Pentecost Sunday. The Church celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We rejoice that God has poured out His Spirit just as He promised He would through Joel the prophet (Joel 2:28-32). Peter the Apostle saw the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost as the fulfillment of that prophecy (see Acts 2:16). Just as the Father had promised the coming of the Spirit through the Old Testament Prophets so the Lord Jesus had promised His own disciples just ten days earlier that He would send the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4-5). The disciples obeyed the Lord Jesus and for ten days they prayed in the upper room waiting Jesus’ promise (Acts 1:14).
The day of Pentecost marked a transformation in the plan of God. The people of God would now be the people of the Spirit. All people could enjoy being the people of God through the ministry of the Spirit (John 10:16). The gift of the Spirit would not be given to only the Jews but to all people who would come and be saved through faith in Christ Jesus (Acts 2:21; Galatians 3:13-14). In fact, Paul the Apostle would later write in Romans 8:9 that if any person does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. The baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ is essential to salvation (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
I rejoice that the Comforter has come. When my mother passed away last August, the Holy Spirit was a sweet friend to me. I rejoiced time and time again at the words of Jesus in John 14:26-27 (KJV):
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The Comforter was a dear friend to me as I grieved the loss of my mama. I sensed His sweet presence. I sensed His praying (Romans 8:26-27). I sensed His security (Ephesians 1:13-14). I sensed His gentle loving hand upon me. He brought me through.
And He has done this other times as well. How often have I felt like giving up and felt like I didn’t want to pray anymore. Yet the gentle love of the Comforter has always been my strength to help me rise up and seek God. I rejoice that He is not just my Comforter but He also is my convictor (John 16:8). He gently deals with me about my sins. The Holy Spirit never condemns me but He gently and lovingly shows me my sins. He does not lead me to condemnation (Romans 8:1) but He gently leads me to forgiveness in Christ (1 John 1:9). What a precious friend He is.
This day, I rejoice in the Comforter. I rejoice that He has come. I rejoice that He has filled me. I rejoice that He abides with me both now and forevermore. I pray that I would not grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30). I pray that He would be my guide forever.
I noticed that ESPN is once again seeking to make a case for homosexuality as they posted on Brittney Griner and how Baylor women’s basketball coach, Kim Mulkey, told Griner to keep quiet about her homosexuality. ESPN is going after Baylor and Mulkey for this despite the fact that Baylor is a Baptist school. Granted Baylor is not the bastion of conservative theology but nonetheless, Baylor is a private Baptist university. The new template seems to be: don’t call homosexuality a sin period. In fact, the only sin is calling someone else a sinner. We are free to do whatever we want to do and who are you to judge us?
Is this not the fulfillment of Romans 1:18-32? Here we have ESPN seeking to drum up a war cry against a private Christian college that has the right to do whatever they desire regarding this sin. We don’t hear them going after BYU for their honor code (a code which continues to earn BYU the label of “worst party school” by Playboy magazine). Why does ESPN have the right to condemn a private school for their own free views regarding homosexuality?
From a biblical worldview, we should not be surprised at ESPN nor the world for attacking the Church regarding standing against sin. We will be hated for our pursuit of holiness. Peter the Apostle warns us of this in 1 Peter 4:3-5 where he wrote:
3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
We should pray for Brittney Griner. I don’t begin to know her struggle with her sins. I confess that I have never battled the sin of homosexuality but I have battled the sin of lust and my prayer for her is to be saved by God’s grace (Romans 10:1). I can’t begin to know the depth of her guilt for her sins. God knows and God can deliver her from her sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Jesus is more than able to set the homosexual or the adulterer or the blasphemer free from their sins (1 John 1:9). Jesus came to deliver us from our sins (Matthew 1:21) and He is able to help us overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). I pray that the Spirit of God would convict Miss Griner and show her His grace (Titus 2:11-12).
I also pray that the Church of Jesus Christ would continue to preach the truth of God. Don’t back down Church from teaching that God hates sin and that all sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). Proclaim God’s truth that salvation is available to all who repent (Luke 13:5; Acts 2:38-39; 3:19-20; 17:30-31; Romans 2:4). Our passion should be to preach the grace of God to save sinners (Ephesians 2:8-9) and He is a mighty Savior from sin (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
This post is simply a question that I am studying out right now. My reading in both the Bible and in books will begin to reflect my thoughts on the subject. I am pondering Satan both his creation and his fall and his purpose in the overall plan of God. Satan is a subject that popular culture enjoys ignoring and even seeking to make him a myth. I am sure Satan would love nothing more than people to ignore him and to pretend he does not exist. I simply cannot ignore him because the Bible does not ignore him.
Yet why did God create Satan and why did God allow him to fall? These answers are not easy. Whether a Calvinist who holds to divine determinism and would view Satan as part of the plan of God and the will of God to us Arminians who hold that God is exhaustive in His foreknowledge and thus He knew that Satan would fall but He created him to the open theist who holds that Satan reflects the reality that God created a world that is free and thus Satan fell out of his own free will and his rebellion continues to this day. In fact, Dr. Greg Boyd has written two books on the subject of spiritual warfare and free will theism. Dr. Boyd, an open theist and perhaps the leading theologian among them, believes that the cross itself shows that God is at war with Satan. Satan is not equal but he does war against God and against His plans.
I am sure that you too have heard much about Satan and some was good and some was bad. I remember fearing Satan when I was lost especially as a boy. I feared that Satan was out to kill me as I heard from John 10:10. When I was first saved, I encountered people who saw the devil everywhere. I remember going to hear an African brother speak and he said that he had seen Satan and his demons many times in Africa. He went on to say that he had seen the same demons at the mall earlier that day not so much in possession of souls but in the love of money and the boasting of life (James 4:13-16). I personally watched a man try to cast a demon out of woman. It was more bizarre than biblical. However, I did see a woman once drop on the floor of a church and begin to move like a snake on the floor. A man in the back came up and begin to cast a demon out and she let out a horrible sounding cry from deep within. She was delivered that night and became a prayer warrior at that church.
I do believe in Satan. I have never met him as far as I know. I pray that I don’t. However, I know that Jesus is victorious and I know that He has already overcome (Hebrews 2:14). What I want to study is why does Satan exist? What is his purpose? Does Scripture give us answers to these questions? What do we make of Satan if in fact there is no true free will? Why does Satan tempt disciples of Jesus if in fact they are secure forever?
I may post on these topics from time to time but I simply wanted to throw these questions out there as to what I am pondering in my mind these days.
When I first was saved back in 1992, I was told by a brother to get a copy of the Dakes Annotated Reference Bible. The two reasons that I didn’t was 1) I didn’t have the money to get one and 2) I didn’t really want a Bible that was KJV. I had grown up trying to read the KJV (as I seemed to get a KJV award Bible every year from my Sunday School teachers growing up) and simply struggled to understand much of the KJV. My parents had purchased an NIV One Year Bible for missions support once and I was using this Bible when I was first saved before they purchased me an NIV of my own. I read from my NIV and enjoyed it tremendously. To this day, I still get a smile thinking back to using my old NIV when the Bible was so fresh to me and my zeal so young.
Needless to say, I never got a Dakes Bible. Until a friend just gave me one out of the blue about two years ago. Now before I jump into my edition, let me state that while in college I heard a brother give a lecture against the Dakes Bible so I knew some things about it. For instance, the brother showed some strange concepts Dake had in his notes such as the pre-Adamite world supposedly in Genesis 1:2, the “little gods” theory where Dake said that man was a little god (much like Word-Faith teachers such as Kenneth Copeland have espoused), and his racial theories (segregation).
From the outset, I must admit that it is easy to just want to read all the notes in this Bible. I would venture to say that this Bible has the most notes I have ever seen. Some are very good. Some are not so good. Some are sometimes just short topical studies on a subject. The notes are not in expository form per se but they do relate to the book that Dake is covering at the time. Dake, at least from the notes, was a thinker and his ability to topically put passages together is amazing.
The negative aspects of this Bible are the problems stated above. There is no doubt that Dakes included these theories in his notes. Further, while I appreciate some of the aspects of the Dakes Bible emphasis on the power of God (such as in Acts 10:38), overall I didn’t learn too much from this Bible. It seems this Bible is made for Bible studies and outlines. Not specifically to deal with answering the texts. Further, the problems above such as “little gods” or his racial theories is enough to keep me away from recommending this Bible. With the likes of the ESV Study Bible or the Fire Bible out there, I would rather recommend those.
Here is the video from the recent debate between Dr. Michael Brown (Arminian) versus Bruce Bennett (Calvinist) over the subject of, “Who Makes the Final Choice in Salvation – God or Man?” I was blessed to see how this debate, as with Dr. James White, unfolds. It is clear that we can debate each other will respecting each other in Christ.
I am proud to say that Dr. Matthew Pinson, an Arminian and President of Welch College (formally Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, TN), has a piece now on The Gospel Coalition site. I am proud of this. Recently I had written a post lamenting how Arminians do not appear on TGC site. Praise the Lord that Dr. Pinson’s article now is there. It is a good piece on Carl Henry and his desire to see Protestants come together for the defense of the gospel.
You can find the piece here.
Seems one cannot get enough books to read. Just when I think I am satisfied with a book, I find another book that I desire to read and purchase that one. My budget has holes all in it from my love for books. Here is a short list of books that I reading right now. Most of these are on my Kindle Fire.
1. Black & Tan by Douglas Wilson.
2. Faithful Lightning by Allen Guelzo.
3. Azusa Street: How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles by Frank Bartleman.
4. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder.
5. Kings of Cocaine by Guy Gugliotta and Jeff Leen.
6. Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher.
7. Classic Christianity by Thomas Oden.
8. Romans by Jack Cottrell.
9. Revival Praying by Leonard Ravenhill.
10. ESV Study Bible
“Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.” – Mark Twain