Lesson 8 - Chapter 3:11-13

Lesson 8 - Chapter 3:11-13

Lesson for February 21, 2016

The Book of I Thessalonians

Chapter 3:11-13

Verses 11-13

“Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you: and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”

Many Christians do not realize that God the Father and God the Son indwell them. Each member of the Trinity has a specific purpose for indwelling the believer. God the Father indwells us for a purpose. There are no direct statements in Scripture to tell us exactly what this purpose encompasses. Therefore, we will need to examine the role of the Father in relation to the Son, the Holy Spirit and the believer. (John 14:23; Ephesians 4:6; II John 9)

How can we human beings understand the infinite Persons of the Godhead and their purpose for indwelling us? One method that God the Holy Spirit uses to reveal this truth to us is the use of language of accommodation. Anthropomorphisms and anthropopathisms are two such methods. Anthropomorphisms ascribe to God portions of human anatomy that He does not possess. Anthropopathisms ascribe to God human feelings, emotions and thoughts that He does not possess. This language of accommodation gives insight to God’s divine character, function, decisions, actions and policies by means of analogy. By using this method, God gives the human mind a frame of reference for understanding Him.

This language of accommodation is used for each member of the Trinity. The term “Father,” for example, is an understandable term for human beings. Father describes the relationship between the first person and the second person (Jesus Christ) of the Trinity and also defines the believer’s family relationship with God. Likewise, “the Son” and “the Holy Spirit” describe the roles of the second and third members of the Trinity. (Galatians 4:6-7)

The Bible always designates the father as the head of the household. In the same manner, God the Father is the ultimate in fatherhood and is supreme over all things. The title “Father” demonstrates to us that the first person of the Trinity possesses absolute authority and was the designer of the plan for humanity. (I Corinthians 8:6, 11:3; John 14:24; Ephesians 1:1-14, 4:6)

In eternity past God the Father planned and designed all that exists. He planned the creation of the universe and the creation of man. He set the boundaries of the seas and set man over His creation. His plan called for mankind to be treated in grace and He planned the salvation solution for fallen man. As the author and planner the Father still remained coequal with the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not greater in degree or quality than the other members of the Godhead.

One title that clearly points out the use of the language of accommodation is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Corinthians 1:3, 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; I Peter 1:3) This title indicates the relationship between Christ and the Father. This relationship has existed from eternity past as a divine decree. (John 17:5,24) The Son is not only the focal point of the Father’s plan; He is the revelation of the Father. (John 1:18)

We see in this relationship the differences in function of two members of the Godhead, the Father and the Son. In order to fulfill the plan of the Father, the Son became humanity and subordinated Himself to the will of the Father. This was done for our benefit, so that Christ could go to the Cross as the payment for sin. (Philippians 2:6) Phrases such as “His only begotten Son” must be understood in light of His function and mission on earth. This mission was carried out by the unique Person of the universe (the God-Man), Jesus Christ. He alone was qualified to be judged for the sins of all mankind, which was accomplished at Calvary. (Hebrews 9:16, 28; I John 3:5) Before Jesus departed this earth, He said that He would pray the Father and that the Father would send the Holy Spirit. God in His role as Father functions as the ultimate authority over the Son and the Holy Spirit though they are all coequal and coeternal. It therefore makes perfect sense that the Father would give the command for the Holy Spirit to be sent to permanently indwell the believer (a divine decree). (John 14:16,17,26; 15:26; 16:7, 12-14)

When Jesus made the statement that the Holy Spirit would be sent He called Him the Comforter (“another Comforter”). Jesus was the Comforter while on earth. This is an interesting word in Greek – “parakletos” - and literally means, “to call to one’s aid.” Its common use in Greek was in a courtroom to denote the counsel for the defense or an advocate. The Holy Spirit was therefore sent by God the Father to perform the same role as Christ for the believer. Even the word “another Comforter” (“allos” in Greek) means another of the same kind, signifying that the Son and the Spirit are one.

All believers of all time are related to God the Father, the author of our salvation. (Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:5, 3:14-15, 4:6) God is not the Father of all mankind. (John 8:42,44) God becomes our Father by our simple act of faith in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:26) Once again, this relationship shows the function of God the Father towards His children. As believers we can call God our Father (daddy) and like loving human fathers, our heavenly Father provides what is best for His family. (Matthew 7:11: Romans 8:15) Our blessings on earth and in the eternal state are because of the family relationship with our Father. No family relationship with the Father means no eternal life, and the accompanying blessings.

Everything that we possess as believers is provided by the Father through the agency of His Son, Jesus Christ. As a guarantee to us of the Father’s eternal provision, God the Father indwells every believer. The Father is with us constantly to grant blessings beyond compare and above our imagination. He constantly pours out divine blessings to His children and bestows gifts of grace without measure. These blessings include such things as salvation, promises, doctrine, family, friends, and even physical needs. The Father is indwelling us in order to watch over and protect us, as any good father would do. (James 1:17-18)

The Father is with us to assure us of His love and care. As a loving Father, He is concerned with our welfare and continually shows His love for us by guiding and directing our paths through life. Like a good Father, He occasionally has to discipline His children in order to help them stay within His will. The Father’s correction is always for our good. (John 14:21; 15:8-10; 17:26; Hebrews 12:5-11) The Father indwells the believer to guard him from the world system and to glorify Jesus Christ in his life. This was Christ’s prayer for you and me. Christ did not pray that the believer would be taken out of this world, but that the Father would safe-guard him while he was in the world. (John 17)

Jesus also prayed that He would be glorified through the believer and that the believer would share His joy. It is the Father that provides all of this for the believer through experiential sanctification. Jesus prayed that the believer would be sanctified through the truth, which is Bible doctrine. And finally, Jesus prayed that the believers would be one as the Father and the Son are one. Unity of the believers is accomplished in only one way - truth. It is the truth of the Word of God that brings us together as Christians. False doctrine divides but truth unites.

At the moment of salvation, every believer also becomes indwelt by the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, for a specific purpose. Christ indwells the believer in order to make evident His glory in us. This is accomplished in the life of the maturing believer as he exhibits the character of Jesus Christ. Our objective as Christians is to allow God the Father to glorify His Son by pouring out fantastic blessings on us. As we move through the spiritual life on our way to maturity our capacity to receive blessing from God increases. This increase in capacity sets up the potential of glorifying Christ. As the indwelling Christ, He provides encouragement, motivation and confidence. (John 14:18-21; Ephesians 3:14-21; Colossians 1:27)

Christ’s indwelling serves as a great encouragement for every believer. Knowing that we have the same destiny as our Savior should give each of us a relaxed mental attitude about the present and the future. Christ was tempted by Satan and remained sinless by utilizing the power of the Holy Spirit. It was this life, tested and proved by Christ, which became our example for the proper execution of the Christian Way of Life. Christ now indwells the believer in order to bring glory to Himself (the only human being Who deserves it). (John 14:18-21)

By an act of our will, we too can bring glory to Christ. By allowing the Holy Spirit to produce the character of Jesus Christ in our lives, God is glorified. Jesus is the standard to which we should aspire as believers. There is no place for discouragement to the Christian who is executing the Christian Way of Life. God has given us all the necessary tools to be successful. Our success as Christians means that Christ will be glorified. The indwelling of Christ also provides motivation for the execution of the Christian Way of Life. Our personal love for Jesus Christ should motivate each of us to do our best to bring glory to Him. The unmotivated life dishonors our Savior and brings shame to us at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (II Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 3:14-21)

For believers there is no greater motivation than love. It was love that motivated the humanity of Jesus Christ to die in our place as the penalty for our sin. It was love that motivated God the Father to send Christ. It is love for God that is our motivation for wanting to please Him. (John 3:16, 15:13; II Corinthians 5:14-15) The indwelling Christ “pours out” His love in our souls as we advance in our spiritual lives. Knowing and understanding the love of God, by means of study and application of Bible doctrine is our motivation for serving Him. (Romans 5:5; Colossians 1:25-28)

Jesus Christ is the very essence of God; He is the foundation of everything that we believe as Christians. His indwelling of the believer gives us confidence, and the knowledge of Bible doctrine is how the believer learns about this confidence. There can be no confidence in this life or in the one to come until the knowledge of God’s Word is gained through persistent study. (Hebrews 11:1)

Confidence in God brings the believer hope, but the word “hope” in the Scriptures means confident expectation. Through the study and application of Bible doctrine the believer increases this confident expectation: for this life and for the eternal state. It is this reality of “hope” that gives the Christian a personal sense of destiny, which means knowing who you are, and what you have as a result of being in union with Christ. This is not an emotional “feeling.” but an absolute truth based on your relationship with the indwelling Christ. Our confidence is not in self, but rather in Christ. The indwelling of Jesus Christ is unique to the Church Age in which we live and should be a point of gratitude to God.

During the Age of Israel, Jehovah (Jesus Christ) dwelt in the Tabernacle or Temple as God’s Shekinah Glory (His presence). In the daytime He appeared to Israel as a cloud and as a pillar of fire at night. He also appeared as a bright light over the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. The presence of the pre-incarnate Christ guaranteed God’s temporal and eternal blessings to the nation of Israel. (Exodus 25:21-22; Leviticus 26:11-12; Psalms 91:1; Hebrews 9:5)

During the Church Age, the Shekinah Glory of God (Jesus Christ) indwells the believer, guaranteeing temporal and eternal blessings. It is no longer necessary for Christ to appear in a cloud or as a pillar of fire, since He has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus. The Shekinah Glory of God “became flesh and dwelt among men.” (Hebrews 8) The Lord Jesus Christ indwells the believer in order to glorify Himself in the life of the believer. As with the indwelling of the Father and the Holy Spirit, we must allow Christ to glorify Himself through our lives. We do this as we abide in Him (fellowship) and His Word abides in us. The word for abide in Greek is “meno” and means to dwell, to remain, to continue in, or to tarry. Abide means “to be at home with.” When Bible doctrine is dwelling in you and you are in fellowship with Christ, the potential exists to glorify Him through your life. (John 15:1-14)

Without blame is the Greek word “anomos”and is an adjective and it means “blameless” or “unblemished.” It connotes the absence of defects. This is accomplished positionally through a believer’s union with Christ. Because the believer is in union with Christ he is blameless according to Romans 8:1. Because he is going to have a resurrection body exactly like Christ, he is blameless. Experientially, however, a believer is blameless before God by executing the Christian Way of Life. A believer stands before Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ and evaluated based on the “blamelessness” of his Christian life. Rewards are given on the basis of a believer’s “experiential blamelessness.” Of course, this experiential blamelessness is accomplished in the life of a believer only by the filling and power of the Holy Spirit.