“The Wind Blows Where It Wishes” (Jesus)

We are all being indoctrinated whether we know it or not.  I assure you that it’s not just the church that is seeking to indoctrinate you.  By the way, that is one of our primary jobs.  The New Testament commands the church to “teach what is fitting with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).  The important task is to wisely choose the source of your beliefs (doctrines).  Christians claim a divine source (Scripture) and therefore claim its pre-eminence in producing a flourishing life. 

The APOSTLES CREED, written in the 3rd century A.D., expresses what Christians (identified in the creed as “the holy catholic church” i.e. universal) believe about God.  God exists in three distinct but equal persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It reads: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.  I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.  I believe in the Holy Spirit.”

The ATHANASIAN CREED, written in the 4th century A.D., elaborates more precisely on the nature of the holy Trinity.  I encourage you to read an excerpt slowly, thoughtfully and prayerfully . . . “Whoever wants to be saved should above all cling to the catholic faith.  Whoever does not guard it whole and inviolable (unbreakable) will doubtless perish eternally.  Now this is the catholic faith: We worship one God in Trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.  For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is still another.  But the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory, coeternal in majesty.  The Father is infinite; the Son is infinite; the Holy Spirit is infinite.  
Eternal is the Father; eternal is the Son; eternal is the Spirit: And yet there are not three eternal beings, but one who is eternal; as there are not three uncreated and unlimited beings, but one who is uncreated and unlimited.  Almighty is the Father; almighty is the Son; almighty is the Spirit: And yet there are not three almighty beings, but one who is almighty.  Thus, the Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God: And yet there are not three gods, but one God. Thus, the Father is Lord; the Son is Lord; the Holy Spirit is Lord: And yet there are not three lords, but one Lord.  The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten; the Son was neither made nor created, but was alone begotten of the Father; the Spirit was neither made nor created, but is proceeding from the Father and the Son.  
Thus, there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three spirits.  And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.  Whoever wants to be saved should think thus about the Trinity. This is the catholic (universal) faith.  One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully.”

Mr. Barna (respected researcher) has tabulated that “nearly 60 percent of Christians (in America) who regularly attend church say there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit.  They say that the Holy Spirit is a symbol of God’s power, presence or purity.”  America often reflects the beliefs of the western world, maybe even leads the charge in many ways.  My empirical observation is that Canadian Christians are as tragically ignorant of the third person of the Holy Trinity. 

So, with great anticipation I look forward to Sunday morning when we reflect on what we believe about the most neglected and misunderstood person of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit.  Here’s a preview of what we will consider together.  “WE BELIEVE in the absolute deity and personality of the Holy Spirit; that He is the Divine Agent in the sinner’s regeneration and the believer’s sanctification.  WE BELIEVE at conversion He baptizes all believers into the body of Christ; indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption.”

See you at one of our two Sunday morning services,
Pastor Deric

NO DOUBT about Jesus

Christianity’s greatest claim is that Jesus Christ is God who came in the flesh.  We make a big deal about it because the evidence is incontrovertible for doing so.

1.  There is no doubt about who Jesus Himself claimed to be. 
  • John 8:53-59
The Jews asked Jesus a question about His claim that anyone who believed in Him would not “taste death.” “Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So, the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So, they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.”

Clearly Jesus knew who He was claiming to be. Just as clearly the Jews understood His unprecedented assertion. 

  • John 1:1-18
Jesus’ claim was in keeping with what John the Apostle wrote about Him in the opening words of His Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”  


2.  There is no doubt about who the apostles believed Him to be.
  • John 20:28 “Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
  • Colossians 2: 8-10See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
  • Titus 2:11-15  “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.  Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”


3.  There is no doubt about who the Christian church believes him to be.
  • At the first ecumenical council of the church in 325 A.D., Athanasius opposed the popular teaching of Arius. Arius, pastor of the influential Baucalis Church in Alexandria, Egypt, taught that Christ was more than human but something less than God. He said that God originally lived alone and had no Son. Then He created the Son, who in turn created everything else. The idea persists in some cults today. The young deacon from Alexandria, Athanasius, insisted that Arius’ doctrine left Christianity without a divine Saviour. He called for a creed that made clear Jesus Christ’s full deity. After extended debate, all but two bishops at the council agreed upon a creed that confessed faith “in one Lord Jesus Christ… true God of true God.”  The lengthy struggle over imperial power and theological language culminated in the mid-fifth century at the Council at Chalcedon in Asia Minor (today’s Turkey). There, the church fathers concluded that Jesus was completely and fully God. And finally, the council confessed that this total man and this total God was one completely normal person. In other words, Jesus combined two natures, human and divine, in one person.  This classical, orthodox affirmation from Chalcedon made it possible to tell the story of Jesus as good news. Since Jesus was a normal human being, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, he could fulfill every demand of God’s moral law, and He could suffer and die a real death. Since He was truly God, His death was capable of satisfying divine justice. God Himself had provided the sacrifice.  
  • The Council of Nicea, then, laid the cornerstone for the orthodox understanding of Jesus Christ. That foundation has stood ever since (Bruce L. Shelly, “The Council of Nicea”).
4.  There is no doubt about who major world religions believe Him to be.

By and large, all major world religions treat Jesus in the same way: a great prophet, maybe even as in Hinduism, a “god”, but not God manifest in the flesh.

  • The Bahá’í Faith describes Jesus as a “manifestation” of God and acknowledges Jesus was sent by God (the Bahá’í faith does, however, place Jesus alongside other messengers from major religious movements, including Abraham, Muhammad, the Buddha, Krishna, and Zoroaster).
  • “The Quran treats Jesus as a very important figure. It gives him a greater number of honorable titles than any other figure in the past.He is the only prophet to have been born of a virgin and he did the greatest miracles of all the prophets. Jesus is also referred to in ninety verses scattered in 15 Surahs in the Quran. Yet with all of this respect, the Quran denies fundamental essentials of the historical Christian faith in regard to Jesus Christ. In so doing, Islam rejects his identity as the Savior and Lord of mankind” (Behind the Veil of Islam by Raj Kripalani).
5.  There is no doubt who the world believes Him to be.

The simple answer is that the world is a mixed bag vacillating between acknowledging that Jesus was a real person but certainly not divine. 

  • Younger Generations Are Increasingly Less Likely to Believe Jesus Was God
    The historicity of Jesus may not be in question for most Americans, but people are much less confident in the divinity of Jesus. Most adults—not quite six in 10—believe Jesus was God (56%), while about one-quarter say he was only a religious or spiritual leader like Mohammed or the Buddha (26%). The remaining one in six say they aren’t sure whether Jesus was divine (18%). Millennials are the only generation among whom fewer than half believe Jesus was God (48%). About one-third of young adults (35%) say instead that Jesus was merely a religious or spiritual leader, while 17 percent aren’t sure what he was. In each older generation, the belief in Jesus as divine is more common—55 percent of Gen-Xers, 58 percent of Boomers and nearly two-thirds of Elders (62%) believe Jesus was God.  (https://www.barna.com/research/what-do-americans-believe-about-jesus-5-popular-beliefs/)
6.  There is no doubt that for those who believe He is God; He is the precious ROCK beneath our faith.
  • 1 Peter 2:6-8For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So, the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”


I look forward to continuing our sermon series “We Believe” this coming Sunday. This week’s focus is:

WE BELIEVE the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God the Son, who eternally existed in pre-incarnate glory. WE BELIEVE in His virgin birth, sinless life, all-sufficient substitutionary death, victorious bodily resurrection, triumphant ascension, present intercession, and personal and glorious return.

Why not prepare for the study of God’s Word together by pondering the question that Jesus asked His disciples: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).

God willing, I will see you at the 9 am or the 11 am service.

Lovingly in Him,
Pastor Deric