Lucia's Blog: 2020-02-09
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, February 14, 2020

THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: HIS ROLE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  3 And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."
Genesis 1:1-3


The subject of the Holy Spirit is one of those subjects of controversy and confusion. Some of our friends teach that the Holy Spirit is still imparting miraculous gifts to those who are followers of Christ.  Others believe that the Holy Spirit will overpower us, causing us to have a variation of joyful emotions. We have disagreements about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whether He personally dwells within the Christian and the extent of His influence over them.  There are many arguments about the work of the Holy Spirit and about His Person that are not very convincing.  One of the major problems is the lack of study, the lack of careful examination of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.   Do you suppose the audience on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 had no prior knowledge of the Holy Spirit? What do you think?  The Old Testament abounds with information about the Holy Spirit.  Sadly, ignorance of the Scriptures in the Old Testament is the root of this grave misunderstanding about the Holy Spirit and His work.  Let us examine carefully some Scriptures that can help us have a better and more precise understanding of this subject.



NAMES AND DESCRIPTIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

In the Bible, there are many 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.  In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God rested upon the judges, King Saul and King David. The reason why the Spirit of God rested upon these men was to show Israel that these men were God’s designated leaders and also to show them the victory that He would give them.  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 how 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.
"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'"  (Genesis 1:1-3).

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 also remember 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 essential role in the life of Joseph.  Let us consider the role the Holy Spirit played in Joseph's life while he was in Egypt:
"The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one and the same"  (Genesis 41:16).

We are all aware that Joseph gave all the honor and credit to God when he was about to give the interpretation of The Pharaoh's dream.  The following Scripture is what the Pharaoh, Egypt's leader said of 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 Nebuchadnezzar:  

"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 New Testament.  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 SEVENTY ELDERS:
"Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone"  (Numbers 11:16-17).
"So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.  26 Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp"  (Numbers 11:24-26).

When Moses told the Lord that the burden to lead the people of Israel was too great (Numbers 11), God had the seventy elders of Israel come before Him to help alleviate Moses' burden.
“Then I will come down and speak with you there. I will take some of the Spirit who is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you bear the burden of the people, so that you do not have to bear it by yourself” (Numbers 11:17).
“Then the LORD descended in the cloud and spoke to him. He took some of the Spirit that was on Moses and placed the Spirit on the 70 elders. As the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they never did it again” (Numbers 11:25).

We must consider this in our study.  When God put the Holy Spirit on the seventy elders, they began to prophesy for one day.  So why would they prophesy for only one day? What is the purpose of this miracle?  The purpose was to reveal to the people of Israel that the seventy elders received the authority of God. The miracle proved to the people that the seventy elders were designated by God as His leaders and representatives. The miracle of prophecy proved that God’s authority rested upon these men.


VII.  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."

VIII.  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."

IX.  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... "

X.   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!'"

XI.  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."

XII.  OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES:

Understanding the prophecies concerning the Holy Spirit is very important if we are going to understand what the Jews were to be expecting when the pouring out of the Holy Spirit took place.

  • Isaiah 32:14-18: “For the palace will be forsaken, the busy city abandoned. The hill and the watchtower will become barren places forever, the joy of wild asses, and a pasture for flocks, until the Spirit from heaven is poured out on us. Then the desert will become an orchard, and the orchard will seem like a forest. Then justice will inhabit the wilderness, and righteousness will dwell in the orchard. The result of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quiet confidence forever. Then my people will dwell in a peaceful place, and in safe and restful dwellings.”   

Notice how the people should have understood the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Verses 13-14 describe the barrenness of the nation of Israel. The palace is forsaken, the city is abandoned, and the pasture is barren until the Spirit is poured out. However, when the Spirit was poured out, the desert would become an orchard. There would also be righteousness, peace, and safety.  We must stress that nothing in this prophecy suggests a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit or miraculous gifts or spiritual gifts. In this context, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit was to be the restoration of the nation of Israel and God's blessings to restore His people.

  • Isaiah 44:3-5: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your descendants and My blessing on your offspring. They will sprout among the grass like poplars by the streambeds. This one will say: I am the LORD’S; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand: The LORD’S, and name himself by the name of Israel.”  

The pouring out of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 44 is the same as in Isaiah 32.  God's blessings were going to return to the people of Israel.  The thirsty land and dry ground would become fertile for the nation.  Isaiah is describing the restoration of the nation as God pours out His blessings on the people.


  • Ezekiel 37:13-14:   “And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”   
This prophecy is the vision of the valley of dry bones.  It shows Israel as a broken, shattered nation. God would put His Spirit within them. Ezekiel foresaw the restoration of the nation of Israel (giving new life to the nation) and blessings of God returning to His people.

  • Ezekiel 39:28-29:   “‘Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.”  

This prophecy is the same as Ezekiel 37.  God would no longer hide His face from His people as He poured out His Spirit on them.  Israel would have a favorable relationship with God again. He will not turn His back at them, but instead, they will receive God's favor and blessings.


  • Joel 2:28-3:1: “After this I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. I will even pour out My Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days. I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe–inspiring Day of the LORD comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the LORD promised, among the survivors the LORD calls. Yes, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem….”  

This prophecy speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit as a miraculous outpouring.  Joel is prophesying that Israel would know when the Spirit was poured out. The sign that the nation/kingdom would be restored, receiving God's blessings through the miracles that would be performed. This point is easier to understand in Joel 3:1, where he says that when these signs happened, the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem would be restored. These signs were to be a warning to the people that the “great and awe-inspiring Day of the LORD” was about to come. Judgment would follow the restoration of the kingdom of God and the return of God’s blessings. We will examine the fulfillment of this prophecy when we study Acts 2 and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.


CONCLUSION:

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.  The prophets promised the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, many have made that promise mean something different that the prophets never intended. The prophets spoke of the restoration of the kingdom, which had been destroyed because of the sins of the people.  The hope of Israel was that the covenant relationship with God would be restored at the coming of the Messiah (Jer. 31:31-34). These are the ideas that the prophets captured in the phrase, “the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.” Thus, the promise of the Holy Spirit is the restoration of the kingdom, the covenant, and God’s blessings.

In my next study, I will consider the questions of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.


Luci

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - THE TRINITY

"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 


There is much misunderstanding and error concerning the Holy Spirit among many who claim to be followers of Christ.  The study of the Holy Spirit is often neglected.  We speak of God, His love, and His Grace, but we fail to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is God also.

I have noticed in the hymns we sing that the Holy Spirit is mentioned.  For example, Blessed Assurance reminds us that we are born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.  The hymn Heaven Came Down states that the Son was born of the Spirit with life from above.  The subject of the Holy Spirit has begun to intrigue me personally, so I would like to study it in-depth and write about what I have learned. I write for my own understanding that I may draw nearer to the Truth.  I know that many brethren differ on the Holy Spirit.  Many disagree on whether or not the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian, and in what sense He dwells in us.  There is disagreement regarding the nature of the gift of the Holy Spirit as promised in Acts 2:38.  There is disagreement regarding the function of the spiritual gifts.  These disagreements are not just a concern in the religious world in general, but they are also a concern among us.  My goal as I study the Holy Spirit is to have a deeper understanding of the subject.


I.  THE TRINITY (THE GODHEAD):

Although the word TRINITY is not found in the Bible, the truth of the trinity is revealed in the Bible.  So, what does the word trinity really mean?  It describes the three PERSONS known as the ONE GOD.  These three persons are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  It is here that the confusion arises.  It has always been an enigma to me that these three persons, each known as God, are in any case, ONLY ONE God.  We believe the Father is God; we believe the Son is God; and finally, we believe the Holy Spirit is also God.  Doesn't that make three?  So, my questions is then, how can three PERSONS be considered ONE?  Confusing, no?

Let us consider a few examples of plurality and diversity yielding UNITY.  For example, in the case of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:24,
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."  

We can see in this passage that a man and a woman are joined together as husband and wife.  The two are one flesh.  In other words, it is like adding 1 + 1 = 1.  One must be thinking, how is that for math?  We see clearly plurality coexisting with UNITY.  By the way, this is old math.  The Hebrew word translated ONE (echad) is used when speaking of UNITY.  As in the case of a woman and a man equaling ONE, the two are UNITED in marriage and are considered ONE.  Another example for the use of this word is found in Judges 6:16,
"But the Lord said to him, 'Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.'"  

And Judges 20:8, 
"Then all the people arose as one man, saying, 'Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house.'"

We must keep in mind that this concept of plurality coexisting with UNITY is vital to our understanding of the Scriptural definition of UNITY.  God, though composed of three PERSONS is ONE.  Let us look at a few more examples that emphasize only ONE God:
  1. Deuteronomy 6:4:  “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!  This is what Moses told the Israelites. 
  2. Isaiah 45:5-6 “I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God.  I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me."  This is what our Jehovah God spoke through Isaiah, the prophet.
  3. Ephesians 4:6: "One God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."  This is what the apostle Paul declared.
  4. James 2:19:  "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder."  This is what James wrote.
  5. Genesis 1:1:  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  Although this verse speaks of ONE God, it clearly indicates a plurality in God.
  6. Genesis 1:26:  "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.”  Notice that the Hebrew word for God here is Elohim, being the masculine plural noun.  One might be thinking, why is it then singular, God?  The word God is singular because it is subject to the verb CREATED.  This Hebrew verb is bara, which is singular.  Although the noun does not agree with the verb grammatically, it is not an ERROR.  It reveals a deeper TRUTH, and that is the THREE PERSONS of the GODHEAD.
  7. Isaiah 6:8 "Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!"   Here is another example of multiple personalities, but ONE GOD. 
  8. John 12:39-41 "For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 'He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.'  These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him."' 
  9. Acts 28:25-26:  "And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, 'The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say, 'You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive.'"   Paul is describing the words that Isaiah heard as spoken by the Holy Spirit.  He presents us a picture of the Father God speaking.  Notice that here we see the three PERSONS of the GODHEAD, the US and OUR again, as stated in Genesis 1:26.

    When speaking of creation, all THREE PERSONS were involved.  ALL THREE were working together.  Consider:
    • THE FATHER:  "Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands."  Psalm 102:25 
    • THE SON:  "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him."  Colossians 1:16 
    • THE HOLY SPIRIT "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."  Genesis 1:2

    II.   ALL IN ONE:

    God involves the THREE:  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  This helps us to grasp the concept of ONE GOD as described in Genesis 1:1.  Consider a few verses where the THREE PERSONS are mentioned:  
    1. Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." 
    2. Matthew 3:16-17:  "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(The Father) “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."
    3. 2 Corinthians 13:14:  "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God (the Father), and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all." 
    4. 2 Thessalonians 2:13:  "But we should always give thanks to God (the Father)  for you, brethren beloved by the Lord (the Son), because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth." 
    5. Revelation 1:4-5:  "John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him (the Father) who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits (the Holy Spirit) who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—"

    III.   THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD:

    • GOD IS OMNISCIENT (ALL-KNOWING)
    In the Bible, we find that ALL THREE PERSONS own the same ATTRIBUTES.  Let us consider them:
      • THE FATHER:  "I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds."  Jeremiah 17:10
      • THE SON:  "And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds."  Revelation 2:23
      • THE SPIRIT:  "For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God."  I Corinthians 2:11


    • GOD IS OMNIPRESENT (EVERYWHERE)
      • THE FATHER:  “Pray, then, in this way:  ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name."  Matthew 6:9 God is in heaven.  The apostle John saw a vision of God the Father in heaven seated on His throne "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good." Proverbs 15:3
      • JESUS CHRIST:  "Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,  a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man."  Hebrews 8:1-2.  We know from what we read about Jesus in the Gospels that He is fully God and fully man who was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven.  Jesus is now in heaven awaiting His coming a second time, I Thessalonains 4:15-17.  Another verse about His omnipresence is found in Matthew 28:20, "Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
      • THE SPIRIT:  "Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, You are there;  If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.  Psalm 139:7-10

    • GOD IS OMNIPOTENT (ALL POWERFUL)
      •  THE FATHER:  "Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son."  Genesis 18:14
    "Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You."  Jeremiah 32:17
    “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”  Jeremiah 32:27
      • THE SON:  "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."  Matthew 28:18
    "Who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him."  I Peter 3:22
    "The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand."  John 3:35.  Also, John 3:31 and Daniel 7:13-14
      • THE SPIRIT:  "You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the ground."  Psalm 104:30  "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you..." Romans 8:11.  "a young lion came roaring toward him.  And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a kid though he had nothing in his hand." Judges 14:5-6

    • GOD IS HOLY
      • THE FATHER "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”  Isaiah 6:3.  "Pray, then, in this way:  ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name."  Matthew 6:9.  “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?  For You alone are holy; for all the nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.”  Revelation 15:4
      • THE SON:  "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you."  Acts 3:14 
      • THE SPIRIT:  Usually referred to as the "Holy Spirit."

      • GOD IS TRUTH
        • THE FATHER:  "Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, 'You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.'"  John 7:28  
        • THE SON "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:  He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: Revelation 3:7 
        • THE SPIRIT:  "This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth."  I John 5:6


        • GOD IS IMMUTABLE  (UNCHANGING) 
          • THE FATHER:  "For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."  Malachi 3:6 
          • THE SON:  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  Hebrews 13:8
          • THE SPIRIT:  "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit."  I Corinthians 12:4 


          IV.  GOD IS ETERNAL (EVERLASTING)
            • THE FATHER:  "Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.  Genesis 21:33
          "Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."  Psalm 90:2
          "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."  I Timothy 6:16
          "And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almightywho was and who is and who is to come.”  Revelation 4:8
            • THE SON:  "I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."  Revelation 1:8
          "When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, 'Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last.'"  Revelation 1:17
          "Then He said to me, 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.'"  Revelation 21:6
          "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”   Revelation 22:13
            • THE SPIRIT:  "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"  Hebrews 9:14

              

            V.   EACH OF THE THREE PERSONS IS IDENTIFIED AS GOD:

            Let us consider some Scriptures that clearly identify each of the three persons of the Godhead as "God."
              • THE FATHER:  Most people have no problem accepting the Father as God.
            "Jesus answered, 'If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, He is our God'"  John 8:54
            "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."  I Corinthians 1:3
            "Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)."  Galatians 1:1
            "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."  Ephesians 1:2-3

            The Son and the Holy Spirit of the Godhead are distinctly revealed as God.  Sadly, many discount their DEITY.  I cannot fathom how anyone could question the TRUTH of their DEITY after reviewing so many Scriptures that prove it.
              • THE SON:  The Gospel of John is one of the most distinctive books in the Bible that prove the DEITY OF CHRIST.
            "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."  John 1:1-3

            In this passage, John makes it abundantly clear that the Son existed before His birth as A MAN.  In John 1:14, he wrote, 
            "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."  

            NOTICE that John recognizes the Son's equality with God.  Is it not wonderful that God became flesh dwelling among us as a man in the person of Jesus our Lord and Savior!  What is amazing to me is that the Creator, Jesus, became as the created!  We read about this in Colossians 1:16, 
            "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him."  

            The words of the apostle Paul harmonize with the Genesis account of creation.  It is undeniable that he is speaking of Christ, the Son's involvement in the process of CREATION.  The following Scriptures further prove the Deity of Christ and will work well in refuting the Jehovah's Witnesses who deny it.
            1. Isaiah 41:4 "Who has performed and accomplished it, calling forth the generations from the beginning?  ‘I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last. I am He.'"  So my question is, who is the "first and the last?"  The answer is obvious, it is Jehovah God.
            2. Isaiah 44:6:  "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:  ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me."  Again, "the first and the last" describes Jehovah God.
            3. Isaiah 48:12 "Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last."  Notice again that "the first and the last" refers to Jehovah God as mentioned previously.
            4. Revelation 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."  Who is the Alpha and the Omega in this verse?  Once again, the answer is God.
            5. Revelation 1:17: "When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last."  Who is this verse describing as the Alpha and the Omega?  Obviously God.
            6. Revelation 22:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."  Alpha and Omega refers to GOD.  It is undeniably true!
            7. Revelation 2:8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:  The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life."  Notice that the first and the last here was dead and came back to life.  Can God die?  Here we see an undeniable picture of Christ's DEITY and His resurrection as well.
            8. Philippians 2:5-7 "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men."  This passage is very clear about Jesus' DEITY.
            9. Hebrews 1:8-12:  "But of the Son He says,  'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.  'You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.”  And, 'You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.'"   I cannot fathom how someone might miss this obvious TRUTH!
              • THE HOLY SPIRIT:   The Scripture that is most relevant to the Holy Spirit as God is found in Acts 5:3-4  "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?  While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.'"

            The question is then, to whom did Ananias lie?  Was it God or the Holy Spirit?  We know well that the Holy Spirit is equally God.  He is God.  This passage is an excellent defense against the arguments made by those who deny that the Holy Spirit is also God.  This passage clearly reveals the TRUTH.  All we need in Scripture is one passage to prove the TRUTH, and yet other passages establish the TRUTH as well, such as Luke 1:67-702 Peter 1:21, Isaiah 40:13 and Romans 11:34.

            It is undeniable that the Holy Spirit is consistently attached to the Father and the Son, forming His DEITY.  The Holy Spirit is a person of the Godhead.  Let us consider a few examples:
            1. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever."  John 14:16
            2. "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 14:17
            3. "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

            These passages clearly indicate that the Holy Spirit is a PERSON.  He is unique and distinct from the Father and the Son, but most definitely a person of the Godhead.

            In conclusion, the doctrine of the TRINITY (THE GODHEAD) is not hard to understand if one decides not to be prejudiced.  In my next study we shall consider the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.


            Luci

            Tuesday, February 11, 2020

            MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART

            “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”  
            Matthew 5:5


            The meek are gentle in spirit, disciplined, and mostly self-controlled.  The meek and humble rule in God's kingdom.  The proud will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.  The meek and lowly mourn over their sins.  They trust in the Lord and find delight in Him as well.  Their hope is in God and not in the pleasures of this world, themselves, their achievements, or abilities. Jesus, the meek and lowly, shows us a better way. Let us see what we can learn from our Lord about meekness and humility.


            I.   MEEKNESS & HUMILITY:  GOD'S CURE TO PRIDE:

            Why do you suppose we are to be meek and humble?  Should we learn to be more self-assertive or not to be proud and haughty?  What do you think?  What does the Word of God teach us concerning meekness, humility, gentleness, and lowliness?  Contrast that with pride, selfishness, self-will, self-centeredness, and arrogance.  Which do you think are the greatest qualities a child of God ought to possess?  Pride and haughtiness? Or Meekness and humility?  

            • What Does it Mean to Be Meek? 
            The word “meekness” is not a word commonly used in our everyday conversations.  The NASB and HCSB use the word “gentle.”  The NLT uses “humble.”  The Greek Lexicon defines it as “to not being overly impressed by a sense of one's self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate, meek.” Meekness does not mean weakness.  Sometimes it is translated as gentleness.  Meekness is an attitude of the heart (1 Peter 3:4).  It does not mean to assert oneself for his own sake.  The word carries the idea of restraint, though one has the power to do something.  Wherefrom, an individual, willingly submits and accepts without any resistance to the will and desires of someone else.  The individual has the ability and power but chooses not to use it. He is willing to put himself in second place and submit to do what is good for others.  Thus, it is a gentleness of spirit.

            Meekness is the opposite of self-will, self-interest, and self-assertiveness.  It is in no way a sign of weakness of character as many think, but rather of strength.  Meekness requires enormous self-control to submit to others.  One great example of meekness was our Lord Jesus.  He portrayed this attitude or character of heart in Gethsemane when Peter stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.  Notice what our Lord Jesus said to Peter.
            “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”  (Matthew 26:52-53)

            Here we see in Jesus the gentleness and humility that keeps Him from defending Himself or acting on His own behalf.  Jesus is showing us an example that demonstrates that meekness is not conflict but restraint.  We clearly see that meekness is firmly tied to self-control.  Isaiah prophesied about the meekness of Jesus.
            “He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice”  (Isaiah 42:2-3).

            Though Jesus was meek, He still had great power.  Yet, He showed a gentle spirit and self-control, doing His Father’s will and willfully surrendering to His Father.  Moses is another great example that showed the character of meekness.  Moses was very meek, above all men on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).  Both Jesus and Moses were chosen by God to be givers of His Law.  So if you want to be happy, to be led by the Spirit, to avoid destruction and to be great examples of meekness like Moses and Jesus, you must work on your meekness and humility.
            • So, What is Humility?
            It is an attitude or quality of mind (Acts 20:19) by which a person holds low esteem or opinion of his own goodness and importance.  Spiritually speaking, one who humbles himself because of his sinfulness and thus is willing to depend on God to meet his needs.  It is the opposite of pride, haughtiness, and self-exaltation.


            I.   MEEKNESS AND HUMILITY TOWARD GOD:

            In the Bible, meekness is mainly represented as submissiveness toward God.  Meekness and humility require that we do the following:
            • Recognize Our Sinfulness:
            In Luke 18:9-14, we read of a Pharisee who exalted himself and failed to see his sins.  On the other hand,  the Publican, pleaded to God for mercy, admitting he was a sinner.  Notice what verse 14 states, “for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”  Humility is the opposite of self-exaltation and self-righteousness.  We have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).  Hence, we have no right to look down on other sinners as if we deserve salvation just because we are so good, and they don’t deserve it.  We humble ourselves like the Publican when we call on God to forgive us.
            • Depend on God: 
            In Deut. 8:3,11-14,16,18, we have Moses as our example of humility.  Moses knew that man lives not by bread alone but by the Word of God.  Our blessings come from God instead of our might and power.  It is wise to remind ourselves that we are nothing and are weak without God.  It is then that we will begin to depend on God to meet our needs, thus appreciating and exalting Him.  In Matt. 18:1-4, Jesus stated that the greatest in the kingdom is the one who is humble like a little child.  A child does not just forgive but is dependent on his parents.  So humility leads us to trust, appreciate, and glorify our God rather than exalting self.
            • Submit to God’s Laws:  His Word
            We must be willing to do what God commands.  To do that, we must accept our weaknesses and our failings.  When we obey God, we will believe in Him and do His will.  Moses is our best example of meekness and faithfulness (Num. 12:3,6,7).  He did, according to all that Jehovah God commanded him to do (Exo. 40:16).  He built all things according to the pattern shown to him (Heb. 8:5).  Jesus is our other example of meekness and humility.  He came to earth as a man and humbled Himself, becoming obedient, even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:8).  He was without sin though He was tempted in all things like we are (Heb. 4:15).  Jesus left us an example that we should follow Him.  He did not sin, nor was any guilt found in His mouth (1 Peter 2:21-22).  Both Moses and Jesus are recognized highly for their meekness, humility, and obedience to God.

            So, what is the application for us?  That we must put away all lawlessness and wickedness showing all meekness toward God.  Moreover, we must be doers of God’s Word and not just hearers.  This demands a lot of meekness and humility of heart.  God resists the proud in heart but gives grace to the humble, i.e., He will exalt us.  Therefore, we must submit to God’s will, draw near to Him, clean our hands, purify our hearts, mourn, and weep because of our sins.  That is true humility in action, just as in Jesus’ life (1 Peter 1:22).  It can be accomplished only when we humbly submit to His will and hold ourselves in low esteem.  Repentance is often associated with humbleness of self (1 Kings 21:27ff; 2 Chr. 7:13; Isa. 57:15; 1 Peter 5:5-9; Prov. 15:31-33).  

            In Matt. 16:24, we find an excellent definition of  “meekness” without using the word.  To be meek is to deny self.  The one who is selfish says, "I want this,  I want that…. " The real meek in heart says,  “What does God want?” “Is this according to God’s will?”  The meek will always consider his will last and God’s first.  So we must question everything we do in word and deed as to what effect it will have in God’s service to Him.  Then we will do what pleases Him.

            Obedience is humility toward God's Word.  God's Word dictates what's right and wrong and pleasing to God.  
            “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look:  he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word”  (Isa. 62:2). 

            Humility to God's Word is to have an open heart to heed His Words. Humility does not try to justify our actions or sinful habits.  Rather it conforms to the will of God and thus is transformed.  It is arrogant to think that our views always have to be correct and that we have nothing to learn.  Humility toward God's Word implies that we be willing to change our beliefs or prejudices in the light of the Scriptures.
            • Accept Life’s Circumstances According to God’s Will:
            The meek and humble in heart will embrace persecution, abuse, mistreatment, suffering, and hardship without complaining, rebelling (against God), and doubting God's wisdom.  He will humbly accept this reality, knowing that it is for God's good purposes.  Moses is one of our examples here.  Though he encountered many problems (his people complained about his poor leadership even though he was doing what God told him to do), he still submitted to the will of God.  I wonder how many of us would have stood for that?  He did!  That is why he was called the meekest man on earth! (Numbers 12:1-3).

            Jesus is our other example.  He was led as a sheep to be slaughtered (Acts 8:32-33; Isa. 53:7f).  Do you suppose it was hard for our Lord Jesus to go to the “slaughter"?  Did that take meekness?  What do you think?  Jesus said, "Not my will but thine be done.”  He left heaven's glory, humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death on the cross.  Does that not require plenty of humility and meekness?  Does that not demand both humility and meekness to willingly leave all of heaven's glory to come to earth as a man and be abused as a criminal at the hands of wicked, evil men, so that He might save us?  Let this sink deeply into your hearts!!

            So, what do you suppose is the application for us today?  Jesus is our perfect example of humility and meekness.  We must learn to submit to suffering just as He did.  Do you think you have suffered as much as our Lord and Savior did?  I doubt it!!  So, why is it then that we find it so easy to complain and rebel against God when we have problems and trials?  We know (do we not?) that God often allows circumstances to chasten or discipline us that we might develop our muscle of humbleness, submission to His will, and dependence on Him.  All this has but one purpose, to perfect and mature us.  It is good for us in the end.  I can assure you of that!!  So, why try so hard to control your life?  Why not choose to turn to God and trust Him?  Hardships help us to become more humble Why?  Because we can easily see our weaknesses, knowing that we cannot solve them on our own, so we humbly turn to our Father in heaven for help.  

            It is amid our trials, failings, and sufferings that we learn to appreciate Him and see our desperate need for Him.  We must be grateful to Him that He is there to rescue and deliver us from all of our trials and trying circumstances.  We must not blame God for all of our problems and sufferings. Some problems are caused by sin, but others just come our way by chance.  Like Job, there is no sin, but still, God allows Satan to cause us hardship.  Satan is the one responsible for many of our troubles.  God uses them to refine us of our impurities like the potter does the clay and to humble us.

            In 2 Cor. 12:7-10Paul's thorn in the flesh kept him from overly exalting himself.  Satan was the root of the problem and not God!  But God indeed allowed it to happen and remain for Paul's good. So, our trials and troubles are good for us.  They keep us from becoming proud and self-reliant.  Thank God for our trials, sufferings, and hardship!  They make us better Christians to the glory of our Father.  Hardship is good for us when we endure it with faith.  The humble and meek are aware of this fact and willingly submit to God instead of rebelling or becoming bitter or angry at Him.
            • Resist Error and False Teaching With Meekness:
            Some wrongly believe that a meek person cannot speak up against error or sin.  Often, when one rebukes others because of sin, some have the tendency to think that he is self-willed, stubborn, pushy, wants to exalt self, and get his own way.  Sadly, there are many out there who want to change the image of the church because they stubbornly want to oppose an active stand against error.  They tell us, We shouldn't be so forceful in telling people they are wrong or are sinning."  “We need to be more meek and loving.”  They refuse to acknowledge that even Moses and Jesus resisted error and false teaching.  Take, for example, Moses, who became angry at the sins of his people (Exo. 32:19,20,26-28,30).  He openly told them they had sinned and called for disciplinary action right away.  Yet, he was the meekest person on the face of the earth!  This is a meek man in action!

            There's not the slightest conflict between being meek and opposing error.  The conflict exists in the minds of many because they misunderstand the concept of meekness.  Jesus openly condemned the sins of the Pharisees (Matt. 15:3-9,12-14).  The Pharisees were offended.  Did Jesus apologize for rebuking them?  Not at all!  He instead went ahead and called them blind guides, telling His disciples not to follow them.  You supposed Jesus should have apologized for not being meek enough?  In Matthew 23Jesus rebuked them and called them hypocrites, sons of hell, blind guides, fools and blind men, whitewashed tombs or sepulchers, full of hypocrisy and lawlessness, brood of vipers.  “How shall ye escape the judgment of hell?”  These are the declarations of a meek man!! He who said, “I am meek and lowly in heart.”  Indeed, Jesus, our Lord, was without sin.  Thus, there is no conflict between meekness and the sharp rebuke of sin, calling each sin or group by its name without any guilt whatsoever (John 8:41-47; 54-55).

            So, what is the application for us?  Meekness demands that we also correct and oppose sin and false doctrine in others who are doing wrong (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).  We are commanded by God to point out to them their error or wrongdoing in meekness.  Meekness leads us to point out to others their errors and wrongdoings Isn't it something that the same Scriptures that require us to be meek also command us to correct others as well?!  Meekness, like love, must always be exercised toward God.  Like Moses and Jesus, the meek want to see God's will be respected and obeyed, and that demands that one speak out against error or sin.  Are you meek and submitting to God's will?


            II.   MEEKNESS AND HUMILITY TOWARD OTHERS:

            Meekness and humility toward God are essential to pleasing Him.  That same meekness and humility lead us to be meek and humble toward others as well.  Meekness and humility are vital to our relationship with others.   It will require us to:
            • Submit to Civil Rulers:
            Men are to be subject to all manner of human authority.  In Titus 3:1-2, we are commanded to be meek (gentle) and humble toward men (verse 2).  Likewise, we are told to submit and obey rulers and authorities.  In I Peter 2:13-15, we are told to “ be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme; 14 or unto governors...”  Why shall we submit?  It is God's will.  Humbly submitting to God's Law will lead one to submit to rulers meekly.  So, why is it so hard to submit to laws?  Why would someone cheat on his taxes?  Why then disobey traffic laws?  Because we refuse to submit to what the law says and want to do what we want.  We are self-willed and unwilling to yield and deny self.  Meekness and humility are necessary to avoid this kind of attitude of heart, setting aside our will.
            • Wives Are Called to Submit to Their Husbands:
            Wives are called to submit to their husbands.  In 1 Peter 3:1-6God repeatedly commands that wives are to be submissive to their husbands.  He also requires them to adorn themselves with a meek (gentle) and quiet spirit.  So, why is it that modern women, even Christian sisters, deny the concept of submission to their husbands and that a man is the head of his household?  Why are there so many women unhappy and rebelling against following their husbands' headship and leadership?  I can think of a few reasons.
            1. First, the husband is selfishly misusing and abusing his authority.
            2. Second, he is failing to treat his wife with honor and respect as the weaker vessel (verse 7).
            3. Third, some wives are stubborn and have a hard time following their husbands’ views even when the husbands are respectful.  Peter says explicitly that wives ought to obey their husbands even when they are not obeying God's Word (verse 1).  How about that!    
            So, why is it that women struggle with this concept of submission?  Because in a feminist world, it is humiliating to have to do what a man says.  Feminism has brainwashed many women into thinking that their ideas are just as good as his.  Feminism says, “I've got my pride.”  “I can stand up for myself.”  But guess what?  God demands that women have a meek and quiet spirit.  Likewise, children must submit to their parents; employees to their employers.  Meekness and humility are needed to put a stop to stubbornness and rebellion.
            • Honor Others Rather Than Exalting Self:
            God commands us to practice humility and meekness toward others.  It is accomplished when we submit to each other.  Paul instructed us to submit to one another in the fear of God (Eph. 5:21). Peter said, “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another”  (1 Peter 5:5).  In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul conveys this attitude of humility much better.
            “3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” 

            The humble consider others as more important than themselves and look out for their best interests.  Our marriages will work properly when both spouses are seeking out the best interest of each spouse.  A friendship will work well when each is seeking out the best interest of the other person.  A church will work rightly when each member is seeking out the best interests of others.  It is essential to grasp that our focus cannot be on ourselves, but rather on the well-being and interests of others.  It is vital that we put submission into practice.  Humility yields to the interests of others.  In Romans 12:3, we have been instructed not to think more highly of self than we ought to think but to think soberly.  

            Think so as to have sound judgment.”  

            So, why not be honest and realistic when attempting to evaluate self in comparison to others?  

            It is easy to be deluded into thinking that we are more talented than others, have more abilities, better ideas, deserve greater honor than others. When, in fact, this might not be the case.  So, why not admit to our weaknesses or shortcomings, especially our sins?  Sadly, many tend to ignore their sins or the gravity of them. 

            Start appreciating the good qualities of others.  We have the bad habit of exaggerating our good qualities, wanting to receive credit for them.  But at the same time, we exaggerate the bad points, shortcomings, and failings of others.  The fact that others have different abilities and skills than us does not make us more important and more worthy than others (verses 4,5).  Why not then give all the credit to God?  Why not soberly think as God has dealt with each one of us?  Why not give glory to God?  Remember, we are not to be wise in our own opinion.  A humble person does not focus on making a big impression on others, boasting of receiving glory and honor.  The humble will associate with those whom they can help, even if the world does not highly exalt those people.  They rejoice and weep with others.  Some turn green with envy and jealousy and are too proud to rejoice with those who receive honor and respect.  They think they should have been the ones to be honored.  Others are just too proud to empathize or feel sorry for those who are undergoing trials. They believe that they deserve their misfortune (Luke 18:9-14; 14:7-11;16:15; Titus 3:2-3).
            • Serves the Needs and Interests of Others:
            The humble have learned to inconvenience themselves to help others.  They die to their own desires to help others receive what they need.  In Matt. 23:11-12greatness is measured by service rendered to others.  Rather than being measured by how much honor and authority one possesses (verses 5-10).  The world says, “If you dominate and control others, then you are important.”  Are we really that great and worthy of being exalted?  Right?  God will only exalt us when we humble ourselves to do that which is good for others, regardless of what others think.  Service makes us great in the eyes of God.  But service requires humility.  Service is not doing good to others so that they can serve us later.  It is about doing what we know would help and is pleasing to God and the other person.

            Therefore, we should count others as more important and better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3).  “Let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”  Others' priorities must be more important than ours.  We must learn to honor one another and respect and care for each other.  We must treat each other with respect and honor even when they don't deserve it.  God does not allow us to scorn others because of their weaknesses, failings, or because they are younger or older.  Jesus is our example of humility.  Though He was in heaven with God, in the form of God, He humbled Himself and came to earth as a man, obeying to the point of death.  Why did He do all this? To meet our needs and to be of service to us.  Let us have this mind among ourselves, which is ours in Christ Jesus.  Jesus, our Lord, demonstrated this honor when He sacrificed His life for us and died on that cruel cross out of love and honor for us.  We did not deserve such a great sacrifice. And just as Christ honored us, so we are to honor one another with the same self-sacrificing love.
            • Help Others Overcome Sin:
            Meekness requires that we not keep quiet when others sin but rather point out their errors and wrongdoings.  However, the manner in which we do this will be affected if we don't practice meekness 
            “6 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted”  (Galatians 6:1).  

            Thus we must teach with compassion and self-control to restore the other person.  Our primary goal must be that of helping him bear his burden and so fulfill the Law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).  Remember, we are trying to help and not gloat because he fell or sinned, nor to remind him we were right (exalting self over him)We are not there to hurt his feelings (he's probably already feeling bad because of his sins); that is not what we should be seeking.  We are not there to add more fuel to his problems but rather to help him solve them.  Remember that everything must be done in harmony with the Word of God and with wisdom.  Our goal is to restore his soul and bring him back to God.  Let him know that.  We must be compassionate and thoughtful, and we must let him know that we care for him.

            Sadly, not all sinners will be satisfied with our good manner.  Some become angry, no matter how loving and caring we are when we approach them.  Remember how much the people complained about Moses and Jesus.  We must examine ourselves to make sure we are not selfish and self-righteous or too wise in our own opinion when trying to teach and restore those who have fallen in sin.  Under no circumstances, should we seek to win an argument just to prove our opponent wrong.  Let us not forget we have been in the sinner's shoes before.  We have also have sinned and will do so perhaps againWe must approach the one to be restored with the same consideration that we would want others to approach us with.  We must be consistent with the Word of God.  This will remove sharp or vigorous rebukes and even anger and bitterness.  I don't deny that sharp rebuke is needed at times.  It is much easier to be compassionate to others when we remember we have been in their shoes before. 

            We must avoid quarrels at all costs.  Why?  Because God has commanded us to be meek and gentle when correcting our brethren as well as our opponents.  Notice what 2 Timothy 2:24-25 has to say regarding this subject.  
            “24 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”  

            We must keep in mind that meekness is fundamental when teaching those who have been taken captive by Satan.  Our primary goal is to help them repent and to restore them to the flock and rescue them from Satan's snare.  We must be helpful and have the right attitude as teachers.  We will be ineffective teachers when we have the wrong attitude and say, I'm right, you are wrong.”  I hope you will be able to see how great meekness and humility are when we are trying to defend the Truth and correct all error and wrongdoing.  Meekness is about being kind and not quarrelsome.  It is about being longsuffering, enduring evil even though we might be right.  We must avoid quarrels!  Some argue just to keep from admitting that they are wrong.  They are not honest.  Why?  Because they don't care about one showing them the Truth but are just looking for anything to avoid conceding (accepting, acknowledging they're wrong).  Some get angry and lose self-control and say things they don't really mean at the moment but end up regretting later.  Remember, this could be you or me.  

            Correcting error and teaching those who are antagonistic toward the Truth must be done in meekness and gentleness. When teaching about error and wrongdoing, we must grant the thought process of others.  That is, not responding with insulting words, saying he is an idiot because he can't understand evil, hell, and is not able to grasp the point that you're trying to make.  Please, be meek and humble, and above all, be careful with your words!!  The same applies to our brethren. Why not try to put yourself in their shoes and understand the situation with great effort, reasoning with the Scriptures with all meekness and gentleness of heart?  (1 Peter 3:15).  Don't just argue without reasoning!
              
            Every now and then, some people just love to repeat the same arguments over and over.  They think that by talking longer and louder, they are going to win the argument.  How silly and foolish is that!!  Use sound judgment and interrupt the discussion if you think they are not listening and are not sincerely heeding the evidence.  “Cool it” and wait until you and they are calmer.  Teaching is not about power.  We're God's instruments to let the Light of the Word shine through.  Teach with longsuffering and forbearance (tolerance).  Humility (lowliness) and meekness lead to longsuffering (patience) and forbearance (Col. 3:12-13; Eph. 4:12). 

            Knowing this, why do you get angry and lose your temper (no self-control) when you're trying to teach and defend the Truth?  Why not seek to be meek and humble and continue in your efforts, instead of giving up just because the other person has disobeyed God's Word?  What would have happened to you and me if God had given up on us every time we failed to do what He's taught us?  Be wise!  Why not tolerate (forbear) those things or those we don't like?  Why not suffer the personal slights of those we're teaching?  Remember not to give up and retaliate, but keep teaching the Truth!  Understand that most sinners, when rebuked, will most likely turn on us and find fault when we're teaching them. Don't quit teaching even if you're tempted to do it.  Don't give up teaching just because you're criticized!  

            Indeed, it takes a meek and humble person to press on and keep on doing that which is good despite hardship.  Do you know that meekness and humility is also a characteristic of wisdom from above (James 3:17)?  Wisdom is sometimes taking a back seat to others, putting the will and interests of others above ours.  Wisdom is listening to what others have to say rather than being argumentative just because we think we are right.  Take heed!
            • Strive for Unity, Peace, and Harmony:
            “2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance (forbearance) for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”  (Eph. 4:2-3).

            Humility supplies peace and unity.  How?  A humble person is willing to submit for the good of others.  He does nothing out of selfishness or empty conceit but with humility regarding others as more important than himself (Phil. 2:2-3).  On the contrary, the proud, conceited, and arrogant are too concerned about their ideas and ways.  They are not aware that this will lead to strife and division.  They are blind and not able to see that they're causing conflict when they insist on following their foolish ways and way of thinking rather than God's ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9). They stubbornly insist that others accept their foolish ideas and ways.  They refuse (not willing) to concede.  This will, of course, lead to conflict.  

            The meek and humble avoid envy at all costs and are willing to yield (James 3:13-18).  Alas, how often is peace ruined because of envy and jealousy!  It is worldly and devilish!  God's wisdom is pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. The proud are also envious when others receive honor and praise.  The meek do not care to be exalted or who gets the glory as long as righteousness prevails (good is done).  They will die to self for the good of others.

            Meekness demands doctrinal purity, as well.  To allow error to stand without challenge (correction) is not meekness.  Peace at any price leads to unity in sin. The meek will please God first.  They're willing to listen (reason) for the sake of the wellbeing of others, doing that which is righteous before God. Under no circumstances will they pressure anyone with their own desires and intentions to harm the church and others.  The meek are also willing to forgive rather than retaliate.  Meekness and humility are eager to forgive when others repent (Col. 3:12-13).  

            The meek are aware that they, too, were sinners and are ready to forgive others as they seek God to forgive them.  Remember that God will not forgive us if we don't forgive others (Matt. 6:12ff).  So, what is it that keeps so many from forgiving others?  Why is it that we keep holding grudges even when others have repented?  Why not bless our persecutors rather than taking vengeance on them?  Why try to “get even” and not make things right?  Why not make right the wrongs others have committed against us?  Why not be humble and strive for peace rather than vengeance?  Pride is the answer to all of these problems.  So, what is the cure to pride?  Meekness and humility!  


            CONCLUSION:

            Meekness is not weakness or lack of power.  In fact, it assumes a state of power and strength that remains under control.  Authority is exercised with gentleness, putting the interests of others above our own.  We must practice humility and gentleness when correcting our brethren and are teaching the lost.  It will reflect wisdom from above that God requires of us.  We are commanded to help others in the spirit of gentleness and not use our power or strength to our own advantage. Husbands are to submit their own interests to the best interests of the family.  Fathers are to humbly submit their authority to rear their children in the way of the Lord.  Wives must submit their own interests humbly to the best interests of their families.  We must control ourselves with meekness and humility. The meek and humble heart is willing to receive the Word of God and allow it to mold and transform his life.

            Meekness and humility toward God are essential to pleasing Him.  That same meekness and humility lead us to be meek and humble toward others as well.  Meekness and humility are vital to our relationship with others.  The humble consider others as more important than themselves and look out for their best interests.  The humble have learned to inconvenience themselves to help others.  They die to their own desires to help others receive what they need.  In Matt. 23:11-12greatness is measured by service rendered to others.  Rather than being measured by how much honor and authority one possesses (verses 5-10).  The world says, “If you dominate and control others, then you are important.”  Are we really that great and worthy of being exalted?  Right?  God will only exalt us when we humble ourselves to do that which is good for others, regardless of what others think.  Service makes us great in the eyes of God.  But service requires humility.  Service is not doing good to others so that they can serve us later.  It is about doing what we know would help and is pleasing to God and the other person.  Therefore, we must count others as more important and better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3).  

            “Let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”  

            Others' priorities must be more important than ours.   We must learn to honor one another and respect and care for each other.  We must treat each other with respect and honor even when they don't deserve it.

            May we honor others, serving their needs and interests rather than exalting ourselves.   May we never drift away from God's path because of pride.  May we never allow pride to destroy our relationships with others and especially with God. May we help others overcome sin with meekness, compassion, and self-control.  May we always show a gentle spirit, acting according to God's principles of righteousness.  May we appreciate God, trust Him, and give Him the glory rather than exalting ourselves.

            Luci