The Ages of the Spirit

In this episode of the Essential Bible Studies Podcast, hosts Jay Mayock and Tim Young take a big picture look at the work of the Holy Spirit through the ages of time. There have been some hallmark epochs were the miracles, signs and wonders were off the charts. What does this mean in how the Holy Spirit works today?

Key Verse:

“Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8-10)

Outline:

  1. Introduction
    1. Hebrews 6:4-6 What does it mean by powers of the world to come?
    2. Why does Peter in Acts 2:16-21 quote Joel 2:28-31 on the day of Pentecost?
  2. Ages of Miracles
    1. Moses and the Exodus
    2. Elijah and Elisha
    3. Jesus and the Apostles
    4. Periods of drought (Mic. 3:5-8)
    5. What sort of period are we in now?
  3. The Cessation of First Century Gifts
    1. 1 Cor. 12-14
      1. The types of gifts (ch. 12) contrast with love (ch. 13)
      2. Defining “that which is perfect” (13:10 cp. 14:20)
    2. Ephesians 4
      1. The gifts (v. 11)
      2. Their purpose (v. 12)
    3. When they would cease (v. 13), the perfect man
  4. Conclusion – The Holy Spirit is still active but the gifts of miracles have ceased.

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Discerning the Spirits

How did Christians living in the first century know what was true and what should be included in the Bible? How can we be confident what is in the Bible is what is supposed to be there? The answer is in the Bible. Jay Mayock and Tim Young discuss the role of prophets and how the Holy Spirit gifts of the first century were used to test the prophet’s words to be true or false. This essential Bible study brings us confidence in the Bible as the word of God and provides the tools to reject false doctrines.

Theme Verse – 2 Timothy 2:15

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

Show Outline:

The Gospel of Judas

  • A copy was found that is 1700 years old
  • Released in 2006 (National Geographic published an article)
  • Reverses the role of Judas, vindicates him as the one who understood Jesus
  • There were lots of ‘false gospels’ circulated in the early days of Christianity
  • How did first century Christians know what was really the word of God?

The Role of Prophets

  • Both foretelling and forthtelling the word of God – lexicons and context
  • True vs. False prophets (18:20-22)
  • Jeremiah vs. Hananiah (28:2-4, 10-11)
  • Agabus (Acts 11:27-30)

Prophecy: One of the Spirit Gifts

  • Prophets were one of the most important gifts (3:5)
  • The whole point of the gifts was to build up the whole ecclesia (4:11-16)
  • All members had to work together to help each other
  • Specifically, prophets had to work together with ‘provers’

Authenticating the Word – An Ecclesial Work

  • Context #1 – Spirit, prophecy, discerning, spiritual good for all (1 Cor. 12:4,10,7)
  • Context #2 – Spirit, prophecy, weighing, spiritual learning and encouragement for all (1 Cor. 14:12,29,31)
  • Context #3 – Spirit, prophecy, testing, holding fast to good (1 Thes. 5:19-21)
  • Counterfeit messages! (2 Thes. 2:2; 1 John 4:1; Rev. 2:2)
  • The church, ecclesia, need to work together to develop the unity of the faith
  • They did attain it, because the gifts were withdrawn! (4:13-14)

Lessons for Us Today

  • The prophets’ words were confirmed in part through the accuracy of their predictions, and also by those who had the gift to discern, weigh the spirits.
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit were withdrawn after the ecclesias attained unity in the faith.
  • ‘False’ gospels do not undermine our NT.
  • Now that we have received the word of God from the prophets, we must test any teaching with that word. In short, we must: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”  (2 Tim. 2:15)