Holy Ghost Fire

by Rev. Allen Baker – Pastor of Christ Community Presbyterian Church in West Hartford, Connecticut. From Banner of Truth Trust, UK (11/2010)

And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. (Acts 2:3)

If Brett McCracken’s observation is correct — that seventy per cent of those age eighteen to twenty-two, who grew up in the church, leave it never to return again,1 then surely we can agree that the evangelical church is in big trouble. Ever since the late 1970’s when evangelicalism began to suffer the loss of members, she has tried numerous schemes to stop the bleeding. First it was the church growth movement with its emphasis on homogeneity, that we ought to worship with people ‘just like us.’ Then came the seeker friendly movement with its use of drama and ‘how to’, psycho-therapeutic sermons, seeking to reach the Baby Boomer generation who was bored with church. Then came, for a brief period of time, the Emerging Church movement which sought to connect the Generation X culture with the ancient past. And now we have hipster Christianity where pastors don metro-sexual dress, sport $80 haircuts, and use shocking speech and address even more shocking topics from the pulpit in order to reach the Millennial generation.

In each of these movements there can be no doubt that some were truly converted, and surely mega-churches, for good or for ill, have come out of all these approaches. The question, however, is this — are these offerings of strange fire to the Lord? God was terribly displeased with Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, when they brought their strange fire on the altar (Num. 3:4). He killed them on the spot. There are at least three underlying false assumptions in each of these movements. Consequently the embrace of any or all of them will fail to bring the substantial, biblical growth evangelicalism wants and needs. What are they and what is the remedy? First, each of these movements assumes a semi-Pelagian view of man. Pelagius, the fourth century A.D. heretic, denied the doctrine of original sin, believing that mankind therefore was not corrupted by Adam’s fall into sin. In other words, man was completely free to choose or reject the overtures of the gospel. The semi-Pelagian (modern day Arminianism) does not go that far. It says that while man was definitely and adversely affected by Adam’s fall, he still has some ability to decide on his own free will to follow Christ. The moment one takes this position is the moment he becomes a pragmatist in gospel work. If man has the key to the jailhouse of his sin in his pocket, then we ought to use any method necessary to coerce or seduce him to use it. So, anything goes in church services with entertainment, music, sermons. If a sixty year old pastor wants to reach the Millennial and X generations then why not bring his wife on the platform, having a bed there as a prop, and talk openly and specifically about sexual intercourse, urging the married couples to engage in that activity every night for a week?2

The second false assumption is that the Word of God preached is insufficient to get the job done. No evangelical pastor will admit this of course, but this is the practical outcome. Therefore sermons are becoming shorter and shorter, more and more devoid of solid Biblical exposition and content. The emphasis in many churches seems to be on the unbeliever, ‘dumbing down’ the sermon in order to appeal to him, leaving the rest of the congregation spiritually malnourished. No wonder, then, that the problems of marital infidelity, divorce, wayward children, and varied addictions are as rampant inside the church as outside it.

And the third false assumption is that the Word of God is sufficient. ‘Al, what are you saying? Are you contradicting yourself? Didn’t you just say that many today believe the preached word is insufficient? Which is it?’ Here’s what I mean — some who hold to the sufficiency of the preached Word of God believe that is all that is required, that all a preacher needs to do is stand up, open his mouth, after studying well and preparing a good, solid Biblical sermon, and all will be well, that God will bless the simple preaching of the Word. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But this also is a faulty assumption. I hear it all the time from Reformed types. This, however, was not enough for Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, or Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Did they believe in the total inability of man to believe the gospel? Absolutely! Did they believe in the complete sufficiency of Scripture? Yes, of course. But they also believed in the preached Word energized by the Holy Spirit. Their preaching and their lives were marked by Holy Ghost fire. What is that? John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Lord Jesus, said that One was coming who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matt. 3:11). Isaiah said that an angel came and touched his depraved mouth with coals of fire from the altar (Isa. 6:6-7). The men on the road to Emmaus, after hearing Jesus open the Scriptures to them about himself said that their hearts burned within them (Luke 24:32). Malachi said that the coming of the Lord would be like a refiner’s fire (Mal. 3:2-3). Applying the words of the Psalmist, the writer to the Hebrews says that God makes his messengers a flame of fire (Heb. 1:7, Psa. 104:4) Paul tells us that we will be saved by fire (1 Cor. 3:15). Hebrews exhorts us to worship the Lord with reverence, for our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). And Luke says that one of the manifestations of the coming Holy Spirit was tongues that resembled fire (Acts 2:3). This was the fulfilment of John’s words (Luke 3:16).

What does this mean? Fire in the Bible is symbolic of three things — purity, power, and passion. Isaiah is purified by altar coals. Jesus’ baptism of the Spirit and fire promises the coming power of God. And God’s messengers are a flaming fire, filled with passion to take the gospel to the nations. By all means, we ought to reject semi-Pelagianism and what comes from it; but we must also reject the notion that all we need is the sufficiency of the Scripture. We need both the Scripture and the Spirit. We need to take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17) but we must also pray with all perseverance and petition in the Spirit for all the saints, that the Word may go forth with boldness (Eph. 6:18-20). How do we get there? We must have Holy Ghost fire. We must have the unction of the Spirit (1 John 2:20). There is only one way, and that is earnest prayer and supplication, pouring out our hearts to God in repentance, asking for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), seeking his presence and power until we get it (James 4:8). If you are a preacher then make this your highest priority in ministry. If you support your preacher in prayer, and surely you should do so, then pray that the unction, Holy Ghost fire, will come with fulness in purity of motives, power in preaching, and passion in pursuit of ministry. I know — it looks strange, decidedly uncool in our day when hip and laid back is in — but we ought to go to church and watch our pastor burn with Holy Ghost fire as he stands to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ. This is not a casual thing. This is not a ‘maybe you ought to think about it’ proposition. This is life and death (2 Cor. 3-4). Our words are a savour of life unto life or death unto death (2 Cor. 2:15-16).

Samuel Chadwick said that when the church talks a lot about its problems, when conferences increase then she is in trouble. She is looking to activities to overcome the lack of true spiritual power. ‘We are acting as though the only remedy for decline were method, organization, and compromise.’3 Surely we can do better. Surely we must do better. We must have Holy Ghost fire!

Gifts of the Holy Spirit (2) How many gifts are there?

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

See Part 1 here – Gifts of the Holy Spirit – What are spiritual gifts?

from Wayne Grudem’s  BIBLE Doctrine – Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith.

In Part 1 We read regarding Spiritual Gifts in general- 1)Spiritual gifts in the history of redemption and 2) The purpose of gifts in the New Testament age. You can read part 1 here.

The New Testament lists specific spiritual gifts in six different passages. See table here –1 Corinthians 12:28 , 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 7:7, 1 Peter 4:11.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

  1. apostle   – (1-8 from 1 Cor. 12:28)
  2. prophet
  3. teacher
  4. miracles
  5. kinds of healing
  6. helps
  7. administration
  8. tongues
  9. word of wisdom   – (9-13 from 1 Cor. 12:8-10)
  10. word of knowledge
  11. faith
  12. distinguishing between spirits
  13. interpretation of tongues
  14. evangelist        –   (14-15 from Ephesians 4:11)
  15. pastor-teacher
  16. serving    –  (16-20 from Romans 12:6-8)
  17. encouraging
  18. contributing
  19. leadership
  20. mercy
  21. marriage     – (21-22 from 1 Cor. 7:7)
  22. celibacy

1 Peter 4:11 whoever speaks (covering several gifts) and whoever renders service (also covering several gifts). Click to read more…

Mai mult

Gifts of the Holy Spirit – What are spiritual gifts?

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

from Wayne Grudem’s  BIBLE Doctrine – Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith.

In previous generations, systematic theology books did not have chapters on spiritual gifts. But the 20th century has seen a remarkable increase in interest in spiritual gifts, primarily because of the influence of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements within the church.

We may define spiritual gifts as follows: A spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church. This broad definition includes both gifts that are related to natural abilities (such as teaching, showing mercy, or administration) and gifts that seem to be more „miraculous” and less related to natural abilities (such as prophecy, healing, or distinguishing between spirits). The reason for this is that when Paul lists spiritual gifts (in Rom. 12:6-8); 1 Cor. 7:7; 12:8-10, 28; and Eph. 4:11) he includes both kinds of gifts. Yet not every natural ability is included here, because Paul is clear that all spiritual gifts must be empowered „by one and the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:11), that they are given”for the common good” (1 Cor.12:7), and that they are all to be used for „edification”(1 Cor. 14:26), or for building up the church.

1. Spiritual gifts in the history of redemption. Certainly the Holy Spirit was at work in the Old Testament, bringing people to faith and working in remarkable ways in a few individuals such as Moses or Samuel, David or Elijah. But in general there was a less powerful activity of the Holy Spirit in the lives of most believers. There was little effective evangelism of the nations, there was no casting out of demons, miraculous healing was uncommon(though it did happen, especially in the ministries of Elijah and ELisha), prophecy was restricted to a few prophets or small bands of prophets, and there was very little experienceof what New Testament believers would call „resurrection power” over sin, in the sense of Romans 6:1-14 and Philipians 3:10.

The pouring out of the Holy Spirit in new covenant fullness and power in the church occurred at Pentecost. With this a new era in redemptive history was inaugurated, and the new covenant empowering of the Holy Spirit that had been prophesied by the Old Testament prophets (cf. Joel 2:28-29) had come to God’speople; the new covenant age had begun. And one characteristic of this new era was a widespread distribution of spiritual gifts to all people who were made partakers of this new covenant – sons and daughters, young men and old men, menservants and maidservants– all received a new covenant empowering of the Holy Spirit, and it would also be expected that all would receive gifts of the Holy Spirit then as well.

2. The purpose of spiritual gifts in the New Testament age. Spiritual gifts are given to equip the church to carry out its ministry until Christ returns. Paul tells the Corinthians, „You are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7). Here he connects the possession of spiritual gifts and their situation in the history of redemption (waiting for Christ’s return), suggesting that gifts are given to the church for the period between Christ’s ascension and his return. Similarly, Paul looks forward to the time of Christ’s return and says, „When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away”(1 Cor. 13:10)…The pouring out of the Holy Spirit in „power’ at Pentecost (Acts 1:8) was to equip the church to preach the gospel (Acts 1:8)–something that will continue until Christ returns.And Paul reminds believers that in the use of spiritual gifts they are to „strive to excel in building up the church” (1 Cor. 14:12).

But spiritual gifts not only equip the church for the time until Christ returns, they also give a foretaste of the age to come.Paul reminds the Corinthians that they were „enriched” in all their speech and all their knowledge, and that the result of this enriching was that they were „not lacking in any spiritual gift” (1 Cor.1:5-7). Just as the Holy Spirit himself is in this age a „down payment”(2 Cor. 1:22 cf. 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:14) of the fuller work of the Holy Spirit within us in the age to come, so the gifts of the Holy Spirit gives us are foretastes of the fuller working of the Holy Spirit that will be ours in the age to come.

In this way gifts of insight and discernment prefigure the much greater discernment we will have when Christ returns. Gifts of knowledge and wisdom prefigure the much greater wisdom that will be ours when we „know as we are known” (cf. 1 Cor.13:12). Gifts of healing give a foretaste of the perfect health which will be ours when Christ grants to us resurrection bodies. Similar parallels could be found with all the New Testament gifts. Even the diversity of gifts should lead to greater unity and interdependence in the church (see 1 Cor.12:12-13, 24-25; Eph. 4:13), and this diversity in unity will itself be a foretaste of the unity which believers will have in heaven.

3. How many gifts are there? The New Testament epistles list specific spiritual gifts in six different passages. Consider the following table:

1 Corinthians 12:28                    Ephesians 4:11

1. apostle                                            (1) apostle

2. prophet                                          (2) prophet

3. teacher                                          14 evangelist

4. miracles                                         15 pastor-teacher

5. kinds of healing

6. helps                                             Romans 12:6-8

7. administration                            (2) prophecy

8. tongues                                           16 serving

1 Corinthians 12:8-10               (3) teaching

9. word of wisdom                           17 encouraging

10. word of knowledge                   18 contributing

11. faith                                                 19 leadership

(5)  gifts of healing                            20 mercy

(4)  miracles

(2) prophecy                                    1 Corinthians 7:7

12. distinguishing                             21 marriage

between spirits                                  22 celibacy

(8) tongues

13. interpretation of   Tongues

1 Peter 4:11

Whoever speaks (covering several gifts)

Whoever renders service (covering several gifts)

(Tomorrow in Part 2 – more on the number of gifts, the variation in the strength of the gifts and discovering and seeking spiritual gifts)

Also in this series – in Part 3 – the debate on the validity vs. cessation of the spiritual gifts.

The Last Instructions of Jesus (Tenth Resurrection Appearance) and His Ascension

Ultimile Instructiuni ale Domnului Isus

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

After Jesus’ resurrection, he was on earth for 40 days (Acts 1:3), then He led His followers out to Bethany, just outside Jerusalem, and „lifting up His hands, He blessed them. While He blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51).
John 21:1-23 relates the story of the last appearance of Jesus after His     resurrection.  Then Matthew’s center of these instructions is the future mission to spread the good news through baptism and teaching (Matthew 28:18-20). In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus teaches them to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins  (Matthew 24:47). In the fourth Gospel, Jesus breathes on the disciples the Holy Spirit, thereby empowering them to continue his mission, including the forgiveness of sins (John 20:22-23).

TENTH  RESURRECTION  APPEARANCE

From the upper room to the Mount of Olives. Mark 16:19, 20  Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:4-11.

A. Jesus blesses them and promises the baptism of the Spirit.

B. He orders them to witness for Him:

  1. In Jerusalem
  2. In Judea
  3. In Samaria
  4. unto the uppermost parts of the earth.

C. He is received up into glory to the right hand of the Father.

D. This is the Old Testament Prophecy fulfillment number 38, that He would ascend. (Compare Psalm 24:7-10 with Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51). Did the resurrected Christ appear before any unsaved individuals? On the strength of Matthew 23:37-39 it would seem He did not.

„O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

These words conclude  the Bible’s account of the greatest  life that was ever lived. It should, however be said that His glory story is not limited to the four Gospel accounts. In fact, each of the sixty-six Biblical books presents a glimpse of this marvelous and mighty Messiah. Note the following „scriptural summary of the Savior”:

Christ in every book (of the Bible)

Christ is the theme of the entire revelation of God. He is promised in Genesis, revealed in the Law, prefigured in its history, praised in poetry, proclaimed in its prophecy, provided in its Gospels, proved in its Acts, preeminent in its Epistles and prevailing in Revelation.

(thanks to Gabi Bogdan for above video, illustrating Christ in every book, through song)

He is seen in every book of the Bible. Take a journey through the Halls of Holy Writ and and in every one of them you will see Christ. Starting with Genesis He is the seed of the woman; in Exodus the Lamb for sinners slain; in Leviticus, our High Priest; in Numbers, the Star of Jacob and the Brazen Serpent; in Deuteronomy,  the Prophet like unto Moses and the Great Rock; in Joshua, the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts; in Judges the Messenger of Jehovah; in Ruth our Kinsman-Redeemer and the Faithful Bridegroom; in 1 Samuel He is seen as the Great Judge; in 2 Samuel as the Princely King; in 1st Kings as David’s Choice; in  2 Kings as the Holiest of All; in 1 Chronicles as King by Birth; in 2 Chronicles as King by Judgement.

In Ezra He is seen as Lord of heaven and earth; in Nehemiah as builder; in Esther our Mordecai; in Job our Daysman and our Risen,  returning Redeemer; in Psalms the Son of God and the Good Shepherd; in Proverbs our Wisdom; in Ecclesiastes as the One above the sun; in Song of Solomon the great Church lover; the one Altogether Lovely and the Chiefest among ten thousand. (VIA)

The ascent into heaven

Only Mark (longer version) and Luke include an account of the ascension. For the other evangelists, Jesus’ return to the Father is taken for granted (implied). Luke wants both to round up (finish) his Gospel and to provide a link with his second volume, The Acts of the Apostles. Favorite themes, first appearing in his infancy narratives, are all fitted into these final two verses–journey, Jerusalem, rejoicing, prayers of praise(Luke 24:52-53). Jesus is portrayed as lifting His hands in blessing over the small group of disciples; in Acts 1:6-11, He will commission them to extend this blessing to the entire world and thus throughout the ages. (VIA)

Gicu Stan – Duhul Sfant: Botezul cu Duhul Sfant si Vorbirea in Limbi – Logos Podcast Interviu, realizat de Dan Miclea

Dan Miclea: Bun venit la emisiunea Logos, unde o sa vorbim azi de lucrarea Duhului Sfant, Duhul Sfant ca persoana. Il avem cu noi pe fratele Gicu Stan.

Asculta emisiunea aici:
http://www.logospodcasting.com/gicu-stan-botezul-in-duhul-si-vorbirea-in-limbi

Cincizecimea photo wikipedia

Gicu Stan: Ce este de facut atunci, fratilor, cand va adunati laolalta, daca unul din voi are o cantare, altul o invatatura, altul o descoperire, altul o vorba in alta limba, altul o talmacire. Totul sa se faca spre zidirea bisericii. Stiti ce surprinde aici, din pasajul acesta? Apostolul, si printre altele abordeaza vorbirea intre alte limbi si spune ca daca unul are o vorbire in alta limba, altul o talmacire, cum e cu vorbirea asta in alta limba. Pentru ca in Faptele Ap. 2, citim ca atunci cand Duhul Sfant s-a coborat peste cei aproape 120 care erau in odaia de sus, spune Scriptura ca de-odata toti au inceput sa vorbeasca in alte limbi, dupa cum le da Duhul sa vorbeasca. Aici, apostolul spune in continuare in vers. 27: Daca sunt unii care vorbesc in alta limba, – ceea ce intelegem, ca nu toti vorbeau in alta limba. Calatorind si prin tara si in afara tarii,  mi-am dat seama ca in ce priveste lucrarea aceasta a Duhului Sfant, a botezului, a umplerii cu Duhul Sfant, sunt multe semne de intrebare. Si in cele spirituale, niciodata nu ne vom ridica mai sus decat intelegerea pe care o avem, decat cunoasterea pe care o avem, inclusiv despre credinta.

Apostolul Pavel spune in Romani 10:17  astfel: credinţa vine în urma auzirii; iar auzirea vine prin Cuvîntul lui Hristos. Deci, credinta, ca sa existe in vietile noastre, mai intai trebuie sa avem cunoasterea. Daca avem o baza corecta, cunoastere corecta, atunci, aplicand cunoasterea aceea vietilor noastre,  avem sansa sa ajungem la un crez corect. Dar niciodata in cele spirituale, noi nu ne vom ridica mai sus decat intelegerea pe care o avem, cunoasterea pe care o avem. Ei, calatorind prin tara, calatorind in afara tarii mi-am dat seama ca la capitolul acesta al botezului, al umplerii cu Duhul Sfant e multa confuzie. Am inteles ca sunt cel putin 3 probleme care trebuiesc clarificate in ce priveste lucrarea aceasta a botezului, a umplerii cu Duhul Sfant.

  1. Cand s-a nascut Biserica Domnului?
  2. Daca exista vreo diferenta intre manifestarea Duhului Sfant  inainte de Cincizecime si dupa Cincizecime,
  3. Si o a treia, poate putin mai delicata. Unde e frontiera care desparte insusirile noastre native, cat si cele pe care noi le dobandim prin instruire de darurile pe care le imparte Duhul Sfant?

Pentru ca gasim cantareti buni si in biserica, dar gasim cantareti buni si in afara bisericii. Gasim oratori buni in afara bisericii, si din cand in cand mai gasim si prin biserici. Nu putini sunt cei care spun: ,,Domnule, asta-i darul pe care Duhul Sfant mi l-a dat mie.” Ba, in acelasi timp, Scriptura ne indreptateste sa credem ca sunt anumite lucrari pe plan spiritual care se pot face fara sa fi trait Cincizecimea, fara ca sa fi trait botezul sau umplerea cu Duhul Sfant, cum o numeste Scriptura. Timpul in seara aceasta nu ne permite sa le abordam pe toate cele 3 aspecte. Dar as vrea, asa sumar, sa trecem peste ele.

(1) Inteleg, bazat pe anumite pasaje in sfanta Scriptura ca Biserica Domnului s-a nascut in seara invierii, nu la Cincizecime. Daca Biserica Domnului s-a nascut la Cincizecime, atunci nasterea din nou si botezul cu Duhul Sfant sunt doua evenimente care au loc in acelasi timp. Deci, cand m-am intors la Dumnezeu si L-am primit pe Isus Hristos ca Domn si Mantuitor al vietii mele s-a realizat si nasterea din nou si botezul cu Duhul Sfant. Ori, Evanghelia lui Ioan, cap. 20, care ne vorbeste despre intalnirea Domnului Isus Hristos cu ucenicii in seara invierii, spune acolo Scriptura ca s-au bucurat  cand L-au vazut pe Domnul si Domnul acolo-i trecut cu D mare. Deasemenea, Scriptura ne spune ca dintre cei 11, unul lipsea. Stim ca al 12-lea, Iuda, isi pusese capat zilelor. Dar Toma nu era cu ei. Si se intalnesc astia 10, care fusesera colegi in aceeasi scoala, cea mai buna scoala teologica ce a existat vreodata in lumea noastra. Se intalnesc cu fostul lor coleg de teologie, cu Toma. Si spun: ,,Toma, a inviat Domnul!” Si el spune: ,,Ce? Cum? Nu cred!”
,,Dar noi am stat de vorba cu El. I-am vazut mainile si coasta!”
Si ce zice Toma?: ,,Daca nu voi pune eu mana mea in coasta Lui si degetul meu in rana Lui n-am sa cred.”

Si zece se straduiesc sa-l treaca din tabara necredinciosilor in tabara credinciosilor si nu reusesc. Si dupa 8 zile, din nou ucenicii erau impreuna si era si Toma cu ei. Si vine Domnul. Cand vine Domnul, intotdeauna El vine la mijloc. El nu vine ca spectator [ca] sa vada ce se intampla la biserica. Nu, nu. De multe ori noi Il chemam sa fie musafirul nostru. Nu. Domnul e Stapanul Bisericii. Si El cand vine in Biserica, El vine ca Stapan. Ca Domn. Ca Pastor al Bisericii. A venit si s-a asezat in mijloc. N-are de a face cu ceilalti 10, ci se indreapta spre Toma. Si spune: ,,Toma, vino si fa experimentul.” Nu gasim scris ca a mai avut curajul sa duca mana in semnul cuielor si sa verifice prin simturile lui tactile, sa vada, ii asa sau nu-i asa? Dar a facut doua mari afirmatii acolo despre Domnul Isus Hristos: ,,Esti Domnul meu si esti Dumnezeul meu!”

Prin faptul ca Toma nu credea ca Isus inviase din morti, stiti in ce situatie se gasea el? Pentru el, Isus nu era Fiul lui Dumnezeu, deci nu era ceea ce a spus ca este si anume: Dumnezeu adevarat din Dumnezeu adevarat. Si in al doilea rand, necrezand in invierea Lui, pentru el, jertfa pe care Domnul Isus a dus-o la Golgota nu reprezenta unica solutie randuita de Dumnezeu Tatal pentru mantuirea noastra. Dar cand se intalneste cu El, se prabuseste inaintea Lui si spune: ,,Esti Domnul meu si Dumnezeul meu!” Ce inseamna cand cineva spune despre Domnul Isus Hristos ca-i Dumnezeul lui? El recunoaste ca Isus exista din eternitate cu Dumnezeu, ca la implinirea vremii a venit in lumea noastra, S-a intrupat, a trait printre noi plin de har si de adevar, la timpul stabilit de Dumnezeu Tatal s-a dus la Golgota si a platit pretul mantuirii noastre. Ca dovada faptului ca moartea Lui a fost o moarte reala, a fost coborat si a stat in groapa rece a mormantului. De acolo, Dumnezeu L-a inviat, asa cum spune Romani 1:4: (1) dovedindu-L cu putere ca-I Fiul Lui si (2) ca jertfa care El a adus-o la Golgota este si ramane solutia randuita de Dumnezeu Tatal pentru mantuirea noastra. Si Toma spune: ,,Da, cred asta.” Dar nu numai atat. ,,Nu numai ca esti Dumnezeul meu, esti si Domnul meu!” Atunci cand cineva traieste ceea ce Scriptura numeste nasterea din nou, el trebuie sa faca din Domnul Isus, Dumnezeul lui si in al doilea rand sa faca din El Domnul vietii sale. Adica, din momentul acela frang voia mea in fata vointei Lui si spun:  ,,De azi inainte, 24 din 24 de ore  inima mea va bate pentru Tine.”

Ceilalti 10 erau convertiti? Traisera nasterea din nou, dar au trait-o cu opt seri mai in urma, cand in seara invierii, Domnul a venit si le-a aratat mainile si coasta. Si spune: s-au bucurat cand au vazut pe Domnul. Si acolo spune Scriptura ca Domnul a suflat peste ei si le-a zis: ,,Luati Duh Sfant.” Au luat Duh Sfant? Dar, [tot] la acestia le spune: ,,Sa nu va departati de Ierusalim pana veti fi imbracati cu o putere de sus, si apoi veti fi martori.” Intreband cu ceva vreme in urma pe niste tineri, ca ei sunt mai deschisi pentru dialog: ,,Au primit s-au n-au primit?” –  ,,Da, nu, nu stiu.” Le-am spus: ,,Daca Scriptura spune Da, atunci asa este.” Domnul a suflat peste ei si a zis: ,,Luati Duh Sfant!” Dar ce inteleg de aici? Duhul Sfant pe care ei l-au luat atunci in seara invierii cand Domnul a suflat peste ei, nu-i altceva decat lucrarea Duhului Sfant care prin Cuvantul Scripturilor realizeaza in noi nasterea din nou. Acolo era prezent Cuvantul Intrupat, spune in Ioan 1 ca la inceput era Cuvantul si Cuvantul era cu Dumnezeu si Cuvantul era Dumnezeu. Si mai jos spune: Si Cuvantul s-a facut trup si a locuit printre noi plin de har si de adevar. Deci acolo era Cuvantul si acolo era Duhul Sfant.

photo credit vimeo.com

Deci, in seara invierii, Duhul Sfant despre care vorbeste acolo evanghelistul este lucrarea Duhului Sfant care prin Cuvantul Scripturilor realizeaza in noi nasterea din nou. Cincizecimea este o lucrare aparte. Deci, una este nasterea din nou si alta este Cincizecimea. Stand de vorba cu tineri, pentru ca spuneam, ei sunt deschisi dialogului. Ii intrebam: ,,Cum stati? Asta e Cincizecimea?” Dar zice: ,,Frate Gicu, ce vrei sa ne intrebi? Daca vorbim in alte limbi?” Am zis: ,,Nu numai asta. Dar si asta.” Si au spus: ,,Putem sa va punem cateva intrebari?” Am zis: ,,Sigur, aveti toata libertatea!”
Au zis: ,,Frate Gicu, David a avut Duhul Sfant?”
Am zis: ,,Da, spune Scriptura in Psalmul 51 ca la un moment dat, David se roaga: ‘Doamne, nu lua Duhul Tau cel Sfant de la mine.” Zic: ,,A avut, cum sa nu-L aiba?”
Dar zice: ,,A vorbit in alte limbi?”
,,Scriptura tace. Unde Scriptura tace, trebuie sa tacem si noi.”
Au venit mai aproape si au zis: ,,Frate Gicu, Ioan Botezatorul a avut Duhul Sfant?”
Si am zis: ,,O, despre Ioan Botezatorul spune Scriptura ca s-a umplut de Duhul Sfant inca din pantecele mamei lui. Deci a avut.”
,,Da, dar a vorbit in alte limbi?”
,,Scriptura tace.”
,,Mai avem o intrebare: Domnul Isus a avut Duhul Sfant?”

,,O – zic, –  despre Domnul Isus spune Scriptura ca I s-a dat Duhul fara masura!”
Si zice: ,,A vorbit in alte limbi?”
Inclusiv cuvintele care le-a rostit pe cruce, au fost rostite in limba aramaica. Si au zis: ,,Frate Gicu si noi avem Duhul Sfant. Dar eu n-am semnul asta de a vorbi in alte limbi. Eu am un alt semn.”

Fratii mei, noi n-avem voie sa ne zidim crezul nostru pe experientele noastre. Crezul nostru trebuie sa fie zidit pe Cuvantul Scripturilor. Daca experientele se incadreaza in Cuvantul Scripturilor, sunt bune. Daca nu, oricat am fi noi de indragostiti de ele, daca n-au acoperire in Cuvantul Scripturilor trebuie sa avem taria sa le aruncam la cosul de gunoi, pentru ca Dumnezeu n-are nimic de-a face cu ele. Pavel spune in 1 Corinteni 15: ,,ne mantuim dupa Evanghelie.” Ca si mantuiti, trebuie sa ne traim viata dupa Evanghelie si in Romani 2:16 spune ca intr-o zi, Dumnezeu prin Hristos Isus v-a judeca lucrurile ascunse ale oamenilor dupa Evanghelie. Vreau sa va spun ca m-au pus pe jar. Am mai gasit in Scriptura cateva pasaje care au amplificat framantarile mele. In Ioan 7, gasim acolo spunandu-se ca in ziua de pe urma, care era ziua cea mare a praznicului, Isus a statut in picioare si-a strigat. Si atat de tare a strigat Domnul ca se aude si astazi. ,,Daca inseteaza cineva,”- spunea Domnul, „sa vina la Mine si sa bea. Celui ce crede in Mine, din inima lui vor curge rauri de apa vie.” Si acolo completeaza evanghelistul si spune: ,,spunea aceste lucruri despre Duhul care aveau sa-l primeasca cei ce vor crede in Isus, fiindca Duhul Sfant nu fusese dat, pentru ca Isus nu fusese proslavit.”

Cum „nu fusese dat Duhul Sfant”? Nu fusese Duhul Sfant si nu fusese peste Domnul Isus Hristos? Citim in Evanghelia lui Luca despre batranul Simion care a adus o viata fara de prihana si Duhul lui Dumnezeu era peste el. Si spune acolo Scriptura despre plinatatea Duhului Sfant. Si Domnul instiintase din timp ca el nu va muri pana cand va vedea pe sfantul lui Israel. Si in ziua cand parintii cu pruncul Isus se duceau la Templu, ca sa implineasca in dreptul Lui ceea ce spunea legea, Duhul Sfant ii spune: ,,Du-te, ca acuma vine Mesia.” Si cand ajung parintii cu pruncul, el e prezent acolo, Il ia pe brate, binecuvanteaza pe Dumnezeu si spune: ,,Doamne, slobozeste acuma in pace pe robul Tau ca ochii mei au vazut mantuirea Ta.” Scriptura vorbeste despre Ana proorocita, care si ea, manata de Duhul Sfant in ceasul acela, a venit la Templu si vorbea oamenilor despre Isus. Ba spune Scriptura tot in Evanghelia dupa Luca despre Zaharia, ca intra in scoala suferintei, a durat intre 9-10 luni scoala aceea. Si cand iese din scoala suferintei, spune Scriptura ca se umple de Duhul Sfant si incepe sa prooroceasca. Si Ioan spune acolo: ,,Duhul Sfant nu fusese dat fiindca Isus nu fusese inca proslavit.”

Cum nu fusese dat Duhul Sfant? Il gasim pe Domnul Isus in Ioan 16 spunandu-le ucenicilor: „Ma duc la Tatal,” si cand a spus asta, spune Scriptura ca inima lor s-a umplut de intristare. Si Domnul revine: „E spre folosul vostru sa ma duc, ca daca nu ma duc Eu, nu vine Mangaietorul.” Cum nu vine Mangaietorul? Cum? Cateva saptamani ma culcam seara cu problema aceasta in mintea mea. Uneori, ma trezeam noaptea si ma intorceam de pe o parte pe alta in pat si ma intrebam: ,,Doamne, ce ai vrut sa spui prin Cuvantul Scripturilor? Ca Duhul Sfant nu fusese dat, ca Domnul Isus nu fusese proslavit, cand Duhul Sfant era in lume in vremea aceea?” Cand Domnul Isus Hristos tinea cuvantarea aceea in ziua de pe urma, care era ziua cea mare a praznicului, Duhul Sfant era peste Domnul Isus Hristos. Duhul Sfant fusese peste proorocii Vechiului Testament. Ne spune Scriptura ca Duhul a miscat pe Samson odata intre Ţorea şi Eştaol, i-a pus limitele si acolo il insotea Duhul Sfant si acolo, Duhul Sfant era peste el.

Si spune aici: Duhul Sfant nu fusese dat fiindca Isus nu fusese inca proslavit. Citind Scripturile mi-am pus urmatoarea intrebare: cea de-a doua persoana a divinitatii, Mesia, a mai vizitat lumea noastra pana la intrupare? Da. Gasim pasaje in Vechiul Testament care ne indreptatesc sa credem ca El a mai vizitat lumea noastra pana la intrupare. Dar ascultati-ma, intruparea Domnului Isus Hristos a fost o premiera nu in istoria omenirii, ci a fost o premiera in istoria cosmosului, in felul in care cea de-a doua persoana a divinitatii a vizitat lumea noastra. Cum ne-a vizitat prin intrupare si cum ne-a vorbit Dumnezeu prin Fiul, nu mai facuse pana atunci. Deci a fost ceva, o premiere, ceva ce nu mai fusese pana atunci, in ce priveste felul in care cea de-a doua persoana a divinitatii a vizitat lumea noastra prin intrupare.

Venind la Duhul Sfant al lui Dumnezeu, stiti ce am inteles? Ca Cincizecimea a insemnat o premiera in felul in care Duhul Sfant a venit in Biserica Domnului. Ceva nou, ce nu mai fusese pana atunci. Si stiti ce le-am spus? Nu cautati vorbire in limbi la David, ca n-o veti gasi, asa cum nu gasiti pe Hristosul crucificat inainte de intrupare. Nu cautati vorbire in limbi la Ioan Botezatorul, ca n-o veti gasi pentru ca ea apartine de aici, de la Cincizecime incoace, nu inainte de Cincizecime. E un fel nou in care Duhul Sfant a inceput sa lucreze in Biserica Domnului.

Dar, tot ei spuneau: „Frate Gicu, tu crezi ce spune in Scriptura?”
Si am spus: „Cum sa nu cred ce spune Scriptura?”
Zice: „Stii ce scrie in 1 Corinteni 12?”
Am zis: „Hai sa citim.” Spune Scriptura asa, incepand cu vres. 28: Şi Dumnezeu a rînduit în Biserică, întîi, apostoli; al doilea, prooroci; al treilea, învăţători; apoi, pe ceice au darul minunilor; apoi pe cei ce au darul tămăduirilor, ajutorărilor, cîrmuirilor, şi vorbirii în felurite limbi. 29 Oare toţi sînt apostoli? Toţi sînt prooroci? Toţi sînt învăţători? Toţi sînt făcători de minuni? 30 Toţi au darul tămăduirilor? Toţi vorbesc în alte limbi? Toţi tălmăcesc? 31 Umblaţi dar după darurile cele mai bune. Şi vă voi arăta o cale nespus mai bună.
Mi-au sis: „Frate Gicu, daca Scriptura spune aici ca nu toti vorbesc in alte limbi, de ce sustii invatatura ca toti cei care traiesc Cincizecimea, pe langa altele trebuie sa fie prezenta si vorbirea in alte limbi? Cand Scriptura spune ca nu toti vorbesc in alte limbi si nu toti talmacesc.
Si am spus: „Voi aveti dreptate. Da, asa este cum scrie aici. Nu toti vorbesc in alte limbi.

Dar in 1 Corinteni 12 ap. Pavel abordeaza darurile pe care Duhul Sfant le imparte, odata ce El a venit in viata credinciosului. Pentru ca este scris: Duhul Sfant da fiecaruia in parte cum voieste El. Si ceea ce spune el aici in 1 Corinteni 11 si in versetul ce s-a citit din 1 Corinteni 14, e vorba despre darul vorbirii in alte limbi. Nu e vorba despre ‘vorbirea in alte limbi’ din Ziua Cincizecimii. Ascultati ce spune Scriptura in 1 Corinteni 14:2 ‘În adevăr, cine vorbeşte în altă limbă, nu vorbeşte oamenilor, ci lui Dumnezeu; căci nimeni nu -l înţelege, şi, cu duhul, el spune taine.‘ Deci vorbirea aceasta nu-i adresata oamenilor, ci lui Dumnezeu. Asta nu-i vorbirea in alte limbi din 1 Corinteni 12.

In 1 Corinteni 12 ap. Pavel vorbeste despre darurile pe care le imparte Duhul Sfant odata venit in viata credinciosului.(22) Si unul dintre ele este si darul vorbirii in alte limbi. Si cum se manifesta acesta? Sub inspiratia Duhului Sfant  mesajul pleaca din partea lui Dumnezeu. Se manifesta prin cel ce are darul. El trebuie sa se manifeste public; trebuie sa fie talmacit si trebuie sa aduca zidire altora, asa cum spunea aici in 1 Corinteni 14- Toate sa se faca spre zidirea sufleteasca. Invatatura, cantarea, vorbirea in alta limba, talmacirea. Deci toate sa se faca spre zidirea sufleteasca. Cand e vorba de darul vorbirii in alte limbi, deci, sub inspiratia Duhului Sfant, mesajul vine din partea lui Dumnezeu, porneste de acolo, se manifesta prin cel ce are darul. Trebuie sa fie talmacit, trebuie sa se manifeste public si sa aduca zidire altora. Asta-i darul si nu toti vorbesc in alte limbi. Nu toti.

Am avut bucuria in timpul care s-a scurs sa particip la seri de partasie, la servicii de partasie in care s-a manifestat felul acesta de lucrare a Duhului Sfant, prin vorbire in alte limbi si prin talmacire. E atata de frumos. Incepea vorbirea in alte limbi prin unu, prin altul se deda talmacirea. Cand cel care talmacea spunea ‘Amin’, cel ce vorbea in alte limbi s-a oprit. Asta- i darul si nu toti au darul. In Ziua CIncizecimii, cand spune Scriptura: „Si toti, deodata, au inceput sa vorbeasca in alte limbi, dupa cum le da Duhul sa vorbeasca.” A fost darul vorbirii in alte limbi?” N-a fost talmacit. Da, acolo a fost un mesaj care s-a dat pe intelesul prozelitilor prezenti in Ierusalim. Si cu ceva ani in urma, un profesor de studiu biblic la o scoala crestina din Cluj m-a sunat si mi-a zis: „Frate Gicu, vreau sa stau de vorba cu dvs.” M-am dus intr-una din zile la scoala si-mi zice: „Auzi, am auzit ca esti suparat pe mine.” I-am spus: „Bine ai auzit, pentru ca eu ii invat pe tineri intr-un fel in biserica si tu in scoala ii inveti altfel.”

„Pai,” zice, „uite care-i problema. Am 4 ore care sunt destinate pentru subiectul asta a botezului cu Duhul Sfant. Vino in scoala si ti le ofer tie; vorbesti tu elevilor despre botezul cu Duhul Sfant.” I-am spus: „Nu asta-i solutia. Daca facem asa, cineva v-a fi discreditat in scoala asta ca nu-i competent sa abordeze subiectul asta. Solutia este sa stam la masa, sa luam Scriptura si sa vedem ce spune Scriptura.”  „Frate Gicu, dar a fost prezenta vorbirea in limbi in Fapte 2, pentru ca a fost un mesaj pe intelesul prozelitilor veniti la Ierusalim.” Am zis”Bine, dar in Fapte 10?” „Pai, in Fapte 10 a trebuit sa fie o marturie puternica pentru Petru si pentru cei 6 care-l insoteau, ca Domnul a deschis usa mantuirii si pentru neamuri si de aia a fost rpezenta vorbirea in alte limbi acolo.” Zic: „Sa fie asa cum spui tu. Cu toate ca nu cred asa. Dar, hai sa facem un pas mai departe in Scriptura,” si ne-am dus in Fapte 19. Scriptura ne spune acolo, ca ap. Pavel in timp ce predica Evanghelia ajunge in Efes si acolo ii intalneste pe cei 12 ucenici si-i intreaba: „Ati primit voi Duhul Sfant cand ati crezut?” Si astia au fost oameni sinceri, n-au vrut sa spuna: ‘L-am primit atunci.’ Nu, nu. Au zis: „Noi nici n-am auzit ca s-a dat un Duh Sfant.” Si cu voi, cu ce botezati?” „Cu botezul lui Ioan.” Eh, ce a facut Pavel? L-a propovaduit pe Domnul Isus Hristos, i-a botezat in numele Domnului Isus Hristos, si cand si-a pus mainile peste ei s-a coborat Duhul Sfant peste ei.(26) Si din context reiese ca toti au inceput sa vorbeasca in alte limbi si sa prooroceasca.

Si intrebarea mea pentru el a fost urmatoarea: „Daca in Fapte 2, vorbirea in alte limbi a fost necesara pentru prozelitii din Ierusalim, daca in Fapte 10 vorbirea a fost necesara pentru Petru si ceilalti ca sa aiba un argument puternic pentru biserica din Ierusalim, ca Domnul a deschis usa mantuirii pentru oameni in Fapte 19, de ce toti, ca din context reiese ca toti au inceput sa vorbeasca in alte limbi si sa prooroceasca. De ce toti? Pentru cine trebuia sa fie argumentul asta puternic al botezului cu Duhul Sfant? Pentru cine? Pentru ca, daca cineva era pregatit in sensul acesta, ca poate sa aiba loc botezul cu Duhul Sfant fara vorbiri in alte limbi? Am zis, printre ei trebuia sa se numere si cel care a fost ap. Pavel. De ce toti? De ce?

A ridicat din umeri si a spus: „Ramane o problema de studiu si de cercetare pentru viitor. Eh, ce inteleg ca la botezul cu Duhul Sfant, cand Duhul Sfant vine si se coboara peste credincios, ia in primire duhul credinciosului, mintea lui e fara rod- adica, nu cadem in transa, nu ne pierdem cunostinta si nu mai stim ce se intampla cu noi. Nu. Nu. Noi ramanem perfect constienti. Vine Duhul Sfant, ia in primire duhul nostru, prin gura noastra El se roaga, si mintea n-are nici o contributie la cuvintele care le vorbim. In situatia aceasta, vedeti, sub inspiratia Duhului Sfant, vorbirea porneste de la credincios si se inalta catre Dumnezeu. E exact ce spunea ap. Pavel in 1 Corinteni 14 „In adevar, cine vorbeste in alta limba, nu vorbeste oamenilor, ci lui Dumnezeu. Caci cu Duhul el spune taine si nimeni nu-l intelege.” Asta-i vorbirea de la botezul cu Duhul Sfant. Deci, vine Duhul Sfant, ia in primire duhul meu, mintea mea e fara rod- adica, ea n-are nici o contributie la cuvintele pe care eu le rostesc si de la cel credincios care traieste in lucrarea aceasta a botezului, a umplerii cu Duhul Sfant si apoi manifestarea acestei vorbiri in viata de credinta care urmeaza, se inalta vorbirea de la credincios la Dumnezeu.

Tongues gift Holy SpiritCand vine darul vorbirii in limbi, sub inspiratia Duhului Sfant, mesajul pleaca din partea lui Dumnezeu sub inspiratia Duhului Sfant se manifesta prin cel ce are darul. Trebuie sa fie talmacit, sa se manifeste public si sa aduca zidire altora. Acesta e darul, dar cealalta e vorbirea. Tot aici in capitolul 14, ap. Pavel scrie Bisericii din Corint, deci le scrie, astia erau indragostiti de vorbirea in alte limbi. Si ap. le scrie ca sa faca randuiala. Si ce le spune printre altele? „Multumesc lui Dumnezeu ca eu vorbesc in alte limbi mai mult decat voi toti. Dar in biserica voiesc mai bine sa spun 5 cuvinte intelese, ca sa invat si pe altii, decat sa spun o mie de cuvinte in alta limba.” E darul [vorbirii in limbi]? Nu cred ca e darul. Ca daca e dar, atunci cel care da vorbirea trebuie sa dea talmacirea sau celuia care vorbeste sau daca nu, da altuia darul acesta al talmacirii. Apostolul Pavel spune: „Nu. Voi toti Corintenii la un loc, voi nu vorbiti in alte limbi asa cat vorbesc eu singur. Dar in biserica, cinci cuvinte intelese, ca sa aduca zidire si altora, decat o mie de cuvinte in alta limba.” Photo credit http://www.smashwords.com

Stiu ca este o problema destul de delicata, aceasta, a botezului cu Duhul Sfant si in special pentru cei care sunt cerebrali, cei pregatiti in stiintele exacte. Ma rog, au multa scoala in spatele lor si… Eram cu ani in urma la niste seri de staruinta si era acolo prezenta si o tanara si studenta in anul IV la studii Europene – Studii Politice si in paralel facea si studii Europene. Nu cu mult timp, in serile alea de rugaciune, de staruinta, ea isi predase viata in mana Domnului si era in perioada asta de pregatire pentru botez. Si a venit intr-o luni seara, luni am inceput serile de rugaciune, dar ea a venit ceva mai tarziu. Si marturisea dupa cateva zile: „Cand am intrat in Casa de Rugaciune si am auzit cum se inaltau rugaciunile catre Dumnezeu, la un moment dat am auzit voci, care au inceput sa spuna: ‘Auzi, tu ce cauti aici? Tu esti o fata inteligenta, citita, rationala, cerebrala. Nu-i auzi? Nu vezi cum se manifesta? Lasa-i si du-te!'” Dar ea si-a zis asa: „Nu plec. Raman aici pentru ca trebuie sa decid ce fac. Mai merg la botez sau ii las in pace?” Si cand a zis lucrurile acestea, toate apasarile la nivelul gandirii si a cugetului ei, toate au parasit-o. Si a ramas acolo pana la orele 11, 11 si ceva seara, cand s-a terminat seara aceea de rugaciune.

Marti a zis: „Ma duc. Dar nu mai stau in spate. Ma duc in fata, ca acolo-i focul. Ma duc sa iau temperatura de acolo, sa vad ce se intampla.” Dar ce si-a zis? Ce si-a zis si Luni seara: „Pastrez totul sub controlul ratiunii mele.Nimic n-am sa las sa iasa. Cum, sa ajung sa vorbesc eu cu gura mea ce nu inteleg cu mintea mea? Nu se poate asa ceva; nu se poate asa ceva.” A venit si in seara urmatoare si a venit in fata. Dorinta ei in inima ei era sa fie botezata cu Duhul Sfant, dar marea batalie era: „Cum s vorbesc eu cu gura mea ce nu inteleg cu mintea mea?”  A inceput rugaciunea sa curga. Cu noi, in seara aceea la partasie, era si un frate care avea dar de descoperire din partea Domnului. Si in timp ce rugaciunea curgea, Dumnezeu i-a aratat aceasta tanara si Duhul Sfant sub forma de porumbel se asezase pe capul ei si voia sa vorbeasca prin gura ei. Dar ea zicea: „Nu. Nu. Nu se poate. Cum sa vorbesc eu cu gura mea ce nu inteleg cu mintea mea?” S-a apropiat de ea si numai atata i-a spus: „Lasa-L pe Duhul lui Dumnezeu sa vorbeasca prin gura ta.” Si dintr-o data a izbucnit in vorbirea in alte limbi. Si in seara aceea, cand s-a terminat serviciul de partasie a sarit in fata si a zis: „Stati. Stati. Nu plecati niciunul de aici pentru ca eu trebuie sa va marturisesc bataliile pe care eu le-am trait seara trecuta si la inceputul acestei seri de partasie si cum Domnul s-a indurat de mine si m-a botezat si pe mine cu Duhul Sfant.(33)

E adevarat. Sunt batalii. La un moment dat, abordand subiectul acesta am ajuns la subiectul asta cu o fata care era ordinata in slujire. A zis: „Frate Gicu, tu creezi teroare in mintile credinciosilor.” „Pai, de ce?” „Pai. le spui ca nu au botezul cu Duhul Sfant daca nu vorbesc si in alte limbi.” Si i-am zis: „Asculta-ma. Nu numai vorbirea in alte limbi, ca daca-i numai vorbirea in alte limbi, s-ar putea sa fie si ceva contrafacut la mijloc. Trebuie sa fie vorbirea in alte limbi, dar trebuie sa fie si ravna aia pentru viata sfanta si curata. Trebuie sa arda focul ala de a duce Evanghelia si de a vorbi altora. Poti sa taci, pentru ca Duhul Sfant, primul scop in care El s-a dat, din care vorbeste Scriptura si le spunea Domnul: „Voi veti fi martori…” dar mai intai ramaneti sa fiti imbracati cu putere de sus.

M-a intrebat cineva: „Frate Gicu, eu sunt mantuit daca n-am trait Cincizecimea, n-am trait botezul cu Duhul Sfant?” Si le-am spus: „Intrebarea nu e corect pusa. Intrebarea nu trebuie pusa ca ‘sunt mantuit/mantuita daca n-am trait Cincizecime.’ Ci altfel trebuie pusa intrebarea si anume: ‘Daca n-am trait Cincizecimea, pot sa fiu martor eficient pentru Domnul? Si pot sa-mi duc mantuirea pana la capat?'” Darul lui Dumnezeu pentru un pacatos e mantuirea. Darul lui Dumnezeu pentru mantuit e botezul cu Duhul Sfant. Nu botezul cu Duhul Sfant ne confirma mantuirea. Mantuirea o castigam prin credinta in Domnul Isus Hristos. Ascultati ce spune Scriptura in Galateni 4:6 Şi pentru că sînteţi fii, Dumnezeu ne -a trimes în inimă Duhul Fiului Său, care strigă: ,,Ava„, adică: ,,Tată!` Nu ca sa devenim fii, ci pentru ca suntem fi. Deci darul asta al botezului cu Duhul Sfant, al umplerii cu Duhul Sfant nu-i pentru cei pacatosi. Pentru pacatosi e mantuirea. „Dar la Corneliu?” spunea cineva. Da, la Corneliu. Oamenii acestia au crezut Scriptura propovaduita de Petru. Petru le-a spus: „Isus ne-a poruncit sa le propovaduim norodului ca oricine crede in El, capata in numele Lui iertarea pacatelor. Au crezut si dupa ce a avut loc nasterea din nou, la cateva secunde, sau minute, nu stiu, a avut loc umplerea lor, botezul lor cu Duhul Sfant. Dar niciodata nu poate sa aiba loc botez cu Duhul Sfant inainte de nasterea din nou. Spunea Domnul Isus Hristos: „Vinul nou se pune in burduf nou.” Pai, daca se pune in burduf vechi, spunea Domnul ca se sparge si burduful si se risipeste si vinul.

Sunt unii la care li-e frica. Zic: „Ma duc la staruinta, da daca se intampla ceva rau?” Zic: „Asculta-ma.” Era tatic, dar nu de mult timp. Si-i zic: „Auzi, daca fetita ta, papusa aia vine la tine si-ti cere ceva, iti cere o bucata de paine, ce faci? Ii dai o piatra?” Zice: „Nu. Cum sa-i dau?” Stiti ce a spus Domnul Isus Hristos in Evanghelia dupa Luca cap. 11:11 Cine este tatăl acela dintre voi, care, dacă -i cere fiul său pîne, să -i dea o piatră? Ori, dacă cere un peşte, să -i dea un şarpe în loc de peşte?12 Sau, dacă cere un ou, să -i dea o scorpie? Si ascultati ce concluzioneaza acolo Domnul Isus Hristos: „13 Deci, dacă voi, cari sînteţi răi, ştiţi să daţi daruri bune copiilor voştri, cu cît mai mult Tatăl vostru cel din ceruri va da Duhul Sfînt celor ce I -L cer!` Nu trebuie sa ne speriem. Problema stiti care trebuie sa fie in atentia noastra? Sa fie curat vasul. De aceea, intotdeauna cand organizam seri de staruinta stam la incemana celor ce vin la staruinta si cu lucrarea marturisirii pentru ca sunt anumite prabusiri spirituale din care nu putem sa iesim decat cu marturisire si pocainta. Da, Domnul da iertare.

Despre Trinitate (3) Logos podcast cu Ted Pope

Alte Emisiuni –

  1. Dumnezeu Tatal Introducere (1)
  2. Teologia: Arma sau Ajutor? (2)

Realizator Dan Miclea:
Aici avem doua pareri. O parte spune, este Dumnezeu, care s-a aratat in Vechiul Testament, acelas Dumnezeu care s-a aratat in Noul Testament ca Fiu si pe urma s-a aratat ca Duhul Sfant, ca si persoana. Apoi avem o alta partida care spune ca Trinitatea este Dumnezeu Tatal, Dumnezeu Fiul si Dumnezeul Duhul Sfant, dar sunt 3 persoane.

Doru Pope:
Mai intai, trebuie sa spun ca este un subiect controversat dealungul istoriei crestine. Unii il considera a fi triteism, adica credinta in 3 dumnezei diferiti. Ce este Trinitatea? Este clar din Scripturi ca este un singur Dumnezeu ca esenta, dar care exista in 3 persoane. Trinitatea exprima credinta ca Dumnezeu este o singura fiinta, alcatuite din 3 persoane distincte si diferite, care coexista in aceeasi esenta si intr-o comuniune eterna, ca Tatal, ca Fiul si ca Duhul Sfant. Este greu de priceput Trinitatea. Daca am putea sa pricepem totul despre Dumnezeu, El ar inceta sa mai fie Dumnezeu si noi am fi dumnezeu.

Mai intai, as vrea sa ne uitam putin la unitatea lui Dumnezeu. In repetate randuri, gasim in Biblie ca Dumnezeu afirma despre Sine, „Eu sunt singurul Dumnezeu.” Este recunoscuta afirmatia din Sema Israel., Deuteronom 6:4 Ascultă, Israele! Domnul, Dumnezeul nostru, este singurul Domn. Si Pavel o spune in 1 Corinteni 8:4 – şi că nu există decât un singur Dumnezeu. Cu toate acestea, in alte texte, precum in Genesa 1:1 – La început, Dumnezeu a creat cerurile şi pământul, este folosit cu privire la Dumnezeu, termenul de Elohim, care este un termen plural. Deci, avem aici un Dumnezeu care este conectat cu intreaga creatie, inclusiv cerurile, pamantul si tot ce exista in acestea. Dumnezeu este astfel, nu doar singurul Dumnezeu, dar este si singurul Creator si este suveran la tot ceea ce a creat. El exista mai inainte de toate lucrurile si toate exista prin El si din cauza Sa. Pavel ne spune ca ‘din El si pentru El sunt toate lucrurile.’ De fapt, Coloseni 1:16 ne zice,

pentru că prin El au fost create toate lucrurile,
în cer şi pe pământ,
cele vizibile şi cele invizibile,
fie tronuri, fie domnii,
fie conducători, fie autorităţi.
Toate au fost create prin El şi pentru El.

Deci, avem un Dumnezeu care ne este descris prin Elohim, nume plural. Sufixul ‘im’, adaugat la un nume sau un substantiv evreiesc il face plural. Avem astfel ‘serafim’, sau ‘heruvim’. Dar, desi Geneza 1:1 ne arata pe Dumnezeu ca anumit Elohim, la plural, verbul ‘a facut’ este la singular. Deci avem o problema. Ori scriitorul nu stia gramatica, ori era confuz. Un Dumnezeu care are un nume plural lucreaza ca o singura persoana, deoarece verbul care descrie ce face acest Dumnezeu este la singular. In Exod 20 avem invataturi cu privire la cele 10 porunci repetate in Deuteronom 6. Vedem ca Dumnezeu ne interzice sa avem alti dumnezei in afara Sa. Asta nu inseamna ca ar exista alti dumnezei, ci ca Dumnezeu trebuie sa fie totul pentru cei ce cred in El. Oamenii pot crede in multi dumnezei, pot avea o multime de idoli. Dar Dumnezeu este numai unul singur si in prezenta Sa, inainte de El, nu trebuie sa aiba nimeni un alt Dumnezeu. A folosit aici un cuvant- ‘idol’, si pe masura ce citim Biblia vedem ca exista o multime de idoli.

Omul este o fiinta profund religioasa si el nu poate trai fara a crede in ceva. Daca nu crede in Dumnezeul cel adevarat, va crede intr-un idol. Un idol poate fi un obiect, un obicei, o persoana, un viciu sau orice altceva care devine obiectul de inchinare si obiectul dominant al vietii cuiva. Un idol este ceea ce iti subjuga si iti preocupa interesele, timpul, gandirea, imaginatia, resursele, sentimentele in afara lui Dumnezeu, cautand sa obtii de la acel idol ceea ce numai Dumnezeu poate da. Astfel, cand cineva pierde un idol din diferite motive, cel ce l-a pierdut are impresia ca nu mai poate trai, ca nu mai are rost sa existe fara idol. Desi are asa o mare putere de influenta, un idol nu este nimic in comparatie cu Dumnezeu.

Dumnezeu este doar unul singur. Dar atunci, de ce vorbim despre Trinitate? Si mai ales, de ce vin scriitorii Noului Testament si ne vorbesc despre Duhul Sfant si Fiul? Si ne spun ca si Fiul si Duhul Sfant au caracteristicile lui Dumnezeu. Cand au aparut aceste fiinte care sunt asemenea lui Dumnezeu? Chiar si in Vechiul Testament avem pasaje despre un Dumnezeu existand in mai multe persoane. Numai trebuie sa intelegem ca descoperirea lui Dumnezeu a fost progresiva, adica, Dumnezeu nu a corectat azi ceea ce am gresit ieri si n-a inlocuit azi ceea ce ne-a spus ieri. Ci, ceea ce El nu ne-a dezvaluit despre Sine, ne-a dezvaluit astazi. Deci, de ce a procedat astfel Dumnezeu? Doua rapsunsuri sumare:

  1. Dumnezeu s-a revelat pe Sine intr-o lume politeista, o lume care avea multi dumnezei. Practic, fiecare funcatie umana avea un dumnezeu. Apoi, existau dumnezei ai stelelor, ai astrelor, a culturilor, a ploilor, a fecundarii. In plus, fiecare natiune avea o multime de dumnezei diversi, pe langa un dumnezeu superior al tuturor. Era nevoie, deci, ca in mintea inchinatorului evreu sa se implice conceptul de monoteism, adica, ca exista un singur Dumnezeu adevarat.
  2. Anumite lucruri despre Sine si planurile Sale au fost tinute ascunse de Dumnezeu pentru cel putin doua motive: Fie ca omul nu le putea intelege la vremea respectiva, sau fie ca nu le sosise inca timpul de a fi descoperite.

Sa ne intoarcem la Elohim din Vechiul Testament, ca prima mentiune ca Dumnezeu este unul, dar la plural.

  • Unii au sustinut ca acestia se refera la multitudinea de atribute ale lui Dumnezeu. Stim ca Dumnezeu are atribute comunicabile si incomunicabile. Atribute incomunicabile sunt numai ale Lui insusi, ca Dumnezeu. Si cele comunicabile, care sunt impratasite cu fiinta  creata de El, cu omul. Deci unii au zis ca Elohim se refera la faptul ca Dumnezeu are multe atribute.
  • Altii au zis ca pluralul acesta este pluralul suveranitatii, pluralul cu care ne adresam unui rege, de exemplu, sau cum ar scrie un rege despre sine cand ar da o lege si ar zice, „Noi legiferam ca….” dar de fapt este doar un singur rege.
  • Chiar in vers. 2 din Geneza 1, vazand ca apare Duhul lui Dumnezeu, care in mod suveran pluteste pe deasupra apelor si acopera pamantul. Duhul lui Dumnezeu poate fi considerat ca o emanatie a lui Dumnezeu, cum zic unii. Dar textul nu ne permite aceasta interpretare. Il avem pe Dumnezeu care a creat si pe Duhul lui Dumnezeu, o entitate separata care pluteste pe deasupra apelor.

Mai tarziu, unul din psalmii amintiti si de Domnul Isus pe vremea Sa, vorbeste din nou despre conceptul acesta de doua persoane in divinitate. Psalmul 110:1 ‘ Domnul a zis Domnului meu: ,,Şezi la dreapta Mea, pînă voi pune pe vrăjmaşii Tăi supt picioarele Tale.„ As vrea sa facem cateva adaugiri aici pentru ca sunt necesare, ca sa putem sa intelegem ce spune acest verset din Psalmul 110. Numele lui Dumnezeu la evrei, stim ca Moise L-a intrebat, „Care este numele Tau?” Si Dumnezeu a zis, „Eu sunt cel ce sunt.” Asta s-ar pronunta prin Yahweh sau Iehova, cum zicem noi Romanii. Dumnezeu a folosit si alte nume in Vechiul Testament . Este supranumit ca El Shadai, adica Dumnezeul cel Atotputernic, si Adonai, care inseamna Stapan sau Domn. Cam dupa secolul al III-lea inainte de Hristos s-a interzis folosirea numelui de Iehova. Numele acesta nu putea sa fie folosit decat de catre Marele Preot, o singura data pe an, intr-o singura zi, ziua ispasirii- Yom Kippur. Cand era in templu, el avea voie sa foloseasca el singu, pentru o singura data, intr-un singur loc, intr-o singura zi, numele de Iehova. Toti ceilalti, inclusiv marele preot cu alte ocazii foloseau numele de Adonai, adica Stapanul sau Domnul.  Acum, dupa ce am facut aceasta scurta precizare, Psalmul 110 se poate citi asa: Iehova a spus lui Adonai, „Sezi la dreapta Mea.” Ca sa nu mai amintim ca Psalmul acesta ne spune inca un fapt, ca Fiul lui Iehova va fi preot in veci, dupa randuiala lui Melhisedec.

Acum, ne apropiem de Noul Testament si aici exista o multime de texte care afirma unitatea si unicitatea lui Dumnezeu. Astea sunt pastrate in Noul Testament. Apar texte care atribuie Dumnezeirea  si Tatalui si Fiului in mod concomitent, de exemplu in 1 Corinteni 8:4 – ‘Deci, cît despre mîncarea lucrurilor jertfite idolilor, ştim că în lume un idol este tot una cu nimic, şi că nu este decît un singur Dumnezeu.‘ Apoi 1 corinteni 8:6 – ‘ totuş pentru noi nu este decît un singur Dumnezeu: Tatăl, dela care vin toate lucrurile şi pentru care trăim şi noi, şi un singur Domn: Isus Hristos, prin care sînt toate lucrurile şi prin El şi noi.’ In acelas verset, deci, avem pe Dumnezeu Iehova ca Dumnezeu, dar si Isus este Domn Adonai, care este numele lui Dumnezeu, am explicat adineaori. De asemenea, Pavel ne precizeaza ca Tatal este sursa lucrurilor de la care vin toate lucrurile, de la Dumnezeu Tatal, ia Isus este mijlocul prin care ne vin lucrurile. Deci, Tatal de la care vin toate lucrurile si Isus Hristos prin care sunt toate lucrurile.

Am o multime de texte din Noul si Vechiul Testament  in care putem sa aratam ca si Tatal si Fiul si Duhul Sfant sunt uniti si Dumnezeu,  in separate locuri, sau creatori, in separate locuri, au caracteristica sau atributul de atotprezenta, de atotstiinta, de vesnicie, eternitate si ca dau viata fiecare. Deci Trinitatea este un concept biblic. Nu-s trei Dumnezei, nici trei fiinte. E un singur Dumnezeu in trei persoane. Fiecare dintre aceste 3 persoane vorbeste, simte, gandeste, face ceva. Armonia este perfecta. Iar substanta , daca putem vorbi de asa ceva, este una singura. Isus Hristos este acuma Dumnezeu intrupat. In El exista doua naturi, aceea de om si de Dumnezeu, care sunt intr-o uniune hipostatica, intr-o uniune esentiala. Isus a venit de la Tatal din slava. El acolo avea slava, spune in Ioan 17, se ruga ca Dumnezeu sa-i redea slava pe care a avut-o inainte de intemeierea lumii. Deci de acolo a venit, din acea slava. Si dupa ce termina lucrarea de rascumparare si inviaza, pleaca inapoi de unde a venit pentru a reprimi slava pe care a vut-o inainte de a fi lumea.

Din primele 13 minute, mai sunt 9 minute din podcast. Pentru intrebari, comentarii, sau sugestii pentru emisiuni de viitor intrati la Facebook aici pe pagina DanMiclea Music Studio

Asculta podcastul in intregime aici-

 http://www.logospodcasting.com/trinitate-doru-pope/

Desiring God: 10 Reasons to Desire All the Spiritual Gifts

photo credit http://www.ohbc.org

Posted by By Bryan DeWire at DesiringGod.org

Some might tell you not to really desire all the spiritual gifts. But when you say that, it does not seem to do justice to what 1 Corinthians 12–14 really says.

The apostle bookends his famous chapter on love (1 Corinthians 13) with these two (perhaps surprising) charges: “earnestly desire the higher gifts” and “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 12:31; 1 Corinthians 14:1). God means that we desire all of his gifts, not to glut our selfishness, but to selflessly strengthen others — “so that the church may be built up” (1 Corinthians 14:5).

Here are ten ways and reasons from the New Testament to desire all the spiritual gifts, not just the comfortable ones.

  1. Desire all the spiritual gifts because you desire God himself. “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
  2. Desire all the spiritual gifts, knowing that “the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:3). Compared to other “higher gifts” (such as tongues, healing, and prophecy†), love is “a still more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).
  3. Desire all the spiritual gifts because you need him to overcome the satanic fear that dwells in your heart (2 Timothy 1:6–7). As Sam Storms writes, “My opposition to spiritual gifts was also energized by fear . . . [like] the fear of what might occur were I fully to relinquish control of my life and mind and emotions to the Holy Spirit” (The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts, 10).
  4. Desire all the spiritual gifts, knowing that discernment is needed. “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:19–20). “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:29–32).
  5. Therefore, desire all the spiritual gifts, knowing that good things can be twisted and corrupted. But, as Storms says, “abuse is no excuse for disuse” (Convergence: The Spiritual Journeys of a Charismatic Calvinist, 206).
  6. Desire all the spiritual gifts because God commands it (1 Corinthians 12:31; 14:1, 39). In fact, God tells us, “Do not forbid speaking in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:39) and, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies” (1 Thessalonians 5:19–20).
  7. Desire all the spiritual gifts, knowing that “all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
  8. Desire all the spiritual gifts because you long for God’s people to be as built up and encouraged and consoled as is pleasing to him (1 Corinthians 14:3). In fact, “since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12). In other words, desire the gift of prophecy in order to build up and encourage and console others, in order to have a greater manifestation of the Spirit of God himself.
  9. Desire all the spiritual gifts, knowing that prophesying and casting out demons is no sure sign of being known by God (Matthew 7:22–23).
  10. Desire all the spiritual gifts, knowing that suffering will come. First, just as God did with Paul, he may choose to afflict you so that you might not become wickedly proud because of your great giftings (2 Corinthians 12:7). Secondly, the world, the flesh, and the devil will all fight against a greater manifestation of God through his Spirit in your life because of these gifts.

†Storms writes, “The gift of tongues is simply the Spirit-energized ability to pray, worship, give thanks or speak in a language other than your own or one you might have learned in school” (Beginner’s Guide, 151), and new-covenant prophecy is “‘the human report of a divine revelation.’ Prophecy is the speaking forth in merely human words of something God has spontaneously brought to mind” (110).

Beniamin Fărăgău – Aleși prin sfințire si Sfințirea prin suferință (Conferinta Sfânt Oradea)

 Beniamin Faragau Sfant

Aleși prin sfințire

Nu stiu de ce ati ales subiectul sfintirii. Cred ca e cel mai greu subiect  pentru tinerii din ziua de astazi si eu nu vreau sa va spun multe lucruri, dar ascultand cantarile voastre, am vazut ca ati vorbit despre doua lucruri: In primul rand despre sfintenia lui Dumnezeu si majoritatea cantarilor au fost despre EL- El este sfant. Dar in ultima cantare, practic, ati intregit imaginea cand ati spus ‘Fiti si voi sfinti – in toata viata noastra’. Aceasta este porunca lui Dumnezeu, „Fiti sfinti, ca Eu sunt sfant.”

Cand Dumnezeu l-a creat pe om, l-a creat dupa chipul si asemanarea Sa. Dumnezeu a zis, „Sa facem om dupa chipul nostru, dupa asemanarea noastra. Acum, Biblia spune ca Dumnezeul nostru e nevazut, Biblia spune ca Dumnezeu este dragoste. Niciunul dintre noi nu L-am vazut pe Dumnezeu. Nu poate un om sa-L vada, sa traiasca, spune Scriptura. De aceea, intrebarea este: Ce e aceea, sa fi creat dupa chipul lui Dumnezeu? Imaginati-va un om inaintea voastra si sunt trei coordonate esentiale pe care cred ca trebuie sa le asez in dreptul  chipului lui Dumnezeu:

  1. Nevoia de Dumnezeu (sau relatia cu Dumnezeu)
  2. Nevoia de semnificatie (sau relatia cu mine insumi)
  3. Nevoia de comuniune (sau relatia cu semenii)

„Care este cea mai mare porunca?” l-a intrebat odata un carturar pe Domnul Isus.  Si El a zis, „Sa-L iubesti pe Domnul Dumnezeul Tau, cu toata inima ta, cu tot cugetul tau, cu toata puterea ta, si pe aproapele tau  ca pe tine insuti. Observati, in lege, practic Dumnezeu intareste principiul creatiei: Sa iubesti pe Domnul Dumnezeul Tau, si pe aproapele tau, ca pe tine insuti. De aicea deriva  cele 3 relatii fundamentale sau cele trei nevoi fundamentale. In 2 Petru 1:3 ni se spune ca: Dumnezeiasca Lui putere ne-a dăruit toate lucrurile necesare pentru viaţă şi evlavie, prin cunoaşterea Celui Ce ne-a chemat prin slava şi virtutea Lui. Dragii mei, relatia cu Dumnezeu este prioritara. Omul se face sau se desface, plecand de la relatia cu Dumnezeu. Cand ma instrainez de Dumnezeu, cand Il pierd pe Dumnezeu, ma pierd pe mine insumi si pierd toate relatiile. Si daca sunt probleme in viata mea si sunt probleme in jurul meu, este din pricina relatiei mele cu Dumnezeu, care nu functioneaza. A fi sfant inseamna a fi pus deoparte pentru Domnul.

Acum, ca sa-L cunosc pe un Dumnezeu nevazut, eu nu pot urca la El. El este dincolo, El este transcendent. Dar El a coborat spre noi, a coborat spre fiecare dintre noi pe cateva mijloace:

  1. In primul rand e in constiinta noastra. Pavel spune in Romani: Ce se poate cunoaste despre Dumnezeu, le este descoperit in ei, caci le-a fost aratat de Dumnezeu.
  2. Dar apoi este descoperit in jurul nostru, in toata creatia lui Dumnezeu. In adevar, insusirile Lui nevazute, puterea Lui vesnica, Dumnezeirea Lui se vede lamurit cand te uiti cu bagare de seama la lucrurile facute de El. Asa ca nu se pt dezvinovati.
  3. Apoi, Dumnezeu se descopera pe Sine in felul in care guverneaza istoria. Noi am cantat: Esti Stapan pe-ntregul pamant. Este stapan in intreaga istorie. Dragii mei, El ridica si El coboara civilizatii si popoare. Cu alte cuvinte, istoria este in palma lui Dumnezeu. Daca cititi cartea Isaia, Isaia vorbeste despre un Dumnezeu care poate prevedea lucrurile, poate face sa se intample lucrurile.
  4. In al patrulea rand, Domnul Isus Hristos este chipul adevaratului Dumnezeu. Cand Filip spune, „Aratani-L pe Tatal si ne va fi deajuns.” Domnul Isus spune, „Cine M-a vazut pe Mine L-a vazut pe Tatal. „Cum zici tu, dar, Filipe, ‘Aratani-L pe Tatal?’ De atata vreme sunt cu voi si nu M-ati cunoscut?”
  5. Dar mijlocul special, daca vreti, sau primar, cea mai importanta sursa a revelatiei este Scriptura. Domnul Isus Hristos, vorbind la Sarbatoarea Corturilor cu Fariseii, le spune, „Cercetati Scripturile socotind ca din ele aveti viata vesnica. Dar, tocmai ele vorbesc despre Mine.” Toata Scriptura ni-L prezinta pe Domnul Isus. Si nu la intamplare spune El, „Si viata vesnica este aceasta, „Sa te cunoasca pe Tine, singurul Dumnezeu adevarat si pe Isus Hristos, pe care L-ai trimis Tu.”

Dar Scriptura este complicata si grea, mai ales pentru voi. Traiti zile in care se citeste Biblia din ce in ce mai putin. Mintea noastra este formatata doar pentru reclame, daca-i mai mult de 3 randuri, nu mai putem citi si nici retine. Ce sa faci cu carti, daca esti la scoala si trebuie sa dati examane, probabil ca mintea voastra incepe sa functioneze mai bine. Cand vii la Scriptura este un tom de 1000 de pagini, scris marunt, pe foita subtire. Ce sa faci cu ea? De unde sa o apuc? Dragii mei, uitati-va la imaginea din fata voastra, cum anume ma apropii de Scriptura.

Istoria Binecuvantarii 26 carti

1. Cunoaste-l pe Dumnezeu prin Biblie. In primul rand, Dumnezeu S-a revelat pe Sine in 66 de carti ale Scripturii. Eu numesc Scriptura: Gradina in care Dumnezeu si-a lasat urmele pasilor. Sau s-o pun intr-un termen mai sofisticat: Este spatiul sacru al revelarii de Sine a lui Dumnezeu. Pentru ca in biserica noastra lucram cu studentii de foarte multi ani, ei vin si pleaca. Si cum facultatile s-au redus la 3 ani, eventual mai ai un masterat de 2 ani si un doctorat de 3 sau 6 ani, si daca te mariti sau te insori ramai in Cluj for good. Si noi ne bucuram de toti ce vin de peste tot din tara. Avem o multime de Oradeni la noi, ne-am pus o intrebare simpla: Cum asezi baza cea mai larga, in timpul cel mai scurt, in cunoasterea lui Dumnezeu. Dragii mei, am incercat in viata mea de toate. Am predicat 3 ani de zile, in fiecare Duminica din cartea Galateni. Trei ani din Galateni, 6 capitole mici. Le citesti in 15-18 minute toata cartea. Pe urma, am predicat 3 ani din Coloseni. Ne-a prins revolutia, am vorbit din Coloseni si m-am oprit dupa 6 ani si am zis: Cate vieti imi trebuiesc sa ajung sa-L cunosc pe Dumnezeu? Si a trebuit sa schimb vitezele. Si pe urma am incercat sa le inghesui mai mult si mi-am dat seama ca nu poti lua prea putin pentru o carte.

Eu consider ca Scriptura este ca o iubita. Iti faci timp pentru ea, o cunosti. Nu? Nu. Eu am una de 38 de ani si inca n-am ajuns s-o cunosc. Am croit prin Scriptura o carare si acesta este programul Istoria Binecuvantarii. Avem 26 de carti care compun coloana vertebrala a Scripturii. Toate cartile-s importante, dar unele, de pilda sunt mai importante ca altele. Isaia e mai importanta ca Naum in revelarea Domnului Isus Hristos. Apoi, in fiecare an avem o panorama asupra Scripturii. Dar intalnirea noastra este cu o carte a Scripturii. Ce e foarte important la o prajitura e sa pui ce trebuie in ea, cat trebuie si in ce ordine trebuie. Prajiturile, sau painea coapta dupa reteta lui Dumnezeu sunt cartile din Biblie, nu versetele, dragii mei. Biblia nu a avut nici capitole, nici versete. A avut texte. Sunt scrisorile iubirii lui Dumnezeu, catre noi, mireasa lui Hristos. Si de aceea, daca vrei sa-L cunosti pe Dumnezeu, trebuie sa iei painea coapta dupa reteta Lui, cate o carte din Biblie. De-alungul vietii mele am constat ca sunt cateva principii pe care nu le mai negociez si pe care incerc sa le transmit celor din jurul meu. Daca vrei sa-L cunosti pe Dumnezeu trebuie sa ai ambitia sa-L cauti in toata Scriptura. In 80 de ore citesti Biblia de la un capat la celalalt.

2. In al doilea rand trebuie sa iei carti din Scriptura, nu deschizi Biblia la intamplare. Biblia nu este o magazie de materie prima din care-ti cumperi ce vrei si faci ce vrei cu ele. Biblia este sacra, te descalti in fata ei, ca in fata rugului aprins.

3. In al treilea rand trebuie sa asezi o baza Vechi Testamentala solida, pentru ca altfel, nu intelegi nimic din Noul Testament. N-ai decat cuvintele, dar concepturile, greutatea, implinirea profetiilor, promisiunilor Nou Testamentale. (din primele 15 minute, mai sunt 2 ore din mesaj)

Sfânt? – OraDeo 9  www.oradeo.ro VIDEO by Conferința Oradeo

Sfinți prin suferință

Beniamin Faragau

Cati dintre noi suntem gata sa platim pretul sfinteniei? Toti ne-am bucura de bucuria ei, de placerea sfinteniei, dar nu ne prea intereseaza durerea si suferinta sfinteniei. Despre asta as vrea sa vorbesc in seara aceasta: Sfintirea prin suferinta. Dimineata, am vazut ca am fost alesi prin sfintirea  lucrata de Duhul Sfant. N-am fost alesi la sfintire, ci am fost alesi prin sfintire. Si asta inseamna ca sfintirea este obligatorie. Practic, sfintirea este modelarea prin care Dumnezeu, prin toti cei chemati, ii alege pe cei alesi. Cu alte cuvinte, daca nu urmaresti pacea si sfintirea nu vei vedea pe Dumnezeu. Mi-am pus apoi o intrebare, am interpretat corect primele doua versete si vresetele 3-9 ne-au vorbit despre o mantuire ca sfarsit al credintei. Am fost nascuti din nou prin invierea lui Hristos din morti, dar vom fi mantuiti doar daca credinta noastra ramane in picioare in modelul sfintirii, in cuptorul suferintei. Despre asta as vrea sa vorbesc in seara aceasta, despre sfintirea prin suferinta.

Daca va uitati la imaginea care urmeaza, tineti minte si duceti cu voi imaginea aceasta, Dumnezeu nu ne-a ales mai intai ca sa ne sfinteasca mai apoi. Ci ne sfinteste mai intai ca sa aleaga pe cei care doresc sfintirea cu toata inima lor si care platesc pretul sfintirii. Cu alte cuvinte, alegerea noastra este la sfarsit de drum, nu la inceput de drum. Si uitati-va cum prezinta Pavel mantuirea in imaginea urmatoare. Mantuirea este un inceput de drum, o intrare pe poarta, este o alergare pe cale, si o ajungere la tinta. Noi am fost nascuti din nou la o nadejde vie, la o mostenire nestricacioasa, neintinata care nu se poate vesteji, dar ea este pastrata in ceruri pentru noi. Si sunt foarte multi care cad pe drum, foarte multi care intorc spatele lui Hristos, foarte multi care se intorc inapoi la lucrurile pe care le-au varsat, cum spune Petru in a doua epistola, la viata lor trecuta. Faptul ca am fost nascuti din nou prin invierea lui Isus Hristos din morti, nu inseamna ca suntem si mantuiti. Noi trebuie sa trecem prin procesul sfintirii si aici sunt toate durerile si ispitirile noastre. De aceea, in Evrei 12:14 spune, „Urmariti pacea cu toti, si sfintirea, fara de care nimeni nu va vedea pe Domnul.”

Sfintirea, deci, dragii mei, nu este optionala si nu este nici pe un covor rosu, presarat cu petale de trandafir. Sfintirea este dupa ce covorul s-a strans, petalele s-au vestejit, sunt doar spinii. Si eu cred ca asta este durerea sfintirii pe care nici unul dintre noi nu o poate evita. Sfintirea noastra este scopul lui Dumnezeu pentru noi, inca inainte de intemeierea lumii, in El, in Hristos. „Dumnezeu ne-a ales inainte de intemeierea lumii ca sa fim sfinti si fara prihana inaintea Lui.” Cu late cuvinte, cand Dumnezeu a intocmit in Sine insusi planurile Lui, El a stiut exact ce fel de oameni vrea sa primeasca in prezenta Lui. Si neprihanirea mea nu-i suficienta, dragii mei, am nevoie de neprihanirea Domnului Isus Hristos. Si de aceea, Scriptura spune, „Toti cei care v-ati botezat in Hristos, v-ati imbracat cu Hristos.” Doar sfintenia si neprihanirea Lui ne sunt suficiente.

Dar Dumnezeu a facut absolut totul ca sfintirea mea sa nu ramana doar pe acte, sa fie si o sfintire in fapte. De pilda, Dumnezeu L-a dat pe singurul Sau Fiu ca sa ne rascumpere, ca sa ne ierte, ca sa ne infieze, ca sa ne pecetluiasca cu Duhul Sfant. In Efeseni 1:13 spune, „Si dupa ce ati auzit Cuvantul adevarului, Evanghelia mantuirii voastre, ati crezut in El si ati fost pecetluiti cu Duhul Sfant, care fusese fagaduit si am fost pecetluiti cu Duhul Sfant pentru rascumpararea pe care Dumnezeu a pregatit-o pentru noi. Sfintirea o face Duhul Sfant cu o singura conditie: Sa nu-L intristezi si sa nu-L stingi. Dragii mei, Dumnezeu nu da buzna in vietile noastre, nu intra cu cizmele in vietile noastre, El sta la usa si bate, Il poti primi sau Il poti refuza. La fel lucreaza si Duhul Sfant in viata noastra. Poti sa spui: Nu, multumesc; n-am nevoie de lucrarea Ta. Nu doresc sa fiu sfintit. Imi place pacatul, ma pot balaci in el mai departe. La urma o sa vad ce o sa fie. Dragii mei, la urma va fi ceea ce Scriptura ne spune ca va fi: Dumnezeu va alege graul de neghina, pe unii de altii. Va separa oile de capre. Va spune celor de la dreapta Lui, „Venit,” celor de la stanga, „Plecati de la Mine.”

De unde stiu ca sunt in procesul sfintirii, sau pe calea sfintirii? Nu cred ca e suficient sa organizati o conferinta. Problemele incep dupa ce coboram de pe munte, dupa ce ne intoarcem la viata de zi cu zi, dupa ce ispitele bat la usa in viata noastra. Spuneam ca Dumnezeu asteapta de la noi o sfintire de fapte. O sfintire in fapte, nu in acte. O sfintire, dragii mei, in viata  de zi cu zi. Ascultai inca odata textul de dimineata: Dumnezeu, in prestiinta Lui, in atotstiinta Lui  ne-a ales prin sfintirea lucrata de Duhul Sfant  spre ascultare. Ascultarea nu-i o idee, nu-i o teorie. Ascultarea este in conformitate cu poruncile Lui Dumnezeu, in lucrurile mici si lucrurile mari. Iar daca ascultarea s-a frant, slavit sa fie Domnul pentru sangele jertfei de ispasire a Domnului Isus Hristos, pentru mijlocirea Lui de Mare Preot. Si Dumnezeu poate restaura relatia mea, poate continua in felul acesta sfintirea in viata mea. (Din primele 7 minute, mai sunt 47 de minute din mesaj)

POZE de la CONFERINTA

Photo credit Facebook At Biserica Penticostală Maranata.

Photo credit Facebook At Biserica Penticostală Maranata.

Photo credit Facebook At Biserica Penticostală Maranata.

10 Accusations Against Today’s Church – Paul Washer – Zece Acuzaţii Împotriva Bisericii Contemporane

1. Suficienţa Scripturii
2. Caracterul lui Dumnezeu
3. Păcatul omului
4. Evanghelia
5. Regenerarea
6. O invitaţie nebiblică la Evanghelie / Rugăciunea păcătosului
7. Biserica
8. Disciplina bisericească
9. Sfinţenie / Separare
10. Familia + Îndepărtarea de la credinţă

Paul Washer | http://heartcrymissionary.com

VIDEO BY http://illbehonest.com/romana/zece-ac… Youtube-I’ll Be Honest – Global

 

 

If Christ was fully God lived on this earth in human nature, what was the role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’s earthly life? What could the Spirit of God contribute to the deity of Christ?

Alemayehu Mekonnen, Ph.D, Associate professor of missions at Denver Seminary, 2013 reviews Dr. Ware, A. Bruce, The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflection on the Humanity of Christ. Crossway, Wheaton, IL; 2013. Paperback $13.50. ISBN 13-978-1-4335-1305-3 (Photo credit http://www.amazon.com)

One would ask, if Christ was fully God lived on this earth in human nature, what was the role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’s earthly life? What could the Spirit of God contribute to the deity of Christ? Bruce said; “The answer we must give is: Nothing! As God he possesses every quality infinitely, and nothing can be added to him. So then we ask instead this question: what could the Spirit of God contribute to the humanity of Christ? The answer is everything of supernatural power and enablement that he, in his human nature, would lack. The only way to make sense, then, of the fact that Jesus came in the power of the Spirit is to understand that he lived his life fundamentally as a man, and as such, he relied on the Spirit to provide the power, grace, knowledge, wisdom, direction, and enablement he needed, moment by moment an day by day, to fulfill the mission the Father sent him to accomplish” Pg. 30. To illustrate this point biblically, Bruce exegetes (Isa. 11:1-3) effectively.

The Man Jesus Christ sets an example of dependence on heavenly father and obedience to Him in the context of suffering. “This incarnate obedience, we might call it, was rendered often within the context of opposition and affliction, with the result often, that his obedience was the cause of much further suffering. In other words, he knew that he obeyed the Father, he was inviting only greater opposition and was putting himself in a place of increased suffering. Obedience per se was not new; rather, this kind of obedience was indeed new” Pg. 60. At a time a when “wealth and health” gospel is preached, and suffering is considered as negative in spiritual maturity or labeled with lack of faith. The obedience of Jesus Christ in the context of suffering refreshes authentic Christian and biblical outlook. “Oddly, some Christians seem instinctively to want to push away suffering. They think it best to keep suffering at arm’s length. But not only is this a mistake biblically and theologically; it is a huge mistake spiritually and practically” pg. 70.

Read the article in its entirety here- http://www.denverseminary.edu/

Lord You’re Holy ! (Karen Wheaton) and King of Kings

Photo credit www.deliverancebyfire.com

LORD YOU’RE HOLY

This song explodes at the 3:15 minute mark!!!

Chorus:
Lord You’re holy, Lord You’re holy and we lift You up and magnify Your Name (twice)

Verse 1:
I look around and I see, all the works Your hands have made, the awesomeness of You, and how Your love will never fade, mere words cannot express what I feel inside, I can’t describe Your glory divine, but as a token of my love, this is what I’ll do, I lift my hands and cry, Lord

Chorus:
Lord You’re holy, Lord You’re holy and we lift You up and magnify Your Name (twice)

Verse 2:
There’s not enough words that I can say, to tell You how much, I appreciate, all the wonderful things, You’ve given me, Your love and kindness, Your tender mercies,

Choir: It’s my desire, to praise You
Lead: I want to praise You Lord
Choir: And to tell You how much, I love You

Lead: Cause You’re worthy of all, all the glory

Choir: You’re worthy of all, the praise

Lead:
And You’re worthy of all the praise, I don’t know why You would love me, why You would show me, so much mercy, why You would suffer, and die for me, way back, way back, on Calvary, but I

Choir: But I, I thank You
Lead: I thank You, somebody help me thank Him
Choir: I thank You
Lead: Jesus, I thank You Lord
Choir: I thank You
Lead: My heart cries thank You, and I give You all… the praise…

Choir & Lead:
Wonderful, Glorious, Holy and Righteous, Victorious, Conqueror, Triumphant and Mighty, Healer, Deliverer, Shield and Defense, Strong Tower and My Best Friend, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Soon Coming King, Alpha, Omega, Lord of Everything

Choir: Holy, Holy, Holy is Your Name
Sopranos: Wonderful, Glorious, Holy and Righteous

Altos: Victorious, Conqueror, Triumphant and Mighty

Tenors: Healer, Deliver, Shield and Defense

All: Strong Tower and My Best Friend, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Soon Coming King, Alpha, Omega, Lord of Everything

Choir: Holy, Holy, Holy is Your Name…

Choir:
Wonderful, Glorious, Holy and Righteous, Victorious, Conqueror, Triumphant and Mighty, Healer, Deliverer, Shield and Defense, Strong Tower and My Best Friend, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Soon Coming King, Alpha, Omega, Lord of Everything
Holy, Holy, Holy is Your Name…

Choir: Holy
Lead: My God is Holy
Choir: Holy
Lead: The Angels cry Holy
Choir: Holy is Your Name… Holy
Lead: My heart cries Holy
Choir: Holy
Lead: So Holy, Holy, Holy is Your Name…
Choir: Holy is Your Name…

Its all about YOU LORD JESUS

VIDEO by Arendientje

King of Kings

Photo credit weheartit.com
King of kings and Lord of glory
Only true and righteous one
Above all names Your name is holy
You are worthy, You alone
All of heaven bows before You
Creation trembles at Your word
Every nation will enthrone You
Behold the Lamb, behold the Lord

Holy, holy is the Lord
Holy, holy is the Lord
Who was and Who is to come

King of kings and Lord of glory
Only true and righteous one
Above all names Your name is holy
You are worthy, You alone
All of heaven bows before You
Creation trembles at Your word
Every nation will enthrone You
Behold the Lamb, behold the Lord

Holy, holy is the Lord
Holy, holy is the Lord
Who was and Who is to come

Worthy, worthy is the Lamb
Worthy, worthy is the Lamb
Who was and Who is to come
Who was and Who is to come

Song: Karen Davis
From the album Yeshua

Lyrics and VIDEO by Arendientje

God is the sovereign ruler over everything that happens both good and bad – Bruce Ware

Photo credit sweetepistles.hubpages.com

It is so clear, God has control over what happens, over these nations of the world and the choices that people make, so that His will is accomplished. This is one of the areas that Christian people struggle with most deeply, when they come to these difficult teachings of Scripture. And I understand that because I struggled with them for many, many years and I understand your struggle as well. What ultimately brought me to accept this is  simply the conviction: This is the teaching of the Bible. And if I think I know better, good grief, what does that say about me? So, are you willing to accept God on the basis of what God says about Himself?

Isaiah 45:6b-7
I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.

So, indeed, God has complete control over everything good. Oh my, we love that teaching. It is true and it is glorious. James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Indeed, God does control every good thing that happens.

But, this text and many other texts in the Bible also indicate He has equal control over everything bad that takes place. Indeed, He is the one ultimately who has the say so, as it were, of whether these bad things happen, and to whom, and in what manner, and the like. God is the one who ordains not only the good, but the bad as well.

There are a couple of things we have to bear in mind here. Even though God exercises complete control over both good and evil, God is good, and in no respect is He evil. My goodness, how important it is for us to affirm that. God is not yin-yang, as the god of Shintuism is. God is not light and darkness. God is good and not evil. 1 John 1:5 –  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. God is light, not darkness, God is good, not evil. Which brings me to my second point: Because God is good, He is light, then His control of evil would be for what purpose? For good purposes, that He will bring about only through the evil things that take place.

The supreme example of this in the Bible is the cross of Christ. It is so clear. Think for example to a statement by Peter in Acts 2:23 – this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God,you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Question: How would you answer the question- How did Jesus get put on that cross? How did this happen? What’s the biblical answer to that question. Well, it’s complex, isn’t it? Don’t you have to say two things, not just one. You have to say, „God put Him there.” Delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Right? Was Jesus there on the cross because God put Him there? Absolutely. This was the Father’s design, to send His Son, by whom we would be redeemed of our sin. This was the design of the Father, that His Son would be crucified for our sin.

But, is that the only answer you give? How did Christ get there on that cross? You also have to say, „Wicked men put Him there.” Delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to the cross by the hands of Godless men and put Him to death. So you realize that the answer to that question involves two answers: God did it, men did it, wicked men did it. Now, get this further. God, in doing that is praiseworthy, men who did this are blameworthy, are Godless men, wicked men and they are culpable for what they did.

One more thing I’d like you to see. You’ve got this dual agency here: God did it, men did it. The next question is this: Is one of those 2 agencies ultimate? Does one have priority over the other? Yes, indeed.  delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God,you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Clearly, God’s agency is ultimate, so that they carried out what He designed they do, and yet, they bear full responsibility for the evil that they committed. That’s one example of many examples in the Bible, where you realize God exerts control over evil that takes place, but our confidence is this. Because God is the one who controls it… Let me stop there. What if He weren’t the one who controlled it? What are the other options that we have? Satan, demons, evil people, forces of nature that are outside the control of God? Honestly, if that’s the case, stay home, stay in your bed and hope for the best, because, wow, what a scary world this would be if God is not the one in control of the evil that takes place. But, because He is in control and He is good, His ways are right, He is just in all that He does, we can have strength of confidence and hope that God’s purposes will not fail. Even though we read the paper, even though we see horrible things happening, we know God is in control and His purposes will be fulfilled in the end.

VIDEO byMars Hill Church  Watch the full sermon here: http://jesus.to/1cTmYRw Check out the full Best Sermon Ever series here:http://marshill.com/bestsermonever

God is exclusively God, incomparably God, and through that deserves ultimate glory because he is the sovereign ruler over everything that happens in heaven and earth, including sovereign ruler over good and evil. Because God is good, he is light, then his control of evil would be for what purpose? For good purposes, that he will bring about only through the evil things that take place. The supreme example of this in the Bible is the cross of Christ.

This clip is excerpted from the sermon „The Incomparable Glory of God,” the second part of our sermon series Best Sermon Ever. It was preached by Dr. Bruce Ware out of Isaiah 40–45 at Mars Hill Downtown Bellevue and released on August 18.

Sinclair Ferguson – Preaching about grace detached from the person of Christ

Written by Matthew S. Miller on http://theaquilareport.com/

Sinclair Ferguson’s Reflections on the Gospel

in Scotland and in American Evangelicalism:

Substituting the Idea of Grace for The Person of Jesus Christ

At the 41st PCA General Assembly in Greenville, S.C., in June, Ligonier Ministries hosted a panel discussion entitled  “Christology in the 21st Century: A Discussion.”

The panel included Ligon Duncan, Robert Godfrey, Richard Pratt, R.C. Sproul, and Sinclair Ferguson. While the entire hour-long discussion is well worth one’s time (it can be found here), the opening minutes contained a question posed to Sinclair Ferguson, whose concise and probing answer deserves as wide an audience as possible within Western evangelical circles.

Reflecting on what the lessons the contemporary American church could draw from the waxing and waning of the church in Scotland since the Reformation, Dr. Ferguson homed in on how the preaching and presentation of the Gospel often disconnects grace from the person of Christ. Or, as he put it, how often those preaching and presenting the Gospel fall prey to ‘substituting the idea of grace for the person of Christ.’

Here is the whole of Stephen Nichols’s question and Dr. Ferguson’s four-minute answer for the benefit of those who have not seen or heard it. I believe it is a critique we desperately need to receive:

Stephen Nichols: “As we look through church history we see different examples of places where the Gospel thrived, and may not thrive as much today. Buffeted by centuries of secularism, a once-thriving church no longer thrives. Of course, I’m thinking of what you (Dr. Ferguson) affectionately refer to as ‘the only country,’ your homeland of Scotland. But I didn’t know, Dr. Ferguson, if you could give us some perspective – as [one familiar with] a place that may reflect more of a post-Christian era. And obviously, you’re very familiar with the American church. What observations do you have for us as we think about Christology?”

Dr. Ferguson: “Well, I think answering that question would actually take us back to the time of the Reformation.

“I have never read this in either a church history or a social history in Scotland but I don’t myself believe that Scotland was ever fully captured by the Gospel. I think medieval Roman Catholic theology was almost endemic in Scotland. And the Reformation obviously delivered many people from that. The season of the Great Awakening, which was also experienced in Scotland, and the Second Great Awakening in the 19th century, created great advance for the Gospel. But my own conviction is that the basic notion that justification came by a process, [and] that that process was attached to the activity of the visible church, has been dominant in Scotland – at the time of the Reformation and ever since the time of the Reformation.

“In that sense I think the contribution you would make from reviewing what took place in Scotland would be to understand how easily the church slips into turning on its head what theologians would call the indicative of the Gospel and the imperative of the Gospel: focusing on the administration of rites rather than the ministry of the Holy Spirit as the means by which salvation is applied. And I would actually put it this way: Substituting the idea of grace for the person of Jesus Christ. And I think as you trace the history in Scotland, again and again and again people would even speak about grace, but it would be detached from the person of Christ.

“And my own conviction is that is so endemic in the Western culture that it may actually be one of the most characteristic phenomena of evangelicalism – the departure from Christhimself as ‘full of grace and truth’, to something Christ can give us as itself our salvation.

“And one of the things that you notice in the preaching in Scotland is that more and more in the exposition of the Scriptures the focus is more and more not on the Christ that is in the Scriptures, but on how we put ourselves in the Scriptures to do what the Scriptures tell us to do. And my own conviction is that that’s just endemic in Western Christianity.

“Schleiermacher was hugely popular in Scotland – phenomenally influential in Scotland. And the place I see Schleiermacher most evidenced in the contemporary church world is among evangelicals. They would hate the name of Schleiermacher, but actually their whole approach to the Gospel is dominated by the kind of subjectivism and reading the Gospel out of your own experience that you find in Schleiermacher.”

 

David Wilkerson – Losing the Love for Jesus Christ and Compromising with the Lord

VIDEO CLIP by sermonindex

What Role does the Holy Spirit play in Apologetics?

street evangelismVIDEO by drcraigvideos For more resources visit: http://www.reasonablefaith.org

Dr William Lane Craig answers a question in this clip about the role of the Holy Spirit in his ministry and apologetics. He says there is a difference between knowing Christianity to be true and showing Christianity to be true. On March 21, 2013, Dr Craig spoke at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas on the topic of faith, science and philosophy. This event was put on by the Veritas Forum which hosts university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. The style of this talk was more like a conversation than a lecture as Dr Craig shares much of his own personal story about how he came to faith in Jesus Christ.

Dr. William Lane Craig, FROM VIDEO: I have found it very helpful to differentiate between what I call ‘knowing Christianity to be true’, and showing Christianity to be true. I think that the fundamental way in which we know that Christianity is true, is through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. I do not think that arguments and evidence are necessary, in order for faith to be rational, or for you to know that God exists or has revealed Himself in Christ. 

So, I would say, that the fundamental way we know that Christianity is true is through the witness of the Holy Spirit, and reason and argument, then, can confirm the Spirit’s witness. The person who has good apologetics arguments, has in a sense a double warrant for his faith. He has the warrant provided by the Holy Spirit. And then, he has a double warrant, provided by argument and evidence. But, should he lack the argumented evidence, he can still be warranted, just on the basis of the Holy Spirit. That’s knowing Christianity to be true.

When it comes to showing Christianity to be true, we’re dealing with somebody else, and therefore, we’ll need to give them arguments and evidence to show them that what I know to be true, is true. And then, the role of the Holy Spirit will be to use those arguments and evidence, as I lovingly present them, to draw that person to Himself.  

So, in knowing Christianity to be true, the Holy Spirit is primary and argument and evidence is secondary. But, in showing Christianity to be true, argument and evidence is primary, and here the Holy Spirit is secondary, in using those as means by which He draws a person to Himself. Faith is trusting in what you have reason to believe is true. That reason doesn’t just mean arguments and evidence, that reason could be the deliverance of the Holy Spirit.

David Platt – Heaven, Hell, & End Times (from Secret Church)

Platt David

Someone has uploaded this video file (only) from David Platt’s Secret Church message on the End Times. If more video should be uploaded from this event I will certainly post it on this blog promptly. Video length is 80 minutes. Message is from the Good Friday 2013 broadcast of Secret Church)

David Platt, in video:

In the middle of our busy lives, we desperately need to contemplate the eternal. So many things that we focus our lives on will not matter 10 years from now…. and this is where Scripture draws our attention to tonight. To what will matter 10 billion years from now. A W Tozer said, „Let no one apologize for the powerful emphasis Christianity lays upon the doctrine of the world to come. Right there lies its immense superiority to everything else within the whole sphere of human thought or experience. When Christ arose from death, and ascended into heaven, He established forever 3 important facts. Namely:

  1. That this world has been condemned to ultimate dissolution.
  2. That the human spirit persists beyond the grave, and
  3. That there is, indeed, a world to come.

The church is constantly being tempted to accept this world as her home, and sometimes she has listened to the blandishments of those who would woo her away and use her for their own ends. But, if she is wise, she will consider that she stands in the valley, between the mountain peaks of eternity past and eternity to come. The past is gone forever, and the present is passing as swift as the shadow in a sun dial of Ahaz. Even if the earth should continue a million years, not one of us could stay to enjoy it. We would do well to think of the long tomorrow.”

We need to listen with humility. The kind of things we’re contemplating tonight, we cannot afford to be wrong on. We don’t wanna live in a world of conjecture, when it comes to eternal realities, especially when we know what is certain. God’s word is the only foundation we can stand upon when we think about these things. Jesus said, „Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. What transcends this world? God’s word! So, tonight, let’s minimize the thoughts of man and magnify the truth of God. The purpose for al these quotes (from Tozer and from men and women of God) is purely to point us to the truth of God, to the word of God. From the first 6 1/2 minutes of the video. There are 74 more minutes remaining.

A few other points:

  • PEOPLE DO NOT GO TO HEAVEN AND COME BACK – All the books written about heaven are best sellers even though the buyers are evangelical born again Christians who should know that in Proverbs 30:4 it says: „Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
    Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!
     and in John 3:13 it says:  „No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man”.  ALL 4 accounts of heaven in Scripture  are visions, not journeys taken by dead people. These visions are rare: 4 biblical authors had visions about heaven and wrote what they saw: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and John. All of them were prophetic experiences, not near death experiences. Not one person raised from the dead in the Old Testament, or the New Testament ever wrote down what he or she experienced in heaven, including Lazarus, who had a lot of time in the grave, for 4 days. Paul describes it as being caught up in heaven, but gives no details. He sums it up in 3 verses. These 4 authors agree in that their visions are all fixated on the glory of God, which defines heaven and illuminates everything there. They are overwhelmed, chagrined, petrified, and put to silence by the sheer majesty of God’s holiness. Notably missing from all the biblical accounts are the frivolous features and juvenille attractions that seem to dominate every account of heaven, currently on the best seller list. Why do we buy this stuff, when we have the word of God? Let’s minimize the thoughts of man; magnify, trust, let’s bank our lives and our understanding of the future on the truth of God. (11:00)

Secret Church – Session 13 Part 1from Dr. David Platt’s Heaven, Hell, & End Times from STBC Videos on Vimeo.

MORE David Platt Video SERMONS here

Dialogue on holiness with John Oswalt – author of Isaiah NIV Commentary

John Oswalt talks about holiness through it’s proper understanding of the Christian life and what it is all about, an example from the trinity vs. an overemphasis on externals (i.e. a holy outward life where we judge it by counting buttons or length of hair). His most recent book ‘Called to be Holy’, 

„traces the doctrine of personal holiness through both the Old and New Testaments, showing that holy living is an overarching theme of the entire Bible. Dr. Oswalt explains the intimate connection between forgiveness and a life of holiness, and underscores the practical consequences of walking in the Spirit. The result is a well-rounded portrait of the Bible’s teaching on godly living.” (source – book description – Amazon)
Oswalt in the 2nd video:
A New Testament without an Old Testament borders on heresy. It seems to me that a lot of the demise of a Christian understanding of the necessity of ethical holiness, of living out the life of God is the result of our ignorance of the Old Testament, because the New Testament assumes the Old Testament. Often times people will say to me, „There’s the Christian Bible, that’s the New Testament, and the Jewish Bible, that’s the Old Testament. Well, we’re Christians. Yeah, you sort of need the Old Testament, just for sort of background, so you can know where the New Testament came from, but, you don’t really need it.” That is, to put it bluntly- non Christian. The Christian church, for 2,000 years has said, „No, the whole Bible is Christian. A proper understanding of the Old Testament is that it is preparatory to Christ. And, in the same way, the New Testament assumes that we know the Old Testament. What is the question of life:
***How can a sinful human being ever share the character of a holy God? If you don’t know the Old Testament, you don’t know that. Well, the Old Testament is laying these foundations: God is transcendent. He is absolutely holy. He’s beyond anything we can imagine in His essence and His character. He is just. This is a cause and effect world. He is majestic, He is glorious. Salvation is to be found in community. Righteousness is to be lived out in a society. Revelation comes through historical narrative. The other points are there: His immanence, His love, His grace, the reality of an individual relationship with God, the reality of personal righteousness, revelation through teaching- they’re there. But, they’re minor points. The New Testament just reverses that order. The New Testament says, „OK, you got the point now: God is transcendent. Let us talk about His immanence. Let us talk about God having come here. You understand about God’s absolute holiness, now let us talk about His love. And so forth… down that list, just reversing them. If you know your Old Testament, the it fits together. Then, it is awesome Good News, that the awesome Holy God, who could fry you alive by looking at you, loves you. But, if you don’t know the Old Testament, then what you’ve got is a friendly little god, who says, „Oh honey, that’s all right. It doesn’t really matter, it’s okay. A little god, who exists under my bed, to answer my prayers.
A religion that is purely individualistic, about me and my righteousness, and interestingly, a religion that’s primarily through teaching, that actually, whether this stuff happened or not, it’s not that important. In other words, all too much of modern evangelicalism. 
***God’s jealousy in the OT. (2nd video, 10 min. mark)  We need to constantly help people to understand that God’s rage, especially in the prophets is the flipside of His love.  We’ve lost a good word in English: Zeal. As you know, it’s one word in hebrew: Zealous and jealous are the same word. Unfortunately, in English, jealousy is now a petty emotion. My wife smiles at another man, and I get bent out of shape, because I’m jealous. But jealous and zealous go together. And I think of Jesus cleaning out the temple. And what did the disciples remember? „The zeal of Thy house has eaten me up.” God is so furious because He loves His people so much and is so broken over what they are doing to themselves, and so I love to say to students and to others: „You know, the most frequently quoted 2 verse passage of the Old Testament in the Old Testament is Exodus 34:6-7 – TheLord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.  This gets quoted explicitly 6 times, and it’s alluded to another 11 (times). So you say to the Hebrew, „What’s your God like?” „Oh, He’s gracious and compassionate, slow to anger…” Ha? Looks to me like He got angry a lot!” And they say, „Yeah, He should have! That’s not surprising. What’s surprising is He hasn’t.”  We need to have people understand: You can’t have His love without His rage. He is a fully impassioned person.


Dr. John N. Oswalt (PhD, Brandeis University) is Visiting Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including the two-volume commentary on Isaiah in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series and Called to be Holy: A Biblical Perspective. Three other important books from John Oswalt are:

  1. The Bible among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature? by John N. Oswalt (Jul 28, 2009)
  2. Called to Be Holy by John N. Oswalt (Jun 15, 2011)

  3. Leisure Crisis (Critical Issues Series (Wheaton, Ill.).) by John Oswalt (Jun 1987)

(Source – Amazon, Photo credit Amazon).

VIDEOS by TheHenryCenter located at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School  of Wheaton College, Deerfield, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). For more videos (many debates) click here – http://www.henrycenter.org

Dialogue with John Oswalt – Part 1 (36 min)

Dialogue with John Oswalt – Part 2 (21 min)

C.H.Spurgeon -The Holy Spirit and the One Church (Classic)

spurgeon
A Sermon
(No. 167)

Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 13, 1857, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

„These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”—Jude 1:19.

HEN a farmer comes to thrash out his wheat, and get it ready for the market there are two things that he desires—that there may be plenty of it, of the right sort, and that when he takes it to market, he may be able to carry a clean sample there. He does not look upon the quantity alone; for what is the chaff to the wheat? He would rather have a little clean than he would have a great heap containing a vast quantity of chaff, but less of the precious corn. On the other hand, he would not so winnow his wheat as to drive away any of the good grain, and so make the quantity less than it need to be. He wants to have as much as possible—to have as little loss as possible in the winnowing, and yet to have it as well winnowed as may be. Now, that is what I desire for Christ’s Church, and what every Christian will desire. We wish Christ’s church to be as large as possible. God forbid that by any of our winnowing, we should ever cast away one of the precious sons of Zion. When we rebuke sharply, we would be anxious lest the rebuke should fall where it is not needed, and should bruise and hurt the feelings of any who God hath chosen. But on the other hand, we have no wish to see the church multiplied at the expense of its purity. We do not wish to have a charity so large that it takes in chaff as well as wheat: we wish to be just charitable enough to use the fan thoroughly to purge God’s floor, but yet charitable enough to pick up the most shrivelled ear of wheat, to preserve it for the Master’s sake, who is the husbandman. I trust, in preaching this morning, God may help me so to discern between the precious and the vile that I may say nothing uncharitable, which would cut off any of God’s people from being part of his true and living and visible church; and yet at the same time I pray that I may not speak so loosely, and so without God’s direction, as to embrace any in the arms of Christian affection whom the Lord hath not received in the eternal covenant of his love.
    Our text suggests to us three things: first, an inquiry—Have we the Spirit? secondly, a caution—if we have not the spirit we are sensual; thirdly, a suspicion—there are many persons that separate themselves. Our suspicion concerning them is, that notwithstanding their extra-superfine profession, they are sensual, not having the Spirit; for our text says, „These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”
    I. First, then, our text suggests AN INQUIRY—Have we the Spirit? This is an inquiry so important, that the philosopher may well suspend all his investigations to find an answer to this question on his own personal account. All the great debates of politics, all the most engrossing subjects of human discussion, may well stop to-day, and give us pause to ask ourselves the solemn question—”Have I the Spirit?” For this question does not deal with any externals of religion, but it deals with religion in its most vital point. He that hath the Spirit, although he be wrong in fifty things, being right in this, is saved; he that hath not the Spirit, be he never so orthodox, be his creed as correct as Scripture-ay and in his morals outwardly as pure as the law, is still unsaved; he is destitute of the essential part of salvation—the Spirit of God dwelling in him.
    To help us to answer this question, I shall try to set forth the effects of the Spirit in our hearts under sundry Scriptural metaphors. Have I the Spirit? I reply, And what is the operation of the, Spirit? How am I to discern it? Now the Spirit operates in divers ways, all of them mysterious, and supernatural, all of them bearing the real marks of his own power, and having certain signs following whereby they may be discovered and recognised.
    1. The first work of the Spirit in the heart is a work during which the Spirit is compared to the wind. You remember that when our Saviour spoke to Nicodemus he represented the first work of the Spirit in the heart as being like the wind, „which bloweth where it listeth;” „even so;” saith he, „is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Now you know that the wind is a most mysterious thing; and although there be certain definitions of it which pretend to be explanations of the phenomenon, yet they certainly leave the great question of how the wind blows, and what is the cause of its blowing in a certain direction, where it was before. Breath within us, wind without us, all motions of air, are to us mysterious. And the renewing work of the Spirit in the heart is exceedingly mysterious. It is possible that at this moment the Spirit of God may be breathing into some of the thousand hearts before me; yet it would be blasphemous if any one should ask, „Which way went the Spirit from God to such a heart? How entered it there?” And it would be foolish for a person who is under the operation of the Spirit to ask how it operates: thou knowest not where is the storehouse of the thunder; thou knowest not where the clouds are balanced; neither canst thou know how the Spirit goeth forth from the Most High and enters into the heart of man. It may be, that during a sermon two men are listening to the same truth; one of them hears as attentively as the other and remembers as much of it; the other is melted to tears or moved with solemn thoughts; but the one though equally attentive, sees nothing in the sermon, except, maybe, certain important truths well set forth; as for the other, his heart is broken within him and his soul is melted. Ask me how it is that the same truth has an effect upon the one, and not upon his fellow: I reply, because the mysterious Spirit of the living God goes with the truth to one heart and not to the other. The one only feels the force of truth, and that may be strong enough to make him tremble, like Felix; but the other feels the Spirit going with the truth, and that renews the man, regenerates him, and causes him to pass into that gracious condition which is called the state of salvation. This change takes place instantaneously. It is as miraculous a change as any miracle of which we read in Scripture. It is supremely supernatural. It may be mimicked, but no imitation of it can be true and real. Men may pretend to be regenerated without the Spirit, but regenerated they cannot be. It is a change so marvellous that the highest attempts of man can never reach it. We may reason as long as we please, but we cannot reason ourselves into regeneration; we may meditate till our hairs are grey with study; but we cannot meditate ourselves into the new birth. That is worked in us by the sovereign will of God alone.

„The Spirit, like some heavenly wind,
Blows on the sons of flesh,
Inspires us with a heavenly mind,
And forms the man afresh.”

But ask the man how: he cannot tell you. Ask him when: he may recognize the time, but as to the manner thereof he knoweth no more of it than you do. It is to him a mystery.
    You remember the story of the valley of vision. Ezekiel saw dry bones lying scattered here and there in the valley. The command came to Ezekiel, „Say to:these dry bones, live.” He said, „Live,” and the bones came together, „bone to his bone, and flesh came upon them;” but as yet they did not live. „Prophesy, son of man; say to the wind, breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” They looked just like life: there was flesh and blood there; there were the eyes and hands and feet; but when Ezekiel had spoken there was a mysterious something given which men call life, and it was given in a mysterious way, like the blowing of the wind. It is even so to-day. Unconverted and ungodly persons may be very, moral and excellent; they are like the dry bones, when they are put together and clothed with flesh and blood. But to make them live spiritually it needs the divine afflatus from the breath of the Almighty, the divine pneuma, the divine Spirit, the divine wind should blow on them, and then they would live. Say, my hearer, hast thou ever had any supernatural influence on thine Heart? For if not I may seem to be harsh with thee, but I am faithful: if thou hast never had more than nature in thy heart, thou art „in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.” Nay, sir, sneer not at that utterance; it is as true as this Bible, for tis from this Bible it was taken, and for proof thereof hear thou me. „except a man be born again (from above) of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” What sayest thou to that? It is in vain for thee to talk of making thyself to be born again; thou canst not be born again except by the Spirit, and thou must perish, unless thou art. You see, then, the first effect of the Spirit, and by that you may answer the question.
    2. In the next place, the Spirit in the word of God is often compared to fire. After the Spirit, like the wind, has made the dead sinner live, then comes the Spirit like fire. Now, fire has a searching and tormenting power. It is purifying, but it purifies by a terrible process. Now, after the Holy Spirit has given us the life of Christianity, there immediately begins a burning in our heart: the Lord searches and tries our reins, and lights a candle within our spirits which discovers the wickedness of our nature, and the loathsomeness of our iniquities. Say, my hearer, dost thou know anything about that fire in thine heart? For if not, thou hast not yet received the Spirit. To explain what I mean, let me just tell a piece of my own experience, by way of illustrating the fiery effects of the Spirit. I lived careless and thoughtless; I could indulge in sin as well as others, and did do so. Sometimes my conscience pricked me, but not enough to make me cease from vice. I could indulge in transgression, and I could love it: not so much as others loved it—mine early training would not let me do that—but still enough to prove that my heart was debased and corrupt. Once on a time something more than conscience pricked me: I knew not then what it was. I was like Samuel, when the Lord called him; I heard the voice, but I knew not whence it came. A stirring began in my heart, and I began to feel that in the sight of God I was a lost, ruined, and condemned sinner. That conviction I could not shake off. Do what I might it followed me. If I sought to amuse my mind and take it off from serious thoughts it was of no use; I was obliged still to carry about with me a heavy burden on my back. I went to my bed, and there I dreamed about hell, and about „the wrath to come.” I woke up, and this dreary nightmare, this incubus, still brooded on me. What could I do? I renounced first one vicious habit, then another: it mattered not; all this was like pulling one firebrand from a flame, that fed itself with blazing forests. Do what I might, my conscience found no rest. Up to the house of God I went to hear the gospel: there was no gospel for me; the fire burned but the more fiercely, and the very breath of the gospel seemed to fan the flame. Away I went to my chamber and my closet to pray: the heavens were like brass, and the windows of the sky were barred against me. No answer could I get; the fire burned more vehemently. Then I thought, „I would not live always; would God I had never been born!” But I dared not die, for there was hell when I was dead; and I dared not live, for life had become intolerable. Still the fire blazed right vehemently; till at last I came to this resolve: „If there be salvation in Christ, I will have it. I have nothing of my own to trust to; I do this hour, O God, renounce my sin, and renounce my own righteousness too.” And the fire blazed again, and burned up all my good works, ay, and my sins with them. And then I saw that all this burning was to bring me to Christ. And oh! the joy and gladness of my heart, when Jesus came and sprinkled water on the flame, and said, „I have bought thee with my blood; put thy trust in me; I will do for thee what thou canst not do for thyself; I will take thy sins away; I will clothe thee with a spotless robe of righteousness; I will guide thee all thy journey through, and land thee at last in heaven.” Say, my dear hearer, Dost know anything about the Spirit of burning? For if not, again I say, I am not harsh, I am but true; if thou hast never felt this, thou knowest not the Spirit.
    3. To proceed a little further. When the Spirit has thus quickened the soul and convinced it of sin, then he comes under another metaphor. He comes under the metaphor of oil. The Holy Spirit is very frequently in Scripture compared to oil. „Thou anointest mine head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Ah! brethren, though the beginning of the Spirit is by fire, it does not end there. We may be first of all convinced and brought to Christ by misery; but when we get to Christ there is no misery in him, and our sorrow results from not getting close enough to him. The Holy Spirit comes, like the good Samaritan, and pours in the oil and the wine. And oh! what oil it is with which he anoints our head, and with which he heals our wounds! How soft the liniments which he binds round our bruises! How blessed the eye-salve with which he anoints our eyes! How heavenly the ointment with which he binds up our sores, and wounds, and bruises, and makes us whole, and sets our feet upon a rock, and establishes our goings! The Spirit, after he has convinced, begins to comfort; and ye that have felt the comforting power of the Holy Spirit, will bear me witness there is no comforter like him that is the Paraclete. Oh! bring hither the music, the voice of song, and the sound of harps; they are both as vinegar upon nitre to him that hath a heavy heart. Bring me here the enchantments of the magic world, and all the enjoyments of its pleasures; they do but torment the soul and prick it with many thorns. But oh! Spirit of the living God, when thou dost blow upon the heart, there is not a wave of that tempestuous sea which does not sleep for ever when thou biddest it be still; there is not one single breath of the proud hurricane and tempest which doth not cease to howl and which doth not lie still, when thou sayest to it, „Peace be unto thee; thy sins are forgiven thee.” Say, do you know the Spirit under the figure of oil? Have you felt him at work in your spirits, comforting you, anointing your head, making you glad, and causing you to rejoice?
    There are many people that never felt this. They hope they are religious; but their religion never makes them happy. There are scores of professors who have just enough religion to make them miserable. Let them be afraid that they have any religion at all; for religion makes people happy; when it has its full sway with man it makes him glad. It may begin in agony, but it does not end there. Say, hast thou ever had thine heart leaping for joy? Hath thy lip ever warbled songs of ecstatic praise? Doth thine eye ever flash the fire of joy? If these things be not so, I fear lest thou art still without God, and without Christ; for where the Spirit comes, his fruits are, joy in the Spirit, and peace, and love, and confidence, and assurance for ever.
    4. Bear with me once more. I have to show you one more figure of the Spirit, and by that also you will be able to ascertain whether you are under his operation. When the Spirit has acted as wind, as fire, and as oil, he then acts like water. We are told that we are „born again of water and of the Spirit.” Now I do not think you foolish enough to need that I should say that no water, either of immersion or of sprinkling, can in the least degree operate in the salvation of a soul. There may be some few poor creatures, whose heads were put on their shoulders the wrong way, who still believe that a few drops of water from a priest’s hands can regenerate souls. There may be such a few, but I hope the race will soon die out. We trust that the day will come when all those gentry will have no „other Gospel” to preach in our churches, but will have clean gone over to Rome, and when that terrible plague-spot upon the Protestant Church, called Puseyism, will have been cut out like a cancer, and torn out by its very roots. The sooner we get rid of that the better; and whenever we hear of any of them going over to Rome, let them go—I wish we could as easily get rid of the devil, they may go together—we do not want either of them in the Protestant Church, anyhow. But the Holy Spirit when he comes in the heart comes like water. That is to say, he comes to purify the soul. He that is to-day as foul a liver as he was before his pretended conversion is a hypocrite and a liar; he that this day loveth sin and liveth in it just as he was wont to do, let him know that the truth is not in him, but he hath received the strong delusion to believe a lie: God’s people are a holy people; God’s Spirit works by love, and purifies the soul. Once let it get into our hearts, and it will have no rest till it has turned every sin out. God’s Holy Spirit and man’s sin cannot live together peaceably; they may both be in the same heart, but they cannot both reign there, nor can they both be quiet there; for „the Spirit lusteth against the flesh, and the flesh lusteth against the Spirit;” they cannot rest, but there will be a perpetual warring in the soul, so that the Christian will have to cry, „O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But in due time the Spirit will drive out all sin, and will present us blameless before the throne of his Majesty with exceeding great joy.
    Now, my hearer, answer thou this question for thyself, and not for another man. Hast thou received this Spirit? Answer me, anyhow; if it be with a scoff, answer me; if thou sneerest and sayest, „I know nothing of your enthusiastic rant,” be it so, sir; say, nay, then. It may be thou carest not to reply at all. I beseech thee do not put away my entreaty. Yes or no. Hast thou received the Spirit? „Sir no man can find fault with my character; I believe I shall enter heaven through my own virtues.” It is not the question, sir. Hast thou received the Spirit? All that thou sayest thou mayest have done; but if thou hast left the other undone, and hast not received the Spirit, it will go ill with thee at last. Hast thou had a supernatural operation upon thine own heart? Hast thou been made a new man in Christ Jesus! For if not, depend on it, as God’s Word is true, thou art out of Christ, and dying as thou art thou wilt be shut out of heaven, be thou who thou mayest and what thou mayest.
    II. Thus, I have tried to help you to answer the first question—the inquiry, Have we received the Spirit? And this brings me to the CAUTION. He that has not received the Spirit is said to be sensual. Oh, what a gulf there is between the least Christian and the greatest moralist! What a wide distinction there is between the greatest professor destitute of grace, and the least of God’s believers who has grace in his heart. As great a difference as there is between light and darkness between death and life, between heaven and hell, is there between a saint and a sinner; for mark, my text says, in no very polite phrase, that if we have not the Spirit we are sensual. ” Sensual!” says one; „well, I am not converted man—I don t pretend to be; but I am not sensual.” Well, friend, and it is very likely that you are not—not in the common acceptation of the term sensual; but understand that this word, in the Greek, really means what an English word like this would mean, if we had such a one—soulish. We have not such a word—we want such a one. There is a great distinction between mere animals and men, because man hath a soul, and the mere animal hath none. There is another distinction between mere men and a converted man. The converted man hath the Spirit—the unconverted man hath none; he is a soulish man—not a spiritual man; he has got no further than mere nature and has no inheritance in the spiritual kingdom of grace. Strange it is that soulish and sensual should after all mean the same! Friend, thou hast not the Spirit. Then thou art nothing better—be thou what thou art, or whatsoever thou mayest be—than the fall of Adam left thee. That is to say, thou art a fallen creature, having only capacities to live here in sin, and to live for ever in torment; but thou hast not the capacity to live in heaven at all, for thou hast no Spirit; and therefore thou art unable to know or enjoy spiritual things. And mark you, a man may be in this state, and be a sensual man, and yet he may have all the virtues that could grace a Christian; but with all these, if he has not the Spirit, he has got not an inch further than where Adam’s fall left him—that is, condemned and under the curse. Ay, and he may attend to religion with all his might—he may take the sacrament, and be baptized, and may be the most devout professor; but if he hath not the Spirit he hath not started a solitary inch from where he was, for he is still in „the bonds of iniquity,” a lost soul. Nay, further, he may pick up religious phrases till he may talk very fast about religion; he may read biographies till he seems to be a deep taught child of God; he may be able to write an article upon the deep experience of a believer; but if this experience be not his own, if he hath not received it by the Spirit of the living God, he is still nothing more than a carnal man, and heaven is to him a place to which there is no entrance. Nay, further, he might go so far as to become a minister of the gospel, and a successful minister too, and God may bless the word that he preaches to the salvation of sinners, but unless he has received the Spirit, be he as eloquent as Apollos, and as earnest as Paul, he is nothing more than a mere soulish man, without capacity for spiritual things.
    Nay, to crown all, he might even have the power of working miracles, as Judas had—he might even be received into the church as a believer, as was Simon Magus, and after all that, though he had cast out devils, though he had healed the sick, though he had worked miracles, he might have the gates of heaven shut in his teeth, if he had not received the Spirit. For this is the essential thing, without which all others are in vain—the reception of the Spirit of the living God. It is a searching truth, is it not, my friends? Do not run away from it. If I am preaching to you falsehood, reject it; but if this be a truth which I can substantiate by Scripture, I beseech you, rest not till you have answered this question: Hast thou the Spirit, living, dwelling, working in thy heart?
    III. This brings me, in the third place, to THE SUSPICION. How singular that „separation” should be the opposite of having the Spirit. Hark! I hear a gentle man saying, „Oh! I like to hear you preach smartly and sharply; I am persuaded, sir, there are a great many people in the church that ought not to be there; and so I, because there is such a corrupt mixture in the church, have determined not to join anywhere at all. I do not think that the Church of Christ now a days is at all clean and pure enough to allow of my joining with it. At least, sir, I did join a church once, but I made such a deal of noise in it they were very glad when I went away. And now I am just like David’s men; I am one that is in debt and discontented, and I go round to hear all new preachers that arise. I have heard you now these three months; I mean to go and hear some one else in a very little time if you do not say something to flatter me. But I am quite sure I am one of God’s special elect. I don’t join any church because a church is not good enough for me; I don’t become a member of any denomination, because they are all wrong, every one of them.” Hark ye brother, I have something to tell you, that will not please you. „These be they that separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” I hope you enjoy the text: it certainly belongs to you, above every man in the world. „These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” When I read this over I thought to myself, there be some who say, „Well, you are a dissenter, how do you make this agreeable with the text, ‘These be they who separate themselves;’ ” you are separated from the Church of England. Ah, my friends, that a man may be, and be all the better for it; but the separation here intended is separation from the one universal Church of Christ. The Church of England was not known in Jude’s day: so the apostle did not allude to that. „These be they who separate themselves,”—that is from the Church of Christ; from the great universal body of the elect. Moreover, let us just say one thing. We did not separate ourselves—we were turned out. Dissenters did not separate themselves from the Church of England, from the Episcopal church; but when the Act of Uniformity was passed, they were turned out of their pulpits. Our forefathers were as sound Churchmen as any in the world, but they could not take in all the errors of the Prayer Book, and they were therefore hounded to their graves by the intolerance of the conforming professors. So they did not separate themselves. Moreover, we do not separate ourselves. There is not a Christian beneath the scope of God’s heaven from whom I am separated. At the Lord’s table I always invite all Churches to come and sit down and commune with us. If any man were to tell me that I am separate from the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, or the Methodist, I would tell him he did not know me, for I love them with a pure heart fervently, and I am not separate from them. I may hold different views from them, and in that point truly I may be said to be separate; but I am not separate in heart, I will work with them—I will work with them heartily; nay, though my Church of England brother sends me in, as he has done, a summons to pay a churchrate that I cannot in conscience pay, I will love him still; and if he takes chairs and tables it matters not—I will love him for all that; and if there be a ragged-school or anything else for which I can work with him to promote the glory of God, therein will I unite with him with all my heart. I think this bears rather hard on our friends—the Strict Communion Baptists. I should not like to say anything hard against them, for they are about the best people in the world, but they really do separate themselves from the great body of Christ’s people. The Spirit of the living God will not let them do this really, but they do it professedly. They separate themselves from the great Universal Church. They say they will not commune with it; and if any one comes to their table who has not been baptized, they turn him away. They „separate,” certainly. I do not believe it is willful schism that makes them thus act; but at the same time I think the old man within has some hand in it.
    Oh, how my heart loves the doctrine of the one church. The nearer I get to my Master in prayer and communion, the closer am I knit to all his disciples. The more I see of my own errors and failings, the more ready am I to deal gently with them that I believe to be erring. The pulse of Christ’s body is communion; and woe to the church that seeks to cure the ills of Christ’s body by stopping its pulse. I think it sin to refuse to commune with anyone who is a member of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. I desire this morning to preach the unity of Christ’s church. I have sought to use the fan to blow away the chaff. I have said no man belongs to Christ’s church unless he has the Spirit; but, if he hath the Spirit, woe be to the man that separates himself from him. Oh! I should think myself grossly in fault if at the foot of these stairs I should meet a truly converted child of God, who called himself a Primitive Methodist, or a Wesleyan. or a Churchman, or an Independent, and I should say, „No, sir, you do not agree with me on certain points; I believe you are a child of God, but I will have nothing to do with you.” I should then think that this text would bear very hard on me. „These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” But would we do so, beloved? No, we would give them both our hands, and say, God speed to you in your journey to heaven; so long as you have got the Spirit we are one family, and we will not be separate from one another. God grant the day may come when every wall of separation shall be beaten down! See how to this day we are separate. There! you will find a Baptist who could not say a good word to a Poedo-Baptist if you were to give him a world. You find to this day Episcopalians who hate that ugly word, „Dissent;” and it is enough for them that a Dissenter has done a thing; they will not do it then, be it never so good.
    Ah! and furthermore, there are some to be found in the Church of England that will not only hate dissent, but hate one another into the bargain. Men are to be found that cannot let brother ministers of their own church preach in their parish. What an anachronism such men are! They would seem to have been sent into the world in our time purely by mistake. Their proper era would have been the time of the dark ages. If they had lived then, what fine Bonners they would have made! What splendid fellows they would have been to have helped to poke the fire in Smithfield! But they are quite out of date in these times, and I look upon such a curious clergyman in the same way that I do upon a Dodo—as an extraordinary animal whose race is almost, if not quite extinct. Well, you may look, and look and wonder. The animal will be extinct soon. It will not be long, I trust, before not only the Church of England shall love itself, but when all who love the Lord Jesus shall be ready to preach in each other’s pulpits, preaching the same truth, holding the same faith, and mightily contending for it. Then shall the world „see how these Christians love one another; ” and then shall it be known in heaven that Christ s kingdom has come, and that his will is about to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
    My hearer, dost thou belong to the church? For out of the church there is no salvation. But mark what the church is. It is not the Episcopalian, Baptist, or Presbyterian: the church is a company of men who have received the Spirit. If thou canst not say thou hast the Spirit, go thy way and tremble; go thy way and think of thy lost condition; and may Jesus by his Spirit so bless thee, that thou mayest be led to renounce thy works and ways with grief, and fly to him who died upon the cross, and find a shelter there from the wrath of God.
    I may have said some rough things this morning, but I am not given much to cutting and trimming, and I do not suppose I shall begin to learn that art now. If the thing is untrue, it is with you to reject it; if it be true, at your own peril reject what God stamps with divine authority. May the blessing of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit rest upon the one church of Israel’s one Jehovah. Amen and Amen.

(source Spurgeon.org)
C.H.Spurgeon -The Holy Spirit and the One Church (Classic)

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