The Holy Trinity is a complex subject yet not so complex as to be that difficult to comprehend. We can understand why Godhead is a triune (three part) person when we remember that God said, ”Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...” Just like the man they created, The Godhead has a Mind, a Body, and a Spirit. The Mind is named “I am that I am,” but Jesus said that we should call him Father. The mind of Godhead is named Father, The Body is named Jesus, and the third part of the Trinity has no name, but is always called The Holy Spirit. The three parts of Godhead are called, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost., or Mind, Body, and Spirit. The reason that the Holy Spirit has no name is because, He does “not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (1 John 16:13-14)
Eph. 1:12-13 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
The Apostle Paul wrote the church at Ephesus and told them that they first heard the word of truth and then believed they were sealed by the Holy Spirit. Truly, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Witnessing to people by inviting them to church does not plant any seeds, They must hear the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is at work everywhere in the world today. He has been at work since the day of Pentecost.
But you must know enough scripture to be able to say, “The Bible says...” or “Jesus says,..”, Or “God says...etc.” We must remember witnessing to others is not a prepared speech that we give and then leave. Witness is something that happens when we are talking to someone, anyone, and they are told the Word of God within that conversation. You will never know if you are planting a seed, or watering one that has already been planted, but eventually Jesus will reap the harvest. Far too many times witnessing has been an effort to build membership in some church instead of sewing and watering seeds. Do not worry about how the message is received; that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Remember the task that Jesus has laid before us to make disciples in the Body of Christ not church members. Search the scriptures. You will not find one instance of a new convert joining a church before, during, or after receiving water baptism.
On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter spoke to the crowd in Jerusalem saying, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; ”And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” (Acts 2:16-17).
Since that day, the Holy Spirit has been at work on all mankind. What work is He doing?
John 16:7-11 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (17) Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John 16:13-14 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Since the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has been being poured out upon all mankind. To the believer, He is a comforter and guide. To the unredeemed, He convicts them of sin, or righteousness and of Judgment.
When the Holy Spirit Speaks, He speaks of whatever He hears from Jesus. The Holy Spirit sometimes speaks to a person audibly, but mostly through INSPIRATION. He inspires mankind to think, to act, and to believe by in dwelling and inspiring a persons mind, occasionally commanding action as it written "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” But more often He speaks as a constant, gentle persuasion and guidance. When persons are speaking or writing as commanded by the Holy Spirit as in,”Thus saith the Lord”, they are prophesying or writing Holy Scripture under the command of the Holy Spirit saying to them, “Thus and thus saith the Lord.” This scripture will be guarded and preserved in the minds of the necessary people, who hold such words dearer than life to themselves. Whether are transcribing or translating when necessary, every word, jot, and tittle is inspired and preserved for subsequent generations. If we do not believe this to be so, we believe that God has left us to grope along the wall on our way to the grave. We must either have absolute confidence that we have been provided with the absolute, constant, and Living Word of God in writing, pr we should just keep our eyes closed while driving on the freeway because we would have the same chance of coming out of this alive.
The reason I believe in plenary transcription and translation is because: God does not do things happenstance, nor does He leave us with only general impressions of himself and his word when the very salvation of humankind is at stake. The redemption of the very Universe of Creation itself is at stake in the war against our enemy. We must be able to withstand all the accusations of our accuser with the absolute conviction that we hold within our hands and our hearts the VERY WORDS OF GODHEAD HIMSELF. To believe less creates in the mind of such a believer a hopeless muddle of confusion and opposition within himself. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8
Eph. 6:10-13 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
THE BIRTH 0F THE BODY OF CHRIST
ActS 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
As the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and the power of God overshadowed her, (Luke 1:35) so the Holy Spirit came upon those assembled that morning, and the Body of Christ was conceived within each of them to be his witnesses. They had been waiting as commanded, not knowing for sure what it was that they were waiting for, but they were being obedient to the Lord’s last words to them before He ascended back to His throne in Eternity.
Acts 1:4-9 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem,” but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (5) For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (6) When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (7) And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. (8) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (9) And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
The Body of Christ has been living, witnessing, testifying, singing, praising, living for Him and dying for Him through the bodies, minds, spirits, and voices of believers since that day. The Body will not fail in His purpose nor lose its commitment to Him until He Returns to earth as He promised. But, it is also indisputable that all through the Church Age the Body Christ has been losing sight of the power, strength, and authority that Jesus gave to it, until today far too much of The Body of Christ can most closely be defined by the Church at Sardis:
Rev 3:1-6 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (2) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (3) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (4) Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (5) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Sardis was named for the small, round, pretty red jewel stones which where just lying on top of the ground in good supply. A cottage industry in and around Sardis of gathering those stones and turning them into cheap costume jewelry provided much of the wealth of Sardis.
Evidently the Sardisians had become much more materialistic than spiritual because Jesus had to introduce Himself to this church as He that has the Holy Spirit and holds the messengers to the Church in his hand. This church had become much like the Jewelry the town produced, cheap, flashy, showy, plentiful, but of little real value. Jesus said they had a name that they were alive, but that they were dead.
It appears that this church body had little reason to exist. I read a headline the other day that said the worship service in existence today will be dead in a few years. I know that a ‘worship service’ is standard term that is used in nearly every Protestant Church in America today. There are many kinds of these “worship”, services. Often more than one kind being held at different times in churches today. So I am not sure what a traditional service is. Many home bounds now try to worship in front of the TV listening to one of their favorite TV preachers etc.
Several years ago I read an article in the Baptist Standard about the worship services being modernized in many churches. I responded to the Editors by trying to get them to understand that worship is not something a believer attends. Worship is something a belier does. In every case mentioned in The Old Testament, worship uses a Hebrew word that depicts the worshiper lying prostrate with face down yielding themselves to the Lord. In the case of idolatry and false worship some other word is used.
In the New Testament, the word used for worship has similar meaning. The word that is translated as the worshiping Jesus is nearly always translated from a Greek word that means to kow tow like a dog and kiss the hand of one’s Master. There are two times it is translated from another word or its derivative that mean to render service. However, in the New Testament the same word that means to kow tow like a dog is also translated as worship when an idol is worshiped.
So then How are New Testament Christians supposed to Worship in a fashion that cannot be duplicated by unbelievers?
John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Jesus told the woman at the well that the time had arrived when God would be seeking those who would worship Him in the spirit and in truth. We have been studying the Holy Spirit here, but we have seen very little of how we should worship in the Spirit. Jesus said we should now be worshiping in spirit and in truth.
We are told that the Holy Spirit indwells and seals us at the time or our belief. All of those things about kneeling and scraping, like a dog are not to be understood literally, but applied Spiritually. I think it is nigh unto impossible to get close enough to the Lord in the Spirit in most of today’s church environments. What with all the drums, jazz band etc. beating out ‘sacred songs” to rock and roll rhythms, etc. It makes churches popular by providing such entertainment, but it has little to no worship value. If Elijah had been in the cave of a modern worship service it seems unlikely he would have heard the “still, small voice” calling for him to come out of the cave.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalms 46:10)
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. (Psalms 4:4)
Worshiping in spirit and in truth first requires a stillness of spirit and surroundings, and secondly the Word of God. Jesus said “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (17) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (18) As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. (19) And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” (John 17:14-19)
We must find our inner sanctums before worship can begin, and that is nigh unto impossible in the confusion, cacophony, and convolutions of today’s culture in both the secular and in many ‘religious’ worlds. If worship were still a physical activity it could occur within the raucous ceremonies in most churches today that somehow equate loud with Spiritual, as though the Holy Spirit is hard of hearing.
1 Kings 18:27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
God is a Spirit and must be Worshiped in Spirit and in Truth. Worship occurs when the Spirit of God meets the Word of God in the mind of a believer. The Believer will never feel more alive than when that happens, and stillness of spirit is a prerequisite to such worship. That does not mean absolute silence or stillness of the body. It means you must be at peace with yourself and your Lord, and be aware of His presence in mind and spirit. Then when the Word is preached to such a congregation sitting in stillness prayerful anticipation, there will be shouts of “Hallelujah,” and “Amen,” and “Thank you, Jesus,” for when the Spirit meets the Word there is Life. It seems doubtful to me that John the Baptist himself could stir the spiritless souls in Sardis today.
The movement of and by the Holy Spirit is what is most lacking in churches today. And there is an attempt to supply that which is missing through man inspired innovations, stage props, programs, etc. Millions of dollars that should have been spent for the evangelization of the culture are being wasted today. It is a useless waste to try and supply that which is lacking within those congregations who cannot recognize what they really need is an awakening. Churches today are spending so much on material things like swimming pools, gymnasiums, physical health buildings, campuses, real estate, and such, that missions support and efforts are an after thought. Sometimes a special conference is required to even decide whether of not spend any money at all on the mission opportunities that exist all around us.
It is sad that the Holy Spirit is so far from most such services today. Yet, He is always so much closer to us than we can ever have imagined. He is never further from us than the next “atom” of time. May we never forget that the early church met in the sewers and catacombs of the Roman Empire while turning the world upside down for Jesus.
I do not propose that the more modern services should be abandoned, I do emphatically state they are not conducive to worship. But neither is preaching, unless the preacher is speaking the truth in the power of the Holy Spirit. Preachers, if you are not yourselves stirred in your spirits as you preach, you need to spend some time studying your material. If your material does not stir you, you are either not studying in the Spirit, or you are not studying the Truth.
While it is not impossible to worship during the preaching part of the service, the assembling of ourselves together should primarily be understood as a time of praise and edification. Worshipers must be taught that each of us should be spending “much time in secret with Jesus alone.”
The church at Sardis was told to”be watchful and strengthen the things that remain.” Before today’s church of the Sardisians can be watchful, they first must be taught what it means to be watchful. The world in the Greek is literally means to be awake. In the Military it is a Courts Martial offense to go to sleep while on watch. The church does not really understand why Jesus leaves his Body here instead of just catching them up to Heaven as soon as they believe. Christians are his Army against the rulers of darkness in this world and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. To be watchful, sentries must first be awake, and then must know what they are what their duties are, and what they are watching for.
Preachers are failing Jesus when they do not ensure his armies are prepared and equipped to fight the battle each day as they journey through life. And Christians are failing him by not studying to show themselves approved. It is tantamount to treason for a commander in the field to ill prepare his troops assigned to him. And it is tantamount to treason for one of the troopers to lay down his arms before ordered to do so by his Commander. Jesus has not surrendered in this war. And neither should we. Prov. 6:9 “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” Awake! The enemy has taken our Nation from us while we slept. Do we not at all care? Or our we just satisfied to rest in our own salvation while millions around us perish into the darkness?
JHeb 2:1-4 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. (2) For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; (3) How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (4) God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
I stood many nights and days of duty while stationed at the Naval Weapons Station, Wharf Alpha, on the Cooper River near Charleston, SC. The currents on this river were so swift that they would sometimes exceed 12-15 knots. At all times there was a Captain’s Standing order in place for Officer of the Deck to have all the moorings checked every watch on the small boats that were tied up to the finger piers astern of us. Invariably some boat would be missed, and it would be spotted swirling down the river with the current and outgoing tide taking it out to sea.
A small boat crew would then have to dispatched to catch the drifting boat, board her, and tow her back the pier. I have had no problem understanding the condition, the cause, and the solution to the problem of letting slip the things we have heard. In today’s assemblies it is the Captain of Hosts who is expected to bring back the missing in action while the rest of the passengers sit asleep on watch.
The Power to Love
1 Pet. 4:8-9 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall
cover the multitude of sins. (9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
Rom. 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath
fulfilled the law.
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Isa. 45:22-23
1 Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
1 Cor. 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.