Can You Quote The Spirit?

Try this with your bible study:

1. Ask the group if they can can quote something that Jesus said.

You may hear, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” It’s pretty easy to quote Jesus because in many bibles, his words are often highlighted in red. One of the most quoted verses in the bible is John 3:16, which is a quote by Jesus. This is a pretty easy task.

2. Now, ask the group to quote the Father.

You may hear, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. Maybe you will get a quote from the ten commandments like “Thou shalt not steal”. Many will quote sayings from the Old Testament. You should get some good responses.

3. Now ask the group to quote the Holy Ghost…

More often than not, you will be met with silence. They may respond by saying that the Holy Spirit inspired every word in the Bible, and that the whole book is basically His quote. If so, you can clarify by asking them to quote the specific places in scripture where it says something like “the Holy Spirit said”. You may have a few scholars in the group who can quote those passages, but it generally doesn’t happen.

Isn’t it amazing that many of us (including myself) who say that we desperately seek to hear and know the voice of the Holy Ghost cannot quote even two or three verses of the actual spoken words that the scriptures specifically attribute to the Spirit? I couldn’t. It is  like saying that you seek to deeply know the heart and mind of Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King Jr., and that you have read many books about them; yet, you can’t quote a single paragraph from one of their speeches. If you know fact after fact about their lives, but can’t quote any part of their actual words, then something intimate is missing from your study of their essence. If you don’t know their own words, then how well do you really know them?

I wonder how there has been a Charismatic Renewal in parts of the Church, an emphasis on being “Spirit-filled”, numerous teachings on the Gifts and Fruits Of The Holy Spirit, and yet we remain largely ignorant of His actual spoken words in scripture? We have valued the attributed words of both Jesus and the Father by memorizing their sayings, but when it comes to valuing the words attributed to the Holy Spirit in scripture, there is little memorization and it is hard to find teachings that focus on a compiled list of His actual sayings. We truly desire for the Spirit to lead us and speak to us NOW, yet there appears to be little emphasis on studying what He said THEN.

As of 11/3/2019, I tried Googling for any famous teaching series that was focused on the quotes in scripture by the Holy Spirit. I tried terms like: All The Quotes by the Holy Ghost in the Bible, the List of quotes by the Holy Spirit, Everything the Holy Ghost Said In The Bible, etc. I found tons of teaching ABOUT the Holy Ghost, but it was hard to find many major teachings that are focused on the comprised list of quotes that the bible specifically attributes to Him alone. I tried many search terms but could not find much. Maybe you will have better success.

Bible Verse Powerpoint Slides for 1 Timothy 4:1

Needless to say, I’m doing my own study on the quotes by the Holy Ghost. Depending on how you categorize His quotes (solo, dual-attributed, repeated), there appears to be between 7-10 quotes. I’m really enjoying it and may eventually share what I’m seeing. Meanwhile, I’d like to encourage you to begin to take a strong look at the actual quoted words of the Holy Spirit found in scripture. I believe you will see themes and be able to connect-the-dots and get some great insights as you see how His words fit with the commands of Jesus. It’s fascinating to see his actual words and how they illuminate and shed light on other parts of scripture in both the old and new testaments. Enjoy!

 

Posted in Theology | Tagged , ,

Zechariah 1:12 Do Angels Pray For Us?

At the forefront of my mind is this scripture:

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus–1 Timothy 2:5. Any deviation from that would be heresy.

So, I will rephrase the question. Did an Angel speak to Jesus on the behalf of people? In the scriptures, did an Angel ever intercede or advocate to Jesus to help people?

Who has the right answer? Is it the Catholic Christian view, or the Protestant Christian view? Is there another view that truly presents the biblical view in a clear way?

Catholic Christians teach that Angels do pray and intercede for us. https://www.catholic.com/qa/why-pray-to-angels

Many Protestant Christians like Billy Graham say that angels do not pray for us. https://billygraham.org/answer/do-the-angels-in-heaven-pray-for-us/

However, there is a Protestant Christian exception: The Lutherans. Instead of talking around the subject, their doctrinal statement goes straight to the scripture alone in the Book of Zechariah Chapter 1 where it says:

12Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” 13The LORD answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words.

Most Protestant commentators believe that the inquiring angel was the Pre-Incarnate Christ (Jesus appearing as a member of the Trinity, the Son of God, before His birth into humanity). For these commentators, this satisfies the reason why this Angel is pleading and interceding to God for us.

The Lutherans offer a different and compelling explanation: We Lutherans believe that the Angel who is asking the questions is clearly ignorant of God’s purpose and cannot be a pre-incarnate Christ. We believe that the ignorant angel is pleading to Jesus (the Lord of Hosts) on our behalf.

  1. The angel does not know what God is doing, or why, or for how long. The Angel does not know God’s mind on the matter and is compelled to ask because the answer is not in himself (vs.12).
  2. The angel has no comfort within himself and must implore God for the words of comfort (vs.13). This Angel does not sound anything like the “Word of God” (Pre-incarnate Christ) who made all things in the beginning of Creation (John 1:1-3). This Angel is both ignorant and comfortless and is merely pleading to God on the behalf of men in the same way that your friends pray and intercede to God for you. We clearly recognize that there is one Mediator between God and man, and that Mediator is Jesus Christ.
  3. Just as your friends pray to God in Jesus name for your needs, we Lutherans believe that this Angel was pleading to Jesus (the Lord of Hosts in vs.12). Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords, the Lord of the Angels (Rev. 17:14, Matt. 25:31). We Lutherans say yes that Angels pray for us. They stand on our behalf before the face of God. “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.“—Matthew 18:10.
  4. The result: This angel received an answer from the Lord. The angel’s plea for the people was acceptable to the Lord, and the Lord answered the angel’s prayer (vs.13).

 

 

Posted in Angels, Bible, God, Jesus, prayer, Theology | Tagged , ,

When We Ask God For Wisdom…

I wonder. When we ask God for wisdom, are we primarily asking it for our needs or to help others?

In Solomon’s case it was for the sake of people:

“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”–1 Kings 3:9

Today, we need to seek a fresh wisdom to win the souls of our families, communities, and the nations.

“He that winneth souls is wise”–Proverbs 11:30

If we were able to look at statistics concerning our prayers, what would be the percentages of how often we ask for wisdom to help others in comparison to asking for wisdom for our own needs? There is nothing wrong with asking for help for ourselves, but I wonder if we are out of balance? Are we asking MORE often to have wisdom for ourselves, or wisdom for the benefit of others? What would our statistic sheet look like?

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.–James 4:3

When we look outwardly to the needs of other, God will take care of our needs.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”–Matthew 6:33

Without this fresh outward wisdom, our families, communities, and nation will continue to suffer the devastation of foolishness.

Posted in evangelism, Faith, prayer, Theology, witnessing | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What Does God Love The Most?

God is Love.

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.–1 John 4:8

God loves the world.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.–John 3:16

We know that God loves mankind, but is there anything that He loves even more? Does God have an unyielding love for something? Yes.

See the source image

On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and brimstone; a scorching wind will be their portion. 7 For the LORD is righteous,He loves justice; the upright will see his face.–Psalm 11:6-7

God is unyielding in His love for Righteousness and Justice. As much as God loves mankind, if they remain wicked, they will be under judgment. God loves man, but He will let go of man…But He will never allow the standard of righteousness and justice to be compromised.

Turn away from evil and do good, so that you will abide forever. 28 For the LORD loves justice And does not forsake His godly ones; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.–Psalm 37:27-28

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.–Psalm 33:5

The Scriptures above show us that God’s love for righteousness/justice is the line of demarcation. The standard of righteousness and truth is not here to conform to man, but man was made to conform to it. As a result of this prevailing, immense love and rejoicing for righteousness, justice, and truth, we can clearly say that God is Love. The Bible points out that all of God’s love flows from His love for righteousness, justice, and truth. The love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter) does not revolve foremost around man, it revolves around truth.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.–1 Corinthians 13:6

People have asked for centuries, “How can we say “God is Love” when He drowns people in the Great Flood, scorches cities, and lets them burn?” God did not abandon love when he committed these acts. He was holding on to the very essence of Agape love, which is a supreme love for righteousness, justice, and truth.

God will never allow the standard of righteousness, justice and truth to be broken for the affections of sinful mankind. If He did, He would no longer be Agape love. We could no longer say “God is Love (Agape). Agape Love must always have Righteousness, Justice, and Truth as its Zenith. Righteousness is still the ultimate standard and nothing less. God is loyal in His love and that standard must be kept.

HOWEVER, God did not give up in his effort to reach mankind.

Even though mankind does not match up with the standard of God’s unyielding love for righteousness, God did the unthinkable to reach us.

He never abandoned Righteousness as being the ultimate standard, but He did offer an incredible exchange. He would become the very thing that He hated the most, so that we could obtain His righteousness.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him–2 Cor. 5:21

And then, God in Christ took our sins and its penalty so that it would no longer count against us.

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them…”–2 Cor. 5:18-19

Have you ever found yourself becoming the very thing you hated? Some people end up acting like their parents, and hate it. Did you know that God became the very thing that He hated? He did it willingly. God became sin for us. He identifies with the very worst, and gives us hope to rise out of the cycle.

God loves Righteousness and God so loved the world. Put them together and what do you have? If you have received the gift of Christ and are declared to be the Righteousness of God, then God’s love for you has no equal.

 

 

Posted in Bible, Faith, God, God's Love, humanity of Christ, humanity of jesus, Jesus, Salvation, Theology, Worship | Tagged , , , , , ,

Jesus Couldn’t Walk

Luke 2:28, “Simeon took him in his arms…”

The One who walked on water, at one time, could not walk at all.

This wasn’t just a baby in Simeon’s arms. He was literally carrying the Son of God. The verse above indicates that God the Son couldn’t walk and had to be held. God subjected Himself (Phil. 2:6-7) to the point that he actually needed us. Think about this…God had a need. God the Son needed someone to carry Him, to feed Him, to keep Him warm, to change His diaper.

For me, the Christmas message is that God became so vulnerable that He couldn’t even walk. C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable”. God is Love, therefore God is vulnerable to our needs. If we can only remember that when we pray…

Posted in Bible, Divinity of Christ, Faith, God, humanity of Christ, humanity of jesus, Jesus, prayer, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , ,

God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It?

When the Canaanite woman pressed Jesus for help in Matthew 15, He said, “I was sent ONLY to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” If she would have held to the theology of “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”, she would have walked away at that point…

He wasn’t joking, but she wasn’t playing.

If Ezekiel would have held to the theology of “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”, he would have have eaten bread with a coating of human dung. God gave Ezekiel this imperative command: “You shall eat it as a barley cake, having baked it in their sight over human dung.”–Ezekiel 4:12. Instead Ezekiel shot back at God saying: “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.” 15“Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.” The option wasn’t great, but I guess it was something that Zeke could swallow.

God wasn’t joking, but Ezekiel wasn’t playing.

If Mary held to the theology of “God said it…That settles it”. The water would have never turned to wine. Jesus told her “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has NOT yet come.” HE WASNT JOKING, but she knew He could be persuaded. She dismissed His resistance. As a result of her belief that He could be persuaded, water became wine (John 2).

The Son of God wasn’t joking, but His Mother knew He could be persuaded.

In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestled with God or an angel all night long. The bible tells us that Jacob prevailed and got his request for a blessing. He was given the name Israel because “for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Jacob prevailed, he won and got his request.

These people wrestled with God and won their case. None of these people settled for “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it”. They wrestled in prayer to God and things were changed.

The theology of “God said it…and that settles it” has destroyed the Church’s ability to persist in prevailing prayer. Today, many pray from a place of rote obedience or double-mindedness, believing that everything is completely destined and there is no wiggle room in God’s plan. Why bother to plead before God if nothing can be changed? Don’t tell the Canaanite Woman, Ezekiel, Mary, or Jacob that you cannot prevail and win in prayer and dialogue with God. They would tell you that prayer changes things.

 

 

Posted in Open Theism, prayer, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Every Christian’s #1 Responsibility

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you should know the answer to this question. It should be one of the very first things that you are taught. If you are going to follow Jesus, you need to know what is expected of you.

So, what is your #1 responsibility? What is most important? Is it to witness? Is it to be a better spouse? Is it to take care of your family? Is it to pray, study your bible, go to church? Is it to give? Is it to serve widows and orphans? Feed the hungry? These are all good answers, but not really the right one.

Someone asked Jesus this very question. It was worded a little differently, but it still means the same thing. They asked Him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”–Mark 12:28-31

Obeying His commandments is our responsibility. He said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”–John 14:15.

If you love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, you will do many of the things we mentioned earlier. BUT, none of those things will matter if the greatest commandment is not behind it all.

If I speak in the tongues a of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, b but do not have love, I gain nothing.–1 Corinthians 13: 1-3

We do not want to fall into the category of those who think they are doing real good, but are actually doing nothing worthy in God’s eyes. It is possible to do things that God commands, and do them without love.

So, I think the next question we should be asking is this: What does God say is the First step as followers that we must take to begin to develop our love for Him? Every follower of Jesus should know that answer also. God lays it out in scripture again and again. We will explore that one in the next post.

Be encouraged! If this interests you, you are likely on the right track!

Posted in Bible, discipleship, Faith, God, great commandment, Great Commands, Jesus, Theology, Worship | Tagged , , , , , , ,