Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. (Proverbs 31:10 KJV)
I’m wore out and tired. After two weeks of intensive courses (15 weeks of material in 1 week), I decided to get up today and help my wife have a yard sale while I trimmed bushes and did so much needed grounds keeping around the parsonage and church. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I really have enjoyed my day being outside, even though my skin is now fried on my face and arms.
While I was out today trimming hedges, rose bushes, and a tree, I was reminded of scriptures that tell us about the trimming that needs to take place in our life.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:1-2)
As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. (Proverbs 25:25)
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:26)
Had a friend ask me concerning about the use of the law today. How do we view it? Why does it seem we follow some Old Testament law and not others? This was my answer and a link I found regarding this same thing.
Something that I have observed in many churches and individuals is what I would like to call, “Catch-Phrase Christianity.” I have no problem with sermons and Sunday school lessons that have to deal with a word study or a nice little phrase out of a scripture. The problem though is that many times we see this done as purely motivational. Disregarding any context in the scripture.
Teaching about the Holy Spirit is quite possibly one of the most disregarded subjects of Christianity. For many it is dismissed as a “thing” or it because of a lack of understanding. Some shy away from it because of some church cultures attaching a charismatic emotion solely to the Holy Spirit. Whatever the issue is for someone dismissing the Holy Spirit, the importance of having a correct foundational understanding of the Holy Spirit is needed. John 15:26-16:16 is a brief introduction that Jesus gives to the Holy Spirit. It is a promise of the Spirit’s coming as Jesus tells His disciples that He will leave them soon. At this last supper discourse Jesus encourages disciples in that though He is leaving (16:16) there will be One sent to continue on with them. This leaving and sending is to their “advantage” (John 16:7).
This passage shows the strong relationship of the Spirit to Christ. In John 15:26 and 16:13-15 Jesus shares with His disciples that the Holy Spirit will be a supreme witness and teacher of Christ and His truth. “Accordingly, the disciples should speak with great confidence, knowing that a Greater Witness would attend their words and bring them to bear with telling effectiveness.” In verse 26 Jesus says, “but when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth fromt eh Father, he shall testify of me.” This sending by Jesus of the Spirit that comes to the Father is a very important teaching. In reality it distinguishes the distinctions of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son while keeping the Oneness of God in tact. “The relation of Father and Spirit is described not as generation, as in the case of the Son, but as a sending-forth and a procession.” It is seen that the Spirit proceeds from both the Son and Father. From the Father it is said, “Of the Spirit it is declared that He proceeds from the Father. He executes the designs of the Father.” Also it is said of the Son, “The Third Person is sometimes termed the Spirit of Christ (cf. Rom. 8:9), which title evidently relates Him to the Second Person as One whom the Second Person sends (John 16:7), and who executes the purpose and applies the values which arise in and through the Second Person.” This is reason why the Spirit is able to declare what Jesus has already taught and more of what Jesus wants them to know (16:12-15).
This continuation of Jesus’ ministry towards the disciples and later to modern Disciples of Christ shows the Holy Spirit also has a deep relationship with believers. Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit in this passage as the “Comforter” (Greek paraklētos). “The term paraklētos refers to a legal assistant in a court who pleads someone’s case before the judge.” In other translations the word used is, “Advocate,” meaning helper or one that comes to side. The relationship of the Holy Spirit towards the believer is a beautiful and important thing. “The Spirit regenerates, indwells or anoints, baptizes, seals, and fills, thus not only creating the essential factors which together make the Christ what he is, but empowering him to walk worthy of that high calling.”
Lastly, this passage also points out that the Spirit has its dealings not only with Christ and us but also towards the world. John 16:1-4 records the words of Jesus about the suffering His disciples will endure. To Him is necessary that disciples know they will not face those trials alone. Jesus shares in John 16:8-11 that the Spirit will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. “The Spirit is presented as the One who reproves, or enlightens, the world with respect to sin, righteousness, and judgment.” It is here that we see that the Spirit works out conviction in the heart of unbelievers to bring them to salvation. This is a witness to the world of Christ’s glorious Gospel.
Thus it is that the teaching of the reality of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of men and women, boys and girls, must be faithfully and consistently taught. For it is the work of the Holy Spirit sent by the Son from the Father that grace comes to each person for salvation. It is also through the work of the Holy Spirit that people overcome their temptation and trials. Finally it is through the work of the Holy Spirit that the message and witness of Christ continues to this day.
Dongell, Joseph, John: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, Indianapolis, IN; Wesleyan Publishing House, 1997Oden, Thomas C. Classic Christianity, New York, NY; Harper One Publishers, 1992Chafer, Lewis Sperry, Systematic Theology Vols. 1 & 2, Grand Rapids MI; Kregel Publications, 1976ibid. John D. Barry, Michael R. Grigoni, Michael S. Heiser et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012), Jn 14:26.Chafer, Lewis Sperry, Systematic Theology Vols. 1 & 2, Grand Rapids MI; Kregel Publications, 1976 ibid.
I have never really been into running but have been wanting to take up hiking. For me it’s probably because it offers sanctuary from society and that is good to have sometimes. Three things are beyond my comprehension over the events this week. First, even though at this point it doesn’t matter, is that I don’t know what attracts people to a marathon but I’m sure there are several reasons and probably most are personal. Secondly, that individuals would find it their cause and their pleasure to destroy their fellow man. Thirdly, I also cannot begin to fathom the pain and fear many are experiencing in Boston. Not only is there pain in Boston but also in Texas, Afghanistan, Mexico, England, Korea, Columbus, Ohio and every other square inch of the world. My heart breaks for this world.
Pain, disease, and death were not part of God’s original plan but due to the appearance of it because of man’s sin in the garden God has planned around it. In our life suffering seems to be inescapable but God’s love prevails above it. The apostle Paul writes that there is nothing whether physical or spiritual that can separate us from Gods love.
Expanding My Horizons
There has been a lot of things going on in my life, namely changes in graduate school. A lot of it was unexpected but God has opened up opportunities for Abbie, Josie and myself. What could of been some crazy and unexpected turns ended up being for the best. Since those things have happened there has been an increased desire for me to write. I’m trying to publish a book while finishing my education. That’s fun. The Lord is leading me to doing some more writing and it seems that blogging may be a great avenue to express my thoughts and have them refined in community. Looking for a great time in the future with this adventure in writing!