Last August 20, 2017 I had the privilege of speaking to the local congregation of the ReThink Community where I spoke on the need to “Live by the Spirit.” My message was based on the passage found in Galatians 5:16-25. As Christians living in this “present evil age” (Gal. 1:4) I encouraged the brethren and reminded them of the need to be led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:18), to live by the Spirit and to keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25).
I also wanted to emphasize in this message that on the basis that Christ had already finished his earthly work some 2,000 years ago, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is a continuing work leading, guiding and transforming people to become like Christ — “until Christ is formed” (Gal. 4:19) in them . This is a continuing work of the Holy Spirit since the church was established at Pentecost (Acts 2) until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I showed the brethren that God’s work of salvation is one complete whole with the involvement of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father decided from before the foundation of the world to adopt all of humanity into his family. The Son became human assuming our humanity to reconcile everyone back to God. The Holy Spirit works in each person helping them to personally respond and subjectively experience the love of God transforming them to become like Christ. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all involved in the work of reconciliation.
Although living in this “present evil age,” in “between the times,” (from the time after Christ ascended and until Christ returns), Christians are encouraged to resist the power of sin, to resist the devil, to be led by the Spirit, to live by the Spirit and to keep in step with the Spirit.
Here are excerpts of that sermon. It’s about 9 minutes long:
My apologies on the quality of the video. I should have prepared a tripod. But I believe the message (on the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit because of the finished work of Christ) is very important so I thought of sharing this despite the poor quality of the video. My apologies.
I’ve heard the term “In the Sweet By and By” since I was a young boy but I have never really taken the time to find out what this was all about. I knew it was an old hymn but I really didn’t know much about it until now.
Last night, as I attended the wake of my aunt who died a few days ago, this hymn was sung by the sisters and cousin of the deceased. No doubt they knew the hymn very well because all of them are choir members in their Christian church. They sang the song in acapella and I was touched by how they sang it and the lyrics of the hymn really inspired me. It was a fitting song for the occasion.
I found out later on the internet that this song is entitled “In the Sweet By and By” and it was written by Sanford F. Bennett in 1868! That’s one and a half centuries ago! The lyrics are quite simple but it’s really inspiring for those who hope, wait and trust in the Lord for their salvation. It gives hope and encouragement for people to carry on, despite life’s challenges, difficulties and even in the face of death.
May I share it here:
In the sweet by and by (Sanford F. Bennett, 1868)
There’s a land that is fairer than day, And by faith we can see it afar; For the Father waits over the way To prepare us a dwelling place there.
Refrain: In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore; In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore.
We shall sing on that beautiful shore The melodious songs of the blessed; And our spirits shall sorrow no more, Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.
To our bountiful Father above, We will offer our tribute of praise For the glorious gift of His love And the blessings that hallow our days.
Here’s a short video during that evening:
Songs do touch the heart. And old hymns from centuries ago make it even more meaningful. Wouldn’t you agree?
It’s amazing that we have now met for the 21st time for our weekly Discover the Word, which is a discipleship class of the ReThink Community, a local congregation of the Grace Communion International here is Santa Rosa, Laguna.