( John 4:24 )
The Seminary is first of all a community of worship. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24.) The Christian life is life in the Holy Spirit. NBTS considers Christian life and living in the power of the Holy Spirit to be of foundational and critical importance. The Holy Spirit is ceaselessly active in Christian conversion, growth, service and maturity.
- Conversion Experience: It is a new birth by the Holy Spirit.
“In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
Every Christian believer receives a seal (or anointing) of the Spirit:
- As a mark of possession/ownership of/by God in Christ (Eph. 1:13-14).
- As security (deposit, guarantee) of future redemption (2 Cor. 1:21, 22).
- To teach and give discernment (I John 2:27; John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit incorporates (immerses) every believer into the body of Jesus Christ (I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27). This experience makes:
- Every Christian to be a member of the universal church ( 12:4-5)
- The church to be fellowship of people in the Spirit (Acts 2:38; Phi 2:1-3).
Since regeneration is made possible by the ministry of the Holy Spirit at conversion, every Christian receives the gift (singular) of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 11:16-17. To be a Christian is to have the gift of the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9).
The Holy Spirit begins to indwell a believer at conversion. The indwelling Holy Spirit performs many functions in the life of the Christian like:
Assurance of salvation: The Spirit witnesses to our (human) spirits that we are God’s children (Rom. 8:9, 11, 16).
Sanctification: The believer’s body becomes a sacred temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6: 19, 20).
- Post-Conversion Experience: The ministries of the Holy Spirit in a person continues and increase after conversion. The post-conversion work of the Holy Spirit include:
- Walking by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25). To walk by the Spirit is to “live” in the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-17).
- Serving with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:8-10; 12:28-30; Rom. 12:6-8; Eph. 4:11; I Peter 4:11).
- Bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit: Godly, spiritual, christlike, matured Christian character (Gal. 5:22, 23): Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fruitfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- Being filled with the Holy Spirit: An experience (usually post-conversion) of being controlled to live for God and being empowered to serve God (Acts 1:8; 2:4, Eph. 5:18). The fullness of the Spirit is related to experiences called different names in different church traditions and denominations- anointing, baptism, unction, slaying, and power of the Holy Spirit).
Spiritual vitality is to be manifested in strong morality. In the process of spiritual growth every Christian is expected to cultivate and live with high ethical standards. Regrettably today, there is tendency to divorce morality from spirituality. The result is seen in gospel ministers who are spiritual giants but moral dwarfs. NBTS training programmes are designed to promote spiritual formation. The character, commitment and competence required of staff are stated in the Human Resources Manual (2018, 04-05).
It is significant to observe that in the Pastoral Epistles a lot of emphasis on the integrity of character of ministers relate to peaceful relationships (e.g. 1 Timothy 3:1-11). Common immoral acts of Christians and gospel ministers today include pride/arrogance, covetousness, and sexual immorality.
Individual Reflection (Read Galatians 5:19-23) which acts of sinful nature manifest in me?
One of the goals of spiritual vibrancy is for character development (to cultivate and demonstrate) a godly lifestyle and ministerial equipping (to offer dynamic ministries for transformation of life, church growth and kingdom expansion). Theological education is a kind of advanced discipleship training of spiritual faculties to help candidates grow in Christlikeness and godliness (Luke 6:40; Heb. 5:14 cf. Gal. 4:19; Col. 1:28-29; Rom. 8:29; Phil. 2:5-11).
Illustrative Example: Simeon, Life in the Holy Spirit (Luke 2:25-27).
Simeon was a righteous and devout servant of the Lord who lived in the Spirit:
- The Holy Spirit was upon him (v. 25). The Holy Spirit enveloped him.
- The Holy Spirit gave him a revelation (knowledge, insight, understanding, mystery) (v. 26).
- The Holy Spirit moved (led) him into the temple courts (v. 27).
Simeon then made a significant prophetic utterance, a profound praise to God (v. 29-32) concerning the baby Jesus Christ. He also blessed the parents and spoke to Mary (v. 34-35).
How to be filled with the Holy Spirit
Every Christian (i.e. a person who is born of the Holy Spirit) can be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the statement of Jesus in John 7:37-39 we see three things and principles about how to be filled with the Spirit.
- Thirst: The Principle of Aspiration
- Thirst for the Holy Spirit (Matt. 5:6, 7)
- Aspire for higher, deeper, greater spiritual experiences (Philip 3:12-14).
- Come: The Principle of Abiding
- Come to Jesus. Yield yourself, submit yourself in complete obedience to Jesus.
- Abide with him (John 15:4, 5, 7)
- Ask for the Holy Spirit in prayer (Luke 11:13).
- Drink: The Principle of Appropriation
- The first drink of the Spirit is not enough (1 Cor. 12:13)
- Drink, drink more, continue to drink to fullness and overflow (Eph. 5:18.
Fill my cup, Lord, I lift it up Lord,
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more
Fill my cup; fill it up and make me whole.
Hymn: “Holy Spirit, Faithful Guide”
- Ho-ly Spirit, faith-ful guide, Ev-er near the Chris-tian’s side
Gen-tly lead us by the hand, Pil-grims in a de-sert land;
Wea-ry souls for e’er re-joice while they hear that sweet-est voice,
Whispering soft-ly “Wanderer, come! Fol-low Me, I’ll guide thee home.”
- Ev-er pres-ent, tru-est friend, Ev-er near Thine aid to lend,
Leave us not to doubt and fear, Grop-ing, on in dark-ness drear;
When the storms are rag-ing sore, Hearts grow faint, and hopes give o’er,
Whis-per soft-ly, “Wan-derer, come! Fol-low Me, I’ll guide thee home.”
- When our days of toil shall cease, Wait-ing still for sweet re-lease,
Look-ing up to heaven in prayer, Joy-ful that our names are there;
Fear-ing not the dis-mal flood, Plead-ing nought but Je-sus’ blood,
Whis-per soft-ly, “Wan-derer, come! Fol-low Me, I’ll guide thee home.” A-men.
Prayer: Pray that the Holy Spirit will come upon you, lead you and guide you.