Peter portrays the devil as “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8). Upon reading that verse of scripture we naturally envision the mighty king of the jungle stalking prey, ready to kill with swift and awesome violence and then rip open and hungrily devour its victim. But such an image does not necessarily fit the way the devil works to bring a soul to destruction.
Sometime back it was reported that a seminar was held for ministers in training. One of the motivational speakers scheduled to address the crowd approached the speaker’s stand and said, “The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn’t my wife!” The crowd of prospective preachers were shocked until he went on to say, “And that woman was my mother!” The crowd burst into laughter.
Everybody loves a mystery! A mystery is exactly what the Holy Spirit is to many people. As is the case with any supposed mystery, there is a great deal of uncertainty, speculation, misperception and confusion about the Holy Spirit. But much of the problem has to do with a lack of careful study on the part most people.
As the Lord’s church, what is the best thing we can do for people living in sin? A great many are living outright wicked lives. Some seem to be just plain evil, mean people. Their rule in life is to do whatever they’re big enough to get away with. If it means stealing what belongs to others, no big deal as long as they don’t get caught. They force their will on others through violence and intimidation. They have virtually no conscience about anything they do.
Next Sunday evening I plan to begin an in-depth study on what we can learn from the scriptures about the Holy Spirit. What a great topic, and what a needed study! There is a great deal of interest in the Holy Spirit today, yet there is much confusion and misunderstanding on the subject. The only way to eliminate the confusion is to search the scriptures to see what the Bible really says.
Traditionally, today is a day when people all over the world think in a special way about Jesus, His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. He went to the cross to die for the guilt of the sins of all humanity for all time (Heb. 7:27; 9:27-28). For all humanity? Yes, for all humanity. For all time? Yes, for all time. But Jesus’ death on the cross holds its greatest meaning for you personally when you view His death as being for you. You cannot make the death of Jesus have meaning for all humanity. You can only make His death have meaning based upon how you personally react to it. So, are you worth the death of Jesus
The scriptures teach us that Jesus gave up His place of equality with God in Heaven in order to come to this earth and live as a man for a time. He came as the Savior for all mankind and willingly allowed Himself to be crucified on a cross (Phlp. 2:5-8). In so doing, His death served as the perfect sacrifice to cover for the guilt of our sins (Heb. 9:28). Jesus lived on this earth as a man, a form a little lower than the angels, in order to suffer death for all men (Heb. 2:9). Did Jesus do all of that, did He go through all that He went through to be the Savior, in vain?
Things can happen so fast. A mother, shopping in a crowded store with her little one, turns away for what seems to be just a moment. When she turns back, her child is gone. A man I know left his little boy in the bathtub for just a moment while he stepped into the other room to get something. When he got back, his son had drowned. A driver looks away from the road, at his cell phone for just a moment. When he looks back, he’s ready to crash into the rear end of another vehicle. A woman is going about her daily routine, everything seems fine. Suddenly, her vision blurs, she’s dizzy and disoriented. She falls to the floor, helpless. She has suffered a stroke. One moment everything seemed all right. The next moment her life was in jeopardy.
The Apostle Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, laid out a great treatise for Christian living in Phlp. 2:1-4. The first verse establishes the basic principle that a Christian ought to live and act as a Christian should. The next three verses lay out specific application according to this immediate context of scripture.
On the day of His ascension back to Heaven Jesus told His apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:15-16). What did Jesus mean when He told the apostles to preach the gospel to everybody everywhere?
Gary L. Hutchens