The old preachers would always remind us that Biblical hope is not just desire but desire plus expectation. The old song says “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Paul wrote of things that would last forever in 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now abide faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Without doubt we know the greatness of love but none of us want to live without hope.
We believe that David wrote these words as he contemplated the challenges of his life: “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.” Within the word translated “mercy” is the idea of God inclining His ear to David as the troubled king prayed. Also in the word is the concept of graciousness. David knew that God would not only hear him but be open to granting his request.
Paul said this: “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign through the One, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17 NKJV). To this add the second part of Romans 5:20: “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” There is a sense in which these two snippets of Scripture encapsulate the entire plan of salvation. Sin came in through the trespass of Adam and Eve. The Law of Moses made the definition of sin plain and clear.
As we conclude we must note that no one in the New Testament is ever saved by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit. Even in the case of the Apostle Paul, God used a preacher to teach Saul of Tarsus the gospel and then to baptize him into Christ (see Acts 9, 22, and 26). See also Romans 1:16. An additional important point of emphasis: The idea that the Holy Spirit lives in people today in some sort of supernatural fashion is false. It cannot be demonstrated as possible from Scripture nor can it be demonstrated empirically.
The Church and the Holy Spirit-2
The reason we are dealing with this subject: many people do not understand the Holy Spirit and His work and are therefore led to accept religious error, such as speaking in tongues, supernatural healing, miracles today and latter-day revelation. The solution to this and similar problems is to turn to the Word of God. When we allow the Bible to be the determining factor we can learn His identity, His work in the past and what the Bible teaches about His work today.
As is the case with many preachers I do a lot of driving at night. The work involves a lot of coming and going. There are speaking appointments, trips to the hospital and visits that need to be made in the evening. Also like most preachers, if I can get back home to my own bed after speaking somewhere I am certainly going to do that. Driving late into the dark night is vastly preferable to tossing and turning in a strange bed.
What is “zeal?” We might define zeal off the top of the head as something like enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is very popular in the larger religious world. But a recent assignment caused me to examine the idea of zeal. The results of that examination led me in a bit of a different direction than defining zeal merely in terms of enthusiasm.
A while back I was approached by a fellow who soon revealed himself to be an expert. It really did not matter what subject was under consideration, he knew everything in the world about it. Over the years I have allowed myself to be frustrated by this kind of person. In more recent times my response to these people has been more of a sad sense of amusement.
One of my favorite men from the last century is Winston Churchill. He was a man of the past in many ways but also an essential man for his time. He loved the idea of the British Empire but had to see it dissolve. He was a conservative politically in a time when socialism was showing great strength in the world. But he was most of all a man who stood for what was right and good in the face of the tremendous power of evil. Many historians argue that without Churchill Great Britain would have fallen to Nazi Germany.
Powered by Drupal
, an open source content management system. iEarth