As we conclude we must note that no one in the New Testament is ever saved by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit. Even in the case of the Apostle Paul, God used a preacher to teach Saul of Tarsus the gospel and then to baptize him into Christ (see Acts 9, 22, and 26). See also Romans 1:16. An additional important point of emphasis: The idea that the Holy Spirit lives in people today in some sort of supernatural fashion is false. It cannot be demonstrated as possible from Scripture nor can it be demonstrated empirically.
The Church and the Holy Spirit-2
The reason we are dealing with this subject: many people do not understand the Holy Spirit and His work and are therefore led to accept religious error, such as speaking in tongues, supernatural healing, miracles today and latter-day revelation. The solution to this and similar problems is to turn to the Word of God. When we allow the Bible to be the determining factor we can learn His identity, His work in the past and what the Bible teaches about His work today.
As is the case with many preachers I do a lot of driving at night. The work involves a lot of coming and going. There are speaking appointments, trips to the hospital and visits that need to be made in the evening. Also like most preachers, if I can get back home to my own bed after speaking somewhere I am certainly going to do that. Driving late into the dark night is vastly preferable to tossing and turning in a strange bed.
What is “zeal?” We might define zeal off the top of the head as something like enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is very popular in the larger religious world. But a recent assignment caused me to examine the idea of zeal. The results of that examination led me in a bit of a different direction than defining zeal merely in terms of enthusiasm.
A while back I was approached by a fellow who soon revealed himself to be an expert. It really did not matter what subject was under consideration, he knew everything in the world about it. Over the years I have allowed myself to be frustrated by this kind of person. In more recent times my response to these people has been more of a sad sense of amusement.
One of my favorite men from the last century is Winston Churchill. He was a man of the past in many ways but also an essential man for his time. He loved the idea of the British Empire but had to see it dissolve. He was a conservative politically in a time when socialism was showing great strength in the world. But he was most of all a man who stood for what was right and good in the face of the tremendous power of evil. Many historians argue that without Churchill Great Britain would have fallen to Nazi Germany.
Luke 15 is the chapter of three lost things: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost boy. Each of the parables teaches us that God places different values on things than we do. The shepherd had lost but one of his ninety-nine sheep but he kept looking until he found it. The woman who lost one of her ten coins searched carefully even though she still had nine of them safely in her possession. Most famous is the father’s joy at the return of his prodigal son.
Our society is seriously out of balance. Western culture had for years a rational center in terms of philosophy, culture and ethics. It was not perfect but there was a foundation present in the United States, Great Britain, Europe, Australia, and related cultures. That foundation was centered on the right of individual freedom, respect for the sacredness of human life, and the belief that truth is real and objective. People looked for the place God would have them reside. We have lost that center.
One thing that we know for sure is that people who sound smart are not always. There was a blip in the news recently about another observation and a series of calculations having to do with the coming together of two black holes in space. My physics is a bit rusty but the comments I heard were along the lines of this event offering further proof of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
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