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Part 5 - Jesus Christ' Resurrection and the Holy Spirit

If you look at the principles on which the Movement is built (which I referred to in lesson 4) you will notice a very important fact. With all their teaching, not once do they go directly to the Bible! With every statement they make they first refer to their own books and the Watchtower in particular. What they do in fact is to come to their own conclusions and then back them up from the Bible rather than the other way round! What does this reveal to us? Especially when they say they adhere closely to the Bible but do not accept all of its teaching.

Please keep that point in mind as we continue to study the Person and work of Jesus Christ and when we come to see what they say concerning the Person of The Holy Spirit. Yes, I said Person not energy source which they call it. We shall see clearly from Scripture that The Holy Spirit is a Person. A He not an it.

1. What do Jehovah Witnesses believe about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

"There was no bodily resurrection of Christ. He was raised only as a spirit creature. No one knows what happened to his body. The post resurrection appearances of Christ were materialisations in 'different bodies' ""(Reasoning from the Scriptures p334 & 335.)

Note the title of their book "Reasoning from the Scriptures". So if we find verses of Holy Scripture that conflict with their 'reasoning' ,which takes preference? Are they not saying that all that is in the Bible is not God's Holy Word to be accepted by faith? Only if it is reasonable to our way of thinking is it to be accepted? Please bear that in mind as we continue.

Resurrection of Jesus Christ

There is clear testimony of Jesus appearing in human form after his resurrection. Jesus came to his fearful disciples after his resurrection and appears to them. Initially they first could not believe their eyes and supposed they were seeing a ghost. But Jesus assured them he was not a spectre. He said to them "See my hands and my feet that it is I myself, touch me and see, for a spirit (spectre) does not have flesh and bones as you see I have" (Luke 24:39-40) You cannot touch a ghost but you can a physical body.
Much earlier in his ministry Jesus had forecast that He would die and then rise from the dead. Speaking to his enemies who wanted him dead he said "Destroy this temple(body) and I will raise it up" (John 2:12;) If you are saying he was speaking about the physical temple Jesus knew people would think that way so he added these words to clarify what he meant. "But The Temple he spoke of was His body" (John 2:21;)

The Bible teaches that the atoning death of Christ and the bodily resurrection of Christ are the two main pillars on which the Christian faith stands. We read in Romans 4:25; "Jesus Christ was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised again for our justification."
Again in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 1-5 (the great resurrection chapter), a very long chapter ,where Paul makes it abundantly clear that Jesus was raised from the dead and not only Him but all shall be raised from the dead. There in that chapter Paul makes a special point of saying that these two major doctrines are of first importance (verse 3) "That Christ died for our sins. He was buried. He was raised on the third day. He appeared to Peter and to the twelve and to five hundred on one occasion!!!

Jehovah Witnesses say it is not important what happened to the body of Jesus after His resurrection yet the Apostle Paul went to such lengths to prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In John chapter 21 Jesus , following his death and resurrection not only appeared to his disciples by the sea of Tiberius but also provided breakfast for them. Is The Bible true? Every word of it. So why do Jehovah Witnesses deny such clear evidence? Because it conflicts with what they are taught by Jehovah Witness Leaders. And for good measure the resurrected Jesus performed another miracle in causing a great number of fish to come into the nets of Peter and his other fishermen friends.

Finally on the day He ascended into Heaven his disciples witnessed the event
and were told by two angels as you see Jesus taken up into heaven so one day people will see His descent from heaven in similar fashion. (Acts 1:9-11;)

2. What do Jehovah Witnesses say about The Holy Spirit?

It is a very short statement. "The holy spirit is not a person but the invisible force of God, which moves people to do God's will."

The Person of The Holy Spirit

In Acts 5:1-3 we read the account of a man and wife who lie about a business transaction concerning the sale of some land. Peter having received from God the gift of discernment rebukes them saying "How is it that Satan has so filled your hearts that you have lied to The Holy Spirit...you have not lied to men but to GOD."
Further on in the book of Acts in 8:29; The Holy Spirit SPEAKS to Philip giving him instructions and directions in his work as an evangelist as he is brought into contact with the Ethiopian Eunuch.

In chapter 13 The Holy Spirit is instrumental in setting apart Barnabas and Saul for a special work of ministry.

In Acts 16:17; The Holy Spirit actually prevents Paul and Silas going in one direction and re-routing them in the direction of Europe and Macedonia. Paul then says and these words are so important as to Who The Holy Spirit is.."We concluded that God had called us to preach the gospel unto them"

May I again say we are each one responsible to study to show ourselves approved unto God so search The Scriptures and see if not what I have put to you is true. I am a mere mortal but God is immortal and always speaks The Truth. Search the Word diligently and it will reward you with understanding that will bring you great joy , satisfaction and peace. Jesus is God and The Holy Spirit is God and they are joined to a loving Heavenly Father, blessed Trinity.

Next time we shall look more closely at the Jehovah Witness translation of the New World Translation and see why it cannot be trusted.

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POD - Psalm 144

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Psalm 144

 

 

A psalm of David.

1 Praise the Lord, who is my rock.
He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle.
2
He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him. He makes the nations submit to me.
3 O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them,
mere mortals that you should think about them?
4
For they are like a breath of air;
their days are like a passing shadow.
5
Open the heavens, Lord, and come down.
Touch the mountains so they billow smoke.
6
Hurl your lightning bolts and scatter your enemies!
Shoot your arrows and confuse them!
7
Reach down from heaven and rescue me;
rescue me from deep waters, from the power of my enemies.
8
Their mouths are full of lies;
they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.
9
I will sing a new song to you, O God!
I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp.
10
For you grant victory to kings!
You rescued your servant David from the fatal sword.
11
Save me! Rescue me from the power of my enemies.
Their mouths are full of lies; they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.
12
May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants.
May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace.
13
May our barns be filled with crops of every kind.
May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands, even tens of thousands,
14
and may our oxen be loaded down with produce.
May there be no enemy breaking through our walls,
no going into captivity, no cries of alarm in our town squares.
15
Yes, joyful are those who live like this!
Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord.

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11th December 2017

G'day and welcome to Partakers ThinkSpot! Listen to the audio and see how you are challenged to live your faith out this week!

 

The most famous verse in the Bible is probably this one. I wonder if you have heard or read it. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Isn’t that simply amazing! Love! God is love! Every exhibition of love, even by those who deny His existence, is an example of God’s love. God’s love is also seen in all tenses – past, present and future. Past - God has loved you. Present - God is loving you. Future - God will love you! Amazing! WOW!

 

Moreover, God's love in the Bible is seen as unfailing, everlasting, intimate, sacrificial, unbreakable, all-conquering, personal, great, immeasurable and all-knowing. This is seen supremely in the Cross of Jesus Christ. When Jesus died for the sins of the world on the cross, it was supreme love overcoming all that is not love. Even when great acts of evil are committed in the world, love is all around. Love continues despite such acts.

 

How are we to respond to this love of God?

The Apostle John in 1 John 3:16 says “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

Further on in 1 John 4:15-16, John writes “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Our motivation as Christians is to love and to be love. This is a love, which is sacrificial and self-less. It is tough love which is of service to other people. Loving and serving others, sacrificially, are the primary ways of showing you love God! It is easiest to love your friends. But Jesus commanded that his followers also love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-45)! Now that is very radical and can be difficult! We see constantly in the media and elsewhere, that regards our enemies, we are to be confrontational or at best to just ignore them!

 

Love and serve everyone

How is it possible to love our enemies? It is only with the help of God and His abundant grace towards us! We depend on the Holy Spirit who lives inside all Christians to empower and guide! To only love those who love you is what is expected by people everywhere as normal behaviour. But as a Christian, if you are one, you are to do more! You are to be seen to love more than other people. You don't have to like others as friends, but you do have to love them as fellow human beings!

 

Go!

Go into this week, being prepared to show your love of Jesus Christ, remaining close to Him and serving other people generously with abundant grace-filled love! By loving and serving others, you become God's arms and legs in a physical world. Give people a smile! If you are happy, let your face show it to others! Help that work colleague! Help that unemployed person to find work. One of the greatest limitations you face in loving and serving other people is a severe lack of imagination! Ask God to expand your imagination to love and serve; as well as asking for the opportunities to do them. Loving and serving are hallmarks of an authentic Christian life. Love continues even amidst chaos and turmoil all around. Go and be part of the continuing of love.

 

Prayer

Father, we thank you, that you are love! We thank you Jesus, that you demonstrated great love by going to the cross and showing your love for the world by dying on the cross! Holy Spirit enflame our imagination and cause us to desire to show love to others – even others who we think don’t deserve it! As we go into this week, O God, remind us to love you wholeheartedly and to love others sacrificially.

For we ask this, O Father of Love, in the name of the Son of Love, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit of Love.

 

Amen.

 

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Exploring The Bible

43. Old Testament

Jeremiah - 627-580 BC

 

G'day and welcome to our series, "Exploring the Bible" This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • Jeremiah 7:23–24
  • Jeremiah 31:31-33

 The Book of Jeremiah is from the period 627 - 580 BC, the grim years before, during and after the exile. Jeremiah’s message is so sad he is called the weeping prophet. He prophesies mainly to Judah, before going out to the surrounding nations and Babylon.

Everyone despises him and rejects his message, but through his sermons and signs he faithfully declares that surrender to God’s will is the only way to escape God’s judgement. There are easily overlooked flashes of hope in his writings. God will make a new covenant with all people.

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Gems in the book of Revelation
Part 125 - Revelation 1:9-20
A Portrait of Jesus
 

We do not know what Jesus looked like. Paintings, by Westerners, show him as a tall Nordic type, broad shouldered, blond and blue eyed. All of which is very unlikely. If we may guess what he looked like he was probably fairly small by modern standards, dark skinned, with black hair and dark brown eyes. It will have been his personality rather than his size that enabled him to walk through a crowd intent on lynching him (Luke 4: 30). I hope by now you are saying to yourself something like ‘so what, does it matter’. Of course, it doesn’t.

So when John wants to tell us what Jesus was like he says something quite different:

 

“and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” (Revelation 1:13-16).
 

It is an impossible picture if taken literally but it isn’t meant to be taken literally; it is a word picture. The different parts of the image are copies of Old Testament images. The ‘son of man’ is described in Daniel 7: 13 and is a figure of a human being but also stands for all the people of God. It was also the way that Jesus referred to himself. He did not say ’I’ or ‘myself’; he talked about himself as the ‘son of man’. The ‘robe and the golden sash’, the blazing eyes’ and the ‘glowing bronze feet’ are all reminiscent of the divine messenger in Daniel 10: 5, 6, who is described as a man but might be an angel or even Jesus or God himself. ‘White hair’ is like that of the God figure in the vision of Daniel in his 7: 9. The ‘sound of rushing waters‘ uses the image of the approach of God’s glory in Ezekiel 43: 2. His ‘face like the sun shining in all its brilliance’ resembles the ‘likeness of the glory of the Lord’ in Ezekiel 1: 27, 28. You will note that I have deliberately left out the image of the ‘sharp double edged sword’ reserving that as the next great gem for next week.

The whole picture is not a gem but more like a necklace of gems strung together to glorify our Lord. This is Jesus - beyond ordinary words to describe and therefore described with images drawn from Old Testament visions, with which it has much in common. Images like these have to be employed to try and give some impression of his glory.

The description goes on as he touches the worshipping John. He describes himself as the first and the last, which is the same as being Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet, so the A and the Z in English), the resurrected one, who will be alive for ever and ever. Therefore he is of the same status as the ‘Alpha and the Omega, the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty’, all descriptions of God in the very recent verse 8. Thus we see something more than a hint of the Trinity in his self-description.

But in the end, it is no good me explaining the image or you reading about it - it is meant to be thought about and meditated upon. Do just that.

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Partakers Friday Prayers

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.


Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free people rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.
Amen

(A Prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-440)

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