Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Review: Jesus Continued

Jesus, Continued: Why The Spirit Inside You Is Better Than Jesus Beside You. J.D. Greear. 2014. Zondervan. 240 pages. [Source: Bought]

Jesus, Continued is a great book on the Holy Spirit. The book is divided into three parts: "The Missing Spirit," "Experiencing the Holy Spirit," and "Seeking the Holy Spirit." Throughout the book, readers have an opportunity to grow in their understanding of who the Holy Spirit is and what he does. Perhaps by the end, they will conclude along with the author that indeed the Holy Spirit inside you really is better than Jesus beside you.

Do believers take the Holy Spirit for granted? Do believers have a tendency to dismiss this person of the trinity? Or even misunderstand him? Perhaps. But Greear's book brings his person and his work to the reader's attention. His book is wonderful and compelling. Fully engaged readers could benefit greatly from reading this one! I thought it was quite substantive and thought-provoking. Let the book challenge you! Take time to consider what he's saying and reflect on it.

I loved reading Jesus, Continued. I did. I loved the focus on the Holy Spirit. I loved the focus on the Word of God. Greear emphasizes throughout that the Spirit cannot be separated from the Word; that is the Spirit always, always uses the Word of God when he speaks to us. The Spirit would never--could never--contradict the Word of God. The Spirit would never--could never--do anything but bring glory to Jesus Christ.

My favorite section is probably the second one. Chapter titles include:

  • Experiencing the Holy Spirit in the Gospel
  • Experiencing the Holy Spirit in the Word of God
  • Experiencing the Holy Spirit in Our Giftings
  • Experiencing the Holy Spirit in the Church
  • Experiencing the Holy Spirit in Our Spirit
  • Experiencing the Holy Spirit in Our Circumstances
Favorite quotes:
Do you interact, personally, with God? Think about this question very carefully: Is Christianity more of a set of beliefs to which you adhere and a lifestyle to which you conform, or is it a dynamic relationship in which you walk with the Spirit and move in his power?
The fullness of the Spirit comes as we plumb the depths, heights, widths, and lengths of God’s love as revealed in the gospel. The more he comes into us, the more we know his love; and the more of his love we know, the more of his fullness grows within us (Eph. 3:17 – 19). The Spirit moves us in the Word. The Spirit moves us to go deeper into that Word.
Where the gospel is not cherished, the Spirit will not be experienced. And, on the flip side, where the Spirit is not sought, there will be no deep, experiential knowledge of the gospel. The two always go hand in hand. Jesus said, “The words I have spoken to you — they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63, emphasis mine). Spirit and Word, inseparably united.
You won’t know the Spirit any more than you know the Word of God. So if you want to walk with the Spirit of God, get on your knees and open your Bible.
Trying to share the gospel without using words is like watching a newscast with the sound turned off. I may realize that the newscaster looks excited, but I don’t know why. And if he’s telling me about danger headed my direction, I’d like to know specifically what he is saying.
He makes the gospel come alive, allowing you to truly see it. Doctrines become multi-dimensional. God’s words in the Bible become his voice to you. This illustrates why the Holy Spirit is a better teacher than even Jesus and confirms why Jesus said having the Holy Spirit in us would be better than having Christ beside us. The Spirit teaches us from the inside out.
The only thing stronger than the captivity of sin over our souls is the power of the Holy Spirit released by faith in the cross of Jesus Christ. As we dwell on it, embrace it, and drive it deeper into our lives, the power of new life comes into us.
The more Scripture you know, the more illumination the Holy Spirit can give regarding his will for various situations. God has never brought to my mind a Scripture I did not already know. Memorizing Scripture is like stocking myself with ammunition for the Spirit to fire as I pray — promises I can claim or warnings I can heed. The Bible contains more than three thousand promises, and I want to know all of them, so the Holy Spirit can flood my mind with them whenever he wants! God did not give us the Bible simply to read through, you see, but to pray through as well.
God has more invested in your life than even you do. He purchased you with his blood, the universe’s most precious commodity, worth infinitely more than anything you or I have ever spent on ourselves. I love that thought. He’s saved me for his purposes, which are far more important than my own; at the cost of his blood, which is far more than anything I have invested in myself.
Dependence, not strength, is God’s objective for you. And if dependence is the objective, then weakness is an advantage.

Readers might also be interested in reading R.C. Sproul's The Mystery of the Holy Spirit, John MacArthur's Strange Fire, R.A. Torrey's The Holy Spirit: Who He Is and What He Does, Charles Spurgeon's Holy Spirit Power, and Joe Thorn's Experiencing the Trinity.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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