Spiritual Knowledge- John 16.12-15

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth…”

A depiction of The Holy Trinity

There are things about God that we cannot readily understand. They are very profound and perplexing for human comprehension. The Lord knows this predicament, so He sends the Holy Spirit to speak to us and fill us with understanding. One important biblical truth that is so hard to comprehend is the doctrine of the Divine Trinity or One God in three distinct persons. Some people find it so hard to understand and even believe.

Someone has tried to unlock its mystery by trying to come up with a logical illustration. He said, “One person could be a father, a son and a husband all at the same time.” It sounds logical; however, the illustration is misleading.

It’s true that one person can be a father, a son and a husband all at the same time but that’s merely one person with three different functions. He cannot talk to himself like a father to a son, can he?

The doctrine of the Triune God is a divine mystery that we can clearly see in the Bible. Perhaps, the word “trinity” does not exist in biblical language, but the unique divine relationship between the three persons of God is undoubtedly present.

In Mark 9:7, about the transfiguration of Jesus, the Father spoke from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, hear Him!” Clearly, the Father was referring to Jesus, His Son.

In John 8:58, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, “I AM”. Observe, (1) He referred to Abraham in the past tense and to Himself in the present tense. It is a clear revelation of His existence in eternity past. (2) “I AM” is the name, which God has given to Moses as His Name- Exodus 3:14-16. Clearly, it reveals Christ’s deity.

In Matthew 12:32, “and whosoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come”. This clearly reveals the unique authority of the Holy Spirit, which shows His deity.

In Matthew 29:19, we can observe in the Great Commission that Christ has given power and authority in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It goes to show the infinite equity of the three distinct Persons in One God. The divine mystery irrefutably exists and the Bible attests to it.

Yesterday has been Trinity Sunday. I pray that Spirit of God enlightens us all about this divine mystery of the Holy Trinity.

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Pentecost: The Power to Change- Acts 2.1-41

Pentecost

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly, there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them separated tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” –Acts 2:1-4

Fifty days after the Lord’s resurrection, while the apostles gathered in a house, the Holy Spirit came upon them like a rushing mighty wind and descended on each of them like tongues of fire. Suddenly, the power of God moved in them and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Apostle Peter, moved by the Spirit, delivered a stirring message to the crowd and in that same day, three thousand souls believed.

Spiritual infilling is indeed indescribable. You feel so close to God that you do not want to let go. You feel so at peace, so loved and you begin to look at people around you with love and compassion.

The Spirit of God has the power that breaks through all barriers. The fact that the Holy Spirit has caused the apostles to preach the gospel in foreign languages means that God has poured out His love not only to the Jews but also to all people regardless of race, culture, and even gender. This power melts the heart of steel and causes it to beat for Christ alone.

Observe the text; it all has happened suddenly. It is not a pre-scheduled event; it has all been suddenly. This best describes the act of God, utterly unexpected.

Suddenly, we find a new meaning and purpose, a new life and a lofty task that would change a broken life into something good and for good. We have been filled not just for the sake of being filled but also to be used and emptied for the glory of God and be filled up again.

May 23  is Pentecost Sunday, which marks the beginning of the Christian church. As Spirit-filled believers, let us rekindle in our hearts the Holy Tongues of Fire as we continue to move as the Spirit leads in reaching out to those who need the Lord in their lives; that they may come to know Jesus in a personal way and receive the power that will change their lives for good.

Condensed from: Pentecost Sunday sermon by Rev Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro United Methodist Church

Image courtesy of:  http://biblelessonsite.org/images/acts6.jpg

For a flash picture slideshow about Acts 2, click this link: http://biblelessonsite.org/flash/images105/images105.html

The Faith That Heals- Luke 17.19

Praising God in Gratitude!

And He said unto him, “Arise, go your way; your faith had made you whole” – Luke 17:19.

Observe: [1] The Lord acknowledged his faith. It was a great comfort for a Samaritan like him, whom the Jews who called themselves people of God had so much despised, that his faith was acceptable unto the Lord and was indeed accepted. How the Lord saw him had set him apart from the rest. God did not only bestow His mercy because of his prayer; the Lord was pleased with him. Indeed, as Matthew Henry commented, “the Lord’s grace is doubled unto us whenever we approach the Lord with a prayer of faith and return with a prayer of praise”.

In our approaches to God, let us keep a spirit of humility and boldness, with obedient faith and let us not forget to turn back with a prayer of praise and a triumphant testimony. Let our gratitude fire up our service unto the Lord. As we receive God’s mercies through the ministries of our church, let us also be actively a part of these ministries that we may share our joy with the brethren who draw intimately upon the mercies of the Lord through these ministries. We may join the choir or the praise team. We may teach, preach, give, comfort or pray. Whatever it may be, it is already between you and God. The ministry of the laity largely contributes to the growth of the church because God works through them and through the members’ love for each other. In another song, it says, “What can we give that you have not given? What do we have that is not already yours? All we possess are this life we’re living and that’s what we give to you Lord”

Let us remind ourselves to continue to keep our church a sanctuary of the Lord’s grace and mercy through our active participation in our church ministries as an expression of our gratitude toward our Lord who has given us so much.

end of series…

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http://liveingrace.org/

Where are the Nine? Luke 17.17-18

only one returned to give thanks...

And Jesus answering said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There was not found one that returned to give glory to God, except this stranger” –Luke 17:17-18.

Observe: [1] Ten were cleansed but only one returned to give thanks. The missing nine probably were Jews. Perhaps, they got so excited to get a release from the priests so they could reunite with their respective families. Perhaps, they had to finish the strict ceremony for purification (Leviticus 13) that they forgot the most important thing- to return to Jesus and thank Him. The Jews called themselves children of God and rightfully so but at the first instance of healing, turning back to the Lord was not their instinctive priority. Rev. Matthew Henry commented allow me to paraphrase: “Ingratitude is a very common sin. Of the many that receive mercy from God, very few return to give thanks in a manner befitting the grace that they have received. Often those who prove most grateful are those from whom it is least expected. Here a Samaritan gave thanks, while the Jews did not. Sometimes, many who profess true religion are out-done and quite shamed, by those who are outside the church, not only in moral value but also in piety and devotion… it also shows the ingratitude of the world of humanity, for whom he had done so much, and yet from whom he has received so little”.

There is hymn by Frances Havergal, “I gave, I gave my life for thee; what hast thou given for me?” The Lord’s mercies are for all because it is His nature to show mercy. As children of God, let us all possess a nature of faithfulness in our expressions of our gratitude for “He (the Lord) who has called us is faithful”- Hebrews 10:23, even when we are faithless, 2 Timothy 2:13 says. Although, this should not give us a reason to be complacent but be for us an encouragement to be faithful. In the last days, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, men will be selfish, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful and unholy. Let us guard ourselves from being one of those unthankful people by keeping our focus on Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). The Lord looked for the nine. It means He expects each one of us to return to Him with thanksgiving.

to be continued…

Image:

Puyallup United Methodist Church Online Ministry -November 22, 2009

The Gratitude Of A Samaritan- Luke 17.15-16

The Thankful Samaritan Leper

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks; and he was a Samaritan” –Luke 17:15-16.

Observe: [1] The Samaritan leper turned back and glorified God in a loud voice. He could not contain the joy and excitement he felt when he realized that the Lord had healed him. He glorified God in a loud voice and so, all the people within the range of his voice must have heard him. When we receive the answer to our prayer it is only but fitting to let everyone hear about it. Let us boast about the goodness of God. Let us be witnesses for God’s power and kindness.

[2] When he turned back, he worshipped the Lord. Gratitude ignites the fire of our love for the Lord. Sometimes, it is not enough to say thank you in prayer. We need to express it through worshipful service. Bowing down at the feet of the King means, you are presenting yourself to Him for service. You are submitting yourself under His authority and kingship with absolute loyalty. How do we serve our God and King? One is taking part in the ministries of our church. It is through such services that we find full satisfaction in our expression of love and gratitude toward God.

[3] The leper was a Samaritan. The Jews have estranged the Samaritans from the observance of the Jewish religion. They could neither go to the temple or synagogues nor mingle with Jews. The Jews had regarded them as sinful people and despised them. Yet this man, though, he was far from the knowledge of God received a bountiful blessing from God. The Lord shows no favoritism. His grace is upon all. This Samaritan might have thought that God hated them but by receiving a miracle from the Lord, he realized that such notion was not true. A Samaritan went back to thank God and this was when the Jews, who call themselves the people of God, forgot. Gratitude leads us to become witnesses for God and ignites our service for the Lord.

to be continued…

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http://eihey.com/

The Lord’s Answer- Luke 17.14

And when He saw them, He said unto them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And it came to pass that, as they went, they were cleansed. –Luke 17:14

According to the Law of Moses, the priests had quarantine powers and only the priest could pronounce that a leper was already clean.

The Healing of Naaman

Observe: [1] Jesus’ statement was a great test of obedience and the lepers showed great faith. He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests”. The lepers went as Jesus directed them. If you would remember the Old Testament account about Naaman, the Syrian general who had leprosy in 2 Kings 5, prophet Elisha asked him to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River and he would be clean. At first, he got angry because he expected the prophet to perform a sort of ritual to pray over him but he did not. He thought that what the prophet asked him to do was rather absurd because he believed that the rivers in Damascus were cleaner by far than the Jordan River if dipping into a river was the way to cure his disease. However, when he obeyed the command of the prophet of God, and he dipped himself in the Jordan River seven times, “his skin was restored again like unto the flesh of a little child”-2 Kings 5:14.

The lepers received almost the same kind of instruction but unlike Naaman, they proceeded at once without hesitation. Imagine, the Lord have asked you to go to the priest while you can still see the leprosy on your skin! We can expect God to meet us with mercy when He finds us in obedience especially in things that seems beyond our abilities or against our expectations. When we choose to obey God no matter how difficult it may seem to be in our circumstances and choose to trust His wise judgment, He will surely not miss doing for us what we cannot do. Often we sing this hymn, “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” We cannot separate the two since we cannot say we trust if we do not obey because we cannot obey whom we do not trust.

[2] The Lord’s statement also shows His respect for the ordinances of the Law of Moses and the priests who were responsible for those ordinances. In the same way, the mercies of God flow through the different ministries of our church. We should not be shy to approach our pastor so that he could pray over us. Let us attend our prayer meetings, Bible studies or Sunday school. We can experience the mercies of God intimately in our lives through our diligent use of those means.

to be continued…

The Lepers’ Prayer- Luke 17.12-13

As He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers who stood afar off; and they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Teacher, have mercy on us!”- Luke 17:12-13

Jesus heals ten lepers

The Lord met ten lepers while on His way into a certain village. In Jewish culture, they consider leprosy as God’s punishment for a particular sin. Therefore, more than any other disease, it is a mark of God’s displeasure. In Leviticus 13:45, a person who had leprosy must wear torn clothes, must not fix his hair and must put a cover on the lower part of his face and cry out “Unclean! Unclean!” As long as he had the disease, he must live alone outside the camp. You could just imagine the stigma against those men. God knew how these people were suffering and so Christ, who came to take away sin, and turn away wrath, took particular care to clean the lepers that fell on his way.

Observe: [1] They have kept a distance from the Lord but they lifted their voice to Him. They have been too embarrassed to come near the Lord because of their disease but still, they have cried out to Him with boldness. Allegorically, sin has covered us with spiritual leprosy that we are so ashamed to approach the Lord. We, too, have been impure and like the ten lepers, we can cry unto the Lord with the confidence that He will clean us. The lepers’ prayer is a symbol of humility, boldness and trust. God is holy and we in our state of humanity are impure. While we keep a humble spirit, we can confidently approach His throne of grace and mercy.

[2] They called Him Teacher. It seemed that, they had heard the Lord teach and preach the gospel. They were ready to hear what He would say and they would be ready to follow.

[3] The lepers asked for mercy. They could have had asked directly for healing but they did not. They cried for the Lord’s mercy. It was a cry of faith. Perhaps, they could no longer enumerate the hardships they were going through but they trusted God. They knew that the Lord’s mercy never fails.

Sometimes, in the immensity of our problems, we no longer know what we need and how to ask for it. However, we know that when the Lord’s mercy begins to work in our lives, we could get more than what we could expect.

to be continued…

Turning Back- Luke 17:11-19

“And one of them when he saw that he was healed turned back and with a loud voice glorified God and fell down on his face at His (Jesus) feet, giving Him thanks.” –Luke 17:15-16 -KJV2000

Leprosy

I have entitled this reflection “TURNING BACK” which I have taken from Luke 17:11-19. It is particularly about the ten lepers whom the Lord has healed of their leprosy. Have you ever seen a leper? Actually, there are several types of leprosy. Some only has white spots on their skin; some has what look like tiger stripes. The one in the picture seems to be the worst type. I am showing this picture so that somehow we can get a little impression about what those ten lepers were suffering from. The literal message of this account is very simple. It is about the power of God to heal all manners of sickness and disease, and a man’s expression of deep gratitude. However, I would like to focus on the allegorical significance of the account. I have chopped it into five short points:

1. THE LEPERS’ PRAYER -As He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers who stood afar off; and they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Teacher, have mercy on us!”- Luke 17:12-13

2. THE LORD’S ANSWER -And when He saw them, He said unto them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And it came to pass that, as they went, they were cleansed. –Luke 17:14

3. THE GRATITUDE OF A SAMARITAN -And one of them, when he saw that he was healed turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks; and he was a Samaritan” –Luke 17:15-16.

4. WHERE ARE THE NINE? -And Jesus answering said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There was not found one that returned to give glory to God, except this stranger” –Luke 17:17-18.

5. THE FAITH THAT HEALS -And He said unto him, “Arise, go your way; your faith had made you whole” – Luke 17:19.

Follow me in my observations…