TBSTuesday Night Bible Study
The Cloud and Sea and the Holy Spirit
Jesus said in John 5:39 that the entire Old Testament testifies about Him. And this means everything. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 we see that the account of Moses leading Israel from Egypt and across the Red Sea also speaks of Jesus and, amazingly, the Holy Spirit. We see the cloud and the sea and the Holy Spirit and Jesus all in one incredible Biblical account. Consider the following:
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were (what) baptized into Moses (how) in the cloud and in the sea. (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).
What does this mean? And how does this analogy from Exodus 13 and 14 point towards Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Reading further, we find the entire event at the Red Sea and the appearance of the cloud of God was all for our benefit. In fact, they were examples to us of something greater. And soon we will find out the something greater is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Now all these things (cloud, sea, baptism) happened to them (Israel) as examples (to us), and they were written for (what) our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:11).
We are just beginning to discover about the baptism of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Old Testament as we explore how the cloud and the sea picture the Holy Spirit. So join us as we look deeper into this amazing and mysterious truth.
Finding Jesus in the Old Testament
There is an incredible statement in John 5:39 regarding finding Jesus in the Old Testament. In essence, it says you can find Jesus in the Old Testament wherever you look. He is found in every verse, every feast, every sacrifice, every strange ritual. Jesus is revealed in both the Old and New Testament. Consider His words in John 5:39:
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
Remember, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees. And the Scriptures He was referring to was the Old Testament.
In this podcast, we will look at the strange list of names found in Genesis 5 and show, amazingly, how they present the message of Christ in an unmistakable way. And this process begins by simply seeing what each name means. But we have some clues.
For example, we know that Adam means “man” and Seth means “appointed”. We can see that in Genesis 4:25:
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”
But what do the rest of the names mean? Let’s dig a bit deeper and see if we can enjoy finding Jesus in the Old Testament, beginning with Genesis 5.
The Holy Spirit, Descending and Remaining
When looking at the description of the baptism of Jesus, John the Baptist lets us know how the Lord told him he would recognize the Messiah. And that one cryptic statement is of profound importance. John the Baptist said he was told he would recognize the Lord when he saw the Holy Spirit descending and remaining on Him (John 1:31-32). Let’s look at this account in context.
And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'”
And why was John told to describe Jesus’ ministry as the One who will “baptize with the Holy Spirit? What does that even mean?
The Lord obviously wanted us to know that when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, He descended and rested and remained on Him in a totally different fashion than what we see in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, every time the Holy Spirit came upon somebody, He came upon them for a season, a short time, for a specific purpose. And then, when what the Holy Spirit wanted to accomplish was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was removed.
He came upon a carnal man like Samson. He did a mighty work and then the Holy Spirit was gone, leaving Samson still a carnal man. Same with King Saul and many others.
What is happening here? What does it mean for the Holy Spirit to be descending and remaining on Jesus? Let’s take a look at this together.
The Power of Our Testimony
There is a story that will captivate an audience like no other. It is a story that pulls on heartstrings and leaves the listener perched on the edge of their seats. A story full of pain and suffering, enlightenment and hope, and finally, redemption. As believers, it is the story of our salvation and proves the power of our testimony. And it is exactly what other Biblical characters used when they faced a hostile, unbelieving crowd.
In Acts 9 we see the account of Paul’s salvation on the Damascus road.
Then, facing a mob that wanted to take his life, Paul spoke to them about his testimony in Acts 22.
Finally, when giving his defense to King Agrippa, Paul began with the power of his testimony in Acts 26
It seems the power of our story is a formidable force to be reckoned with.
Our testimony is the story of what happened to us, on a personal level. It could be how we lost weight, or overcame a personal crisis, or came to faith in Jesus Christ. But it is our story, and no one else’s.
And because it is our story it is immune to claims like, “I don’t believe the Bible” or “That’s your version of truth, but that’s not mine” or “Don’t try to shove your beliefs down my throat!” We’re not. We are simply telling you a story of how a hungry person found bread. And if we found bread, so can you.
Some questions from our last session, how is your testimony or witness for Jesus? Is it sharp, like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)? Or has it grown rust and decay from neglect or lack of use? Remember, we are the only ones that have our witness about Him? Everyone else has their own. And it is our responsibility to tell others what He has done for us. That is what love is. And it can be as simple as this:
“One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25).
Let’s look at the power behind our testimony.
The Testimony of John the Baptist
One of the most powerful tools in our arsenal of evangelism is our testimony about Christ. We, like John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, and millions of others have a first-hand, personal account to proclaim about our Lord. And our testimony, like the testimony of John the Baptist, is something our detractors cannot argue against. Why? Because it happened to us. We are not proclaiming truth they can claim is not true, we are sharing our story, which is just that: Our story.
It is our witness to what Christ has done for us.
It is our proclamation as to who Christ is.
And it is our story that tells our deliverance from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of our God.
Our story is a powerful tool in the hands of our Lord.
The word “testimony” or “witness” is used of John the Baptist six times in the first thirty-four verses of John. It seems that word defined his ministry.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for (what) a witness, to bear (what) witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear (what) witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. (John 1:6-9)
How is your testimony or witness for Jesus? Is it sharp, like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)? Or has it grown rust and decay from neglect or lack of use? Remember, we are the only ones that have our witness about Him? Everyone else has their own. And it is our responsibility to tell others what He has done for us. That is what love is. And it can be as simple as this:
“One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25).
Let’s look at the testimony of John the Baptist.
False Views of the Doctrine of the Trinity
Whenever God reveals truth, Satan and fallen man try to deny it. Or at least confuse it in some way. And we see this clearly in the relentless attack on the Doctrine of the Trinity. Throughout the history of the church there have been many false views about the Trinity.
Some of these have been adequately dealt with by church creeds and councils. And some still persist today. Remember the three unchangeable truths found in Scripture about God:
One, God eternally exists as three persons.
Two, each person is fully God in every aspect.
Three, there is one God.
The problem now is to try to explain these truths without elevating one at the expense of another.
Let’s list a few we will discuss today.
First, there is Modalism that claims God is one Person who appears to us in three different forms, or personalities, or modes (hence the name).
Then there is the Arian Controversy, named after Arius, a Bishop of Alexandria, whose views were condemned at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Because of the problems Arius and his views caused the early church, the Nicene Creed was written which affirmed, among other things, that Christ was ‘begotten, not made.”
“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (ὁμοούσιον) with the Father.…”
And following these are Subordinationism, Adoptionism and Tritheism, and others.
Let’s take a look at these together and see how our enemy tried to confuse the church with false views of the Doctrine of the Trinity.
Jesus Lives to do the Will of His Father
Once again, we find many passages in the Scriptures that appear to imply Jesus assumed a subordinate role to the Father while on earth, and possibly even in heaven. And, as in the past, we are faced with some questions. But the answer to those questions and, at least on the surface, inconsistencies are found in the reality that Jesus lived to do the will of His Father. Both then, in the pages of Scripture, and even now, in heaven. This is a truth clearly revealed in the Gospels. Consider the following:
Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” (John 8:28-29)
Note, Jesus does not do things to advance His own agenda. He purposes His life to “always do those things that please Him (Father).”
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” (John 6:37-39)
Again, taken at face value, this implies the Father has something the Son doesn’t and then gives it to Him to act on the Father’s behalf or best interest.
What can we learn from this?
What is the Doctrine of the Trinity?
We have many passages in the Scriptures that appear to imply Jesus assumed a subordinate role to the Father while on earth, and possibly even in heaven. But how is that possible if both Jesus and the Father are, in fact, God? And this question brings us to the complicated doctrine of the trinity. What is the doctrine of the trinity? How is that doctrine revealed in Scripture since the word “trinity” doesn’t even appear in the Bible?
These are great questions that we will be tackling today and in the coming sessions.
But first, let’s define the truth of the doctrine of the trinity. We can summarize the teaching of Scripture into three key points:
One, God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Two, each person is fully God.
And three, there is one God.
So how does all this pan out in real life?
Hence, the doctrine of the trinity. It is clearly taught in Scripture but is often hard to reconcile in our finite minds which demand logical closure.
Let’s start with a verse that shows both Jesus, God’s Son, and God the Father are both fully God. We’ll begin with the familiar passage from John 1:1-2:
In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God (Father), and the Word was God (One). He (Jesus) was in the beginning with God (Father).
Note, we have God existing as separate persons, in this case, the Father and the Son. And we have both Father and Son assuming the same identity, God. But how is this possible?
Join us as we begin to unpack the doctrine of the trinity and the relationship among the persons of the Godhead in regard to deference and subordination. It should be a wild ride!
The Relationship Between Jesus and His Father
As we look at the life of John the Baptist, one of his most endearing characteristics is his ability to fully grasp his place in redemptive history. In other words, John the Baptist had a part to play, but that part was secondary to Jesus. John was the opening act. Jesus was the headliner. And this was much the same type of relationship Jesus had with His Father. Both were God, yet Jesus seemed to take a subordinate role to that of His Father. We can see that in the way Jesus describes His relationship with His Father.
For example, consider the following:
“You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)
Uh, what? What did Jesus mean when He said His Father is “greater” than He is?
It appears in Scripture that Jesus chose to assume a subordinate relationship with His Father yet, as we know, Jesus and His Father are one (John 10:30). But this raises a few questions we will be addressing as we move forward. Some of them are:
Are they each equally God?
And, if so, is there a subordinate relationship between members of the Godhead?
Is that relationship based on worth or merit or something else?
And why is this even important?
These are some of the questions we will be answering as we dig deeper into John’s statement in John 1:30:
“This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.'” (See also John 1:15, 27 where John the Baptist makes the same claim about Jesus.)
If you have a desire to know more about the relationship between Jesus and His Father and, at the same time, uncover some incredible truth, then keep listening.
How to Live in Victory
We have been looking at how to live in the victory Christ provided for us over our past sins and failures. And it is really quite simple: Choose to believe what God says about you (and your past regrets) and not what you feel or what seems right to you. After all, He is God and we are… dust. Yet, because of His great love for us, He chose to provide victory over the consequences of our sins by sacrificing His Son on the cross. And for us to wallow in self-condemnation and despair over the sins and regrets Christ died to forgive, makes light of His great sacrifice.
If His death provided us victory over sin, then our reasonable duty would be to walk and live in that victory. Period. End of story.
But how do we go about living in His victory over our past regrets?
In this message, we’ll give some tools to help you experience freedom from self-condemnation and unforgiveness. And these tools are centered around turning the enemy’s temptations and taunts into praise. After all, Satan hates it when we praise our Lord.
There is also one last Scripture we will look at that clearly puts our life and relationship with Christ into perspective. It’s 1 Corinthians 6:20, and reads:
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
And finally, as we shared before, the choice offered to each of us when we struggle with past failures and regrets is to believe what the Lord says about our sins and transgressions or to hold on to what we feel about them. And most Christians, especially when it comes to a choice of grace or condemnation, choose the latter. Why? Because it somehow feels good to punish ourselves for something God has chosen to forget.
If you want to know more, keep listening.