CHRISTIAN LIFE and WORSHIP
the HOLY SPIRIT
Matthew 3:11 - "It is true that I (John the Baptist) baptise you with water as a sign of your repentance, but the one who follows me is far stronger than I am - indeed I am not fit to carry his shoes. He (Jesus) will baptise you with the fire of the Holy Spirit."
Matthew 3:16 - Jesus came straight out of the water (of baptism) afterwards, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting upon him.
Matthew 12:31-32 - ".... men may be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven. A man may say a word against the Son of Man and be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come!"
Luke 2:25b-27a - He (Simeon of Jerusalem, awaiting the coming of the Messiah) was an upright man, devoted to the service of God, living in expectation of the "salvation of Israel". His heart was open to the Holy Spirit, and it had been revealed to him that he would not die before he saw the Lord's Christ. He had been led by the Spirit to go into the Temple (to see the child Jesus .....)
Luke 4:1-2a - Jesus returned from the Jordan (after his baptism) full of the Holy Spirit and he was led by the Spirit to spend forty days in the desert, where he was tempted by the devil.
Luke 11:13 - "... if you (those disciples listening to Jesus' teaching on prayer) .... know how to give good things to your children, how much more likely is it that your Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
the Holy Spirit - continued
Luke 12:10-12 - "Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but there is no forgiveness for the man who speaks evil against the Holy Spirit. And when they bring you before the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, don't worry as to what defence you are going to put up or what word you are going to use. For the Holy Spirit will tell you at the time what is the right thing for you to say."
Luke 24:49 - "You are eye-witnesses of these things (the risen Christ speaking to the apostles). Now I hand over to you the command of my Father. Stay in the city .... until you are clothed with (the) power (of the Holy Spirit) from on high."
John 1:32-34 - ... John (the Baptist) gave this testimony, "I have seen the Spirit come down like a dove from Heaven and rest upon him (Jesus). Indeed, it is true that I did not recognise him by myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water told me this: 'The one on whom you will see the Spirit coming down and resting is the man who baptises with the Holy Spirit!' Now I have seen this happen and I declare publicly before you all that he is the Son of God.!"
John 3:5 - "I assure you," said Jesus (talking to the Pharisee Nicodemus about the need to be born again), "that unless a man is born from water and from spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
John 6:63a - "It is the Spirit which gives life. The flesh will not help you."
John 14:16-17, 26 - (As Jesus prepares for his death ....) "I shall ask the Father to give you (the disciples) someone else to stand by you, to be with you always. I mean the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, for it can neither see nor recognise that Spirit. But you recognise him, for he is with you now and will be in your hearts. ....
(Verse 26) .... the one who is coming to stand by you, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will be your teacher and will bring to your minds all that I have said to you."
the Holy Spirit - continued
John 15:26 - ".... when the helper comes, that is, the (Holy) Spirit of truth, who comes from the Father and whom I myself will send to you from the Father, he will speak plainly about me."
John 16:7b-11,13-14 - .... if I (Jesus) did not go away (to heaven), the divine helper would not come to you. But if I go, then I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convince the world of the meaning of sin, of true goodness and of judgement. He will expose their sin because they do not believe in me; he will reveal true goodness for I am going away to the Father and you will see me no longer; and he will show them the meaning of judgement, for the spirit which rules this world (the devil) will have been judged. .... (Verse 13 ....) Yet when that one I have spoken to you about comes - the Spirit of truth - he will guide you into everything that is true. For he will not be speaking of his own accord but exactly as he hears, and he will inform you about what is to come. He will bring glory to me for he will draw on my truth and reveal it to you. Whatever the Father possesses is also mine; that is why I tell you that he (the Holy Spirit) will draw on my truth and will show it to you."
- The following verses show why the Acts of the Apostles is often referred to as the story of the Holy Spirit at work:
Acts 1:5,8a - (Jesus before he ascends to heaven ......) "You have already heard me speak about this (the gift of the Holy Spirit)," he said, "for John used to baptise with water, but before many days are passed you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit. .... (Verse 8a) .... you are to be given power when the Holy Spirit has come to you"
Acts 2:1-4 - .... when the actual day of Pentecost came they (the disciples in Jerusalem) were all assembled together. Suddenly there was a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were seated. Before their eyes appeared tongues like flames which separated off and settled above the head of each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages as the Spirit gave them power to proclaim his message.
the Holy Spirit - continued
Acts 2:32-33,38 - (The apostle Peter explains to the Jews visiting Jerusalem for Pentecost why the disciples speak to them in their own tongues ...) "Christ was not deserted in death and his body was never destroyed. 'Christ is the man Jesus, whom God raised up - a fact of which all of us are eye-witnesses!' He has been raised to the right hand of God; he has received from the Father and poured out upon us the promised Holy Spirit - that is what you now see and hear! .... (Peter continues in Verse 38), "You must repent and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, so that you may have your sins forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Acts 7:55-56 - Stephen (after defending himself against charges of blasphemy), filled through all his being with the Holy Spirit, looked steadily up into Heaven. He saw the glory of God, and Jesus himself standing at his right hand. "Look!" he exclaimed, "the heavens are opened and I can see the Son of Man standing at God's right hand!" (.... Stephen is then stoned to death).
Acts 8:14-17 - When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the Word of God (brought by Philip the Evangelist), they sent Peter and John down to them. When these two had arrived they prayed for the Samaritans that they might receive the Holy Spirit for as yet he had not fallen upon any of them. They were living simply as men and women who had been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. So then and there they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 9:17-18 - .... Ananias (a disciple of Jesus living in Damascus) set out and went to the house, and there he laid his hands upon Saul (Paul, after his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus), and said, "Saul, brother, the Lord has sent me - Jesus who appeared to you on your journey here - so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got to his feet and was baptised.
the Holy Spirit - continued
Acts 10:19-20, 37-38 - While Peter was still puzzling about the meaning of the vision which he had just seen (.... the sheet let down from heaven filled with all kinds of animals, followed by a voice commanding him to kill and eat), the men sent by Cornelius (the centurion from Caesarea) had arrived asking for the house of Simon. They were in fact standing at the very doorway of the house calling out to enquire if Simon, surnamed Peter, were lodging there. Peter was still thinking deeply about the vision when the Spirit said to him, "Three men are here looking for you. Get up and go downstairs. Go with them without any misgivings, for I myself have sent them." .... (Peter, later speaking to Cornelius, continues in Verse 37 ....) You must know the story of Jesus of Nazareth - why, it has spread through the whole of Judea, beginning with Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed. You must have heard how God anointed him with the power of the Holy Spirit, of how he went about doing good and healing all who suffered from the devil's power - because God was with him.
Acts 11:15-17 - While I (Peter, describing the conversion of the Gentile Cornelius to the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem) was beginning to tell them this message the Holy spirit fell upon them just as on us at the beginning. There came into my mind the words of our Lord when he said, 'John indeed baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.' If then God gave them exactly the same gift as he gave to us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could hinder the working of God?"
Acts 13:2,4 - While they (Saul, that is Paul and other disciples in Syrian Antioch) were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke to them, saying, "Set Barnabas and Saul apart for me for a task (Paul's First Missionary Journey) to which I have called them." .... (Verse 4 ....) So these two, sent at the Holy Spirit's command, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed off to Cyprus.
Acts 13:9-12 - (In Cyprus, Paul and Barnabas are opposed by a false prophet and magician, who is also an attendant to the Roman proconsul or governor of Cyprus ....) Then Saul (who is also called Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, eyed him closely and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all true goodness, you monster of trickery and evil, is it not time you gave up trying to pervert the truth of the Lord? Now listen, the Lord himself will touch you, for some time you will not see the light of the sun - you will be blind!" Immediately a mist and then utter blackness came over his eyes, and he went round trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened he believed, for he was shaken to the core at the Lord's teaching.
the Holy Spirit - continued
Acts 13:51-52 - ... they on their part (Paul and Barnabas after being expelled from the area of Pisidian Antioch) simply shook off the dust from their feet in protest and went on to Iconium. And the disciples (the new believers in Pisidia) continued to be full of joy and the Holy Spirit.
Acts 16:6-8b - They (Paul and Silas on the Second Missionary Journey) made their way through Phyrgia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit prevented them from speaking God's message in Asia. When they came to Mysia they tried to enter Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them. So they passed by Mysia ....
Acts 19:1b-7 - ..... he (Paul arriving in Ephesus during his Third Missionary Journey) discovered some disciples, and he asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" "No", they replied, "we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
"Well then, how were you baptised?" asked Paul. "We were baptised with John (the Baptist)'s baptism," they replied.
"John's baptism was a baptism to show a change of heart," Paul explained, "but he always told the people that they must believe in the one who should come after him, that is, in Jesus." When these men heard this they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and then, when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak with tongues and the inspiration of prophets. (There were about twelve of them in all).
Acts 21:10-11 - During our stay there of several days (Paul in Caesarea on his last journey to Jerusalem before his final arrest) a prophet by the name of Agabus came down from Judea. When he came to see us he took Paul's girdle and used it to tie his own hands and feet together, saying, "The Holy spirit says this: the man to whom this girdle belongs will be bound like this by the Jews in Jerusalem and handed over to the Gentiles! (arrested by the Romans)."
the Holy Spirit - continued
Romans 8:1-27 - Most of Romans, chapter 8 is about living the Christian life through the Holy Spirit:
No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are "in" Jesus Christ. For the new spiritual principle of life "in" Christ (through the Holy Spirit) lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death.
The Law never succeeded in producing righteousness - the failure was always the weakness of human nature. But God has met this by sending his own Son Jesus Christ to live in that human nature which causes the trouble. And, while Christ was actually taking upon himself the sins of men, God condemned that sinful nature. So that we are able to meet the Law's requirements, so long as we are living no longer by the dictates of our sinful nature, but in obedience to the promptings of the (Holy) Spirit. The carnal attitude sees no further than natural things. But the spiritual attitude reaches out after the things of the spirit. The former attitude means, bluntly, death: the latter means life and inward peace. And this is only to be expected, for the carnal attitude is inevitably opposed to the purpose of God, and neither can nor will follow his laws for living. Men who hold this attitude cannot possibly please God.
What the presence of Christ within means
But you are not carnal but spiritual if the Spirit of God finds a home within you. You cannot, indeed, be a Christian at all unless you have something of his Spirit in you. Now if Christ does live within you his presence means that your sinful nature is dead, but your spirit becomes alive because of the righteousness he brings with him. I said that our nature is "dead" in the presence of Christ, and so it is, because of its sin. Nevertheless once the Spirit of him (God) who raised Jesus from the dead lives within you he will, by that same Spirit, bring to your whole being new strength and vitality.
So then, my brothers, you can see that we have no particular reason to feel grateful to our sensual nature, or to live life on the level of the instincts. Indeed that way of living leads to certain spiritual death. But if on the other hand you cut the nerve of your instinctive actions by obeying the Spirit, you are on the way to real living.
the Holy Spirit - continued
Christ is within - follow the lead of his Spirit
All who follow the leading of God's Spirit are God's own sons. Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear - you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, "Father (Abba), my Father". The Spirit himself endorses our inward conviction that we really are the children of God. Think what that means. If we are his children we share his treasures, and all that Christ claims as his will belong to all of us as well! Yes, if we share in his suffering we shall certainly share in his glory.
Present distress is temporary and negligible
In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God's purpose it has been so limited - yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God!
It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail (as in the pains of childbirth). And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that at last we have realised our full sonship in him. We were saved by this hope, but in our moments of impatience let us remember that hope always means waiting for something that we haven't yet got. But if we hope for something we cannot see, then we must settle down to wait for it in patience.
This is not mere theory - the Spirit helps us to find it true
The Spirit of God not only maintains this hope within us, but helps us in our present limitations. For example, we do not know how to pray worthily as sons of God, but his (Holy) Spirit within us is actually praying for us in those agonising longings which never find words. And God who knows the heart's secrets understands, of course, the Spirit's intention as he prays for those who love God.
the Holy Spirit - continued
1 Corinthians 2:6-16 - We (Christians such as Paul) do ..... speak "wisdom" among those who are spiritually mature, but it is not what is called wisdom by this world, nor by the powers-that-be, who soon will be only the powers that have been. The wisdom we speak of is that mysterious secret wisdom of God which he planned before the creation for our glory today. None of the powers of this world have known this wisdom - if they had they would never have crucified the Lord of glory! But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him'.
But God has, through the (Holy) Spirit, let us share his secret. For nothing is hidden from the Spirit, not even the deep wisdom of God. For who could really understand a man's inmost thoughts except the spirit of the man himself? How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God? And the marvellous thing is this, that we now receive not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God himself, so that we can actually understand something of God's generosity towards us.
This wisdom is only understood by the spiritual
It is these things that we talk about, not using the expressions of the human intellect but those which the Holy Spirit teaches us, explaining things to those who are spiritual.
But the unspiritual man simply cannot accept the matters which the Spirit deals with - they just don't make sense to him, for, after all, you must be spiritual to see spiritual things. The spiritual man, on the other hand, has an insight into the meaning of everything, though his insight may baffle the man of the world. This is because the former is sharing in God's wisdom, and 'Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?' Incredible as it may sound, we who are spiritual have the very thoughts of Christ!
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 - Don't you realise that you yourselves are the temple of God, and God's (Holy) Spirit lives in you? God will destroy anyone who defiles his temple, for his temple is holy - and that is exactly what your are!
1 Corinthians 12:1-3 - ... I (Paul) want to give you some further information in some spiritual matters. You have not forgotten that you were Gentiles, following dumb idols just as you had been taught. Now I want you to understand, as Christians, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God could call Jesus accursed, and no one could say that he is the Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.
the Holy Spirit - continued
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 - ... the human body, which has many parts, is a unity, and those parts, despite their multiplicity, constitute one single body, so it is with the body of Christ. For we were all baptised by the (Holy) Spirit into one body, whether we were Jews, Gentiles, slaves or free men, and we have all had experience of the same Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:6 - .... God ... makes us competent administrators (or ministers) of the new agreement, and we deal not in the letter but in the Spirit. The letter of the Law (of Moses) leads to the death of the soul; the Spirit of God alone can give life to the soul.
Galatians 4:6-7 - It is because you really are his sons that God has sent the (Holy) Spirit of his Son into your hearts to cry "Father (Abba), dear Father". You, my brother, are not a servant any longer; you are a son. And, if you are a son, then you are certainly an heir of God through Christ.
Galatians 5:16-18,22-25 - The fruits, or hoped-for results of the Holy Spirit working in Christians:
Here is my (Paul's) advice. Live your whole life in the Spirit and you will not satisfy the desires of your lower nature. For the whole energy of the lower nature is set against the Spirit, while the whole power of the Spirit is contrary to the lower nature. Here is the conflict, and that is why you are not free to do what you want to do. But if you follow the leading of the Spirit, you stand clear of the Law. .... (Verse 22 ....) The Spirit .... produces in human life fruits such as these:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control - and no law exists against any of them.
Those who belong to Christ have crucified their old nature with all that it loved and lusted for. If our lives are centred in the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13b-14 - .... after you gave your confidence to him (Christ) you were, so to speak, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit as a guarantee of purchase, until the day when God completes the redemption of what he has paid for as his own; and that will again be to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 2:21-22 - In him (Jesus as the foundation-stone) each separate piece of building, properly fitting into its neighbour, grows together into a temple consecrated to God. You (Christians) are all part of this building in which God himself lives by his Spirit.
the Holy Spirit - continued
Ephesians 3:16-17a - ..... I (Paul) pray that out of the glorious richness of his resources he (God) will enable you to know the strength of the (Holy) Spirit's inner re-inforcement - that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith.
Ephesians 4:3-6 - Make it your aim to be at one in the (Holy) Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another. You all belong to one body, of which there is one (Holy) Spirit, just as you all experienced one calling to one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father of us all, who is the one over all, the one working through all and the one living in all.
Ephesians 4:30 - Never hurt the Holy Spirit. He is, remember, the personal pledge of your eventual full redemption.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 - Never damp the fire of the (Holy) Spirit ....
2 Peter 1:20-21 - ... you must understand ..... that no prophecy of scripture arose from an individual's interpretation of the truth. No prophecy came because a man wanted it to: men of God spoke because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
the Holy Spirit - continued
1 John 2:26-27a - It is true that I (John) felt I had to write the above about men (false teachers) who would dearly love to lead you astray. Yet I know that the touch of his (God's) Spirit never leaves you, and you don't really need a human teacher. You know that his Spirit teaches you about all things, always telling you the truth and never telling you a lie.
1 John 3:24 - The man who ... obey(s) God's commands lives in God and God lives in him, and the guarantee of his presence within us is the Spirit he has given us.
1 John 4:12-13 - It is true that no human being has ever had a direct vision of God. Yet if we love each other God does actually live within us, and his love grows in us towards perfection. And .... the guarantee of our living in him and his living in us is the share of his own (Holy) Spirit which he gives us.
1 John 5:4b-8 - .... this faith of ours is the only way in which the world has been conquered. For who could ever be said to conquer the world, in the true sense, except the man who really believes that Jesus is God's Son? Jesus Christ himself is the one who came by water and by blood - not by the water only, but by the water and the blood.
The (Holy) Spirit bears witness to this, for the Spirit is the truth. The witness therefore is a triple one - the Spirit in our own hearts, the signs of the water of baptism and the blood of atonement - and they all say the same thing.
Revelation 22:17 - The Spirit and the bride (in the final invitation from God's Spirit and the Church, to all people), say "Come!" Let everyone who hears this also say, "Come!" Let the thirsty man come, and let everyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
the HOLY TRINITY
Matthew 28:18-19 - But Jesus (after his resurrection) came and spoke these words to them (the apostles), "All power in Heaven and on earth has been given to me. You, then, are to go and make disciples of all the nations and baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
John 14:26 - ..... the one who is coming to stand by you, the Holy Spirit whom (God) the Father will send in my name (Jesus Christ), will be your teacher and will bring to your minds all that I have said to you.
John 15:26 - ... when the helper comes, that is, the (Holy) Spirit of truth, who comes from the Father and whom I myself (Jesus Christ) will send to you from the Father, he will speak plainly about me.
2 Corinthians 13:14 - (Paul's final blessing in his letter ....) The grace that comes through our Lord Jesus Christ, the love that is of God the Father, and the fellowship that is ours in the Holy Spirit be with you all!
1 Peter 1:1-2 - Peter, messenger of Jesus Christ, sends this letter to the exiles of the dispersed tribes ...... whom God the Father knew and chose long ago to be made holy by his Spirit, that they might obey Jesus Christ and be cleansed by his blood: may you know more and more of God's grace and peace.
Luke 3:12-13 - Some of the tax-collectors .... came to him (John the Baptist) to be baptised and they asked him, "Master, what are we to do?" "You must not demand more than you are entitled to," he replied.
Matthew 25:34-40 - Excerpts from the parable of the sheep and the goats:
"... the king will say .... I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was lonely and you made me welcome. ....."
"Then the true men will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you lonely and make you welcome, ....?' "And the king will reply, 'I assure you that whatever you did for the humblest of my brothers you did for me.'
Luke 14:12b-14a - "When you give a luncheon or a dinner party, don't invite your friends or your brothers or relations or wealthy neighbours, for the chances are they will invite you back, and you will be fully repaid. No, when you give a party, invite the poor, the lame, the crippled and the blind. That way lies real happiness for you."
Romans 12:13 - Give freely to fellow-Christians in want, never grudging a meal or a bed to those who need them.
Hebrews 13:2 - Never .... refuse to extend your hospitality to strangers - sometimes men have entertained angels unawares.
1 Peter 4:9 - Be hospitable to each other without secretly wishing you hadn't got to be!
3 John 5-8 - You (Gaius, to whom the letter is addressed) are doing a fine faithful piece of work, my dear friend, in looking after the brothers who come your way, especially when you have never seen them before. They have testified to your love before the Church. It is a fine thing to help them on their way - it shows you realise the importance of what they are doing. They set out on this work, as you know for the sake of "the name" (of Jesus) and they accept no help from non-Christians. We ought to give such men a real welcome and prove that we too are co-operating with the truth.
the HUMAN BODY and ITS VALUE
Matthew 10:29-31 - "Two sparrows sell for a farthing, don't they? Yet not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge. The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Never be afraid, then - you are far more valuable than sparrows."
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 - Don't you realise that you yourselves are the temple of God, and God's Spirit lives in you? God will destroy anyone who defiles his temple, for his temple is holy - and that is exactly what your are!
1 Corinthians 6:13b-15a,19-20 - .... you cannot say that our physical body was made for sexual promiscuity; it was made for God, and God is the answer to our deepest longings. The God who raised the Lord from the dead will also raise us mortal men by his power. Have you realised the almost incredible fact that your bodies are integral parts of Christ himself? .... (Verse 19) .... your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, and ... you are not the owner of your own body? You have been bought, and at what a price! Therefore bring glory to God both in your body and your spirit, for they both belong to him.
2 Corinthians 6:16b - For we .... are ourselves living temples of the living God, as God has said: "I will live in them and walk in them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
Ephesians 5:28-29 - (Paul writing about husbands and wives ....) Men ought to give their wives the love they naturally have for their own bodies. The love a man gives his wife is the extending of his love for himself to enfold her. Nobody ever hates or neglects his own body; he feeds and looks after it. And that is what Christ does for his body, the Church.
1 Thessalonians 4:4-5 - Every one of you should learn to control his body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect, and never regarding it as an instrument for self-gratification, as do pagans with no knowledge of God.
1 Timothy 4:4 - Everything God made is good, and is meant to be gratefully used, not despised.
Matthew 26:31-45a - .... Jesus said to them (the apostles on the night before his crucifixion), "Tonight every one of you will lose his faith in me. For the scripture says, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered'.
At this Peter exclaimed, "Even if everyone should lose his faith in you, I never will!" "I tell you, Peter," replied Jesus, "that tonight, before the cock crows, you will disown me three times." "Even if it means dying with you I will never disown you," said Peter. And all the disciples made the same protest.
The prayer in Gethsemane
Then Jesus came with the disciples to a place called Gethsemane and said to them, "Sit down here while I go over there and pray." Then he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be in terrible distress and misery. "My heart is nearly breaking," he told them, "stay here and keep watch with me." Then he walked on a little way and fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me - yet it must not be what I want, but what you want."
Then he came back to the disciples and found them fast asleep. He spoke to Peter, "Couldn't you three keep awake with me for a single hour? Watch and pray, all of you, that you may not have to face temptation. Your spirit is willing, but human nature is weak."
Then he went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to pass from me without my drinking it, then your will must be done."
And he came and found them asleep again, for they could not keep their eyes open. So he left them and went away again and prayed for the third time using the same words as before. Then he came back to his disciples and spoke to them, "Are you still going to sleep and take your ease?"
Luke 9:32-33 - ... (during the Transfiguration of Jesus) Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep and it was as they struggled into wakefulness that they saw the glory of Jesus and the two men standing with him. Just as they were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is wonderful for us to be here! Let us put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." But he did not know what he was saying.
James 4:14b - What .... is your life? It is like a puff of smoke visible for a little while and then dissolving into thin air.
1 Peter 1:24 - It is true that: 'All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away ...'
Matthew 18:3-4 - "Believe me," he (Jesus) said, "unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man who can be as humble as this little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven."
Matthew 21:2-5 - (Approaching Jerusalem for the last time, Jesus said ...) "Go into the village in front of you and you will at once find there an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. Should anyone say anything to you, you are to say, 'The Lord needs them', and he will send them immediately." All this happened to fulfil the prophet's saying - 'Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold your king is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey'.
Acts 10:25-26 - As (the apostle) Peter entered the house Cornelius (the Roman centurion in Caesarea) met him by falling on his knees before him and worshipping him. But Peter roused him with the words, "Stand up, I am a human being too!"
Ephesians 3:8 - .... to me (Paul), less than the least of all Christians, has God given this grace, to enable me to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of Christ ...
Ephesians 5:21 - .... "fit in with" (submit to) each other, because of your common reverence for Christ.
Philippians 2:3,5-8 - Never act from motives of rivalry or personal vanity, but in humility think more of each other then you do of yourselves. .... (Verse 5 ....) Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal.
James 4:7a,8-10 - Be humble then before God. .... (Verse 8 ....) Come close to God and he will come close to you. Realise that you have sinned and get your hands clean again. Realise that you have been disloyal and get your hearts made true once more. As you come close to God you should be deeply sorry, you should be grieved, you should even be in tears. Your laughter will have to become mourning, your high spirits will have to become heartfelt dejection. You will have to feel very small in the sight of God before he will set you on your feet once more.
1 Peter 5:5b-6 - ..... you should defer to one another and wear (or clothe yourself with) the "overall" of humility in serving each other. 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble'. So, humble yourselves under God's strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up.
the HUNGRY AND THIRSTY
Matthew 25:34-40 - Excerpts from the parable of the sheep and the goats:
"Then the king will say .... I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink ...."
"Then the true men will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? ...." "And the king will reply, 'I assure you that whatever you did for the humblest of my brothers you did for me.'
1 Corinthians 11:3 - I (Paul) want you to know that Christ is the head of every individual man, just as a man it the "head" of the woman and God is the head of Christ.
Ephesians 5:25-33a - ..... the husband must give his wife the same sort of love that Christ gave to the Church, when he sacrificed himself for her. Christ gave himself to make her holy, having cleansed her through the baptism of his Word - to make her an altogether glorious Church in his eyes. She is to be free from spots, wrinkles or any other disfigurement - a Church holy and perfect.
Men ought to give their wives the love they naturally have for their own bodies. The love a man gives his wife is the extending of his love for himself to enfold her. Nobody ever hates or neglects his own body; he feeds and looks after it. And that is what Christ does for his body, the Church. And we are all members of that body, we are his flesh and blood! 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'. The marriage relationship is doubtless a great mystery, but I am speaking of something deeper still - the marriage of Christ and his Church. In practice what I have said amounts to this: let every one of you who is a husband love his wife as he loves himself ....
Colossians 3:19 - Husbands, be sure you give your wives much love and sympathy; don't let bitterness or resentment spoil your marriage.
1 Peter 3:7 - Similarly (as wives should honour their husbands so ....) you husbands should try to understand the wives you live with, honouring them as physically weaker yet equally heirs with you of the grace of eternal life. If you don't do this, you will find it impossible to pray properly.
- See also Wives
Matthew 7:3-5 - "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and fail to notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me get the speck out of your eye', when there is a plank in your own? You fraud! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you can see clearly enough to remove your brother's speck of dust."
Matthew 23:2-3 - "The scribes and the Pharisees speak with the authority of Moses," he (Jesus) told them, "so you must do what they tell you and follow their instructions. But you must not imitate their lives! For they preach but do not practise."
Romans 2:21-22 - (Paul warning the Christians of Rome) .... prepared as you are to instruct others, do you ever teach yourself anything? You preach against stealing, for example, but are you sure of your own honesty? You denounce the practice of adultery, but are you sure of your own purity? You loathe idolatry, but how honest are you towards the property of heathen temples?
2 Corinthians 13:5a - You should be looking at yourselves to make sure that you are really Christ's. It is yourselves that you should be testing, not me (Paul).
Galatians 2:12-14 - (Paul writing about the apostle Peter when he stayed in Syrian Antioch .....) Until the arrival of some of James' companions, he, Peter, was in the habit of eating his meals with the Gentiles. After they came, he withdrew and ate separately from the Gentiles - out of sheer fear of what the Jews might think. The other Jewish Christians carried out a similar piece of deception, and the force of their bad example was so great that even Barnabas (Paul's companion) was affected by it. But when I saw that this behaviour was a contradiction of the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter so that everyone could hear, "If you, who are a Jew, do not live like a Jew but like a Gentile, why on earth do you try to make Gentiles live like Jews?"
1 John 3:16-18 - We know and, to some extent realise, the love of God for us because Christ expressed it in laying down his life for us. We must in turn express our love by laying down our lives for those who are our brothers. But as for the well-to-do man who sees his brothers in want but shuts his eyes - and his heart - how could anyone believe that the love of God lives in him? My children, let us not love merely in theory or in words - let us love in sincerity and in practice!
to Contents List
on to IMPARTIALITY OR back to J B Phillips Verses
J.B.Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition, published by HarperCollins, is presented here with the kind permission of Mrs Vera Phillips and the J.B.Phillips estate