Monthly Archives: April 2017

Jesus Came To Call The . . .

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. –Luke 19:10 (NASB)

This simple statement has to be one of the deepest truths known in the universe. The Son of Man, Deity incarnate, came to earth not just to seek that which was lost but also to save that which was lost. And what was lost? Mankind was lost.

There are a few elements that set Christianity apart from all other religions, and this is one of them. God took it upon himself to enter our world, become one of us, and drag us out of this world and into his. This is the exact inverse of what the natural mind would expect. While other religions spur men to take it upon themselves to enter God’s world, Christianity rejoices at the fact that God has entered ours and delivers us into his.

As startling as this may be, there was no other option. A lost man does not even know where he is, much less where God is. It is easier to grasp water with the hand than for a natural man to seek and find God. If God and man are to be united, it can only be through God seeking and finding man.

Those who have spent time in the wilderness know that the most important thing is to remain aware of one’s location. If a man becomes lost yet refuses to acknowledge it, he has no hope of getting un-lost. The same is true on the spiritual level. When the scribes and Pharisees grumbled at Jesus for eating with sinners and tax collectors, Jesus responded by saying, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). The “righteous” were just as lost as the sinners and tax collectors. They just didn’t know it. The sinners and tax collectors knew who they were, and they knew what they needed.

Christians live in the interesting situation of having been found, forgiven, and legally justified through the life and work of Jesus Christ, yet our need of a physician persists. Fortunately, we remain in the care of the Great Physician. He has begun his work in us, but he is not finished. We remain just as dependent on him today as when we were lost in the wilderness. We knew what we needed then. Do we know what we need today? Sometimes, the simple Sunday school answer is the right answer.

The Trinity in the Resurrection

One of the most amazing statements to come from Jesus is found in John 2:19. In reference to his own body, he says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (NASB). He echoes the same theme in John 10, saying in reference again to his life in verse 18, “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

Who talks this way? Some men may talk about laying down their life for a cause or another person; but no one talks about taking up us life after he has given it as a sacrifice, except Jesus. There are many unique things about the person of Jesus Christ, but one of the most extraordinary has to be his willingness to give up his life and his ability to subsequently walk out of the grave.

As profound as this is, there is something even more elaborate going on here. While Jesus claims to be the one who brings himself back from the dead, Paul clearly refers to the Father who raised Jesus from the dead in Galatians 1:1. So, we see both the Son and the Father depicted as the one who resurrects Jesus body.

Yet, there is still more. In Romans 8:11, Paul refers to the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead. Now, we have three actors in the play . . . the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit . . . and all three are said to be the one who raises Jesus from the dead.

The obvious conclusion, as Peter says in 1 Peter 1:21, is that God is the one who raises Jesus from the dead. While succinct teachings on the Trinity are hard to come by in the Bible, this is once instance in which all three Persons are described as engaging in the same act, an act that is distinctly reserved for deity.

So, while Easter is typically and rightly focused on the Son and his victory over death, let it also be a reminder that the God of the Bible is triune. He is one God who exists in three persons, each of whom act in harmony and agreement with one another in laying the cornerstone of the Christian faith . . . the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Filled With the Spirit

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. 

-Ephesians 5:18–19 (NASB)

There are a few different ways in which a believer may be filled with the Holy Spirit. Those who began speaking in tongues at Pentecost are described as being “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4). Peter is described in Acts 4:8 as being “filled with the Holy Spirit” as he proclaims God’s word to his accusers. Stephen is said to be “full of the Holy Spirit” at his stoning (Acts 7:55).

Setting aside the debate over the continuation of the charismatic gifts (it is safe to conclude that the total of four tongues events in Acts do not constitute everyday activity), there are two remaining ways in which believers may be full of the Holy Spirit today. They may be empowered for ministry, as Peter is in Acts 4; or they may be given strengths or abilities to help them in their personal life, as Stephen is in Acts 7.

All believers experience the ministry of the Holy Spirit on that personal level, beginning with regeneration and continuing on through the process of sanctification. Whether everyone is also equipped by the Holy Spirit for ministry is a topic for another day. The point of this article is to highlight the fact that every believer, in some way, is filled with the Holy Spirit.

What is most interesting about this point is the Greek word pleroo that is translated into English as “filled.” In all of its uses in relation to the Spirit in the New Testament, it is used in a metaphorical sense and carries the meaning of being generously supplied with something. In other words, the Holy Spirit does not literally fill up the body of the believer. Human bodies are actually full of tissue, bone, blood, and water (and some other physical stuff). Rather, when the believer is filled with the Spirit, he is generously supplied with the Spirit. In other words, the believer has generous access to God the Spirit. Do not take this as just a general reference to “the believer.” The reality is that every individual believer, including each one reading this article, has generous and direct access to God the Spirit.

Consider the implications of this for a moment. The Creator of the universe, the one who holds the breath of all mankind in his hand (Job 12:10), the one who spoke everything into existence and sustains it by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3), he gives all Christians generous access to himself through his Spirit. The is an amazing truth that brings to life the promise that God himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

This promise is true at all times, in all places, through all circumstances, for all of God’s people. Through trials and hardships, in times of apparent setbacks in maturity and sanctification, in times of rejoicing and times of grief, nothing can separate God’s people from his love (Romans 8:38–39) because he has, of his own volition and for his own joy, decided to generously supply his people with the Holy Spirit.

So, be filled with the Holy Spirit; and out of that fullness, speak to your Christian brothers and sisters in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and rend your hearts to God as the symphony of his people, always giving thanks to God for all things.