The Apostles’ Creed (Part 25)

Who told you that “naughty” was sin? I want to suggest that even as a toddler, without any comprehension about good and bad, sin and holiness, when you did wrong you knew you did wrong to the point where you felt bad about what you did. Before you understood the Biblical Doctrine of sin, depravity, evil and wickedness … before you were aware of a real sinister creature called the “devil”, your inner conscience convicted you of your “wrong” which was sin and you felt bad about it. As you grew and developed, your parents might have taught you the difference between right and wrong, good and bad … and they might even have explained that all wrong is sin in the eyes of God. The point I am making is that from the earliest age, even without the knowledge of sin, we are aware we do wrong because such deeds affect us and make us feel bad. Often we wanted to hide away. This basic principle is true as we progress in age and become aware of naughty as sin. Throughout life, sin affects us and when we do it we feel bad … and this “bad” turns into “guilt” and alto often leads into depression. We are almost done with the Apostles Creed and the last part says …

I believe in the Holy Spirit; Christ’s holy universal church; the fellowship of Christians; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Holy Spirit, as the Executive of the Godhead, makes real the Father’s intention for the Church … that it should belong to Jesus, be holy, stretch across the planet to all ethnicities, and be a people in fellowship and partnership with God and each other … but there is more that the Holy Spirit does. So flowing from the introduction we needed to deal with … “I believe in … the forgiveness of sins”.

1) Sin is mankind’s birthright. That might sound awful and terrible but without our permission, we inherit a sinful disposition from our first parent. When Adam sinned, he sinned subsitutionally for us. Just as Jesus’ payment for our sin price was substitutional. His death was for our redemption. In that sense Adam’s sin is our sin. Every human being, male and female are born sinners … even though birthright seems the wrong word … that is what it is … it is an inheritance we cannot refuse.

2) Sin is the problem of all mankind. So many refuse to believe in the concept of sin. Even in the Church of the Lord Jesus, many refuse to accept the Doctrine of Original Sin and the Depravity of Mankind. When this position is taken, the Word of God is not believed and part of the Holy Spirit’s function is to author the Scriptures and convince man of the authority, inerrancy and reliability of God’s Word. It says

Ro 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.Before one can get into the space of Jesus as your substitute, you need to understand that you are a sinner.

3) Sin is offensive towards God. Perhaps we ought to ask the question … “What is sin?” We use this word at times not even thinking what is meant by it.

(1) Often people look at the Acts of the Sinful Nature as listed and think that is the sum of sin.

Gal 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is not the sum of sin. This is a short list, it is not complete … it was directed at the real problems within the society and possibly the Church of the day, which naturally is our issues today too.

(2) Perhaps John’s letter is more helpful.

1Jn 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. This verse is interesting and helpful because it explains what sin is!

(a) Sin is breaking God’s Law. If one reads through the Bible, cover to cover, you will see that God has many laws and breaking these laws is sin. However the summary of God’s Law may be found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, then as said many times, each of God’s commandments have many subsidiary commandments. Together these are known as God’s Moral Law. All these commands cover every possible sin, if not stated, at least by implication. Often we speak about sinning in word, thought and deed … thought sin really goes far deeper than that as sin is a heart matter. One could overlook the attitude, emotions, body language, lusts, intentions, etc. and limiting sin to what we say, thing and do, yet skipping out on what we see and hear and feel.

(b) Sin is lawlessness. Wow! This is implies that when I sin I am lawless. What God intends for us to hear here is that when I sin I behave as though there are not laws … or at least … I live outside any responsibility towards the Law of God. It means I am a free agent without needing to be accountable to anyone. Each one of us ought to consider this, for we sin daily and each time we sin we are saying “I am lawless”. What a motivation to reduce our levels of sin. What an opportunity to make a real effort to strive for greater obedience.

3) Sin draws the anger of God. I said it in a sermon recently … look at Adam being kicked out of the garden. Look at the people of Noah’s time drowning (see the opening verses of Genesis 6). Look at what happened to the people at Babel. Look at what happened to Israel in the Assyrian Exile and Judah in the Babylonian Exile … look at Calvary! Consider the consequences of unforgiven sin.

4) Sin prevents a relationship with God. God refuses to have a relationship with wicked people because sin is offensive to Him. Holiness and sin cannot co-exist!

5) Sin could not be dealt with by mankind. This is the reason for the Incarnation … God coming to save sinners. This is the reason for the Cross and … when

1 Jn 1:7 we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

We believe this and more … we believe

1 Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Dear Lord, thank You for the Blood of the Lord Jesus that through faith in Him and His sacrifice we might be forgiven of all sin and have our guilt removed. Help us to cherish our salvation in Jesus. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Part 24)

I don’t know about you, but I am a person who needs to mix with other people on a regular basis. Maybe I could even take it further and say God made human beings to be in union or relationship with each other. That is, God did not create us to be hermits or loners or to go it alone and be alone. The first clue to this is found after God created Adam.

Ge 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Granted, this was God dealing with a companion for the male so that the earth might be populated through procreation as God requires in Genesis 1:28 … but the extension of it is that God’s intention for mankind is to be in relationship with each other. We need each other. Apart from marriage and children to populate, loneliness is an issue, as is the fact that no person is able to provide for self without the help of others. I say this in the most basic and generalized way. Within the Church of God, saved souls need to have relationships, communion and fellowship with each other. Apart from caretaking the Church, the Holy Spirit creates “the fellowship of Christians” … or as some would say … “the communion of saints”.

1) The first proof of this must surely come from the fact that we belong to God. In addressing the Church at Corinth, Paul says

1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

He was not speaking to one believer. He was speaking to the body. If the whole body belongs to God, then within the body there needs to be relationships with each other.

2) The second proof must be that we belong to each other. Very often some Christians do not want to belong to other Christians. It might have to do with ethnicity, social status, dress code, appearance, etc. but God deems this as wrong. He says:

Ro 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Each member belongs to all the others. We do not have the right of association! We can’t chose who we will fellowship with. Each believer belongs to every other believer!

3) The next proof is that the Holy Spirit’s task is to create harmony and unity amongst the body. Consider this passage

Eph 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

One Holy Spirit brings you into One body. Therefore there needs to be unity and peace. (Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace). The Spirit accomplishes this unity and peace within the Church through His appointed leaders teaching the Bible, showing believers that these two elements are vital to the Church’s existence and witness within the community in which it exists.

4) The Greek for “communion” is partnership. It might be an idea to read from verse 1 to 16 … but look at this

Eph 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

God by His Spirit holds the body together through proper Biblical teaching and preaching. This provides for maturity and maturity causes … “each part does its work”. For each part to do its work within the local Church, each one needs to have communion and fellowship with each other. We are in partnership with God and that means we are in partnership with each other.

5) Fellowship however can only start when Jesus is Lord. Fellowship starts with God. When one is in union with God then one has peace with God and having peace with God means you are free to love God. Once you love God you have peace with yourself and can love yourself. As soon as you love yourself, because you love God, He enables you to love your neighbor. Where this is general to all mankind, it is specific to the Body of Christ. Once you love the Body of Christ you are able to willingly fellowship with all in the Body of Christ because fellowship starts with fellowship with God! God is the center of all fellowship which leads to worship. How is it possible to have fellowship with God and worship Him together with the Body when you have bad feelings, animosity and even hatred for a brother or a sister in that particular body? All such emotions are sinful and Jesus saves us from those sins meaning that once forgiven we change (repentance) and follow a new lifestyle, shaped by the Gospel and the Bible.

6) When the people of God are gathered in worship as a fellowship of believers and there are issues, sinful ones amongst a few people, that worship and fellowship is tarnished by sin. All fellowship gatherings ought to have the highest desire for holiness because His Royal Highness, the King of Glory and Holiness is with us. It is for this reason that the people of God need to prepare themselves for each and every fellowship gathering, be it in a home or in a Church Building. There ought to be self-searching, confession of sin and commitment to holiness because God by His Spirit will be present. We cannot expect the Spirit to work within the body if the fellowship is carrying offerings that are unclean. Thank You Lord for saying

2Co 6:14 For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

2Co 6:16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Purify our practice in fellowship and worship as we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Part 23)

Possibly thirty years ago, a lady in our church said to me … “Don’t you ever tell my son there is no Father Christmas or Easter Bunny!” The myth behind these two characters for children is that the one brings Presents at Christmastime and the other brings Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday. Theologically and doctrinally, this was very sad because children are most impressionable when so young … and like it or not, whether they continue to believe in these two characters or not, this is the start of infusing some sort of mythology into their minds.

Another sad reality is when parents (and other children) speak to children about spooks (ghosts). It is true that the word “ghost” was used for “spirit” many years ago, but the usage I am referring to is of a ghost in the sense of fear. It is also true that the Holy Spirit used to be known as the Holy Ghost. Maybe this was popularized through comic strip cartoons, but damage is done because the ideas placed into the mind linger in some and I would suggest make those children vulnerable to the realm of the mystic.

However, the Holy Spirit is the One who bring presents and gifts to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Where He is not visible, His workings are. The Apostles Creed is all about “I believe”. Although we believe in the Holy Spirit, who He is and what He has and does do, there are blessings flowing from His ministry. As we come to the end of the Creed we say …

I believe in the Holy Spirit; Christ’s holy universal church; the fellowship of Christians; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

1) The Holy Spirit is the Caretaker of Christ’s Holy Universal Church. Before we dig into the meaning of each word, let us ask some questions …

(1) What is the Church? In the Latin the word Church is “ecclesia” and in Greek it is “ekklesia”. The word is comprised of two segments. The first is the preposition “ek” meaning “out of”. The second is the verb “kaleo”, meaning “to call” or better, “to call out”. Look at these two examples of the word “Church” (ekklesia).

(a)

1Co 1:2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.

It is the church of God who are sanctified and called.

(b)

1Th 1:1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Church is the Church “in” God. Literally, the word “Church” as used in the New Testament is a people who have been called out of paganism into union with the true God. Further they are a people called out of their homes, businesses, careers, etc. … called away from those in the world to be God’s people gathered in one place for the purpose of worshipping and glorifying God as they are instructed in the ways of God. Mostly we incorrectly speak of “Church” as a building but “Church” is a people. When you say you are going to Church you are saying I am going to meet the people of God where we will worship Him together.

(2) “What makes the Church, a Church?” If the Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation, regeneration and sanctification, then He is the One who brings the set apart people of God together as the Church. He is the One who makes all believers members of Christ’s Holy Universal Church. By His presence and protection, He keeps the Church of Christ. Each local Church has people in it who are not saved. They might be baptized, confirmed, members and fulfilling duties … but not all are regenerate. We often speak of the “Invisible Church”. When we do we are referring to the “True Church” on earth, made up of regenerate souls from all local churches across the planet.

2) The Church is Holy. These people are separated to God and for God. They are God’s people … they are holy set apart for the purposes of God. They are a people who are different from the world because they have been separated from the world to be God’s own. This means that their existence is dependent upon faith and this faith is build up and purified through the study of the Word of God, which instructs in pure doctrine. The concept of “holy” is not only separated to God but it is separated from the world. The separation is guided by the Word of God.

3) The Church is universal. In years gone by we used the term “catholic”. This term implies geographical extensions throughout the world as the Gospel of God makes in roads into every ethnicity. The problem however is that the Church of Rome started calling herself the Roman Catholic Church … meaning the worldwide Church of God and by implication, she was the only true Church. Wise Reformed Theologians from various Protestant Churches changed the wording to “universal”, which in essence separates any notion that Reformed, Protestant Churches have a connection with the Church of Rome. By “universal” we are saying that our Church in itself is not the only Church. Other Churches also have the Truth, the Bible and the Gospel. They too enjoy the presence of saved souls and they also, wherever they might be found on earth are part of the “Invisible Church” of Jesus.

4) Although we have considered this … the Church is the Church of God. It does not belong to the pastor, the Church Council (eldership) or certain members … it belongs to God. Too often people with in Churches, including pastor and leaders think the Church is theirs. They run the Church they way that suits them. They have constitutions that are confusing, with little guidance from Scripture. Yet we read:

Ac 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.

Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

(1) The Church is God’s Church. He (as in Triune) bought the Church (Body of Believers) with His own Blood. God owns the Church not any man (pastor or Church leader … not even the one who planted / started the Church).

(2) True pastors are appointed by the Holy Spirit to oversee, take care of, teach and equip the Church that belongs to God.

Father, thank You that the True Church is your possession, blood purchased. Help us as believers to remember that we participate in Your Church, not our Church. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Part 22)

When you are happy you can sing for joy! I recall as a boy heading towards becoming a teenager I loved to sing in the bath. My favorite song was from a radio advert about Lifebouy Soap. The lyrics were: “Singing in the bath tub, singing for joy, singing the life of Lifebouy!” When we came to faith in Jesus one of the great hymns that were sung in those days was: “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, Since Jesus came into my heart; I have light in my soul for which long I have sought, Since Jesus came into my heart. (You can Google the full song). Jesus certainly makes the difference because as we saw yesterday, The Holy Spirit brings regeneration. You are spiritually alive and want the world to know the different in you … since Jesus came into your heart. Yet there is far more to know about the change that has happened because, like in just about everything, you can cool off.

2) The Holy Spirit brings fruits. I was at the store today buying fruit. In bringing the fruit home means nothing. Decorating the fruit in the bowl means nothing. Leaving the fruit there to be admired means nothing. You need to use the fruit or they turn rotten, attract flies and smell and need to be thrown out. The fruit the Holy Spirit brings needs to be used as well.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

The word “fruit” means something that originates from something which has an effect and result. The presence of the Holy Spirit, is Him as originator of the fruits. Once He has delivered you initially (it’s your responsibility to continue) from the acts of the sinful nature, He holds these fruits which are part of God’s character before you. The new life in you wants to dress yourself with these fruits because

Gal 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. See that as the “effect”? Now 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

There is the “result”. Although the transition from before to after salvation might be hard at times, the goal must be Christlikeness.

3) The Holy Spirit gives grace enabling faith. Although it is not specifically stated, the Bible implies the Holy Spirit is the giver of grace which is a gift from God. Grace enables faith.

Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The outworking of this grace is the good works God prepared for you to do once saved.

4) The Holy Spirit is the indweller. Jesus said the Counselor will be with us forever … so whatever we do and wherever we go, He is with us.

1Co 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

1Co 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

5) The Holy Spirit informs us that we are a new creation.

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

This may be said because:

2 Cor 5:5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6) The Holy Spirit is the guarantor that we shall be eternally saved.

Eph 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Although verse 14 is similar to 2 Corinthians 5:5, verse 14 explains verse 13 which is the Holy Spirit guaranteeing the eternal salvation of the believer.

7) The Holy Spirit gifts you for service. This is known as spiritual gifting which is given to every believer, although the shape of the gifting differs.

Rom 12:4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Each one has been given a spiritual gift mix that is not exactly the same as anyone else.

The purpose of this is that each “branch” of the Kingdom (local Church) needs to function as a well-oiled machine. It’s not just that the machine is oiled, each part is doing its duty to make the machine work. That is the local Church … many parts, each one functional … and each believer in the Church can be functional because each believer has been gifted with a spiritual gift mix to fulfil a part to make the Church function as that well-oiled machine. Very often a few people in a church do the bulk of the work. This ought not to be as every believer is equipped and empowered to serve in his or her special slot.

8) The Holy Spirit restraints the forces of evil.

2 Th 2:6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

There is much speculation as to whom the “one who now holds it back” is. The only one who could perform this function is the Holy Spirit. Until Jesus returns, the Holy Spirit restrains evil. This means that satan cannot push more and create more havoc than he does because God the Holy Spirit prevents him from doing so.

Praise the Lord. Did you notice that the Spirit’s operations in the Old are the same as in the New? It is beautiful how the same vibrant thread runs through the Bible. One God with One Message in One Book.

Father, thank You for the Ministry of the Holy Spirit. Thank You for the comfort we as the people of God have knowing the Holy Spirit is our assurance of grace. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Part 21)

Have you been promised a visit that did not materialize? This family member or longtime friend promised to come to your home and stay with you for a while. Did it ever happen? Are you still longing for that loved one to pitch in your door step? For three short years the Lord Jesus literally stayed together with the Twelve Disciples who become His Apostles.

1) The Promise. Because of His imminent crucifixion He told His disciples He would send them another Counselor to be with them, forever.

Jn 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

I am certain you saw that the complete Trinity is present in these verses. “Me” and “I” are the Lord Jesus, God the Son. “My Father” is God the Father and the “Counselor” is God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. You also note the Oneness of God here. Jesus makes a promise not leave His disciples “Fatherless”. He says of the Spirit … “he lives with you and will be in you.” Clarity on the indwelling Spirit will come later to them (and us). Then Jesus says … “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” How is this possible? He says He is in the Father and the Father is in Him and He will be is us! The Spirit who is God the Spirit will dwell within His people as God the “parent” preventing us being “orphans” … being without our Lord Jesus. He is God, as the Father is God, as the Holy Spirit is God. We are not alone … though the first disciples needed to wait for the Holy Spirit’s arrival, and they did! You see, after Jesus crucifixion this Counselor did not come. He rose from the dead and this Counselor did not come. But when he was about to return to glory He reaffirmed His promise.

Ac 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus never forgot His promise … now He says it will be a matter of days and this Counselor will arrive. Coupled to this, He says this Counselor will come and empower them to be His “witnesses” throughout the world.

Ac 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

In the context of the text Jesus is implying that their sole mission in life must be evangelism … evangelism without any distractions! Although the Holy Spirit largely operates quietly and silently, His promised coming was dramatic. Before He arrived however, the followers of the Lord Jesus spent quality and quantity time in prayer.

Ac 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

When one studies the History of true Revivals, these were always preceded by prayer. Then came the Jewish Festival called Pentecost. This Jewish feast, known as Shavuot was primarily a thanksgiving for the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, but it was later associated with a remembrance of the Law given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Ac 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. This seems to be the place of prayer. Then came the arrival of the Holy Spirit, not silently or quietly, but demonstratively. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. They were the firstfruits!

I have dealt with the speaking in tongues elsewhere so I won’t go into that now, other than to say this was the reversal of what happened at the Tower of Babel when people received different languages and were unable to communicate with each other. Then came Abraham with God choosing him and his descendants to be a special people with Him as their God. Now at Pentecost, people from all over the known world, Jews and Jewish proselytes were in Jerusalem. As the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples, they preached in the languages represented by the people, meaning that unlike the Babel incident, everyone heard the Gospel in their own language. Remember Jesus’ instruction in chapter 1:8 was that the gospel be spread into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. It was from this moment that what Jesus had said to Nicodemus would come true.

1) The Holy Spirit brings spiritual regeneration. Many then and many now thought they could enter God’s paradise through good works, giving large sums and assets and being moral. Jesus rebuffed this declaring the need for a spiritual revival to take place deep within the soul of mankind.

Jn 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

We will return to this theme tomorrow, but ask yourself whether you have been Born Again. Ask whether you understand what being Born Again means and how it effects one’s life.

Dear Lord, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit and through Him applying the Gospel to my soul, convicting me of Truth and convincing me to surrender all, believe the Gospel and follow Jesus. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Part 20)

Who would you say is the most important person in the household? The father or the mother? Would it rock you if I said that father and mother are equal with father being the head of the home? What about the Godhead? Although many people never make much fuss about the Triune God by name, preferring to talk only of God or the Lord … or perhaps the Lord Jesus Christ. Just like the father and mother (or husband and wife) both have their roles and duties within the home, so within the Godhead, within the Trinity, each person has their distinctive roles to fulfil and perform. The Apostles Creed moves onto say …

I believe in the Holy Spirit; Christ’s holy universal church; the fellowship of Christians; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

As you say this part of the Creed you are saying that you believe in the Holy Spirit and His role within the Kingdom of God.

1) The Holy Spirit. We have spoken about His functions often as we have progressed through the Creed. He is the third person of the Triune God. His operations are mostly quiet and unseen, although at times His working could be dramatic. Before getting to the New Testament and what the Creed says about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the Church, let’s consider the Spirit in the Old Testament.

(1) He was active in creation. Although we don’t have the clarity in the Old Testament as to the Holy Spirit as part of the Godhead, there are sufficient inferences to cause us to see His Person and activity.

Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 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.

Further down in the chapter, God speaks of creating mankind and He uses plural terms such as “us” and “our” in verse 26 before reverting back to the singular in verse 27.

Ge 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

We know He was referring to the Spirit because of verse 2, but knowing what is said in John 1:3 & 10 as well as Hebrews 1:2-3, we know the “us” and “our” refers to the full Trinity. Someone once said that the Holy Spirit executes the plans of God. Could we say He is the Executive Director of the Trinity?

(2) He would settle upon or indwell Messiah. Remember Messiah is God Incarnate … the Godman. Without losing His Divinity in the Incarnation, He faced limitation as man (flesh).

Isa 11:1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

If the presence of God by His Spirit is with all believers, why ought He not to be with God the Son in the flesh?

(3) He would regeneration lost souls. Often we think that salvation in the Old Testament is different to salvation in the New Testament. God has one method of saving and that is through the Merits of the Lord Jesus applied to the believing soul. In the Old Testament they looked forward to Messiah for salvation and in the New Testament and today we look backwards to Messiah for salvation.

Eze 11:18 “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

(4) He would indwell His leaders and the people of God. When God promised to be with His people, this was through the agency of the Holy Spirit. As in leadership:

Nu 27:15 Moses said to the LORD, 16 “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’S people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” 18 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him.”

Referring to David as kingL

1Sa 16:12 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.

After David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed … in a penitent Psalm he pleads:

Ps 51:11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

(5) He would restrain people from sin.

Gen 6:3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

This shows God is serious about sin and the depravity of mankind here led to the Universal Flood. Few people today grasp the gravity of sin when it comes to God. His holiness sees all sin as repulsive to the point of Jesus’ death on the Cross. His Spirit came upon people in the Old Testament restraining them from sin but as with today, most people chose the broad road that leads to destruction. It is then that God gives people over to their sin. Where the Flood was one type of Judgment upon sin, 2 Peter 3 speaks of fire being the next.

(6) He empowers for service. Often people confuse education (training in certain discipline) and natural abilities with service in the Church. It does help but spiritual gifting by the Holy Spirit is the enabler for service. Take:

Ex 31:2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.”

The Spirit gifted.

Lord, thank You for Your Holy Spirit who is my companion. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Part 19)

As a young boy, when I did something wrong, mom would say … “I’m going to tell your father when he gets home from work”. That scared me because dad was just over six foot and well built. In those days a policeman was respected and even feared because he was literally “the long arm of the law.” As a young man in my early twenties I did something wrong and needed to appear before a magistrate. That scared me stiff.

Today, many people do not fear those in authority and some police do not deserve respect … but what startles me is that often either criminals or people being questioned do not respect the judge. A good example is our previous president and his advocate when appearing before Deputy Judge President Zondo at the State Capture Commission’s hearings. This type of behavior and attitude is common today … spurning those in authority … yet there is one authority that will not be evaded or argued with.

Often Christians run the thought … “there is a judgment day” to comfort us when we are harmed and there seems no way to correct our situation or image. It is true there is a Judgment Day and there is a Judge and no one ever born will escape Him. The previous president will not be able to delay a trial; Jeffrey Epstein will not be able to commit suicide; the gangster will not be able to eliminate whistle blowers, investigators like Charl Kinnear will not be silenced; those committing crimes will not have the option of paying “back the money” to prevent criminal charges and a possible jail term; the wife and child abuser, the rapist and sex predator will not be able to issue threats causing silence. There will be no defense teams concocting arguments to prevent guilty convictions.

1) There have been many judgments recorded in the Bible, but the one the Apostles Creed is referring to is what we may label the “Final Judgment”. By final we mean there will never be another opportunity to appear before this Judge. Once he rules it is a closed case. No appeals, no higher courts … it is final and the sentences will be executed immediately. There won’t be a return date for sentencing like Ghislaine Maxwell. It will be so final that there will be a climatic end to this earth and the creation as we know it.

2) The Day of Judgment could happen at any time. Jesus tells us that:

Mt 24:36 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

As the Son, the Godman on earth, even Jesus did not know the date of the Judgment Day … yet he encouraged people:

Mt 24:44 “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

This day will arrive un-expectantly … and Jesus says His people need to be prepared for it.

3) The Judge Himself is already, ready. In so many court cases the judge is not ready to hear the case. How often are judges on leave, sick leave or busy with other cases and need postponements? This “final Judge” is completely ready and by implication rearing to go!

Jam 5:9 The Judge is standing at the door!

If He is standing at the courtroom door it means that Judgment Day is imminent.

4) This part of the Creed says … “from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead”.

(1) The living are those who are spiritually alive in Jesus Christ. They have been saved by grace through faith. They are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, now Born Again, living in faith and obedience to God as they develop in holiness.

(2) The dead are those who have not been reached with the Gospel or have willfully rejected the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. Judgment shall come to both groups.

(a) The “living”, believers shall be judged accurately. Their sin will come up and their fate will be decided by the Judge as “Not Guilty”. You see, the Blood Sacrifice of Jesus has been applied to their legal account and all sin, guilt and defilement has been paid for in full and removed totally and finally. The Judge of all the World will declare all the “living” guiltless.

(b) The “dead” will be judged accurately as well. Their sin too will come up and be weighed on the scales of eternity. The weight of their sin is so great, even though many of their sins are equal to the sin of the “living” … but the difference is they stand naked before the Judge of all the world. Unlike the “living”, they are not clothed in the Blood of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the believing world. They will not be able to stand before this Judge; they will have no defense counsel and there are no litigation circumstances. This Judge will find them guilty of their sin, rebellion and depravity.

5) Judgment is one side, sentencing is the other.

(1) The “living” have been found not guilty. They will receive their long expected reward and be ushered into God’s Eternal Paradise to live with Him eternally. The promise to the thief on the cross will become reality for every believer.

Rev 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

(2) The “dead” will be cast into Eternal Damnation and face a forever existence of pain and agony.

Rev 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

See Luke 16:24 (“dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire”); v28 (“place of torment”); Matthew 3:12 (“unquenchable fire”); 13:50 (“weeping and gnashing of teeth”); Revelation 21:8 (“weeping and gnashing of teeth”). Both places are final … irreversible!

Father, help me to make the necessary changes in my life so that I live exclusively for Jesus. Whatever sacrifices I need to make, help me to cut out of my life, home, relationships, hobbies, work whatever offends You. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Part 18)

One of the main topics making the news media viable is that of court cases. As a people, we want justice, even without knowing all the facts about the case or the people involved. Take Deputy Judge President Zondo’s first of three State Capture Report releases. Already we as a nation, who have been robbed … with no question as to the severity of this, want justice. We want heads to roll … we want people to pay back the money … we want people to be jailed … and it will give us much pleasure and satisfaction to see this happen

At times we can be a “blood hungry people” … and when one looks at the magnitude of our State’s inability to manage the country and care for the poor and deal with inside fighting … it does make one angry because whether you are poor and in need or whether you have investments depending on interest to live off, both are affected by State Capture.

We need to be in passionate prayer for our leaders. That is Biblical. So on the one hand we want justice and judgment against those we deem guilty, but have you ever stopped to think that people do not like to talk about their forth coming judgment by the Judge of all the world?

The Apostles Creed continues … “from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead”. This statement points to Jesus’ promised Second Coming. This Biblical doctrine is one of the least preached about doctrines. Sadly this affects the “condition” of the Christian Church.

1) This is and has always been the hope of the Church. The Church’s present and future hangs on Jesus’ return because his return means He then takes us His people to be with Him in Glory! If Jesus was not to return it would mean that there is no incentive for His people to pursue spiritual fidelity because heaven would not be on the agenda for us. When preachers and pastors proclaim the Gospel, this ingredient must be present. Many don’t, so many hearers and many of those who “surrender” to Jesus do not have a high view of personal spiritual purity. Is this why the Church is so lax when it comes to discipline and repentance? Is this the reason why so many Christians, married and unmarried get involved with shady business, sexual immorality and reduce their general morality to that of the world?

2)  What is the general condition of the Church like? If I suggest that it is not near as healthy as people in the pews would imagine, would that seem judgmental? It is true that Christians ought to be involved in every area and aspect of society. That is not negotiable. Look at what Jesus taught

Mt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

(1) Salt of the earth. Interestingly Jesus did not say Christians are the salt of the Church or the Kingdom. He said we are the salt of the earth. Where salt is a preservative … we need to preserve Biblical morals and ethics to prevent society from decaying more and more. Has the Church lost its saltiness?

(2) Light of the world. As with salt, as with light, it is to the world not the Church or Kingdom of God. This world is in darkness and Jesus came as Light. We are to be His light, reflecting and radiating His holy values to our world. Without this, the world will have no conscience. These two factors expose the general condition of the Church, but it does not stop there.

(3) Where Christians ought to be involved in politics to bring Christian morals and ethics into the arena, too often the Church preaches party politics and loses the Gospel message because political emancipation is radically different from spiritual emancipation.

(4) Christians and Churches ought to be involved in social action to promote the plight of the poor and needy but they must not become an embarrassment to the Gospel.

(5) Many Churches focus on prosperity. Sadly the Church leaders seem to be those who prosper and their followers remain generally poor. There is no Biblical warrant for this teaching.

(6) Often to draw the crowds, Churches start entertaining people through drama, hi-powered music and singing, etc. replacing the exposition of the Word of God. People are certainly entertained but not through the Word, with no spiritual value. Although there are many more issues one could raise, these become obstacles to Biblical Maturity and Christlikeness. Without the exposition from the Word encouraging the pursuit of holiness, spiritual purity is lost, sin is condoned and the Church becomes worldly. Then the world looks at the Church and says … “Why should we become Christians? They are exactly like us and do exactly what we do!

3) Because Jesus is coming again, the Church ought to be expectant! There ought to be a holy anticipation that the Lord of the Church could arrive at any moment. When the Church has this awareness embedded in her, she will surrender all for the preparation of the King of Glory’s arrival. Although we will return to the following verses tomorrow, look at the question in the first sentence:

2Pe 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

See the answer to the question: “You ought to live holy and godly lives”. It’s all about being prepared. Consider the parable Jesus taught of the Virgins.

Mat 25:2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The wise were prepared. The wise ones were spiritual. The wise ones were ready for the Groom’s arrival.

(Jesus Second Coming). Who will you be like, the wise or foolish virgins?

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that You are coming again. Please help me to be ready by making preparations like the wise virgins did, in Your Name. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Part 17)

It’s quite fascinating how people try to get to sit next to important people. Some have to pay to do this … the article read … “If you want a seat next to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC’s gala dinner in Polokwane, you will have to cough up a whopping R1.2 million to have that privilege” (https://www.iol.co.za/). This was for Friday night, 7 January.

Do you like to be noticed with important people? Are you concerned about where you sit at a dinner or function? I am certain you are concerned about where our Lord sits! The Apostles Creed goes onto to say … “and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.” We have already said that our Lord is seated on the Power Seat in glory. There are many things one could point out regarding Jesus seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty … for our purposes there are three in particular to note …

1) Jesus’ Reign. There are two parts to our Lord’s reign.

(1) He reigns on earth as Lord of all. We are dealing with Jesus seated at the right hand of God the Father, but Lordship started on earth for the Godman. This does not discredit or remove Lordship before Incarnation. Consider these two passages …

Ac 10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

Ron 10:11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The thrust of Lordship here is Lordship over all God’s people, be they Jew or Gentile. Another way of looking at this is Lordship over the Kingdom of God; Kingdom of Jesus … Family of God).

(2) His reign in heaven as Lord and King. Once again we need to remember that God is Triune and within the Godhead the three persons have distinct functions and duties without any conflict in the fact that God is One and rules and reigns. Observe the following Scriptures …

1 Pet 3:21 It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Eph 1:19 That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Rev 17:14 “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

Three dimensions arise in these verses.

(i) In Heaven … Jesus is Lord over all “angels, authorities and powers”.

(ii) On Earth Jesus is Lord over “all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given” … head over everything for the church.

(iii) Defending Victorious Lord. As such, Jesus ensures eternal victory (through His salvific work on the Cross) and as the Lamb will (has – past tense) overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings. Before the Incarnation, Jesus as God the Son was seated at the Right Hand of God the Father, Almighty. Through a victorious mission to planet earth He gains the additional Lordship over the Church (Kingdom), and now that He has returned to Glory He has the same position before the Incarnation.

2) Jesus as High Priest. This is often known as Jesus’ High Priestly Office. Think of Israel … they had a high priest, a prophet and a king. Each of these positions were fulfilled in Jesus Christ who is now the last High Priest, Prophet and King … and rightly so because the Kingdom is His.

Heb 8:1 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.

(1) The Book of Hebrews is a great commentary on the Book of Leviticus.

(2) Although the Levitical Priesthood and high priestly office has ended

Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear

The Holy Spirit was showing here that soon the sacrificial system would find its natural end. This happened in AD 70 when the temple was destroy with Jerusalem. Jesus is our High Priest in heaven and fulfills the main function of the priesthood, not sacrifice because the Cross is done … but intercession. Most believers do not grasp the significance of this.

1Jn 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. The one who speaks is our Advocate, speaking to Father in our defense.

As Church fathers have said … Jesus takes our prayers, perfects them and presents them to Father. He also speaks of matters and sins we are unaware of!

3) The glory and blessing of these things must result in motivating us as His people.

Heb 12:1 let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Our motivation to pursue Gospel holiness and preparation for glory is Jesus and what He did for us. Lord Jesus, thank You for what You have done and do, do for us. Help us to be filled with continual gratitude, love and commitment to You as we fix our eyes upon You, so that we do not fall to any offerings of this world. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed (Part 16)

It is pretty awesome to fly overseas because of the height you travel at. If the weather is clear you can see the clouds below and often are able to see land in its various formations below. What is better would be a flight in a spaceship. I love to watch these crafts launch with the first stage booster rockets releasing and returning to earth. Then the camera shows the path of the craft going further and further away. Sometimes you see snap shots of the earth from the spacecraft. There have been many exploration crafts to many planets and comments, sent by a variety of countries. Some have probed further into space sending back wonderful pictures for us to see.

There is no doubt that, as Louie Giglio says … “it’s indescribable”.  Creation is so vast that as humans we will never reach its depths. Why does God have a particular fancy and interest in planet earth? Because wherever He could have, He chose planet earth as the most suitable territory with its climate and conditions to place man upon. Man is God’s most precious possession when it comes to creation.

In the Apostles Creed we have cover so many doctrines, yet after the Lord the Lord Jesus completed His Rescue Mission to our earth, He returned to where He came from. We say … “He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Someone called this the “Crown of Christ’s Redemptive Work.” He left heaven, came to earth as the Godman (Incarnation) to substitute for man’s sin and after His Death and Resurrection He needed to return to Heaven. Why did He have to go back to heaven? That was the disciples’ question. After all they expected like the Jewish nation, a Messiah like David who would sit on a throne in Jerusalem, fight all military battles, especially the Roman Empire, sort the economy to provide employment, reduce taxation, provide food and accommodation and peace.

1) Heaven is not part of creation. The vastness of creation is within time, space and matter. God’s abode is outside of this dimension. Sometimes when people read of Jesus (or Stephan) looking “up to heaven”, they become confused. Take any one of these passages:

Mk 7:33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Jn 11:41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

Ac 7:54When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

It does not mean that from where they were in the Middle East, that when they looked upwards, heaven was above them. What these texts are saying is that heaven is not on this earth as some propose. Heaven is outside of space … beyond space. It is a dimension that is spiritual without time or matter as we know it. It is “other worldly”, not of this world. Be careful when you read Bible Books like the Book of Revelation and attempt to picture heaven by the images presented there. Those are there to help us understand something of the functioning of heaven, not to say … “this is what heaven looks like”. All we need to know about heaven is that it is where God is and we believers will be there with Him in a place where sin and its effects do not exist. It is totally holy place as is our Lord.

2) Before Jesus returned to heaven, He promised to send believers another Counselor. We will arrive at the place where the Creed deals with the Holy Spirit, but just to say that Jesus promised to send the Spirit so that the children of God (believers) would not be left as orphans.

Jn 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

It is suffice to say here that our Lord would not desert His people when He returned to glory. He would be present by the Holy Spirit.

3) Jesus ascended into heaven in bodily form. This is unheard of. No one can do what happened here without divine help.

Ac 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

The divine help is … “He was taken up” and “a cloud hid Him from their sight.” The two men dressed in white who suddenly appeared and stood next to the disciples were angels. What is important and significant here is … This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. At this stage we won’t deal with Jesus’ Second Coming, but these angels said that He returned to heaven and will one day return from heaven.

4) Where is Jesus right now?

Heb 1:3 After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

It is easy to get a picture of God the Son sitting at God the Father’s right hand in the Throne Room of heaven. Where that might be true, the “right hand” means the “power seat of authority”. We will return to this subject, but remember, Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is Lord and He reigns.

Lord Jesus, thank You for returning to heaven to be seated on the Throne of Glory from where You reign over us Your People. Amen.