This blog was written in response to questions that were received on and around Sunday, October 21, the Sunday that Pastor Jim and I team taught about being led by the Holy Spirit. It’s being published a week late because my computer spent a week “in the shop.” The following are five quick answers to five good questions, each of which may stimulate longer answers as part of a sermon in weeks to come. Happy reading!
Question #1 from the Sermon on 10/21: In Acts 1:8 it states; “but you will receive…” Why do you assume that the “you” applies to all of us and not just to the Eleven who He was speaking to?
Great question! Perhaps the easiest answer is found in the writings of the last Apostle, who incidentally was not there when Jesus ascended, but was holding the coats of the men who stoned Stephen…. The Apostle Paul writes to the mostly Gentile church at Corinth that each of those Corinthian believers had received gifts chosen by and empowered by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11). So the power promised to the Eleven that were there at Christ’s ascension was promised by the twelfth, who wasn’t there, to a church that didn’t even know YHYH when Christ made that promise to the Eleven. Therefore, being a member of the same church, having been baptized by the same Holy Spirit, I believe I (we) have the same power (cf. John 17:20).
Question #2 from the Sermon on 10/21: We talk about the Holy Spirit indwelling us upon our belief, yet you read Galatians 5:19 regarding those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. What if we have the Spirit yet do these things? I also think of Hebrews 10:27. Thanks.
I believe that Galatians 5:19 is a rhetorical reminder of a warning that Paul gave the Galatians when he was preaching there, that grace doesn’t mean license, and that God will change you. He is reminding them that “of course you will want to walk in the Spirit because you don’t want to live like those who aren’t going to inherit* the kingdom.” Secondly, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer; He also seals the believer (Ephesians 1:13); the believer isn’t in danger of losing his or her eternal salvation; but the believer is in danger of temporal discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11) and loss of heavenly reward (1 Cor 3:10-15).
*If this talk of “loss of inheritance” is to believers, then it’s a reference to the Bema Seat rewards. As to Hebrews 10:27 – All of Hebrews is one big argument that it’s Christ or NOTHING. The first part of Chapter 10 talks about the once for all offering and then the tone changes to “but if you…..” He’s not talking to the believer who goofs up; he’s talking to the soul that rejects Jesus.
Question #3 from the Aisle: Can you explain the three vertical bar logo on our sign?
This question was asked on Facebook recently, and here is the answer from the artist himself… “Our primary focus in creating this logo was for the design to be aesthetically pleasing and memorable enough for it to generate brand recognition. In other words, we want people to see the logo and instantly think of us. As far as any spiritual significance, there is some room for interpretation. The number three is a big one in the Bible, appearing a number of different ways: three crosses, three days between Christ’s death and resurrection, three parts of the Holy Trinity. We don’t hold to any one of those interpretations in particular.”
Question #4 from an Email: Are children covered by parents’ salvation until the child is old enough to make a decision for him or herself?
This is a hard question, because the Bible gives us hints, but no outright teaching. In 1 Corinthians 7:14, Paul says children are sanctified by the believing parent, but Paul isn’t specific in his definition. It’s part of his argument for a believing spouse to stay with his/her unbelieving spouse, so he doesn’t dig into the theology behind his statement. I do, additionally, believe that unbelievers will understand the reason they are being judged. So if a child is too young to understand the wrong he has done, I don’t believe a Holy God would convict him. We also know that David believed he’d see his infant son again (2 Samuel 12:23). And finally we know that God didn’t hold the children of the Israelites accountable for the sins of their parents at Kadesh. In Numbers 14:29 he excuses everyone 19 and under from the curse of death by wandering. So is the child covered by their parents? I don’t know. Is the child given time to grow into accountability and understanding? Yes. How much time? That is the question we have to leave in the hands of our holy, merciful, all wise and all loving Heavenly Father.
Question #5, also from an Email: Are boundaries biblical or are they a kinder way of saying I’m unwilling to forgive? Is there a difference between holding a grudge and setting a boundary?
I think there can be a difference. I think it takes God-given discernment, possibly including wise counsel to tell the difference. My concern with claiming “boundary” is that it can be used to cover a grudge, but obviously you see that, too.
Preventing continued abuse is the best example of a boundary that might be necessary, even if forgiveness has been extended. Just be cautious and practice the Golden Rule. Imagine how hurtful it would be if someone put up a wall keeping you out because you talk too loudly or wear mismatched socks!
Keep the questions coming and do remember to walk in the Spirit who illumines God’s holy word! (John 16:13)