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Archive for February, 2010

The Heart in Hebrews

By nature:

3:8 – hardened

3:10 – always straying

3:12 – evil & unbelieving – hardened further by sin (v13)

3:15 – hardened

4:7 – hardened

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As the Lord acts upon it:

4:12 – its thoughts and intentions judged by the word

8:10 – the law written on it

10:16 – the law put on it

10:22 – sprinkled from an evil conscience

13:9 – strengthened by grace not by ceremonial foods

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Hebrews 10:26 can be a scary verse.  One woman I know has been crippled by the fear that she is damned because of ongoing sin.  Whenever I declared the gospel to her and held out the grace of Jesus she would always come back to these verses:

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  (Heb 10:26-27)

Whatever happens we don’t want to be found to be ones who “deliberately keep on sinning.”  So what does it mean?

Different things can be said, but let me just take up one line of inquiry.  Verse 26 uses ‘sin’ in two senses – first as a verb, then as a noun.  It’s interesting to note that Hebrews only uses ‘sin’ as a verb twice.  But ‘sin’ as a noun is everywhere.  Here are all its uses:

Sin as a noun:

is purified – 1:3

is atoned for – 2:17

is not remembered anymore – 8:12; 10:17

is put away once and for all – 9:26

is borne by Jesus once and for all – 9:28

Christ is sacrificed for it once for all time – 10:12

Christ is without it – 4:15

is dealt with in shadowy way by High Priest / old covenant – 5:1,3; 7:27; 10:2,3,4,6,8,11,18,26; 13:11

hardens and deceives – 3:13

gives fleeting pleasures – 11:25

easily entangles – 12:1

causes struggle – 12:4

Sin as a verb is only mentioned twice:

Israelites ‘sinned’ and their bodies fell in the wilderness – 3:17

Deliberately sinning – no sacrifice for sins remains – 10:26

Sin (noun) – has been purified, atoned for, put away and borne in the sacrifice of sinless Jesus once and for all.  It is therefore remembered no more.  This is precisely what the old covenant promised through its shadows but never effected itself.  Sin remains a reality for the Christian – it offers fleeting pleasures.  But it deceives and hardens, it easily entangles and causes painful struggle.

To sin (verb) – is a decisive and deadly rejection of the Lord.  The Israelites “sinned” in the wilderness and so they died (3:17).  This is the verdict upon 40 years of their constantly wayward hearts.  They did not want the Lord and His future and so He swore that they would not enter His rest.  People today ‘deliberately sin’ when they reject Jesus, their one Sacrifice for sins and Forerunner to glory.  If they forsake Him, no sacrifice for sins remains. (10:26)

I wonder therefore whether the slight overtranslation of 10:26 in most versions (“Deliberately keep on sinning …”) spotlights the wrong thing.  The unforgiveable nature of this kind of sinning is not really its ongoingness – though it is an ongoing attitude.  The unforgiveableness of this sin is that it is a rejection of the very One in Whom forgiveness is offered.  The author is not telling us: “a spot of occasional sinning is alright but ongoing sinning is damnable.”  He’s saying that sin is put away by Christ once and for all, but the person who rejects Christ deliberately has nowhere else to turn.

Hebrews is written to a people always tempted to trust the shadows and not the Substance.  They look to angels and Moses and temple and priests and goats and bulls and everything but Jesus.  But Jesus is the One we are to See and Fix our thoughts upon, etc, etc.  If we have seen HIM and then turn away again to worthless sin-bearers – no sacrifice for sins remains.  We’ve rejected the one Life-raft.

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Paul Blackham writes here and you can find his All Souls sermons here and Farm Fellowship sermons here.

Exodus 7:14 – 10:29

Most people remember the story of the plagues from their childhood.  We are allowed to enjoy so many of these great Hebrew stories when we are young before we ‘learn’ not to spend so much time in the Scriptures.

Naturally we won’t waste any time on the bizarre attempts to tie the plagues together into a set of meteorological co-incidences!  [The flooding of the Nile plain stirring up red silt [which would have stunned the ignorant Egyptians who had never seen red silt before!], which encouraged the frogs to leave the river and invade the houses… the dead frogs decay and produce gnats… and… I forget how this is supposed to continue.  I can’t remember how the boils produced the hail and the locusts… but I’ll remember in a minute.  This proposal is supposed to make the Bible easier to believe for outsiders so I’m sure there is a really good explanation of the boils, hail and locust… and why the Egyptians didn’t understand about red silt… ? ..! …?  If only the BBC would produce one of those excellent TV series at Easter…. They always get ‘Bible experts’ to explain all these things.]

The general truth in these plagues is clear enough: The Angel of the LORD is more powerful than Pharaoh, his mighty magicians and the various gods of Egypt.  Yet, each of the plagues displays a different facet of the fact that Jesus is LORD.  The plagues have a progression as they circle in around the first born humans.  They begin at arms length and then get closer and closer.  Plenty of warning is thereby given… yet the terrible and suicidal nature of our selfish hearts is revealed by the fact that we insist on going on to the bitter end in our rebellion.

The plagues serve as an important demonstration of the great and terrible judgements the Lord must exercise in order to redeem us from slavery.  It would be so ‘pleasant’ to imagine that salvation and renewal could be achieved from the comfort of an armchair or in that lovely, gentle spirituality of self-improvement and meditation on how divinely glorious we all really are.  Yet, the shadow of the Cross falls across redemption, from start to finish.  Salvation comes after judgement; glory after suffering.

We are not the desperately grateful victims of a tragedy who cheer the arrival of the emergency services.  No, we are the hardened criminals holed up in the building, shooting at any emergency services that try to get near.  When we are saved, so many of us are kicking and screaming as we spit in the face of Jesus.  Until we see Him as He is and our old humanity is finally destroyed, this is always in us, always making our rescue messy and painful and full of judgement.

The empire of Egypt was comfortable and successful.  The Nile made them the breadbasket of the Mediterranean world.  Even hundreds of years later when the apostle Paul is sailing to Rome we read that he caught a lift on a boat full of Egyptian grain.  Egypt had fabulous wealth and stunning treasures which still capture popular imagination even today.  The gigantic tombs and embalming practices of that ancient past [given to Joseph at the end of Genesis] presumably made them imagine that even death was under their control.

Turning from the Divine Angel who Joseph and his family had worshipped, who had brought such wealth and power to Egypt, they plunged into the sewage of these ‘gods’ who had forsaken their proper habitation.  Far from ordering the nations to the worship of the LORD God through whom all had come to be, they had enthroned themselves as the masters of the universe.  Sin in the heavenlies always looks just the same as sin in the earthlies!

This comfortable and prosperous Egypt has no fear of the Living God!  They had no time for these ancient superstitions from the uncivilised slaves!  They could chart the stars and build the pyramids; they could feed the world and conquer the nations; they could deal with the gods and defy death itself.  Why would they need to listen to a Word that would turn all their security upside down, who would force them to choose between their luxuries and Him?

Into that self-assured arrogance, shown so graphically in Pharaoh as the embodiment of it all, the real world of the Most High God comes crashing down.  Onto the playground of the Egyptian gods, the meteorite of reality explodes – revealing their impotence, judging their rebellion, dethroning their power.

We are told that the Lord is making His Name known to the Israelites (6:7), to Pharaoh (7:17), to all the earth (9:16), and to the Israelite descendants to come (10:2).  This of course includes us.  We too come to know the Name of the LORD Jesus through these plagues, though these judgements.  We learn that Jesus does not issue empty threats.  When He tells us of a coming judgement, it will certainly come to pass.  When He tells us how to escape that coming judgement, His words must be followed to the letter.

How have we accepted certain limits on the power of Jesus?  In that day we assume that the Egyptians took it for granted that Jesus could not control the Nile – and yet He did!  Perhaps they assumed that the demonic frogs or flies were beyond His power – but they were not! The blood of judgement over the Nile; the demonic revelation of the frogs; the creation of new life from the very dust; the proof that Baalzebub is not the true LORD over the flies; the taking of the breath of life from animals; the diseases of the human body; the destruction of human society and production… until finally the light itself goes out.

Think of all the stories in the Bible where the power of Jesus is shown in impossible ways.  Do we really believe that He is capable of acting in that way right now?  Do we honestly believe that He could judge the empires of this day and age in that way?

I always fear that I have mentally so domesticated the LORD Jesus that I don’t really think of Him as the Angel of Death and Judgement who brought these plagues of judgement upon ancient Egypt.  It is not that I don’t know the right words to say [I have all too many of them].  Rather, when I look at the way that I live… is the fear of the LORD Jesus the beginning of my life?  Is the fear and trembling present, the terror of the LORD that drives me to prayer and action, to sacrifice and engagement?

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Happy Friday

ht Tim Ambrose

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Jacky has his christological commentary of the whole bible here.  He’s up to to 2 Samuel at the moment.  His collected posts on the Pentateuch are here.

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Read the verses here

“Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?”

Moses’ words ring true of his temporary role as the mediator on behalf of Israel.  He is a man of uncircumcised speech (v.30).  Some have taken the liberty to interpret this as if Moses had a physical speech impediment, but the LORD’s response in chapter 7 which reveals Moses’ true concern – that he is unable to speak words which will convince the Pharoah to bring the people out of Egypt (v.26-27).

This is the reason why the LORD replies by ordaining Moses as like elohim to Pharoah, just as Aaron is made Moses’ prophet.  Notice how in chapter 7v.2 the LORD states that both Moses and Aaron will be speaking to the Pharoah, ignoring the interpretation that Moses is worried about his speech impediment, or that Aaron is a more “suitable” choice as a speaker before Pharoah.  Rather, the LORD’s choice is for the purpose of showing to Pharoah the dynamic between God and His prophet – through Moses and Aaron respectively.  Where Moses speaks, Aaron repeats Moses’ words and acts in execution: a pattern which re-occurs throughout the plagues.  The Word of God, once spoken, evokes immediate response and action: and the one Word which the Father wishes to speak of concerns the Son.  The Father’s Word is Jesus Christ.  In his framework series, Paul Blackham says,

“…the Word of God confronts us with the plain fact that our minds are as deeply fallen and wicked as our feelings, our bodies and our wills. In fact Colossians 1:21 tell us that because of our sinful behavior, our enmity against God, resides in our minds. However brilliant our reasoning may be, until we have been reconciled to God, our thinking always militates against the gospel. It will always rebel against the truth.”

Such a fundamental truth should not escape the purpose behind the LORD establishing an elohimprophet dynamic before Pharoah to present to him in clarity the intercessory nature of salvation:  the procession of the Spirit from the Father to the Son; from the Son to men; from men to other men; and the glory ascending through the Son and back to the Father.  For what is a prophetes, a nabiy, other than (literally defined as) a Spirit-inspired man?  And what Word does the Triune God wish to speak in the Third Person?

Yet, before we move onto describing this ‘word’ which the LORD wishes Moses to speak and Aaron to act upon, the LORD immediately reveals the conclusion in vv.3-4:

Exo 7:3-4  But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt,  (4)  Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment.

It is easy to immediately assume that we are handling a case of double predestination – of predestined reprobation of the Pharoah.  Yet, let us be mindful of the greater analogy of the history of Pharoah versus the Angel of the LORD; the story of Exodus is not merely dealing with the salvation of an individual Egyptian king.  It is displaying the grander scheme of the LORD’s salvation through The Prophet, whose uncircumcised lips meant that no word is uttered other than the Word from the Father:

Deu 18:15-20  “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to him you shall listen–  (16)  just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’  (17)  And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken.  (18)  I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.  (19)  And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.  (20)  But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’

Here, we should notice two things:

  • Though Moses is seen as a ‘god’ before Pharoah and Aaron is his prophet, this is to display the dynamic of elohim and His prophet before the pagan king
  • Furthermore, Moses is seen in Deuteronomy 18 as referring to himself as a prophet – and that a ‘prophet like [him]’ will be raised who will speak the words of the Father.  Aaron is no longer in the picture as a ‘prophet’, but his role becomes that of the first priest of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:10).

This Prophet is the One Sent (John 7:18, ch.8) from the Father to speak of the Father’s glory (c.f. Matthew 11).  Moses is not the prophet; neither is Aaron; yet through the arrangement laid out in Exodus 7, we see the Father speaking and the Son acting; and this is placed before the Pharoah to display him as something more than a mere individual pagan king, the same way that Ezekiel looks at the king of Tyre.  This king is no mere ruler of foreign lands – but he is taken to be the anointed guardian cherub in Eden, destroyed for his pride (Ezekiel 28:13-19).  Only by seeing this greater picture in Exodus 7 can we then come to understand how Pharoah’s heart comes to be hardened, and the picture of the serpent-staff seen already in Exodus 4 as the first thing witnessed of the LORD’s power which granted Moses confidence, and re-iterated once more in chapter 7 as the first thing witnessed by the Pharoah which further hardened him.

At this point, it is important we take a step back to consider the greater picture of what is being said concerning the Pharoah’s relationship with Moses and Aaron; concerning Satan’s relationship (or lack of) with the Triune God.

Allow me to make a lengthy quotation of Karl Barth in his Church Dogmatics.  Its relevance will be seen shortly:

“At any rate as they are systematised in Leviticus 14 and 16 it is obvious that the following form is common to both.  Two creatures which are exactly alike in species and value are dealt with in completely different ways.  The selection of the one for this and of the other for that treatment, seems to be a matter for the priest in Leviticus 14:15f, while lots are cast in Leviticus 16:8.  In both cases it is obvious that the selection is inscrutable, and that it is really made by God Himself.  It is also obvious with what special purpose and meaning these two acts accompany the history of Israel, and to which special moment of this history they refer as sign and testimony of the divine intention.  We obviously face the special aspect of this history according to which it is the history of the divisive divine election of this and of that man.  What these choices mean, or what it is to which the whole history of Israel points as a history of such choices, is attested by these particular rites, the witness being given a fixed and permanent form by the detailed legal regulations.

…Yet we must observe that the second goat is also ‘placed before the Lord’, that the treatment meted out to him and the tragic record of his unusability also form an integral part of the sign and testimony set up on the Day of Atonement.  Cain is just as indispensable as Abel, and Ishmael as Isaac.  For the grace which makes an elect man of the first can be seen only from the second, because the first, the elect, must see in the second, the non-elect, as in a mirror, that from which he was taken, and who and what the God is who was delivered from it.  It is only as one who properly belongs to that place that God has transferred him from it.  Because election is grace, the unused belonged to the used, the sacrificed goat to the goat driven into the wilderness, the non-elect to the elect…

…The ceremony described in Leviticus 14 obviously runs in exactly the opposite direction… The treatment of the first bird speaks of this necessary presupposition of his purification.  The bird is slain, its blood is shed and then made ready for what follows, as in the case of the first goat in Leviticus 16.  But this time everything really depends on what follows… The healed leper is sprinkled seven times with this blood, while simultaneously the second bird is allowed to fly away ‘into the open field’… to freedom… The purpose, and the only purpose, in the death of the one bird, the separation and reservation of the one man, is that the other may live.  But how comforting it is for all who are separated and reserved that, according to Leviticus 14, it is to the second bird, which has no part in the accomplishment of the decisive action, and which is unusable in the sense of Leviticus 16, that the benefit of the sacrifice of the first and usable bird accrues.  That which was done to the first turns to the advantage of the second… The recipient of the fruit of election is obviously for the non-elect.  How can we fail to see that Cain and Ishmael and Esau are now given yet another right than that which is remotely visible in Leviticus 16?  They are witnesses to the resurrection reflected in Leviticus 14.  The promise addressed to the men on the right hand is manifestly fulfilled in those on the left.”

The explanation of the picture of Satan and Christ in Exodus 7 should not end with Barth’s lengthy quote, for the narrative is designed to explain the dichotomy of the Angel of the LORD and the rebellious anointed cherub through the battle of the serpents:

Exo 7:10-12  So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent.  (11)  Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts.  (12)  For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.

Yet, why is the imagery of the serpent, such a wicked imagery (Revelation 20:2), used to defeat the other serpents?  This recalls the same imagery of the brazen fiery serpent set on the pole (Numbers 21:5-9; John 3:12-15) which can heal those who see it despite being bitten by other serpents.  Such a peculiar picture of serpents against serpent repeated in the story of Moses can be explained in Barth’s observation of the sacrifices in Leviticus 14 and 16 – the dichotomy of Christ and Satan, the dichotomy of the Elected Head and the Rejected Head.  The raising of the brazen serpent equivalent to the ascension of the Sent One (c.f. John 3:12-15).  This is sweetly summed up in the words of Habbakuk:

Hab 3:13-14  You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah  (14)  You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors, who came like a whirlwind to scatter me, rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.

Exodus 7:1-13 lays up the scenario for Pharoah’s destruction, which in turn leads to Egypt becoming an increasingly threat-less kingdom throughout the rest of history.  A once prosperous nation benefiting from the mediation of the Christ-like Joseph falls in the hands of Pharoah, Herod, Cain, Ishmael, Esau, all types of he who is the ‘head of the house of the wicked’ (Habbakuk 3:13).  Yet, it is by the serpent that the serpents are crushed; it is by the sting of death that death is defeated; it is by the wicked capital punishment of the cross that the wickedness of death is eradicated – and so the arrows of Satan piercing Christ’s side did not leave Christ dead; but from His side birthed the church (c.f. Genesis 2:21) born-again from the victorious blood and water which in turn defeated the bites of the fiery serpent, swallowing up the serpent-ry of ‘wise men’ (c.f. 1 Corinthians 1:19) and ascending once again as the beautiful staff of Aaron:

Num 17:5-8  And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout. Thus I will make to cease from me the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against you.”  (6)  Moses spoke to the people of Israel. And all their chiefs gave him staffs, one for each chief, according to their fathers’ houses, twelve staffs. And the staff of Aaron was among their staffs.  (7)  And Moses deposited the staffs before the LORD in the tent of the testimony.  (8)  On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.

What a beautiful picture of Christ’s death in becoming the rejected serpent by taking upon the sins of mankind, yet through his death on the cross he had swallowed up the death of men to bring about new creation birth!  Yet, the glory does not cease with the staff restoring to its original form – but that upon the Israelites’ salvation from Egypt, the same serpent-staff sprouts and puts forth buds and produces blossoms, bearing ripe almonds.  Upon the taste of this new creation life far greater than a mere restoration to the Garden of Eden, still (v.13) the Pharoah’s heart was hardened.  The outstretched arms of the Son on the cross has not led Pharoah to repentance (Romans 2:4), prompting the necessary salvation from Egypt.

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Read the verses here.

When do people tend to make promises – when they are in power or out of power?

Usually we make promises when we’re out of power.  We may beg for money, drugs, sex, our lives, re-election by making endless promises.  But for us, the promise is a substitute for power.  Give us power, and the promises dry up.

Not so with the LORD Jesus.  He is God Almighty (Ex 6:2) and yet He is the One who makes endless promises to the powerless.

They are promises that define and fill out what it means for Him to be “LORD” – ‘I am the LORD’ begins and ends them (v2,8).

They are promises grounded in indicatives – “I am the LORD”, “I established my covenant”, “I have heard”, “I have remembered.”  (v2-5)

They are promises grounded in actual history (v13-27).  Looking back on their fulfilment to date will give great confidence for the future.

They are promises that are, at times, too much for His people to absorb in their discouragement (Ex 6:9).  Yet nonetheless they are to be proclaimed over them.

They are too much for the preacher as well given the “uncircumcision” of his lips (Ex 6:12).  Yet nonetheless the power is not in the preacher but in the promise.

They are promises that prove a watershed – to one side they fall as blessings, to the other as curses.  For the Egyptians these very same promises are in fact their judgement (Ex 6:11).  Those who are not aligned with the promise find themselves enemies of the God of promise.

And what are these promises?  Today, no matter what your discouragement, your burdens, your feelings of slavery to sin – hear the sevenfold promise of the LORD:

“I am the LORD

and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians

I will free you from being slaves to them,

and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.

I will take you as my own people,

and I will be your God.

Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.

And I will lead you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.

I will give it to you as a possession.

I am the LORD”  (Exodus 6:6-8)

Glory!

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We have endless substitutes for the actual, dynamic, personal presence of the Spirit in our thinking.  Here’s a sketch of just a few off the top of my head.

Of course, many of these can be means by which the Spirit works. Yet if they are cut off from the Source they have no life in them:

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Doctrine of Omnipotence

An a-topic, abstract power is assigned to God.  This is all rather than the active and immanent Person who is God’s Power – the Spirit of Christ.
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Doctrine of Omnipresence

We say “God is here” because we believe ‘God is everywhere‘ in an abstract sense.  Rather than acknowledging the indwelling personal presence of the Spirit of Jesus.
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Doctrine of Omniscience

This happens in, for instance, biblical interpretation.  Often the living nature of the Spirit-breathed Word is replaced by a doctrine of God’s omniscience in the original authorship of the Bible.  We have faith in God’s omniscience – that He inspired the text thousands of years ago in such a way that it would speak to every generation.  This takes the place in our thinking of the Spirit as the Dei loquentis persona (God speaking in person).  Instead of the dynamic, contemporary ministry of the Spirit, our spotlight falls on an ancient omniscience.  A fossilization of the living word?

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Assurance found in moral performance.

Romans 8:16 says ‘the Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.’  Few preachers I hear teach that assurance comes in the fellowship we enjoy with the Spirit.  An inward moral check is emphasized rather than the Spirit’s inward testimony.

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Fellowship of believers

The fellowship of the Holy Spirit’ (2 Cor 13:4) is not a Spirit-generated church-fellowship! Yet so many take it in this way. No, just as the love of God is an enjoyment of God in His love and just as the grace of Christ is an enjoyment of Christ in His grace, so the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is fellowship with the Spirit!
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‘Now but not yet’.

We often speak of this age (truly) in terms of absence and in-between-ness. We live in between the comings of Christ. This is all absolutely correct and vitally important. But let’s not forget the presence!  This is the age of the Spirit.  The Spirit’s presence is the ‘now’ in the ‘now-and-not-yet’.  Let’s remember Jesus said ‘It is for your good I am going away… if I go I will send Him to you’! (John 16:7).

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Fruit of the Spirit

At one time I was praying through the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5 and using these nine characteristics as a moral checklist.  I confessed my lack of fruit and prayed for more.  One day I was doing this and got a picture in my mind of the Holy Spirit coming to my door laden with a big basket of fruit and me saying to Him ‘Thanks Spirit, just leave the fruit and I’ll see you later.’  I was praying for fruit when I should really have been praying for the Spirit Himself.  These fruit grow organically from a relationship with Him.  Let’s desire Him and not simply His gifts.

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Application in preaching

So much preaching advice assumes that it’s the preacher’s job to bridge the gap between text and congregation.  Surely it is the Spirit’s work to drive home the Word to our hearts!  How often preaching is thought to really live when the preacher ‘applies’ the text to Monday morning and the ‘nitty-gritty’ of life.  Yet the Spirit, in living power, makes the Word alive and applies it to our lives in ways more nuanced, powerful and incisive than any preacher could.

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Human advice

In the realm of guidance
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Human aptitude

In the realm of gifts
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Apologetics

In the realm of evangelism
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Strategy

In the realm of Kingdom-work
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Oratory skill

In the realm of preaching

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Grammatical-historical method.

Text critical tools give the meaning of the Bible, not the Author Himself

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Any more we can add to the list?

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