Genesis 8: 22 - ”As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”
God was not pleased with the earth. There seemed to be no one worthy. Everyone had forgotten about God and were living their lives. Noah was one man who continued to hold on to his faith. Even though Noah was righteous, God decided to cleanse the earth anyway, keeping Noah and his family alive with specific instructions.
Once the waters had receded and the land was finally dry, Noah exited the ark and built an altar. He sacrificed his burnt offerings as the law required and the aroma was pleasing to God. God then made the agreement to sustain the earth and never let it be destroyed again. God made the promise that as long as the earth remains, we will have planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.
Summer time is a direct result of God willingly saving the earth and the people on it. The changing of seasons is all part of the design. Maybe we feel that summer is time for vacations, dipping in the pool, camping with family, and many other things. In reality it is part of God’s design to continually change the way he interacts with us in our life.
This summer I hope that you engage with God in a new way. Maybe take your Bible with you on vacation. Maybe make sitting by the campfire more important by telling stories of the church and how Jesus has impacted your faith. Whatever you choose I hope that you will connect with God and make the most of your summer. Coronavirus is not going to last forever, but I know a God who will. It is time to make the most of our opportunities. I hope that you will be able to join us in person or online and study about the importance of a summertime faith.
~ Pastor Mike
John 1: 6-9 - “God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” - NLT
When I think of Jesus I think of life. He was always so good at bringing out the best in people. He gave people hope and he worked in their life, meeting them where they were, and transforming their future to look more like him.
We often forget that Jesus was with God at the beginning of creation. “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. I believe somehow that Jesus was the original light. There was a dark and empty void and God said, “Let there be light”. It was the beginning of life. When we think about it, we can’t do much without light. When our power goes off we stumble around searching for candles and flashlights so that we can see what we are doing. Sunlight is necessary in most cases for sustaining life. Scientifically we can find that darkness isn’t actually a thing, but merely the absence of light.
Jesus was and is our light. He has given us hope and life through His light, and it is up to us to find a way to engage in that light, learn about that light, and then share that light with others.
I found myself finding unique similarities in Scripture to the account of Jesus birth, and the account of Jesus death.
The shepherds were made aware that the Son of God would be found in a manger wrapped snugly with strips of cloth. Luke 2:12 - “And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” This manger was likely a cave, beneath the home of their family was likely the only place for them to stay. This manger was used to feed the animals and bring them sustaining food for life. When Jesus was crucified, he was laid in a borrowed tomb and wrapped with strips of burial cloth. Just like his birth. Three days later, Jesus defeated sin and death and rose from the grave. This burial tomb or “cave” can now be considered a source of life, sustaining those who believe in him until he returns for them.
This light of the world is beckoning to you this holiday season. Please do not take this time to be harsh and brash with those who don’t believe the way that you do. Be kind. Be loving. Be caring for each other. Be everything that Jesus would want you to be to the world around you. Be the light!
Matthew 16: 21-26
Remember, Do Not Be Afraid, There is Enough, You Are Enough!
We are going to begin our series Enough - Time to Rise, based on the book Enough, Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity. What we cover here in August will go hand in hand with the study that many of you have decided to begin this week, and if you are not in the study, that is ok too, you will be blessed and I pray; moved to a course of action.
We are going to discuss stewardship this month and next month you are going to hear from your leaders within the church as they describe to you, what this study has meant to them.
What do you think characterizes the hopes and dreams of most Americans?
Most of us have the hopes and dreams that involve success, power, money. Most of us have the dream of owning a bigger home, or a better car, or that we are successful at our job or in our endeavors. We tend to measure our success by what we have, the things we own, our possessions. Our current dream is likely something that involves wanting to achieve this dream of success, power, and possessions and seeing the results RIGHT NOW! Our consumerist society has led to more drive through windows. You can even get just about anything delivered to home anymore, not just pizzas, EVERYTHING you can imagine. This dream has become a nightmare of wants over needs and it has led us to the disease Adam Hamilton calls “Affluenza”. Hamilton describes “It is the constant need for more and bigger and better stuff—as well as the effect that this need has on us. It is the desire to acquire, and most of us have been infected by this virus to some degree.”
• The average American home went from 1,660 square feet in 1973 to 2,700 square feet in 2016.
• Today there is estimated to be 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space in America.
The other disease that Hamilton describes is, “Credit-itis”. It is an illness that is brought on by the opportunity to buy now and pay later, and it feeds on our desire for instant gratification. Our economy today is built on the concept of credit-itis. Unfortunately, it has exploited our lack of self-discipline and has allowed us to feed our affluenza, wreaking havoc with our personal and national finances.
• Average credit card debt in America in 1990 was around $3,000. Today it’s nearly $17,000.
• The average sale is around 125 percent higher if we use a credit card than if we pay cash, because it doesn’t feel real when we use plastic instead of cash.
• Credit-itis is not limited to purchases made with credit cards; it extends to car loans, mortgages, and other loans. The life of the average car loan and home mortgage continues to increase, while the average American’s savings rate continues to decline.
Our souls were created in the image of God, but we have distorted that image. We were meant to desire God, but we have turned that desire toward possessions. We were meant to find our security in God, but we find it in amassing wealth. We were meant to love people, but instead we compete with them. We were meant to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, but we busy ourselves with pursuing money and things. We were meant to be generous and to share with those in need, but we selfishly hoard our resources for ourselves. All of us have an inclination toward sin. The devil plays upon this inclination toward sin.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). In order to destroy us, the devil doesn’t need to tempt us to do drugs or to steal or to have an extramarital affair. All he needs to do is convince us to keep pursuing the American Dream—to keep up with the Joneses, borrow against our futures, enjoy more than we can afford, and indulge ourselves. By doing that, the devil will rob us of joy, make us slaves, and keep us from doing God’s will.
Although we receive a changed heart when we accept Christ, in a sense we need a heart change every morning. Each morning we should get down on our knees and say, “Lord, help me to be the person you want me to be today. Take away the desires that shouldn’t be there, and help me to be single-minded in my focus and pursuit of you.” As we say this prayer and act on it, God comes and cleanses us from the inside out, purifying and changing our hearts.
We must allow Christ to work in us.
Christ works in us as we first seek his kingdom and strive to do his will. As we do, we begin to sense a higher calling—a calling to simplicity and faithfulness and generosity. We begin to look at ways we can make a difference with our time and talents and resources. By pursuing good financial practices, we free ourselves from debt so that we are able to be in mission to the world. A key part of finding financial and spiritual freedom is found in simplicity and in exercising restraint. With the help of God, we can
• simplify our lives and silence the voices constantly telling us we need more.
• live counter culturally by living below, not above, our means.
• build into our budgets the money to buy with cash instead of credit.
• build into our budgets what we need to live generously and faithfully.
As you bring yourself and your soul to the table of Christ today, I pray that you are looking hard into the motives found in your life. I pray that you are willing to allow God to change your heart, to open your eyes, to see the bigger picture that He has for you.
I pray that you are willing to let him have more than just the superficial parts of your life.
John 10: 10 - “ The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” - NLT
We made quick and busy work of July and now we find ourselves in August. Many are attempting to grab hold of what is left of summer, and others are beginning to think about school starting soon.
We left July with a distinct message. A message of God’s promise of wisdom, attention, power, and trust. We will continue to focus in on what God wants from us now that we have this inheritance, and we will begin our year-round stewardship campaign in August; Enough- Time to Rise. Don’t worry, this is not all going to be about money, but it will be about our spiritual lives.
Your leadership was encouraged to begin the study of Adam Hamilton’s book; Enough - Finding Joy through Simplicity and Generosity. Adam knew that giving was down in his church and when he began to find out why, he saw that his church members were struggling to make ends meet in life. Our personal financial freedom can be found in many things and one of those is within our spiritual health.
This month we will engage in a sermon series that goes along with the study (do not worry if you miss it, you will have an opportunity to do it again). This study will take us through watching our dreams become nightmares due to our financial situation, how we can find wisdom in the Bible on our finances, how we can cultivate a life filled with contentment, and how we can find blessing in our lives to begin giving generously.
The devil has been attempting to kill, steal, and destroy since the creation of mankind. He is the great deceiver. He is also the source of our worldliness getting the best of us, so that when we purchase things or look for material joy we often find our lives feeling empty… still.
Jesus is the great giver of life. He is the one in which we find our lives filled with abundance. Jesus also teaches us that if we want to gain our lives we must lose our lives. What are we willing to lose, in order to make our lives more fruitful so that we can live out of abundance and not scarcity? I am looking forward to a powerful month of studies, sermons, and lives being changed!
2 Kings 6: 8-17
Remember, Do Not Be Afraid, There is Enough, You Are Enough!
Two weeks ago we talked about the inheritance of wisdom and how God appeared to Solomon. Today I want to give you the evidence that Jesus has provided for us an Inheritance of Attention. God, because of what Jesus has done, wants our attention and seeks our attention. We have his full attention all the time.
Last week we talked about our inheritance of Attention and how God appeared to Elijah. In Elijah’s moment of need God was there. God is paying attention to us, are we willing to pay attention to Him in return?
In today’s text we see God speaking to Elisha!
There was a time in which the Arameans were at war with the people of Israel. A great prophet of God Elisha was helping the king of Israel at the time to understand where and when the Arameans were going to attack. God would come to Elisha and speak to him and tell him when and where the Arameans were going to be, and so the people of Israel could not be where they were going to attack.
This infuriated the Aramean king and the soldiers found out about Elisha and how he always seemed to know where they were going to be.
V 11-12. The king of Aram became very upset over this. He called his officers together and demanded, “Which of you is the traitor? Who has been informing the king of Israel of my plans?” “It’s not us, my lord the king,” one of the officers replied. “Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in the privacy of your bedroom!”
So they found out where Elisha was going to be and they surrounded him and were going to attack him. Now look at what happens.
V 15-17. When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha. “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire
Elisha was never afraid, but his friend who was with him was very afraid!! He prayed, “Lord open his eyes” and what he sees is that God has surrounded them with horses and chariots of fire!!
God’s power is with you today friends! You might think that the enemy is all over you. You might think that the end is near. You might think that you have lost the battle. I pray for you this morning that the Holy Spirit is opening your eyes and that you can see YOUR horses and chariots of fire surrounding you in help!
When Christ died on the cross for your sins, you were forgiven of any sin that you have committed, and this includes any sin to come, but God does not want you to STAY in your sin. He wants you to feel his mighty power with you. He wants you to know that you are saved. He wants you to know that He is by your side, through thick and thin. He wants you to know that he has done everything within his POWER to make your paths straight and light; even though it does not seem like it.
I have been working with the Old Testament and showing you the inheritance that you have. We have to go back and view WHO God and is WHAT he is doing for his people.
Now enter Jesus. Jesus is the one who makes all of us God’s people and welcomes all of us into this family!
Jesus is approached at night by a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He wants to believe in this Jesus but comes to him at night so as not to be seen by his friends and colleagues. He has serious questions for Jesus about salvation. This section is in John 3 and where we find the most frequently quoted Scripture passage of all time.
Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again to enter into the kingdom of heaven. He has a hard time wrapping his head around having to go back into his mother’s womb. Jesus then lays out the story of Moses in the wilderness.
John 3: 10-15. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
Jesus then goes on to give the rest of the message, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
Even Jesus goes back to the Old Testament to describe how great the power of God! There were venomous snakes all around, and they were biting the people of God and killing them. Moses cried out to God for help and God told him to take a snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who looks upon this snake that has been bitten will be healed and saved.
Jesus is our snake on a pole. He was lifted up for us so that we would be healed of our certain death at the hands of the venomous snake!
We all have this power, we all have this grace, we all have this forgiveness, but we seem to accept it and tap into it so rarely? Why is that? We have a method of assuring us of our eternity, we have the Son of God who came to earth and died for us, and yet we are still so wrapped up in ourselves and our wants and needs that we forget about WHO is really in charge! We forget that he loves us with an absolute love, and that he would send chariots of fire to our aid should we need him!! WHY HAVE WE STOPPED BELIEVING IN GOD???
The same Holy Spirit that empowered the disciples to begin the church, to give them power to heal the sick, to give them the power to raise people from the dead; that same Holy Spirit is still here today!!
Let me give you some Epistle teaching from Paul in closing.
Ephesians 1: 19-20. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
My prayer for us today is that we begin to see God working and moving. I pray that God opens our eyes and we see those horses and chariots of fire surrounding us; protecting us and giving us great power!
God wants you to win! He would not have sent his Son to die for you if he did not want you to win. He loves you more than you could possibly know, and he simply wants you to cry out to him. He wants you to see that you have access to this power that he is here for you.
He wants you to cry out like Moses in the wilderness. He wants you to cry out like Elisha in the sight of the Aramean army. He wants you to see his Son hanging on a tree, and HE WANTS YOU TO LIVE THE LIFE THAT HE HAS FOR YOU!!
Stop storing up treasures here on this earth. Stop letting this world get the best of you!
YOU have a great power at your disposal, and it is time to believe in it, and receive it! This won’t make all your troubles disappear, but they will seem pretty small in the hand of a God that holds all of creation in his palm.
Are you ready for this kind of power?
Galatians 5: 13-18
How was your week? I pray that you are staying faithful to the creator, the redeemer, and the helper. I pray that you are finding time to wrestle with Scripture, and to pray. I pray that you are finding yourself strengthened and moved to be more than you ever have been, and I pray that you are DOING something with your faith.
Remember, Do Not Be Afraid, There is Enough, You Are Enough!
What is freedom? The dictionary tells us that freedom is: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
I believe that we can use our freedom in ways that are helpful and yet also in ways that are very hurtful. Some instances we do not have a clear understanding of which is which. We believe that we are exercising our freedom to be or do what we choose but in reality we are hurting someone else, possibly even someone that we care about.
This week we will find ourselves celebrating the freedom of a group of people. The independence of those of us who were born and raised in the United States of America. The freedom that we enjoy comes at a very strong price. Men and women died and gave their lives so that we might have the opportunity to act, speak, and think as one without restraint.
The freedom that Paul wrote to the Galatians is a similar freedom.
V13. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
You have freedom in Christ. There is a freedom from the wages of our sinful lives, but we are not to continue to live there and indulging within that sinful nature. We are called to use our freedom to love and serve. Isn’t this what Jesus demonstrated to his disciples? Even on the night of his final meal with them, he washed their feet. He chose to die for us and to take our place. Why do we find it so hard to do the same for those around us?
V 14-15. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Paul is calling the people of Galatia to love one another, or you might end up devouring and destroying one another.
It would not take us long to watch the news, to scroll through our social media feed and realize that we are living in a society that is completely okay with forcing their beliefs on you, criticizing your every move, using hate to let you know they disagree with you, and making you feel horrible about the choices that you are making. “Beware of destroying one another”.
The church should be better than this. We should be loving and caring. We should be helping people within our community and not worried at all about what we are going to receive in return. That is how Jesus did it and that is our model of how we should be living. Will we disagree with someone? Sure we will, but we do not have to react and lash out the way the world does. We should be responding with love, the way Jesus did.
V 16-18. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
I can always tell when I am slipping away from the Spirit. I begin to get very selfish, and very “matter of fact” about things. This is usually when I am tired and stretched too far also.
When we dig in and we commit to this relationship with Jesus, it should change us. We should be living in the presence of the Holy Spirit and we should not be giving in to our sinful desires. This is something that is constantly at odds and we are right in the middle of it. Your good intentions are getting lost in the struggle and we are finding ourselves hurting and lost.
We need God every minute of every hour. We need his presence and strength during our weakest times, and even more in our strongest times. We need him to be present so that we can find ourselves becoming all that he needs us to be. God is not going to have you in this relationship with him so that you can enjoy your inheritance here on earth. He is preparing you for a life that is free from pain and suffering, by showing you what that suffering looks like.
I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics from Maybe It’s Ok by We Are Messengers.
If I didn't know what it hurt like to be broken
Then how would I know what it feels like to be whole
If I didn't know what it cost like to be rejected
Then I wouldn't know that Your love coming home
If I didn't know what it looks like to be dirty
Then I wouldn't know what it feels like to be clean
And if all of my shame hadn't drove me to hide in the shadows
Then I wouldn't know the beauty of being free
How do we know that we are free if there is nothing to compare it to?
How can we begin to use our freedom as a strength rather than a weakness?
Can you find yourself this week doing things that are bringing you closer to God? Are you willing to invest time and energy into the one relationship that could possibly unlock the greatest freedom that you will ever know? If you are willing to get there, make sure that you thank Jesus on the way. He is the one who makes all of this possible.
Galatians 3: 23-29
How was your week? I found myself running out of steam around Thursday and spent Friday and Saturday in Chrysalis and then in class. It has been a difficult week for me physically. I can feel myself beginning to wear down a bit. I know some of you have continued to deal with flooding and the rising waters, and have your own busy lives. I pray that you are staying faithful to the creator, the redeemer, and the helper. I pray that you are finding time to wrestle with Scripture, and to pray. I pray that you are finding yourself strengthened and moved to be more than you ever have been, and I pray that you are DOING something with your faith.
Remember, Do Not Be Afraid, There is Enough, You Are Enough!
For these next two Sundays in June we are going to be looking at what the church was after Pentecost, and what it was with the knowledge that God is three persons, Father - Son - Holy Spirit. We will find ourselves walking through Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
Let’s set the stage a bit. The Galatians were one of the early people that heard the message of Christ from Paul. He felt as though he was leaving them in good hands and yet begun to hear about their clinging to the law. There were Jews and Gentiles, both of which were understanding of what Christ had done for them, but most of the Gentiles were still being forced into circumcision, based on the law. This was not what saved Paul, it was merely the grace of Jesus, and so Paul is attempting to liberate them from the law and make sure they understand that they are saved by their faith.
Galatians 3: 5-7 - I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
Paul ends this part with an acknowledgement that those who believe in faith, are the real children of Abraham.
Then if we look at today’s text, also in chapter 3 of Galatians he explains himself a bit more on the subject of believing in faith and just what that makes us.
V 23-25. Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
What Paul is telling them and us, is that before there was a Jesus, there was a law. It was put in place to keep connected with God, to be kept in a place of honor with God, all of which was simply a method of finding out who was willing to hold on till Jesus arrived. I’m paraphrasing here.
The law was designed to help people until Jesus arrived on the scene. It was the only way to be made right with God, and now Jesus arrival; his death, resurrection, and ascension have changed the covenant.
V 25-29. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
You have an inheritance, and are called the children of God.
When you make the decision, to believe in faith that Jesus is the one true way to heaven, that he died for you, that he forgives you of your sins, then you welcome this inheritance. You are now a family member in this family of God. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you have or have not done. You are heirs. You are true children of Abraham.
NO this does not mean that everything is going to be great and your life is going to be perfect. What this means is that Jesus is preparing your future home for you.
Peter explains it this way. 1 Peter 1: 3-9. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
This is what your inheritance looks like. There will be no glorious riches here on earth. This world is full of trouble and evil. Your inheritance is a future that is without pain, and without death, and without tears. Your very soul is yearning for this final resting place and until then, the devil is looking to steal it, confuse you, manipulate things, and simply make life miserable.
You are children of God. This world is not your final home, nor should you be worried about the things within it. Maybe, just maybe God is attempting to get your attention this morning.
Is he trying to tell you that you are spending too much time working and not enough time with your family? Is he telling you that the drinks you are taking when no one is looking, getting the better of you? Is he telling you that you need to stop hiding your depression and go speak with a counselor? Is he telling you that you have been called to set apart ministry and you have simply been hiding from him?
YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD!!! He has big plans for you. There is no reason for you to live in the places that you are. You cannot hide from him. He knows everything about you and STILL sent his son to die for you. It is time for us to lay claim to our inheritance and stop living in fear!
John 16: 12-15
Do Not Be Afraid, There is Enough, You Are Enough!
We found the Son of God during Lent and we followed him and his disciples to the cross. We watched the Son leave the Father and give his life for the salvation of the earth. He rose from the grave. He defeated sin and death when his dead body began to breathe again. He told his disciples that he had to go, and that he would send back the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort them. Jesus kept his promises and last week we saw the Holy Spirit appear and empower the disciples and the church was born.
There is so much proof in scripture of this three-in-one God that we could indeed spend more than a few minutes here this morning talking about this and learning about this.
Augustine’s definition of the doctrine of the Trinity: “The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and each of these by Himself, is God, and at the same time they are all one God… The Father is not the Son nor the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father nor the Son: but the Father is only the Father, the Son is only the Son, and the Holy Spirit is only the Holy Spirit.”
With the words of the great theologian in mind I thought we would look at some key points in scripture that speak to this like today’s text. If we go back a little bit we see that Jesus, in the upper room was attempting to provide some peace and some clarity for the disciples about what was going to happen.
John 14: 26 "But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
John 16: 12-13 - "There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future."
So Jesus is telling them that this Holy Spirit is going to come, and that it would be the Father that would send the Holy Spirit. When this Spirit comes it will be the bearer of Jesus’ words.
John 16: 14-15 - "He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’"
Jesus, who is now sitting at the right hand of God will be telling the Holy Spirit what he wants us to know. The Spirit is the very essence of God, sent to the earth to be the unseen yet obviously felt and heard presence of the Son.
Now it is true that all three were together at the creation of the world and it was even the Holy Spirit that been with Mary when she became pregnant with Jesus, the Son and that was through the will of the Father!
The apostle Paul was known for his in depth interaction with this same Spirit. Saul became Paul after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, and yet through the Spirit, Jesus was able to use words and impact Paul’s life.
2 Corinthians 13: 14 - "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
1 Corinthians 8:6 - "yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit play a very big part in this world. We often times want to get caught up in what the world is and that is merely the fallen world of God’s creation. It is the truth. This world is full of death, disease, cancer, evil of all kinds like murder, hate, selfishness, and there is punishment for all of these things. While that is true, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are very much alive and are very much wanting to be a part of your journey through this fallen world.
Jesus played a very big part in all of this for you and me. The Trinity was alive and well at the creation of the earth. As this creation, which God wanted to have a free will, setting us apart from animals and other parts of creation, mankind constantly failed. When Adam and Eve disobeyed and disappointed God, it would begin the many years of mankind trying to come to a right relationship with God through many ways, and it was Jesus who was sent to earth to be a man in order that this justification might take place once and for all.
There is hope this morning.
Jesus the Son came to the earth to save us from our sins. He came to put an end to death and sin, and give us a chance to use our free will to accept this gift of grace.
Once we do that, we have a unique access to the Holy Spirit that is here and dwelling within us in order to show us, teach us, and advise us on how to live this life. I look back on my life and I wonder how I kept this undercover for so long. The more that I spend time in Scripture and in prayer the more and more that it has no choice but to spill out. This gift is available to anyone who wants to lay claim to this. Yet, so many times we do not lay claim to this strength, power, and hope that is found in having the Triune God living within us!
Jesus is alive, through the Spirit and this is our living hope! We are saved from our sinful selves, by nothing of our own doing. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit lives within us.
Are we ready to embrace this and share God with the world around us? Can we put our differences, and opinions of people aside long enough to make sure that they see the Triune God that we know?
Let’s give it a shot!