4/22/14

From Jim McGuiggan... Miracles and the Christian Faith


Miracles and the Christian Faith

For good or ill, the Christian faith embraces miracles. A miracle is not easy to define because it’s one of those big rich words which, if you define it loosely—it’s too loose to be useful. If you try to define it rigidly, to crowd it into a circle of words, there are aspects of it left sticking out. Even those philosophers that deny that a miracle can be defined presume they know (without definition) what it is that can’t be defined. But these are issues that must be dealt with in other literature and there’s a mass of it.

By a miracle I mean an act of God, an act which by its timing, context, nature and character leaves us in no doubt that supernatural power is at work and that that supernatural power comes from the God revealed in the biblical witness.

But here we’re dealing with actual and biblical miracles rather than discussing their “possibility” on philosophical and theoretical grounds. This means I’m taking the biblical texts at their face value. Whatever the theological purposes of the narratives, I’m following countless thousands of intelligent, competent and trusting people down the centuries in accepting that the writers recorded miraculous happenings in and connected with the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Some of the miracles are not as startling as others are. You know what I mean, there are some events in Scripture that get our attention and then there are others that make our eyes go big and round.

Christ’s healing Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8), just by touching her calls for attention but Lazarus’ coming from the tomb makes your jaw sag (John 11).

The raising of Lazarus helps us (because it is so starkly miraculous) to get a hold on what miracle means. He’s been dead long enough to be in a state of decay, Jesus looks to heaven and addresses someone he calls “Father,” asking him to raise Lazarus. A mere man, one like the rest of us, couldn’t have done what was done to Lazarus so someone heard the words of Jesus, someone invisible, and that someone instantaneously brought life and health back to Lazarus.

Now, not all the miracles are as stark and clear as this one. This event bore its own indisputable witness to the existence, presence and working of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some events could be debated if they were looked at as independent events. But when they’re allowed their place in the whole Story, in the development and context of the life of this Jesus of Nazareth, something is added to them and makes them more than acceptable as miracles—makes them, in some ways, fully expected.

Whatever else is true, the Christian faith has miracles at its heart.

It isn’t the Christian Faith as the NT presents it if we strip it of all its supernatural elements and offer Jesus as a fine man and the NT scriptures as a source of some outstanding ethical teaching.
It isn’t uncommon to hear people say it would be easier to believe in the Jesus of the NT if it didn’t speak of miracles. I don’t believe that. I believe if we’re fair with the NT record we cannot believe in a non-miraculous Jesus. Nor could we make sense of the NT record itself for so much of the speech in the mouth of Jesus would be inexplicable—it depends on his having worked miracles (see, for example, John 6, the whole chapter).

But maybe, just maybe, if we doctored the text, it would be easier to believe; but would it be worth believing?

From Dave Miller, Ph.D. ... The Universe—A “Waste of Space”?

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=1207

The Universe—A “Waste of Space”?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

“The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be” (Sagan, 1980, p. 4). So begins Carl Sagan’s immensely popular book and PBS television series, Cosmos. A more atheistic, humanistic, materialistic declaration could not be spoken. Sagan (1934-1996), who was an astronomer at Cornell University who lived his entire life resistant to the possibility of God and an afterlife, maintained his unbelief—in the words of his third wife—“unflinching” to the end (Sagan, 1997, p. 225). She, herself, finds comfort after his passing “without resorting to the supernatural” (p. 228).
When people reject or avoid the implications of the created order—i.e., that it is logically the result of a Supreme Creator—they have inevitably “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Skeptical of the survival of the Earth at the mercy of Homo sapiens, Sagan turned his attention to an almost obsessive dedication to finding answers and solutions from life forms beyond Earth. In his own words: “In a very real sense this search for extraterrestrial intelligence is a search for a cosmic context for mankind, a search for who we are, where we have come from, and what possibilities there are for our future—in a universe vaster both in extent and duration than our forefathers ever dreamed of ” (Sagan, 1973, pp. ix-x).
Less than a year after his death, Hollywood released a movie (on July 11, 1997) based on Sagan’s novel, Contact (1985). The film’s central character, Dr. Eleanor Arroway (played by Jodie Foster), is surely the embodiment of the formative experiences, philosophical perspectives, and spiritual beliefs of Sagan himself. On three separate occasions in the film, a pseudo-intellectual remark, obviously designed to defend the naturalistic explanation of the existence of the Universe while ridiculing the Christian viewpoint, is offered up to viewers. As a child, “Ellie” asks her father if life exists out in the Universe, to which he responds: “Well, if there wasn’t, it’d be an awful waste of space.” As an adult, she converses with Palmer Joss (played by Matthew McConaughey), and, staring up at the starry Puerto Rican sky, expresses her confidence in the evolution of other life forms elsewhere in the Universe: “If just one in a million of those stars has planets, and if only one in a million of those has life, and if just one in a million of those has intelligent life, then there are millions of civilizations out there” (as cited in Bohlin, 1998). [Of course, the scientific evidence does not support this conclusion—see Bohlin, 2002]. Ellie is pleasantly stunned when Joss repeats the same line that her father uttered to her when she was a child. Near the close of the film, Ellie speaks the line again to a group of school children when asked if life exists in space.
This triple declaration was obviously intended to offer a “logical” proof that, rather than looking to some supernatural Being Who is transcendent of the Universe, humans had best recognize that the only life beyond planet Earth are those life forms that have evolved (like our own) on other planets in far off galaxies. The materialist is forced to follow Sagan’s presupposition: life must exist elsewhere in the Universe since there is no God. If there is a God Who created life only on Earth, then He was guilty of poor teleological design—creating a vast physical realm that serves absolutely no purpose—and thus producing a nearly infinite realm of “wasted space.”
But wait! The Bible long ago anticipated the skepticism of the materialist astronomer. At the creation of the Universe, God said: “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth” (Genesis 1:14-15). The luminaries that God made included the stars: “God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night” (vss. 17-18). One very specific function of the stars that occupy space far beyond our solar system is illumination (cf. Psalm 136:9). They are “light-bearers” (Keil and Delitzsch, 1976, 1:56; Leupold, 1950, p. 71).
Another very specific purpose of the vastness of space is seen in the multiple declarations regarding the infinitude of God and the evidence that points to His existence, His glory, His eternality, and His power. Paul affirmed very confidently that “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). It is absolutely incredible—and, according to Paul, inexcusable—for a rational human being to contemplate the magnitude of the Universe and the vastness of space, and then to reject the only logical, plausible explanation for it all: God. Indeed, atheism, evolution, and humanism are simply more sophisticated forms of the polytheism that has plagued humanity for millennia. Moses warned the Israelites of this very thing: “[T]ake heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage” (Deuteronomy 4:19). Evolutionary astronomy assigns an inflated value to the vastness of space by postulating that it can provide mankind with an alternative explanation for the existence of life—an explanation that absents God. Any such postulation ultimately amounts to idolatry.
David, too, paid homage to the glory of the Creator, as evidenced by the eloquent symphony of the majestic Universe that is played perpetually—twenty-four hours a day:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat (Psalm 19:1-6; cf. 74:16-17; 136:7-8).
Separate and apart from the latest evidence that confirms the movement of the Sun through space (see Thompson, 2001, p. 46), these verses reaffirm the fact that the created Universe loudly announces the existence of the Universe-Maker. David also declared: “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, You have set Your glory above the heavens! …When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:1,3). God “stretched out the heavens like a curtain” (Psalm 104:2). No wonder even a philosopher on the order of Immanuel Kant observed: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me” (as quoted in Geisler, 1983, p. 59).
A third biblical explanation for the creation of the vast Universe was hinted at by God Himself in the attitude-adjusting lecture He delivered to Job: “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you fix their rule over the earth?” (Job 38:31-33). Notice the action terms that are used to refer to the movement of the constellations: bind, loose, lead forth, and guide. Observe also the “laws of the heavens” and their relationship to “ruling over the earth” (see Gaebelein, 1988, 4:1037,1042). These verses imply that the heavenly bodies have been deliberately orchestrated, modulated, and regulated by the Creator to serve a purpose or purposes far beyond our present understanding. The text seems to hint that Earth’s status, with its living beings, is somehow affected by the phenomena of the cosmic bodies. Even as the comprehension of scientists has been lacking through the centuries on many features of the physical realm, only eventually to discover the meaning that lay behind observable phenomenon, even so our present comprehension of space is woefully inadequate to justify passing judgment on the intentionality and teleology that lie behind many astronomical phenomena.
Evolutionists have far better arguments with which to attempt to prop up their atheistic stance (the “problem of evil” being the strongest, though refutable—see Warren, 1972). The “wasted space” argument is anemic, pitiful, and hardly worthy of rebuttal. However, since they brought it to our attention, the Christian is once again reminded of the unfathomable attributes of the great God Who stands above and beyond this vast physical realm. The immensity and vastness of the Universe only spurs the rational mind to marvel at the One whose own metaphysical transcendence surpasses the visible. In the words of the psalmist: “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness (145:5-6). “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:4-5). Isaiah agreed: “Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power” (40:26).

REFERENCES

Bohlin, Ray (1998), “Contact: A Eulogy to Carl Sagan,” [On-line], URL: http://www.probe.org/docs/contact.html.
Bohlin, Ray (2002), “Are We Alone in the Universe?”, [On-line], URL: http://www.probe.org/docs/lifemars.html.
Gaebelein, Frank E., ed. (1988), The Expositor’s Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Geisler, Norman L. (1983), Cosmos: Carl Sagan’s Religion for the Scientific Mind (Dallas, TX: Quest).
Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch (1976 reprint), Commentary on the Old Testament: The Pentateuch (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Leupold, Herbert C. (1950 reprint), Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Sagan, Carl (1997), Billions and Billions (New York: Random House).
Sagan, Carl (1985), Contact (New York: Simon and Schuster).
Sagan, Carl (1980), Cosmos (New York: Random House).
Sagan, Carl, ed. (1973), “Introduction,” Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence [CETI] (MIT Press).
Thompson, Bert (2001), In Defense of the Bible’s Inspiration (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), second edition.
Warren, Thomas B. (1972), Have Atheists Proved There Is No God (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).

From Gary.... Bible Reading April 22


Bible Reading 

April 22

The World English Bible


Apr. 22
Numbers 35, 36

Num 35:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying,
Num 35:2 Command the children of Israel that they give to the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and You shall give suburbs for the cities around them to the Levites.
Num 35:3 The cities shall they have to dwell in; and their suburbs shall be for their livestock, and for their substance, and for all their animals.
Num 35:4 The suburbs of the cities, which you shall give to the Levites, shall be from the wall of the city and outward one thousand cubits around it.
Num 35:5 You shall measure outside of the city for the east side two thousand cubits, and for the south side two thousand cubits, and for the west side two thousand cubits, and for the north side two thousand cubits, the city being in the midst. This shall be to them the suburbs of the cities.
Num 35:6 The cities which you shall give to the Levites, they shall be the six cities of refuge, which you shall give for the manslayer to flee to: and besides them you shall give forty-two cities.
Num 35:7 All the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be forty-eight cities together with their suburbs.
Num 35:8 Concerning the cities which you shall give of the possession of the children of Israel, from the many you shall take many; and from the few you shall take few: everyone according to his inheritance which he inherits shall give of his cities to the Levites.
Num 35:9 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Num 35:10 Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan,
Num 35:11 then you shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person unwittingly may flee there.
Num 35:12 The cities shall be to you for refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer not die, until he stands before the congregation for judgment.
Num 35:13 The cities which you shall give shall be for you six cities of refuge.
Num 35:14 You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and you shall give three cities in the land of Canaan; they shall be cities of refuge.
Num 35:15 For the children of Israel, and for the stranger and for the foreigner living among them, shall these six cities be for refuge; that everyone who kills any person unwittingly may flee there.
Num 35:16 But if he struck him with an instrument of iron, so that he died, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
Num 35:17 If he struck him with a stone in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
Num 35:18 Or if he struck him with a weapon of wood in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
Num 35:19 The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death: when he meets him, he shall put him to death.
Num 35:20 If he thrust him of hatred, or hurled at him, lying in wait, so that he died,
Num 35:21 or in enmity struck him with his hand, so that he died; he who struck him shall surely be put to death; he is a murderer: the avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death, when he meets him.
Num 35:22 But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or hurled on him anything without lying in wait,
Num 35:23 or with any stone, by which a man may die, not seeing him, and cast it on him, so that he died, and he was not his enemy, neither sought his harm;
Num 35:24 then the congregation shall judge between the striker and the avenger of blood according to these ordinances;
Num 35:25 and the congregation shall deliver the manslayer out of the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, where he was fled: and he shall dwell therein until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.
Num 35:26 But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the border of his city of refuge, where he flees,
Num 35:27 and the avenger of blood find him outside of the border of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kill the manslayer; he shall not be guilty of blood,
Num 35:28 because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return into the land of his possession.
Num 35:29 These things shall be for a statute and ordinance to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Num 35:30 Whoever kills any person, the murderer shall be slain at the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person that he die.
Num 35:31 Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death; but he shall surely be put to death.
Num 35:32 You shall take no ransom for him who is fled to his city of refuge, that he may come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.
Num 35:33 So you shall not pollute the land in which you are: for blood, it pollutes the land; and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him who shed it.
Num 35:34 You shall not defile the land which you inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell: for I, Yahweh, dwell in the midst of the children of Israel.
Num 36:1 The heads of the fathers' houses of the family of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near, and spoke before Moses, and before the princes, the heads of the fathers' houses of the children of Israel:
Num 36:2 and they said, Yahweh commanded my lord to give the land for inheritance by lot to the children of Israel: and my lord was commanded by Yahweh to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother to his daughters.
Num 36:3 If they be married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then will their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of our fathers, and will be added to the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they shall belong: so will it be taken away from the lot of our inheritance.
Num 36:4 When the jubilee of the children of Israel shall be, then will their inheritance be added to the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they shall belong: so will their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.
Num 36:5 Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of Yahweh, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph speaks right.
Num 36:6 This is the thing which Yahweh does command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them be married to whom they think best; only into the family of the tribe of their father shall they be married.
Num 36:7 So shall no inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe; for the children of Israel shall cleave everyone to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.
Num 36:8 Every daughter, who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife to one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may possess every man the inheritance of his fathers.
Num 36:9 So shall no inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; for the tribes of the children of Israel shall cleave everyone to his own inheritance.
Num 36:10 Even as Yahweh commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad:
Num 36:11 for Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married to their father's brothers' sons.
Num 36:12 They were married into the families of the sons of Manasseh the son of Joseph; and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father.
Num 36:13 These are the commandments and the ordinances which Yahweh commanded by Moses to the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.

Apr. 22, 23
Luke 13
Luk 13:1 Now there were some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.
Luk 13:2 Jesus answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
Luk 13:3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.
Luk 13:4 Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem?
Luk 13:5 I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way."
Luk 13:6 He spoke this parable. "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none.
Luk 13:7 He said to the vine dresser, 'Behold, these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and found none. Cut it down. Why does it waste the soil?'
Luk 13:8 He answered, 'Lord, leave it alone this year also, until I dig around it, and fertilize it.
Luk 13:9 If it bears fruit, fine; but if not, after that, you can cut it down.' "
Luk 13:10 He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day.
Luk 13:11 Behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and she was bent over, and could in no way straighten herself up.
Luk 13:12 When Jesus saw her, he called her, and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity."
Luk 13:13 He laid his hands on her, and immediately she stood up straight, and glorified God.
Luk 13:14 The ruler of the synagogue, being indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the multitude, "There are six days in which men ought to work. Therefore come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day!"
Luk 13:15 Therefore the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each one of you free his ox or his donkey from the stall on the Sabbath, and lead him away to water?
Luk 13:16 Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound eighteen long years, be freed from this bondage on the Sabbath day?"
Luk 13:17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were disappointed, and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.
Luk 13:18 He said, "What is the Kingdom of God like? To what shall I compare it?
Luk 13:19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and put in his own garden. It grew, and became a large tree, and the birds of the sky lodged in its branches."
Luk 13:20 Again he said, "To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?
Luk 13:21 It is like yeast, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened."
Luk 13:22 He went on his way through cities and villages, teaching, and traveling on to Jerusalem.
Luk 13:23 One said to him, "Lord, are they few who are saved?" He said to them,
Luk 13:24 "Strive to enter in by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter in, and will not be able.
Luk 13:25 When once the master of the house has risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' then he will answer and tell you, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'
Luk 13:26 Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.'
Luk 13:27 He will say, 'I tell you, I don't know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.'
Luk 13:28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves being thrown outside.
Luk 13:29 They will come from the east, west, north, and south, and will sit down in the Kingdom of God.
Luk 13:30 Behold, there are some who are last who will be first, and there are some who are first who will be last."
Luk 13:31 On that same day, some Pharisees came, saying to him, "Get out of here, and go away, for Herod wants to kill you."
Luk 13:32 He said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I complete my mission.
Luk 13:33 Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the next day, for it can't be that a prophet perish outside of Jerusalem.'
Luk 13:34 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, like a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you refused!
Luk 13:35 Behold, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' "

From Mark Copeland... The Promise Of The Father (Acts 1:4-5)

                          "THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                  The Promise Of The Father (1:4-5)

INTRODUCTION

1. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave His apostles
   instructions...
   a. Not to depart from Jerusalem - Ac 1:4
   b. But to wait for the Promise of the Father - ibid.

2. The apostles had heard of this Promise before...
   a. From Jesus Himself - Ac 1:4; cf. Jn 14:16-17,26; 15:26; Jn 16:12-13
   b. Related to their being baptized with the Holy Spirit within a few
      days - Ac 1:5
   c. Of which John the Baptist spoke - Lk 3:15-16

[But even long before John and Jesus, God began making promises about the
Spirit...]

I. THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

   A. THE PROPHECY OF JOEL...
      1. The Spirit would be poured out on all flesh - Joel 2:28-29
      2. Sons and daughters would prophesy, young and old men see
         visions, dream dreams
      3. God's Spirit would be poured out on His menservants and
         maidservants

   B. THE PROPHECIES OF ISAIAH...
      1. God would pour His Spirit on Israel's descendants, like water
         on dry ground - Isa 44:3
      2. Another prophecy related to the promise of the Spirit - Isa 32:15-17
         a. Found in a section with Messianic implications - cf. Isa 32:1
         b. The result of this pouring of the Spirit:  justice,
            righteousness, and peace - cf. Ro 14:17

   C. THE PROPHECIES OF EZEKIEL...
      1. One recorded in Eze 36:26-27
         a. God promises to put His Spirit "within you" (an
            indwelling?)
         b. Who will cause (enable) one to walk in His statutes and
            keep His judgments
      2. Another prophecy that might relate to the promise of the
         Spirit - Eze 39:29
         a. A prophecy that looks beyond the captivity and restoration
            of Israel
         b. One that might not have been fulfilled until the coming of
            the Messiah

   D. THE PROPHECY OF ZECHARIAH...
      1. The Spirit of grace and supplication to be poured out on the
         inhabitants of Jerusalem - Zec 12:10
      2. Prompting people to look upon Jesus whom they have pierced,
         and mourn because of Him - cf. Ac 2:32-37

[Whether the prophecies of Ezekiel and Zechariah have reference to a
promise that would be fulfilled in the age of the Messiah may be
questionable, but certainly the prophecies of Joel and Isaiah demonstrate
that God promised an "outpouring" of the Spirit in a special way.  Let's
now return to...]

II. THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

   A. THE PREACHING OF JOHN...
      1. He spoke of One coming who would "baptize you with the Holy
         Spirit" - Mt 3:11; Mk 1:7-8; Lk 3:16; Jn 1:33
      2. While he himself administered a baptism in water, there was
         One coming who would be the administrator of a baptism with the
         Holy Spirit
      3. The promise was made to large crowds; its nature and full
         extent revealed in its fulfillment 
         a. We know that it is somehow tied to the events of Pentecost
            in Ac 2:1-4
         b. Because of Jesus' comments in Ac 1:4-5

   B. THE TEACHING OF JESUS...
      1. The Spirit would be given to those who ask the Heavenly Father
         - Lk 11:13
      2. The Spirit would be given as "living water" to all those who
         thirst and come to Him in faith, and drink - Jn 7:37-39
         a. Might this "living water" be "the gift of God" Jesus
            alluded to earlier? - cf. Jn 4:10-14
         b. Note again the comparison of the Spirit to water in
            Isaiah's prophecy - Isa 44:3
      3. To His apostles, Jesus promised the "Spirit of truth" who
         would...
         a. Be a Helper, and abide with them - Jn 14:16-17
         b. Bring to their remembrance all things Jesus taught them 
            - Jn 14:26
         c. Bear witness of Christ, together with the apostles - Jn 15:26-27
         d. Convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment - Jn 16:7-11
         e. Guide the apostles unto all the truth, including things to
            come - Jn 16:12-13
         f. Glorify Jesus, by taking of what is His and declaring it to
            them - Jn 16:14
      4. Jesus told His apostles to wait in Jerusalem until they
         received the "Promise of the Father" - Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4-5
         a. Which He clearly connects to the baptism of the Spirit
            spoken of by John
         b. In which the apostles would receive power, and be
            eyewitnesses - Ac 1:8

   C. THE PREACHING OF PETER...
      1. On Pentecost, Peter connects the Spirit's outpouring to Joel's
         prophecy - Ac 2:14-16
      2. Then, in the course of his sermon, Peter...
         a. Speaks of the outpouring of the Spirit as a promise Jesus
            received from the Father - Ac 2:33; cf. Ac 1:4-5
         b. Offers the gift of the Spirit to all who repent and are
            baptized - Ac 2:38
         c. Says the promise is to them and others - Ac 2:39
            1) What promise does Peter have in mind?
            2) What promise would have come to mind to his hearers?
            3) Would it not have been the promise he just alluded to?
               a) The promise received by Christ, and poured out by
                  Christ - Ac 2:33
               b) I.e., the Spirit which Jesus Himself promised to
                  believers - Jn 7:37-39
               c) Which Peter would later say was given to those who
                  obey God - Ac 5:32
            4) "That we are right in referring the word promise, in
               this sentence, to the promise of the Holy Spirit just made
               by Peter, is evident from the fact that this is the only
               promise made in the immediate context." - J. W. McGarvey
            5) "For the promise... - Of pardon, and the gift of the
               Spirit." - B. W. Johnson
            6) "Acts 2:39 shows that the gift of the Holy Spirit is to
               all, Jews and Gentiles, who accept that call of God." 
               - David Lipscomb

   D. THE TEACHING OF PAUL...
      1. Regarding those who have been saved - Tit 3:4-7
         a. Have experienced a washing of regeneration and renewal of
            the Holy Spirit
         b. Have benefited by the Spirit poured out on us abundantly
            through Jesus Christ
      2. Regarding those who have been baptized - 1Co 12:13
         a. Have been baptized by the Spirit into one body
         b. Have been made to drink into one Spirit
      3. Regarding those in whom the Spirit dwells - Ro 8:9-13; Ep 3:16; 1Co 6:18-19
         a. Their mortal bodies will be given life
         b. No longer debtors to live according to the flesh
         c. Are able to put to death the deeds of the body
         d. Are to flee immorality because their body is a temple of
            the Holy Spirit
      4. Regarding those who have believed - Ga 3:14; Ep 1:13-14; 2Co 1:22; 5:5
         a. Have received the promise of the Spirit through faith
         a. Have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise
         b. Have received the Spirit as a guarantee (deposit) of our
            inheritance
      5. Regarding those walk after the Spirit - Ga 5:16-25
         a. Will not fulfill the lust of the flesh, the works of the
            flesh
         b. Will produce the fruit of the Spirit, because they live in
            the Spirit
 
CONCLUSION

1. In this lesson we have seen the following...
   a. Old Testament prophets promised a special dispensation of the
      Spirit to come
      1) One that would include the manifestation of special gifts
      2) One that would enable the people of God to keep His will
   b. John and Jesus promised a baptism of the Spirit, administered by
      Jesus
   c. Peter in his first gospel sermon...
      1) Proclaimed this promise to be fulfilled with the outpouring of
         the Spirit - Ac 2:16,33
      2) Offered the Spirit as a gift to all who obey the gospel - Ac 2:38-39
   d. Paul in his epistles...
      1) Wrote much about the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of
         the Christian
      2) Referring to the Spirit as "the Holy Spirit of Promise"

2. In view of "The Promise Of The Father" related to the Holy Spirit...
   a. We should not be surprised to read more of the work of the Holy
      Spirit in Acts
   b. In both the life of the church and in the lives of Christians

To what degree and in what way the Spirit continues to work today can be
ascertained by a careful study of the New Testament (please see my
series, "The Holy Spirit Of God"). 

Have you experienced the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy
Spirit, made possible because the Father kept His promise to pour out His
Spirit abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior?  Let Peter show you
how...

   Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be 
   baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;
   and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise
   is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as 
   many as the Lord our God will call." - Ac 2:38-39

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2012

From Gary... The beauty above us...



































No idea where this is, but it looks warm and inviting (notice the man wearing shorts). My guess is that the use of all the umbrellas is associated with some sort of festival because they don't seem to be there  at the top of the picture. Whatever is going on here, the umbrellas provide comfort from the sun, shade and beauty to this street. The idea of protection seemed to come to the forefront of my thinking and for some reason, I thought of the book of Ruth...


Ruth, Chapter 1 (NASB)
Rth 1:11  But Naomi said, "Return, my daughters. Why should you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
Rth 1:12  "Return, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons,
Rth 1:13  would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the LORD has gone forth against me."
Rth 1:14  And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
Rth 1:15  Then she said, "Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law."
Rth 1:16  But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
Rth 1:17  "Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me."

Ruth, Chapter 2 (NASB)
Rth 2:8  Then Boaz said to Ruth, "Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids.
Rth 2:9  "Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw."
Rth 2:10  Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, "Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?"
Rth 2:11  Boaz replied to her, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know.
Rth 2:12  "May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge." 


Ruth was a gentile, of the Moabite persuasion, who married one of Naomi's sons. When all of the men in the family died, Naomi decided to return to Israel and the announcement of  that decision brought about the famous statement of Ruth. Later on, Boaz (kinsman to Namoi) recognized her actions and praised her for them.  I think verse 12 is very important here, as it reminds me that God is a God of refuge; one that protects those who seek him.  Even those who we would not normally think God would protect (Moabites in general were disliked by the Jews). The thing is God not only takes care of those who come to him, but HE does things in a way that ultimately is entirely wonderful.  Like the picture at the top, HIS shelter is beautiful, colorful and very, very memorable. Boaz and Ruth were eventually married and she became the great-grandmother of one of the greatest kings in Israel, David.  Seeking God is worth it and not just for Ruth, but for anyone who earnestly desires God!!!