Lucia's Blog: June 2014
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, June 6, 2014

THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRT, HIS ROLE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT - PART THREE




All Christians are aware of the active and vital work of the Holy Spirit in the early church and the New Testament.  Let us consider some examples:


I.  THE BIRTH OF JESUS

  • The work of the Holy Spirit is seen in the beginning when Gabriel, the angel, manifested Himself to Mary.  This is what He told her, "The angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God."'   Luke 1:35 
  • Matthew confirms the participation of the Holy Spirit in the conception and birth of Jesus:  "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit."  Matthew 1:18

The Holy Spirit was working miraculously in the birth of Jesus.  His birth was distinct from any other birth since Mary was a virgin.  If it were not for the miraculous power of God in the Person of the Holy Spirit to bring about the birth of Jesus, this could have never happened.  The birth of Jesus had been prophesied in the Old Testament through the Holy Spirit and was fulfilled in the New Testament, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."  Isaiah 7:14.  Such a prophecy is found again in Isaiah 9:6-7; Micah 5:2 and Hosea 11:1


II.  THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

  • Again we see the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the beginning, at the Baptism of our Lord and Savior: 
"After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him,  and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."'  Matthew 3:16-17
  • John testified saying, "I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’  I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.'"  John 1:32-34

Notice that ALL three PERSONS of the Godhead (trinity) are present at Jesus' Baptism.


III.  THE HOLY SPIRIT LED JESUS INTO THE WILDERNESS TO BE
        TEMPTED                     
  •  This is one the most vital and critical moment of testing for the Son of Man.  "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."  Matthew 4:1

 IV.  JESUS IS ANOINTED WITH THE SPIRIT

  • It is very important to state the HUMANITY of our Lord and Savior.  He was tempted as a man just like we are.  This is crucial in understanding the life of Jesus as man.  "Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone."  James 1:13.  It is undeniable that He was God but He lived and died just like any other man.  Since He as a man was tempted and suffered in His flesh, He is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."  Hebrews 4:15
  • It is important that we understand that when He performed many miracles, He performed them as Jesus the man who was anointed by the Holy Spirit rather than Jesus as God.  It was the Holy Spirit working in Jesus that would allow Him to perform these signs and wonders to happen.  Scripture bears witness to this TRUTH.  Let us take a look:

"For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure."   John 3:34
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.  He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.  And He began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'"  Luke 4:18-21
"You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."  Acts 10:38

Also, read:  Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:18-21, 28

 V.  GIVEN BY JESUS TO THE APOSTLES

  • In what we know as the GREAT COMMISSION, Jesus gave the apostles authority and power by means of the Holy Spirit.
 "Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.  Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the  Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.  These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.  Freely you received, freely give." Matthew 10:1-8, also vs. 20; Luke 10:1ff


VI.  PROMISED TO THE APOSTLES

  • Jesus our Lord at the close of His ministry here on earth promised the apostles the Holy Spirit.  This promise was an even greater exercise of the Holy Spirit than they have previously received.
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;  that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."  John 14:16-17
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."  John 14:26; John 15:26
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come."  John 16:13; John 20:22
"Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, 'Which,' He said, 'you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now '"  Acts: 1:4-5; Luke 24:49


VII.  WHEN THE CHURCH WAS ESTABLISHED

  • When the Early church began, the Holy Spirit was at work.  We find it many times in the beginning of the Early church described in the New Testament.  Let us consider some texts that confirm this:
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance."  Acts 2:4
"For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:  ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy."  Acts 2:15-18

VIII.  IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH - THE EARLY CHURCH

  • The Holy Spirit was miraculously active throughout the Book of Acts as well as all the letters written to churches.  Let us look at some examples of this involvement of the Holy Spirit:
"But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?"'  Acts 5:3
"Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task."  Acts 6:3
"You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did."  Acts 7:51
"Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.  Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money..."  Acts 8:14-18
 "Then the Spirit said to Philip, 'Go up and join this chariot."'  Acts 8:29
"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message."  Acts 10:44
"While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'"  Acts 13:2
"But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him."  Acts 13:9
"They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them."  Acts 16:6-7
"Except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me."  Acts 20:23

This is not a complete list of the involvement and activity of the Holy Spirit in the Early church in the Book of Acts.  Nevertheless it is enough to emphasize the great magnitude of His work.

In our next study we will wade into the challenging study of the "gift" and the "indwelling of the Holy Spirit."


Luci

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"HIS GRACE REACHES ME"


I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,  even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.  It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.  Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
 I Timothy 1:12-16


The lyrics of this Hymn move me deeply every time I sing it.  It is also one of my favorite ones.  God's merciful hand leads me to His kind WORDS to walk in WISDOM and KINDNESS toward others.  His precious blood cleanses me when I stumble.  He lifts me up!  His GOODNESS shows me the WAY to be good to my neighbors and to share the JOY He has taught me.  His grace reaches me.

 
Deeper than the ocean
and wider than the sea
is the grace of the Savior
for sinners like me

Sent from the Father
and it thrills my soul
Just to feel and to know
That His blood makes me whole

CHORUS:

His grace reaches me
Yes, His grace reaches me
And ‘twill last thru eternity

Now I'm under His control
and I'm happy in my soul
Just to know
that His grace reaches me


Higher than the mountain
and brighter than the sun
it was offered at Calv'ry
for ev'ry one

Greatest of treasures
and it's mine today
Tho' my sins were as scarlet
He has washed them away

(CHORUS)


Does this Hymn stir you like it does me?
 
Luci

Monday, June 2, 2014

THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: NAMES AND DESCRIPTIONS, HIS ROLE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT - PART TWO




NAMES AND DESCRIPTIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

In the Bible there are a number of names and descriptions given to this Person of the Godhead.  Let us consider some of those names and descriptions that we may recognize the Person of the Holy Spirit as we read about Him:
  1. The Holy Spirit:  Psalm 51; Isaiah 63:10, 11; Matthew 1:18, 20; 3:11; 12:32 and Acts 2:4,38
  2. The Spirit:  Numbers 11:26; 27:18; Chronicles 12:18; Ezekiel 2:2; 3:12; Matt. 10:20 and Acts 2:4
  3. His Spirit:  Numbers 11:29; Isaiah 34:16 and 48:16
  4. Spirit of God:  Gen. 1:2; Ex. 31:3; 35:31; Numbers 24:2; Matt. 3:16; 12:28
  5. Spirit of The LORD:  Judges 3:10; 6:34; I Samuel 10:6; 16:3; Isaiah 11:2; 61:1 Acts 5:9
  6. Spirit of wisdom and understanding:  Isaiah 11:2
  7. Spirit of counsel and strength:  Isaiah 11:2
  8. Spirit of knowledge and the fear of  the LORD:  Isaiah 11:2
  9. My Spirit:  Gen. 6:3; Isa. 30:1; 42:1 and Acts 2:17-18
  10. Spirit of Truth:  John 14:17; 15:26 and 16:13
  11. Helper:  John 14:16; 15:26
  12. Spirit of glory:  I Peter 4:14
  13. Spirit of Jesus:  Acts 16:6-7


THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

Although we read of The Holy Spirit being very active in the New Testament, it might surprise some that the Holy Spirit was also active and vital in the Old Testament.  We know for a fact that the Holy Spirit was dynamic in the Early church, in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles.  Let us consider some Scriptures that show the Holy Spirit engaged in active work in the Old Testament:

I.  CREATION

We know that the Holy Spirit has always been in existence since He is God.  We see Him at work in the book of Genesis.
  1. Genesis 1:1-3:  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light.'"
This account shows us all three persons in the Godhead (the Trinity) active in creation.
  • God created the heavens and the earth.
  • The Spirit of God was moving...
  • Then God said... (The Word of the Son)
It is undeniable that the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.  Likewise in Job we read of the role of the Spirit in CREATION.  "By His breath the heavens are cleared; His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent."  Job 26:13.  The Spirit in this verse is the "breath of wind."  We also see a parallel of this verse in Job 33:4, "The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." This verse calls to our minds the creation account and the role of the Holy Spirit in creation, "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'"  Genesis 1:2.  Notice that the Holy Spirit is present when we read the words "Us" and "Our."  This is an undeniable TRUTH.


II. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS WITH JOSEPH WHEN HE INTERPRETED THE PHARAOH'S DREAM

We all know the Bible account of Joseph and how his brothers hated him.  We remember also his father Jacob's love for him.  We know why his brothers sold him into slavery.  We read of Joseph's righteousness. What might be a surprise to many is that the Holy Spirit was at work and played an important role in the life of Joseph.  Let us consider the role the Holy Spirit played in Joseph's life while he was in Egypt:
  1. Genesis 41:16:  "The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one and the same."  We are all aware that Joseph gives all the honor and credit to God when he was about to give the interpretation of The Pharaoh's dream.  The following text is what the Pharaoh, Egypt's leader had to say about Joseph:  "Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?"  Genesis 41:38.  The Holy Spirit was working in Joseph the same way we see HIM working in the New Testament.  The Holy Spirit is thus helping Joseph interpret dreams as well as revealing prophecy as seen in the book of Acts.  One example of this in the New Testament is Acts 2:17-19.  Here the words "divine spirit" can be easily translated as "God's Spirit."

III.  THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPED DANIEL INTERPRET DREAMS

The same way that the Holy Spirit helped Joseph interpret dreams, He also helped Daniel interpret dreams and reveal prophesy.  Daniel said to Nebuchadnezar:  "However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed."  Daniel 2:28.  Also, "But finally Daniel came in before me, whose name is Belteshazzar according to the name of my god, and in whom is a spirit of the holy gods; and I related the dream to him, saying..."  Daniel 4:8.  We can clearly see the Holy Spirit as a person of the Godhead here as it is also mentioned in Luke 1:67-70 and 2 Peter 1:21.


IV.  THE BUILDING OF THE TABERNACLE

When the Israelites were building the tabernacle, the Holy Spirit was at work.  Again, the Holy Spirit was working in the same consistent way as in the NT.  Let us look at the following verses:
  1. Exodus 35:3-36:  "Then Moses said to the sons of Israel, 'See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.  And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship; to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work.  He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.  He has filled them with skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs.'"
We can easily see that these men were given gifts of wisdom, understanding and knowledge which are from the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit assisted or helped them in the building of the tabernacle.  You can also find this regarding the Spirit's role in the building in Deuteronomy 34:9 and Numbers 27:15-23.


V.  THE SPIRIT CAME UPON A GENTILE PROPHET, BALAAM
  1. Numbers 24:2:  "And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him."  Also, Numbers 22:9, 13, 20, 22

VI.  THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS IN THE DAYS OF THE JUDGES
  1. Judges 3:10:  "The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim."  The person whom the Holy Spirit came upon was Othoniel one of the Judges of Israel.
  2. Judges 4:4:  "Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time."
  3. Judges 6:34:  "Now the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon."
  4. Judges 13:24-25:  "Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the Lord blessed him.  And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol."
  5. Judges 14:6:  "The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done."

VII.  IN THE LIFE OF KING SAUL
  1. I Samuel 10:10:  "When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them."
  2. I Samuel 11:6:  "Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and he became very angry."
  3. I Samuel 16:14:  "Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him."

VIII.  IN THE LIFE OF KING DAVID
  1. I Samuel 16:13:  "Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah."
  2. I Samuel 18:12:  "Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul."
  3. Psalm 51:11:  "Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me."
  4. Psalm 139:7:  "Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?"
  5. II Samuel 23:1-3:  "Now these are the last words of David.  David the son of Jesse declares, the man who was raised on high declares, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.  The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, ‘He who rules over men righteously, Who rules in the fear of God..."

IX.  THE WORDS THAT THE PROPHETS SPOKE TO THE PEOPLE
  1. Isaiah 61:1:  "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners."
  2. Jeremiah 1:4:  "Now the word of the Lord came to me saying..."
  3. Ezekiel 2:1-2:  "Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!”  As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me."
  4. Ezekiel 11:1:  "Moreover, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the Lord’s house which faced eastward. And behold, there were twenty-five men at the entrance of the gate, and among them I saw Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people."
  5. Ezekiel 11:24-25:  "And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God to the exiles in Chaldea. So the vision that I had seen left me.  Then I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me."
  6. 2 Peter 1:20-21:  "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,  for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

XI. IN THE REBUILDING OF THE TEMPLE
  1. Zechariah 4:6-7:  "Then he said to me, 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!'"

IN CONCLUSION:  It is very clear that the role and involvement of the HOLY SPIRIT in the Old Testament was evident and vital.  This must not be a surprise to us since the Holy Spirit is God and our God is always actively involved in the lives of His children.  In my next study, I will consider the questions of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.


Luci