What is the Gospel? Pt 2

In Part 1 we saw that Jesus was commissioned by the Father to announce a gospel of salvation, which encompassed the kingdom of God, along with ‘the things concerning himself’ (revealing the Father, providing reconciliation etc).

In this study we will focus on the gospel of the kingdom of God and in a future study concentrate on ‘the things concerning Jesus Christ’.

In order to properly understand the gospel message that Jesus was preaching we need to have some appreciation of the importance and context of certain events in the Hebrew scriptures, which are constantly used as reference points. The people of Jesus’ day knew the import of these and needed no explanation, however in this day and age we need this background context explaining.

As an example, why is Abraham referenced 73 times in the New Testament scriptures by most of the writers, and how is that relevant to us today? For instance Jesus himself said ‘Abraham looked forward to his day’ (John 8:56), Paul said ‘Abraham is father of us all’ (Romans 4:16-17), ‘the gospel was preached to Abraham’ (Galatians 3:8) and also ‘God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you’ (Galatians 3:29).

Did Paul describe the whole ministry of Jesus as a confirmation of “the promises made to the patriarchs” ?

Romans 15:8 ESV
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,

So first of all we will get a little background before looking at the gospel message itself.

Did Yahweh start working with Abraham (Abram, before his name change) by instructing him to leave his native land and to go where He would lead him, and He would bless him and make him to be a blessing to the whole population of the earth?

Genesis 12:1-4 WEB
Now Yahweh said to Abram, “Get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you, and make your name great. You will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed.” 4 So Abram went, as Yahweh had spoken to him. Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran

Did Yahweh promise by covenant to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants?

Genesis 13: 14-15 WEB
Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, “Now, lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever.

Genesis 15:18 WEB
In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:

Genesis 17:7-8 WEB
I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed after you.8 I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land where you are traveling, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. I will be their God.”

Psalms 105:7-15 WEB
He is Yahweh, our God. His judgments are in all the earth. 8 He has remembered his covenant forever, The word which he commanded to a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which he made with Abraham, His oath to Isaac, 10 And confirmed the same to Jacob for a statute; To Israel for an everlasting covenant, 11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, The lot of your inheritance;” 12 When they were but a few men in number, Yes, very few, and sojourners in it. 13 They went about from nation to nation, From one kingdom to another people. 14 He allowed no one to do them wrong. Yes, he reproved kings for their sakes, 15 “Don’t touch my anointed ones. Do my prophets no harm.”

Did God reiterate His ongoing covenant promise of the land to Abraham’s descendants long after his death – some six times in Psalms 37

Psalms 37:9 WEB
For evildoers shall be cut off, But those who wait for Yahweh shall inherit the land.

Psalms 37:11 WEB
But the humble shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

(Remember Christ’s sermon on the mount “the meek will inherit the land (or earth)” Matthew 5:5)

Psalms 37:18 WEB
Yahweh knows the days of the perfect. Their inheritance shall be forever.

Psalms 37:22 WEB
For such as are blessed by him shall inherit the land. Those who are cursed by him shall be cut off.

Psalms 37:29 WEB
The righteous shall inherit the land, And live in it forever.

Psalms 37:34 WEB
Wait for Yahweh, and keep his way, And he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

In our previous study ‘What kind of Messiah did the people expect?’ we looked into various Messianic scriptures which promised a descendant of Abraham, through Isaac, Jacob and David would come as the Messiah, son of Yahweh God, king to rule over the land – even all the nations, the whole earth – ruling on the throne of David, over the kingdom of God on earth. (Please take time to review that study again in ‘Category – Jesus’ and ‘Archive – May 2017’).

When Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, the people were familiar with the covenant promises of ‘the land’, the Messiah on the throne of David, and a restoration of the kingdom.However, there were a few things that had to be explained and clarified to fully understand the good news message he was bringing from God. It would be realised properly at his second coming.

Did Paul clarify that the covenant promises made to Abraham were also made to Christ as his offspring/descendent? Christ is the heir!

Galatians 3:16 WEB
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn’t say, “To seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “To your seed,” which is Christ.

The good news for us is in verse 29

Galatians 3:29 WEB
If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise.

If we are Christ’s we are Abraham’s offspring too – we are heirs too, we inherit according to the promise, with Christ. We inherit the kingdom, the land, the earth.

To recap, what did Jesus come preaching?
Mark 1:14-15 NASB
Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

What did Jesus say the meek would inherit?

Matthew 5:5 NRSV
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Did Paul confirm this in his letter to the Romans?

Romans 4:13 NRSV
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Did Paul point out that the saints will judge (rule) the world?

1 Corinthians 6:2 NRSV
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?

2 Timothy 2:12 NRSV
if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us;

Did Jesus say he was to rule the kingdom and his followers would rule with him?

Matthew 19:28 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 22:28-30 NRSV
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

In the book of Revelation, where did John say we would reign? On earth?

Revelation 5:10 NRSV
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.”

Did James also confirm this good news that we can be heirs of the kingdom?

James 2:5 NRSV
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?

Jesus preached many parables about inheriting the kingdom, for example:

Matthew 25:34 CJB
“Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.

Matthew 21:38 CJB
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, `This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’

Jesus was telling the people (and us today) that at his return to earth (his second coming) he will usher in the kingdom of God, and be given rulership over the whole earth, administering Yahweh God’s government. And that his true followers, those who believe him, repent and accept God’s gracious offer, can be forgiven, reconciled to our Father God and share the rule of this earth in righteousness with Jesus Messiah, son of God.

This can be our inheritance along with Jesus, the first born of many brethren (Romans 8:29).

This worldwide Messianic rule is the fulfilment of the covenant promises made by Yahweh to Abraham – who will himself be a part of this Kingdom of God when he is resurrected at Christ’s return (I Thessalonians . 4:13-17, I Corinthians. 15:23, 50-52).

Paul says that Christ confirmed the promises given to the patriarchs:

Romans 15:8 NRSV
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,

Does Daniel 7:27 paint a wonderful picture of this kingdom of God on earth?

Daniel 7:27 WEB
The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole the sky, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Please review Psalms 2:2-9, Psalms 45:2-7, Psalms 72:9-14, Isaiah 9:6-7 & Isaiah 11:1-16 for further descriptions of the kingdom of God on earth under the rulership of Jesus Messiah.

And yet Jesus made an amazing statement in Mark chapter 4 just after he had told the parable of the sower – quoting Isaiah 6:9-10 – he said that many would not see, hear or understand, for if they did they would repent (turn to God) and He would forgive them:

Mark 4:10-12 NRSV
When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that “they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’ “

In the parable of the sower in Mark 4:3-20, Jesus is explaining how important comprehending or not comprehending the ‘word’ (the gospel message) is, and how Satan hates it and will snatch it away if he possibly can:

Mark 4:15 NRSV
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.

We saw earlier that Jesus said it was necessary to repent and believe the message regarding the kingdom of God:

Mark 1:14-15 NRSV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

So we must pay attention, listen and believe what Jesus taught, if we want to enter into the kingdom at his return.

Summary
We have seen that Jesus came preaching the good news message from Yahweh God regarding the setting up of God’s government on earth, under his rulership as Messiah King, at his return. That we who believe and are saved can have a part in this kingdom of God, as co-inheritors with Messiah – this is Yahweh fulfilling His covenant promises to Abraham and the patriarchs from the Hebrew scriptures. This is marvellous news of a wonderful future in a perfect world, according to our Father’s perfect plan.

This isn’t the complete message though, there remains the all important aspects of how we are saved, reconciled to our Father God and made ready to inherit this kingdom – so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3). These things we will study next time in Part 3.

What is the Gospel? Pt 1

Does it make any difference which gospel we believe?
Paul said it did, and was very adamant about this! Did he pronounce a double curse on anyone preaching a different gospel to the one he had delivered?

Galatians 1:8-9 RSV
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

Did Paul receive this gospel from men or from Jesus Christ himself?

Galatians 1:11-12 RSV
For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

So we had better know and understand what this gospel message was.

What were Jesus instructions to his followers before he left them?

Matthew 28:19-20 NRSV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Carefully note that they were to teach others to observe (to see, to keep, to do) all the things he had commanded them to do. So what was the gospel that Jesus preached?

Notice the first sermon preached to gentiles by Peter at the house of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10:

Acts 10:34-38 RSV
And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,35 but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

It was God’s gospel (good news) message that He sent by who? By Jesus Christ! Where did it begin? In Galilee! When? After John the Baptist’s preaching and baptising for repentance!

What does Mark tell us in his account about this? Does he identify the beginning of the good news brought by Jesus?

Mark 1:1 RSV
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

In Galilee, after John was arrested, did Jesus come preaching ‘the gospel of God’?

Mark 1:14 RSV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,

Was it the good news about ‘the kingdom of God’? And was the instruction to repent and believe it?

Mark 1:15 RSV
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Jesus’ instruction is to believe ‘the’ gospel, not ‘a’ gospel, not ‘any’ gospel, not ‘another’ gospel but THE (Strong’s 3588 – the, the definite article) gospel that he preached!

And what did our Father God instruct us concerning Jesus?

Mark 9:7 RSV
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

Luke 9:35 RSV
And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

Matthew 17:5 RSV
He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

LISTEN TO HIM! So we must listen to and believe what Jesus preached – the gospel of the kingdom of God. (Other scriptures teach that we must believe in what Jesus has done for us and on Him as the son of God as well, but the scriptures we are looking at here say we must listen to him and believe what he said.)

In the scriptures the gospel of the kingdom of God is sometimes referred to as ‘the gospel’, ‘the gospel of Jesus Christ’ (ie the good news that Jesus brought), ‘the gospel of God’ (ie the good news that God sent), even ‘the word’, ‘the gospel of grace’ and ‘the gospel of peace’ – these all refer to the same gospel message.

Was it Jesus routine to preach the kingdom of God?

Matthew 4:23 RSV
And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.

Matthew 9:35 RSV
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.

Did Jesus speak what the Father sent him to speak?

John 14:24 RSV
He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

John 12:49-50 RSV
For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.”

Does what Jesus speak from the Father carry with it eternal life? Verse 50 above – serious stuff!

Was the gospel (good news) of the kingdom of God that Jesus announced actually a gospel of salvation – about people being saved, receiving eternal life (in God’s kingdom)?

Romans 1:16 CJB
For I am not ashamed of the Good News, since it is God’s powerful means of bringing salvation to everyone who keeps on trusting, to the Jew especially, but equally to the Gentile.

Ephesians 1:13 WEB
in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, — in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

Mark 10:23-26 RSV
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”

Mark 15:31 RSV
So also the chief priests mocked him to one another with the scribes, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.

John 3:32-36 RSV
He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony;33 he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; 35 the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

1 Peter 1:10-11 RSV
The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; 11 they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory.

Hebrews 2:3 RSV
how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him,

Was Jesus sent for the purpose of preaching this gospel of the kingdom of God?

Luke 4:43 RSV
but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.”

Did Jesus send his disciples to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God?

Luke 9:1-2 NRSV
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

Luke 10:1-2, 9 NRSV
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Did Jesus teach his followers to pray for God’s kingdom to come?

Where to? – to the earth!

Matthew 6:9-10
“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Does Satan hate this gospel of the kingdom and try to snatch it away? Is this to prevent us believing and being saved?

Matthew 13:19 NRSV
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.

Luke 8:12 NRSV
The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Notice what the early church preached – Philip at Samaria:

Acts 8:12 NRSV
But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

He preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the the name of Jesus Christ.
Paul preached the kingdom of God and the things concerning Jesus Christ.

Acts 28:30-31 NRSV
He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him,31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Acts 19:8 NRSV
He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God.

Are the preaching the gospel of the grace of God and preaching the kingdom part of the same gospel message?

Acts 20:24-25 NRSV
But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. 25 “And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again.

Summary
In previous studies we have seen who the one true God is, and how Jesus is His son, the Messiah. In this study we see that Jesus came to preach a good news message of salvation from Yahweh God, His Father, all about ‘the kingdom of God’, which Jesus also sent his disciples and apostles to preach throughout all the world.

In the New Testament scriptures we see this being faithfully carried out – they preach the gospel of ‘the kingdom of God’ along with the things concerning Jesus Christ, and warn people not to accept any other gospels.

So it is necessary for us to look more closely at what exactly the teaching of the kingdom of God is, and what are these things concerning Jesus Christ which are tied to it so closely. We will do this in up-coming studies.

 

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? pt 3

In parts one and two we discovered that Christ is the gold standard of what ‘being created in the image of God’ looks like. Christ is the “express” image of the Father. He has the “fullness of the Father” which is expressed in the statement that he is in the Father and the Father is in him. Also expressed in the statement: The Father and I are one.

Christ is the pioneer and first born of the “new creation”. We are to be filled with the fullness of Christ and in so doing be filled with the fullness of the Father and participate in his divine nature.

By Christ abiding in the Father and Christ in us and us in him we abide in the Father. If we love Christ we love the Father and they will make their home (abode) in us and with us, and love us.

Was the receiving of God’s Spirit to clothe the disciples with power?

Luke 24:49 NRSV
And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high”

Did Jesus tell the disciples to stay in Jerusalem prior to them receiving the Holy Spirit? Above scripture and following. See above and below.

Acts 1:4-5 NRSV
While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:8 NRSV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We see from the above verses that receiving the Holy Spirit was associated with receiving power.

And indeed, on the day of Pentecost the disciples did receive the Holy Spirit

Acts 2: 1-4 NRSV
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Verses 7-11 explain that the crowds were perplexed because they were from different countries and spoke different languages. Each person heard in their own language the disciples speaking to them.

Were the crowds amazed?

Acts 2:7-8 NRSV
Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

Acts 2:12 NRSV
All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

Peter’s reply was as follows:

Acts 2:15-18 NRSV
Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

Through God’s Spirit we are granted love, a sound mind, power, are strengthened, and given faith.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJ
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind

Philippians 4:13 NRSV
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

1 Corinthians 2:5 NRSV
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

2 Corinthians 13:3-4 NRSV
since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

Were the deeds of Jesus done in power?

Acts 2:22 NRSV
“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know”.

The receiving of the Holy Spirit bestows upon us power from the Father and we are to live by that power.

Are we the Father’s workmanship?

Ephesians 2:10 WEB
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

Does the Father even cause his children to desire and act for his pleasure?

Philippians 2:13 BBE
For it is God who is the cause of your desires and of your acts, for his good pleasure.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 Kingdom New Testament by N. T. Wright
All scripture is breathed by God, and is useful for teaching, for rebuke, for improvement, for training in righteousness,17 so that people who belong to God may be complete, fitted out and ready for every good work

Christ did not speak on his own authority but by Yahweh God’s authority. Christ did not do his own works but Yahweh’s works – so it is for us – not our works but the Father’s

John 10:32 NRSV
Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?”

John 14:10 NRSV
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Acts 2:22 NRSV
“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know

John 8:28-32 NRSV
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. 31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

We can see from the scriptures above there are “works” to be carried out. But these are were not Messiah’s works but his Father’s works. The Father even put the desire to do the acts into Jesus’s mind via  His holy spirit presence.

In John 15:1-5 NRSV we are given a picture of a vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

Those who belong to messiah are pictured as being the branches of the vine – we could actually say that the branches are the “fruit hangers”. The branches do not dictate  what fruit is to be borne but the vine does. Verse 5 states that Apart from Christ YOU CAN DO NOTHING.

How do we glorify the Father?

John 15:8 NRSV
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

We can see that we are to bear much fruit. Fruit that Messiah bears through us through the the Holy Spirit.

John 15:16-17 NRSV
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

What is the evidence of the spirit in you?

Galatians 5:22-25 NRSV
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NRSV
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end;

1 Corinthians 13:13 NRSV
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Jesus explains that he abides in the Father’s love and that we are to abide also in his (Jesus’s) love.

John 15:9-10 NRSV
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

We are shown what those commands are:

Matthew 22:35-40 NRSV
and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

We are given further scriptures of what is required of us (because we belong to Him and He lives in us) as follows :

Micah 6:8 WEB
He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, To love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Matthew 12:50 NRSV
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

Luke 8:21 NRSV
But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Summary
We can see that we are to abide in Christ and this is pictured as branches of a vine abiding in the vine, bearing fruit. We glorify the Father by bearing much fruit. We are shown what that fruit is. We are also left in no doubt that the fruit borne is determined by Christ and that basically we are the fruit hanger. The fruit is produced through us as we abide in Christ, and allow Him to live with us, in us, through us, for us, as us. Just like Christ, we of our own selves can do nothing. The Father is all, and in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).

In part four we will see Yahweh God pictured as a potter and we as the pot as he forms us into the perfect image of himself.

Truth or False Doctrine, does it matter?

Does it matter what we believe about God, who He is and what He says? Does it make any difference ‘which Jesus’ we accept and trust in? Is it important which ‘gospel’ we receive? If what we preach or bear witness to is incorrect, is it a problem? Do we know what scripture says about these things?

As we shall see from the scriptures in this study, it can make all the difference in the world, and therefore we ought to ensure that we put our whole heart and mind into seeking and finding the true God, the true Jesus and the true gospel. Is this possible for us?

1 Chronicles 28:9 NJB
‘And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with an undivided heart and willing mind; for Yahweh scrutinises all hearts and understands whatever plans they may devise. If you seek him, he will let you find him; but forsake him and he will cast you off for ever.
Where will we find the truth? Is the Father’s word the source of truth?

John 17:17 NRSV
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth

In the above scripture the Greek word translated as ‘truth’ is Strong’s number 225 and has the definition ‘ truth, but not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness’. We should also note that we are to be ‘sanctified’ in/by the truth – the Greek word used here is Strong’s number 37 which means ‘set apart as holy, purify’. So we begin to see how important truth is.

Did Jesus say it is vital to worship God in spirit and truth?

John 4:24 NRSV
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

The Greek word for ‘must’ is Strong’s number 1163, meaning ‘it is necessary, inevitable; less frequently: it is a duty, what is proper. properly, what must happen, i.e. what is absolutely necessary’. So from this we see we can’t take ‘truth’ casually, just assuming, we need to be certain.

Did Jesus say it was possible to worship God ‘in vain’?

Matthew 15:6-9 NRSV
So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said: 8 “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ “

Do they make God’s truth void (to make of no effect, to annul, to cancel – Strong’s number 208) by following their own traditions, man-made rules and doctrines? Does this result in unacceptable worship? Same verses.

Is this true even of the ‘traditions of the elders’?

Mark 7:5-8 NRSV
So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ 8 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

Do we need to be careful not to follow false preachers (prophets) and their own ideas, instead of the word of God?

Jeremiah 23:16-18 WEB
Thus says Yahweh of Hosts, Don’t listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you: they teach you vanity; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of Yahweh. 17 They say continually to those who despise me, Yahweh has said, You shall have peace; and to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart they say, No evil shall come on you. 18 For who has stood in the council of Yahweh, that he should perceive and hear his word? who has marked my word, and heard it?

Jeremiah 23:21-22 NRSV
I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied22 But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

What did Yahweh say through Isaiah regarding the difference between light and darkness (truth and falsehood)?

Isaiah 5:20-21 NRSV
Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight!

Shouldn’t people consult the true God?

Isaiah 8:19-20 RSV
And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the wizards who chirp and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! Surely for this word which they speak there is no dawn.

Did Paul warn against false teaching and human tradition?

Colossians 2:8 NRSV
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.

Did Paul also warn about people who will preach ‘another Jesus’ rather than the true one, deceiving people and leading them astray?

2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NRSV
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.

Did Paul warn that people will not believe the truth, but believe what is false?

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NRSV
The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false,

Did he also warn about a false perverted gospel being preached and accepted, and pronounce a double curse on anyone preaching a different gospel than the original one?

Galatians 1:6-9 NRSV
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!

This sounds as though it is essential to know and understand the gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached – and not some other gospel!

How does Paul describe people who preach a false gospel?

2 Cor 11:13-15 NRSV
For such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds.

Did Paul point out some key elements of ‘the truth’?

1 Timothy 2:3-7 RSV
This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Did Paul make absolutely sure that the gospel he was preaching was the correct original gospel?

Galatians 2:1-2 NRSV
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain.

Should we also do the same?

2 Corinthians 13:5 NRSV
Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!

What foundation of truth should we be built on?

Ephesians 2:19-22 NRSV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 NRSV
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.

Did the Father, Yahweh God say we must LISTEN to Christ, His son?

Mark 9:7 NRSV
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”

Luke 9:35 NRSV
Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

Are we going to LISTEN to who Jesus said the Father is? Who he said he is? What he said the gospel is? DOES IT MATTER IF WE DO OR NOT?

Do Christ’s sheep hear his voice?

John 10:27-28 NRSV
27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

If you don’t believe Christ are you his sheep?

John 10:26 NRSV
but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.

John 8:47 WEB
He who is of God hears the words of God. For this cause you don’t hear, because you are not of God.”

Do some refuse to believe because of rebellion?

Isaiah 30:9-11
9 For they are a rebellious people, faithless children, children who will not hear the instruction of the Lord; 10 who say to the seers, “Do not see”; and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, 11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

John 8:45 NRSV
But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

Jeremiah 7:26 NRSV
yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.

John 5:37-38 WEB
The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38 You don’t have his word living in you; for whom he sent, him you don’t believe.

Are we LISTENING or rebelling? Are we LISTENING to Christ and the scriptures?

Some didn’t believe the scriptures and some still don’t LISTEN!

John 5:46-47 WEB
For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. 47 But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Acts 28:24 WEB
Some believed the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.

Some suppress the truth, and deceive themselves and others!

Roman 1:18 NRSV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.

Rom 10:17 NRSV
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

James 1:22 ESV
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Matthew 4:4 ESV
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

But some accepted the truth eagerly and examined the scriptures carefully to establish whether it was true or false teaching!

Acts 17:10-12 NRSV
That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea; and when they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing.

How important is it that we believe the truth, rather than false teaching?

John 6:47 NRSV
Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

John 3:36 NRSV
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

John 5:24 NRSV
Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Mark 16:16 NRSV
The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.

Summary
We can see from the scriptures that it is essential to worship the true God in spirit and in truth, to receive, accept and believe the true God, the true Jesus and the true gospel he taught. Any old version of God, Jesus and the gospel will not do, men’s traditions will not do. We need to ensure that what we receive and believe and teach to others is the pure truth of Yahweh and His Messiah (Christ) Jesus.

So, does it matter what we believe about God, who He is and what He says? Does it make any difference ‘which Jesus’ we accept and trust in? Is it important which ‘gospel’ we receive? If what we preach or bear witness to is incorrect, is it a problem? According to God’s word, the answer is absolutely YES, IT DOES MATTER! We had better make sure that the doctrines we follow are God’s truth and not traditions and ideas of men.

What does it mean to be created in the image of God ? Pt 2

Previously we saw that Jesus is our gold standard of what “created in the image of God” looks like.

Hebrews 1:3 NSB
God’s Son is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his being.

Colossians 1:15 HCSB
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation;

Is Jesus the pioneer, the trailblazer for the rest of humanity?

See above and :

Hebrews 12:2 NRSV
looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 8:29 RSV
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.

1 Corinthians 15:49 RSV
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Did Jesus have the fullness of God?

Colossians 1:19 NASB
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,

John 10:30 NRSV
The Father and I are one.

Are we to be filled with the fullness of God?

Ephesians 3:14-19 NASB
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:9 RSV
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.

Are we to have the fullness of Christ

Ephesians 4:13 RSV
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;

Colossians 2:8-10 NRSV
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.

Colossians 1:27 NRSV
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Is Christ to be formed in us?

Galatians 4:19
My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!

Philippians 2:5 NRSV
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

Did Paul say that Christ was living in him?

Galatians 2:20 NRSV
 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

As Christ has the fullness of God, we are to have the fullness of Christ and through Christ we are to have the fullness of God. Having this fullness is put this way in scripture:

John 14:20 NRSV
On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

John 17:23 NRSV
I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Are we to be imitators of God?

Ephesians 5:1-2 NASB
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Are we to be imitators of Christ?

1 Thessalonians 1:6 NRSV
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit,

2 Corinthians 11:1 NRSV
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ

Philippians 3:17 NRSV
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us

Romans 12:2 NRSV
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us

As we can see by imitating Paul, who was imitating Christ (who is the perfect image of God) we are imitating God.

If Christ is in us and we are in him, are we a new creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17 RSV
Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

Is this “new creation” created in the likeness of God?

Ephesians 4:24 NRSV
and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NRSV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

Through this transformation we become “participants of the divine nature”

2Peter 1:3-4 NRSV
His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.

Are we to keep ourselves in the love of God

Jude 1:21 NASB
21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

John 14:23 RSV
Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

What did Christ say about “love of God” and “love of neighbour”.

Matthew 22:36-40 NRSV
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38This is the greatest and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

John 14:21 RSV
He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

John 13:34 NRSV
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.

1 John 4:12-16 RSV
No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

John 15:9-10 NRSV
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

I John 17:21-26 HCSB
21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one. 23 I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation. 25 Righteous Father! The world has not known You. However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me. 26 I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them.

Colossians 3:14 NASB
Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

The above scripture tells us that “God is love” and that those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them

How do we demonstrate that we abide in the Father and Christ?

1 John 2:6 NRSV
whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked

Colossians 2:6 NASB
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

The word “walk” is translated from the Greek word “peripateó”, Strong’s number 4043

Definition: I walk, hence Hebraistically (in an ethical sense): I conduct my life, live.
So basically we are to conduct and live our lives as Christ our perfect example did.

The Father abiding in us and we abiding in the Father and Christ abiding in the Father and in us results in us becoming perfect/complete.

Matthew 5:48 WEB
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

The word translated “perfect” is from the Greek word “ teleios” Strong’s number 5046

Definition: perfect, (a) complete in all its parts, (b) full grown, of full age,

Colossians 2:10 NASB
And in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

2 Corinthians 13:11 NASB
Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you

Summary

Christ is the “express” image of the Father. Christ is the gold standard and perfect example of what “being created in the image of God” looks like.

He has the “fullness of the Father” which is expressed in the statement that he is in the Father and the Father is in him. Also expressed in the statement: The Father and I are one.

Christ is the pioneer and first born of the “new creation”. We are to be filled with the fullness of Christ and in so doing be filled with the fullness of the Father and participate in his divine nature.

By Christ abiding in the Father and Christ in us and us in him we abide in the Father. If we love Christ we love the Father and they will make their home (abode) and love us.

Christ is to be formed in us.

We demonstrate our love for Christ and the Father by obeying them by :

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.

In future posts we will study how we are enabled to be “Created in the image of God”

 

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Pt 1

Throughout history humans have asked why are we here. Ancient king David looked at the creation and also asked that same question.

Psalms 8:4 NASB
What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

Can we find in scripture where God tells us why He created us? If we look at the book of Genesis in chapter one we find the following.

Genesis 1:26-27
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Also we have it again repeated in Genesis that God created us in His image

Genesis 9:6
He who sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God was man created.

James 3:9 NASB
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;

In industry and commerce it is quite common to hold up an example of what is considered a “gold standard” in a particular practice or quality.

Does God give us his gold standard of what a “human created in his likeness and image” looks like

2 Corinthians 4:4 NASB
in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Colossians 1:15 HCSB
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation

In fact Jesus is the exact image of the Father

Hebrews 1:3 AUV (An understandable Version bible)
This Son expresses the radiance of God’s splendour and represents His very Being,

The HCSB (Holman Christian standard bible) puts it this way

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature,

While the NSB translates it this way

God’s Son is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his being

While in John chapter 10 we find the following:

John 10:30 RSV
I and the Father are one.”

So we see it recorded in scripture that Christ was described as: “represents His very Being”, “the exact expression of His nature” and “I and the Father are one”

Jesus was a perfect image of God because God’s fullness dwelt in him.

Colossians 1:19 NIV
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

Did Jesus ever say to the disciples that knowing and seeing him was the same as knowing and seeing the Father?

John 14:7 RSV
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.”

John 14:9 RSV
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 14:10-11 RSV
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.

The word “dwell” is translated from the Greek word with Strong’s number 3306 which means “abide”, “stay” or “remain”

Whose words and deeds did Jesus say he spoke and did?

John 5:19 RSV
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.

John 5:30 NRSV
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

John 8:28 RSV
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me

John 4:34 RSV
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work

Luke 22:42 RSV
“Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

Matthew 26: 36-39 HCSB
36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow -to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with Me.” 39 Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

John 6:38 RSV
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;

We can see from the above verses that Christ had a will of his own but always deferred to the Father’s will.

Was Jesus made perfect?

Hebrews 2:10 NASB
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

Hebrews 5:8-9 NIV
8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered
9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

Hebrews 2:10 ESV
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Luke 13:32 NKJV
And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’

Hebrews 7:28 RSV
Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever

The word “perfect” is translated from the Greek with a Strong’s number of 5048 which can be translated as “complete”. So Christ was made perfect or complete.

Was Christ tempted?

Mark 1:13 NJKV
And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

Luke 11:16 KJV
And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

Luke 11:16 RSV
while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven.

Luke 4:13 NRSV
When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Luke 4:13 HCSB
After the Devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him for a time.

Hebrews 4:15 HCSB
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 2:18 HCSB
For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.

Did Jesus have faith?

Revelation 14:12 NRSV
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus.

Galatians 2:16 KJV
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no* flesh be justified.

Galatians 3:22 KJV
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Romans 3:22 KJV
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Acts 26:18 KJV
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

2 Timothy 3:15 KJV
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:9 KJV
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Galatians 2:20 KJV
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 3:12 KJV
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

Christ is the firstborn of many brethren, the first of the new creation

Romans 8:29 WEB
For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Colossians 1:15 NRSV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;</>

2 Corinthians 5:17 WEB
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, they have become new.

Hebrews 12:2 ESV
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

The last recorded words of Christ on the cross:

John 19:30 NRSV
When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.</>

The word “finished” is translated from the Greek word “teleo” Strong’s number 5055:

complete (consummate), i.e. finish (qualitatively) the necessary process – with the results “rolling-over” to the next level (phase) of consummation.

This phase of “creating man in the image of God” was finished/completed and was now ready to “roll over” to the next phase.

Summary
Christ is the perfect example of what a gold standard of ‘being created in the image of God’ looks like. Through his perfect faith and obedience, during his life, he suffered through being tempted and tested in every way. Christ always obeyed the will of the Father, completely believing Him and trusting in Him. Throughout Christ’s lifetime, the Father perfected/completed him so Christ was able to say to the disciples “He who has seen me has seen the Father”.

Who or What is the Holy Spirit? Part 3

In the first part we explored the holy spirit/spirit of God/spirit of Yahweh as presented in the Hebrew scriptures, and found it to be describing the dynamic, creative, active power and presence of God working in His creation, with and through the people He chose.

In the second part we looked at the New Testament scriptures and found them also reflecting this same spirit and activity, indeed we observed many of the NT writers quoting OT scriptures when referring to the activity of the spirit currently occurring in their time.

However, we also see something that appears to be new and different about the spirits activity in the NT, an ‘indwelling presence’, and this is what we will be looking at now.

In John’s gospel we see Jesus telling his disciples that the spirit, ‘paraklete’ (comforter/counsellor) will come teaching, helping, guiding them:

John 14:16 RSV
And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever,

John 14:26 RSV
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 15:26 RSV
But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me;

Why would it be advantageous if Jesus went away?

John 16:7 RSV
Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:13 RSV
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

We also see in this section of scripture Jesus telling his disciples that he himself will come to them:

John 14:3 RSV
And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

John 14:17-18 RSV
even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.

John 14:21 RSV
He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

John 14:23 RSV
Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

John 14:28 RSV
You heard me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

John 16:17 RSV
Some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?”

So the holy spirit is coming and Jesus is coming! What is Jesus really telling them here?

Is Jesus describing an indwelling of both the Father and himself in his followers just like the indwelling of the Father in him?

John 14:17 RSV
even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

John 14:20 RSV
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

Was Jesus the one who would baptise with the holy spirit?

Mark 1:8 RSV
I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Did this begin at Pentecost in Jerusalem, as identified by Peter?

Acts 2:32-33 RSV
This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear.

In Paul’s writings he describes this indwelling interchangeably as ‘the spirit/spirit of God dwells in’, ‘the spirit of Christ dwells in’ and ‘Christ dwells in’, as can be seen in the scriptures following:

Romans 8:9-11 RSV
But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.

1 Corinthians 3:16 RSV
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Ephesians 2:22 RSV
in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Galatians 4:6 RSV
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Philippians 1:19 RSV
Yes, and I shall rejoice. For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,

2 Corinthians 13:5 RSV
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? –unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Galatians 2:20 RSV
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Colossians 1:27 RSV
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

So it is like we are filled with Christ, who himself is filled with the Father, so by extension are we, by their very living presence and indwelling in spirit. This means that Jesus is now present to the believer only in and through the spirit, and that the mark of the spirit is both the recognition of Jesus’ present status and the reproduction of the character of his sonship and resurrection life in the believer.

In this way is Christ with us always?

Matthew 28:20 RSV
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

Summary
We have seen that it is now possible to have this new deep intimate personal relationship with the Father and Jesus, inside of us by this ‘indwelling’, such that we can say with Paul that ‘Christ is our life’ (Colossians 3:4), and that we are the children of the Father, witnessed to us by this indwelling presence.

The Father and Christ are not dealing with us ‘at arms length’ or through some third party, but are right here in us, with us, through us, for us, as us – we couldn’t be ‘yoked together’ more closely.

For those who would like to study the holy spirit in more depth and detail we would strongly recommend you start by reviewing Sean Finnegan’s excellent study article and free PDF Download

There is also a link to it on our ‘Articles’ tab, along with other available materials.

Who or What is the holy spirit? Continued

Previously we saw from a review of the Hebrew scriptures relating to the spirit of Yahweh, or the holy spirit, that rather than being another person distinct from Yahweh it describes the creative, dynamic, active presence and influence of the glorious Yahweh God in and upon and with His chosen people.

We will now continue our study by looking at how the holy spirit is presented in the new testament scriptures.

The first mention of the holy spirit in the New Testament scriptures is in Luke 1 when Zechariah is informed about the coming birth of his son John (the Baptist) to Elizabeth his wife.

Notice that John was to be filled with the holy spirit from birth. Is this associated with ‘the spirit and power of Elijah’, the Old Testament prophet?

Luke 1:13-17 RSV
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechari’ah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; 15 for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Eli’jah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

Will John turn many of the people of Israel back to Yahweh their God? Verse 16 above.

The second mention of the holy spirit is to Mary concerning the conception of Jesus in her womb.

When she asks ‘how can this be?’, is she told that Yahweh (the Most High) will be Jesus’ father?

Is ‘the power of the Most High’ also called ‘the holy spirit’, and also referred to as God (Yahweh), hence the reason that he (Jesus) will be ‘called holy, the son of God’?

Luke 1:31-35 RSV
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” 35 And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

Matthew1:18-20 RSV
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; 19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit;

Are we seeing here the spirit of Yahweh, the holy spirit, the very ‘presence of Yahweh’ identified as the creative, dynamic, active power and cause of the conception of Jesus – the glorious Yahweh God working in Mary to become the father of Jesus?

Is this the way that Mary would have understood what she was told? Review those verses above.

Did the Father ever give testimony as to who Jesus is, and by extension who Jesus’ father is?

When he was baptised by John:

Matthew 3:16-17 RSV
And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; 17 and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

At the transfiguration again, this time with an added instruction:

Mark 9:7 RSV
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

….’listen to him’.

Is the ‘spirit of God’ the power and presence of God in action, referred to as ‘the finger of God’?

Matthew 12:28 RSV
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Luke 11:20 RSV
But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Exodus 8:19 WEB
Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God:” and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen to them; as Yahweh had spoken.

Are we seeing the same holy spirit, Yahweh’s presence in action, as in the Hebrew scriptures?

Does Peter refer to Yahweh’s stated intention given through Joel?

Acts 2:16-17 RSV
but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;

Does Paul refer to what Yahweh said by His spirit through Isaiah?

Acts 28:25-26 RSV
So, as they disagreed among themselves, they departed, after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: 26 ‘Go to this people, and say, You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive.

Does Peter say that Yahweh spoke through the prophets by His spirit?

2 Peter 1:20-21 RSV
First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Is it Yahweh God doing the inspiring?

2 Timothy 3:16 RSV
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Are we told that the same spirit of the Father will be present and speaking through us?

Matthew 10:19-20 RSV
When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Is God the Father Himself spirit, is this His essential nature?

John 4:23-24 RSV
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Does Paul, referring back to Moses in Yahweh’s presence in Exodus state that the Lord God (Yahweh) is the spirit?

Exodus 34:34-35 WEB
But when Moses went in before Yahweh to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spoke to the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35 The children of Israel saw Moses’ face, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

2 Corinthians 3:7-8 RSV
Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses’ face because of its brightness, fading as this was,8 will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor?

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 RSV
but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Are we able to turn to God and have this veil taken away only through Christ?

2 Corinthians 3:14 RSV
But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.

Was it through this same spirit presence of God that Christ was able to offer himself without blemish?

Hebrews 9:14 RSV
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Is there one God and Father who is in all?

Ephesians 4:6 RSV
one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Can the spirit of Yahweh God, who raised Jesus from the dead, dwell in us also?

Romans 8:11 RSV
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.

Is receiving the indwelling spirit of God referred to as being ‘born again’?

John 3:5-6 RSV
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Are we told that this will be a ‘baptizing’?

Acts 1:4-5 RSV
And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, 5 for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Will this bear witness that we are also Yahweh God’s children?

Romans 8:15-16 KJV
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Are we told to be filled with the spirit?

Ephesians 5:18 RSV
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit,

Is the Father’s spirit presence in the inner man described as ‘being filled with all the fullness of God’?

Ephesians 3:14-19 RSV
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.

Does God the Father actually dwell in us?

1 John 4:12-16 RSV
No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Does this produce regeneration and renewal in us in hope of eternal life?

Titus 3:4-7 RSV
but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, 6 which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Did Jesus say that the Father was in him? As evidenced by the works being done?

John 14:11 RSV
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.

Did Jesus also describe the indwelling of the holy spirit as being like ‘rivers of living water’, which those who believed were to receive?

John 7:37-39 RSV
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. 38 He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

This is a direct reference back to Isaiah and the spirit in the Hebrew scriptures.

Isaiah 44:3 RSV
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring.

Isaiah 58:11 WEB
and Yahweh will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in dry places, and make strong your bones; and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters don’t fail.

Does it produce continual guidance – v11 above?

Is the spirit presence also called ‘a counsellor’?

John 15:26 RSV
But when the Counsellor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me;

The Greek word for ‘counsellor’ is ‘parakletos’, Strong’s number 3875 and means ‘an advocate intercessor, comforter, helper, who is along side or close beside’.

Does Jesus send this holy spirit presence (also called ‘the spirit of truth’) from the Father? Same verse.

Were they to wait in Jerusalem? Is it the gift and power of the Father?

Acts 1:4 RSV
And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me,

Luke 24:49 RSV
And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Again was this told beforehand through Isaiah, and that it is Yahweh doing the comforting?

Isaiah 66:13 RSV
As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

It should be noted that Paul consistently sends greetings in his letters ‘from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’, typical is 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 1:3 RSV
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:2 RSV
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon 3 RSV
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The holy spirit is not included as a third person, did Paul consistently forget ‘him’?

 

Summary
We have seen from the New Testament scriptures the holy spirit presented as the Father’s presence in power and action indwelling Jesus and believers as His children, evidenced in works and prophecies. New Testament writers often refer to prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures, given under the inspiration of the same ‘spirit of God’. So we see the same spirit presence of God in the NT as we saw in the OT, however we see something new and different. We also see this indwelling providing comfort and counselling, as well as guidance and even words when necessary, and as we shall see next time, a deeper more intimate personal relationship with both the Father and Jesus the Messiah.

 

 

Who or What is the Holy Spirit?

Considering what John the Baptist said:

Matthew 3:11-12 RSV
11 “I baptise you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Knowing the truth about the holy spirit ought to be a key concern for all true believers. And yet there are a variety of views regarding the true nature of the holy spirit. So as usual we will turn to God’s word in the scriptures to determine the truth, and rely upon the holy spirit:

John 14:26 NIV
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

There is a lot to cover on this subject, so we will start by looking at what the Hebrew scriptures tell us in this part, followed by subsequent parts looking at the teaching in the New Testament scriptures, and then we will pull it all together.

The first mention of God’s spirit is in Genesis 1:2 ‘moving’ in the creation setting.

Genesis 1:2 RSV
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

The Hebrew word translated ‘spirit’ is Strong’s number 7307, defined as ‘breath, wind, spirit’. Whether breath, wind or spirit, they are invisible, their power and effect is as a result of their movement or flowing action.

Can we take ‘God’s spirit’ to be ‘the holy spirit’? Is God holy?

Leviticus 19:2 NJB
‘Speak to the whole community of Israelites and say: “Be holy, for I, Yahweh your God, am holy.

Psalms 99:9 NJB
Yahweh our God, bow down at his holy mountain; holy is Yahweh our God!

Habakkuk 1:12 HCSB
Are You not from eternity, Yahweh my God? My Holy One, You will not die. Lord, You appointed them to execute judgment; [my] Rock, You destined them to punish [us].

Is God spirit?

John 4:24 RSV
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Yahweh God is both holy and spirit, hence ‘God’s spirit’ or ‘the spirit of God’ are terms equivalent to ‘the holy spirit’ and are related directly to Yahweh, the Father, Lord God most high.

Are ‘your holy spirit’ and ‘your presence’ used as parallel equivalents, strongly and directly related?

Psalm 139:7 HCSB
Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?

Psalm 51:11 HCSB
Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Was Yahweh’s presence, also called His holy spirit and His spirit, present in the midst of His people Israel?

Isaiah 63:8-14 NJB
63:8 For he said, ‘Truly they are my people, children who will not betray me,’ and he became their Saviour.
63:9 In all their troubles, it was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them. In his love and pity he himself redeemed them, lifted them up and carried them throughout the days of old.
63:10 But they rebelled and vexed his holy Spirit. Then he became their enemy and himself waged war on them.
63:11 But he called the past to mind, Moses his servant. Where is he who saved them from the sea, the Shepherd of his flock? Where was he who put his holy Spirit among them,
63:12 whose glorious arm led the way by Moses’ right hand? Who divided the waters before them to win himself everlasting renown,
63:13 who led them through the depths as easily as a horse through the desert? They stumbled as little
63:14 as cattle going down to the plain. Yahweh’s Spirit led them to rest. This was how you guided your people to win yourself glorious renown.

Did the glorious presence of Yahweh fill the tabernacle, or dwelling in the midst of the people of Israel?

Exodus 40:34-38 NJB
40:34 The cloud then covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of Yahweh filled the Dwelling.
40:35 Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, since the cloud stayed over it and the glory of Yahweh filled the Dwelling.
40:36 At every stage of their journey, whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling, the Israelites would resume their march.
40:37 If the cloud did not rise, they would not resume their march until the day it did rise.
40:38 For Yahweh’s cloud stayed over the Dwelling during the daytime and there was fire inside the cloud at night, for the whole House of Israel to see, at every stage of their journey.

So we can see that one aspect of the holy spirit is it relating to ‘the glorious, holy presence of Yahweh’ dwelling in the midst of His people.

Does the ‘spirit of Yahweh’ also have reference to the mind, understanding, knowledge of Yahweh God?

Isaiah 40:13-14 NJB
13 Who directed the spirit of Yahweh, what counsellor could have instructed him?
14 Whom has he consulted to enlighten him, to instruct him in the path of judgement, to teach him knowledge and show him how to understand?

Is this confirmed in the prophecy regarding the Messiah in Isaiah 11?

Isaiah 11:1-2 NJB
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from his roots.
2 On him will rest the spirit of Yahweh, the spirit of wisdom and insight, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and fear of

Does the spirit of Yahweh encompass the spirit of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of might, of knowledge and the reverence of Yahweh? Isaiah 11:1-2 above.

So we see that another aspect of the spirit is the indwelling influence of the mind of Yahweh God working with His chosen ones.

Is Yahweh’s spirit also compared to and related to power and might?

Zechariah 4:6 Lexham English Bible
And he answered and said to me, “This [is] the word of Yahweh to Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by strength and not by power, but [only] by my Spirit,’ says Yahweh of hosts.

And to Yahweh’s dynamic, active presence to deliver through His chosen agent?

Judges 3:9-10 NJB
9 The Israelites then cried to Yahweh and Yahweh raised for the Israelites a deliverer who rescued them, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.
10 The spirit of Yahweh was on him; he became judge in Israel and set out for war. Yahweh delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Edom into his hands, and he triumphed over Cushan- Rishathaim.

Judges 6:34 NJB
And the spirit of Yahweh clothed Gideon around; he sounded the horn and Abiezer rallied behind him.

Judges 13:24-25 NJB
24 The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and Yahweh blessed him;
25 and the spirit of Yahweh began to stir him in the Camp of Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Did this presence and influence sometimes result in prophetic utterances in accordance with the will of Yahweh?

Ezekiel 2:1-2 HCSB
He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak with you.” 2 As He spoke to me, the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and I listened to the One who was speaking to me.

Ezekiel 11:1 NJB
The spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the Temple of Yahweh, the gate that looks eastwards. There at the entrance to the gate stood twenty-five men, among whom I saw Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people.

Ezekiel 11:5 NJB
The spirit of Yahweh fell on me, and he said to me, ‘Say, “Yahweh says this: I know what you are saying, House of Israel, I know how insolent you are.

Prophesying the Messiah and the New Covenant:

Isaiah 61:1-2 NJB
61:1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the news to the afflicted, to soothe the broken-hearted,
61:2 to proclaim liberty to captives, release to those in prison, to proclaim a year of favour from Yahweh and a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn

Ezekiel 11:5 NJB
The spirit of Yahweh fell on me, and he said to me, ‘Say, “Yahweh says this: I know what you are saying, House of Israel, I know how insolent you are.

Ezekiel 36:25-27 NJB
I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your filth and of all your foul idols.
26 I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead.
27 I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws, and respect and practise my judgements

Power, justice and might to declare Yahweh’s truth:

2 Samuel 23:1-4 NJB
These are the last words of David: Thus speaks David son of Jesse, thus speaks the man raised to eminence, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the singer of the songs of Israel:
2 The spirit of Yahweh speaks through me, his word is on my tongue;
3 the God of Jacob has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: He whose rule is upright on earth, who rules in the fear of God,
4 is like the morning light at sunrise (on a cloudless morning) making the grass of the earth sparkle after rain.

Summary
We can see from the above review of the Hebrew scriptures relating to the spirit of Yahweh, or the holy spirit, that rather than being another person distinct from Yahweh it describes the creative, dynamic, active presence and influence of the glorious Yahweh God in and upon and with His chosen people.

This agrees very nicely with the Jewish view that the spirit of God alludes to His energy and self expression in word and action.
In the next part we will look at the holy spirit in the New Testament scriptures.

How was Jesus the son of God?

Last time we saw that Jesus the Messiah (Christ) was prophesied to be a man, was born a man, died a man, was resurrected as a man, ascended to Yahweh’s throne as a man, is still a man, and will return at his second coming as a man. A very unique, perfect, sinless man, glorified and honoured by Yahweh, God our Father, above all others – but man nevertheless.
If Jesus is a man as the scriptures say, how can he be ‘son of God’?
Was there a specific moment in time when Jesus became Yahweh’s son – ‘son of God’?

Psalms 2:7 Lexham English Bible
I will tell the decree; Yahweh said to me: “You are my son; today I have begotten you.

Yahweh says ‘today’ I have ‘begotten’ you, the Hebrew word in Strong’s is No. 3205 and means ‘to bear, bring forth, beget, father’.

Was Mary told ahead of time how this would happen?

Luke 1:31-35 RSV
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” 35 And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

Was Mary to ‘conceive in her womb’?

Verse 31 above.

Was this to be by ‘the power of the Most High’ – Yahweh God?

Verse 35 above.

Was this the very reason, ‘therefore’, that Jesus will be called ‘the son of God’?

Verse 35 above.

Was Jesus born like any other man, a human child?

Verse 35 above.

So we see that the primary and unique reason Jesus is ‘the son of God’ is because God miraculously conceived him in Mary’s womb, becoming his father in that process.

Was Adam also called ‘the son of God’, though not conceived by God in a woman’s womb, but created by God?

Luke 3:38 RSV
the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

There is also a secondary reason – that of ‘position’, or ‘agent’ of God, representing God with God’s authority in certain circumstances. This can be seen with others, and is therefore not unique.

Were the angels called ‘sons of God’?

Job 1:6 NJB
One day when the sons of God came to attend on Yahweh, among them came Satan

Job 38:7 RSV
when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Was Israel called ‘the son of God’?

Exodus 4:22-23 NJB
You will then say to Pharaoh, “This is what Yahweh says: Israel is my first-born son.
23  I told you: Let my son go and worship me; but since you refuse to let him go, well then! I shall put your first-born son to death

Ephraim was also called ‘son of God’.

Jeremiah 31:9 NRSV
With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Jeremiah 31:20 NJB
Is Ephraim, then, so dear a son to me, a child so favoured, that whenever I mention him I remember him lovingly still? That is why I yearn for him, why I must take pity on him, Yahweh declares.

Was Solomon also called God’s son?

2 Samuel 7:14 RSV
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. When he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men;

1 Chronicles 28:6 RSV
He said to me, ‘It is Solomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.

Are we not all called the children, or sons of God?

Romans 8:14 RSV
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Matthew 5:9 RSV
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

1 John 3:1-2 RSV
1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
2Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Philippians 2:15 RSV
that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

John 1:12 RSV
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;

Galatians 3:26 RSV
for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

If we are true Christians with God’s spirit in us then we are God’s (Yahweh’s) children – not because we were physically conceived by God as Jesus was, but because of God’s spirit in us and our ‘position’ in Christ.

Was Jesus also declared to be ‘the son of God’ in power by his resurrection?

Romans 1:4 RSV
and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Acts 13:33 RSV
this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee.

Hebrews 5:5 RSV
this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee.’

Please note that there were no capital letters in the original text ‘the Son of God’ and ‘Son’ are a choice of the translators.

Summary
We have seen that many are called sons of God in the scriptures – Adam who was created by God, angels also created by God, Solomon, Ephraim and the nation Israel because of their position as God’s agents with His authority in specific circumstances.
All true Christians are called sons or children of God, because of our position and relationship with Him.
However, Jesus is uniquely ‘the son of God’- conceived by Yahweh his Father in Mary’s womb, acting with God’s authority as His Messiah agent, and declared so with power by his resurrection.