Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Lord Holy Spirit


Per the Nicene Creed:

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord

Per the Holy Bible

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Genesis 1:2 (NLT)

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.

Matthew 3:16

On the day of Pentecost, all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

Acts 2:1-4

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Truth is...There is much more to be said about the Holy Spirit, and it will be said in the next several phrases in the creed. For now, let's just begin one step ahead of some believers in Ephesus that Paul encountered in Acts 19:

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.

“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Never-ending Kingdom


Per the Nicene Creed:

And his kingdom will have no end

Per the Holy Bible

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations.

Psalm 145:13 (NLT)

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.

John 6:47

What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.

1 Corinthians 15:50

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”

Revelation 11:15

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Truth is...as I've said before, eternity is a concept that my human brain can't quite get a grip on. But if God's rule is a perfect rule, and his kingdom is literally heaven on earth, then it makes sense that it would never come to an end.

Lead on, oh King eternal...

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Why Jesus Is Returning


Per the Nicene Creed:

To judge the living and the dead

Per the Holy Bible

And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15 (NLT)

We apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all — the living and the dead.

Acts 10:39-42

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Truth is...people nowadays don't much like the word "judge". "Judge not lest you be judged" (Matthew 7:1) is a far-more-quoted verse than even John 3:16. We don't like the idea of being held accountable for our actions. But the really good news is that when Jesus judges, the action of submitting ourselves to His Lordship, no matter how imperfectly we may live it out, trumps all the sins and mistakes we ever make. He won't pretend that we've never done anything wrong, but he will apply HIS payment of OUR penalty to our ledger.

"He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west."

Psalm 103:12

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Return of Jesus


Per the Nicene Creed:

He will come again in glory

Per the Holy Bible:

Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!

Isaiah 40:5

After saying this, [Jesus] was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

Acts 1:9-11

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Truth is...perhaps the most hope-inducing words ever uttered by Jesus are found in John 14: 1-3.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

And of course, Rich Mullins has a highly appropriate song for this occasion. Enjoy...

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The "Where" of Jesus


Per the Nicene Creed:

[Jesus] is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Per the Holy Bible:

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Romans 8:34 (NLT)

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.

Ephesians 1:19-20

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Truth is...This is another one of those things that are Scriptural but maybe not all that important. However, what Jesus is DOING there beside the Father is absolutely mind-blowing: "If anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous." (1 John 2:1)

Jesus is our defense attorney!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Ascension of Jesus


Per the Nicene Creed:

He ascended into heaven

Per the Holy Bible:

Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.

Luke 24:1-12 (NLT)

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere — in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
Acts 1:6-11

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Truth is...the ascension of Jesus holds no great theological importance other than what Jesus told his disciples about it in John 16:7: "It is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the [Holy Spirit] won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you."

Stay tuned. There will be more about the Holy Spirit in five weeks.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Resurrection of Jesus


Per the Nicene Creed:

On the third day, [Jesus] rose again in accordance with the Scriptures

Per the Holy Bible:

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NLT)

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

Then they remembered that he had said this. So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12

One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.”

But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.

Matthew 12:38-40

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Truth is...there would be no Christianity without the resurrection. Make no mistake, the first Christians did not make up the story of a resurrection in order to validate their "cause". The resurrection of Jesus turned them into Christians. Otherwise, they would have been just one more group of disappointed fans.