Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Christianese Radio" Delayed

This week's episode of Christianese Radio will be delayed until Tuesday. Sorry about the short-notice, but be sure to check back on Tuesday (27th) morning.

10-26-09 Episode Preview

(Sorry, I know it's been a while) Half-Hour 1: Discussion on interesting events involving criminals being stopped by prayer twice in the same week, as well as comments on the current Bi-Weekly Poll question. And finally a quick review of the film The Visitation based on the novel by Frank Peretti.

Half-Hour 2
Some of us have a huge problem of seeing what God wants us to do, but either by fear or by pride we turn away and run in the opposite direction. Somewhat a part two to the episode from three weeks ago about being Christ's Representatives, we look at this scenario of turning away from what God may be calling us to do as His Representatives.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Get Out of Hell, Free!

Blogger: Joe Harrison

Don't pretend like you have never done it before, because we are all guilty of doing this at least once (but probably more than once) in our lives. We treat the Salvation given to us by Jesus Christ as a "Get Out Of Jail, FREE" Card. Now, right away, I may have people jumping on me and saying that this analogy is correct because we can't work our way into Heaven and the gift of Salvation is free. Well, I have no dispute there. But that's not all it's about.

First of all, think about the card in general. Think about its use. Notice the smaller set of words underneath:


And here's where the problem comes. We look to Christ's Salvation only when we think we need it. But until then, we continue to "walk in darkness" (as John talks about). Maybe you have friends who are not Christians, and you give no indication that you are a Christian. You use foul language, you laugh at their crude (sometimes even God-mocking) jokes, sometimes you even add a few jokes of your own. THEN, something bad happens in your life and you go running to God with your little "Get Out Of Jail, Free" card and start begging Him to help you. OR, maybe your friends know you're a Christian, but you've purposefully told them a number of times "Well, I'm not really strict" or "I'm a loose Christian", and you proceed to let words and jokes come out of your mouth that are grieving the Holy Spirit Who dwells in you. Do you understand that? We Christians really do take that for granted. The Holy Spirit is within us. And when we sin, we are grieving Him, and I think, in a lot of ways, it may be worse for this Member of the Trinity because He is seeing us commit these sins firsthand.

As mentioned above, John tells us in his first epistle:

"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the Truth." 1 John 1:6 (NKJV)

It is not enough to just have Salvation. If we profess to be Christians but treat Salvation as a monopoly card, in other words not taking advantage of Salvation until the very End, thereby letting us live our lives however we want, then we are walking in darkness; a.k.a. Satan's Territory. A place where Satan (and anyone else for that matter) pretty much has the right to call us his "children" because if we're in Satan's Territory it means we're acting like Devils, and as that old saying goes: "Like father, like son."

The Apostle John's letter was written (including the above verse) largely to a dangerous heresy called Gnosticism. Now Gnostics held to many heretical beliefs, but among their beliefs was the idea that they could do whatever they wanted to their bodies because sins committed could not affect the spirit. So even if they led the most sinful life in the history of the world, they would still get to Heaven. Now we look at that and say "That's terrible!" But in actuality... we have to admit that that doctrine is what many of us practice. Christ's Salvation is our "Get Out Of Jail, FREE" Card, so it doesn't matter what kind of life we live. In the End when we stand before God, we simply give Him the card and He opens the gateway of Heaven for us, saying "Well done, good and faithful servant."

I hope you're seeing something wrong with this picture. Notice what God says to us: "Well done, good and faithful servant." We are to serve God with our lives. Now while works do not get us into Heaven, they do play an important part in our service to God. James tells us:

"Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:17 (NKJV)

Work for the Kingdom. Serve God. Start acting like His children! Otherwise, Paul tells us:

"He himself will be saved, but only as one barely escaping the flames." 1 Corinthians 3:15 (NIV)

Doesn't that sound awful? I mean it's great that this person would still be Saved... but I don't know about you, I don't want to just barely escape the flames. I want to be as far away from them as possible! So all this is not to necessarily say that you are not Saved, but you are clearly in a lot of danger. You are exactly at the reaching-distance of the Devil, and believe you me, he will grab you and pull you down lower.

Throw out that "Get Out Of Jail, FREE" Card. Don't just apply Christ's Salvation at the End. Apply it to your life now. And let the Holy Spirit begin the Sanctification process as you stop walking in darkness.

"But if 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." 1 John 1:7 (NKJV)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Role of the Holy Spirit

Blogger: Joe Harrison

For several years I am ashamed to admit that I have profoundly neglected the Holy Spirit, though I professed to be a believer in the Trinity. I rarely ever gave Him any thought! And when I did, I often referred to Him as an "it". But this year I have really begun to turn around and see Him for Who He truly is. And in this blogpost were taking a look at the role of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity; a Person, not a thing. And on the note of Masculinity, Jesus Himself refers to the Spirit as "He" in the Gospel of John:

"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17 (NKJV)

Furthermore, we know that the Holy Spirit has personality (if that quote from Jesus Himself is not enough to convince you). Paul talks about the Mind (Rom. 8:27) and Will of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 12:11). Luke also tells us in Acts 13:4 that Barnabas and Saul (Paul) were "sent out by the Holy Spirit". Ephesians 4:30 and Isaiah 63:10 talk about grieving the Holy Spirit. Luke 10:21 and 1 Thessalonians 1:6 talk about the Holy Spirit giving joy.

There are numerous texts in the Bible that are clear indications that the Holy Spirit is a Person, referred to as a Man, and equal with God the Father and Jesus the Son. In one of the most popular passages in Christendom, the Great Commission (Luke 24:44-47) Jesus commissions us to baptize "in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". If the Holy Spirit were not equal with God, it seems a little strange to me that Jesus would hold Him up to such a high level of importance with His name and God's Name. Simultaneously, notice that Jesus says "the NAME". He does not say "the Names". The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity.

The Hebrew word used for the Holy Spirit is ruah, which means "breath", "air", or "wind". Many Antitrinitarians (or Nontrinitarians) use this as "proof" that the Holy Spirit is a thing, not a Person. But, just was with Yahweh (God the Father) and Yeshua (Jesus the Son), Ruah describes Who the Spirit is and what His role is. Case in point: Yahweh basically means "I Am what I Am"--God is Eternal, and eternally there for us. Yeshua means "Salvation", Jesus is our Savior or Rescuer, because He has (and will) rescue us. Ruah means "Breath", "Air", or "Wind", because He is God's Breath, but also He is our Breath of Life, He sustains us and sanctifies us, bringing us fresh air and releasing the bad air (just as our normal breathing process works).

So the Holy Spirit is God's Breath. Surely now you are beginning to recall some Bible passages that talk about God breathing. Paul tells Timothy "all Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16). But here's something interesting. Turn back to the very beginning, in Genesis.... How did God bring life to Adam and Eve? The Bible tells us He breathed into them! So could that possibly mean that the Spirit was responsible for bringing us to life? It seems to make sense, and we see why by taking a look at the overall role of the Holy Spirit.

The overall role of the Holy Spirit is to focus us on Jesus Christ. Almost everything the Spirit does results in Jesus Christ being glorified/focused on. He is called by Jesus the Spirit of Truth, because He holds the Truth (Jesus Christ, John 14:6). The Holy Spirit is prominent in evangelism because He, as with Barnabas and Paul, sends us out to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it is He Who gives us the courage to do so. When we share the Gospel, it is the Spirit Who convicts, Who leads the convicted to Christ. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us throughout our lives so that we may praise Christ. Now look at the Bible. The Bible is God-breathed; the Spirit wrote it. Why? So that we may know the Truth and glorify our Savior! Now, once again turning to the beginning, if it was, indeed, the Spirit Who brought us to life (as mentioned in the previous paragraph) then this makes sense because we are given life so that we may turn to (and glorify) Christ!

Without breath we could not speak. We need our breath in order to speak (and speak loudly). And keeping that in mind, here's an interesting way of looking at the Spirit's role:  you're a little kid who's gone with your dad to the supermarket. Then it happens... one wrong turn and you are separated and lost. You wander around alone... when suddenly you hear a voice calling out to you. What happens next? You follow the sound of the voice, which can be difficult. But eventually, the sound of the voice leads you back to your dad.

Make sense? The breath/voice of your dad led you to find him. The Holy Spirit leads you to Christ, or if you're already with Christ, when the Holy Spirit 'speaks', you focus on Christ, just as whenever someone in the same room as you speaks, you (usually) turn to look at the person.

The Role of the Holy Spirit is to focus us on Jesus Christ.

(Note: Be on the lookout for an upcoming episode of Christianese Radio where we talk, once again, about the Holy Spirit. For previous show discussions, see the 05-04-09 episode: "The Trinity" - links to Podcast Archive)

Monday, October 5, 2009

10-05-09 Episode Preview

Half-Hour 1
2 Corinthians 5:20 calls us to be ambassadors (also translated "representatives") of Christ, and there is more to this job than we realize (or sometimes even want to admit). We really do take Christianity for granted a lot of time, and while we may not realize it, we start to treat Salvation like a "Get out of Jail FREE" card. But in this half-hour we examine what it actually means to be a Representative of Christ.

Half-Hour 2
Deception. It was Satan's very first tactic against mankind. And it's this tactic that we look at in this half-hour. Be wary! Satan is good at his job, and just by looking and examining Genesis 3:1-6, we have insurmountable proof that he is! But sometimes, we can even try to deceive ourselves by making excuses for our sin. See these deceptions for what they really are, and start being Christ's Representative.