Showing posts with label THEOLOGY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label THEOLOGY. Show all posts
Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Holy Spirit - A Blessing Sermon for Palm Sunday and Easter

the_decent_of_the_holy_spirit_on_to_jesus_disciplesHere is another Sermon titled "The Holy Spirit" which inspires ones mind and body. Jesus says, “I will not leave you orphaned!”.. Lord Jesus will be with us all the time, follows like a shadow and protects us with his spirit.

Sermon Details ::

Sermon Theme :: The Holy Spirit

Time Sensitivity :: Best - end or March, before Palm Sunday and Easter

Courtesy :: Christopher Ian Chenoweth


The final mission of Jesus was to introduce the Holy Spirit into your mind, into your body, and into your life.

John 14:15-21, 23-26. It is the promise of the Holy Spirit to you.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; . . ."

jesus never leave you orphanedHe says, “I will not leave you orphaned!”

Sometimes we have felt orphaned. But it has not been God that has separated from us we ourselves have separated our attention from God. The Bible says that we are children of God. The promise of God is, "I will not leave you orphaned." I am with you at all times.

"I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."

The Bible continues, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me."

Jesus is saying, "Listen, the human part of me that you see is not the one talking here. Something's talking through me.

"I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you."

Jesus told His followers that after the ascension they were to go to the upper room in Jerusalem. He says the same thing to you. Today, the upper room is a high, peaceful place of consciousness INSIDE of you. Think of yourself—as our Bible says—"you are the temple of the living God." Where is the upper room? It is inside of you. You can visit the upper room at any time in prayer, and have a high spiritual experience with God. This is where the Holy Spirit comes, where the Holy Spirit descends, (from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet,) upon you and you find new power.

We possess a dynamic power beyond anything we can imagine. A few years ago, Sir Oliver Lodge was quoted as saying this: "There is energy enough in one cubic inch of ether to run a forty-horsepower engine for 40 million years." I like that. The power that is available to us in God is beyond all human conception. It is beyond our comprehension, even for those who are serving in the ministry because as much as we know, there is much more to God. There is more to our realization of this Power that can come to us at any time.

Jesus says to you, that all power should be given to you. This carries with it the idea in your life of unlimited spiritual and human capacity. For mastery and dominion over all the circumstances in your life, you need the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is a tremendous, unused potential power available to you at all times. This is the power of the Holy Spirit. It doesn't come into expression, though, until through consenting in your free-will, you call upon it. Now, anyone who has felt the baptism of the Holy Spirit can witness to you that it's a beautiful and extraordinary experience.

Jesus knew you needed a personal helper, a very individual helper. This individual helper is yours this morning. It is the power of the Holy Spirit.

People often ask, "Who is this Holy Spirit? What is this power that has been given to us by Jesus Christ?" The apostles knew the Holy Spirit as the third person in the trinity. The Father is always the first, the Son is second, and the Holy Spirit is third. God is everywhere present. You have God’s Word speaking in you right now. It has spoken in you in the past. This Word says to you, "My child, with Me you can get through this challenge. With Me, you can be healed." You've heard that Word many times in your life.

The Holy Spirit is the movement of that Holy/Whole activity of God inside of you, outside of you, into manifestation and demonstration. The terms “Father” and “Son” express an eternal relationship. The Holy Spirit is the infinite "breath" of God, as the Son is the infinite "Word." This morning, recognize that you are not alone, that you are not orphaned, that you have a Divine power that is with you. It seals you to a new self identification that forever changes you and who you think you are. It unites you with the idea that you are more than flesh and bones, that you are not out there alone trying to recreate everything and rebuild the wheel. You are immersed in a help that is ever-present and available to you right now.

To the extent that you and I identify ourselves with this Mind of God, the only source of existence, we become Spirit in expression, until finally the union is so perfect that it attains a perfection. That is the time we can say with Jesus Christ, "I and the Father are one." In making your demonstrations in prayer, you work with the conviction in your heart that you are one with God.

In the times of the silence of prayer, you know that you are one with God, and you know that all will be revealed to you.

In the Bible, ideas are sometimes symbolized by fish. Fish are a good simple for God's Divine ideas given to you freely. They are plentiful and unlimited, of all forms and sizes. An idea is an original, a primary, or an unlimited thought of being. In God Mind, it is the eternal word or the logos. In the idea are all the potentialities that are, and can be, evolved through you. Ideas are catching. We are all heavily charged with ideas. You are charged with ideas right now that could change your life; ideas that can revolutionize your existence. You are charged with them. A battery’s power is electric; a human’s power is God's ideas charging the mind with new excitement, energy, and motivation towards higher thought and expression. When these ideas are released, they spring forth and pass from mind to mind, being recorded as they fly. When they are expressed, the whole consciousness of humanity is lifted up.

You cannot find God without lifting up everyone around you because of what you are radiating in your consciousness. The only way to really convert another person to God is to show forth evidence of God within yourself. These true ideas are charged with an uplifting Spirit. You are bringing Divine ideas into manifestation just by your willingness to sit here this morning and accept some of these ideas for yourself.

Jesus said that we are co-existing with God. Jesus said that we are interacting, inter-communicating with God at all times. He also said that there is a highness spiritually of this experience. The highness is to receive the Holy Spirit. "He breathed on them and said unto them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" Listen to the power of the spoken word for you this morning.

In the presence and the power of the Christ, you proclaim your perfection.

Through Jesus Christ, you are the master of every realm of consciousness in your being. Through Jesus Christ, you enter into a full and complete understanding of how to handle all states of consciousness inside of you to the glory, and for the glory of God.

You are illumined with the light of Spirit. You reign in every thought - into spiritual captivity, to the obedience of the Christ. You commit all your works unto God’s good, and your purposes are established. Every plane of consciousness in you is transformed by the renewing of your mind.

And so it is.

The power of the spoken word is spiritually co-create with God, lies within every one of us. We can begin by freeing the little small ideas we have and fill our minds with thoughts of God’s plenty. We must realize that all power is given to us in heaven and on earth, as Jesus said. He told His apostles that they should receive power when the Holy Spirit had come upon them. They were told to go to that upper room, within us we find the upper consciousness where spiritual forces begin the formation of new ideas.

After you get into spiritual consciousness and receive the quickening, speak the word with authority and with power, concentrating the attention on the power of God to do all things correctly. When the soul makes complete union with God, there is always an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is the true glorification, which comes by the acknowledgement that God is with me; true glorification, the acknowledgment of God that the Child is indeed lifted up and glorified.

Thus you can be assured of an inner guide that is willing to direct you. We are talking about you individually; you, the individual sitting here this morning, not just the disciples, or followers of 2,000 years ago. This is more than a theory or possibility. This is an assurance given to you directly by Jesus Christ. There is NOW an inner guide with you, that is willing to direct you, and speak through you. But you must be open and receptive in your mind, and listen to this wonderful helper.

Many choose, for whatever reason, to stop short of the full spiritual experience.

When you let the Holy Spirit come into your consciousness, God's perfect plan will unfold in your life. All the good thoughts, words, and prayers are put into positive action with power and authority. The Holy Spirit is very important to anyone who has a need of healing. We all need to be filled and refilled with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we are renewed, healed, and restored in mind, body, and soul.

Lord Jesus Christ blessing the small childrenSay: I receive Ye, The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will take over when you let it speak through you, lead you, heal you, and fill your heart with love, compassion, and understanding. Since the Holy Spirit represents God in action, we need to use this power to act through us, to heal us, and to speak through us. When we have prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to take over, it's going to flood our whole being, not so much with excessive emotional feeling, but as a warm, loving presence that literally speaks and acts through us.

The person who would have fruit from the tree of life, must reach up and get it. He or she must aspire to it first, and then in prayer and true word, must go right ahead [living] the Gospel, healing the sick, the sick part of ourselves, and helping to heal the sick part of others.

When the disciples of Jesus wanted to forbid those who were doing works in His name, He said, 'Forbid them not.' So everyone who goes ahead and does the very best he knows in the name of the Most High Good, will by virtue of their works, draw down upon himself the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

What is this going to give you? It is going to give you an inner revelation of your power and the possibilities of your own being. It is the light that is going to bring to your notice the inner mechanism of your soul and body. Where your eyes have seen only flesh, blood, and bones, the searchlight of this Holy Spirit discloses the presence of secret springs and living streams of energy and life. You will awaken from your dream of sense consciousness and begin to visit the different rooms in the temple in which you live, but you know so little about with a whole new eye of realization of what this temple is. You are permitted to do so through “the light which lighteth every man and woman, coming into the world."

Let us pray.

Receive Ye, The Holy Spirit
Listen to these words, because I'm talking directly to your consciousness. I am talking directly to you, your mind, and your body. The Word of Truth in you is not idle, but it is quietly spreading from point to point and the process will continue until your whole consciousness is vitalized by the Holy Spirit. The rejuvenating power of the Holy Spirit is now at work inside of you, in every atom and function of your body. It is making you alive. You are radiant with life and wholeness. There is an inspiration of the Holy Spirit that is right now reaching to the individual depth of your soul, and it satisfies your every need.

Receive Ye, The Holy Spirit

We pray, this morning, to the Holy Spirit. We turn problems over to the Holy Spirit. We are able to relax and let the Holy Spirit direct the outworking. The comforting, sustaining presence of the Holy Spirit is now uplifting you. It is strengthening you. You are feeling a power, you are feeling a strengthening now, in this place, and it's nothing I am doing or you are doing; it is the Holy Spirit.

Receive Ye, The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is expressing itself through you. It is touching you and all that concerns you. It is bringing order and harmony into your life and work. The Holy Spirit is taking command of your affairs, and you are prospered through new avenues of supply. This loving, powerful action of the Holy Spirit is taking command in your body, and you are renewed and restored.

Receive Ye, The Holy Spirit

In this acceptance this morning, you accept this power. I pray that it only accelerates and expands in you as this day goes forward. As this service ends, there is a new beginning in you. The experience and the religious service are continuing in the true church of Christ which is the temple of the living Lord, your physical body temple.

In Jesus Christ's name . . .Amen.

Prayer/Meditation____________________________________

As you rest in the presence of God, listen to these words of the Psalmist.

"Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me" [Psalms 139:7-10].

Feel, now, a special leading of the Spirit.

These words of the Psalmist express his faith in the guiding, protecting presence of God. They inspire us even more when we realize that the author was writing during a time of conflict and great danger.

God is your help.

God is your inspiration.

Place yourself, your loved ones, and your friends in God's loving care.

Entrust the day to God's keeping and acknowledge God's protecting Spirit from this attitude of calm, poise and prayer.

Rest in the silence of prayer. . .

This spiritual minute you are gaining new strength and power. You are having the realization of the assurance, a conviction, and a realization that you, your life, and all you hold dear are safe and secure in God's loving presence.

Realize that you live, move, and have your being in God.

This spiritual realization brings you to a sense of peace and security. If you have thoughts of fear or pain this day, realize that you abide eternally in the protecting presence of God.

Rest in the silence of prayer. . .

Dear God, this minute as never before, I am giving myself to You. I am putting my whole trust in You, not only for myself, but for my loved ones and friends. I know that everyone, including myself, is safe and secure. I know, God, that You are watching over us, shielding us, and guiding us.

Fill me now with wisdom to know this, and good judgment to always choose this right and higher way. Fill me with the guidance to bring me safely through every experience.

"Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy Presence."

God's presence is instantly available to me right now. The presence of God, Divine intelligence within my mind, gives an instant answer to every thought. Your mind is poised in God. It is established in a citadel of strength against which nothing can prevail. God's promise of protection is standing in you. God is answering your prayer. There is faith and trust inside of you. The eternal God is your dwelling place.

Underneath are the everlasting arms.

Rest, now, for a moment in the silence and feel the presence of God. . .

You feel a sense of peace that comes from power, the power of God everywhere present, within you, blessing you, protecting you, radiating from you to bless and protect others. You are in God's loving care. Your family and your friends are in the same care. You are all safe in God's loving care, and you are blessed and secure.

The goodness of God is everywhere present in your life. The love of God comes through you touching everyone in your life. The power of God works through you to produce greatness in your world. The presence of God never leaves you. Wherever you are, God is with you!

In this moment, we pray. In this moment, we know.

Through the power of Jesus Christ . . . Amen.


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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology and New Covenant Theology

Dispensationalism, covenant theology and new covenant theologyDispensationalism, covenant theology and new covenant theology
There are three main theological camps on the issues of law, gospel, and the structuring of God's redemptive relationship with humankind: dispensationalism, covenant theology, and new covenant theology. Many have written to us asking about the differences between these three views, and so before discussing John Piper's perspective we will give an overview of each.


Dispensationalism
It can be hard to summarize dispensational theology as a whole because in recent years multiple forms of it have developed. In general, there are three main distinctives.

First, dispensationalism sees God as structuring His relationship with mankind through several stages of revelation which mark off different dispensations, or stewardship arrangements. Each dispensation is a "test" of mankind to be faithful to the particular revelation given at the time. Generally, seven dispensations are distinguished: innocence (before the fall), conscience (Adam to Noah), government (Noah to Babel), promise (Abraham to Moses), Law (Moses to Christ), grace (Pentecost to the rapture), and the millennium.

Second, dispensationalism holds to a literal interpretation of Scripture. This does not deny the existence of figures of speech and non-literal language in the Bible, but rather means that there is a literal meaning behind the figurative passages.

Third, as a result of this literal interpretation of Scripture, dispensationalism holds to a distinction between Israel (even believing Israel) and the church. On this view, the promises made to Israel in the OT were not intended as prophecies about what God would do spiritually for the church, but will literally be fulfilled by Israel itself (largely in the millennium). For example, the promise of the land is interpreted to mean that God will one day fully restore Israel to Palestine. In contrast, non-dispensationalists typically see the land promise as intended by God to prophesy, in shadowy Old-covenant-form, the greater reality that He would one day make the entire church, Jews and Gentiles, heirs of the whole renewed world (cf. Romans 4:13).

In many ways it is thus accurate to say that dispensationalism believes in "two peoples of God." Although both Jews and Gentiles are saved by Christ through faith, believing Israel will be the recipient of additional "earthly" promises (such as prosperity in the specific land of Palestine, to be fully realized in the millennium) that do not apply to believing Gentiles, whose primary inheritance is thus "heavenly."

Covenant Theology
Covenant theology believes that God has structured his relationship with humanity by covenants rather than dispensations. For example, in Scripture we explicitly read of various covenants functioning as the major stages in redemptive history, such as the covenant with Abraham, the giving of the law, the covenant with David, and the new covenant. These post-fall covenants are not new tests of man's faithfulness to each new stage of revelation (as are the dispensations in dispensationalism), but are rather differing administrations of the single, overarching covenant of grace.

The covenant of grace is one of two fundamental covenants in covenant theology. It structures God's post-fall relationship to mankind; pre-fall, God structured His relationship by the covenant of works. The covenant of grace is best understood in relation to the covenant of works.

The covenant of works, instituted in the Garden of Eden, was the promise that perfect obedience would be rewarded with eternal life. Adam was created sinless but with the capability of falling into sin. Had he remained faithful in the time of temptation in the Garden (the "probationary period"), he would have been made incapable of sinning and secured in an eternal and unbreakable right standing with God.

But Adam sinned and broke the covenant, and thereby subjected himself and all his descendants to the penalty for covenant-breaking, condemnation. God in His mercy therefore instituted the "covenant of grace," which is the promise of redemption and eternal life to those who would believe in the (coming) redeemer. The requirement of perfect obedience for eternal life is not annulled by the covenant of grace, but is rather fulfilled by Christ on behalf of His people, since now that all are sinners no one can meet the condition of perfect obedience by his own performance. The covenant of grace, then, does not set aside the covenant of works but rather fulfills it.

As mentioned above, covenant theology emphasizes that there is only one covenant of grace, and that all of the various redemptive covenants that we read of in the Scripture are simply differing administrations of this one covenant. In support, it is pointed out that a covenant is in essence simply a sovereignly given promise (usually with stipulations), and since there is only one promise of salvation (namely, by grace through faith), it follows that there is therefore only one covenant of grace. All of the specific redemptive covenants we read of (the Abrahamic, Mosaic, etc.) are various and culminating expressions of the covenant of grace.

New Covenant Theology
New covenant theology typically does not hold to a covenant of works or one overarching covenant of grace (although they would still argue for only one way of salvation). The essential difference between New Covenant Theology (hereafter NCT) and Covenant Theology (CT), however, concerns the Mosaic Law. CT holds that the Mosaic Law can be divided into three groups of laws--those regulating the government of Israel (civil laws), ceremonial laws, and moral laws. The ceremonial law and civil law are no longer in force because the former was fulfilled in Christ and the latter only applied to Israel's theocracy, which is now defunct. But the moral law continues.

NCT argues that one cannot divide the law up in that way, as though part of the Mosaic Law can be abrogated while the rest remains in force. The Mosaic Law is a unity, they say, and so if part of it is canceled, all of it must be canceled. On top of this, they say that the New Testament clearly teaches that the Mosaic Law as a whole is superseded in Christ. It is, in other words, no longer our direct and immediate source of guidance. The Mosaic Law, as a law, is no longer binding on the believer.

Does this mean that believers are not bound by any divine law? No, because the Mosaic Law has been replaced by the law of Christ. NCT makes a distinction between the eternal moral law of God and the code in which God expresses that law to us. The Mosaic Law is an expression of God's eternal moral law as a particular code which also contains positive regulations pertinent to the code's particular temporal purpose, and therefore the cancellation of the Mosaic Law does not mean that the eternal moral law is itself canceled. Rather, upon canceling the Mosaic Law, God gave us a different expression of his eternal moral law--namely, the Law of Christ, consisting in the moral instructions of Christ's teaching and the New Testament. The key issue that NCT seeks to raise is: Where do we look to see the expression of God's eternal moral law today--do we look to Moses, or to Christ? NCT says we look to Christ.

There are many similarities between the Law of Christ and Mosaic Law, but that does not change the fact that the Mosaic Law has been canceled and that, therefore, we are not to look to it for direct guidance but rather to the New Testament. For example, England and the US have many similar laws (for example, murder is illegal in both countries). Nonetheless, the English are not under the laws of America, but of England. If an English citizen murders in England, he is held accountable for breaking England's law against murder, not America's law against murder.

The benefit of NCT, its advocates argue, is that it solves the difficulty of trying to figure out which of the Mosaic laws apply to us today. On their understanding, since the Mosaic Law is no longer a direct and immediate source of guidance, we look to the Law of Christ for our direct guidance. Although the Mosaic Law is no longer a binding law code in the NT era, it still has the authority, not of law, but of prophetic witness. As such, it fills out and explains certain concepts in both the old and new covenant law.

John Piper's position
John Piper has some things in common with each of these views, but does not classify himself within any of these three camps. He is probably the furthest away from dispensationalism, although he does agree with dispensationalism that there will be a millennium.

Many of his theological heroes have been covenant theologians (for example, many of the Puritans), and he does see some merit in the concept of a pre-fall covenant of works, but he has not taken a position on their specific conception of the covenant of grace.

In regards to his views on the Mosaic Law, he seems closer to new covenant theology than covenant theology, although once again it would not work to say that he precisely falls within that category.

Further Resources

On covenant theology:

O. Palmer Robertson, Christ of the Covenants
Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 7
Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology
Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology
The Covenants: The Structure of Redemption

On dispensationalism:

Craig Blaising and Darrell Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism
Vern Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists

On new covenant theology:

Sound of Grace
What is New Covenant Theology?
Sola Gratia's New Covenant Theology Page
John Reisenger, Abraham's Four Seeds
Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel, New Covenant Theology: Description, Definition, Defense

On a biblical theology of the Mosaic Law:

Tom Schreiner, The Law and Its Fulfillment
Frank Thielman, Paul & the Law
Wayne Strickland, ed., Five Views on Law and Gospel

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org