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Comprehending God and Other Divine Issues Pt. 2

Scripture: Matthew 22:42-46, 1 Timothy 3:16
Date: 05/24/2003 
The second of a two-part series on comprehending God. The term "son of God" emphasizes a deep relationship more than some biological creation. Jesus was not created. He is eternally divine.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

If you were not here last Sabbath, our study today is dealing with the second part of a presentation, a special study we’re doing, on understanding a number of facets in the essence of who is God. And it may even seem a little bit outrageous to dare to think that I can help us better comprehend God. That’s why we started with the scripture reading dealing with about how incomprehensible he is. But there are some things revealed I think he wants us to know that have a profound effect on how we worship him. And again I hope that you will understand if I just want to pray one more time for myself if for no other reason that god will take possession of my mind as I attempt to be a channel through which he communicates.

Loving Father in Heaven, Lord, I come before you now in a special sense and just ask that in spite of my frailties and sins that you would forgive me now as I dare to venture to explain something of who you are that we can better comprehend you. And, Lord, I do pray that you will take possession of each mind and heart here, me in a special sense and my tongue that I can as well as humanly possible articulate the truth of divine things. It’s in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Now if you were here, and I always like to try to catch people up in case you missed as they would say our first episode, when we were talking about the theme of better comprehending God. This may go into three parts because they’re so many things that I’ve thought of I want to share with you, so many misunderstandings. But we were talking primarily in our last study about understanding the three persons of the godhead and the nature of that. I’d like to begin with the scripture and Matthew 22:42 and please don't think for a minute that I'm sharing with you all of the scriptures on this subject because the Bible is filled with them. But in Matthew 22:42-46 there's an exchange that takes place between Jesus and the religious leaders. You may want to get your pencils handy because there’s no human way possible for you to turn the pages as fast as you will need to today. “What do you think about the Christ?” Jesus is speaking. “Whose Son is he?” They said him, “The Son of David.” Then Jesus said to them, “How then or why then does David in the spirit call him Lord? Saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’” He was quoting Psalms 110:1. “If David then calls him lord how is he his son?” Now this tells us something even in the Old Testament about how God Jehovah is referring to the Messiah as his Son. You know this is one of the issues that really confuses people is the incarnation. How do we relate to Jesus and his Father? How do we understand their relationship? People often choke, stumble over the concept that Jesus as the Son of God because if I were to tell you that I’ve got a son you automatically would think, “Well, that means he’s also got a wife.” But did God the Father need a wife to produce Jesus? Jesus used many different terms to identify himself. He used the term son to help communicate one of the most profound relationships of love in the Bible; that of a parent for a child.

The relationship of love between the eternal Father and the eternal Son is communicated by God saying he so loved the world he gave his son. Keep in mind Jesus also is called many times the lamb, twenty-five times just in Revelation. How far you going to take that? Do you think that in Heaven he’ll be eating grass and prancing around? I mean do we sheer him? The reason he identifies himself as a lamb is not because he wants us to take that literally but it communicates his meekness. It communicates his sacrifice. The term son is also used that way. When Jesus wanted to help us better understand the concept of the incarnation he referred to him as the “son of man”. There’s many different titles and names that Jesus used to help communicate different aspects of who he was. I Timothy 3:16, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness that God was manifest in the flesh.” So please do not stumble over a concept that Jesus is called the son of God. He is. That is given to us by the Father to help us understand the deep love relationship between the Father and the Son. You know I never did fully understand, I’d still don’t fully understand how much God must love us in that he gave his son, but when we lost a son I’ll tell you it made a big difference.

I didn’t even know how much I love my children until you take one of them away. And I think that god uses this term that people can relate to, but be careful not to try and make Jesus biological. Paul warned us that there would be deviant teachings that would come in the last days. He referred to them as “savage wolves”. Acts 20:29, “For I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you not sparing the flock also from among your own selves will men arise speaking perverse things…” Usually it’s to draw away disciples after themselves and they primarily pray on the week and the young. Isn’t that what a wolf does with a flock? They go after the week and the young and I’ve seen this happen many times. And there are so many deviant teachings about God that are coming in that this has been a big concern for me because a misunderstanding about god will confuse your relationship with him. To take away the divinity of Christ and those who are saying that Jesus was created… just think about this now… would you worship a creature the same way you would worship an eternal divine being?

If you’re the devil and you’re going to impersonate Jesus someday which would be harder to impersonate, a created creature or the created an everlasting being? Can you see one of the reasons that the devil is attacking this concept of God? He can lower the standard; he lowers the bar to something that he can use to confuse people. It is a very important issue. I don’t want to over take advantage of this but I wrote a book. It just came out. They gave me a copy this week. And it simply called The Trinity and I want to tell you that I had some help with this. I had help from Kim Care. You all remember when our evangelist came here? Gary Gibbs contributed. I didn’t do this alone and of course I’m standing on the shoulders of many scholars, but for anybody who’s watching this broadcast if you’re struggling with the concept of the Trinity I invite and encourage you to call Amazing Facts. We’ll send you one for free. One for free. We just want this to get out there so that people will understand because the devil is going to use these false concepts to deceive people. And you know the world’s that come in and confuse the flock, they use this “ransom note” method of theology. Any have you ever seen one of these ransom notes that’s developed by somebody going through a magazine or a series of magazines and cutting and pasting until they can form a message by taking here a piece there a piece and it’s not the way that the original articles were designed, but you can say almost anything using “ransom note” theology.

Any of you ever run into this before? People sort of cut and paste a verse and a word here and they line them all up. Are you aware that you can go through the Bible take everything the Bible says about repentance, stack all the scriptures, give it to somebody and they will believe it’s God’s will for them to sit in sackcloth and ashes and sigh and pine and cry every day? Is that really God’s will? Or you can take all the scriptures in the Bible that deal with rejoicing. You can stack them all up, pull them all out, put them all together, give it to somebody and they’re going to think God wants us to go through every day being giddy and walking on air. You need to read these things in the context and I’ve seen a lot of people deceived about god because people used cut and paste “ransom note” theology. A wrong concept of God and the nature of God will pollute your relationship with God. Do you understand that? How I wanted and I hope… Kathy are you here? She’s here? Come up for a second. 0h! You’re back there. Come here. She knew I was going to do this. I want to introduce you to a friend and I’m a little nervous and so she. I’d like you to meet Kathy Buterent. Come, come a little closer. And she’s here with her husband Chris and she said that she’s probably a little more brave than Chris in these things. She’d be willing to come up and visit with me. But Kathy’s been worshiping with us on and off for about a year now?

“Yes, I have.”

“How’d you first hear about the Central Church?”

“Well, it goes back a while ago. I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 25 years, over half of my lifetime. I got to a point where as you mentioned last week that they’re a very busy in their preaching work and so I was very busy, but then I became ill and I couldn’t keep up and so I spent a lot of time at home. Well, I was alone and I didn’t receive phone calls and I started thinking, where is the love? So I’m channel surfing and I see you on TV. And I’m thinking, my goodness his message was so powerful and plus there was some similarities to Jehovah’s Witnesses as far as the condition of the dead and so on. Well, I’m gonna find out about this person, I thought. But you believe in the Trinity. I was terrified. Where do I go? Well, I’m gonna go ahead and go here. And I was able to acquire a tape on the subject and I prayed to God before I listened to the tape and I said, ‘If the Trinity is really real, please reveal it to me.’ And I listened to it and it was as if I stepped out of the old and into the new and I felt so liberated! I didn’t realize how much and darkness I had to hand because when you accept and seen that Jesus is God, believe me, you feel like Thomas where you go, ‘My Lord, my God! You truly love me. You came from the heavens down to the earth to rescue me! You’re not just a perfect man.’”

For 25 years you were a Jehovah’s Witness. “Yes.” Door to door. Full bore. And when he is studying with people you probably had a lot of questions about the Trinity because I remember the first time I studied with the Jehovah Witnesses that was one of the big issues. Did they use the same translation of the Bible that a typical Christian uses?

“No, they have their own translation that backs up their beliefs. And that was another problem I have to say is that when I started… When I stopped reading their translation and started reading the New King James, this is the one I chose, I was so amazed at so different it was that I am really beginning as a new born Christian to read the scriptures according to the way they really are.”

Amen. Now, having a different concept of God, the divinity of Christ, the personality of the Holy Spirit, has that affected your relationship with God?

“Well, like I said before as a Witness Jesus was more of an assistant to God, so to speak. He came to the earth. He had an assignment and so one. Well, I was thinking to myself if I were a parent and my child was in danger, I wouldn’t send my assistant down to rescue this child. I would go myself and so as I mentioned earlier my heart is full of the love that God wants it to be full of because I see Jesus as God as my rescuer.”

Amen. I need to tell you something. She has come a long way and I appreciate her courage coming up here. When Kathy first came and when she finally told us who she was and what she was going through she said, “I’m here. Please don’t put a camera on me because if the Jehovah Witnesses see that I’m here…” and since then you’ve announced to them that you’re…

“Absolutely! We had a committee meeting, my husband and I, we went to them and we told them that we felt that this church has the Holy Spirit the fruitage of the Spirit and we weren’t going to stop coming and so because of that they disfellowshipped us.”

And have you heard much from them or have you been ostracized?

“No, nothing. Oh, ostracized, shunned. They won’t speak to us.”

Yeah. We’re hoping your testimony encourages others. Thank you so much, Kathy. God bless you. ((applause)) I don’t need to say, Kathy and Chris know, that whenever they’re ready we want them to be part of our Central family here. Amen? But you know they’re studying very carefully. They want to know what they’re doing is based on the Bible. And I’m so proud of her for sharing that because that took a lot of courage. But it does make a big difference. Misunderstanding the nature of Christ and the nature of the Holy Spirit will affect your relationship. And some of the people that do not have this concept are often not very loving. They become very judgmental and legalistic. It’s because that God loved us and gave himself as well as his son. Now I’m going to do something that I really prayed about and I feel impressed to do. Any of you ever driven down the road and you see some of these signs that say, “Slow. Children playing.” And some schools have protested because they say that sounds like we have slowed children hair. And then you’ve seen the signs “slow men working.” Sometimes that’s true, quite? If it’s a government job. Don’t throw tomatoes! We’re doing so well! You’ve also seen the ones that say “Eat here. Get gas.” The signs… I've thought about this because really men are slow learners. After three and a half years of Jesus walking with the disciples did they really understand his mission? He’s about to see ascend to heaven and they say, “Lord, are you going to now set up your kingdom and overthrow the Romans?” They still didn’t get the concept of the kingdom being within them. And Jesus said, “I've got many things to say to you that you cannot now receive.” You’re just not able to.

Their growth was sometimes slow and progressive. Well, it is a fact. Let me share something with you you’re going to run into. That in the birth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and for those that are watching you maybe didn’t know this is a Seventh-day Adventist Church, as this movement began it was a movement of growth into truth. Beginning with, well, really you could say that it was launched in 1844 with a group of people who came together from many different religious backgrounds, Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterian, Baptist, Seventh-day Baptist, Catholics, and they said, “What does the Bible teach?” During that time especially in North America Protestants were trying to distance themselves from Catholics in Europe. That’s one reason that the Pilgrims came here. Because one of the foundations in the Catholic Church is the Triune nature of God many of them just out of anger went over to Aryanism believing that Jesus was created, the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force. Many of the early Adventist believers, not all, but many of the founders also believed that. You’ll see that in their writings. But as they prayed and studied together over the years when you near the founding of the church in 1860 and 1880 there was a big transition so that they basically gave that up.

They gave up a number of things. Many of them believed you died and went right to heaven and hell. And that was in their writings. They studied, they abandoned that. Of course they went to church on the first day of the week. They studied, they abandoned that. They didn’t think there was any distinction between clean and unclean foods. They studied, they abandoned that. Did it happen in a day? Or were they slow learners? A week? A month? A year? Years! And so you’ll find people that will dig up some of the old comments of the founders that predate their understanding on these things and they’ll say, “See? This is the foundational message we use to believe.” When in reality the opposite is true. The fact is that if you look at the transition they went in you’ll see that they had a change in their belief. First of all, I'd like to quote to you… as they prayed together they would begin to understand these things. For some of us who believe that Ellen White was inspired, as I do… I don’t know of any religious movement that was a revival movement that wasn’t begun by inspired leadership. Listen to what she says about the nature of God here. “In Christ is life original, unborrowed, underived.” That to me is very clear. It says here, oh there’s a number of statements I could read. “The Father is all the fullness of the godhead bodily and is invisible to mortal sight. The Son is all the fullness of the godhead manifest. The Word of God declares him to be the express image of his person.

The Comforter is the Spirit in all the fullness of the godhead making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as personal Savior.” Listen! “There are three living persons of the heavenly trio.” A trio is how many singers? Three living persons of the heavenly trio. “In the name of these three great powers; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit those who receive Christ by faith are baptized.” I mean the statements to me are very clear. Think about this for a second. In the course of her life Ellen White wrote 25 million words. More words than any woman in modern times. Did you know that? 25 million words. Magazines, books, pamphlets, leaflets. In all of those periodicals how easy would have been for her to say one time, “We don't think the Trinity is Biblical.” 25 million words! One of foundational beliefs in the baptismal vow is the fact that we believe in the three persons in the godhead. She never said that. That in itself to me is a profound truth. But then you have all these other statements. “Christ is the preexistent, self existent Son of God. In speaking of his preexistence Christ carries the mind back to the dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when he was not in close fellowship with the Father.” That’s the book Evangelism p. 615.

I think I forgot to give the other reference. Special testimony series B. number 7 page 62 and 63. “We are to cooperate” another quote here “with the three highest powers in heaven; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These powers will work through us making us workers together with God.” This is just a fraction of the many statements you can find on the issue. I just wanted to tie that off before I moved on that it is the historic position. Now I don’t want to spend all the time talking about the Trinity. There’s a lot of misunderstandings about God. Before I put my roots down with a Seventh-day Adventist Church I went to a Pentecostal church. How many of you know that? You can blame them for some of the mannerisms in the way maybe I speak or preach. But one thing I didn’t find comfortable was that some of my friends were what they called “Oneness Pentecostals”. Not all Pentecostals are. Some believe in the Trinity. Some do not. This goes back to a gentleman by the name of Sivilius who believed that God was one person who would often manifest himself three different ways. Modalism. Like water. Sometimes water is seen as ice, sometimes water is seen as liquid, sometimes water is seen as gas.

One God; sometimes he would be seen as the Son sometimes he would be speak as the Father sometimes he would work as the Spirit. But you know they’re serious problems with that. And not too many people believe this. Your Apostolic Pentecostals do. If that’s true when Jesus gets baptized and God the Father speaks from heaven, Jesus is a master ventriloquist! When Jesus… he’s on the mount of transfiguration and there he is and all of a sudden a voice comes from heaven, “This is my beloved Son. Hear him!” is Jesus a ventriloquist? You’ve got times in the Bible where there are very clearly, where he talks to himself. He’s schizophrenic too? God said, “Let us make man in our image.” And so I think you’re clear on this concept of “Jesus only” they call it.

The authority of God. This issue confuses people. Because the Bible does seem to indicate that among the three persons of the godhead there is varying authority. Let me just ask you if there was a supreme authority among the persons of the godhead who would it be? The Father. I never hear anyone say the Holy Spirit. I never hear anyone say Jesus. Jesus and the Holy Spirit always seem to be giving preference to the authority of the Father, but here’s the question. Does a variation in authority mean that people are not of equal value? First of all, let me give you some scriptures on this. I have no problem with their being varying authority and the godhead. John 14:28 Jesus said, “If you love me you would rejoice because I say I’m going to my Father for my Father is greater than I.” And somewhat argue, well, that was because he was in human form at that time. I Corinthians 11:3, was after the resurrection, “But I would have you know that the head of Christ is God.” Now, you could have two brothers in the army. (Oh, I’m so thankful Daniel’s home! Did I tell you that? Yeah.

We got to see him this week. He’s doing really well. He’s got a lot of stories to tell, but our son is home from the Iraq war. Praise the Lord!) In the army you can have two brothers that are twins. Same height, same age, same build, same IQ and one can be a corporal, one can be a sergeant. Different authority, they’re equal. Do you see what I’m saying? Matter of fact, where Paul says the head of God is Christ he says that in the context of the relationship between men and women. Now by a show of hands how many of you think that men are more valuable than women? A couple are brave enough for foolish enough to raise their hands. There’s a thin line between courage and ignorance. When the Bible talks about a man’s priestly leadership in the family it does designate authority there, it doesn’t mean that the woman is of less value or that she’s even younger, does it? That’s all this means. So don’t have a problem with the authority of God. It shouldn’t be there.

The name of God. If you haven’t run in to yet, you will. How many of you have seen Bibles where they take the name of Jesus out everywhere it appears and they substitute the name Yahweh? Or have you run into churches now or Christians now that every time they want to say the name of Jesus they feel like the name Jesus is a pollution of the original deadline name and so they say Yahweh and it gets very confusing to listen to them because you know in our language different words have different meanings are. Now granted when Mary looked in the manger and when the angels spoke to Joseph they didn’t call him Jesus. They probably called him Yashua which is… that was the name that was used, that’s the Aramaic way. It’s similar to the name Joshua, but we don’t speak Aramaic. God expects us to address him in our native tongue. I’ll give you a little history on this. The four letters of YHWH are called the Tetragrammophon. That was the sacred name of God. They did not even write in the vowels. Those four consonants.

The name of God was so sacred that they would lay their pen down what pray before they wrote it whenever the scribes were writing the scriptures. They would not even utter it. They would substitute the word Adoni instead because they were afraid that they might do something that pollute or corrupt the name of God. And so over time, because they would not say this sacred name of God, the exact pronunciation has been lost. Now, friends, it’s very arrogant some protestants and Christians to say, “We know what the right pronunciation is” when the Jewish world admits that they’re not even sure what it is. Do you understand what I’m saying? They admit we’ve lost it because it was so sacred. Where did the Christians get an audio tape of the right pronunciation? I mean, you can look at that one word and depending on how you speak everyone says it a little differently. And you know it is really for me and immature form of Christianity when we start telling people God is not going to listen to your prayers when you address him using his title spoken in your native tongue or you do not pronounce it correctly because that’s like saying we’ve got to say sibbellet instead of shibbelleth. You know what story I’m talking about in the Bible? How many of you know someone that speaks with an accent?

Dear fuse to talk to them? I mean, some of us do the best we can do, right? And so this is what is implied in all of this. This is a very childish doctrine that you’ve got to say his name a certain way. It’s almost cultish. It’s like there some magical abracadabra to the word and you say it the right way he’ll listen to you and you don’t say it the right way he turns you off. Does God, is at how he communicates with us? Or does he look on the heart? So please don’t fall for the stuff that you have to… I think we should always take his name with reverence on our lips. Some translate the name Jehovah, some Yahweh. We’re not exactly sure how it was said, but I think we should say the name in our language always with reverence. Amen? That’s the point. God expects that someday in heaven will all speak the language in Canaan. Since the tower of Babel we’ve all been mixed up. God knows that.

What about seeing God? You know the Bible tells us, Gospel of John chapter one verse eighteen, “No man has seen God at anytime. The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father has declared him.” Now, can you find places in the Bible where it appears that others have seen God? Then people go to the story of Moses, Exodus 33:11, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face.” Vies a vies. As a man speaks to his friend. God spoke to Moses that way. But then later you hear god put Moses in the cleft of the rock because he says, “No man we’ll see my face and live.” And people get very confused. Then you read and judges where Menoah, the father of Sampson, and his wife they said, “We’re going to die because we’ve seen God.” Jacob called the name of the place pinneal for he said, “I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved.” That’s Genesis 32:30. You know what I think the key is to all this? And this ties into the truth of the three persons in the godhead? Jesus said, he just gives us I think the scripture that unlocks it all, John 6:46, “Not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God, he has seen the Father.” So when it says no man has seen God, which member of the godhead is it that no man has seen? Will we someday see him face to face? I Corinthians 13, “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face.” And so boy, I want to be there, don’t you, friends?

This other issue is another delicate subject that is misunderstood. It lowers your concept of the gospel of God. It’s on the nature of God. And I sense a more specifically the nature of Christ. What kind of nature did Jesus have when he came to earth and took on the form of a man? If we believe that Jesus had the nature that Adam had with his unfallen, glorified body from the hand of the Father before that light went out, then where implying that Jesus overcame temptation with tools that we don’t have. But I believe that Jesus took on him the same fallen nature that Adam had so that he could be an example to us of how to have victory. This is very important. People who say, “God doesn’t you expected to become an overcomer” are the ones who also teach the Jesus had in unfallen nature. I categorically refute that. And here are some scriptures on the subject. Romans 1:3, “Jesus Christ our Lord who is born of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Now, think about it, friends, how does Matthew begin? “Begat… begat…begat…” it begins with the genealogy of Jesus.

Then Luke chapter three, the genealogy Jesus. Why did the gospel writers waste time giving us the genealogy of Jesus if the genes had no influence on him? Does that make sense? He did have that influence. “Born of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Romans 8:3, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh God sending its own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh” what kind of flesh? Sinful flesh. “for sin condemned sin in the flesh.” Likeness means real, actual. Philippians 2:7, “But he made himself of no reputation taking on himself the form of a bond servant coming in the likeness of men.” Hebrews 2:14, “For as much then as we are children” (I’m trying to rush. I don’t want to do this in three parts. Fits better on one videotape with two parts.) Hebrews 2:14, “For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood he also likewise took part of the same how as the children did that he threw a death might destroy him who has the power of death that is the devil.” Hebrews 2:17, “Therefore in all things…”

How many things? “he had been made like his brethren that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest.” Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but he was in all points…” How many points? “…all points tempted as we are yet without sin.” That’s what makes Jesus such a hero for us. He was tempted as we are tempted but he did not sin. If he came down insulated from sin with no inherent tendencies or interest in sin then he couldn’t be tempted the way we’re tempted. You see what I’m saying? And so this is important. I believe that Jesus had that. I would like to also give you a spirit of prophecy quote on the subject from Manuscript Release v. 10. This is very clear. E. G. White said, “He (Jesus) had the same nature as the sinner.” There’s a lot of quotes. I just picked one for time. Does that make sense? He had the same nature as the sinner. I think that’s important.

Now while we’re going through the subject of God I want to spend a little more time to finish here on the Holy Spirit, God the Spirit. And I will admit for me understanding… God the Spirit is the hardest person of the godhead for me to wrap my mind around because you and I live in the three dimensions of the carnal world. Since Adam and Eve said we lost that fourth dimension of the spirit world. There are angels in this room. How many of you believe that? It’s hard to comprehend the spirit world. The spirit is a spirit. But we can know what’s revealed in the word. For one thing is the Holy Spirit God? The Bible says, Acts 5, when Annanias and Sephirah lied Peter said to them, “Annanias, why has Satan failed your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? You have not lied to men, but to God.” The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the godhead. Just think about this for a second. If the air Holy Spirit, and I know Kathy and others have come out of this teaching of Aryanism, they believe the holy spirit is simply a force that god operates through.

God the Father is a person, God the Son is a person, and few people contest that. But they say, “God the Spirit is really an impersonal power. It’s a conduit. It’s the channel, it’s the force, it’s the wave that God operates through, but it’s not a person and it’s not God.” Think about this. Would you, if you were Jesus, say, “go Ye therefore baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the radio station and your cellular phone”? Does that make any sense? Why would you go to so much trouble to personify something that was really just a force? Over fifteen times Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “he”. Why did he do that if he didn’t want us to be confused? Because the Holy Spirit is a person. And they give him everything that an individual might have. Some people get confused. They say, “Well, the Holy Spirit is called seven spirits.” Revelation chapter four verse five says, “The seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne which are the seven spirits of God.” Now first of all, when people think about the seven spirits of God seven especially in Revelation… I mean in Revelation you’ve got a lamb with seven eyes. If you take all the sevens in Revelation too literally then you’ve got a very abstract picture of God. Seven represents a cycle of time. God began by creating a week with seven days in it, there’s seven churches, it’s the religious history of the church and the seven trumpets cover a military history of the church and the seven seals a political history ((some word loss due to break in taping/side change)) of time, but even beyond that the Holy Spirit seems to have seven facets of the gifts. Have you read before in Isaiah chapter eleven first two, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.”

Let’s say that’s one. “The spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the lord.” How many is that? That’s seven if you include the spirit of the Lord as one. So when it talks about the seven spirits of God, when Solomon asked for wisdom what was he asking for? The Holy Spirit. Is that right? The same thing Elisha asked for, a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. And so God the Spirit has many facets, but he is a person. Of course he’s omnipresent. If the Holy Spirit a person? Yes, I think so. He is not simply an impersonal conduit or power or force. You know this is another theme of the devil. In these Star Wars movies what do they talk about god as? Come on, some of you know. Don’t pretend you don’t know. The force. I don’t know what you are talking about, Doug. The force. Are those movies from the Lord or the devil? Does God want us to think of the Holy Spirit as a personal God or as just an essence, a force? You are God and there’s this force available to you. This is a diabolical teaching that leads people that way. The Holy Spirit, the Bible says leads and guides. Now true, you can get a map that will give you directions or a compass, but you can’t honestly say they lead you. The map doesn’t lead you.

The map doesn’t guide you. You know in the deserts of Arabia I understand that the nomads there would sometimes if they’ve got lost on a sandy day, you can’t see the horizon, they couldn't even see the sun or the moon and they had a homing pigeon they kept on a thin string, more like a thread, and when they didn’t know which way to go and they were lost in the deserts they would release their pigeon and just like a shot it would start flying and they would hold onto the string and it would guide them. But it was alive. And the Holy Spirit is a person. It’s not just a force. “He will guide us.” He comforts. Have you ever experienced the comfort of the Spirit? I’ve got a Kirby vacuum cleaner I bought for Karen for Christmas. I should say she has a Kirby vacuum cleaner. They say it will pick up a bowling ball, but I don’t have a bowling ball so I don’t really know.

It’s powerful. But when our children are sad or hurt I’ve never seen them run to the Kirby. Just because it got power does not mean it gives comfort. Have you ever seen anybody find comfort from something that is inanimate or dead? Now I know shopping can help sometimes, but it doesn’t bring any really lasting comfort, does it? You really need a person to comfort you. And Jesus when he’s sending the Comforter it wasn’t a drug that just made them feel better. I mean this is what people are saying the comforter is just it’s an injection, it’s a drug, it’s a force, it’s a power. No, he’s a person are. It’s a relationship. God is always about love and you can really love things, in spite of how we feel and times. Say amen! Because I know what I said was true even if you haven’t caught on yet. He’s the Comforter. John 14:16, “I’ll pray the Father and he’ll give you another comforter that he might abide with you forever.” He convicts. And I know we might have conscience that will convict us, but sometimes a person even more conviction. I remember when I was growing up I lived for a while with my grandmother and my grandfather. Any of you remember the days of the “Good Humor” truck? The ice cream man? I had very acute hearing. I could hear him coming down the street and I remember especially to this day they had rainbow rockets. It was the Rainbow Popsicle that came with two sticks and you could break it in half and share it or eat the whole thing yourself. Oh! I’d just live from day to day to get one of those.

I’d hear that dun ta dun da dun down the street. The good humor would come and he always stopped near our house and all the kids would come swarming out. Any of you remember this? It’s one of the highlights of my youth. But Grandma didn’t just give me money every day. Sometimes she’d say no. On those days I knew where she kept her purse always hanging on the doorknob inside her bedroom. And I’d go to her purse and I’d fish around until I got a dime. Isn’t hard to believe you could get a rainbow rocket for a dime? I’d buy one. I’d eat it. And you know when you’re four years old it’s hard to eat one of those without evidence. I’d come back in and Grandma would look at me, she was a Jewish grandma too. They have a gift. And she’d look at me and she’d say, “Did you go in my purse?” Oh, the conviction was overwhelming! Just from her looks. She didn’t even need to say anything. Of course you know I had rainbow rocket all over my shirt and my face. But the Holy Spirit convicts. Jesus said he’ll send him for judgment and conviction. He can be grieved. Now I’ve got in my car… I didn’t buy the car because it had this. They’re becoming more common now. You know my car is three years old now, but when I went and bought it I found the color I wanted and they said, “By the way, this one has the GPS.” And I thought, “Well, that's nice.” I wasn’t sure what to do… I am so thankful I use that thing now because you know pastor in town I get lost so easily. I’d tried to take a shortcut yesterday. This has nothing to do with the sermon.

It’s a little related. I tried to take a shortcut yesterday from San Juan to Dewey. I thought, “I don't have to go to one of the main streets. I’ll just cut through this neighborhood. It should go straight across. I spent twenty minutes driving in circles. I was looking for the sun to try and find out where I was. I finally, after twenty minutes I drove out on the same street I came in on. So I use my GPS every now and then. And it’s kind of neat because you type in the address and the street and it will say “proceed 500ft. go to the right lane, prepare for your next turn”. It’s kinda neat. I call her Matilda. It’s a lady’s voice. The boys love it when they’re driving with me. They say, “Dad.” We’ll leave church. They say, “Turn on the GPS.” I’ll say, “Boys, I know how to get home.” “Oh, come on, Dad, turn it on!” They wanna hear the lady in the car saying “turn right, turn left, go straight, proceed…” It gets annoying after a while, but one thing I’ve discovered is when I don’t listen to the GPS... Sometimes the GPS it’s looking from the sky I know shortcuts. I know some streets are faster during certain times of the day. GPS doesn’t know that. I take a wrong turn. The GPS doesn’t say, “Well, I beg your pardon!” It doesn’t get offended. It doesn’t get grieved. It could care less.

It just recalibrates and says, “proceed to the next street.” You can’t hurt it. It’s a machine. You got that? She never complains. If it was a real woman she would be scorned, wouldn’t she? The Holy Spirit is grieved. The Bible says, “Grieve not the holy spirit that seals us.” The Bible tells us, I think some of the greatest evidence that the Holy Spirit is God is Matthew 12:31-32. “Therefore I say unto you every manner of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven man, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man it will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven him either in this age or in the age or the world to come.” You know I think that is something that we’re really ought to ponder. Can you imagine god saying, “If you speak against me or you offend me it’s OK, but don’t offend the radio station or the cell phone or the electricity.” This is what’s being implied. Baptizing in the name of God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. And you know what, friends, keep in mind I want to sort of finish where I started. There are aspects of this that I freely admit we cannot comprehend. And I don’t want to pretend that I comprehend and I understand everything about God, but there are things that are clearly revealed he wants us to know. I have one more quote from Ellen White on the Holy Spirit, on the personage of the Holy Spirit.

Go ahead and put that up on the screen. “We need to realize that the Holy Spirit who is as much a person as God is a person” she goes on to say “is on this campground.” That’s from a message at Avondale Manuscript 66, 1899. Is that clear? The Holy Spirit is as much a person is God is. And you don’t really find anything to the contrary. And so I think it’s so important for us to understand that. That God is combined… Hey! I forgot to tell you something last week. God is what? God is love. Those who teach Aryanism believe that there was a time in the remote recesses of space when God the Father was all by himself. If there was a time when Jesus was created… For one thing I think it hurts your concept of God to think that a creature died for you rather than the Creator, but if there was a time… If you could go back into space a zillion years and there was a time when there was no Spirit and there was no Jesus, how can God be love? How do you love when you’re all alone? It’s impossible! The very essence of god being love is because God is El’ohem. God is three beings that have perfect love and unity in their midst.

My final thought about God is going to be a fun one. Where does God live? I want to think scientifically for a minute. Most Christian astronomers believe that in the constellation of Orion where you find the nebula of Orion you know they’re two different things. Orion is mentioned more in the Bible then any other heavily body besides the sun, the moon, or the stars. That through one of the corridors of light that you see in those photographs you know when you look into that middle, you can’t see it with the naked eye and there’s no film that can… you can’t see it with film. Film cannot capture it, but with the naked eye and a powerful telescope astronomers that look into the corridor of light in the middle of the Orion nebula (which you’re looking at there) they say it is one of the most splendid things a human can behold. They cannot be captured on film.

The nuances are just too delicate. But there are little stalactites and stalagmites of light going up and down and it’s like a cavern that goes back. And some believe that the dwelling place of God, the paradise of God, wherever he is now… When you pray “Our Father in heaven” there is a place where God dwells between two living cherubim, isn’t that right? Like the ones that were seen in Isaiah’s vision. When you pray, “Our Father who art in heaven” Jesus wasn’t just using that as a metaphor. He is up there somewhere. Of course it depends on what relation you are to the earth and the universe at any given moment, but you know what I’m saying. But someday he’s going to move the capital of the universe to our world. And one of the most beautiful scriptures in the Bible is where he says, “And God himself will dwell with them.” What a wonderful privilege! And also in those same scriptures it’s telling us about God the Father and the Son and the Spirit will be in the city. It refers to them as the seven spirits are is in Revelation, but the essence of god, the godhead, we’re going to live with God! What a privilege! Now here’s the good news. That’s when the literal kingdom of God will come to earth, but there is another kingdom that you can dwell in now that is within you. God wants to live in you now.

Christ in you. The Bible talks about God in us and it talks about Christ in us, doesn’t it? And it talks about the Spirit in us. The Bible is very clear that God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit want to be in you. But you know what? They won’t break in. He does have a dwelling place in heaven but because he’s God he can also dwell in you. He wants you to be his temple. He wants you to be his house and this one God, a family of three beings wants to dwell in you and to just explode that love in your life, but you need to invite him in. He wants you to know him. You know the greatest knowledge; the greatest purpose of life is to know him. And he wants to know you. He wants to reason with you. He wants a relationship with you. You know, in our studying about God I was afraid it would become an exercise in mental gymnastics and I don’t want that. I want it to be something where I’m inspiring you by his grace to want to know him better, to want to love him, to want to be a dwelling place for him. Is that your desire, friends? Would you like to know him better? Please turn in your hymnals. Number 70. Praise the Father. And let’s stand as we sing his praises.

I feel impressed even after a technical presentation like this where we do a Bible study on a specific topic that the Holy Spirit has spoken to some of your hearts. God has spoken to some of your hearts and some of you maybe never have opened the door to this new God. A different concept of God really helps you get to know him as a different person. If you would like to say, “Lord, I didn’t know who you were, but I know you better now and I want to open my life to you as never before.” Maybe you’d like special prayer for that purpose. Come as we sing the last verse. We’ll pray for you.

Loving Father, we are so thankful for the gift that you’ve given us in sending Jesus, God the Son. And Jesus, we are so thankful in your sending the Holy Spirit in his fullness. Lord, we know someday we will see you face to face. Someday we’ll know exactly how to pronounce your holy name, but in the meantime we would like to open our hearts and ask you to take possession of our lives and our minds and I pray that the primary purpose of our existence will be to know thee and to share thee. In Christ’s name we ask. Amen.

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