Friday, January 27, 2017

The Holy Spirit is The Best Type Of Witness

The Holy Spirit

The Best Type Of Witness

Judgment trials always use witnesses.  witness is someone who has first-hand knowledge about a crime or dramatic event through their senses (e.g. seeing, hearing, smelling, touching) and can help certify important considerations to the crime or event. We know that lawyers – on both sides - use witnesses to testify either for or against the defendant.  We have also learned that there are different types of witnesses.  A witness who has seen the event first-hand is known as an eye-witness. A material witness is an individual who contains information "material" to a criminal proceeding.  A Character witness tries to convince the jury that the defendant could have never done what he or she is accused of based on their character.  Then there are expert witnesses.  They do not know the defendant, nor did they see what happened.  They take the evidence found in the crime scene, which technically speaking was there, and in a sense, speak what the evidence says in words the jury will understand. 

The Spirit is to testify of Jesus.  Let's read John 15:26,

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of Me:

In the Biblical Greek, to testify means to be or bear witness, give testimony, have a good report, to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because of divine revelation or inspiration.  Who best to testify than the One who was there throughout the whole process?  Let us look at this list that shows how the Spirit was involved with Jesus. 

  1. The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus (Matthew 1:1820). 
  2. He filled Jesus with His presence (Luke 2:40). 
  3. The Holy Spirit was there when John baptized Jesus giving His approval to Jesus (Matthew 3:16). 
  4. The Spirit led Jesus where He should go (Luke 4:1,14). 
  5. Jesus performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28). 
  6. Jesus admitted that all He was able to do was due to the Spirit being upon Him (Luke 4:18). 

It is the Spirit's desire to be and do with us as He was and did with Jesus.  Ellen White says, 

"The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail.   The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world's Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church." {DA 671.2}

The Holy Spirit is responsible for our new birth.  One cannot be born unless one is conceived first.  It is the Holy Spirit who spiritually re-conceives us for our new birth experience (John 3:5-8).  He fills us with His presence.  The sign of this experience are the Gifts and His fruit (1 Corinthians 12:4; Galatians 5:22-24).  He leads us where we should go.  Because, of the Spirit we will do even greater things than Jesus. 

We need not worry about what to say,, since the Holy Spirit will bring to remembrance what we are to say (Mark 13:11).  The Holy Spirit is our seal of promise unto the day of redemption.  That is a beautiful and reassuring promise: that He, who brought Jesus forth, will also bring us forth to Jesus.

How does the Spirit do his work in us?  Ellen White tells us how, 

The Comforter is called "the Spirit of truth." His work is to define and maintain the truth.   He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind. By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself." {DA 671.1}

Ellen White reiterates this same point by saying that …,

"…The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of their supreme affections, and by making manifest his character in them. They see clearly that there was never any righteousness in the world but his, no excellence in the world but that derived from him.  The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of their supreme affections, and by making manifest his character in them. They see clearly that there was never any righteousness in the world but his, no excellence in the world but that derived from him {1888 1017.3}

The only thing that will prevent the Holy Spirit from fulfilling His work in us is ourselves.  Let us then allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us.  Let us not disdain the Holy Spirit.  He is the greatest gift God gives to us.  We read in Luke 11: 13,

Luke 11: 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Will we appreciate the gift?

Raul Diaz
Originally Posted on 7/14/2014.

Friday, January 20, 2017

No Cure for Rejecting the Cure

No Cure for Rejecting the Cure 

Let's say a child is born with a fatal congenital disease for which there is no cure.  Because he was born with it, the condition is not his fault. Therefore, the fact that he has the disease and will die from it cannot be held against him.  Let's also say that years later a cure is discovered and the child, now a man, can receive the medicine for free.  He still, however, has to choose to take the medication.  If he takes it, he will be cured, and, therefore, live longer.  And if he decides not to take the medication, he will continue with the disease and eventually die.  Can he still blame his parents for the disease and dying from it?  No.  After his rejection of the medicine, he can only blame himself.  There is no cure for rejecting the treatment.

 In Numbers 21: 5 - 9, we read that the people of Israel murmured against God, and, therefore, God allowed the serpents to bite them. God had given the people manna.  But, they did not appreciate this food of the angels; instead, becoming bored with it, they despised it. So the Lord allowed the venomous snakes to slither into the camp and bite the people. As long as they lived by faith, the Lord was able to protect them from the designs of the evil one. But as the people murmured against God, their rebellious attitude ripened, and so did their disrespect of Moses and God. Consequently, God had to remove his hand of protection at his people's insistence, and the snakes bit them.  The cries of the stricken ones were heard everywhere.  The numbers of the dead increased. As the people were suffering and dying, many longed for relief. At last, realizing the connection between the snakes and their Sin, they requested Moses to pray for deliverance.  God did answer, and he told Moses to build a brazen serpent, put it on a pole, and have the bitten ones look and live. Those who looked and did not die.
In God's providence, He did not get rid of the serpents, and neither did He prevent them from attacking the people. Instead, He encouraged the people to exercise faith. The issue was: would they believe that in looking at the brazen serpent, they would live?
The brazen serpent was placed high on a pole for all of the people in the camp to see.  But, only the wounds of those who looked at the brazen serpent when bitten healed.  Did any of the people deserve the cure? No, not one person in the camp deserved deliverance (Romans 3:10 – 12). But God, in His love and mercy not only allowed the people to have what they insisted on - the distance they desired from Him as demonstrated by their murmuring and complaining, which brought the snakes - He even provided them with the cure. This gesture toward them displayed not only God's mercy by not giving them what they deserved, but it manifested his grace by giving them the power to overcome their unbelief.  Furthermore, if they took him at His word, it energized them physically to overcome the effects of the poison.

Now, just because God gave this opportunity or gift to all, did not mean that God spared all bitten by snakes from the effects of the poison. He wanted to save all, but those who chose not to believe would not look, and not looking, meant certain death. Unfortunately, there was no grace for rejecting the grace. There was no remedy for rejecting the solution. And the same applies today -- those who dismiss the grace that can save them will find that there is no grace for rejecting the grace. Grace, as we see, has limits.
The lesson's author states something similar regarding the Jews in Jeremiah's time.  Generations later they had not learned their lesson. Our Lesson states:

"This week's lesson brings us toward the end of the saga of Jeremiah the prophet. However, this is not a "…and they lived happily ever after" ending. In a sense, one could summarize this week's study, and even a good portion of the book of Jeremiah, by saying that what we see here is an example of the limits of grace. That is, grace will not save those who utterly refuse to accept it. No matter how much the Lord spoke to them, sending them salvation, protection, redemption, peace, and prosperity, all but a tiny and faithful remnant scorned and rebuffed God's gift.  …Even after everything Jeremiah warned about came to pass, the people still clung to their sins and paganism and rebellion, openly defying the Prophet to his face and scorning the Word of the Lord to them.
How we need to be careful ourselves. Grace is grace because it's favor and power given to the undeserving, yes; but it's not forced on anyone. All must be willing to receive it for themselves."
Just as grace is a gift to all, but only useful to those who receive it; grace does not cover all Sin.  Some may get the impression from Romans 5:20 through 6:2 that grace covers all sin. But that is not the case, for the passage says,

"Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom 5:20, 21). "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Rom 6:1, 2).

 Those who are of the belief that the more they sin, the more grace abounds - if they continue in that path - forget that eventually, they will commit the unpardonable Sin.  Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 12:31, 32--

"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come" (Mathew 12:32, 32).

 The sin spoken of in the above verse is the final rejection of God's wooing to you.  Blasphemy is committed at the point where the heart has barricaded its door against the Holy Spirit's invitation to intimacy with God, and repentance is steadfastly refused. Christ died to save us from our Sin, but grace beaten back for the last time will not abound, at the sinners' insistence. Thus, the rejected grace can not save.  Many who attend church and actively participate will commit this Sin.  We read in Matthew 7: 21 - 23,

Matthew 7:21-23 World English Bible (WEB)
21 Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 
22 Many will tell me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?' 
23 Then I will tell them, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.'

Oh, it's so important to trust willingly and heed the promptings of God's Spirit, for He would not have us die, for the cure has already been provided.

~Raul Diaz 
Raul Diaz

Friday, January 13, 2017

True Freedom is not Independence

The following commentary illustrates how the Holy Spirit works as wind.  Let us read it.

 True Freedom is not Independence
To illustrate how freedom works in the Biblical sense a script - of sorts - was included in our Teacher's section of our lesson.  I believe it is a powerful illustration.   It is a dialogue between a hand rag puppet and the wind. 
In summary, the puppet is a hand puppet that will only work when someone fills it with his hand.  The puppet insisted that the hand filling it so far was grubby.  So, it did not feel right.  It saw another kind of puppet, the kind that is held up with strings – and thought that this was a better option.  But, once it saw the strings, it realized the other puppet was not better off than itself.  It also noticed that "Whenever I get up and get noticed, it means he's (grubby hands) in charge of my every move. It's nice hearing kids laugh, but deep inside I know I'm just getting dirty inside.  Otherwise I live like this, a total flop." 
The Wind offered to come inside to live, cleanse the dirt inside from the grubby hands, and hold it up without the need for grubby hands to fill it or strings attached.  It was a very expensive procedure, but it would be free to the puppet.  And, it had to be with the puppet's permission.  The puppet had to choose to let the Wind do it.  The Puppet flew away yelling out excitedly, ". . . I'm soaring . . . I'm free!"   The puppet was still not on control, per se, after all the wind lived in Him.  The wind was in charge of every move.  The puppet was not independent, although the puppet felt free.  What was the difference? 
There were probably several factors.  One of which was the cleansing.  Another was the fact that it could soar and not be carried around for the needs and wants of Mr. Grubby Hands.  Also, there is an implication that it was permanent.  The Puppet would no longer be lying down, as long as the wind could live in it, which would be as long as the puppet allowed it to stay.
Based on John 3:8 we could equate the Wind with the Holy Spirit,
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit follows Jesus mode of operating.  Jesus says to us in Revelation 3:
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
So, Christ, via the Holy Spirit, always asks for permission to come in.  We can tell God always asks for permission by Paul's use of the verb, "To Let."  It implies permission.  One example of this word is Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:" 
When we open our door the Holy Spirit comes in and begins His work of sanctifying; in other words: cleansing us (Ephesians 5: 25 -27; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).  Then we start experiencing freedom from the power of Sin.  Thus, we also experience freedom from the shame, burden, and guilt that results from Sin.  But, this freedom is only experienced if we are continually letting the Holy Spirit dwell in us.  (Ironically, this will only happen if and as we are looking at the Cross.)  As we become completely and continually dependent on Him, we experience more freedom from the shackles of Sin.  This frees us to serve God.   Thus, if by faith we are dependent on God, then we soar. 

Raul Diaz
Originally Posted by Ulee on 4/09/2010

Friday, January 6, 2017

Go and Ask The One Who Wrote It

Go and Ask The One Who Wrote It

A man wrote a note expressing his views on a subject. He sent this note to some of the people he knew. He wanted their opinion and their input. The people that received it read the note, and afterward started to discuss the content of the note. Many thought he meant one thing, while others thought he meant another. Days passed by and no one got back to the author of the note, but they continued to argue amongst themselves over what they thought the writer meant on the note. Finally, they gave the note to a man known for his practical wisdom. He read the note as the people waited in expectation of what this man would say. The reader nodded when he finished reading. The people asked the man,  "Well, what do you think?" He answered, "I think it is worth pondering. It could be interpreted in many ways. So I do not know…" They all waited to see if he said something else. Then suddenly the man spoke, "Well you all know me to be a very practical man." "We know that is why we are asking you,' said the crowd. "And, I think this needs a practical solution." "And that is?" asked the impatient crowd. The man said very matter-of-factly, "Well, I am going to find the person who wrote this note and ask him personally, what he meant by this." The man left the premises to locate the author of the note. Meanwhile, the crowd stood in place quietly mumbling, "Why did we not think of that?" I believe the Bible presents a similar situation. God inspires men to write it. We read it. We do not readily understand it. So, we discuss and philosophize amongst ourselves what we think God meant. But, we do not ask God Himself what He meant in His Word. 

This week's scripture reading makes a bold statement: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16).  In the Biblical Greek, the word inspired is translated from the word "theopnuestos." Literally, this term mean, "God breathed out." In other words, God exhaled the writings of the Bible on the authors. God did this, not by giving the authors of the Biblical books inspired words, but by inspiring the writers. One of my favorite writers elaborated on this, 

The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God's mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God's penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers. It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God. (Selected Messages, book 1, p. 21)

So when God exhaled on these Holy men they "spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" 2 Peter 1: 21. The same power that God used to give life to Adam, when God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7), is the same power God used to inspire the authors of the Bible. The power that gave life to man also gave life to the Words written in the Holy Writ. 

Since the Bible belongs to the Spirit of God, it follows that The Bible is a Spiritual thing. And, Spiritual things are "spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). Only those who have received that Spirit of God understand the things of the Spirit. Only those who receive the Spirit can discern spiritual things. To understand the Bible in its purest and simplest form –as the Truth as it is in Jesus - we need the same breath that God gave to those who wrote it. If the Holy Spirit is the author, and He dwells in us, then He should be able to tell us exactly what He meant when then men He inspired wrote as moved by Him. 

The Bible says that "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5). Jesus Himself says to all, 

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 
Matthew 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 

To the above quote the Apostle James may have added, "Ye have not, because ye ask not" (James 4:2). Jesus also said that the Father is more than willing to give us the Holy Spirit if only we ask for Him (Luke 11:13). Will we continue to discuss amongst ourselves? Or, will we go back to the One that wrote it and let Him breathe His heavenly wisdom upon us? 

Posted by Ulee at 4/13/2007 12:50:00 PM   
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