The same sermon that
comforts the afflicted
can afflict the comfortable.
The same sermon that
comforts the afflicted
can afflict the comfortable.
The Holy Spirit never leaves a surrendered vessel unfilled or unused. – Adrian Rogers
Holy Spirit leads you, but He never drives you.
YE ARE COME TO WHAT?
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Heb 12:22-24.
There is much to glean from these verses of scripture. They center on the contrast between the law, and the church as expressed by “church of the firstborn.” Here, the Old Testament world of shadows and symbols, and the New Testament world of realities come together in a most thrilling way.
It begins in the Hebrews’ exodus from Egypt. God purchased to Himself the firstborn by the blood of the Passover Lamb. He emphatically proclaimed to the Hebrews that the firstfruits of man, beast, the field, etc. belonged to Him, and such must be yielded to Him or redeemed with fair price. Soon a census was taken and the tribe of Levi almost matched in number the total of firstborn saved from death by the blood. Whereupon, God traded the firstborn back to the Hebrews for the entire tribe of Levi who would produce the priests and minister about holy things. It is important to connect the dots here. The Old Testament priests then became representative of the firstborn ones from Egypt.
The Levitical priesthood was destined to cease, giving way to another priesthood, and another high priest after the order of Melchizedec Who would serve the covenant people of God without end. He, of course, is Jesus. Who is THE FIRST BORN from the dead among many brethren.
When the New High Priest fulfilled every jot and title of the Mosaic Law, He redeemed His people of covenant out from under the Old and into the New. The expression of the New Covenant among men is the New Testament Church (purchased with holy blood) and the pillar and ground of the truth. Soon after the empowerment of the church by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, gentiles were added as it grew by leaps and bounds under the missionary efforts of the Apostle Paul and others. The people of this New Covenant are called the “Israel of God,” Gal. 6:16. Moreover, Peter calls them “a royal priesthood.” I Peter 2:9. Consequently, the writer of Hebrews emphasizes that we are no longer under the law. We have not come to Mt. Sinai, but to Mt. Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem . . . To the church of the firstborn…. But while we have this blessed status and enjoy the understanding and spiritual maturity it affords us, there is much greater personal responsibility regarding personal submission to the instructions of Christ Jesus, our eternal high priest. We must not turn away from Him Who has spoken to us. We must learn to worship and serve God acceptably. While it is sweet to enjoy our relationship with Him as our Loving Heavenly Father, we must hear the following verses as well, and know that our God is indeed a consuming fire.
The church of the firstborn! What a lofty position to which we have been elevated in Christ Jesus!
Acts chapter 2 can give us great insights on the work of the Holy Spirit. What took place in the upper room has an explosion of thoughts about what took place. One area of mistaken thoughts is that this was when the Holy Spirit indwelt each individual believer and sealed then unto the day of redemption. Very simply a mistaken thought about the work of the Holy Spirit will throw everything else out of kilter. John 14:15-21 is the promise of the Comforter, not the indwelling seal unto redemption. He is called the Spirit of Truth. He is sent in the name of Jesus. We are given a list of things that the Holy Spirit will do in leading the Church. He will teach the Church. He will teach the Church all things and bring the ability to remember things. If your memory is working, you will remember reading that there were times after this that the apostles remembered things that they were told by Jesus would happen.
John 16:7 emphasizes the need of the Comforter. Why? Jesus is not personally with the Church to lead and teach. Let us carry on with the work of the Holy Spirit. Our polished speech, charisma, or exotic intelligence is not what draws people to Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit that reprove the world of sin and of righteousness’ and of judgment.
Acts 2:4 – “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. I count about 15 different languages spoken on this day. This is not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. This is the empowering of the Church and the Church members. This is totally different from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Notice the question that was asked the apostles and Peter, what shall we do? The question was not what shall we do to be saved? Notice the answer, Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost. Notice this statement, he was sent to jail for stealing a car. Was he sent to jail so that he could steal that car? Or rather because he stole a car. Repent and be baptized for (because of ) remission of sins. After baptism and Church membership the gift of the Holy Spirit is given.
Oh yes, verse 41 says that about three thousand souls were added to them and this took place after baptism.
William Andrew Dillard
THE SAVIOR OF HIS PEOPLE
The Holy Spirit used the apostle Paul to say in one place, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11.
It is also most interesting to note that the angel of God delivered the name of Mary’s child to Joseph, saying: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, There’s Just Something About That Name” the songwriter penned. Indeed, there is much, so much about that marvelous name. It is Hebrew in origin. In fact, it is the same as the name “Joshua,” and means “Jehovah is salvation.” The Old Testament Joshua, a type of Jesus (The embodiment of Jehovah) led the covenant people of God into the Promised Land through conquest and rule. Jesus will do the same as He leads His people into the fulfillment of promise of the millennial reign through conquest and rule with a rod of iron.
However, the angel declared the primary reason for the name is that He would save His people from their sins. Far beyond the new birth (saving from Adamic sin) that is universally offered, it is the saving of HIS people from THEIR SINS. John explained that “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” I John 1:8. But the wonderful truth is that Jesus is able to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Heb. 7:25. Therefore, John went on to say, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. What a Savior! He saves us! He keeps us! He forgives us! He blesses us!“…and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”
Act 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, 6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
What a wonderful passage of scripture. Within these passages are several important points for us to consider.
1. The importance of telling others that Jesus has risen from the dead after paying for the sins of man. There was a two fold result that came of telling others of Jesus resurrection.
a. It angered the legalists. When I use the term legalist, I use it in reference to man’s plan of salvation by adding the law to grace. Notice who was offended. The priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees. These were all trying to bind the people to the law as a means of getting to heaven. Legalism has everything to do with how we are saved and nothing to do with our obedience after salvation.
b. The second result was, five thousand were saved. What a glorious event. We are thrilled to the marrow when one is saved and rightly so. If we were to have 10 or 20 respond to an invitation, we would never quit bragging about it.
2. The kindred (vs. 5-7) of the high priest were gathered together and gave an opportunity to witness by the apostles. The question was, by what power or name have you done this. An open ended question such as this deserves an answer. Oh that we could have such an invitation to witness. Wait! We have that invitation each and every day. As we live a life that is saturated in the love of God and His Word, He prepares, for us, opportunity to witness. We must open our eyes to the opportunities around us and see what the has prepared. How often we fail to recognize the opportunities to reach others for the Lord because our eye is not on the prize but on the things of this world.
3. Take special notice of verse 8 and what happens to Peter. “ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost.” The plan of salvation as revealed in John 3:16, speaks of security when it says “everlasting life.” I believe that John 3:16 is salvation complete. Everlasting life speaks of security. That security comes from the sealing of the Holy Spirit. 2Co_1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Eph_1:13 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, Eph_4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. This gives us two points to consider.
a. When did this indwelling of the Spirit take place? Matthew 10:20 speaks of it before the day of Pentecost. Romans 8:9 speaks of the Spirit of God dwelling in us. It says, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ, a person is not saved. Based upon this for one to say the Old Testament Saints were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit is to say there are two plans of salvation. One for the Old Testament Saints and one for the New Testament Saints. It also indicates that Old Testament Saints could lose their salvation. We enjoy the Sealing of the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. They did not. Without this seal there would be the possibility of losing ones salvation. There are scriptures in the Old Testament that speak of the Holy Spirit within a person but look at
1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
This leads me to believe that Peter being saved and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not being referred to in verse 8. When the Church is gathered in the upper room and baptized in the Holy Spirit as a Church in not being referred to here. I contend that this extra measure of grace is the Holy Spirit in power, enabling Peter with boldness to address this assembly. This happened in the Old Testament. Men that were saved and the Holy Spirit indwelling them were empowered to do great and mighty things when the Holy Spirit comes upon them.
b. The last thought I would like to leave you with is: The law of God, the doctrine of Christ is much more important than any law man with a corrupt and debauched mind can create. We should always choose God’s law above any other. He created us. His Son died for us. The Holy Spirit seals us. Our love for what God has done should enable us to stand in the dark days of trial.
BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. All blasphemy against God is a grave sin. But speaking against the Son of man is forgivable. Because when a person receives Jesus as Savior, ALL sins are forgiven.
But blaspheming the Spirit is unforgivable. It implies malicious intent. And it’s completely—thoughtfully,willfully & consciously rejecting that which ENABLES US, the convicting power of the Spirit, to believe in Christ in the first place.
Apparently Most of the Pharisees Had Committed this Sin. When they saw & heard Jesus, they told God’s powerful Spirit: “Go away! Don’t bother us with this man. We’ve made up our minds. Whatever you show us, we won’t believe! We’re still gonna kill Him!” And this is exactly what they did.
And in the process, their malicious unbelief condemned their souls to Hell.
Let me illustrate. This is like an unsaved man I once knew. He was lying on his death bed in the hospital. And a Methodist preacher named Brother Hale came to visit him. And when the preacher walked into the room, the wicked man said: “Get THE HELL out of here!”
So, the preacher left & never returned to ”bother” this man again. And a short time later, as far as I know, he died in his sins. My friends, what of you? Where are you going when you die? It’s your choice. And there are only two places to choose from—either Heaven or Hell. We must all choose. And there is no middle ground. And Jesus said: “He that is not with me is against me.”
PLEASE PRAY for Broadcast 152, “The Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 12:14-32), going out by shortwave 5 times this coming week on World Wide Christian Radio.
UNITED IN THE FAITH: EVIDENCE OF HOLY SPIRIT PRESENCE
An exceedingly marvelous thing occurred on the Day called Pentecost long, long ago. It is recorded in Acts Chapter Two.
The baptism of the Lord’s church in Holy Spirit presence and empowerment fulfilled Jesus’ promise to His little flock to impart to it the Comforter Who would lead it in power and illumination throughout the age.
Some folks question whether that same Holy Spirit continues with the Lord’s churches today or should the church be praying for a Pentecost repeat.
God’s promises never fail. There will not be a repeat of Pentecost anymore than there will be a repeat of Calvary’s cross. But the evidence of Holy Spirit’s presence is not as religious men of carnal minds think or in the antics of religious charlatans who appeal to the flesh nature. The most solid and obvious evidence of continued Holy Spirit presence, to the mind of this writer, lies in church members’ spiritual understanding, acceptance, and agreement with the faith once delivered to the saints, Jude 3. This distinguishes the Lord’s true churches from all other religious bodies on earth. And while the Lord’s churches are not cookie cutter entities, in many respects they are highly unified in core doctrines which the entire religious world rejects out of hand. Consider these specifics: 1) The hereditary depravity of the total man, 2) Salvation by grace through faith plus nothing else; 3) Eternal security of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ; 4) Baptism as a burial in deep water of a professed believer by the authority of a New Testament church; 4) The perpetuation of the local, visible nature of the church, and its origin by Jesus during His personal ministry on earth. Other points of unity might well be mentioned, but these are all held as basic Bible truths by the Lord’s true churches. While being emphatically denied by the religious world at large, they are the basis of the churches assembling to worship and to advance the work of the Great Commission. How may this amazing thing be true? Could it be that the people in the Lord’s churches are smarter than everyone else on earth, especially those in other religious communities? Surely, that is not so. Thus, herein lies the marvel of the age, the greatest and most obvious evidence of the abiding work of the Holy Spirit in modern day churches of the Lord. These spiritual things are not carnally discerned. Their knowledgeable acceptance in the hearts of God’s people together with the marvelous unity and harmony they provide fulfill the quest of the spiritual student searching for such evidence. Though he certainly could, he actually needs look no further than this for irrefutable evidence that the Holy Spirit abides with His churches, and has done so since Pentecost.