What is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

Luke 12:10 contains a chilling reality: there is a sin which will never be forgiven. It is crucial to properly understand this statement, as it carries enormous implications. I usually like to synthesize thoughts from others and create my own post, but in my estimation Scot McKnight nailed it in his article. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that this sin is one which an unbeliever commits against God; this is not a sin which a believer commits, particularly unknowingly. Many believers live in paralysis, fearful that they might commit the unpardonable sin without even knowing it and then be beyond the grip of God's grace. I personally spend a lot of time ministering to others on this topic and have seen the devastation of an improper interpretation/application. Yet another reason to be students of God's Word and dig deep! 

"Follow Me" - call to salvation or call to deeper obedience as a Christian?

This is a very important question to grapple with. The demands of following Jesus are real and at times intense. We often miss this because by and large, our society is not anti-Christian (though it may feel like it is at times). Yet even we feel the tension of following Christ because when we stand on our convictions it has implications in the workplace, with our peers and with family. As you consider the true nature of disicpleship, consider these articles. This one argues that salvation and discipleship are two completely separate issues; the latter follows the former. Another article brings a more middle of the road approach, which is closer to my personal view: yes, discipleship is a life long process (salvation takes place in a moment of time) but we do well to present the whole picture when presenting the Gospel to people. Salvation is by grace (alone) through faith (alone) in Christ (alone), as we place our faith in the person and work of Christ. Following Christ can be costly but what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul. If you want a more expanded treatment on the subject, consider a series of books written by John MacArthur and Charles Ryrie/Zane Hodges. There was a back and forth on this matter in the late 1980's and 1990's, sparked by MacArthur's book The Gospel According to Jesus. Here is a sermon transcript of MacAurthur's re: this question when he preached through Luke 9. 

Did Noah's ark come to rest on Easter?

From a friend who loves all things science and Bible: "NOAH'S ARK LANDS ON EASTER SUNDAY...Genesis 8:4....The ark rested in the seventh month, 17th day, upon the mountains of Ararat...Dr. Morris has commented for many years that the 7 mo, 17 day does not ring a bell because in Noah and Moses' day the CIVIL year was different than the RELIGIOUS YEAR. so 7 and 17 becomes 1st month of the new calendar, but still the 17th day. Passover in Jesus' day was 1st month, 14th day, now add 3 days in grave OUR LORD arose on the anniversary (1st and 17th) of His Father saving the 8 people and the animals from the flood!"

You be the judge! 

Where in Scripture are we told to judge?

On Sunday we saw that we are not to arrogantly judge others. This concept is often miscontrued to state that we should never biblically or correctly render judgment on various issues or people. The following verses - explicitly or by inference - remind us to judge well (but not with arrogance): John 7:24, I Corinthians 5:12 & 6:1-5, Galatians 1:8-9, Philippians 3:2, I Thessalonians 2:14-15, I Timothy 1:6-7, Titus 3:2,10, I John 4:1. 

In Luke 6, what exactly is David referenced to have eaten? And why is this important?

In Luke 6:1-5, Jesus' disciples were walking through a field and rubbed some grain together because they were hungry. Simple enough. Catch is, it was on a sabbath day and the Pharisees were nearby and caught this outrageous act. The Pharisees had extrapolated from the general command forbidding work on the sabbath that this action (clearly denoted in their works as reaping and threshing) was a sin. And they demanded of Jesus to know why they were doing this while He did nothing about it. 

Jesus reminded the Pharisees that on another occasion, noted in sacred Scripture, David and his men were hungry they entered the Lord's house and ate the consecrated bread (also called Show Bread or Bread of Presence). This item is described in Exodus 25:30. There were twelve loaves of bread placed each week in the Holy Place, on a table that was overlaid with pure gold. Every Sabbath the 12 loaves were replaced with fresh ones, the priests ate the old ones. The account is in I Samuel 21:1-6 and 22:9,10. 

Jesus' point was this. If David had the right to ignore this ceremonial provision from God, shouldn't Jesus, the Son of God and David's antitype have the right to set aside a ceremonial law in their time of need? This was a constant theme for Jesus throughout the Gospels, engaging the Pharisees in their own distorted view of God's law. The Phrisees could not see beyond the letter of the law and even added to it. Jesus wanted them to see that He is Lord of the sabbath. 

Luke 5: How many “one another” statements are there in the NT? Which one will you employ this week?

The goal of these excercises is to get each of us into God's Word and see what He has to say on various topics. If you do a word search for "one another" and focus on the Epistles, you will find well over 20 examples of how we should - or shouldn't - interact with each other. Here's an example of what we should be doing: 

"but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13b, ESV)

This statement is almost immediately followed by something we ought to...avoid :-) "But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another." (Galatians 5:15, ESV)

These are fun statements to study. The key application question was, which one of these will you seek to emply this week (or, in the near future)? I'd love to hear how you applied this, feel free to drop me an email!

Luke 5: Do the nature of physical healings in Luke match what's claimed to be happening today?

Answers given to this question will be somewhat subjective in nature. As you read through the Gospels and Acts, you will find that the healing miracles are beyond all doubt, occuring immediately and with many witnesses. They were easily and irrefutably confirmed. Many of the claimed healing miracles today are not of this nature, and often leave one thinking...."hmmmm". We believe in the power and grace of our Lord to heal people in our midst; in fact, we regularly pray earnestly to that end. But there is a difference between this and a claim that a specific individual has the "gift of healing" and regularly heals people he/she comes in contact with, as Jesus or the apostles did. This is a complex matter; if you'd like to discuss this further, I or any of our elders are happy to do so with you! 

Luke 4: what is the "acceptable year of the Lord"?

It’s also referred to as the year of the Lord’s favor. Jesus visits the synagogue in his old stomping grounds (Nazareth) and is given a scroll of Isaiah to read. He reads what is now chapter 61 (with some from chapter 58) and then concludes by stating that the passage had been fulfilled in their hearing!  They marveled at the authority with which He spoke. 

The last part of the quote is connected to the Jubilee, a once in every fifty years event in which slaves were set free and personal debts forgiven (see Leviticus 25:8-17). It was a special time in which God demonstrated His grace and people were relieved from the guilt and effects of their own sin. It was a beautiful picture. Luke is stressing for us the dawn of a new age of salvation which would reach the world over to include the Gentiles. Note that Jesus ends his quotation at Isaiah 61:2a, because the day of vengeance is yet future.

- Pastor Colin

 

Luke 4: Was it possible for Jesus to sin?

We affirm the crucial doctrine of the sinlessness of Christ. If Jesus sinned, He could no longer be our sin-bearer. The question remains, though Jesus was specifically tested (tempted) in Luke 4, was He actually capable of sinning? The formal term in the affirmative answer to this question is peccability, while impeccability states that Jesus was not capable of sinning. At the crux of the discussion is relationship between the divine and human nature of Jesus. Godly pastors and theologians have disagreed on this specific question, a reflection of how nuanced it is with its many implications. 

For your further study, I have selected three articles from varied pastors/theologians. Two favoring peccability (R.C. Sproul and Sam Storms) and one supporting impeccability (John Walvoord). 

This is a deep study, I welcome your input! I personally favor Walvoord's perspective at this time. Feel free to email with comments. 

-Pastor Colin

Luke 3: Why was Jesus baptized?

Jesus' baptism in Luke 3 should give us pause. Luke's baptism was a baptism of repentence. Jesus had no sins to repent of, so why would he want to get wet? None of this is lost on his cousin John, who is very reluctant to baptize Jesus but immediatley notes that John the Baptizer should be baptized by Jesus, not the other way around. Jesus' response to him gives us our answer: "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:3-15). John gave great pushback, but Jesus requested he permit it at this time, and John obeyed. 

Jesus came as a friend of sinners and as such identified with us. It was important for the divine Son of God to fully identify with us as He would be our sin bearer, II Corinthians 5:21. He was affirming John's authority and essentially told John, "Hey, you may not fully understand this so just work with me here. One day I will endure a horrible baptism (Luke 12:50) and you will be so glad I did. This is my first step in identifying fully with those for whom I suffer."

Praise the Lord for a Savior who fully clothed Himself in our humanity as He would baptize ("immerse") Himself in our sin and suffer so deeply for it. 

There are may side benefits of Jesus' baptism, such as His glory being revealed as a member of the Trinity. But let's stick with the primary reason, the one given by our Lord Himself. 

Luke 3: Who is the other "son of God"?

As part of our overall goal to dive deeper into God's Word and engage His truth regularly, at the end of each sermon I'm submitting one or two questions for individual further study. Sometimes the questions are connected to the sermon theme, sometimes they push you to another part of the chapter, sometimes they are of a trivia nature and sometimes they will be very practical in application. The end result is that we are searching through Scripture as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). 

The very last words of Luke 3 complete Jesus' geneology in which Adam is called the son of God. This is not uncommon as we are all, in fact, called "sons of God" (Deuteronomy 14:1; children is in the masculine), as are angels. Adam is specifically called out as the son of God because he has no human father or mother but was directly created by God - that much is seen in the flow of the text.

As we travel through Luke we will see the very special relationship between Jesus and His Father, beginning with His baptism in which God declares, "This is my Son...". Jesus would later distinguish Himself from us when we would refer to His Father as "Your Father and my Father, your God and my God". 

We are all sons of God in that we are His creation, a general term given to humanity. Adam specifically fit that bill as he literally was created from dust as the first human. Jesus is called the Son of God because of His unique relationship with God the Father: He is coequal and coeternal with Him (Philippians 2:5-11 & Hebrews 1:5-12); He is in fact, God. Put it this way: in the passage I just referenced, the sons of God (people and angels) are commanded to worship THE Son of God. The title is applied in a special way to Jesus. 

One last thought. The Son of God has another title: Son of Man. Why? Because God's Son took on human flesh and had to be identified as such. It's a title of authority. But think about it: I'd never call myself the son of man, because everyone knows (I hope) that I'm human. Jesus, Immanuel ("God with us"), is specifically called out as human because...we need to be reminded of that!