“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
- John 14:15-27
“Now, when, by the Spirit of God acting within, they have the effect of inflaming their desire of good, of arousing them from lethargy, or destroying the pleasure and honeyed sweetness of sin, making it hateful and loathsome, who will presume to cavil at them as superfluous?
“Should any one wish a clearer reply, let him take the following: – God works in his elect in two ways: inwardly, by his Spirit; outwardly, by his Word. By his Spirit illuminating their minds, and training their hearts to the practice of righteousness, he makes them new creatures, while, by his Word, he stimulates them to long and seek for this renovation. In both, he exerts the might of his hand in proportion to the measure in which he dispenses them. The Word, when addressed to the reprobate, though not effectual for their amendment, has another use. It urges their consciences now, and will render them more inexcusable on the day of judgment. Thus, our Saviour, while declaring that none can come to him but those who the Father draws, and that the elect come after they have heard and learned of the Father (John vi. 44, 45), does not lay aside the office of teacher, but carefully invites those who must be taught inwardly by the Spirit before they can make any profit. The reprobate, again, are admonished by Paul, that the doctrine is not in vain; because, while it is in them a savour of death unto death, it is still a sweet savour unto God (2 Cor. ii. 16).”
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (translated by Henry Beveridge)
Some argue today that God does not speak to us other than from the Scriptures. I think when Jesus said that old men will dream dreams and young men will see visions, He was not telling a fib. (And by the way, my wife is sleeping a little better – at least she remembers a few dreams. Maybe her new medication is working. She feels so much closer to God when dreaming, having had a few visions and dreams over the past 20 years.)
Maybe some people bristle at the Pentecostal style of worship service, unable to distinguish between the true acts of the Holy Spirit and showmanship, but the Holy Spirit does move within people. The key is that the message received must not go against the Bible. And the message received must have a godly purpose.
Now, I have made comments regarding the End Times, and those same comments have been made since the first century. I read in a philosophy book earlier this year that the Dark Ages were dark, because people sat around waiting for the rapture rather than producing philosophy – thinking and arguing. There is a lot of arguing these days, but I wonder if there is much thinking. I guess we could categorize that as the foolish arguments that the apostles Paul and Peter warn us against. They were talking of false doctrines, which we have aplenty, but most of the modern arguments are about whether God exists or whether He really meant what is in the Bible – foolishness.
Why is it foolishness? We are not listening to God. When God puts a thought into our head, rarely audible, but it gets there, we crank up the sound on our devices to drown out the thought. God is speaking to us, but we are content with believing that God did His thing 2,000 years ago, and that He is presently leaving us alone. That takes foolishness to the absurd. Do not believe that God leaves us alone for a second. He still counts the hairs on our head. And he must be getting a bit weary with my head. The hairs are disappearing at a rapid rate. But I am not worried. As an old Army sergeant once told me, loosing the hair on your head helps maintain the weight -those hairs are heavy, you know.
But beware of the next crack-pot prophet who chants that the end is near. He may just be right. But why think about the end being near? Why did Jesus make it sound like it was coming soon? For one, once you are outside the time-space continuum, a blink of the eye could last 1,000 earth years, but I do not think that is what Jesus meant. We are to anticipate Christ’s return at each moment so that we can be prepared and so that we may never tire in helping our neighbors, talking about Jesus, and winning souls to Christ.
If we thought that the end of time was during our grandchildren’s golden years, we might easily pass the buck, prop our feet up and take a nap.
And if God really wants us to be working in service to Him, glorifying Him, He is going to communicate. His voice becomes clearer to us as we become more like Jesus. He says in the Scriptures several times that if we desire Him, He will give us the desire of our heart. Logically speaking, as we desire more of God, God will give us more of Himself. And in the process, we hear His voice more clearly. And to be closer to God, we must study the Bible. Thus, as we hear God’s voice more clearly, the verification that we are truly hearing God’s voice comes through, reminding us of the Scripture that verifies it is God, as the Scripture above states, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who is speaking.
If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.