one name given in the Bible for the Holy Spirit.
When we understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we can trust Him more. For example, if you put two people who speak different languages in the same room, they will have a hard time communicating and understanding each other. But if their language is the same, they will be able to talk together and get to know one another. Talking together will help them understand each other.
Understanding brings confidence. It is the same with the Holy Spirit. As you come to understand Him and His ministry, you will learn to trust Him.
One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to reveal or show Christ to us. When Christ is made known to us, we realize our need of Him.
The Helper will come, the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God and who comes from the Father. I will send him to you from the Father, and he will speak about me (John 15:26).
Another purpose of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin and draw people to God. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would speak about repentance. He also said that the Spirit would “prove to the people of the world that they are wrong about sin and about what is right and about God’s judgment” (John 16:8).
Joe Smith had never given his heart to God. One day he heard the story of Jesus and His love for men and women. A week went by, and Joe could not get this story out of his mind. Why? Because the Holy Spirit had revealed Jesus to him, and had also caused him to feel sorry for his sin. Joe felt that he had to do something. It wasn’t long until he gave his heart to the Lord and became a Christian. The Holy Spirit has a ministry of calling people to Jesus. Aren’t you glad He brought conviction to your heart and revealed Jesus to you? And as we witness to others, we can depend upon the Holy Spirit to do His work in their hearts also.
He is our Teacher and Reminder
Here are the words of Jesus recorded in John 14:26: “The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.”
In this verse two more ministries of the Holy Spirit are mentioned. First, the Holy Spirit will teach us what the Word of God means, and how to apply it to our hearts and lives. The Holy Spirit is wise, and He can give us wisdom, too.
Tom Green was not an educated man, but he was teachable. After the day’s work was done, Tom would read and study his Bible. He learned many things from the Bible. Tom and Betty Green had two sons. The instructions in the Bible helped them raise these sons so that they, too, loved God and wanted to obey Him. Both of their sons are now married and have children of their own. They are raising their children in the same way. Because Tom and Betty Green studied God’s Word and allowed the Holy Spirit to teach them, their family was blessed.
The Bible shows us many ways that the Holy Spirit will teach us. Find the verses listed below in your Bible and write them down so that you will remember them.
Ephesians 1:17—He gives us wisdom and reveals God to us.
Ephesians 6:18—He teaches us to pray as He leads.
Corinthians 2:10-12—He teaches us truths about God and His purposes.
Galatians 5:16, 22-23,25—He directs our lives, and produces in us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control.
According to John 14:26, the Holy Spirit will also help us remember all the things Jesus told us. This means that as we study the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will bring the Word to our minds when we need it. We can’t remember all of the things we read in the Bible. However, when we need to remember, the Holy Spirit brings to our minds those teachings, which will help us at that particular time.
Have you ever talked to someone about the Lord, and it seemed you had all the right answers? Or the Holy Spirit brought to your mind exactly the right Scripture verse to fit the occasion? It is very rewarding to feel God’s help in such times. Without the Holy Spirit’s help, many times we would feel lost as we tried to witness to someone.
Sometimes when we are tempted to do wrong, the Holy Spirit reminds us that we should obey God. He reminds us to keep a good attitude in our relationships with other people. Sometimes we forget to show a spirit of community, but the Holy Spirit is faithful to remind us.