Tag Archive | Holy Spirit

Session 4 – The Message of Pentecost Preaching – The Exaltation of the Son

Expositor’s Conference 2013

Session 4 – The Message of Pentecost Preaching – The Exaltation of the Son (Sinclair Ferguson)

Text: Acts 2:1–43 (NASB95)

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.

6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.

7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

8 “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?

9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.

15 “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;

16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘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;

18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy.

19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.

20 ‘The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.

21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—

23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

24 “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

25 “For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.

26 ‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope;

27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

28 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’

29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne,

31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.

32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

34 “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,

35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” ’

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”

41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

 

What Jesus does in the upper room with the disciples are parables of what would happen in reality from that point on. For instance, the washing of the disciples’ feet was parabolic to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. When Jesus breathes on the disciples in John 20, this is parabolic of the events of Acts chapter 2.

The focus on the day of Pentecost has been on the gifts that were bestowed on the Apostles and then on a personal application of those gifts. However, we must see that the events of the day of Pentecost were unique in history. There is no personal Gethsemane, no personal Calvary, and certainly no personal Pentecost. Gethsemane and Calvary were unique to Jesus Christ. Pentecost is unique to the Apostles. It never happened before and will never happen again. Pentecost is fundamentally an event concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and not the Holy Spirit. Witness the primary subject of Peter’s sermon.

Jesus spoke of this event on the last day of the Feast of Booths. Jesus uses the picture of the water being poured out to summon those who are thirsty to come and drink. Living water flows from Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself says that the Spirit was not yet given because Jesus had not yet been glorified. This discourse is the exegetical key for understanding the events of the day of Pentecost.

In Acts 2:14, Peter begins to answer the question “What does this mean?” Notice what Peter points out in verse 33:

1) Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of God;

2) Jesus has received the promise of the Holy Spirit which he has then shed forth.

 

Five points concerning the day of Pentecost – “What does this mean?”

A. The scriptures concerning Christ are being fulfilled.

1. Just as the events of the creation are recorded in Genesis 1, we have the work of the Spirit in the new creation recorded in Acts 2.

2. Just as Genesis provides a catalog of nations on the earth, Acts 2 provides a catalog of nations who would make the church. This is a reversal of what happened at the tower of Babel.

3. God promised Abraham by way of an oath that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. The covenant flows forth from the work of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

4. God promised that David would never lack a person to sit on the throne of Israel. On the day of Pentecost we see Jesus ascended to the throne of God and given the nations for an inheritance.

i.      The giving of the Holy Spirit to the nations is the fulfillment of the inheritance.

5. We see the fulfillment of Joel 2. The last days have come. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

B. The new age inaugurated by Jesus Christ has dawned.

1. The pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh is the proclamation that the last days have begun.

2. The new age has dawned because Jesus Christ has ascended and is seated on the throne.

3. We are living in the last days. Maybe not the final days of the last days, but in the last days nonetheless.

4. We are living between the final two great events of Jesus Christ – his exaltation and his return.

4. Joel wrote of the marks that would indicate the beginning of the last days.

i.      The pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh, not just Jews

ii.      All would prophesy, not just Jews

1. Most Old Testament scriptures which we call prophecy is not predicting the future but interpreting the present based on the mind of God.

2. The old Mosaic distinctions between the prophet and the people has come to the end – see Numbers 11:29.

iii.      The distinction between male and female is broken down. The Spirit is poured out without distinction to sex.

iv.      We can now understand what Jeremiah means when he writes that no one will need teachers, for they shall all teach one another.

C. The coronation of Jesus Christ has taken place

1. The Lord has been seated at the right hand of God.

2. Jesus has been crowned with glory.

3. The giving of the Spirit to those on earth is evidence that Jesus has been crowned in heaven.

i.      Everyone received a gift because the king had been crowned. See Ephesians 4:8.

D. Worldwide conversion to Jesus Christ has begun.

1. The conviction of the world of sin by the Holy Spirit is directly related to the revelation of the exaltation of Jesus Christ.

2. The initial connection of the people of God to God himself through the Holy Spirit occurs with the giving of the Holy Spirit.

i.      This same connection is made to all who would believe from thereafter. We are filled with the same Spirit that was initially poured out on the day of Pentecost.

E. The church of Jesus Christ begins to be built

1. The church is the kingdom of Christ.

2. Jesus Christ is building a church that was impervious to persecution.


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Session 3 – Truth Remains: The Tyndale and Matthews Bible

Expositor’s Conference 2013

Session 3 – Truth Remains: The Tyndale and Matthews Bibles (David Parsons)

Two faithful men – one who started the work, one who finished the work, both martyred for their work.

William Tyndale

  1. The movement to translate the Bible begins in western England in the 1510’s.
  2. Local authorities became alarmed at the teachings of Tyndale after his graduation in 1521.
  3. The nature of the concern over Tyndale’s teachings was his insistence on the sole authority of scripture.
  4. His teaching lead to accusation of heresy.
  5. Tyndale moved on to London to attempt to win over the Archbishop to his desire to give the Word of God to the people of England. He was not successful.
  6. In 1524 Tyndale moved to Hamburg and then to Wittenburg. It was in this environment that the New Testament was translated and prepared for printing.
  7. Arrangements were made to print the New Testament in Colonge. But the plan was discovered by Catholic authorities, forcing Tyndale to flee to Wurms. It was here that the New Testament was printed and then smuggled into England.
  8. The English authorities attempted to destroy these Bibles as they came into England.
  9. Tyndale was continually pursued through Europe. He ended in Antwerp, where he was working on the translation of the Old Testament and revising and printing the New Testament.
  10. Henry Phillips was able to convince Tyndale that he was sympathetic to Tyndale’s work. Phillips betrayed Tyndale to the Catholic authorities.
  11. Tyndale was imprisoned in Vilvorde castle for 16 months. The trial was a lost cause because the penalty for teaching justification by grace was death.
  12. Tyndale was executed in 1536.
  13. The Old Testament translation was not completed by Tyndale.

 

John Rogers

  1. Rogers was a Catholic priest who was converted by the Scriptures.
  2. He met Tyndale in Antwerp. Tyndale reasoned with Rogers from the Scriptures, and he then set aside the “yoke of popery.”
  3. Rogers spent 6 years in Antwerp with Tyndale and then moved to Wittenburg.
  4. Rogers took up Tyndale’s Old Testament manuscript in 1535.
  5. Due to changing circumstances in England, Rogers is able to finish the work of translating the Old Testament. It was printed under the name “Matthews” because it was still dangerous to translate the Bible.
  6. In 1550 Rogers returns to England in the midst of Protestant favoritism from the throne.
  7. In 1553 there is a civil war in England over the ascension to the throne. Mary Tudor ascends to the throne and reestablishes the Catholic rule over England.
  8. Many reformers flee England at this time. Rogers choses to stay and he continues to preach in defiance of the edict of Mary against Protestant preaching.
  9. Application: the lay person in the church is struggling because the pastor will not preach without regard to his own life
  10. Rogers is tried several times. He was imprisoned and then executed in 1555.

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The Significance of Pentecost Preaching – The Coming of the Spirit

Expositor’s Conference 2013

The Power of the Holy Spirit in Preaching

Session 2 – The Significance of Pentecost Preaching – The Coming of the Spirit (Sinclair Ferguson)

Text: John 14:15–31 (NASB95)

15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;

17 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.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

19 “After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.

20 “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.

26 “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.

27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

28 “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

29 “Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.

30 “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;

31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit in preaching. We live in personal communion with the Holy Spirit. He is ever present in our ministry. This communion is distinctive from the communion we have with the Father and with the Son. It is heresy to confuse the distinctives of the various forms of our communion with the members of the Trinity among the members of the Trinity. We never express our communion with God the Father as the one who died on the cross for our sins. That is our communion with only the Son. We must be aware of what is the nature of our specific communion with the Holy Spirit. It is He who sanctifies, it is He who illumines, it is He who comforts, it is He who empowers the preaching.

We must first be aware that it is the Son who sends the Holy Spirit to be with us. We know so much about the gifts of the Spirit, but we are so unaware of the person of the Spirit.

John 16:7 – this is a striking verse. How could it be advantageous for the disciples for Jesus to go away? It is ridiculous. The Christian would chose for Jesus to remain. That is because the Christian does not know the person and the power of the Holy Spirit.

The text we are considering is the chief text of the existence and the application of the Trinity.

Jesus is going to send another comforter. The word “another” here is “allos”, meaning “another of the same kind.” He will be of the same kind as Jesus. Explore what this means:

1.  The Holy Spirit would be a teacher in the same manner as Jesus (v.25-26)

a.  Jesus came as a teacher from God, teaching the very words of God.

b.  Paul writes that the Spirit will teach the deep things of God. This is what we see in verse 20. When the Spirit comes, we will not know less, but more. Specifically, we will be taught more intimately about the nature of Jesus Christ.

c.  The Holy Spirit allows us to see the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son. Even the angels cannot look into the face of God the way the Son does.

d.  The Holy Spirit reveals the depth of the grace of God. We are part of the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son because of the work of the Holy Spirit.

e.  The Spirit teaches us the glory of the Trinity.

f.  Where are we to learn these things? The Spirit will remind us of what Jesus has already said.

i.      He reminded the Apostles of what Jesus said, and they in turned preached these words and wrote about these words.

2.  The Holy Spirit would be a counselor in the same manner as Jesus (v. 16)

a.  Jesus has been the counselor of the disciples for the last three years.

b.  The word “counselor” or “comforter” here is to be taken in the sense of the legal setting. One who comes alongside for the means of defense.

c.  The Holy Spirit came as a defender of Jesus Christ and of His followers.

d.  The Holy Spirit came to convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment. He prosecutes sinners. But He defends the saints.

e.  The paraclete was traditionally the longest standing and best friend who would be called to bear witness for the accused.

i.      The Holy Spirit is this paraclete for Jesus Christ

ii.      The Holy Spirit would empower the Apostles to be paracletes for Jesus Christ.

f.  The same Holy Spirit that filled Jesus Christ is the same Holy Spirit that fills each believer. The disciples would have known this Holy Spirit because they had seen Him working through Jesus and He had been with them from the beginning.

3.  The Holy Spirit would be a home-maker in the same manner as Jesus (v.18)

a.  We are very familiar with Jesus as a home-maker as revealed in John 14:1-4.

b.  The Holy Spirit comes so that we are not left as orphans.

c.  In verse 23, we see that it is the work of the Holy Spirit that the full Trinity makes their home within us.

d.  The passion of the Holy Spirit is to make the Christian a fitting home for the Father and the Son.

e.  The children adore the home-maker. The home-maker is the teacher. The home-maker is the counselor. The home-maker explains the Father.


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The Power of the Holy Spirit in Preaching

Expositor’s Conference 2013

The Power of the Holy Spirit in Preaching

Session 1: The Power of Jesus’ Preaching – His Anointing by the Holy Spirit (Steve Lawson)

 

This is Part 1. Part 2 will be in Session 8.

We must adopt the view that there are (or should be) two people standing in the pulpit when preaching – the preacher and the Holy Spirit. There is no power in the preaching of the word apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. The evidence of the power of preaching with the power of the Holy Spirit is seen by the outworking of the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the preacher and the hearer. For instance, consider the events of the various revivals – it is fueled by the fire of the preaching of the word of God but it works greatly in the lives of the hearers.

The power of the Holy Spirit in the preacher requires a complete transformation of the mind and heart of the preacher.

Text: Luke 4:14–21 (NASB95)

14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.

15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.

16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.

17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

18 “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,

19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

20 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.

21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

Preaching without the power of the Holy Spirit is not preaching at all. The sovereign power of God in the proclamation of His word is lacking in preaching today. Great preaching comes only with great power (see 1 Cor. 2:1-5). Jesus promised His disciples that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit for the preaching of the gospel. Jesus Himself preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

  1. The power of the Spirit (v.14)

a. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.

i.      There is at least a year between v.13 and v.14. The events of John 1-4 occur during this time.

                  ii.      The fame of Jesus had spread throughout Galilee.

b. Luke 3:21-22 records the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus, marking the beginning of His public preaching ministry.

 i.      Heaven was opened – this is an indication that God is going to reveal something to men.

ii.      The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus to anoint Him with power.

iii.     The Father speaks to confirm His pleasure of His Son. This is a direct revelation of the identity and mission of Jesus Christ.

iv.      Should we expect any less if we are called to preach?

c.  We see this idea of the power of the Holy Spirit empowering Jesus Christ continued in Luke 4:1.

i.      The Spirit leads (or compels) Jesus into the wilderness.

ii.      The power of the Holy Spirit would be crucial in Jesus facing the temptation of Satan (vv.2-12).

d.  As Jesus returns to Galilee in v.14, we see that His preaching, His ministry, His miracles healing, casting out demons are all empowered by the Spirit. This empowering of the Spirit would even be there when He went to the cross to make the sacrifice.

i.      And should we expect any less for our ministry?

ii.      There is not a person who does not need the power of the Holy Spirit when preaching the word.

2.  The priority of the Word (v.15)

a.  Wherever there is the power of the Holy Spirit there will be a priority given to the Word of God.

i.      The book of Acts shows how the person filled with the Holy Spirit cannot help but preach the very Word of God.

ii.      The most common title given to Jesus Christ in the book of Luke is “teacher.”

b.  Jesus came into Galilee and taught in their synagogues. Of course He did. The power of the Holy Spirit always results in the priority of preaching the Word of God.

 i.      Jesus was constantly and continually preaching and teaching the Word of God.

c.  Application – if we are to be constantly preaching and teaching, then we must be constantly learning from the Word of God. We must always be reading, listening to the truth. You cannot teach that which you do not know. The day we stop learning is the day we stop preaching. The well must be dug deeper every day.

3.  The pattern on the Sabbath (v.16-17)

a.  Our attention turns to Nazareth, where Jesus was raised. Scornfully, we are told that nothing good comes out of Nazareth. Jesus is the exception. Verses 23-29 shows the true character of Nazareth.

b.  Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Notice that this was His custom.

c.  Then we see that Jesus has built some reputation as a teacher, because He stands up to read.

d.  Jesus is given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah to read.

i.      The reading of the Word of God was central to worship in the Jewish synagogue.

e.  Jesus unrolls the scroll to the exact right scripture to read for this particular moment in time.

i.      Jesus is the master of the Word of God not only because He is the author of the Word of God, but He is also empowered by the Holy Spirit in the use of the Word of God.

ii.      The book of Luke alone proves that Jesus believed the entirety of the Old Testament scriptures and used them as a master.

iii.      Application: We must likewise become a master of the Word of God, and this is possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit.

iv.      Application: If we want more power in our preaching, then we must have more scripture in our message. We must be leashed to the text. The points of the sermon must come from the text. Our illustrations must come from parallel scriptures. Our applications must come from the text.

v.      Application: God will not give the power of the Holy Spirit to the man who is attempting to build his own kingdom. Sacrifice of self is of paramount importance. Look at how Jesus sacrificed Himself.

vi.      Application: the Holy Spirit will only empower a holy vessel.


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What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

The Holy Spirit convicts the world of their sin.

John 16:7-11 (ESV)

7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.  

And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  

9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;  

10  concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;  

11  concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.  

 

The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the deep truths in Scripture.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)

16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  

17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.   

John 14:26 (ESV) 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 have said to you.  

1 Corinthians 2:13 (ESV) And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.


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The Necessity of the Holy Spirit in Salvation

The Necessity of the Work of the Holy Spirit to Man’s Salvation by J.C. Ryle

… The necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit arises from the total corruption of human nature. We are all by nature “dead in sins.” (Eph. 2:1.) However shrewd, and clever, and wise in the things of this world, we are all dead towards God. The eyes of our understanding are blinded. We see nothing aright. Our wills, affections, and inclinations are alienated from Him who made us. “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” (Rom. 8:7.) We have naturally neither faith, nor fear, nor love, nor holiness. In short, left to ourselves, we would never be saved….

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Whose Flag Are You Flying?

Lately piracy in the seas around Somalia has been in the news. Just this past weekend the Captain of the Maersk Alabama was rescued from pirates after being held captive for five days. The US military ships surrounded the lifeboat containing the four pirates and the American ship captain. After a standoff, the Navy Seals shot and killed the pirates and rescued the American when the captain was deemed to be at risk of being shot.

Today the news has included several more reports of hijacking and piracy attempts. A pirate has stated that they are actually searching for American ships with the plans to hijack and kill all the Americans. They are specifically looking for the American Flag flying over a ship. This is in retaliation for the Navy killing the pirates in the rescue.

When a ship out at sea is found to be flying an American Flag that means something. What does it mean? It means that the ship is backed by the US government. All terrorism and attacks against the ship run the very high risk of retaliation by the US government.

My studies in military history have shown there is much in a name. While a small country could be at the mercy of pirates, larger countries are not helpless. Countries such as the US can escort ships and they can retaliate in the case of an attack. Also the US has political sway over other countries, granted not as much as before, but we still do. Small countries are dependent on their political allies. This is much of the reason for the First Gulf War – protecting Kuwait from Iraq. There are Fillipinos who have been held captive by pirates since November and there is little their country can and will do about the situation.

So how does this apply here in our Christian Life?

Whose flag are you under? Are you under the flag of the Lord?

In the Bible, the phrase Yehovah Nicciy means Jehovah my banner. Nec (root word) might be translated as banner, flag or standard while the word Degel is also translated flag, banner or standard.

Exodus 17:15-16
15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi:
16 For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
KJV

Exodus 17:15-16
15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord is my banner,
16 saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
ESV

Psalms 60:4 You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah ESV

Song of Solomon 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. ESV

Isaiah 13:2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. KJV

We as those who Christ as ransomed have been sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13-14
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
ESV

We are flying the Lord’s Banner or Flag with the Holy Spirit as our guarantor.

When others decide to “mess with us” then they run the risk of facing the full wrath and fury of the Lord. We are backed by the Lord and all His resources.

However, just like today with the shipping situation, those under the Lord’s banner also risk being singled out by Satan for attacks. Satan hates the Lord and by association us. Satan will do all in his power to attack those flying the Lord’s banner.

As a matter of fact, the Lord has warned us that this will happen.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ESV

Just as the US has warned American ships to be extra vigilant during the recent pirate crises; the Lord has warned us that Satan is sneaking around looking for those who are caught off guard.

But we shouldn’t live in fear because the Lord is on our side.

Psalms 118:4-8
4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7 The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
ESV

Having the Lord as our protection and shield is better than having all the military might of the whole world behind us.

Psalms 18:2-3
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
ESV


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"The Shack" – A Warning

The Shack by William P. Young

The Shack is a book I had planned to just ignore, as just one more thing that needed to be trashed (or bulldozed). I had heard several critical comments and had glanced at them but was not really interested in dealing with it. Then in the course of a week, I have been made aware that a previous acquaintance has a blog with bragging about how life changing the book was to him. Then I saw another website of young moms that were thrilled about how great the book was. It was beginning to sound like the hype about A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Then CBD (Christian Books Distributors) were pushing the book on their website as a top seller. So I had to research the book in order to be able to give a good answer if questioned.

The Characters in The Shack are:

Mack is a father grieving the murder of his daughter years before.

Papa reminds me of Aunt Jemima or Mammy, an older African- American woman, who in the end becomes a pony-tailed, grey-haired man.

Jesus is a young man of Middle – Eastern nationality.

The Holy Spirit is Sarayu, a small, Asian woman.

The following quotes are from:

A Reader’s Review of the Shack   is a 17 page review by Tim Challies of  http://www.challies.com/ & http://www.discerningreader.com/

“A question worth asking is this one: does The Shack point Christians to the unfailing standard of Scripture or does it point them to new and fresh revelation?”

“Though the cross is central to the Bible and central to the Christian faith, it appears only sparingly in The Shack. A person who is unfamiliar with the Christian faith will not be able to glean from this book a biblical understanding of what the cross was for and what Jesus’ death accomplished. Nor will he understand how God saves us and what He saves us from.”

“In fact, God does not need to punish sin at all, says Papa. “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it”” (120). “Those who love me come from every stream that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions”” (182). 


“Jesus says to Mack, “I am the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu.” Jesus does not say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” as he does in John 14:6, but merely states that He is the best way.” “The book presents less than the full gospel message. It teaches that God died for the sins of the whole world and that He now waits for us to respond to this potential gift. It teaches that God does not punish sin, but that sin is sufficient punishment in itself. It opens the possibility that people can come to God in ways other than a saving faith in Jesus Christ.” 

“Quoting Buckminster Fuller, a Unitarian-Universalist who wrote a book entitled I Am a Verb, he has Papa say, “I am a verb. I am that I am. I will be who I will be. I am a verb! I am alive, dynamic, ever active, and moving. I am verb” (204).”

“… in The Shack we find a man who stands in the very presence of God and uses foul language …This is not a man who is in the presence of One who is far superior to Him, but a man who is in the presence of a peer.”

“But this is not all. The discerning reader will note as well that the author muddies the concepts of forgiveness and free will. He introduces teaching that is entirely foreign to the Bible, often stating with certainty what is merely speculative. He oversteps the bounds of Scripture while downplaying the Bible’s importance. He relies too little on Scripture and too much on his own theological imaginings.”

Christian Research Network’sarticle is titled The Shack’s False Godhead

“In The Shack ‘god’ the father is an African American WOMAN called Papa (a goddess!), ‘god’ the son is a plain looking Middle Eastern man with a big nose and ‘god’ the spirit is a small, delicate little Asian girl (another goddess!). The Shack also teaches the heresy of modalism and is chock full of other serious doctrinal errors.”

Quotes from Berit Kjos in Deceived by a counterfeit “Jesus”: The twisted “truths” of The Shack & A Course in Miracles

“That seems to be the aim of The Shack’s female “God.” Here she is speaking to the main character, Mackenzie (Mack for short):

“For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you keep from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning.”[p.93]”

“No one has seen God at any time,” said the true Jesus. (John 1:18) Yet, here we see all three in human form — on earth! “God” explains:

“‘By nature I am completely unlimited… I live in a state of perpetual satisfaction as my normal state of existence:’ she said, quite pleased. ‘Just one of the perks of Me being Me.’ “That made Mack smile. This lady was fully enjoying herself… “We created you to share in that. But then Adam chose to go it on his own, as we knew he would, and everything got messed up. But instead of scrapping the whole Creation we rolled up our sleeves and entered into the middle of the mess—that’s what we have done in Jesus…. When we three spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God, we became fully human. We also chose to embrace all the limitations that this entailed. …flesh and blood.”[p.98-99]”

“In this new story, sin no longer separates unholy people from our holy God. It fits right into postmodern churches that ignore Biblical commands such as “Do not be conformed to the world” and “Abhor evil” (Romans 12:2,9). Chipping away at the reality of sin, guilt and God’s just judgments, this transformational process undermines any real understanding of our need for discernment, repentance or the cross. Even God’s amazing grace becomes meaningless!”

Sermon Audio has a Webcast: The Shack – This Old Heresy

 The actual discussion of The Shack starts around 30 minutes into the audio so you can skip ahead if you want then it ends abruptly at 45 minutes.

Please read this book with much discernment and “be Berean” and compare it to the scriptures.

Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the
Thessalonians,for they received the message with great eagerness and examined
the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true
.” NIV

Eve was the one deceived and we as women will often let our emotions rule our beliefs. Just because something appeals to our emotions does not make it worthy. Fiction either reveals the truths of the Bible and lines up totally with the Bible or it takes away from or adds to the Scripture and teaches falsehoods.

“In one of his first encounters with Papa, “Mack noticed the scars in her wrists, like those he now assumed Jesus also had on his” (95). Note that these scars were present on the wrists of the Father and not just the Son.”


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Holy Spirit

When I have asked how can someone not understand the clarity of the Bible and yet believe someone like Todd Bentley, this was my husband’s response.

1 Cor 2:14-15
14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. NIV


The person who does not have the Spirit of God living within them will never accept the Bible.

The only way anyone can understand anything in the Bible is if it is revealed to him or her by the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 2:15
The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: NIV

The Holy Spirit living within us enables us to make judgments about all things.

The Holy Spirit also enables us to shrug off the judgments of other people who do not have the Holy Spirit.

From “Revelation: Reading Your Bible for All Its Worth” a Bible Study by my husband.

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