18th May 2013

We Are Not Alone

 “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift … for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;”
Ephesians 4:7, 12-13 (NKJV UK)

In looking at the foundational doctrines, Paul’s next item in his list of fundamentals, is actually a part of the previous study on baptism. He says: “not laying again the foundation of…laying on of hands…” (Hebrews 6:1-2).

Following our act of commitment, baptism in water, this next item is God’s response. He commits to us by giving, through the laying on of hands, the gift of the Holy Spirit.

To modern ears this may smack of something alien and mystical. But it is commonly found within the Bible and ancient custom that the laying on of hands by one to another is the means of passing on a blessing. Paul writes to Timothy: “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but [rather a Spirit] of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:6-7, my supply of the ellipsis).

The Holy Spirit is the gift of God to us. The Holy Spirit is called “the paraclete” in the passage following. This Greek word can be translated as “the one who walks alongside” hence “helper”. We are in partnership with God. We don’t depend on our own strength, willpower and human resources. God has given the Christian His strength, His willpower and spiritual resources. The Holy Spirit acts as Christ’s representative in our minds. He has been charged by Christ to act for us, with us, to be “another” helper (the paraclete), as Christ was the first helper (John 14:16-18).

But notice, we are responsible for what we do with the Holy Spirit. We are to stir up ourselves and utilise this great gift. Paul reminds Timothy: “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by…the laying on of the hands of the eldership” (1 Timothy 4:14). And this great gift comes through the proper offices of the church.

Have you noticed how each of the foundational items Paul lists builds one after the other? It begins with personal commitment to repent, and concludes here with a response from the church. We’ll examine this relationship in another study.

Heavenly Father, in every way you support us, strengthen us, care for us. Truly the Christian is not alone. You promised to come to the Christian; you promised that we would not be left as orphans. Again, the realisation of this is truly mind numbing in magnificence. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford

About the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School, 6th Form Common Room
Honey End Lane
RG30 4EL

Meeting time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone:  01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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