Spiritual Inspiration From Great Pastors and Theologians

spiritual inspiration
Facebook Share Button

In my new book, Transforming Presence: How the Holy Spirit Changes Everything From the Inside Out, I have included more than 250 footnotes. I wanted this book to be clear, well-researched, and in line with some of the historic and contemporary voices of the Christian faith. Below are just a few of the many insights I discovered from some of the great pastors and theologians of today and yesteryear. I trust these will be an inspiration to you today.

——-

“The Holy Spirit is God’s agent on earth, yet He is the least understood member of the Trinity.”[1]  Jim Cymbala

“If we review the history of the church, we notice how many important truths, clearly revealed in Scripture, have been allowed to lie dormant for centuries, unknown and unappreciated except by a few isolated Christians until it pleases God to enlighten the Church by chosen witnesses, and to bestow on His children the knowledge of hidden and forgotten treasures. For how long a period, even after the Reformation, were the doctrines of the Holy Ghost, His work in conversion, and His indwelling in the believer, almost unknown!”[2] Adolph Saphir – A Jewish Presbyterian Missionary (1831 –1891)

“There have always been people in the Christian church who were very sure about the Holy Spirit. It was simple. He was the divine backer of their particular emphasis in theology and practice.”[3] Michael Green

“When it comes to the Holy Spirit, churches are either cemeteries or insane asylums.” Jim Cymbala

“If some churches marginalize the Spirit in favor of the institution and its forms, others react simply by making the opposite choice. However, there are myriad ways of domesticating the Spirit besides assimilating His sovereign work to formalism. If some render the Spirit an ecclesiastical employee, others presume to make the Spirit a mascot for a movement or a prisoner of their own private experience.“[4] Michael Horton

“Without the Spirit of God we can do nothing; we are as ships without wind, or chariots without steeds; like branches without sap, we are withered; like coals without fire, we are useless; as an offering without the sacrificial flame, we are unaccepted.”[5]  Charles Spurgeon

“The biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit suffers today from three extremes: abuse, neglect and distortion.”[6]  Robert Lightner

“Are you willing to pursue truth in your journey to know and be known by the Holy Spirit? Do you have enough humility to be open to the possibility that you have been wrong in your understanding of the Spirit? It’s easy to get into ‘defensive mode’ where you quickly disagree and turn to proof texts and learn arguments to defend what you’ve always believed. Rather than guarding your perspective, consider taking a fresh look at familiar passages to make sure you haven’t missed something. You may end up with the same theology you’ve always had, but maybe you won’t. Don’t let your view be determined by a particular denomination or by what you’ve always been told. Within the context of relationship with other believers, seek out what God has said about His Spirit. Open your mind and your life to the leading of the Spirit, regardless of what others may think or assume about you.”[7] Francis Chan

“To everyone who honestly desires to know that he has the Spirit and to know Him in His person as a personal possession and teacher, we say: Study the teaching of the word in regard to the Spirit. Be not content with the teaching of the church or of men about the Spirit but go to the word… Be determined to accept nothing but what the word teaches, but also to accept heartily all that it teaches.”[8] Andrew Murray

“Let us not fail to grasp this precious truth that as Jesus Christ while on earth never did anything without the Holy Spirit, so now the Holy Spirit never does anything apart from Jesus.”[9] A.B. Simpson

“Our cravings for more of God’s word aren’t hunger pains we work up. A holy appetite grows inside of us through the work of the Holy Spirit that causes us to crave truth.”[10] Jim Cymbala

“The ultimate criterion for the Spirit’s activity is the exaltation of Jesus as Lord. Whatever takes away from that, even if they be legitimate expressions of the Spirit, begins to move away from Christ to a more pagan fascination with spiritual activity as an end in itself.”[11] Gordon Fee

“A sure sign of the Holy Spirit’s working is that Christ is magnified, not people… The Spirit is here to accomplish God’s purposes, not ours.”[12]  Francis Chan

“The purpose of the Holy Spirit in the church is to glorify Jesus Christ, and He cannot be glorified while competing with celebrities and personalities.”[13] A.W. Tozer

“Instead of understanding the full benefits of the new covenant in Christ, most in the church live in a no-man’s land between Jesus and Moses.”[14] Jim Cymbala

“The new covenant comes with ‘batteries included’… The Spirit internalizes the new covenant so that the people of God are motivated to do God’s will.”[15] Carl B. Hoch

“The whole dispensation of the Spirit, the whole economy of grace in Christ Jesus, the whole of our spiritual life, the whole of the health and growth and strength of the church, has been laid down and provided for, and secured in the new covenant.”[16] Andrew Murray

“Christian worship is new covenant worship; it is gospel-inspired worship; it is Christ-centered worship; it is cross-focused worship.”[17]  D.A. Carson

“The Holy Spirit is mentioned about 78 times in the Old Testament, and about half of these refer to His new covenant ministries.”[18]  Bruce Waltke

“In the New Testament we are breathing different air… The New Testament is our main guide for the age in which we live, and the Old Testament must be read in light of it.”[19] Jim Cymbala

“Renewed interest in the Spirit does not always mean clarity or consistency with respect to historic Christian teaching. It is not to be assumed that the Spirit people have in mind is the Spirit identified in Scripture.”[20]Michael Horton

“If we think of the Holy Spirit as so many do as merely a power or influence, our constant thought will be, ‘How can I get more of the Holy Spirit,’ but if we think of Him in the biblical way as a Divine Person, our thought will rather be, ‘How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?’ The conception of the Holy Spirit as a divine influence or power that we are somehow to get a hold of and use, leads to self-exaltation and self-sufficiency. One who so thinks of the Holy Spirit and who at the same time imagines that he has received the Holy Spirit will almost inevitably be full of spiritual pride and strut about as if he belonged to some superior order of Christians.”[21] R.A. Torrey

[1] Jim Cymbala, Spirit Rising (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2012), 17.

[2] Adolph Saphir, The Lord’s Prayer, (Waikato, New Zealand: Titus Books, 2013 – Kindle Edition), Location 1567 of 3793.

[3] Michael Green, I Believe in the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 11.

[4] Michael Horton, Rediscovering the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017), 251.

[5] Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Unknown God: 25 Sermons on the Subject of the Holy Spirit (LOCATION: Fox River Press, 2003).

[6] Robert P. Lightner, Speaking in Tongues and Divine Healing (Des Plains, Ill.: Regular Baptist, 1965) 7.

[7] Francis Chan, Forgotten God (Colorado Springs, CO, David C. Cook, 2009), 46.

[8]Andrew Murray, The Spirit of Christ (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1979), 57.

[9] A. B. Simpson, When the Comforter Came (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Christian Publications, Inc, 1911), 4.

[10] Jim Cymbala, Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 57.

[11] Gordon D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrix son publishers, 1994), 157-158.

[13] A.W. Tozer, Alive in the Spirit (Minneapolis, Bethany House: 2016), 111.

[15] Carl B. Hoch, Jr., All Things New (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 116.

[16] Andrew Murray, The Two Covenants (Wellington, South Africa: Andrew Murray, 1898), 10-11.

[17] D.A. Carson, Worship by the Book (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 37.

[18] Bruce Walke, “Evangelical Spirituality: A Biblical Scholar’s Perspective,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (March, 1988), 21.

[19] Cymbala, Spirit Rising, 157.

[21] R.A. Torrey, The R.A. Torrey Collection, Kindle Edition, Loc 143 of 25738.

This article originally appeared here.

Facebook Share Button
Previous article5 Stages of Recovery When Toxic People Leave the Church
Next articleWhat You Need to Know to Work in Diverse Groups
Daniel Henderson
Daniel Henderson is president and founder of Strategic Renewal which exists to ignite the heart of the church through personal renewal, congregational revival and leadership restoration for Christ’s glory. As a Senior Pastor for over two decades, Daniel Henderson brought prayer-based revitalization to several mega-churches. Along with Jim Cymbala and dozens of other pastors, he recently launched a national fellowship for pastors focused on the priorities of Acts 6:4, “prayer and the ministry of the word.”

Get the ChurchLeaders Daily Sent to Your Inbox