Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

There Is A Redeemer

There is a Redeemer,
Jesus, God’s own Son;
precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Holy One.
Thank you, O my Father,
for giving us your Son,
and leaving your Spirit
till the work on earth is done.

Jesus, my Redeemer,
name above all names,
precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
hope for sinners slain.
Thank you, O my Father,
for giving us your Son,
and leaving your Spirit
till the work on earth is done.

When I stand in glory
I will see his face;
there I’ll serve my King forever
in that holy place.
Thank you, O my Father,
for giving us your Son,
and leaving your Spirit
till the work on earth is done.

Words and Music by Melody Green, 1982

 


I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
Job 19:25

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:15

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:31

This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
Isaiah 48:17

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9 – 11

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Revelation 22:4


 

As we enter the Lenten season we begin to prepare ourselves for the remembrance of Holy Week and the joyous celebration of Easter. With this in mind I want to take these weeks to reflect on the incredible gift that God has given us through his sacrifice and resurrection. The gift of redemption, for those who have put their faith in Christ have a Redeemer. We are reminded of this in the simple, and beautiful words of “There is a Redeemer.”

The words begin by reflecting on different titles for Jesus. The first verse reads “There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God’s own Son; precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.” When we look at each of these titles, we begin to have revealed a full picture of our Savior.

We have a “Redeemer”, the one who paid the price we owed and restores us to fellowship with God. Job, who had everything taken from him, could stand and say in chapter 19, verse 25, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”

“Jesus”, the name we know the Savior by, is in fact the Greek form of the name Joshua (Yeshua) meaning Salvation. This is why the angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

It continues with the words, “God’s own Son”. Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 4:15 tells us that “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.”

Next we find the title, “Lamb of God.” A direct reference to the sacrificial system for making atonement for sin. In John 1:29 we read the words proclaimed by the John the Baptist when he “saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins in our lives.

“Messiah” and its Greek counterpart, Christ, refer to the prophesied deliverer of Israel. The anointed one of God. Jesus is the prophesied deliverer. John 20:31 tells us,“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

He is the “ Holy One”, the one who is set apart. Isaiah 48:17 tells us, “This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” God Himself is the Holy One.

Each of these titles carries great weight and meaning. Each tells us of the characteristics of Jesus. When we take time to understand these titles we come to a profound understanding that He has a “name above all names.” A truth that is shared by Paul in Philippians 2:9 – 11 which says, “Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Yes, He is the “Redeemer, Jesus, God’s own Son; precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.” For these reasons and so many more, He is not simply someone to be praise, He is “hope for sinners.” A hope that is founded in His great sacrifice, for he was “slain” that we might live. This is the message of Romans 5:8 which tells us that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

It is this hope that we can stand in. We can know that we “will see his face” and that we will “serve (our) King forever in that holy place.” A promise to all who believe. As the Bible comes to a close in Revelation 22 we read in verse 4 that, “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”

God has given us hope. Hope that is not based in wishful thinking, but in the truth the Jesus is our redeemer. And in a final thought we are reminded that through all of this, we are not left alone. The Holy Spirit dwells within those who have put their trust in Jesus. So we join with other expressing the feeling in our hearts, “Thank you, O my Father, for giving us your Son, and leaving your Spirit till the work on earth is done.”

 

 

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Eternal Father, Strong To Save

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy Word,
Who walked on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our family shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect us wheresoever we go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Words by William Whiting, 1860
Music by John B. Dykes, 1861

 


Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
Isaiah 40:28

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
Proverbs 8:29

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Matthew 8:23 – 27

Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
Matthew 14:23 – 25

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Genesis 1:1 – 2

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,
Matthew 28:19

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Psalm 28:7

the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:8


 

As long as man has walked the earth, the sea has served as a source of fascination and fear, a source of dread and delight. The sea can be a sight of beauty that seem to go on forever with an endless horizon. It can also be a sight of unparalleled terror as the great storms roll in filling that same horizon. They can be the purest image of peace and tranquility. And they can be a source of unimaginable power. Man has set out time and again to conquer the sea, some times to safely return and other to never be heard from again. It is this incredible image of the sea that William Whiting draws upon in his hymn, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, also known as “The Naval Hymn.”

The hymn begins with the words, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.” The use of the name Eternal Father draws our minds to the book of Isaiah where we read in 40:28 of the “everlasting God” and in 9:6 of the “Everlasting Father.” It is to the Eternal Father that the first verse is addressed. Whiting expounds his discussion of the Father when he says “Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, Who biddest the mighty ocean deep Its own appointed limits keep.” It is God the Father who formed the seas and set their boundaries. As Proverbs 8:29 says, “he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command.” It is the Father who put everything in its place, and the power of the sea is within His command.

The hymn now moves from the Father to Jesus Christ, the Son when it says, “O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard And hushed their raging at Thy Word,” Immediately our minds are drawn to Matthew 8:23 – 27 where we find the account of Jesus having fallen asleep on the boat as a great storm arose and when alerted through the fearful cries of the disciples “he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” The hymn continues on to say, “Who walked on the foaming deep.” Again our minds are drawn to the book of Matthew, but this time to 14:23 – 25 where we read, “Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.” He speaks and the storms and sea are silenced. He walks upon the very surface of the water. The Power of Christ over the very sea that fills man with such awe, can not help but humble us before Him.

The hymn has spoke of the Might of the Father and the supremacy of Christ over all things. It now moves on to speak of the Holy Spirit when it says, “Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood Upon the chaos dark and rude.” The Spirit over the water is an image that is familiar to all who have heard the creation account in Genesis 1. For in Genesis 1:1 – 2 we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” From the beginning of creation the sea was present and the Spirit of God filled it all.

The hymn moves into its final verse by bring everything together. It has presented us with the vision, that as powerful as the sea may appear to us, it is nothing when compared to the power of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is this image that is brought together when it says, “O Trinity of love and power!” Here our minds are drawn to another image of water. There is immeasurable power to be found in the sea, but in the New Testament we find another image of power that is represented in the water.

In Matthew 28:19 we read, “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.” The image of the Trinity is tied to the image of Salvation. It is in the name of each member of the Godhead that we come to faith. For the Father sent the Son, who gave His life and it is the Spirit who has been sent to indwell in all who believe. It is this that is then represented in the water flowing over the new believer in baptism.

The hymn then addresses the truth that our God is “Our family shield in danger’s hour.” That “the LORD is our strength and our shield.” (Psalm 28:7) And that we can call on Him to “Protect us wheresoever we go.” For Psalm 121:8 tells us that, “the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

The sea is a powerful image in the mind of people everywhere. For those who have seen its endless horizon, those who have swum in depth and those who have sailed upon it vast surface it is an image that is indelibly written upon their minds. Yet as incredible and amazing as it is, it is nothing when seen in light of the awesome power of God. It is in this truth that we can join with the final line of the hymn, “Thus evermore shall rise to Thee Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.”

 

 

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Thank We All Our God

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Words by Martin Rinkart, 1636
Music by Johann Cruger, 1647

 


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 118:1

Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven
Lamentations 3:41

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Colossians 3:16

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:8

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:22


 

From the time we are young our parents taught us to say, Thank you. These two simple words communicate so much. When we receive something, a gift, a compliment, a favor, we say it. It is a way of expressing appreciation for things we receive.

But more often than not it seems to simply be an after thought.  Something we casually throw out because it is the cultural norm.  We don’t stop to think about what we are saying, so in the end it has not real meaning. But then there are those time, though they may be few and far between, that the words are genuine and heart-felt.  They do not come close to relaying the gratitude that is felt and so their meaning carries a profound depth. This is the theme of Martin Rinkart’s, “Now Thank We All Our God.”

Starting with the opening line of the hymn, “Now thank we all our God,” we are drawn in to see our need to express thankfulness to God. We “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.” (Psalm 118:1) We give thanks for what He has done. A thankfulness that is not simply expressed in words but comes from our full being. So Rinkart writes, “with heart and hands and voices.” reflecting the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:41 where we read, “Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven.”

Yes, we are to express our deepest gratitude to him. Gratitude to a God “who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices.” We rejoice in God, “who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way. With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.” He has always and will always be there. He alone is our source of joy and true hope.

When we honestly stop to reflect, there is so much that God has given us for which we are grateful. When we stop to realize this, we cannot help but pray that His blessings do not end. This is why Rinkart writes, “O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us.” We pray that God will not leave us and we can rest confidently in the knowledge that, “he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

So we thank God for all he has done. We thank Him for his blessings. We thank him that he will always remain near to us. We lift our voice up to him with “All praise and thanks to God the Father . . . The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven.

 

 

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Doctrine of the Holy Spirit


What are we referring to when we speak of The Holy Spirit. Is it a spirit that represents God? Is it the same thing as God? First, the question should better be stated, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” As I discussed in the two previous articles, God exist eternally in three person. The Holy Spirit is the third and final (and often over looked) part of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit, along with The Father and The Son make up the Trinity.

How do we know The Holy Spirit to be fully God. First, the Bible equates lying to The Holy Spirit and lying to God as the same thing (Acts 5:3-4). The clear implication is that the Holy Spirit is God. Further many of the attributes ascribed to God are also ascribed to the Holy Spirit.(eternal – Hebrews 9:14, omnipresent – Psalm 139:7-8) But why do we believe The Holy Spirit is a distinct person from the Father and the Son. Jesus clearly saw the Spirit as distinct. We see this when He commanded His disciple to baptize people in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). We also see it in another passage where He states that when He leaves, the Holy Spirit will be sent from the Father (John 14:26, 15:26). The Holy Spirit is clearly God and clearly a distinct person, becoming a third person of the one true God.

So then, what is the role of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is sent of God to fill His people (Titus 3:5). When a person comes to accept the Lord as his personal Savior, he is baptized with the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13), washing away all sins. Now, the sin having been washed away, the new believer in Christ is filled with the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). The Spirit then works to guide this new child of God (Romans 8:14) helping them to grow and develop in their relationship with Christ.

The Holy Spirit is the helper that Jesus promised His disciples(John 14:15-26) and is at work in the church today. The work of the Holy Spirit is to develop God’s church, those who believe. The Holy Spirit is at work in the development of Christian lives (John 14:26). He guides those who believe day by day in their lives (Acts 8:29, Romans 8:14).

The Holy Spirit intercedes for those of us who believe, through our prayers to the Father and communicates those things we can not even speak (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit also convicts the believers of sin in their lives. The Holy Spirit draws unbelievers to God and regenerates the heart of those who believe and call upon the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

What about Spiritual Gifts? Where do they fit in? To further build up the body, the Holy Spirit bestows (I Corinthians 12:11) His gifts upon the people of God for the working of the church (Ephesians 2:22, 4:11-12, Hebrews 2:3-4).Some of these gifts include prophecy, teaching, miracles, tongues, and evangalism among others (1 Corinthians 12:27-30, Ephesians 4:11-13) While God may still use any of the gifts today, they are not always present. Many of these gifts are still manifested in the church today. I do, however, believe that the miraculous gifts (tongues, healing, prophecy) are for special situations, such as the founding of the church, and not normative for today. This is not to say they do not exist but that the miraculous gifts, when expressed, must be in a context consistent with the Bible. They must be edifying and non-disruptive to the body (I Corinthians 12:12-31, 14:26-40, Ephesians 4:11-12).

The “charismatic” [or spirit] movement of the 20th century brought this issue to the forefront of the church. When speaking of the most noted of the miraculous gifts, peaking in tongues, Paul declares it is the least of the gifts and that not all believers possess the gift of tongues (I Corinthians 14:5). It therefore cannot be used as a litmus test in the life of a believer as some have done. Now, while they may not be normative in the church today, they should not automatically be dismissed, but should be examined on a case by case basis as to their legitimacy.

Setting aside the discussion of the “miraculous” gifts, we know that many gifts are given by the Spirit that are important to the working of the church. Each believer has their own special gifts that complement the gifts of other believers (I Peter 4:10). One gift is not greater than another, rather they all work together to build up the body of Christ. Through all, however, we must always seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the interpretation of God’s word and the application of the gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit.

The Doctrine of God


I was unsure how to title this section, after all how does one describe God? Infinite, yet personal. powerful, yet gentle. God is God. He summed it up best Himself when he stated, “I am that I am.” For this reason I have chosen to simply entitle this “The Doctrine of God.”

So who is God? God is nonmaterial, personal and eternal, . (I will discuss the nature of the Son at a different time.) The question then is, “What does nonmaterial mean?“ The term nonmaterial does not mean that God is without substance. Rather, it points to the fact that God is Spirit (John 4:24). He is nonmaterial in the sense that we understand physicality.

God is personal. To say that God is personal is to say that God possesses two basic characteristics. First He possesses consciousness. He is aware of himself and his relationship with his creation, with us. Second, He possesses distinctiveness. He possesses a unique identity and characteristics.

Of these characteristics possessed by God, some are unique to Him alone. There are three basic attributes of God, which are unique to him. These attributes are:

  1. Immutability – God in His essence and nature is never changing (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James1:17). This is not to say that God is static, for He is capable of change and does so in His relationships (Genesis 6:6, Exodus 32:10, 14), but His very nature is unchanging.
  2. Infinity – God is limitless in His existence. He is beyond measure and therefore not capable of being confined. Included in his infinity are unconfinable (I Kings 8:27, Acts 17:24), all-powerful (Job 42:2), always present (Psalms 139:7-12, Jeremiah 23:24), and all-knowing (Psalms 147:4-5).
  3. Eternity – God is not confined to the essence of time. He is beyond time. His existence is outside time and is therefore in existence before, during, and after time. He has no beginning or end (Genesis 21:33, Psalm 90:2, I Timothy 1:17).

God also possesses certain attributes that are shared with his creation on a limited basis. These qualities include, but are not limited to:

  • Knowledge (John 2:25)
  • Power (Genesis 1:3, Matthew 19:26, Revelation 19:6)
  • Goodness (Mark 10:18)
  • Justice (Micah 6:8)
  • love (I John 4:7-10)

God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. He created them from nothing. (Romans 4:17, Genesis 1:1) Before anything existed, God existed. He was in the beginning. In the beginning, there was only God. (John 1:1) God created everything from nothing and brought life to it all. God is the origin (Colossians 1:16) and sustainer (Hebrews 1:3, Nehemiah 9:6) of all things. All things exist to bring Glory to Him (Isaiah 43:6-7).

God is the essence of being. I refer to God as a being, which is true in that he possess consciousness and distinctiveness. But God is more than “a” being, God is the essence of being. He is the source of all life (Acts 17:25, Colossians 1:16).

God himself exists eternally as a triune being. This is most commonly referred to as the Trinity. This is difficult concept for many and has led to some misunderstandings. While I do not claim to be able to explain it in any detail, I must be clear here, there is ONE God (Deuteronomy 6:4, Ephesians 4:6).

This one God exist eternally in three persons (John 10:30, 14:15-26, Acts 1:3-5): God the Father (John 6:40, Ephesians 4:6), God the Son (John 1:1, 6:40), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). Each of these are clearly identified in these passages as God, not a god and not one of the gods, but as God. They are each equally and fully God. (John 10:30, Romans 8:9-14)

At the same time there is a economic subordination, that is to say there is a functional authority structure between them. Each plays a specific role. The Son prays to the Father, the Father sends the spirit (John 14:16). This has much more to do with the relationship between the three then God’s relationship with us. This is not to say it has nothing to do with God relationship to us, for we see demonstrated in God, the unity of purpose. The Son submits to the will of the Father (Luke 22:42). The desire of the Son was to do the will of the Father. They were united in their purpose and the son was subordinate to the Father in his action. We also see that God sends His spirit to those who believe in Him and the Spirit is subordinate in His actions. The Spirit is clearly united in the purpose. Yet, as should be clear from these same passages this economic subordination does have something to do with us. For the united purpose of each of these is God’s desire to have a relationship with us. It is through this unique relationship within God, that He reaches out for a relationship with us. Again, it is a difficult concept that I do not claim to be able to explain in full.