On one occasion, when Jesus was with His disciples in the region of Caesarea Philippi, “He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ (Matthew 16:13-15).
Just as in the days of Christ, it seems that everyone today has an opinion about Jesus. Some wish Him away by claiming that He never existed. However, the historical evidence proves that He did exist. Some claim that He was a prophet of God and a good man, while others claim that He was a liar and a troublemaker. Christians believe that He is the Son of God, and claim Him as their Lord and Savior. Continue reading » Is Jesus Really the Son of God?
The denominational world is filled with the teaching and conviction that the Holy Spirit personally and literally dwells within the Christian. Many of these people do not propose to know how this indwelling takes place, nor do they seem to care how it takes place. They are just comforted by the presumed “fact” that it does happen.
This belief in a literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not limited to individuals in various denominations. Some of our own brethren believe in a personal, literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This view is held by some who are sincere and very knowledgeable in the Scriptures, but it is a view with which I do not agree. Continue reading » The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
All of the apostles were chosen by the Lord for a reason. All of them shared in the ministry and apostleship, even Judas (Acts 1:25). Despite this equality, the gospel accounts reveal that on three different occasions, Jesus chose three of His apostles, separated them from the rest, and allowed them to see things that they were not permitted to tell the others.
Peter, James, and John seem to have formed an inner-circle within the Twelve. Why were these three men singled out? What was special about them? To address this question, we will first consider the occasions on which they were singled out, then we will consider the validity of some possible explanations. Continue reading » Peter, James, and John
There are individuals in the religious world today who claim to possess the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. Religious programs portray televangelists speaking in tongues and healing the sick. However, excitement over these gifts is no longer limited to “charismatic” churches. In recent years, I have heard members of several different mainstream denominations claim to have the ability to speak in tongues.
No one can deny that the apostles and some other Christians in the New Testament possessed the ability to perform miracles. The question that we will address in this article is whether or not the Bible teaches that these same gifts exist today?
Continue reading » The Miraculous Gifts of the Holy Spirit
There are a great number of misconceptions concerning the work of the Holy Spirit. It is no question that the Holy Spirit works in the lives of people, and most would not argue that point. However, many believe that the Holy Spirit works miraculously in the lives of people today as he did in the first century. The purpose of this study will be to consider that view in the light of divine scripture; the “sword of the [Holy] Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). In addition, this study does not in any way deny the Holy Spirit’s divinity nor His power. He is God (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). He does have the power to work miracles (Acts 2). Thus this study is designed to consider His method of operation as it is laid out in the Bible, and as it pertains to followers of Christ.
Continue reading » The Purpose, Regulation, and Duration of Miraculous Manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
Much skepticism surrounds those men and women today who claim the ability to see into the future or work other miracles by the power of God or some other source.
Rightly so, for their gifts are usually proven quite fallible and natural, and sometimes even very self-serving and duplicitous. At the same time, however, the word “miracle” is tossed about in our world quite freely, characterizing everything from the birth of a baby to an upset in the Super Bowl. Somewhere between the charlatans and the exaggeration is the truth about Bible miracles and that truth is surely found in the New Testament.
Continue reading » Gifts of the Spirit
In John 2:1-11, the apostle records Jesus’ miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. There are many important things to note regarding this event, where our Lord first “manifested His glory” (cf. vs. 11), but we are here most interested in the words spoken on this occasion. Specifically, we wish to examine Jesus’ words to His mother, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come” (vs. 4).
The remainder of Jesus’ spoken words in the text consist of His instructions to the servants, which led to the miracle itself (cf. vs. 7,8). The words are straightforward, and need no further explanation, so we will focus our comments on His words in verse four.
Continue reading » “My Hour Has Not Yet Come”
The Lord promised the apostles that the Spirit would be with them and in them. That is, the Holy Spirit would give and guide them into all truth, and that he would attest to their divine direction by granting them the ability to perform miracles (John 14:17, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:13). The truth of the above facts is seen in what transpired. In other words, what subsequently happened defined and described what Jesus meant when he said the Spirit would testify and bear witness with them (Cf. "also," John 15:26, 27).
What followed these promises? What happened? "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" (Mark 16:20; Cf. Hebrews 2:4). Both the apostles and the Holy Spirit were "witnesses" of the death of Christ and the glory that followed (Again, see "also" in Acts 5:32; Cf. John 15:27, where "also" includes both the apostles and the Spirit). When Peter later says they spoke the gospel "with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven," he was speaking of the fulfillment of these very things; namely, that the Spirit confirmed the testimony he gave the apostles by granting them the ability to work miracles (1 Peter 1:10-12). Or, as Scripture says, "And many wonders and signs were done by the apostles" (Acts 2:43). "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 4:33, which is in accord with the plea and prayer of 4:29, 30). God "gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands" (Acts 14:3). These passages are practical exhibitions or demonstrations of the declarations and promises of John 14:26; 15:26, 27; 16:13, 14. It is to such things that Paul alludes when he speaks of "the signs of an apostle" (2 Corinthians 12:12).
Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Word Confirmed With Signs